“We know how bad we feel. We know they feel the same way.”
Ed. note: For those of you who are new ’round these parts, here’s how this dance goes: every “weekday” (meaning Sunday-Thursday) game gets the full recap treatment, while “weekend” (you guessed it, Friday-Saturday) games are broken down in easily digestible bullet form.
- This won’t be the worst loss of the season, but it’s still a pretty bad one. Losing to Memphis is one thing; the Grizz are a pretty decent team, even if the Mavs are a better one. Losing to them without Zach Randolph is another; Zeebo is an integral part of Memphis’ attack, and a primary source of both scoring and rebounding. Losing to them without Randolph on a blown box-out and two subsequent horrible inbound attempts…well, that’ll put a damper on your weekend.
- Though the Mavs managed to lose this one in spectacular fashion via Tyson Chandler’s lack of a box-out/foul and Jason Kidd’s back-to-back poor inbound passes, their second half defense wasn’t victory-worthy. The effort on the defensive glass was poor all night (a fact exploited by Gasol, who had six offensive rebounds including a game-clinching one) but Dallas’ perimeter defense was consistently weak as well. Chandler and Brendan Haywood did a good job of contesting attempts around the rim when in position, but they weren’t always in a place to challenge shots. Part of that is a flaw in the Mavs’ scheme and execution, but the blame lies more with Kidd, Jason Terry, and Caron Butler than with the Maverick bigs.
- Turnovers were a problem. The Mavs lost the turnover battle on a per-possession and by raw total, with Kidd (five giveaways) as the primary culprit. That said, the Mavs as a whole made an inspired team effort to turn the ball over as frequently as possible, with Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler, Shawn Marion, Brendan Haywood, and J.J. Barea all chipping in two turnovers of their own. A 19.8 turnover rate isn’t awful in the grand scheme of things, but for a team that relies so heavily on their ball protection? It’s fairly damaging.
- Jason Kidd isn’t shy about being a three-point shooter. He’s ready to fire while spotting-up, in a high screen-and-roll, off the dribble, off the catch, etc. He took seven three-point attempts last night, and while that’s not necessarily too many considering Kidd’s sterling shooting percentage from distance and his lack of other scoring, it’s a notable difference from Kidd’s mentality this season. He seems ready to contribute more in terms of scoring this season, and while that isn’t paying dividends just yet, it could pay off down the line.
- Dominique Jones again got some early burn, making his first appearance late in the first quarter. Jones only had one point (off of a split trip to the line), but he grabbed a pair of assists by setting up Kidd for a spot-up three and Marion for a runner on the baseline. If it’s not abundantly clear by now, I’m a fan of Jones’ instincts. He isn’t forcing things even though his opportunities have been limited, and that discretion is invaluable for a rookie looking to earn playing time under Rick Carlisle.
- Dallas again started the game hot, only to surrender that lead later in the first quarter. Honestly, I think the angle concerned with how the Mavs start games is a bit overplayed. One team usually starts out looking better than the other. The previously struggling team eventually makes a run. Both teams exchange runs throughout. One team wins. It’s cool when Dallas runs out to a 16-0 lead as they did in their season opener against Charlotte, but ultimately, that run is no more influential than the subsequent runs at other points in time throughout the game.
- Caron Butler isn’t a very good finisher around the rim. He had a nice and-one layup in this one, but also a blown attempt at the rim or two. Butler’s shooting percentage at the basket last season was a bit low, and I hoped it was attributable to being in a bit of a funk. That may not be so.
- Jason Terry’s defense has been hit and miss, but he’s doing a good job of looking for his teammates, particularly when Kidd is on the bench. It’s nice to have two creators out there when Barea is running the point, and passing has long been one of Terry’s more underrated additions to Mavs teams in recent years. He’s primarily a scorer. That doesn’t make him only a scorer.
- Fouling is Tyson Chandler’s religion.
- Nowitzki was, again, pretty phenomenal. He finished with 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting along with seven boards. Beautiful, beautiful efficiency. Also: the man still loves his that trailing three on the break.
- The opener against the Bobcats was brilliant, but it’s clear that the Mavericks are far from a finished product. These games happen. They bring up a few questions, but shouldn’t necessarily shake your confidence in how good of a team the Mavs can be. They’re not there now and they may never be, but Dallas has the potential to be a pretty solid squad.