It’s an embarrassing time to be a fan of the Dallas Mavericks. On March 26, the team lost its fourth straight game, the second straight to the tanking Charlotte Hornets, and now sits a half game back from the 10th place Oklahoma City Thunder. OKC now has a commanding lead on that final Play-In Tournament spot out West, because they also have the tiebreaker over the Mavs. Meaning that should the Thunder beat the Portland Trailblazers Sunday, then they’ll essentially have a two game cushion above Dallas.
To add insult to injury, Dennis Smith Jr., who the Mavs drafted No. 5 overall back in 2017, just threw shade it his former team for the second time in two games.
After Charlotte’s 110-104 victory, Smith Jr. was asked if beating his former team felt sweet, not only because they traded him to the New York Knicks back in 2019, but also because of how important the game was for them due to the tight Play-In race.
“Hell yeah,” Smith Jr. said via Charlotte Sports Live’s Gabe McDonald. “I told you we came in like I (said). That’s all we pregame, put they ass in the dirt. Just straight like that. We came out and executed and we got two wins in a row.”
The 25-year-old finished Sunday’s game with 14 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds, while shooting 5-of-11 from the floor and 1-of-4 from beyond the arc.
Dennis Smith Jr. Taunts Mavs After Drilling Dagger Three
Again, the March 26 loss was Dallas’ second-straight to the Hornets, who hold the NBA’s fourth worst record. Friday’s loss was just as frustrating for the Mavericks. They allowed a whopping 69 first-half points to Charlotte and were unable to pull of a second-half comeback.
Smith Jr. had some words for them then too.
He drilled a deep 3-pointer in Dallas Friday to give his Hornets an eight-point lead with just 15 seconds to play.
He later told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon that it felt great to hit the shot against his former club.
“That felt great,” Smith Jr. said via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, “That felt great. As soon as I hit it, I looked over at the bench and said ‘hold that.’”
Kyrie Irving Goes on Frustrated Rant After Mavs Fall to Hornets
Friday’s loss was enough to get star guard Kyrie Irving to go on a bit of a rant during his postgame presser.
He told reporters that he was sick of the focus solely being on him and Luka Doncic instead of the team as a whole.
“I mean, not really. I didn’t imagine [this],” Irving said via the Fanatics View YouTube channel. “I expect to win every ball game that I play. So, that’s the attitude I go on with. But the reality is what it in. We are 3-7. But again, it’s a team basketball game. As much as people want to put it on me and Luka, it’s a team basketball game, and we talk about that in a locker room. Everyone loves to point fingers at what we’re doing, but it’s a team-aspect game. And I feel like when we focus on our team aspect, that’s when we get clear answers. But when we focus on two guys and what our numbers are and whether we can play better, it limits all the other guys and their capabilities in that locker room, and I don’t want to do that. I believe in each one of those guys. And when I was coming here, I knew that giving up Dorian Finney-Smith or giving up Spencer [Dinwiddie], that was gonna be a change to any lineup that they had going o. Different minutes. Guys get in and out of the lineup. I haven’t necessarily been as healthy as I would like to be at this point in the season. Other guys haven’t been as healthy. e and Luka as well, more importantly. But again, there’s no time for excuses. We just got to lace them up and get ready.”