The Difference: Phoenix Suns 96, Dallas Mavericks 94

Posted by Kirk Henderson on March 9, 2012 under Recaps | 9 Comments to Read

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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.

  • Shmichael

    I never thought the Mavs would miss Brandon Haywood this much.  I think he could have made a big difference with those pick and rolls especially since Mahinmi got in quick foul trouble.  
    I was also really surprised that Jason Terry didn't play at the end of that game.  I think that might be Carlisle sending him a message on his end of game decisions.

  • Matt Hulme

    Yes, as brutal a loss as that was, my biggest worry is what they're doing with JET. He was absent in crunch time (a trend I can't ever recall seeing in his years here), and as much as I (and others) often bash his decision making in close contests, the truth of the matter is that if for whatever reason Dirk can't take the last shot (be it injury, a double-team, trap, lack of time, etc.), there's no one else I trust more than Jason Terry. So him being completely absent when we needed his scoring outbursts most? Alarming.

    Beyond that, Roddy showed us exactly why he's still a work in progress, and may never fully develop into the star we dreamt him to be two years ago. He's highly talented and improving, but his decision making was sour to say the least; it reminded me very much of the aforementioned Terry crunch-time mistakes, but at least Terry's earned the leash. Roddy B is still too much of a rookie out there, very green to the situation. And it cost us the game on our last possession.

    But, in the end, it shouldn't have come to that. Carter was great in the first half but a shadow in the second, Kidd slowed down noticeably in the fourth (not totally his own fault; he shouldn't have had to play as many minutes as he did), Terry was riding the pine, Dirk took a bit too long to find his shot but more importantly, I don't think Nowitzki was nearly aggressive enough, and Mahinmi was at times frustrating and lost playing big minutes. Lamar Odom (in my best Dennis Green impersonation, his was, for once, who we thought he was!) and (the ever invaluable and always reliable) Shawn Marion seemed like the lone bright spots in a game we should NEVER have lost.

    But no time to stew. Gotta put away the Kings tonight. Hopefully we get (and HOLD) a double-digit lead tonight. We should, but with a short bench, it may not be in the cards. I just want to give our guys a rest. We all know Kidd desperately needs it, and Dirk could use a spell, and, of course, Marion is certainly due a shorter night. Hopefully that comes tonight.

    • Jay

      Matt,

      I understand your argument regarding JET, but his attitude has gone a little off the rails lately. Complaining about who gets the ball in the last few minutes, looking aloof during stretches, and most imprtantly, over-rating his position on the team. Carlisle is, I think, doing what he did last season with JET, reminding him of his role on the team and what they need from him. It's frustrating for sure, though.

      • http://twitter.com/KirkSeriousFace Kirk Henderson

        Easily the most ridiculous part of the JET saga is that Dirk alluded to Terry doing this (losing focus, playing poorly) in his recanting of the 2011 season to Bill Simmons.

  • Travis

    Tough start for the upcoming stretch of games. Good to see back-to-back solid stat lines from LO, let's hope it continues! Sean Williams looked capable of filling in at the 5 spot when need be… (This could be very valuable as the season progresses)

  • Giovahnbarboza

    Awesome recap, truly well written.

  • Nick W.

    Good recap, Kirk. Look forward to reading more.

    This was an incredibly frustrating game to watch. The loss of Haywood has been surprisingly painful, but I love the athleticism that Williams brings.

  • RSH II

    This is a great recap.  I look forward to reading more.  Thanks again.

  • KenNguyen

    Nice to have Lamar Odom back…hopefully he'll continue to put in solid minutes.  He'll need to if the Mavs are going to have a chance to be a solid playoff team.