The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 96, Los Angeles Clippers 92

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 14, 2012 under Recaps | 2 Comments to Read

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Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FTRORRTOR
Dallas91.0105.548.125.329.611.1
Los Angeles101.151.433.828.231.5

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

  • Dallas didn’t play terrific D, but packing the paint and trapping Chris Paul made the league’s top offense very beatable. The Clippers — simplistic though their offense may be at times — are so incredibly effective if Paul is given any kind of access to the paint, so the Mavs walled it off (in part by assigning Shawn Marion to cover Paul) and lived with the results. Caron Butler and Mo Williams hit a combined eight three-pointers as a result, but the Mavs were able to prevent the more foundational play actions that would have set up a rhythm for the Clips’ inside-out offense. Defense against an elite offense is always going to involve some give and take, and though there were some breakdowns and plenty of surrendered perimeter jumpers, the Mavs were able to minimize Paul’s impact and keep things contained in the paint.

  • Jason Kidd was a virtual non-factor on offense, but that’s more complimentary than anything we can say about Jason Terry’s performance. JET had a few nice drives early in the second quarter, but both were met with huge swats from DeAndre Jordan. From there, Terry forced the issue with his shot selection, taking every curl cut and catch as an invitation to launch an ill-advised jumper. He’s a better player than that, and the minor shooting rut that Terry finds himself in isn’t helping matters. But Terry still has to take it upon himself to be a more constructive offensive force, no matter how many capable teammates are around to potentially pick up the slack.
  • Brendan Haywood has been getting some big minutes in the last few games, and he was the perfect big to execute the Mavs’ defensive game plan on this particular night. Ian Mahinmi and Brandan Wright (the former of which has gradually slid out of his role as Haywood’s backup) are both very capable and effective players, but neither manages to clog up the lane as effectively as Haywood. He has the strength to contend with Griffin on the block, the mobility to trap Paul on the pick and roll, and the sheer size to stand as a massive impediment between any Clipper and the basket. He was the most sensible option on Monday night, just as he was on Saturday against the Trail Blazers.
  • It’s very interesting to watch the process by which Griffin talks himself into taking open jumpers. The Mavericks were more than willing to give Griffin all the room he need to fire up a long two-pointer any time he touched the ball, though Haywood et al were understandably weary of the possibility that Griffin could use that open space to build up speed for a drive. As a result, the Mavs bigs would occasionally fake a close-out, or cut the runway in half with a few quick steps up — closing enough distance to prevent liftoff, but still encouraging Griffin to test his range. From there, one could almost see the internal debates raging between Griffin’s ears. At this point in the season, he knows that the mid-range zones aren’t home. He knows that the defense is giving him this particular shot for a reason. Yet, as so often happens on a basketball court, the undeterred nature of the shot is unbelievably alluring. There’s surely an element of pride involved somewhere in his thought process; after all, the space afforded Griffin is a direct challenge to his skill set, and by extension, his potency. All of this flies through Griffin’s head in a matter of nanoseconds, all while the defense braces itself and hopes that Griffin’s patience runs out.
  • Andrew

    Terry's shooting success comes in waves, just like an economy: recession, bubble, recession, bubble.  I've just come to accept it.  It seems to me that he takes a few ill-advised shots every game.  And yet he was making those fade-away jumpers over taller defenders in the playoffs, so it is hard to advocate that he stops taking them.

  • Not Michael

    like Rob's writing?  Buy his book on the Mavs Championship run!

    http://www.amazon.com/Maverick