Team Pace Off. Eff. eFG% FTR ORR TOR
Dallas 92.0 121.7 55.1 22.7 30.4 10.9
Golden State 112.0 51.2 28.4 33.3 17.4
You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
- Considering that every NBA team should be expected to make a run at some point or another, this game went quite well. One could demand better maintenance of a double-digit margin, want particular players to score more effectively against such lackluster defense, or pick nits here with Dallas’ occasionally odd execution, but in a general sense it’s hard to look down on an effort where Jason Kidd (nine points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds, three steals, two blocks, two turnovers) made a real impact, Rodrigue Beaubois (11 points, 5-9 FG, five assists, one turnover) was among the more constructive forces on the floor, the reserves managed 57 points, and Dirk Nowitzki (27 points, 10-23 FG) was Dirk Nowitzki. This certainly wasn’t a spotless performance, but it was another quality outing at a time when Dallas can’t afford anything less.
- For the pessimists out there: the Mavs’ execution of the pick and roll seemed fairly lazy at times, as Kidd and Delonte West in particular were completely derailed in their pocket-pass attempts. Things will certainly have to get crisper in that regard, and the transition defense could still use plenty of improvement. Neither of those shortcomings was enough of a problem to put Dallas’ efforts in serious jeopardy, but they could prove more costly if they persist against better competition.
- In their current form, the Warriors are a perfectly miserable basketball team. There were some decent individual efforts on Thursday, but overall the team’s operation is reminiscent of a confined gas; they’re objects floating within the limits of a particular space, toward no end in particular and without any coherence of movement or purpose. The Mavs’ defensive inattentions afforded the Warriors the space to make their random bounces seem constructive, but this is a team in disarray, to say the least.
- Beaubois attempted the ol’ fake timeout in the middle of the second quarter, but seemed to be derailed by either the referee’s quick whistle or coaches walking onto the court in anticipation of play stopping. Hang your heads, friends: a golden opportunity for trickery was lost on Thursday night.
- There seemed to be the slightest reason for concern over Dirk Nowitzki’s lack of involvement in the regular offense over the last few games, but the focus with which Dallas exploited Dirk’s mismatches in the fourth quarter should put every worry to bed. Dominic McGuire was completely victimized by Nowitzki’s systematic work from the left block, and when Golden State dared to throw a double-team his way, it opened up perimeter looks for Mavericks all over the floor. It was very basic and familiar shot creation, but the kind that’s nonetheless nice to see after Nowitzki had put together a few oddly passive performances.
- Beaubois has seemed disenchanted with the simplicity of his basic alley-oop play the last handful of times the Mavs have run it, and has on multiple occasions attempted to add a little flavor. His rendition on Thursday:
- David Lee’s (30 points, 11-20 FG, eight rebounds, five turnovers) virtually ambidextrous game seemed to give Brandan Wright (16 points, 6-8 FG, nine rebounds, two blocks) fits defensively. It almost feels mean to pick on the guy after he had such a strong offensive outing and put together one of his best rebounding performances of the season, but Wright was baffled by the prospect of guarding a player with Lee’s skill set, and seemed to anticipate the wrong move with startling consistency. It obviously wasn’t Wright’s fault alone that Lee went off for 30, but he was well involved in the process, and ceded plenty of open looks by playing the wrong spin, the wrong angle, or the wrong hand.
- Shawn Marion’s (seven points, 2-8 FG, 12 rebounds, five OREBs) effort is almost never in question (even when his focus happens to be), but he was again a one-man flurry on the glass against a Warriors team that seems to abstain from boxing out on principle. Marion’s temporary lack of touch around the rim killed any chances he had of converting tip-ins and put-backs, but he wormed his way to an offensive rebound on five different occasions, and grabbed many of his seven defensive rebounds through straight hustle. I don’t want to prop up the silly cliché that Player x “wanted it more,” but on the small scale of a loose ball opportunity, Marion just seemed to want it more than damn near everybody.
- Klay Thompson’s (24 points, 8-17 FG, 3-6 3FG, seven rebounds, eight assists) scoring has drawn plenty of attention during the Warriors’ stretch run, but I’ve been impressed with his complete floor game. No one will soon confuse him with a primary playmaker, but Thompson has good skills and better instincts — he’s a nice passer, a solid ball-handler, and a good shooter, and seems to have a good enough grasp on the game to utilize those assets in meaningful ways. He and Steph Curry may not be a dream backcourt, but that’s a fun, young pairing with some lofty offensive potential.