You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
- When a team as talented as the Mavericks defeats a cellar-dwelling team like the Wizards by single-digits, it’s typically not considered much of a triumph. But following a dismal 2-8 stretch and a complete lack of team cohesiveness, it was comforting to watch the Mavericks build and sustain a lead, though not too comfortably. The Mavericks play an inordinate amount of games in the coming weeks, but games against the Wizards and Bobcats offer a nice opportunity to win without any particular strain on the Mavericks’ aging core.
- The Mavericks’ offense was revitalized by the confused, scattered defensive efforts of the Wizards. The Wizards allowed almost every viable Mavericks’ scoring option to focus on their individual offensive strength. Jason Terry (10-20 FG, 24 points) was able to drive right and pull up for jumpers, Dirk Nowitzki (10-14 FG, 27 points) easily earned position on the high block, and Rodrigue Beaubois (8-14 FG, 19 points, four assists, four rebounds) darted into the lane with little problem.
- This Mavericks’ team is so much different when Jason Terry is playing well. Terry’s been in a weird funk lately that’s led him to commit 2-4 perplexing turnovers a game. Terry returned to early-season form Wednesday night, and managed to avoid the overly frenetic, rushed play that’s troubled him so greatly in recent games.
- I feel like I say this frequently, but it really is a joy to watch Rodrigue Beaubois play basketball at a high level. There’s a positive trend emerging in Beaubois’ game, a trend Rick Carlisle hinted at in his post-game comments. Beaubois has begin to attack the basket with increasing frequency, and he’s almost entirely removed long pull-up jumpers from his offensive repertoire. He’s made a strong case to remain an integral part of the Mavericks’ rotation when Delonte West returns, and often provides the scoring spark the Mavericks so desperately need.
- If he had managed to avoid foul trouble and had the Mavericks been facing a greater opponent than the Wizards, Dirk appeared more than able to provide his second 40-point game of the season.
- Javale McGee (4-9 FG, 12 points, five rebounds) made a regrettable pass.
- There’s are certain Mavericks’ units that pose significant offensive creation problems. One of these lineups was on display tonight, as it included Jason Kidd, Lamar Odom, and Vince Carter, and did not include Rodrigue Beaubois, Jason Terry, or Dirk Nowitzki. Mavericks’ lineups of this nature are typically unable to create any offense on an individual level, and frequently result in Jason Kidd dribbling at the top of the key with five seconds or less on the shot clock and no offensive traction gained. Delonte West’s return may help alleviate and destroy the presence of these offensively challenged sets to some extent, but it’s still concerning to watch a Mavericks’ lead evaporate late in the first quarter against the Wizards due to a dearth of speed or athleticism.
- Jason Kidd played only 23 minutes. During this two-week stretch of games on a near-nightly basis, it’s important Kidd find significant rest when he can.
- The Wizards, though wholly unable to reach a point of seamless team cohesion, could not be accused of lack of effort on this particular night. The troubled team did its best to keep the game close, and on more than one occasion, seemed ready to surge to a lead. Few franchises have been ravaged by change and team disunity quite like the Wizards have this season, but on Wednesday night, most every Wizards’ player appeared focused on simply winning a basketball game. For a struggling franchise, that counts for something.