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.
- Dirk Nowitzki scored 26 points and his scoring average will still drop a tick or so. That’s the kind of season (and month; Dirk is putting up 27.1 a night in November) that Nowitzki has had, and yet his overall production — 26 to go along with eight rebounds and five assists — pales in splendor next to Nowitzki’s sterling shooting. Dirk shot 12-of-14 from the field, good for a pedestrian 85.7% from the field.
- From the essential @mavstats: “Mavs have ended 4 teams’ streaks of 5 wins or more (SA -12, NO – 8, BOS – 5, OKC – 5).”
- Manu Ginobili finished with 31 points, four assists, and three rebounds, but things could have been much worse. Ginobili went absolutely bonkers in the first quarter, and had he continued on his torrid pace of threes, drives, and step-back jumpers, he would have been carried out of the AT&T Center on the shoulders of giants.
- Dallas turned the ball over more often than anyone on this side of the fence should like to see, but they balanced those troubles with aggressive defense (that pushed San Antonio to an even higher turnover rate), a higher free throw rate than usual, and a nice boost from offensive rebounds. On most nights the Mavs can’t afford to give up too many turnovers, but by creating possessions and scoring more efficiently, Dallas was able to post a 115.7 offensive efficiency.
- Tyson Chandler was again tremendous, and his offensive impact has been an unbelievably pleasant surprise. Chandler will never be a back-to-the-basket threat, but as long as his teammates are conscious of his movements and presence around the rim, he’ll continue to pour in the points. On the other end of the center rotation, Brendan Haywood missed this game due to a team-imposed one-game suspension, but Ian Mahinmi did a decent job in his place. Mahinmi showed that he has no business being a second center at this point in his career, but he was reasonably effective in his reserve duties against some pretty tough competition. Three points, four rebounds, and a block wouldn’t cut it for Haywood, but from a guy normally considered a project — in addition to some solid defense — I’d say it warrants a thumbs up.
- Shawn Marion was tremendous. He can partially be accredited with the the taming of Manu Ginobili in the second half, but it was Marion’s scoring that really boosted the Mavs in the fourth quarter, and cold theoretically boost the Mavs through the season. Dallas still doesn’t have reliable secondary scoring alongside Nowitzki, but between Terry, Marion, Butler, along with bit contributions from Kidd and Chandler, the Dallas has a number of ways to reach the necessary scoring output. More to the point, though: this Marion — just like the early season JET or a dream world Butler — makes Dallas a strong, strong team.
- J.J. Barea had a fine game. He wasn’t exactly a Spur-killer, but he racked up seven assists without committing a single turnover, which is more than satisfactory.
- In the second quarter, Jason Terry had one of the worst layup attempts I’ve ever seen in an NBA game. On a fast break opportunity, Terry drew his dribble a half-step too early, forcing him to adjust and stretch past his defender to have his desired look at the rim. JET opted to go with a finger roll finish, and though his touch was soft, it was too soft…and too errant…and too embarrassing. Airballed layup attempts are one of this game’s many wonders.
- Caron Butler committed four turnovers, all of which came in the first half as Butler tried to make his move from the wings in half-court sets.