The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 104, Golden State Warriors 94

Posted by Rob Mahoney on April 21, 2012 under Recaps | 2 Comments to Read

Screen Shot 2012-04-21 at 1.35.22 AM

Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FTRORRTOR
Golden State96.950.025.315.29.8

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

  • This could have been a thorough drubbing, but instead Dallas opted for a comfortable win. As much as you’d like to see unwavering effort from the better team in a game like this one, realistically the Mavs were going to let down a bit, they were going to coast at times, and they were going to rest on their laurels. There’s not much to read into there; the mindset of these Mavs has never really been in question, and how they performed — or chose to perform in this particular game is really of little consequence.
  • But if you’re the kind to worry yourself with the Mavericks’ effort in this game for whatever reason, Dallas’ impressive offensive rebounding marks — a display of pure effort — should at least help to assuage some concern. While it’s true that even a fully healthy Warriors team wouldn’t provide stiff competition on the glass, the Mavs were at least committed to exploiting weakness; Brendan Haywood, Ian Mahinmi, and Brandan Wright combined for 10 offensive boards on their own, and their statistical excellence was a product of a slew of back-taps and team-wide hustle. Dallas may not have had the attention span to be troubled with consistent execution, but they at least worked to keep the Warriors off the glass.
  • After back-to-back games plagued by an odd disinterest, it’s good to see Shawn (14 points, 5-10 FG, eight rebounds) Marion actively engaged again. I still wouldn’t suspect that focus would be a problem for Marion in the playoff series to come, but it’s nice to see any potential warning sign erased, regardless.

  • The big news of the night: Kelenna Azubuike (zero points, 0-2 FG, two turnovers) took the floor as a Maverick for the first time, and looked very much like a player who hasn’t been in the NBA for two seasons. His apprehension was palpable; although ‘Buike has clearly done the work to stay in game shape and likely has kept his skills relatively sharp, basketball requires a sense of timing that can only be honed through repetition. Based on the few burst cuts we saw, I highly doubt that Azubuike spent most of his time on the floor as a spot-up shooter because of any lingering knee pain. Instead, he likely doesn’t know how or when to cut with an offense he’s barely even practiced in. He’ll come around after postseason rehearsal, summer league, training camp, and preseason bring him up to speed, but in the meantime Azubuike is an energy asset at best.
  • This matchup against Golden State again offered an exaggeration of what Brandan Wright (17 points, 8-9 FG, seven rebounds in 17 minutes) can do against opponents who don’t do diligent defensive work inside. He makes it look so easy; Wright’s natural sense of spacing and gradual integration into the offense have guided him into the right spots on the floor more consistently, and his length allows him to literally drop in hook shots with a most feathery touch. I’d wish any playoff opponent but the Lakers on the Mavs for Wright’s sake alone; the guy has had a hell of a year, and deserves a chance to bend the laws of gravity in front of a massive national audience.
  • Rick Carlisle approaches the prospect of resting his veterans with the specificity such an endeavor demands. Vince Carter could actually see more minutes than usual over the final few regular season games, as Carlisle looks to further solidify VC into a role as an aggressive shot creator. Dirk Nowitzki will play some but not much, as he looks to maintain his rhythm without risk of burnout. Yet with Jason Kidd, Carlisle will rightly play to his most conservative inclinations; I doubt we’ll see Kidd on the court again before the playoffs begin, even as Nowitzki, Carter, Marion, and Jason Terry each fill different allotments of minutes based on their physical capabilities and postseason expectations.
  • Jeremy Tyler (15 points, 6-12 FG, eight rebounds) is finally starting to put a few quality games together, but if anyone knows what to make of that fact and his recent numbers operates on a different plane of scouting existence.
  • Mikki Moore will never go away.
  • It’s not entirely fair to judge him so soon after returning from injury, but at this stage I’m not even sure Rodrigue Beaubois (zero points, 0-4 FG, two assists, three rebounds) has the potential to be an x-factor on a game-by-game basis. Even in his finer performances this season, Beaubois has largely been one solid part among several; he bolsters the bench and provides some dribble penetration, but Beaubois as an individual just doesn’t have all that much power to move the needle. He’s still fun, athletic, and occasionally quite productive, but he’s come up far short of the player he was supposed to be. There’s nothing at all wrong with that, or with providing impact by committee. But Dallas isn’t exactly in a position to lean on offense-first players who don’t reduce reliably, and thus may be forced to have less patience with Beaubois than would otherwise be needed.
  • Is there any greater taunt than posting up Brendan Haywood on consecutive possessions to start a game?
  • Andrew

    I would love to hear your take on making Carter a bigger part of the lineup, as I haven't heard you weigh in on that yet.  Good or bad?  Should we have Marion in there to end games instead of Carter, or vice versa?

    • Rob Mahoney

      Will definitely get there, Andrew. Been saving that topic for the playoff preview to come, but I assure you it'll be covered.