The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 101, Houston Rockets 91

Posted by Rob Mahoney on November 29, 2010 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

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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.

Box ScorePlay-By-PlayShot Chart — GameFlow

  • No back-handed compliments and no caveats: Caron Butler (19 points, 8-16 FG, zero turnovers) played well. Particularly, Butler did a terrific job of cutting and rotating in the half-court offense rather than parking on the wing and waiting for the ball. Such movement not only enables Butler to make a catch in transit on the way to the rim, but it also frees him up to take his favorite mid-range jumpers in a far more palatable setting. Butler is fine as a catch-and-shoot player, or in taking one dribble to step in for a shot. The trouble comes when Caron tries to create off the dribble in isolation, and by moving prior to receiving the ball, Butler is protecting himself from…well, himself.
  • Again, love the adjustments as the game went on. Houston was hitting threes and crashing the offensive boards in the first half, but both of those factors were ultimately rectified by the ebb of the Rockets’ shooting and a stronger presence on the defensive glass by the Mavs in the second half.
  • J.J. Barea (11 points, six assists, three rebounds) has looked fantastic driving to the bucket over the last few games, and he’s really using a combination of hesitation moves and patience to his advantage. By displaying a bit more discretion in both his shooting and playmaking, Barea makes the threat of his hesitation that much more potent, which of course further enables him to explode off the dribble and catch opponents off-guard.
  • Houston’s defense on Dirk Nowitzki (20 points, 10-16 FG, 10 rebounds, three turnovers, three blocks) ranged from excellent but futile (Luis Scola) to just plain misguided (Jordan Hill). Something tells me that letting Dirk face up and rise from mid-range without any kind of contest isn’t the way to curtail his scoring production.
  • The first quarter saw 10 of the game’s 17 lead changes. Houston led by as many as three, while Dallas was up by as many as four.
  • A tremendous showing for Shawn Marion (14 points, 5-10 FG, 10 rebounds), who is on one of those rolls, only different from all of his previous rolls. Capiche?
  • Luis Scola is pivotal to the Rockets’ Yao-less offense, and Rick Carlisle elected to have the Mavs swarm Scola during the third quarter. Jason Kidd often released for the double team off of Kyle Lowry, a wise decision given Lowry’s limitations as a spot-up shooter. It’s no coincidence that Dallas really started to separate in the third.
  • Six points, nine rebounds, and two blocks for Brendan Haywood, which is firmly in Erick Dampier territory. Still, Haywood looked more active on the glass than he has of late, and though that alone won’t make the Mavs’ brass sleep more soundly at night with Haywood’s massive contract tucked under their pillows, it’s a nice surprise for a night. That’s how far Haywood has fallen; six, nine, and two now qualifies as a pleasant surprise.
  • The Rockets were able to burn the Mavs pretty consistently with backdoor cuts, which should hardly come as any surprise given that Rick Adelman orchestrated Houston’s offense from the sideline. Zone defenses are particulary vulnerable to such cuts, but Dallas didn’t seem to be much more attentive or responsive to the open backdoor when in man-to-man sets, either.
  • The Mavs ultimately gave up a run to make this game seem closer than it was, but it wasn’t your typical late-game lead concession. This one was very much decided when Houston made their final push toward a respectable margin, and while that dings up the Mavs’ final point differential, it’s not in the vein of Dallas’ previous late-game let-ups.