Dallas Mavericks 98, Charlotte Bobcats 97: Abridged

Posted by Rob Mahoney on December 13, 2009 under Recaps | 8 Comments to Read

Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images.

Box ScorePlay-By-PlayShot ChartGameFlow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FT/FGORB%TOr
Charlotte86.0102.146.327.230.218.9
Dallas103.241.422.639.213.7

If you can’t excel with talent, triumph with effort.
-Dave Weinbaum

Those of you conscious of the outside world may have noticed that, with a few exceptions, I don’t post game recaps on the weekends. That’s (kind of) about to change. I’ll now be posting an easily digestible recap in bullet-form, which serves two purposes: it provides more game-related content for contests that matter, and allows you and me both to get some Mavs in and get on with our weekend. Let’s go to work.

  • Mark Cuban couldn’t have picked a more perfect game for “Seats for Soldiers” night. It’s probably the greatest of the Maverick traditions, and there really couldn’t be a worthier cause.
  • Tonight, Dirk was Dirk when it counted. His 14 of 34 shooting is actually better than it seemed, as most of those 20 misses came off of very make-able shots. Some by Dirk’s standards (fading jumpers, but with ample space), and others by anyone’s (layups, wide open shots). But regardless of all the shots to draw rim, Dirk looked untouchable in the clutch.
  • The Mavs looked like a team that needs the scoring of Josh Howard. Having the last laugh doesn’t equate to offensive proficiency, and with the Mavs completely unable to convert in the second half, Josh’s shot creation would have been an incredible boost.
  • Dirk’s big shots will get all the highlight love, but Erick Dampier and Shawn Marion are the true unsung heroes. Not only were they everywhere on defense, but Marion and Damp chipped in seven offensive rebound each. When the Mavs are shooting 39.8% from the field (and 41.4% eFG), that means everything. Combined, Damp and Marion totaled 29 points (12 of 17 from the field), 33 rebounds, three steals, five blocks, and just three turnovers. Yowza.
  • J.J. Barea showed his full range. For a quarter, he was brilliant; all of his passes were finding their targets and each of his attempts was finding the net. But once he started blowing possessions (a certain non-shot at the end of the second quarter comes to mind) and botching his defensive duties on the pick-and-roll, he becomes an instant liability. See, here’s the thing: Dirk, JET, Kidd, Josh, Damp, and Marion can all afford to make mistakes. They just bring so much to the team in other respects, and J.J.’s contributions are of the less essential variety. I can understand both sides of the Beaubois-Barea argument, J.J.’s lows are much more emphatic than his highs, but he still chipped in 10 points (4-9 FG, including two 3s) and five assists to just two turnovers. For now, the Mavs will just have to accept both sides of Barea’s spectrum.
  • There are few offensive possessions I hate more than those that end with a Drew Gooden jumpshot.
  • Basketball games can always be boiled down to details, and two stick out. First, Larry Brown’s decision not to call timeout on the final possession of regulation. Dirk had just hit the game-tying bucket, and rather than take a minute to regroup one of the league’s most ineffective offenses. Instead, Gerald Wallace, who otherwise had played a spectacular game, ended up wasting away the closing moments of the fourth quarter. Anyone think LB might want that possession back? And second, Tyson Chandler made the regrettable decision to foul Jason Terry on an inbounds play in overtime. It put JET on the line for a freebie in a game decided by one point, and while it was hardly the only possession that could have decided the final result, it’s easy to point the finger at a play like that.
  • Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton were terrific. Not only in slashing to the basket, which you’d expect, but in the mid and long range game as well. And that’s not even mentioning their work on the defensive end, which was top-notch.
  • Even though the offense wasn’t very good, the Mavs’ ball movement was sublime. The ball was getting into the right hands, but just couldn’t find its way through the basket.
  • Another fine showing from the Mavs’ zone defense. I can’t even begin to understand what that means considering just how bad the Bobcats’ offense can be on its own, but it seemed to slow down Stephen Jackson (28 points on 25 shots) enough to make a difference. Rick Carlisle threw a handful of defensive looks at Jax, and though Jason Kidd played some superb man defense late in the game, the zone look was plenty effective.
  • Take a look at the minutes column for the Mavs, and tell me Rick Carlisle doesn’t find comfort in his starters. Kidd, Dampier, Nowitzki, and Marion all logged 40+ minutes, while Drew Gooden, Tim Thomas, and Quinton Ross played a combined 27 minutes.
  • Marc Stein: “Most devastated locker room I’ve seen this season: Charlotte. Bobs crushed by this 98-97 OT loss in Dallas. G-Wallace and Jack especially”
  • Victor

    Didn’t you once say that the Bobcats were your 2nd favorite team?

    I love Gerald Wallace. I love everything about that guy. Even his insistence on taking threes when he can only barely make them when he’s totally still and open. That guy’s put so much (concussions, broken ribs, collapsed lungs) into a mediocre team, without a hint of complaint, for what seems like a decade. And he gets no respect for it. He doesn’t even get that much respect for his defensive contributions. I think he’s like 458th in the voting for Eastern Conference forwards for the All-Star Game.

    Most tragic figure currently playing in NBA.

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

      @Victor: I did, and they are. It’s been a trying season so far for the ‘Cats, but I was vocal in my support of the Jackson trade at the time and it’s paying off in a big way. Think of how many times Jackson bailed out Charlotte’s offense in last night’s game alone. It just pains me to think that had MJ and co. not traded away Emeka Okafor for Tyson Chandler, this could be a legit playoff team with the addition of Jackson. Instead, they’ll be in limbo for most of the season. A damn shame.

      I love Gerald Wallace, and this season he’s playing some inspired ball. His efficiency isn’t quite up to par (higher turnover rate and lower EFG and TS% than usual), but 12.2 rebounds a game from a small forward? Are you kidding me?

      @Brendan: I’ll still never understand why Dirk isn’t considered one of the best finishers in the league. It has to be the stigma that comes with the Mavs’ playoff shortcomings, but hell, look at Dirk’s numbers even in the Miami or GS series. Even when he doesn’t perform, he performs.

      But in terms of raw clutchness this season, he deserves top honors. Even implying that Durant or LeBron getting the look over Dirk is a joke. I’ll accept Kobe, given his history, but he’s not as efficient in the clutch as Dirk. And I’ll accept Melo, who is a fourth quarter freak of nature. Steve Nash, Chris Paul, Brandon Roy…there are others in that conversation. But if I had one shot, Dirk is among the best options. Not only is he one of the best shooters in the league, but there is literally zero chance of a block. Just ask Boris Diaw or Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

  • Brendan K.

    It’s basically a cliche to point out by now, but who would you rather have taking the last shot of the game other than Dirk? Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t this his 3rd or 4th game-winner in the final possession?

    Popular sentiment might dictate Kobe (sure) or LeBron (ehhh) or even an up and comer like Durant (not yet, dude), but by the numbers at this point in this season and his career overall, I think it’s Dirk.

    Or did his Finals performance erase all credible claim to “clutch-ness” until he wins a title?

  • Brendan K.

    BTW, I meant 3rd or 4th this season, obviously.

  • Cynthia

    It’s really nice that Dirk is FINALLY getting his due (always of course from sites such as this one) but from the media at large. Nice and about damn time also. Dirk (yet again) was phenomenal last night. Damp and Marion were beasts on D, on the boards and on offense. And personally I don’t see the game being won without the absolutely oustanding defense of J-Kidd on Jackson. After scoring the last 11 pts of the 3rd qtr and the first 3 of the 4th, Kidd (sometimes with a little help, but mostly alone) SHUT DOWN Jacko Wacko. He NEVER scored again. It’s not pretty and it’s not fun sometimes shooting 39% for the game, but if you put the emphasis on D you CAN win games even shooting a % that low. Of course, it helps to have the UberMan on your team also! Great win by the MAVS!

  • Victor

    I think the lower true shooting percentages/EFG comes from earlier in the season when he had to shoulder the Bobcats offensive woes. And he’s not, obviously, someone you want as your first option on your team. I also think it has a lot to do with not having Okafor around. Jackson’s coming has helped him, but he’s still turning the ball over. I think that’s more of a team woe though.
    I, like you, loved the Jackson trade and hated the Okafor/Chandler one. That one, at this stage, just seems terrible for everyone right now.

    It looks like they still have a chance for a 7th/8th seed. Especially if Diaw manages to get used to Captain Jack’s presence. I have this weird feeling that Diaw will just end up getting ostracized and traded away though. Even if Charlotte is saying they still love him and blah blah blah. He’s had only one good game since the Jackson trade, and that was solely because he got hot from behind the arc. Which is more of an anomaly than a “good game” for him. I wanna see some 15-7-7 games! Gackdanggit.

  • ed

    haha this picture says kidds ass in the top right corner….which makes it an even more amazing picture

  • Kirk Henderson

    Glad to see someone address how horrid Barea is at times. To me, his scoring punch is not worth his defensive liability in a game that tight; I mean he just killed us after the first quarter.