Team Pace Off. Eff. eFG% FT/FG ORB% TOR
Dallas 82.0 123.2 66.4 17.9 24.0 18.3
Portland 126.8 50.6 21.2 35.7 8.5
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.