The Difference: Los Angeles Clippers 91, Dallas Mavericks 89

Posted by Rob Mahoney on January 19, 2012 under Recaps | 3 Comments to Read

Screen shot 2012-01-19 at 1.18.48 AM

Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot ChartGameFlow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FT/FGORB%TOR
Los Angeles101.147.119.537.215.6

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

  • Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Mavericks played poorly, inexplicably managed to keep things close, and then lost a game they could have — though shouldn’t have — won. It’s a bummer of a story to have to follow twice, but Dallas fittingly used their trip through Hollywood as an excuse to reuse the same tired plot line. In theory, this was a perfect chance for the Mavs to fine tune their offense; the Clips have been pretty miserable on the defensive end this season, and with Chris Paul — L.A.’s top perimeter defender and resident turnover-generating machine — out of the lineup, the Mavs’ opponents looked more like hapless prey. That (theoretical) opportunity was squandered, as the Dallas offense officially segued from patient to stagnant. The Clippers played some terrific preemptive defense (they had every one of Jason Terry’s pet moves completely pegged), complacency took over, and the Mavs frittered away the good looks that they were actually able to create. They’ll get better on that end, if only because they’ve reached a baffling level of offensive inefficiency. The flow of the offense is capable of producing so much more than it is, at present. Dirk Nowitzki (17 points, 6-18 FG, seven rebounds) is an excellent shooter capable of hitting open shots. Terry (12 points, 5-13 FG, five assists, four turnovers) is a better decision maker than he’s shown recently. Jason Kidd (five points, 10 assists, four turnovers) and Lamar Odom (five points, 1-4 FG, seven rebounds) are still very good NBA players, even though they’ve done little to warrant that status of late. These are very basic truths, and even the Mavs’ sloppy play against the Lakers and stunted performance against the Clippers can’t undo their empirical validity. It’s useless to ask anyone to be patient at this stage in the season, but we can all recognize that the offensive fluidity only improves from here.

  • If you’re in the mood for a scapegoat, it’s tempting to blame Jason Kidd, who allowed Chauncey Billups to throw an inbound pass to Blake Griffin, plod to the three-point line, and nonchalantly drop in a game-winner. It’s an understandable assignment of blame, truly. But I’m more inclined to point the finger at the other Jason Kidd — the one who actively looked as if he were trying to sabotage the Mavs for lengthy stretches of Wednesday’s game. He threw a backdoor feed to a photographer. He blew defensive assignments against players he was more than capable of covering. He made perfectly placed passes to opposing defenders. He finished with 10 assists after some impressive damage control, but played miserably for the majority of this game. At least Terry’s mistakes were the results of well-intended aggressive play; Kidd’s errors came through poor effort or careless mistakes, and it’s a wonder that Rick Carlisle kept him in the game as long as he did. I’m normally not one to question Carlisle’s rotation, as the man has done more than enough to earn trust and leeway in his management of the team’s minutes. But the decision to play Kidd and marginalize Delonte West — who scored 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting in the first half before fading out of the picture in the second — was a fairly baffling one.
  • Kirk Henderson

    Im glad you addressed Kidd's play. He's been erratic. 

    Now I know its not popular to be critical of Odom, but we have to at some point.  Yet another game where he's a non-facter.  He made a couple of crisp passes, but beyond that he settled for jumpers against a player in Griffin who does not know how to defend well yet. He got bullied on the boards repeatedly.

    While we're talking bullied on the boards, what in the heck is going on with Dirk? I really enjoyed the few Dirk sneers we got last night, but he's playing like crap, pure and simple.  His numbers are masked by the fact that he's had 2-3 really great games, 2-3 mediocre ones, and the rest have been bad.  I appreciate his willingness to move the ball in the offense, but Marion is all over the place on that baseline jumper.  Dirk is also missing a lot of defensive assignments.  I know he cant be superman every game, but he's barely been decent with consistency.

    The Mavs have the single worst scoring starting line up in the league.  That has to change.

  • Andrew

    I felt the defense, and the offense, of the MAvs were pretty awful.  Jason Terry and Jason Kidd not only missed a lot of rotations, but whomever they guarded blew right past them.  Dirk was not even TRYING on defense for large stretches, and at the end of the second half it looked like he was gonna faint from exhaustion.  Perhaps too many cocktails and shots for Dirk this offseason?
    Also, it seemed to me like a big problem with the Mavs offense last night was some serious overpassing, they passed up a lot of open jumpers.

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