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?
- Combined 6-of-23 shooting for Jason Terry and Jason Kidd? No big. That field goal percentage deficit ain’t no thang when the Mavs completely dominate their opponent in both free throw rate and offensive rebounding rate. These are not the Mavs we’re used to or even the Mavs that will be around for the season, but it’s still nice to have them drop by for a game every now and again.
- Tyson Chandler (17 points, 5-9 FG, 18 rebounds): unlikely offensive weapon, skilled defender, rebounding fiend, ruler of men, master of Oklahoma City bigs. If Chandler were the leader of an underground, post-apocalyptic cult, I’d follow him. As far as basketball is concerned, though, he’s only sublime. I guess that will have to do.
- Turnovers were the cause of the Mavs’ early troubles, but they rounded out their performance nicely by carefully protecting their possessions over the game’s final three quarters. Besides, Dallas couldn’t miss 18 threes if they were turning the ball over so often, now could they?
- Russell Westbrook had 13 points on 13 shots. Is that good defense? Partially, sure, but Dallas can in no way claim full credit for keeping Westbrook in check. For whatever reason he just wasn’t as assertive as he could have — or should have — been.
- Caron Butler can’t exactly redeem himself in a single night, but he started on the right path with a simple 6-of-13, 15-point performance. That’s the thing with Butler: he doesn’t have to wow anyone. All he has to do is not induce groans with his shot selection. All he has to do is not head fake his way into a migraine. This kind of moderate scoring and fairly efficient line will do nicely.
- The Mavs’ transition defense still needs work. It’s not hugely bothersome given the limited number of transition possessions in the average game, but there’s not really a valid excuse for uncontested drives through the middle of a Maverick cluster.
- I’m typically an advocate of starting Serge Ibaka in Jeff Green’s place, for reasons of fit and talent. Green had a solid outing, even if his defensive efforts were a bit futile. Someone has to guard Dirk Nowitzki, and Green had a tough night defending Nowitzki without fouling. That said, Green had a successful offensive evening from all over the court, as his versatile style tilted toward the scoring column for a night.
- Jason Kidd had a throwback shooting performance, as he shot 2-of-9 from beyond the arc and 3-of-12 overall. Kidd has plenty of tough shooting nights filled with near-misses, but he put up more than a few knuckleballs in this one.