Last week's game against the Phoenix Suns marked the start of one of the easiest stretches of basketball that the lowly Dallas Mavericks have faced in quite sometime. At the very least, they hoped to be 2-1 after facing the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves, who had lost five of their last six, and were just 11-26 coming into the Monday game.
Instead, the Mavs have started this stretch 0-3, and have now fallen to 11-27 on the year after Monday night’s 101-92 loss to Minnesota.
Say what you want about the Timberwolves, but the one thing that can’t be denied is their young talent and upside. It hasn’t come together just yet, but Minny has a nice young core of players in Karl-Anthony Towns (34 points and 11 boards), Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, and Ricky Rubio (13 points and 15 assists) to build around. Not to mention other young guys like Kris Dunn, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng.
Towns, who might end up being one of the best bigs to enter the league since Tim Duncan, is an absolute monster, and the rest of those players are only going to get better. They will have some growing pains moving forward, but the future is bright for that team.
The same cannot be said for the Mavericks right now, who are on the three-game skid, and haven’t beaten a team with a record above .500 since before Christmas.
Dirk and Harrison Barnes both played their games on Monday, with Dirk racking up a season-high 26 points to go along with five rebounds, and Barnes adding his fourth game of 30 points or more this season. The pair combined to shoot 53.8 percent from the field, as well as 9-15 from beyond the arc, in what was the Dirk/HB tandem's best on-court performance as pair since Barnes arrived this summer.
That’s about where the positives stop, however, as the rest of the Mavs team combined for just 36 points. If you break that down, that’s 3.6 points per player for the other 10 guys.
That’s not good enough.
To put that into perspective, Dieng, Rubio, and Wiggins outscored the entire Mavs team (outside of Dirk and Barnes) combined.
“This is a disappointing loss,'' Dirk said. "It doesn’t really matter how many points (he and Barnes) scored. This is a tough one.''
Wes Matthews struggled mightily here, shooting just 1-7 from the floor, and scoring two points in 37 minutes of game time. Seth Curry, who has been arguably the Mavs best bench player, played 30 minutes, but took just six shots and scored eight points.
Andrew Bogut, with a trade value is seemingly decreasing with every minute that he is on the floor, had just two points and four rebounds in 18 minutes. Bogut was also forced to leave the game after straining his hamstring, and wasn’t able to return.
Hey, when it rains it pours, I guess. And as Steven Kilpatrick points our here in his "10 Mavs Trade Deadline Tips,'' the Mavs might want to hurry to get something in trade for Bogut while they still can.
It was nothing short of an embarrassing loss for the Mavs, in the sense that it was a game in which their two best players played tremendously, yet they still lost to one of the league's worst teams by nearly double-digits. It’s a loss that will perhaps jolt this front office into realizing that they need to be begin making the necessary moves to improve this teams future sooner, rather than later.
It’s something that Mark Cuban, Rick Carlisle, Donnie Nelson and maybe most of all, Dirk himself (DB.com has that angle coming soon) ... and frankly a lot of fans ... may not want to admit, but this team now sits alone at the bottom of the Western Conference, and are showing no signs of improving.
Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz are generational talents. Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut (somehow) still hold legitimate trade value in this league. It’s time to start building right now. Not "tearing down.'' It doesn't have to be "negative.'' Call it "building'' and let it feel positive.
These were probably the two worst teams in the West going into the game. Now there is one. And there is no "probably.''
As they attempt to wash the taste of the last three games out of their mouths, the Mavs have a unique road trip ahead of them on Thursday night, as they travel to Mexico City to take a 12-26 Phoenix Suns team. Yes, that Suns beat them at home in the American Airlines Center just a week ago. ... and threatens, embarrassingly, to do so again. Oh, and then on Sunday, Dallas gets a visit from the Wolves again.
"There's nothing easy about any single game for us this year,'' Carlisle said, in a massive understatement about a nightly underdog.null