On Sunday night, the Dallas Mavericks did it again, losing to another depleted team. This time, it was their opponent from just two nights ago, the Denver Nuggets. The Mavs fell 98-97 at American Airlines Center.
Dallas held a 97-93 lead with 1:27 remaining but were unable to counter Denver's makes down the stretch, as Michael Porter Jr. hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 55 seconds left.
The Mavs had several looks at taking the lead, including a 35-foot heave from Luka Doncic with three seconds remaining, but to no avail.
Doncic finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists on 7-of-16 shooting from the field.
Josh Green led the team in scoring, finishing with a career-high 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the floor and 6-of-7 from 3-point range.
Here are the three big takeaways from the Mavs disappointing loss to the Nuggets:
Josh Green: Starter?
It might be time.
Josh Green is a player, y'all. And a good one.
On Sunday, and the entire season, Green has shot the ball with such rhythm and confidence that he didn't showcase in his first two seasons with the Mavericks.
Outside of Doncic being his usual self and a quick 15-point Davis Bertans sighting, Green was the bright spot for the Mavs against the Nuggets. And honestly, outside of Doncic as a whole for the season, Green has been the most impressive Maverick.
For instance, Josh Green has been substantially better than Reggie Bullock, and Bullock's struggles to start the season have been noted.
So far through 16 games, Green is averaging just 6.7 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, but he’s shooting 63.6 percent from the floor and 53.3 percent from 3-point range while holding an astounding +80 plus/minus.
For Bullock, he's averaging 5.1 points and 3.2 rebounds on 31.1 percent from the field and just 29.3 percent from downtown, while being -18 while on the floor.
It's right there in the numbers, and the eye test.
We've seen that Jason Kidd can be stingy with making any changes to his rotation, but he did come around to swapping JaVale McGee out for Dwight Powell. So maybe Kidd will see the light once again and start Green.
Christian Wood's role
This is where you input The Office gif of John Krasinski saying "What is going on?!"
Because, that's what Christian Wood and all other observers are thinking right about now when it comes to his role with the Mavs.
Wood played a season-low 17 minutes in Sunday's loss, finishing with five points on just 2-of-3 shooting, playing just seven minutes in the second-half.
Speaking with the media after the loss, Wood voiced his confusion with his minutes, saying he has 'no clue' on what the coaching staff's plan is for him.
"I would love to play more. I’ve voiced that several times, but I just play my role," Wood said.
Now, what is that role? Because it surely isn't consistent. And with a skillset like his, the Mavericks should want to play him substantial minutes alongside Doncic, no?
Through 14 games, Wood is averaging 16.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game on 57.3 percent shooting and 43.2 percent from downtown with a +55 when on the floor.
Those stats sure sound like a guy who should get some more burn. What Kidd's reasoning is, we may never know, but Wood seems just as confused as the rest of us, and that's concerning.
Shooters can't shoot
It's rough when the supposed "shooters" on your team aren't, well, shooting the ball well.
For the Mavs, that speaks to slow starts from Dorian Finney-Smith, Reggie Bullock, and Tim Hardaway Jr., who are all struggling with their 3-point shots to start the season. So far, the trio is shooting a combined 31.4 percent from deep.
Bullock's early season struggles have been documented but we're approaching the 20-game mark and these three are continuing to have issues consistently knocking down shots.
The benefit of the doubt can be given to THJ, who is still finding his groove from missing most of last season, but it's a consistent trend that both Finney-Smith and Bullock start each season out shooting poorly from beyond the arc.
The three combined for 2-of-19 shooting on Sunday, including Hardaway Jr. going 0-of-9. Just one make from out of those 17 misses and the Mavericks escape the Nuggets.
There could be greener pastures moving forward, as Dallas is just 16 games into the season, but every game counts — every shot counts. And on a team built around Doncic and spacing, the amount of open looks that haven't been capitalized on can certainly be their kryptonite.
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