1. The Mavs came into L.A. after a sensational performance against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night looking to make a statement. Unfortunately, Dallas was outmanned and outgunned for the vast majority of this game on, falling to the most hateable team in the NBA, 104-88.
Yes, "hateable.'' You know the backstories by now. Their hub is The DeAndre Defection, but they spin off into wildly emotional and theatrical directions ... especially when Mavs owner Mark Cuban has the floor.
"The Clippers are the Clippers," Cuban said before the game. "You can change the players, you can change the owner, but the Clippers are who they've been for the last 30 years.
"I mean, I don't hate the Clippers. That's a strong word. I don't hate anybody on the Clippers. I pretty much hate anybody who doesn't have Mavericks or Dallas across their chest, but again, I just don't give a s--- about the Clippers. Maybe that explains it."
Of course, Cuban does care. And his team cares, too ... though it was outmanned on a second night of a B-2-B, part of a night when the Clips got the last laugh, even on the Kiss-Cam.
2. Wes Matthews sat out Thursday night’s game as a precaution. Everything is fine with the Mavs new acquisition, but Coach Carlisle doesn’t want to risk Wes on a back to back too soon. Deron Williams also sat the game out for precautionary reasons. Williams had an MRI on his knee that came back negative, so all signs point to this not being a major issue. ... though what the Mavs first labeled a "contusion'' is now listed as a "sprain.''
Raymond Felton started in Deron's place with John Jenkins sliding over getting a start at the 2-spot.
3. The usual back-to-back struggles seemed to be there for the Mavs in this one. They struggled to shoot, especially from three. Dallas is going to live or die on shooting this year, and in this one it killed them as they shot just 36 percent from the field.
"From a shooting standpoint, we couldn't hit a bull in the ass with a bass fiddle,'' said Carlisle, relying on one of his ol' chestnuts.
4. Zaza Pachulia got into early foul trouble and it really hampered the Mavs inside. When Pachulia isn’t in the game the Mavs lack a lot of toughness in the middle. Despite the early foul trouble however, Pachulia was able to stay on the floor in the second half and help the Mavs on the boards, finishing with eight on the night.
Still, we were hoping he'd be the one administering the muscle to DeAndre. Instead, the foul trouble largely erased that hope.
6. Following a possession in which he elbowed Dirk in the head late in the second quarter, DeAndre Jordan got fouled hard by Dirk and flexed his muscles as though he accomplished something. Stay classy, DeAndre.
Speaking of DeAndre, how is it that a guy who is getting paid hundreds of millions of dollars to play basketball can’t shoot a free throw? It is the most fundamentally simple shot in the game of basketball and somehow he can't do it. Amazing. ... though we concede that we'd view it as fixable if he played in a Dallas uniform.
7. Dallas really needs Javale McGee to make his way into the lineup soon. The Mavs interior needs a rim protector off the bench, Zaza can’t play 40 minutes a night and the Dirk/Dwight band-aid is not ideal.
And yes, we realize what we are saying. One of the most famously unreliable players of his generation is ... NEEDED.
8. After a scoreless first quarter, Dirk found his stride and kept the Mavs in the game as long as he could. Dirk finished with 16 points on 40-percent shooting to go along with seven rebounds.
And yes, he gives a s--t.
9. Devin Harris also had a solid night offensively for Dallas, hitting shots when given the opportunity. Harris finished with 12 points, had six boards and didn’t turn the ball over.
10. John Jenkins performed well in his first start for Dallas as well. Jenkins led the Mavs in scoring with 17 points, and was able to contribute on the boards as well, finishing with six. Jenkins performance was a bright spot for the Mavs.
Oh, and Jenkins was scrappy enough on D, too, here drawing a charge while somehow Blake Griffin manages to charge and flop all at the same time.
11. JJ Barea was active for Dallas, and seemed to have a nice chemistry with Dwight Powell throughout the game. Barea was able to find Powell multiple times on the pick-and-roll and Powell made the most of his opportunities, finishing with nine points. Barea finished the game with 12 points and nine assists.
12. The Mavs had no answer for Blake Griffin in this one, as he coasted to a 26-point and 10 rebound performance. Griffin has really expanded his game and developed a nice mid range jumper to balance his high-flying style.
13. Another bright spot for the Mavs was their rebounding. While Griffin and Jordan seemed to dominate the boards (10 and 15 respectively), Dallas ended up winning the overall rebounding battle 55-53. Multiple guys contributed for Dallas on the glass, which is what they need moving forward.
14. The Mavs really struggled to hold on defensively in this one. The Clippers had too many weapons for the undermanned Mavs to defend. Dallas needs to get healthy quick. ‘Hack-a-Jordan’ can only help so much, and that wont work against many other teams in the NBA.
15. Justin Anderson seems a bit overwhelmed on the floor so far this season. Dallas needs him to adjust quick, fast and in a hurry. He showed his youth a few times in the second half in this one.
16. In the end the Mavs were just outgunned. The Clippers have an extremely talented roster from top to bottom, and the Mavs don’t just didn’t have the manpower to realistically compete. ... at least not on this night, as Carlisle addresses below.
The Player of the game: Dirk Nowitzki. The Big German competed hard and helped the Mavs stay in it in the first half. Dirk had 16 points and seven boards in the game. But no, he doesn't win "The Dirkie.'' DB.com only hands out those golden beauties after victories. Sorry, fellas.
Stat(s) of the night: Points in the paint. Dallas was dominated inside in this one, and the final score showed that here, as they lost the battle in the paint 40-36.
This game was over when... It can easily be argued that the game was over sooner, but Austin Rivers hit a buzzer beating three to end the third quarter, pushing the lead to 17 for the Clippers. Dallas was struggling to hold on in the third, and this shot really took the win out of their sails.
Should have seen coming... The Mavs struggles from the field. It’s always tough playing back to back’s on the road in the NBA, even early in the season. Legs are not as fresh and jump shooting is just more difficult.
Couldn't see coming... Struggling on the fast break. Dallas wants to get out and run offensively this season, and they were not able to get that going here, ending the game with just eight fast-break points.
Best decision: Resting D-Will and Wes. These guys are obviously key components for the Mavs and Carlisle has to manage the wear and tear on his new stars to give the Mavs their best chance to compete as the season progresses.
What's next?: The "hatred'' isn't strong enough to keep Mark Cuban from doing a nice thing on Saturday, as his private jet will transport Carlisle and Clippers boss Doc Rivers and others to the funeral of Flip Saunders. (Dirk and some other Mavs folks will use the day off Friday to return to Phoenix to watch Steve Nash be inducted into the Suns Ring of Honor.) Meanwhile, the Mavs are 1-1 and have a couple of days off to regroup while they stay in LA awaiting Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Sunday night at 8:30.
The Final Word: “It makes it tougher,” Carlisle said of the now 1-1 Mavs being shorthanded. “You know, we really would have had to play a perfect game. ... We did a lot of good things, but the manpower made it tough.''