The Difference: Portland Trailblazers 104, Dallas Mavericks 101

Posted by Rob Mahoney on March 16, 2011 under Recaps | 4 Comments to Read

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You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • Losing a game like this one is undoubtedly rough on the Mavs, but we’re fortunate enough to be on the side of the fence for which losses don’t mean everything. Take a minute to appreciate just how spectacular of a contest this was. I know some would be happier with winning ugly, but there’s something to be said about the aesthetic worth of beautiful basketball. This was a wonderfully executed game by both teams, as Portland matched Dallas’ consistent machinations with flurries of highlight reel plays, and the two clubs combined for 49 assists. Those only interested in win-loss outcomes won’t see this game for what it really is, but this really was a remarkably entertaining 48 minutes.
  • Those looking to blame the Mavs’ defense for this loss aren’t entirely correct. The Blazers did score at a rate of 126.8 points per 100 possessions, which is a less than spectacular mark. However, they also posted just a 50.6% effective field goal percentage, which hovers right around the league average. Dallas actually did well in contesting and challenging shots, but broke down in other areas; defensive rebounding was a clear issue, and the Mavs’ frequent turnovers fueled the Blazers’ offense and put them in a position of advantage. Portland picked up 15 boards in an 82-possession game, and their offensive rebounding rate for this game outpaced the season average for the league’s most prolific rebounding teams. Dallas did the same with their rush of turnovers, as their 15 giveaways in such a slow game put them a step above/below the rest of the league. Dallas still orchestrated beautifully when those passes connected, but there should be little doubt that their aggressiveness in forcing play action ended up being part of their downfall. It would have been great if LaMarcus Aldridge (30 points, 13-25 FG, eight assists) and Brandon Roy (21 points, 9-17 FG) didn’t have such productive offensive games, but its not as if either player was really defended all that poorly. It’s surely not a landmark defensive showing for Dallas, but not quite a spectacular failure, either.
  • There were a handful of incredibly productive offensive players for Dallas — from Dirk Nowitzki and his 28 points on 14 shots, to Jason Kidd and his 14 assists, to Shawn Marion’s sweet cuts to the bucket for 18 — but Rodrigue Beaubois (16 points, 6-8 FG, 4-6 3FG, four assists) impressed me most. He looked incredibly comfortable finding his teammates, which should excite everyone who sees Beaubois as the future initiator of the Maverick offense. Beaubois made the kinds of passes you’d expect of a player who had spent an entire season developing chemistry with his teammates, not a second-year guard who spent most of the season on the shelf and is prone to questionable passing decisions. Plus, this was one of the finest defensive performances of Beaubois’ career, as he completely shackled Andre Miller (eight points, 2-9 FG, four assists). Beaubois got caught in the air once on a pump fake, but other than that minor slip-up, his D was incredible. I shouldn’t need to remind anyone that Miller is capable of giving the Mavs fits, and having a starter capable of defending him allowed Dallas to avoid all kinds of inconvenient cross-matching and lineup shuffling.
  • Kirk Henderson

    I needed to read some positive about the game. Felt like we let that one get away. Stray observations

    -LaMarcus is great. Seems to have taken to heart the need to mix it up down low.
    -The Portland crowd is fantastic (duh)
    -Downside of that is they seem to sway the refs. They got away with some physical basketball that our guys, notably Tyson, could not.

  • Tim Patterson

    Agreed, it was a very entertaining game (I'm in Oregon…)…and a potential preview of a first round series? Andre had a sub-par game, but part of that I believe can be attributed to the fact that Brandon Roy was on the floor most of the fourth quarter. Blazers are still figuring where all of the pieces should fit with Brandon back on full-strength and with Camby and Wallace jockeying for minutes. All of a sudden the Blazers have a deep bench and it's an interesting situation for a club that's been so short-handed from injuries for the past three years.

  • ethan_a

    I was at the Golden State game tonight and I have to add that Rodrigue's defense on Monta Ellis was sensational in the second half. He was all over Ellis, fighting through screens, generally being a pest, and not fouling while doing it. He looked really shaky on D during his first few games back, but he is starting to look great now that he's getting comfortable.

    • finzent

      Totally agree, just watched the game. I was really surprised that they switched Terry on Ellis in the fourth, because Beaubois had done such a great job on him in the third. It worked out anyway, but it seemed like a pretty dumb move.