The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 74, Toronto Raptors 95

Posted by Connor Huchton on December 15, 2012 under Recaps | 2 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. 

  • Losing to the lowly Raptors has a way of plummeting expectations. But this loss shouldn’t be shocking, given that this Mavericks’ team is currently average at best.
  • The first sign that this game was headed for an underwhelming finish came with O.J. Mayo’s (2-8 FG, 10 points, six turnovers) struggles. Quite simply, the Mavericks don’t win when Mayo isn’t playing well.
  • Even so, no respectable team should score a mere 74 points in an NBA game. But when the Mavericks’ second best scoring option, Chris Kaman (7-18 FG, 15 points, five rebounds), began forcing looks in an attempt to jump start the team’s offense, things quickly took a turn for the worse.
  • Kaman can’t be blamed for an occasionally inefficient scoring night. What he can be blamed for is a continuing inability to rebound well.
  • He’s currently sporting the worst rebounding rate of his career, to give that thought some context. 
  • One player who absolutely did not struggle to score was Brandan Wright (6-6 FG, 13 points). Wright scored in droves without missing a shot over the course of an all-too-short 14 minutes.
  • It’s worth wondering why Wright only played 14 minutes on a night when the Mavericks could not have needed his scoring more badly. Wright’s defensive struggles are well documented (and he recorded zero rebounds tonight), but they aren’t significant enough to preclude his presence during games when efficient scoring is at a premium.
  • Other than Wright, the Mavericks bench performed dismally in this game, combining for only 27 points.
  • Linas Kleiza (20 points, 7-13 FG, 5-11 3PT), with his semi-formidable combination of strength and three-point shooting skill, is the type of player who can achieve scoring bursts against teams without a true defensive center.
  • The Mavericks are one of those teams.
  • Though defensively impressive in past seasons, the Mavericks are now ranked a mediocre 17th in defensive efficiency.
  • For a team that currently has only two capable high-volume scorers, the resulting need to score at a high rate creates an increasingly frequent problem and often leads to losses.
  • Things aren’t about to get better: the Mavericks opponents to this point have a 162-199 record.
  • In the next 6 games, opponents have a record of 88-42.
  • Let’s take a moment to admire the resiliency and constancy of Shawn Marion (12 points, 13 rebounds, 4-7 FG), who is competent or better in the majority of games and almost always able to make some form of impact.
  • The only other Mavericks’ player (not named Dirk) you could say that for is O.J. Mayo, and his game is nowhere near as wide-reaching as Marion’s.
  • Though this is a bit of a tangent, it is now my tenuous belief that the Mavericks should have re-signed Tyson Chandler in the summer of 2011.
  • It’s easy to spout that belief in hindsight of the Mavericks’ free agent failures, but the question of whether Deron Williams or Tyson Chandler is a more valuable player lurks in my mind, especially in a Mavericks’ system that thrives with an elite defensive center. Chandler has improved the Knicks’ defense in great increments over the last two seasons, while Williams has often struggled to perform at an elite level with the Nets and has had particular difficulties on the defensive end.
  • And that idea comes with the following facts, courtesy of Jared Dubin. Those considerations make one wonder whether the choice would have been preferential even had the Mavericks managed to sign Williams.
  • Of course, that opinion comes with the caveat of knowing Chandler playing at this level wasn’t a certainty at the time of his departure, after a small sample size of success.
  • (If Chris Paul or Dwight Howard somehow signs with the Mavericks this summer, I rescind this tangent.)
  • http://twitter.com/DirksRevenge Brian Rubaie

    Couldn’t agree more with missing Chandler/wanting more B. Wright. This was a great summary of the Mavs’ most disappointing result of the season.

  • Harry

    Seems ironic but Cuban could become more known for free agents he let go than for ones he signed