Dallas Mavericks 95, Detroit Pistons 90

Posted by Rob Mahoney on November 16, 2009 under Recaps | 11 Comments to Read

Photo by AP.

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“How beautiful is youth! How bright it gleams with its illusions, aspirations, dreams! Book of Beginnings, Story without End, Each maid a heroine, and each man a friend!”
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Winning isn’t always pretty, but in games like the Mavs’ win over the Pistons, you can always appreciate the little things. The offense was decent rather than miserable. Ben Gordon (5 points, 1-16 FG) was locked in a steel cage and thrown into the ocean. Rodrigue Beaubois made it perfectly clear that he has no intention of staying buried on the bench. Those are the things a fan can take solace in, even if the Mavs let a mediocre Pistons team hang in this game for far too long.

Rodney Stuckey (28 points, 12-20 FG) and Will Bynum (27 points, 11-16 FG) proved yet again that this team has trouble containing quick, penetrating guard play. A late shift to the zone seemed to slow down Bynum, but don’t let that fool you into thinking the Mavs put up a solid defensive front. Jason Kidd, in particular, looked a step or two slow in trying to curtail Stuckey. It would have been nice to see a second half response like we did against Aaron Brooks and the Houston Rockets, but the Mavs more or less retained the same defensive strategies in trying to defend Bynum and Stuckey. But whether it was by design (Dirk mentioned post-game that the primary defensive objective was to take Ben Gordon out of the game) or not, Stuckey and Bynum were getting what they wanted when they wanted it.

But the Mavs’ own quick guard had a field day in half-court sets and the transition game alike. Rodrigue Beaubois had a perfect night from the field (14 points, 6-6 FG, 2-2 3FG, 4 assists, ZERO turnovers) and continues to impress with his decision-making abilities. After watching the summer league games, I was expecting Beaubois to be a bit out of control, try to do to much, and be his own worst enemy until he got his sea legs. Well, those sea legs must have been shipped overnight before the season began, because even Rodrigue’s lesser games are graced by a savvy that goes far beyond his years and professional experience. He’s not forcing things, he makes smart passes with a purpose, and he isn’t afraid of anything. Despite the fact that Beaubois has logged only 57 minutes thus far, it’s hard to be anything less than thrilled with his performance. We knew that he would eventually be a contributor, but Rodrigue appears more NBA-ready than anyone predicted.

And it’s a good thing he is. Beaubois’ excellence, combined with solid nights from Drew Gooden (11 points, 11 rebounds, one block) and Shawn Marion (11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, two steals, and a block), helped the Mavs to survive more poor shooting from Dirk Nowitzki (25 points, 11-27 FG, 6 rebounds, 5 assists) and Jason Terry (9 points, 1-7 FG, 6-8 FT, three steals). Dirk and JET still managed to contribute to the game throughout, and they took over in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Between them, Nowitzki and Terry scored 14 out of the Mavs’ final 16 points by hitting big jumpers, getting to the free throw line, and benefiting from some smooth ball movement.

Closing thoughts:

  • Erick Dampier missed the game due to illness, and was rushed to the hospital. It’s unknown exactly what Damp’s symptoms were.
  • Kris Humphries deserves mention for providing good minutes in the middle. You don’t want the ball going to Hump with the shot clock winding down, but you have to appreciate his hustle. Kris finished with just 5 points, 2 rebounds, and two blocks, but he played well.
  • The Mavs may have caught a big break when Rodney Stuckey came up limping in the fourth quarter. He had been tearing it up all game long, and the Pistons could have used him late in the fourth with the game still in the balance.
  • Weird night for +/- : all the Mavs’ starters were positive, but the reserves were negative. All the Pistons’ starters were negative, but the reserves were positive.

GOLD STAR OF THE NIGHT: The Gold Star of the Night goes to, for the first time in his career, Rodrigue Beaubois. “Roddy” energizes the offense when he’s on the floor, and his ability to create with the ball in his hands and also thrive off the ball (three cheers for point-guard-to-point-guard alley oops!) should make Mavs fans salivate. Beaubois is the silver lining to Josh Howard’s injury, and he’s making a very compelling case for playing time after Josh’s return.

  • Kevin

    Hard to get excited about this one other than the game for Roddy, hopefully he can get good enough (mainly defensively) for us to start him at point with Kidd at the 2 because honestly the gouging from guards is getting embarrassing. Is it possible to be a real contender with the defense of Kidd and Terry? I like both players but together it gives us such a glaring weakness on defense that it seems hard to overcome. Hopefully all is well for Mr. Dampier.

  • dgatorr

    yes, i agree, the new kid on the Mavs block has shown much electricity and hustle to a worn down elder statesman team. dont get me wrong, older has its pluses in knowledge and experience, but some good youthful fire has its game changing electricity to it also ! i would like to see Barea, Roddy, Humpreys, singleton or ross, and Gooden, as an off the bench/speed change, 2nd team sometime……..

  • http://vittoriodezen.wordpress.com Vic De Zen

    Beaubois DEFINITELY needs more minutes. He’s fantastic. Watching him and Bynum in the same game = awesome.

  • Chaz

    I wouldn’t call the Pistons mediocre. They’re probably in the same tier as New Orleans. Mavs could have lost it, but they came up when they needed to and a few guys got some important burn seeing as the squad’s playing again tonight. Winning yesterday was needed, but tonight might be the big challenge to keep the team focused, energized and not thinking about SA on Wed.

  • william head

    @ rob
    “roddy appears more nba ready than anyone predicted.”

    with all due respect, roddy is performing in the exact role i predicted over a month ago on this site: early minutes spark plug who gives way to vets late in games (you told me to get ready for disappointment, presumably bc quinton ross’ +/- was clouding yr vision.) admittedly, the jho injury is the catalyst for opportunity, but the response from roddy does not surprise me in the least.

    the line about alley-oops to point guards- that was mine, written 3 weeks ago during pre-season in this comments section, where you again advised me to taper expectations…

    not trying to be a jerk, just saying.

    lest you think this was luck, i should remind you that a week ago i wrote that the lakers looked distracted and out of sync, and lo, this week they drop 2 in a row.

    last note: brandon jacob’s early success should counter any arguments about euro-league vs. college. playing 1 or 2 yrs against 19 yr olds in a pampered environment or playing in a foreign country against grown freaking men including other american professionals- as a basketball prep course for the nba, anyone who thinks the former is superior to the latter is drinking dick vitale’s kool-aid.

    • http://www.thetwomangame.com Rob Mahoney

      @william: Cool. But like you said, this doesn’t happen without Howard’s injury. Plus, Ross would be filling in at the 2 if not for the unexpected offensive woes, and nothing Beaubois showed in summer league/preseason indicated he was ready to perform at this level.

      I’ve never doubted Beaubois’ ability to be a terrific pro, but it’s essentially taken a perfect storm to get him into the lineup. I’m very impressed, but that doesn’t mean that the circumstances weren’t different a few weeks ago.

  • william head

    roddy was one of the stars of summer league, consistently mentioned in the same sentence with other top pick pgs. he averaged something like 16 pts a game and had phenomenal shooting nights from both the paint and long range, consistently showing an ability to use quickness to break his man down, then athleticism to finish around the rim.

    saying that you didn’t realistically see where the burn would come from in the rotation is solid and fair.
    but saying that roddy didn’t previously display the talent to merit some playing time (regardless of the jho injury) is exactly what i’ve been debating with you for over a month now.

    • http://www.thetwomangame.com Rob Mahoney

      @william: What we saw in summer league were flashes of excellence from Beaubois, but he didn’t show anything resembling NBA consistency. He was great on some nights and unremarkable in others. I’m not saying that I wasn’t excited or impressed from what I saw in summer league, but a few dominant games in Vegas doesn’t usually correlate to NBA success (just ask Marco Belinelli. Or for more recent examples, as Cartier Martin, Quincy Douby, or Othyus Jeffers).

      Beaubois is showing a completely different style of play than he has previously, and that’s why I’m surprised. The talent has always been there and the potential has always been there, but expecting it to come together this quickly (and in the particular way that it has)…well, to me, that’s expecting a bit much from a rookie that hedged on his successes this summer by over-dribbling and moving the ball without purpose.

  • Cynthia

    Roddy Buckets is absolutely awesome. And he makes the game look so easy. He’s making great decisions with the ball, gets to the rim with ease and is a really good defender. I know he’s just a rookie and will make mistakes, but he’s a MUCH BETTER defender than either Jet or JJ. I was thrilled tonight in the Milwaukee game that Carlisle was confident enough in Beaubois ability to defend Jennings that HE was the one who played in OT. I love JJ and I think he’s underrated, but he he was not doing a great job guarding Jennings. Carlisle recognized that and made the adjustment. I see nothing but great things for Roddy Buckets. Man is it ever going to be fun watching this kid develop!
    GO MAVS!

  • william head

    yeah rob,
    i feel you. but in summer league yr also playing with other summer league players, so to penalize a guy for over dribbling or moving the ball aimlessly is as dependent on surrounding players, especially compared to the prospect of playing with Kidd and Dirk and other players, which is exactly my point. A rookie on a veteran team can learn more on the court than running a d-league team, and given barea as the alternative, my argument was that it should be beaubois’ job to lose. so far he is proving up to the task.

  • Kirk Henderson

    Exit Question – why are you/we pining for Howard? The last time I enjoyed Howard was the 2006 finals run… then he learned that interesting statistic that the Mavs almost always won when he scored 20 points and became the most annoying player on the Mavericks roster.

    Here’s what I’ve learned and what J-Ho needs to learn after the first 12 games: the Mavericks do not need him to win. Do we need him to get the finals? Probably, but to be honest I’m tired of watching him shoot terrible 15 foot jumpers he makes less than 40% of the time. I’m tired of him thinking he is above the dirty work (which is what made him so endearing as a younger player).

    After he gets healthy, I hope he comes back ready to help the Mavs and not go for his own stats. If I have to see one more elbow jumper brick from Howard on a fast break I may throw my TV out the window.