The Difference is a new feature here at The Two Man Game, in which I’ll provide a bit of instant analysis on games shortly after they occur rather than the following morning. The longer, more detailed recaps will be up as soon as they’re available, but consider these morsels your post-game snack to hold you over until then.
For this feature, I’ll offer one bullet point for each point in the margin of victory. That makes this first installment fairly simple, but fun will be had when the blowouts come. Let’s not have another 50-point win though, eh?
- Reasons why the Mavericks lost their fourth game of the season: Taj Gibson (17 points, 7-12 FG, 18 rebounds), offensive rebounding (Chicago had a monstrous 44.4 offensive rebounding rate), lack of offensive balance (Dirk Nowitzki had half of the Mavs’ field goals), and divine intervention. I don’t know how else to explain the consistently bizarre occurrences that came during the dwindling seconds of seemingly every shot clock. The Bulls worked hard enough to win, but they had some help.
- Dirk Nowitzki (36 points, eight rebounds, three assists) made more three-pointers in this game than he had all season. Nowitzki shot 3-of-5 from deep in this game, but was just 2-of-11 on the year otherwise.
- Tyson Chandler (eight points, 10 rebounds, three blocks) did his job. He’ll never be a consistent scorer for this team, but he may be the Mavs’ second best player regardless. Jason Kidd has had some terrific games this season and Jason Terry’s shooting has largely been fantastic, but Chandler is the only other non-Dirk Mav with consistently stellar performance.
- Derrick Rose (22 points, six assists, four rebounds, four turnovers) didn’t finish with all that many assists, but the nature of his offense was fundamentally different than it was against the Spurs on Wednesday. Rose was far more patient, and though his teammates still have trouble handling passes and finishing, he’s making the right play. This is how the Bulls get better; their success in games where Rose has astronomically high usage is gilded rather than golden. No one can take those big-scoring-but-ball-dominating nights away from Rose, but they aren’t significant from an evolutionary standpoint.
- Caron Butler (12 points, 3-of-10 FG, five rebounds) continues to wear out his welcome. I’m honestly curious to see how long Rick Carlisle will put up with this type of performance from Butler. Horrible shot selection, unforced turnovers, boneheaded defensive plays…Caron doesn’t have many redeeming qualities on the floor right now, and I’d say he’s very fortunate that Rodrigue Beaubois isn’t around to sweep up his minutes.