You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
- Needless to say, this was not the start Dallas wanted for its lone back-to-back-to-back of this season. Though there is much we could discuss in a game that saw both teams take double-digit leads, this one was lost in the third quarter. Dallas had trouble all game with the Phoenix pick and roll, and when the Mavs’ hot shooting finally cooled in the third, the Suns sprinted ahead with an 18-4 run. Dallas allowed 34 points in the second quarter after only allowing 44 in the entire first half. Moving forward, Dallas has to get more out of Jason Terry (six points, two rebounds, one assist), a more efficient Vince Carter (18 points on 21 shots, no free throws attempted, five rebounds, four assists), and better game-to-game consistency from Rodrigue Beaubois (five points, two rebounds, two assists).
- Despite the final outcome, there were many bright spots for Dallas. Lamar Odom (15 points, four rebounds, two assists) played his second-straight solid game, contributing throughout the box score and making his presence felt. The real surprise of the night came from Sean Williams. With Brendan Haywood still dealing with a high ankle sprain, when Mahinmi picked up his second foul with just under six minutes to go in the first half, Williams stepped in and played an admirable game (including two excellent blocks). Shawn Marion (whom, as Rob Mahoney reminds us, must be managed carefully) continued his incredibly consistent play on both ends of the floor (12 points, eight rebounds), and by the end of the first half, he had guarded a Suns player of every position. (On a Suns note, its really, really impressive to see Grant Hill doing much of the same thing Shawn Marion does, only at age 39). It’s easy to overreact when the team loses a winnable game like this one; just remember that the season-long slate is a grind. All we can do is look for signs of improvement in every game.
Kirk Henderson is a member of The Two Man Game family. You can follow Kirk on Twitter: @KirkSeriousFace.