You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
- The natural cliche is to proclaim that an NBA season is long, full of peaks and valleys. But tonight’s game belongs firmly enough in the latter category to cause significant concern. The Mavericks slowly and agonizingly relinquished a fourth quarter-lead to a relentless Charlotte Bobcats’ squad, punctuated by offensive stagnancy and offensive rebounding woes. As TMG’s own Bryan Gutierrez notes, the Mavericks have been thoroughly troubled on both sides of the ball when it comes to offensive rebounding: the team currently holds a -55 offensive rebounding margin (expounded by a -13 margin tonight). It’s an issue that plagued the Mavericks throughout the game and perhaps most greatly in the closing seconds, as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s (8-12 FG, 25 points, 12 rebounds) offensive rebound gave Ramon Sessions (5-15 FG, 12 points) a chance to tie the Mavericks and sent the game to an unsuccessful overtime.
- What’s currently most troubling about the Mavericks’ offense is both expected and accentuated: an inability to move the ball beyond unfocused perimeter movement. Most of the Mavericks’ possessions resulted in a pull-up jumper from O.J. Mayo (6-12 FG, 22 points), Darren Collison (7-14 FG, 14 points, six assists, five turnovers), or Vince Carter (6-15 FG, 19 points, five rebounds). The problem isn’t apparent in the acceptable scoring production of each guard, but it reveals itself in the Mavericks’ dismal collective passing statistics, where a mediocre 21 assists was met by 19 unseemly turnovers. These turnovers often occurred because of wasted shot clock opportunities and the lack of a consistent post threat – something Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion’s return will hopefully alleviate.
- It’s very possible that the Mavericks could look back on this game six months from now as a costly missed opportunity that would’ve greatly helped their chances in a competitive playoff race. The Western Conference is not forgiving of losses to teams like the Bobcats.
- Byron Mullens (3-9 FG, seven points, 14 rebounds) had 14 rebounds in 38 minutes tonight, which is perhaps the most worrying statistic to emerge from the whole of this game. Mullens is less than a stellar rebounder (12.5% TRB on the season), so his overwhelming success on the glass is only further proof of how vital Marion is to the team’s rebounding efforts. Without him, rebounding deficits will abound.