The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 85, Denver Nuggets 106

Posted by Connor Huchton on December 29, 2012 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

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Box Score – Play-By-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • Despite the somewhat lopsided final result, the Mavericks had several chances to make this a very competitive game, all the way up until the Nuggets’ final run in the middle of the fourth quarter.
  • The Mavericks grasped none of those chances, leading to another uneven loss.
  • Danilo Gallinari (14-23 FG, 7-11 3PT, eight rebounds) scored an incredibly quiet 39 points. The Mavericks left Gallinari open for a variety of corner threes, and he seized his opportunties.
  • Andre Iguodala (7-12 FG, 4-6 3PT, 20 points, eight rebounds) served as the other central Nuggets’ offensive threat, and capitalized on his own three-point chances.
  • Iguodala is not a historically strong three-point shooter, but his jumper can tend to be streaky.
  • The Mavericks were treated to the unfortunate type of streaky from him tonight.
  • As for the Mavericks’ offense, the performance was largely dismal with brief spurts of exciting passing and transition play.
  • So, quite similar to the Mavericks’ offense we’ve seen all season.
  • There weren’t many individual moments or performances to remember for the Mavericks, either.
  • O.J. Mayo scored acceptably (6-13 FG, 15 points, five steals) for the first time in five games, but also recorded a dismal six turnovers.
  • Like I wrote last night, Mayo’s turnovers often seem entirely avoidable. Mayo could likely reduce his turnovers by simply waiting for a few more moments before passing when ball movement stalls.
  • Dirk Nowitzki’s (2-10 FG, five points, one rebound) performance exuded tepidity after a few easy jumpers (for Dirk, that is) fell in and out of the rim.
  • Struggles are expected from an aging player just returning from injury, but time is running out for the Mavericks to right the proverbial ship in a very competitive Western Conference.
  • In all likelihood, the Mavericks will now need to win about 33 of their last 52 games to compete for a playoff spot, after a 12-18 start against a mediocre schedule.
  • That’s a tall and unlikely order, but the Mavericks have an accomplished seven-footer capable of rising to great heights.
  • (That wasn’t a great joke.)
  • The Mavericks are talented enough to make such a run, but it would take a near return to 2011 form from Dirk and a return to early-season form from O.J. Mayo to do so.
  • But the individual play of Mayo and Dirk is likely less integral to future success than overarching team chemistry, something which the Mavericks lacked for long stretches on Friday night.
  • One significant barrier currently blocking the Mavericks’ defensive chemistry is the struggle of Elton Brand (0-2 FG, 0 points, three rebounds) to find his role on the court.
  • Brand has missed quite a few easy scoring opportunities this season, and it’s neutralized his still-effective defensive ability at times. If Brand can’t provide acceptable finishing in a pick-and-roll dominated offense, it negates the defensive boost he’s capable of bringing the Mavericks.
  • Sunday’s opponent, the rival San Antonio Spurs, are stronger than tonight’s opponent and have played very well recently, including an impressive offensive victory tonight against an emerging Rockets’ team. If the Mavericks can indeed begin a much-needed turnaround, a win Sunday would be a terrific way to start.