The Difference: Dallas Beats Miami

Posted by Rob Mahoney on November 28, 2010 under Recaps | 10 Comments to Read

You know the drill. The Difference is a quick-hitting reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

Dallas Mavericks 106, Miami Heat 95

  • The Miami Heat concluded the game with an extended team meeting; James and Wade eventually fielded questions, but not until at least 45 minutes after the game had wrapped. This team is entitled and this team is frustrated.
  • Dallas wins, but the defense doesn’t. We should in no way confuse this victory for some validation of the Mavs’ defensive performance, as this was actually one of their lesser efforts on the season overall. The Heat helped the Mavs along with poor shot selection, and had they not, it would have been interesting to see how the Dallas offense would have really held up under fire. However, Miami’s unfavorable shot chart is far from a one-time problem; LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and their compatriots have a bad habit of batting their eyelashes at Caron Butler-esque shots.
  • The declaration of the total defense’s shortcomings is going to make this next sentence sound a bit odd: Tyson Chandler was the indisputable player of the game. Chandler is playing on the most talented team he’s seen in his entire career, and he’s responding in every way possible. He’s a shot-blocker, but more importantly, he’s a sound positional defender. Chandler is able to change shots without sacrificing his ground and he’s mobile enough to cover the entire paint with ease. Individually, he had a terrific defensive performance. Not flawless, but for all intents and intensive purposes, as damn well close to being so as anyone could reasonably expect. And just for fun, Chandler dropped in 14 points of his own, while wiping our memories clean of Brendan Haywood.
  • Dirk Nowitzki shot 9-of-23 from the field, but would anyone know that based on observation alone? Nowitzki definitely took and missed his fair share of shot attempts, but the eye test didn’t sting quite as badly as 39% shooting does. Nowitzki’s 22 points — as well as his four assists and three steals — were still quite valuable, but this wasn’t the Dirk-and-only-Dirk approach Mavs fans are painfully familiar with.
  • With that in mind, here’s a note from ESPN Stats and Info: “The Mavericks outscored the Heat 95-67 in the 34 minutes and 48 seconds that Nowitzki was on the floor. It was the second straight game in which Nowitzki made such an impact. In a win over Charlotte on Wednesday, Nowitzki was plus-27. The difference is that in that game, three other Dallas starters posted similar plus-minus totals. In Saturday’s win, Nowitzki was significantly better than any of his teammates.”
  • The Heat grabbed the offensive board on 44.4% of their misses in the first quarter, which is a perfectly dreadful number as far as the Mavs are concerned. But how about this: Miami’s final offensive rebounding rate was a palatable 23.3%. That’s a hell of a turnaround over the final three quarters.
  • Miami’s offense was a painful watch for long stretches of this game, and the effect that their union has had on LeBron James and Dwyane Wade is inexplicable. James still has stretches where he seems himself, but even at Wade’s most aggressive, he’s a tinted portrait of his former self. Sometimes he floats, sometimes he drives, sometimes he defers, but he’s always affected by some unseen humor. Last season’s Wade was one of the best players on the planet, but this year’s model isn’t worthy of fear, and worthy of respect primarily due to his reputation.
  • J.J. Barea was fantastic. Against San Antonio, we saw Barea at his playmaking finest; he didn’t force shots, and willingly and skilfully set up his teammates with open looks. In tonight’s game, Barea had his eyes locked on the rim. He still picked up two assists, but Barea’s 13 points on seven shots came through a pitch-perfect approach. Barea sliced and diced Miami’s perimeter defenders, and got right to the basket when the Heat bigs were characteristically slow to rotate. Your teammates miss you, Udonis Haslem.
  • Erick Dampier made his first appearance as a member of the Miami Heat, and promptly committed a personal foul. He played eight minutes in total and grabbed one rebound. Regular readers should know that I’m one of Dampier’s few remaining advocates, and that should make my stance on Damp’s addition to the Heat roster somewhat obvious: he’s an obviously beneficial addition for this team, and though he won’t solve all of their problems, he’s a definite upgrade on D and the glass.
  • The Mavs didn’t seem to respect the three-point attempts of any Heat player not named James Jones or Eddie House. The rest were left to do their worst, and while 2-of-10 from three may not be the worst, it’s pretty awful.
  • I touched on this the other night, but it needs to be repeated in light of Shawn Marion’s 14-point, 6-of-12 night: Dallas may not have a second scoring option etched in stone, but they have enough reliable contributors to find help from somewhere. JET has taken a turn for the inefficient (12 points, 3-of-12 shooting, three turnovers), but Marion, Caron Butler (23 points, 9-15 FG, 3-3 3FG, zero turnovers), Barea, and Chandler have all made vital contributions to the scoring column. Dallas can’t expect the roster to click from top to bottom, but all of these guys are can walk and chew bubblegum.
  • Jusbono

    The 3rd Qtr run was fantastic, offensively and defensively. With that kind of performance stretched from the start of the 3rd to mid-4th Qtr, the Mavs should be able to rest Dirk and Kidd more. While in this particular game, the Mavs somewhat failed to stretch that run to mid of the 4th Qtr, I dare say that that is a sound recipe for the 2010 Mavs: extend a solid 3rd Quarter run to mid-4th, then rest the starters and distribute the remaining quality minutes to the Haywoods and the Bareas and the Stevensons.

    If Mavs can have stretches of several games where the services of Dirk, Kidd and Terry are not needed to close out games in the 4th, the West may indeed have a serious challenger to the present Champions, the LA Lakers.

    On the other side, the Heat's weaknesses in the middle was exposed once again. The Mavs further emphasized that zone D in stretches against D-Wade and Co is highly effectively. But more than that, the Mavs have highlighted the Heat's most vulnerable side: D-Wade and James, with a combined 70+ minutes on the floor, cannot shoot 3s. So make them shoot and some more jumpshots and they are dead on the beach (or on the water or wherever).

    With the offensive and defensive efficiency the Mavs have shown in about 5 games this season, Mavsland can only hope for better things when Roddy takes the floor soon as a legitimate starter, scorer and slasher.

    Two more final notes: TC has found a home; Stevenson was awesome in defense.

  • Jusbono

    so when is Roddy B coming back anyway rod?

    • Rob Mahoney

      Still looking at a few more weeks, but no official timetable.

  • Jide

    After watching the game and highlights, does it seem like Dirk's passing and handling of the ball has improved significantly?

    • finzent

      Overall I would say not really. He has always been a decent passer, I can't say I've noticed much improvement. His assists are down this season, turnovers up, so the numbers agree.

  • Dhananjai

    I feel that not enough was made of Butler's contribution. I was unable to watch most of the game, but those numbers look good. Did they come as product of his questionable shots somehow falling, or did he finally show a more intelligent shot selection?

    • Rob Mahoney

      Maybe not; Butler played well overall, and to his credit, he wasn't stopping the ball. He was actually willing to give up the rock after receiving it on the wing, and though there were still some shot selection issues, that willingness to let possessions go was probably worth more than a cursory mention.

  • toT

    It is “intents and purposes” not “intents and intensive purposes”

    • Rob Mahoney

      I'm aware.

  • Basketball Hoops

    Good win for the Mavs. Crazy to see Miami hovering at .500.