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?
- After a 20-point, five-assist, four-rebound first half in which he shot 72.7% from the field, Chris Paul went 1-for-5 for two points and four assists in the game’s final 24 minutes. There are three individuals to credit/blame. Paul himself was kinder to the Mavs in the second half, as he traded his weaving, probing style for a less audacious approach. Tyson Chandler deserves a heap of credit for challenging Paul’s jumpers aggressively, and showing well on almost every pick-and-roll he was involved in. The third player who deserves some sort of nightly hardware? J.J. Barea. Everyone’s favorite scapegoat got a bit of a raw deal at times from the officiating crew, but he fought hard from the top of the zone to keep Paul covered. New Orleans clearly had plans to exploit him, but Barea scrapped, Paul faded, and Dallas won.
- Peja Stojakovic turned back the clock with a throwback performance, but Willie Green turned the very laws of the universe. Long-time Mavs fans should be quite familiar with Stojakovic’s shooting potential give how good he was for the Sacramento Kings earlier in the decade, but Green has never and still is not a very good basketball player. He’s also not a particularly efficient shooter. The stars just aligned. Then they collapsed, merged into a giant black hole, and pulled all of us through an NBA wormhole. Apparently, we are now in the dimension in which it makes perfect sense for Green, who is shooting 18.2% from three this season, to make three of his four attempts from deep.
- The Mavs’ decision to match up Tyson Chandler with David West and Dirk Nowitzki with Emeka Okafor may seem like an odd one, but it was quite effective. Nowitzki’s interior defense is strong enough to challenge the robotic, predictable Okafor inside, and Chandler did a fantastic job of challenging West all over the court. The Nowitzki-West matchup — a red herring in the Mavs’ 2008 playoff loss to the Hornets — is no more, and in its place is something far less dramatic but far more beneficial for Dallas. New Orleans’ two starting bigs combined to shoot 7-of-24 from the field for the game and turned the ball over five times.