'A Boxing Match': Mavs Handed Home-Opening 102-91 Loss To Raps

The Mavs are passing the 'health' tests but on Tuesday failed a 'talent' test in a home-opening 102-91 loss to the Raptors. ... and did do because Toronto turned the game into a 'boxing match' ...

1. Dallas opened the 2015-2016 home slate against old friend coach Dwane Casey and the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night, coming off the heels of an impressive victory against the Lakers on Sunday. The Mavs, who started hot offensively in the first half, struggled to keep it going in the second half -- and particularly in the fourth quarter -- on their way to a 102-91 defeat. 

 Dallas in the final quarter was 6 of 22 from the field with four turnovers.

Maybe one of the reasons for the fade? Chandler Parsons, being on that minutes limit, participated in the first half but not the second.

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"I'd almost rather sit out until the second half,'' CP said, calling the necessary facts of his post-knee-surgery restrictions "frustrating'' and giving him the feeling of being "helpless.'' 

2.  Dirk turned in another solid performance, finishing the game with 18 points while shooting 60 percent from the floor. He battled hard against Jonas Valanciunas on the boards all night long, pulling down seven rebounds, and held his own defensively; unfortunately it just wasn’t enough at the end. 

3. Despite the aforementioned limited minutes, Chandler Parsons looks to be finding his rhythm in just his second game back with the team. CP will continue to be eased into heavier minutes, but he appears to be right on track. CP finished with nine points in 14 minutes. 

4. Deron Williams has had a history of success against Toronto, averaging 18.4 points and 8.2 assists per game against them throughout his career. In this one however, Williams was held to just 13 points and four assists. 

5. After tailing by as many as nine in the first quarter, the Mavs did a great job of battling back to take the lead with a 19-4 run that spanned from the end of the first to midway through the second quarter. 

But that first-quarter defense -- and how subpar it was -- remains a sticking point for some.

“We started out too nonchalant in the first quarter and we gave up 31 points,'' Wes Matthews admitted. "We buckled down in the second and gave up 18, and that’s the kind of team that we are and we can be. We just have to show we can do it for four quarters.''

6. Dallas did well in getting to the line, but they struggled once they got there; something that is very uncharacteristic of Rick Carlisle-coached teams. (And a franchise that employs a special coach, Gary Boren, to oversee such things.) Dallas finished the night shooting 72 percent from the charity stripe, while the Raptors shot 88.5 percent. 

7. Dwight Powell continues to contribute well off the bench so far this season. We already knew he would bring the energy and rebounding effort, but he has also managed to develop a nice midrange game that he utilized well in this game. It’s obviously early in the season, but he has been very impressive so far. Powell finished with 10 points and 10 boards off the bench. ... and we liked seeing him at shootaround earlier in the day taking some advice from Holger.

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8. Luis Scola did essentially anything he wanted on the block all night long. This was very reminiscent of the Mavs' troubles with Blake Griffin and Julius Randle from their last two games, and it’s turning into a big problem. If the Mavs can’t find a solution to their defensive issues on the interior, they are going to struggle mightily against the better teams in the West. Scola had 19 points and 12 rebounds. ... and we wait a couple more weeks, maybe, to see if JaVale can help here.

9. The Mavs ball movement was a big part of their success on this offensive end. The Mavs are able to move the ball around the perimeter with ease, and its really helping them get good lucks from mid- to long-range. 

10. It’s really fun to watch Dirk and D-Will play off of each other on the offensive end of the floor. They compliment each other’s games so well that it can be downright scary for opposing defenses sometimes. Both players have extremely high basketball IQs and seem very comfortable with one another out there.

It's also really fun to savor another home-opener for Dirk. Remember ... these are coming to an end soon.

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11. Toronto dominated Dallas in the paint, out scoring the Mavs 44-30 inside, and winning the rebounding battle 47-44. Pachulia’s foul trouble was definitely a factor here, but the Mavs need of a rim protector certainly bears repeating. Maybe Javale McGee can be the Mavs answer to this problem. ... but we've now already mentioned him twice and maybe we're asking too much.

12. Kyle Lowry is one of the more underrated point guards in the NBA. Maybe it’s because he plays half of his games in Canada, we're not really sure. What I do know is that he can ball. Lowry pretty much had his way with the Dallas defense, scoring 27 points on nine of 15 shooting to go along with 10 assists. 

13. Wes Matthews had a frustrating night in his Mavs home debut. He was in foul trouble for a good bit of the night, and finished with just eight points in 28 minutes. We were entertained by his sock game, though.

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14. The Mavs did well to force Toronto into a lot of bad possessions. The Raptors had 18 assists to go along with 16 turnovers. Unfortunately the Mavs numbers weren’t much better in this department.

"Sixteen turnovers is a bad number -- a losing number on a night like this,'' said Rick Carlisle.

Dallas also held Toronto in check from long-range, allowing them to hit just five of 17 from three.

15. The Mavs really could have used Chandler Parsons' shooting and versatility down the stretch of this game, as they seemed to struggle to create opportunities and get open shots at the end. This idea deserves repeating because it's actually a glimpse at another of the Mavs "eventual positives'' of the sort Fish details here.

16. We’ve talked about good guard play being the Mavs key to success this season. On Tuesday night, the guard play wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great, either. Toronto’s guard play, on the other hand, was very good and that proved to be the difference in the game. 

17. In the end, the Mavs' second half left a lot to be desired for Rick Carlisle and Co. The Mavs had momentum midway through the fourth quarter, and lost it thanks to a very impressive Toronto run. The Raptors outscored the Mavs 20-7 in the final six-and-a-half minutes of the fourth quarter to run away with the victory. 

Stat(s) of the night: Points in the paint. The Mavs were outscored 44-30 in the paint in this game, and were really dominated by the Scola/Valanciunas combo for the Raptors. 

This game was over when: Luis Scola hit a corner three to put the Raptors up eight with just under two minutes left to play in the fourth quarter.

Should have seen coming: Kyle Lowry. This guy is a very impressive player at the point guard position, and he just killed the Mavs all night. We don’t know how more people aren’t talking about him. He’s a top-10 point guard in this league. Lowry finished the game with 27 points, 10 assists, and five rebounds. 

Couldn't see coming... Second half struggles. The Mavs really struggled in the second half in this one, particularly in the fourth quarter where they scored just 18 points. ... troublesome because as Dirk said, they "had some good looks.''

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What's next?: The Mavs (2-2) stay home and await the Charlotte Hornets for a 7:30 pm tip off on Thursday night from the AAC.

The Final Word:  “It wasn’t a very rhythmic game to start with, and they made it more their type of game — physical, grinding and a lot of physical contact. They turned it into a boxing match, and we needed to have it be a basketball game.''


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