Photo from NBAE/Getty Images/Glenn James.
“True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.”
To be honest, I’ve been really reluctant to do this recap. Or any recap for this team, really. Every win is “hopefully something to build on” and a “statement game,” and every loss is a “wake-up call.” How long until this team starts to form a cohesive on-court identity and actually plays with some consistency, one way or another?
I did find relief in at least one way, though: the Mavs can make open shots. That’s better than what they’ve been doing lately. Josh Howard in particular was absolutely stroking it, and that’s a sight for sore eyes. That 12-footer on the baseline is going to be there for Josh, whether he has to spot-up or create. Another weapon for the arsenal, supposing it’s not just a product of a Warriors complex.
Erick Dampier and Brandon Bass absolutely revolutionized the game. They were hitting the boards with reckless abandon, throwing down dunks, and getting up and down the floor. I don’t want to rip into Avery anymore than I already have (or more than Jason Kidd already did), but it really is amazing what happens when you stop looking at your mismatches as liabilities and start focusing on how to actualize them as mismatches in your favor. Erick Dampier isn’t just a 6’11” stiff who can’t chase perimeter players, and Brandon Bass isn’t just a giant chunk of pure muscle and adrenaline hurling himself up in the air for blocked shots, but remaining a step slow on the wing. Both of these guys are able to win you games with their work on the offensive glass and on the pick and roll. They’ll tap the ball out, they’ll throw it down, and they’ll get to the foul line. Great work by both, and good call by Carlisle for letting them do their thang.
Dirk also deserves some credit for his work on the low block. If you heard that Dirk was heading down low to punish the Dubs, and looked at the box score, you’d probably think his efforts were a complete failure. But in reality, it was Dirk pushing the issue with an errant jumpshot that forced him to go 8-20 from the field, not his work with his back to the basket. He passed well when he was doubled, didn’t turn the ball over, and took it right to the basket when he had position. I’m loving it.
So let’s take from this win what we can: the Mavs beat up on a bad team on both ends of the court, but they executed well. That doesn’t deserve any awards, but it’s something.
The Gold Star of the Night goes to none other than Sir Brandon of Bassington, particularly for his pivotal role in a prolonged second quarter Mavs’ run in which he went 3-3 from the field, 4-4 from the line, and had an absolutely monstous block on Corey Maggette. I almost feel bad for Corey, who was blocked three times: once he was completely rejected by Bass, another time he was destroyed by Jason Kidd, of all people, and for his third “block against,” Bass met him in the air, and ripped the ball out of his hands before losing it out of bounds. Mavs fans expect great things from Brandon Bass, and perhaps we expect a bit much from him at 23. He’s not without his flaws, but nights like this one make them easy to overlook, or in the least, tolerate.