The Dallas Mavericks visit the Milwaukee Bucks
Bounce back. Response. Answer. Whatever you’d like to call it, the Mavs need to show something real and tangible tonight. The blown game against the Celtics was disappointing, implosion against the Rockets was embarassing, and last night’s disaster was inexcusable. Jason Terry is missing some games, but that doesn’t give anyone the excuse to go out there and lay an egg.
The wins against Orlando and Portland were meaningful, but their significance are completely eclipsed by the number of disappointing losses the Mavs have endured in the month of February. The team’s win percentage on the season is .589. They’ve won 6 out of their 10 games so far this month and yet they’re taking alternating steps forward and backwards, ignoring the opportunity to gain ground in favor of jogging in place. It’s good exercise I hear, but it’s not going to get you anywhere.
What really sickens me is how the Mavs have wasted golden opportunities via the exploits of the back end of the rotation. Antoine Wright has found new life with consistent minutes, attacking the basket and defending well. J.J. Barea sometimes seems like the only active player for games at a time. Brandon Bass is money on his short-to-midrange jumper, and his rebounding on both ends is commendable. James Singleton has been a monster. When you take all that they’ve done in Terry’s absence, this team should be better. They really should. If production is a factor of talent as well as the give and take of touches and minutes, Terry’s injury and the bench’s success have provided plenty of give. The team as a whole just has yet to take advantage, and that burden goes top down from Carlisle, to Dirk, to Kidd, and to Howard.
The Mavs need a win tonight, if for no other reason than to prove they still can. It’s a strange thing to say for a team on a .600 month, but winning in the Maverick way and winning in a legitimate, contending way haven’t exactly been similar lately. Beating the Bucks doesn’t hold any inherent glory, but for a team still striving to create some sense of cohesion going forward, games like these are ever-important. The clock is ticking, Mavs.