The Difference: Los Angeles Clippers 94, Dallas Mavericks 75

Posted by Rob Mahoney on April 3, 2012 under xOther | 5 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.

  • Jason Kidd missed Monday’s game — and is sidelined for the next three, as I understand it — with a groin strain. That’s a bummer, but it’s a valuable opportunity for Delonte West to quickly work himself back into game shape. It’s a trial by fire (or by burn?), sure, but getting a fully effective West back into the regular rotation is a top priority at this point. Dallas needs his shot creation, shooting, and defense badly, and although West was brilliant on Friday against Orlando, Monday was perhaps a more accurate reflection of his game.
  • Rodrigue Beaubois struggled even more mightily. Rick Carlisle seems fully prepared to take the bad with the good when it comes to Beaubois, but it’s these kinds of performances that will likely change his mind. Beaubois’ overdribbling was a big problem, and on a night when Dallas was already struggling to establish consistent ball movement, having the ball lodged on one side of the floor as Beaubois looked to break his man down was pretty painful. Also: in the first quarter, Beaubois threw one of the worst swing passes I’ve ever seen, missing a wide open Jason Terry by a good five feet.
  • At no point did this particular game look good for the Mavs. Even their more adequate runs were laced with turnovers and defensive lapses, and their very occasional buckets weren’t really created as a result of any kind of offensive process. It’s good to know that Dallas can still put up 75 points with every bit of beneficial offensive structure burned to the ground, but I don’t suspect they’ll win many games with offensive execution so lackluster and defensive effort so wanting.

  • Chris Paul scored just eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, and honestly wasn’t even as productive as his 10 assists suggest. How Dallas let this game completely get away from them with Paul playing so poorly is beyond me.
  • Dallas didn’t turn the ball over in incredible bulk, but relative to their incredibly low number of successful offensive possessions, those giveaways were incredibly costly. It’s one thing if the Maverick playmakers push a bit too far with their otherwise productive efforts to make plays, but this was nothing of the sort.
  • This may have been the highlight of the night:

  • I’m not particularly sure when Randy Foye became 1) A knockdown shooter, 2) The best player on either of these two teams, or 3) An elite player, but on Monday he was pretty much all of the above. That should tell you just about all you need to know about the quality of Dallas’ defense, and perhaps we can craft a universal statistical measure based on this concept; I eagerly await the Randy Foye Index.
  • Things got particularly ugly in the second quarter, when Maverick regulars — Dirk Nowitzki, Delonte West, Vince Carter/Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, and Brandan Wright/Ian Mahinmi — couldn’t score at all against the Clippers’ bench platoon. Even with their recent upgrades, Los Angeles is a fairly thin team, and especially lacking on the defensive end.
  • Lamar Odom miss Monday’s game with a stomach illness, which explains everything.
  • Blake Griffin wasted absolutely no time in unveiling some particularly violent dunks. At his best — and perhaps, at his point guard’s worst — Griffin’s dunks are a completely visceral experience. The same is somewhat true of slams of any kind, but Griffin’s hangtime is a state of nature; life itself becomes nasty and brutish as we gasp in wanting for the complete destruction of the rim. Griffin obliged in a way that, frankly, hasn’t been present every night out. Every game is good for an impressive Griffin dunk or two, but this was Blake at his rawest — and what a treat it was.
  • As an extension of that thought, I offer this:

  • Thanks to DeAndre Jordan and Brandan Wright, a single shot featured an uncalled goaltend, an uncalled offensive basket interference violation, and a made tip-in. It’s better if you just don’t ask.
  • We can safely say at this point in the season that, barring injury, Yi Jianlian will not be a rotation regular. And, unlike Brandan Wright and Kelenna Azubuike, Yi’s minimum deal only extends through the end of this season. It wouldn’t be completely shocking if Dallas brought him back again as roster filler, but I feel fairly safe in thinking that the spot minutes Yi gets for the rest of this season could be his last in a Maverick uniform.
  • I’m definitely intrigued by Eric Bledsoe, who had a nice eight-point burst in the Clips’ big second-quarter run. The combination of Bledsoe’s subpar courtvision and overall lack of seasoning can be troublesome at times, but he manages to make hyperathletic moves look astoundingly easy. There’s something there if the Clippers — or any other team — is willing to stick with him.
  • Brendan Haywood almost airballed a two-foot hook shot.
  • But he did do this:

  • It’s a bit troubling that these Mavericks are exploring the worst of their potential with such frequency. There’s no positive spin here; Dallas may as well be Orlando West, though with the benefit of the fact that their conference only has one very good team rather than two.
  • Brian Cardinal’s super aggressive pick-and-roll traps against Chris Paul at the end of the first quarter were pretty hilarious. Cardinal was thrown into the rotation in Odom’s stead, and for this sequence alone, I’m awfully glad that was the case.
  • Honestly, the best thing I can say about the Mavs’ performance was that they made some well-intended interior passes. Otherwise, Nowitzki and Terry — who weren’t by any means sterling — got zero offensive support, the defensive rotations were a joke, the team put a spotlight on its own structural limitations, the offense was almost completely without shot creation, and even the glass went uncleaned. The faster the Mavs can put this one behind them the better; Wednesday will bring another opponent and another game, and a chance to sweep this thing under the rug. Yet there should be legitimate concern if Dallas can sweep this kind of tendency away altogether. It’s one thing to a bad loss behind you, and another to do so in a way that prevents this kind of implosion from happening again.
  • http://twitter.com/KirkSeriousFace Kirk Henderson

    Usually I'll get angry on my twitter feed during a game like this. But not last night.  It's hard to get into the game when the team plays with little passion or at least little consistency.

    Roddy is simply not very good. He probes and plays well against teams that are either bad or are racked with injuries. He needs one good game against a big team when we need a win, and nothing comes to mind.  I'm sure someone can (and should) disprove my feelings, but I just cant stand him.  He makes bad choices on the dribble, his shots have the consistency of poorly made mashed potatoes, and when he looks disengaged you can tell on the first play.  I know coach has to stick with him, but he's just not bringing much to the table.

    Orlando West is an apt comparison. It's about match ups, mood, and a lot of luck for this Mavs team. They are talented, but the pieces have yet to come together beyond that Denver game a few weeks back. All that potential and the various pieces have simply not gelled. 

  • Andrew

    Yeah I agree with Rob on this one…not much to be happy about.  What happened to our rotations on defense? Aren't we supposed to be excellent at team defense? It always makes me kind of made when team don't rotate because it is something that every NBA player can do corretly if he is paying attention and is active.

  • KG

    I think the Western Conference has 2 ”very good teams”…

    • Jacob

      Do you mean the Spurs? They're good, but I'm not so sure they're so good that they wouldn't lose to the Grizzlies again.

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