The Rundown, Volume VI

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on November 26, 2012 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

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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.

Well, the Mavericks just can’t seem to build any kind of momentum. Emerging as a growing trend in this early portion of the season, this week was filled with ups and downs for Dallas. In addition to that, fans received news that was less than favorable about everyone’s favorite Tall Baller From the G. Let’s take a look at the week for that was for Dallas.

Did THAT Really Happen?

- Dirk Nowitzki told members of the media on 11/20 that he was going to need another two weeks before being able to resume basketball activities. He also announced that he would likely need another week or two after that period to get back in basketball shape. It appears that the target date for Dirk to make his season debut will come somewhere in the middle of December. While the news isn’t great and fans want Dirk back in the mix, the big news is that Dirk mentioned that he hasn’t had any setbacks during his rehabilitation process. That is extremely positive for his recovery process. If he’s able to avoid any setbacks, that should bode well for outlook for the remainder of the season. Everyone will just have to be patient and hope that Dirk has something worth playing for when he rejoins the team.

- The revolving door that is the starting lineup was at it again as the Mavericks. Troy Murphy made his first start of the season (482nd career) and managed two points and five rebounds in 18 minutes against the New York Knicks. He had to leave the game in the second quarter with an upper respiratory illness. Murphy started in place of Elton Brand. Brand’s struggles through the early portion of the season have continued, so Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle decided to make a switch to the lineup. Another switch occurred on 11/24 against the Los Angeles Lakers. Carlisle decided to go with the starting lineup that fared well against the Lakers on opening night (Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Shawn Marion, Elton Brand and Brandan Wright). It appears that Carlisle is still continuing to evaluate certain player combinations as he tries to find groups that work together and do so in an efficient matter.

- The Mavericks were taken to the woodshed at the expense of the Los Angeles Lakers. The game was out of hand early as the Mavericks allowed 65 points in the first half, the most they have given up in any half this season. The Dallas defense struggled as they allowed players to blow right by them. As the defense tried to collapse, the Lakers took advantage and found open players for looks from 3-point range. The Lakers went 8-for-10 from 3-point range in the first half. The Mavericks just didn’t stand a chance as the Lakers threw an early haymaker, leaving Dallas stunned. The Mavericks came off an impressive win over a hot Knicks squad, but followed it up with a disheartening loss to the Lakers. The defensive disposition and overall level of toughness needs to improve.

Box Score Revelations

- After managing only four points in the first half of the game against the Warriors on 11/19, O.J. Mayo scored 23 points in the second half and overtime and finished with a team-high 27 points on the night. He added five rebounds, four assists and two steals in 41 minutes. Mayo scored all 11 of Dallas’ points in overtime in the 105-101 loss to Golden State. Prior to Mayo, the last player to score all of his team’s points in an overtime period (with at least 10 points) was Russell Westbrook at New Jersey on 12/1/10 (he scored all 13 of Oklahoma City’s points in the third overtime period of that game). Mayo went 5-of-8 from the field in overtime against the Warriors (11/19/12). He finished with a team-high 27 points in 41 minutes. Twenty-three of his 27 points came in the second half and overtime.

- Rebounding continues to be an issue for the Mavericks. That was on display in the game against the Warriors as they were outrebounded by Golden State 62-43. The Warriors had 19 offensive rebounds against the Mavericks in the overtime game. Dallas simply has to do a better job being physical and fighting for space against their opponents.

- The team has a magic number for their shooting percentage: 45. The Mavericks are 7-0 when they shoot 45-plus percent from the field in a game this season. Despite being without 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki (22.9 points/game career scoring average), the Mavericks are scoring the ball well this season. The Mavericks are averaging 100.9 points per game this year, which is the fifth-highest scoring average in the NBA. The Mavericks have not finished a season ranked in the top 10 in scoring since 2008-09 when they averaged 101.7 points per game (ranked 9th in the league). The last time the Mavericks finished a season ranked as high as fourth in the NBA in scoring was in 2004-05 when they averaged 102.5 points per game (ranked 3rd). The Mavericks are 6-1 this season when they score 100-plus points in a game. The Mavericks defeated the Bobcats 126-99 on 11/3/12. It was their highest scoring game since 3/10/11 (defeated New York 127-109). The most points the Mavericks scored in a game in 2011-12 was 122 at Phoenix on 1/30/12 (defeated the Suns 122-99).

- Jae Crowder had his first DNP-CD (Did Not Play – Coach’s Decision) against the Golden State Warriors. He responded in a big way with strong performances against the Knicks and the Lakers. He recorded 12 points and four rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench against New York. Crowder then tallied a season-high 15 points to go along with a season-high-tying four rebounds and a season-best four steals in 21 minutes against the Lakers. He previously scored a then season-high 12 points on two occasions. It appears that Crowder has bought in to Carlisle’s ‘Be Ready’ philosophy with players who come off the bench. The second-round draft pick has been a nice addition to the roster.

Check Your Calendar

- This begins a lot and potentially painful stretch for Dallas as they play five of their next six, eight of their next 10 and 16 of their next 23 games on the road. It is time to put on their road warrior shoes after their three-game homestand with a trip to Philadelphia to take on the Sixers on Tuesday night. It will be interesting to see the mindset of the Mavericks as they have time to let the loss against the Lakers stew in their mind for a couple of days. Dallas will be looking to avoid dropping below .500 for the first time this season. This marks the fifth time this season the Mavericks have had a .500 record going into a game.

- After the game against Philadelphia, Dallas heads right to Chicago to take on the Bulls on Wednesday night. That game will be the second game of a back-to-back for the Mavericks. Dallas 1-2 in the first half of a back-to-back and 1-2 in the second half of a back-to-back this season. The Mavericks have 16 back-to-backs in 2012-13, with only one stretch of four games in five nights. In total, 10 back-to-backs are on the road, three begin at home and conclude on the road and three are road-to-home. Dallas played 22 back-to-backs in 2011-12, going 7-15 in the first half and 13-9 in the second half of those back-to-backs.

- Dallas will have Thursday and Friday off before they host the lowly Detroit Pistons on Saturday night. Unlike last week’s games, none of the games on the slate this week will see an opponent having a game the night before their game against the Mavericks. At this point, fans should not worry too much about what the opponent has been doing. Everyone should be worrying about what the Mavericks are doing and if they are making any kind of progression as the games go by. Momentum has been something that has alluded the Mavericks during the recent stretch of games. The Mavericks have now alternated wins and losses in each of their last seven games. The Mavericks have not recorded consecutive wins since they defeated Portland on 11/5 and Toronto on 11/7 (Dallas swept its three-game homestand from 11/3-11/7).

BG’s Baller of the Week

Baller status has been granted to Vince Carter. Vinsanity had a nice week for the Mavericks as he averaged 16.7 points on 50 percent shooting from the field for the Mavericks. Carter shot an impressive 47.6 percent from 3-point range with an average of 7.0 treys taken per game during the week. It was also a memorable week for Vince as appeared in his 1,000th career regular-season game against the Lakers. He became the 104th player in NBA history to reach the milestone. It was Carter’s 75th regular-season game with Dallas. In addition, with his second 3-pointer of the game (1,529th career) at the 2:58 mark of the third quarter, he passed former Maverick Nick Van Exel (1,528) for 16th place on the NBA’s all-time 3-point field goals made list. Carter scored a team-high 16 points in 17 minutes off the bench. He made five 3-pointers in a game for the third time this season.

With the Mavericks in a transitional phase, Carter has stepped up as a leader and role model for the younger players. They rely on his wisdom and consistency from game to game. It also appears that the younger players have rubbed off on Carter as he’s shown a stronger disposition by taking charges on the defensive end of the floor. The Mavericks needed someone to fill the bench scoring void that was created with Jason Terry’s departure. It was assumed that it would be a committee approach, but Vince Carter has definitely done everything he can to handle that responsibility all on his own.

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.

  • Matt Hulme

    First of all, love the photo.

    Secondly, while the loss to the Lakers was as potent a reminder of this team’s limitations as we’ll ever need, I won’t forget the fire and want they showed against the Knicks, and the fact that they bent but didn’t ever break against that swarming, brutal fourth quarter Knicks defense.

    It gives me hope. Not so much hope for the roster as currently constituted, but that the 2012-2013 Mavericks won’t be a one-trick pony once the Big German returns, and CAN serve up a functional, multi-dimensional offense.

    Defense? Well, that’s another story. But I am pleased with Carter’s play of late and his maturity amongst a roster of young guns, and of course, Marion’s ever-impressive and always steady play, especially critical as the team’s one true defensive stopper.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bryan.gutierrez.50115 Bryan Gutierrez

      I make sure to use photos from my absolute FAVORITE local photographer, Justin Terveen. He has brilliant shots with local flavor/swag.