The Rundown, Volume IV

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on November 12, 2012 under Commentary, Recaps | Be the First to Comment

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The Rundown is back. Every Monday, The Rundown will chronicle the week that was for the Mavericks, as well as let you know what is coming up for the boys in blue, with a unique spin. Simply put, it is your Monday catch-up on all things with the Dallas Mavericks.

After getting off to a hot start, Dallas has seen two avoidable losses pop up as they went out on the road. The question is, how much do we take away from the losses as the Mavericks have once again hit a rough patch with injuries and they obviously deal with life without Dirk Nowitzki? Let’s take a look at the week for that was for Dallas.

Did THAT Really Happen?

- Dallas shot the lights out against Charlotte and Portland. After shooting 61.3 percent (49-of-80) from the field in the 126-99 win over the Bobcats on 11/3/12, the Mavericks shot 61.5 percent (48-of-78) from the floor in the 114-91 win over the Blazers on 11/5/12. The Mavericks had never shot 60-plus percent from the field in consecutive games in a single season prior to the games versus Charlotte (11/3/12) and versus Portland (11/5/12). What’s more, if you combine their field goal percentage over those two games, it’s 61.4 percent. That’s their highest field goal percentage over a two-game span in a single season in franchise history. Dallas recorded consecutive 60-plus percent shooting nights in just their third and fourth games of the 2012-13 season, and without 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki in the lineup. Before the game against the Bobcats on 11/3/12, the last time the Mavericks shot at least 60 percent from the field in a game was at Houston on 11/25/09 (shot 65.5 percent, 55-of-84).

- In just his third regular-season game as a Maverick, O.J. Mayo connected on a career-high seven 3-pointers en route to a game-high 30 points in 32 minutes vs. Charlotte on 11/3/12 (his previous career high was six 3-pointers on two occasions). The following game vs. Portland (11/5/12), Mayo celebrated his 25th birthday by pouring in a game-high 32 points in 39 minutes. He scored 30-plus points in consecutive games for the fourth time in his career but the first since February 2009 (33 at Washington 2/2/09; 32 vs. Houston 2/4/09). The 32-point outing against Portland (11/5/12) was the 10th 30-point game of Mayo’s career. It was also his seventh 30-point game during the month of November. Mayo had seven 30-point games as a rookie in 2008-09, the highest total among rookies that year, but he had only one over the past three seasons (career-high 40 points at Denver 11/1/09).

He has now produced five consecutive games where he’s scored at least 20 points in a game. That’s only the second time in his career that he has done that. Mayo had five straight 20-plus point games during the 2008-09 season (23 v. Utah on 11/22/08, 26 v. San Antonio on 11/24/08; 22 at Utah on 11/26/08; 32 at San Antonio on 11/28/08; 30 v. Oklahoma City on 11/29/08). [It got all Cinco de Mayo up in here]

- Down goes another Maverick. They announced earlier in the week that an MRI confirmed forward Shawn Marion has a sprained left medial collateral ligament (MCL). He did not travel with the team to New York and Charlotte. He will be re-evaluated this week. With injuries to Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Kaman, Roddy Beaubois early in the regular season, another injury, especially involving Marion, is a major loss. Everyone has seen the subtle influence Marion has on the game with him being gone. It will be interesting to see if the injury is a lingering one or if Dallas can actually catch a dose of good news and that Marion can return quickly.

- Dallas has had a major issue on the glass, specifically in terms of offensive rebounds allowed. They are minus-55 in offensive rebounds allowed versus the amount of offensive rebounds they’ve actually collected. By far, that is the worst rating in that specific statistic in the league. San Antonio is the second worst team in that department, but it’s not even that close between the two clubs. You can point to the fact Dallas has shoot well, but they can’t allow that many offensive rebounds to pile up. The issue was on display in the second half and overtime against Charlotte on 11/10 as the Bobcats collected 18 offensive rebounds in the second half and overtime. Dallas has given up 52 offensive rebounds in their three losses (17.3 per game).

Box Score Revelations

- O.J. Mayo definitely loves playing within the confines of the American Airlines Center. With three games at home, Mayo is averaging 28.0 points, shooting 57.7 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from 3-point range. Through four games on the road, he’s averaging 17.3 points, shooting 40.0 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from 3-point range. Mayo leads the league with 28 made 3-pointers this season (28-of-46, 60.9 percent). No other player in the league has made at least 24 long range baskets this season. Through the early portion of the season, Mayo has hit more 3s than some TEAMS. It’s quite a torrid pace he’s started out on.

- Dallas has struggled over the past week coming out of halftime. They scored 37 points in the third and fourth quarters against the Knicks. They scored 36 points in the third and fourth quarters against the Bobcats. With a young or developing squad, they’re learning a very tough lesson in games. Rick Carlisle said after the team’s loss to Charlotte, “This team has a lot to learn about winning. That’s where we’re at. And this is a very painful lesson.” When games have slowed down and they have to operate in a traditional setting, the Mavericks are definitely missing players such as Dirk and Marion.

- Elton Brand is struggling from the field. He is only shooting 15-of-42 (35.7 percent) from the field to start the season. As a career 50.1 percent shooter, this is an incredibly rough patch for the new big man. Maybe he’s been distracted due to the birth of his second child or it’s just a one of those droughts where nothing seems to be working. He’s a seasoned veteran so you hope that the numbers balance out over the course of the season.

- Sticking with the big men, Bernard James grabbed a team-high nine rebounds (four offensive) to go along with six points in 18 minutes off the bench vs. Toronto (11/7). He logged 16-plus minutes for the second time this season (he had 8 points and 6 rebounds in 16 minutes at Utah 10/31). James has shot a perfect 8-for-8 from the line this season. With rebounding being an issue, the Mavericks might have to consider giving James a harder look.

- Looking at the box score, a loss showed up for the first time against the Charlotte Bobcats on 11/10. The Mavericks lost to the Bobcats for the first time in franchise history. They had been 16-0 all time since Charlotte entered the league in 2004. Even with injuries, Dallas had a chance to win the game in Charlotte, but they kept finding ways to stub their toe. The game also saw Charlotte score 101 points. That marked the first time the Bobcats scored at least 100 points against the Mavericks.

Check Your Calendar

- The Mavericks will host J.J. Barea and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night. They will host him, but there is a possibility that Barea will not play in the game as he is dealing with a sprained foot. Despite not having Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio active, Minnesota is doing a nice job integrating new pieces such as Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved. This should be a fun, offense-centric game.

- The lowly Washington Wizards make their lone appearance in Dallas on Wednesday night. They haven’t particularly been a good team over the years, but they are even worse right now without John Wall and Nene. Wall has yet to play a game this season due to being diagnosed with the early stages of a non-traumatic stress injury in his knee. The team is hoping he’ll be able to return by the end of the month. Meanwhile, Nene is still dealing with a nagging case of plantar fasciitis that has kept him sidelined since the conclusion of the London Olympics in August and cost him 10 games near the end of last season.

- Like last week, the Mavericks will have a set of East Coast back-to-backs, starting with a matchup against the Indiana Pacers on Friday night. It will be reunion night as Darren Collison gets to play against the team that traded him to Dallas and Ian Mahinmi will get to see the Mavericks for the first time since they traded him during the summer. The up-and-coming Pacers squad has been dealt a tough hand to start the season. Forward Danny Granger received an injection for the patellar tendinosis in his left knee and is expected to be out close to three months.

- The conclusion of the week and back-to-back will see the Mavericks face the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Mavericks will get to see Kyrie Irving in action. For those who don’t remember, Irving, then a rookie, made a driving layup in traffic with 15.8 seconds left to secure the victory over the Mavericks in their lone meeting last season. The final score was 91-88, but the big story was the fact that the Mavericks gave up 17 offensive rebounds to the Cavaliers. With rebounds an issue this season, this will be a statistic to keep in mind.

BG’s Baller of the Week

Baller status has been granted to one Ovinton J’Anthony Mayo. Yeah, Mayo made the right call. If Ovinton J’Anthony was my name, I’d go by O.J. too. What else can be said about the new shooting guard? It appears he’s bought in to Carlisle’s system. Carlisle has gone as far as saying that Mayo has been a “sponge” and does everything he can to improve as a player. In addition to buying into it, he’s thriving in the system. Turnovers have been an issue, but he’s definitely find a groove as a scorer and opening things up for his teammates. That work can help make you forget about the turnovers. If Mayo can continue to develop and, more importantly, mesh with Dirk Nowitzki when he returns, look out.

If You Don’t Like What I Said, Read What They Said

Mayo has clearly been crushing it for the Mavericks. He had some very enlightening comments after his performance against the Portland Trail Blazers on 11/5/12. Here are some of the highlights.

His thoughts on the flow offense:

“It’s like organized street ball. We have spots that we need to fill and just keep moving…It just opens it up for shooters. It’s kind of unguardable because we don’t do something constant or something you can scout. It’s pretty much read the defense and work off that.”

The reason for his success to start the season:

“I’ve been putting in a lot of work. I kind of just trust what I do and do what I trust. When you work hard, it’ll pay off sometime. It’ll find a way to pay off…I’m just trying find a rhythm and stay locked and loaded…It’s not really about me. I’m just knocking down open shots and putting in a lot of work outside of practice and outside of the games. Everyone is being aggressive…We’re all aggressive, but it’s a controlled aggressiveness.”

The new identity for the Mavericks and what they’ll bring every night:

“We’re going to be scrappy and play hard every night, win or loss. That’s our identity. I just hope [the fans] come out every night and give us that energy…It’s a new identity. We want to show that we can play. We’re just going to be scrappy. We’re not going to give in at all at any time of the game. We’re just going to play hard and play our hearts out. If it’s not enough, it’s not enough that night, but our effort is going to be there. That’s pretty much how we predicate our game.”

Playing without Dirk:

“He’s a part of our team. He’s busting us every day about working hard. Obviously, he’s our chief and our franchise player. With him going down, we understand that all guys have to step up and play that much harder to where when he does get there we’ll be ready to roll.”

Having a chip on his shoulder for this season:

“I worked this summer. Things didn’t go my favor [in Memphis and in free agency], so it just put me back into a just-try-to-get-back-in-the-NBA type deal. I was working every day, just grinding nonstop, two or three times a day. I just wanted to be really prepared to come into this season and just provide for the city of Dallas, for the organization, for the Mavericks. I just want to provide and show that I can play night in and night out. That’s pretty much my focus. I’m just taking it a possession at time, a quarter at a time, a half at a time and a game at a time and just keep building on this.”

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.