Team Pace Off. Eff. eFG% FT/FG ORB% TOR
Dallas 94.0 105.3 45.2 28.9 34.0 17.0
Cleveland 102.1 45.6 14.3 25.5 11.7
You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
- The Mavs’ 105.3 points per 100 possessions wasn’t an outstanding mark, but Dallas actually executed rather effectively on offense. The turnovers were a bit high, but the patience, pressure, and ensuing high-percentage looks were there. Quality looks were had around the basket and on uncontested jumpers, but something hiccuped during the transition between the notion and actualization of the Mavs’ shots. Dallas missed their first eight field goal attempts, and though they had more productive offensive sequences, that early stretch encapsulated the game nicely. Ian Mahinmi (11 points, 4-6 FG, eight rebounds, three turnovers) was the only Maverick to shoot more than 50% from the field, but don’t mistake Dallas’ inability to score for an inability to execute. Do, however, take that as an indicator of Mahinmi’s effectiveness. He leapfrogged Brendan Haywood (DNP-CD) in the rotation, and stayed in the game with his constant activity. Mahinmi even went to work in the low post on a pair of possessions, where he showed surprising polish. It’s getting more and more difficult for Rick Carlisle to keep Mahinmi off the floor, which makes Haywood’s situation rather bleak and the team’s cap situation even bleaker.
- I’m not sure what it is in Ramon Sessions’ (19 points, 6-12 FG, 13 assists, six rebounds) game that makes him so capable of attacking the Mavs’ defense, but in two games this season he’s seemed shockingly effective against this particular competition. Sessions is good. He’s a starting-caliber player, if surrounded with the right pieces. Yet against the Mavs he looks the part of a legitimate franchise cornerstone. Sessions essentially duplicated the 19-12-7 line he put up the last time these two teams met, and fault rests up and down the roster. Neither Jason Kidd nor J.J. Barea seemed able to hang with him, and once Sessions got past the initial defender his path to the basket often went undeterred. Dallas struggled defensively in many regards (J.J. Hickson went hog wild with 26 points on 18 shots, Antawn Jamison had it far too easy scoring inside, and Christian Eyenga somehow managed 15 points despite being a Jamario Moon’s Jamario Moon), but several of their failings are summed up nicely by Sessions’ simple, unbothered, straight-line path to the rim.
- Dirk Nowitzki (12 points, 5-11 FG, six rebounds, five turnovers) injured his right wrist in the second quarter, and looked understandably hesitant to act as the Mavs’ primary shot-taker. It doesn’t appear to be serious, but should Nowitzki look to take a step back offensively until his shooting motion is relatively pain-free, the rest of the Mavs will need to be a bit more accurate. Mahinmi, Shawn Marion (17 points, 5-15 FG, 10 rebounds, seven offensive), and Tyson Chandler (10 points, 11 rebounds, four offensive) were able to salvage a ton of those misses on Monday night with offensive boards, and the bench created enough scoring to avoid what could have been a hugely embarrassing lost. Peja Stojakovic can also hopefully be a bit more helpful in the scoring column as Dallas moves forward; his Maverick debut came with some inevitable rust, but Stojakovic moved well and found open looks. Now he — and the rest of his new teammates — just have to make them.