It’s here! That first NBA game of the season that’s must-see TV because of off-the-court drama. That’s right, with Matt Barnes and Derek Fisher’s first face-to-face not scheduled until the New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies get together in mid-January, DeAndre Jordan’s returning to Dallas for the first time since renege/emoji/hostage-gate, taking on the Mavericks who he spurned in free agency just months ago.
I’m not going to get into the details of why Jordan is no longer welcome in Dallas, we did that earlier, but this is a game Mark Cuban and his team have had circled on the calendar since July.
I’m keeping a running journal of how Jordan handles the biggest regular-season game of his career:
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 11, 2015
For the record, Jordan’s career stat line against Dallas: 9.8 points , 10.2 rebounds, 1.5 blocks.
Let’s see how the fans at American Airlines Center reacted to Jordan during pregame introductions:
— Mavs Moneyball (@mavsmoneyball) November 12, 2015
8:12 Jordan wins the jumpball! The fans aren’t exactly going nuts booing!…What?
Alright Jordan catches the ball at the top of the key, booed heavily, there it is.
Dirk Nowitzki makes the game’s first shot, a three. Dallas is gonna win by 100 points tonight.
8:13 Less than a minute into the game I can’t believe the crowd isn’t screaming and throwing stuff. Maybe they’re just saving it for Jordan free throws.
8:17 Jordan takes first shot at the 10:00 mark, a miss. Wes Mathews gets and-1 on Lance Stephenson on the other end; crowd just won the NBA Finals (not really, they’re still not totally into the game).
New York basketball fans collectively shake their head at Ray Felton and Deron Williams being a starting backcourt in the NBA in 2015.
8:18 Jordan catches an alley-oop in transition for his first score at 8:40 mark, and the crowd isn’t too pleased:
8:20 Yikes, Jordan with a bad miss three feet from the basket. He’s definitely feeling some nerves. Both of his actual shot attempts were way off, and he jumped to the ceiling to catch that oop:
DeAndre Jordan, not a great post player.
— Today's Fastbreak (@TodaysFastbreak) November 12, 2015
The Mavs game is in someone’s head, whether it’s DJ or someone else calling for DJ postups. He hasn’t posted this much this year yet.
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) November 12, 2015
Coming out of the first commercial, J.A. Adande says Mark Cuban showed reporters the texts Jordan sent him during the offseason…he doesn’t seem scorned at all:
Mark Cuban on DeAndre Jordan: "Maybe someday, somebody will introduce me to that guy. I don't know his name. You can tell him I said that."
— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) November 12, 2015
Mark Cuban on whether he'll release DJ's texts: "If I ever have a reason to, I will."
— Melissa Rohlin (@melissarohlin) November 12, 2015
See, no scorn.
8:24 Jeff Van Gundy with the realness, calling out Mavericks fans saying they’ll boo Jordan tonight and cheer for Greg Hardy on Sunday. All of the 100 and flame emojis.
8:25 Speaking of football, Jordan throws an 80-foot outlet pass to a heavily covered Blake Griffin, intercepted.
8:28 Hack a Dwi..DeAndre, 4:38 to go in the first quarter, this could be a painfully long game.
Jordan predictably misses his first free throw attempt of the evening, but this crowd should be way louder.
One-for-two, deep breathe D.
DAJ to bench at 4:08. Finishes first quarter with three points, four rebounds, 1-2 from the line, plus/minus of +1.
8:44 Second quarter opens with Doc interview. Says he didn’t take DAJ out when Dallas started to send him to the FT line because he’s poor from the line, but because he was tired. Right, tired.
8:47 Jordan gets up to check back in, not really getting heckled as he sits at the scorer’s table for what feels like eternity.
8:48 Jordan checks in with 9:25 to go in the second quarter. He’s booed, but doesn’t feel like a standing boo-vation.
8:49 Jordan just brought the ball up, I dont think the crowd noticed until he passed half court. Turns the ball over same possession, they noticed that.
8:53 I can’t believe we haven’t seen more Cuban through the first 15 or so minutes of the game. Not complaining, just feel like he dominates the screen when they’re on ESPN.
8:55 Jordan huge block, maybe goaltend.
Deadball, Jordan walks back to the bench looking back at the crowd. Crowd has seemed relatively quiet for the night, but it’s not beyond reason to think someone courtside said something.
9:00 Van Gundy: this storyline’s starting to bore me (4:45 in the second).
9:01 Zaza Pachulia steals a rebound from Jordan and dives out of bounds to save it to a teammate. Everything is validated, we can all go home.
9:07 Jordan with another poster alley-oop. Two field goals, both oops:
9:08 Jordan assist off his foot! Give it to him official scorer! (they won’t – it doesn’t appear they did)
9:14 From the bench, Jordan celebrates Jamal Crawford three to end the second quarter in a big way. Goes into the half with five points, eight boards and a block, still 1-2 from the free throw line.
9:15 Relatively boring game, was hoping it would be a playoff atmosphere.
9:32 Mike Breen said before the game Jordan came out and signed a bunch of autographs and noone booed him or said anything terrible. Boooooo!!!!
Fans not back in their seats to start off the second half, I apologize for making this post about American Airlines Center, they’re a huge part of the story though! If they don’t hate Jordan, who will?
9:35 Jordan picks up third foul with just a bit over 10:30 to go in the third quarter, uh-oh!
9:48 Griffin goes to the hole hard, gets whacked but no foul. Jordan on the offensive rebound and the and-1 with 4:46 to go in the third. He misses the free throw badly…Blake gets T’d up, taking the heat, who’s DeAndre Jordan? Everyone hates Blake!
9:50 Jordan to the bench with about 4:35 to go in the third.
Mavs up six going into the fourth quarter. I hate to say it but Hack-a-DeAndre could totally be a factor tonight.
10:21 Jordan finally brought back into the game with 6:25 to go, game tied at 95. Yes, he’s booed.
10:22 A minute later, Hack-a-DeAndre, on their foul to give.
Jordan tells Coach Doc Rivers not to take him out of the game. Seconds later ball is inbounded to Jordan who knows he’s going to get fouled so he tries to hoist up a three. Shot attempt not permitted by the refs…probably saved DeAndre a couple of misses…
…Jordan misses the first…
“DeAndre your word is as bad as your free throw shooting” sign spotted in between free throws.
…Jordan misses the second.
10:25 Hack-A-DeAndre on back-to-back possessions.
Jordan misses the first…
Van Gundy makes joke about this being exciting.
Makes the second.
10:26: Huge three from Wes Matthews to tie the game with 4:45 to go. 25 points on the night for Dallas’ real prize of free agency.
10:27 And another Hack-A-DeAndre.
Makes the first, second one rims out, darn.
10:28 Man, Doc gives in, can’t watch the free throw marathon anymore and subs in Paul Pierce for Jordan with 4:11 to go in the game. Wonder if he’s done for the night. 101-101 when he comes out.
10:32 Game tied at 106, Mavs get two offensive rebounds and a loose-ball foul with 2:07 to go in the game, this is what happens when you take a top five rebounder out of the game in crunch time.
10:36 Jordan heads to the scorer’s table, gets into the game with 1:23 to go, down 110-106 with Chris Paul going to the free throw line.
Next possession Nowitzki banks in a huge three to give Mavs a 113-108 lead with 1:05 to go, Nowitzki has 31 on the night.
10:43 Jordan back to the bench with Clippers down seven and 35 seconds to go.
10:45 Chandler Parsons on the bench dressed like Jack Nicholson’s Joker, yelling “they’re giving up” with the Mavs at the free throw line up eight…he was probably more heartbroken about Jordan backing out than anyone. In fact, this postgame gem confirmed that assessment:
Chandler Parsons, asked if DeAndre drama is done: "He's not a priority to us, and by the looks of their team he's not to them either."
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) November 12, 2015
Graphic comes up that Nowitzki and Matthews combined to go 20-27 from the field for 56 points…prett-ay, prett-ay good:
Dirk Nowitzki. 37 years old. 11/14 for 31 points. 11 boards. pic.twitter.com/69TpbrfWrB
— Today's Fastbreak (@TodaysFastbreak) November 12, 2015
10:47 Mavs end game on a 14-2 run and win 118-108. Jordan finishes with nine points and 11 rebounds, going 3-9 from the free throw line (2-6 in the fourth), with a plus/minus of -23…ouch.
If there was ever an ethical Ball Don’t Lie, I suppose it was tonight. More than anything, this very much appeared to be another game on a Wednesday night, as there wasn’t much intensity displayed by either team, specifically not the Clippers. The Mavs’ social media person brought the fire, though:
Hey @LAClippers! Good game! Have a safe trip home! ✈️🚀🚗🚲⛵️🚤🍌
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) November 12, 2015