Team Pace Off. Eff. eFG% FT/FG ORB% TOR
Dallas 97.0 108.2 51.9 25.9 17.8 12.4
Washington 102.1 48.9 6.3 20.4 9.3
You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
- Washington isn’t a particularly problematic matchup for Dallas, yet games between the two teams seem to be a bit more interesting than they should be. With a little over a minute and a half remaining in the fourth quarter, Jordan Crawford hit a pull-up jumper to erase the final points of the Maverick lead. Any team in the league can be dangerous in a one-and-a-half minute time frame, and facing that kind of scenario in a very winnable game is exactly what the Mavs should aim to avoid. Luckily, it didn’t matter; following Crawford’s make, Tyson Chandler scored on a tip-in, John Wall turned the ball over, and Dirk Nowitzki was fouled on a three-point attempt. That gave Dallas just the buffer they needed to secure a win, but this was far from a reassuring victory.
- The Mavs’ defense wasn’t poor per se, but it certainly wasn’t good. The buckets surrendered in transition to Wall et al are understandable, but the more glaring breakdowns were those that occurred in half-court settings. As usual, the initial contests were strong, but the inability to secure defensive rebounds make things unnecessarily difficult. The Wizards posted a 20.4 offensive rebounding rate, and that effort combined with low turnovers and decent shooting made Washington unexpectedly competitive. The rebounding has to get better; if JaVale McGee and Kevin Seraphin are giving Dallas trouble on the glass, what happens when the Mavs play even stronger rebounding clubs?
- Tyson Chandler (23 points, 10-14 FG, 13 rebounds) was the game’s unquestioned standout, as the Wizards failed to account for his presence in any offensive setting. Just one dunk for your viewing pleasure:
- Dallas played as well in their transition offense as they have all season, and produced some truly beautiful sequences. The ball movement was terrific throughout the game, but particularly so as the Mavs looked to set each other up for fast break finishes like this one:
- Dirk Nowitzki (21 points, 6-18 FG, 9-11 FT, seven rebounds, three assists) had an understated impact, leaving Chandler, Shawn Marion (13 points, 4-6 FG, 10 rebounds, three turnovers), and Jason Terry (25 points, 10-18 FG, four assists) to soak in the limelight. Dallas doesn’t win this game without Nowitzki’s 11 free throw attempts, but Marion played a superb all-around game while Terry funneled in some efficient scoring to compensate for Nowitzki’s poor shooting night from the field. If I can dote on Marion’s game for just a second more: no Maverick does a better job of closing out on three-point shooters, and his speed and length paid off in challenging a Nick Young corner three attempt with under a minute remaining.
- Chalk this one up as the first big hiccup in Rodrigue Beaubois’ (two points, 1-7 FG, three rebounds, three assists) return. Beaubois played just 13 minutes of action, and Carlisle was right to keep his minutes down; the Mavs’ designated savior was drawing back rim on all of his jumpers, and blew a wide open layup attempt at the start of the third quarter. The Mavs even tried to run a staple alley-oop set from their 2009-2010 repertoire to get Beaubois going, but the set ended in a mistimed jump and a missed layup.
Chandler’s most important bucket and his most emphatic bucket both came off of offensive rebounds, but Jason Kidd (three points, 14 assists, eight rebounds) set up Chandler for the bulk of his points. JaVale McGee is a skilled shot-blocker, but clearly lacks the defensive awareness to compete with a consistent lob threat.