Rapid Fire: Mavs Start Big Week With Flop In The Big Easy

Rapid Fire as the Mavs start a big week with a big flop In The Big Easy ...

1. Coming off of their best all-around performance of the season against the Pelicans just three nights prior, the Mavs looked to employ a similar game plan Tuesday. However, the Pelicans came out desperate from the start, and hit the Mavs in the mouth, dominating Dallas 120-105 in a game that was never close. 

                                 

“The bottom line is we got outfought by a desperate team,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. ""Look, they're a quality team that's been getting sand kicked in their face, and tonight they did it to us."

2. New Orleans started the game with three takeaways in a row, leading to an immediate 10-0 deficit for the Mavs. While they were able to stop the bleeding somewhat midway through the second, Anthony Davis decided to do Anthony Davis things and blew the game back open to finish out the second quarter. 

3. The Pelicans returned Jrue Holiday and Omer Asik to their lineup on Tuesday night, which gave them more depth to play with in this game. Asik played in just his second game of the season, while Holiday was back in the lineup after sitting out the second leg of a back-to-back on Saturday. 

4. Rick Carlisle has preached about first-quarter success being a key for this team. Unfortunately for Dallas, they were dominated in the first quarter, losing it 29-22.

5. Dwight Powell really got off to a slow start on Tuesday night, getting into foul trouble early and struggling to find his footing. The Mavs really thrive off of Powell’s energy, so when he’s struggling, the Mavs tend to struggle as well. If the basketball gods had told me before the season that Powell would be a big key to the Mavs success, I probably would have laughed … and I wouldn’t have been alone. 

6. Powell brings the kind of energy to this team that players like DeJuan Blair and B-Wright have brought in seasons past -- different styles, but same front-court energy --  and the Mavs missed it desperately in this game. This team was cold and flat all night against a team they dominated just three days ago. 

7. After starting 0-5, Dirk was able to find his form in the first half, and was one of the few bright spots for the Mavs. Dirk finished with 18 points in 20 minutes. 

8. Perimeter defense was a major issue on Tuesday night, as the Mavs allowed New Orleans to shoot 50 percent from the field. They could not find any semblance of defensive consistency in this one whatsoever. 

9. New Orleans outscored Dallas 23 to 9 on the fast break. Dallas wants to get out and run in transition, but the Pelicans beat them at their own game here. 

10. Anthony Davis left the game in the third quarter with a hip issue, and didn’t return to the game. Despite this major hole in the Pelicans lineup, Dallas still could not find away take advantage. 

11. The Mavs struggled from the field for the majority of this game. For a team that lives on jump shooting, the Mavs have been a very poor from the field this year. They are 25th out of 30 teams in field goal-percentage (42.2 percent), and 23rd in the league from long range (31.2 percent). It is early in the year, but the Mavs identity so far is a one of inconsistency.

                                    

12. The theme of opposing big men dominating the Mavs continued, as Ryan Anderson had his second big performance in a row against the Mavs. Anderson ended up with 25 points and 11 boards; in game where he was basically doing anything he wanted to do all night. We examine that theme -- especially as it relates to Dirk on D -- here.

13. My opinion: People who are waiting on Javale McGee to make some sort of big impact defensively for this team are probably going to be disappointed. Even if McGee helps shore up the paint in some fashion up his return, this team still really struggles to guard on the perimeter. The Mavs weren’t beat by Anthony Davis here (as good as he was in the first half before retiring at halftime due to injury); they were beat by Ryan Anderson, Ish Smith, and Eric Gordon.  

14. By the start of the fourth quarter, the Mavs had already thrown in the towel in preparation for Wednesday night’s game with Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers. It will be important for Dallas heading into tonight that they don’t let New Orleans beat them twice, so to speak. They need to throw this game in the trash and move forward with clear heads going into a very tough and emotionally-charged matchup. 

And then they need to contruct and execute a plan to survive this week's four-games-in-five-nights challenge.

15. In the end, the Mavs just couldn’t find their feet in the Smoothie King Center. Poor shooting and sloppy play early got them into a hole they just couldn’t climb out of. Desperate for a win, the Pelicans were playing with much more urgency and it showed, leading by as many as 28 points in this one. 

Stat(s) of the night: Poor Shooting. The Mavs got off to a rocky start from the field in the first half, and it was just too much to overcome. 58 points in the paint in this game heavily masked their 44 percent shooting on the night. The Mavs also finished five of 20 from long range. 

                            

“We got off to a bad start,”  Chandler Parsons said. “We were missing a lot of open looks. The whole team, we were getting good looks. We just weren’t hitting the shots. And it was affecting us on the other end.”

This game was over when... Anthony Davis made a run in the second quarter. Dallas had cut the lead down to one early in the second quarter, but Anthony Davis turned the tide, hitting a few jumpers in a row that ballooned the lead back out to double digits. He’s a special player, but he was just one of many problems for the Mavs tonight. 

Should have seen coming... Ryan Anderson. Coming off of a 21-point/nine-rebound performance on Saturday against this same Mavs team, Anderson was in good position to take advantage of the Mavs defensive weakness. On Tuesday night, he did exactly that, lighting up the Mavs for 25 points on 10-16 shooting, and pulling down 11 rebounds. 

Couldn't see coming... Wes Matthews' struggles. Coming off of his best game as a Maverick so far in this young season, Matthews looked to be finding his stride. However, exactly the opposite was true in this game, as he was scoreless in 15 minutes of game time. 

Best decision: Shutting it down early. Rick Carlisle saw the writing on the wall and decided to sit all key contributors in preparation for Wednesday nights Clippers matchup. Carlisle will want all his cards in the deck when they take on a much more athletic Clippers bunch. 

What's next?: Dallas (3-4) returns home to face DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers (5-2) at 7 p.m. from the AAC, with DeAndre making his first visit to Dallas since wimping out on the Mavs this offseason. All eyes will be on DeAndre’s Dallas visit in a game that is already receiving major national attention. You can peruse the Dallas-DeAndre history here. ... and then you can, should you choose, accept Mark Cuban's invitation to boo the "bad guys.''

"When you're mad at the bad guy, you boo,'' Cuban said in reference to tonight. "And when you're in love with the good guys, you scream and yell. I hope (Mavs fans) scream and they yell, because you can't go to work and scream and yell when you're mad. You come to games to have fun. This is not thermonuclear war. You know, this is a basketball game."


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