The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 86, San Antonio Spurs 111

Posted by David Hopkins on December 31, 2012 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

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Box Score – Play-By-Play — Shot Chart — Game 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.

  • On the bright side, it didn’t feel like a blowout until the 4th quarter. Throughout the game, the Mavs were within reach. The teams took turns with their scoring drives; it always appeared close.
  • By comparison, the last time the Mavs played the Spurs on December 23rd, it was a soul-crushing 38 point loss. This game was only slightly soul-crushing with a 25 point loss.
  • Another way to look at it, this season, the Spurs have beat the Mavs by 31.5 points on average.
  • The Mavs have had 14 different starting lineups in the past 31 games. Vince Carter started for the first time this season. It didn’t help. At 8:28 in the first quarter, the Spurs were ahead 14-2.
  • San Antonio’s big three were… big. Tony Parker had 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 9 assists. Manu Ginobili had 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. And Tim Duncan had 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks. They scored 53% of their team’s total points. They are boring but deadly.
  • Also to the Spurs’ credit, they shot 50.6% as the visiting team. When a team shoots that well, the opponent cannot afford to make many mistakes. One big mistake would be allowing your opponent to shoot 50.6%.
  • Towards the end of the 2nd quarter, Darren Collison called for a pick. Collison then drove to the basket before Brand could get set. Duncan easily blocked the lay up. It wasn’t pretty. No, this botched offensive possession didn’t cost them the game, but it’s a decent example of how the Mavs aren’t playing as a team right now.
  • The Mavs needed a big 3rd quarter, and could do no better than maintain the 12 point deficit. There was an invisible wall. Dallas kept running into it.
  • Dirk Nowitzki is still getting back into his playing rhythm. Unfortunately, when a team’s franchise player contributes only 8 points, he has to be listed as non-factor #1 in this game.
  • O.J. Mayo appears to be slipping out of his playing rhythm. When this season’s top scorer also only contributes 8 points, he has to be listed as non-factor #2 in this game.
  • The Mavs need Nowitzki and Mayo. If they don’t play well, the Mavs can’t win.
  • Something to consider: The Mavs only had 11 turnovers. (O.J. Mayo only had 2 turnovers!) They had more assists than San Antonio. They outrebounded San Antonio. They still lost. It’s enough to drive a coach crazy–so kindly ignore Carlisle comments about “suspending players.” He’s just trying to think outside the boxscore.
  • The Mavs have lost 9 games by 19 points or more. That’s 29% of the games this season.
  • The Mavs shot 6.2% (1-16) from 3-point range. This shooting percentage is even more depressing when you look at the roster and see that the Mavs have quite a few good 3-point shooters.
  • In the 4th quarter with 5:54 remaining, the Mavs were down 11 points. I thought to myself, “It’s now or never.” Then Tony Parker made an 18 foot jump shot. Mayo missed his shot. Stephen Jackson hit a 3-pointer. Nowitzki missed his attempt at a Kareem-esque sky hook. On the other end, Duncan was fouled and made both shots. Within 38 seconds, the Mavs were now down 18 points. Fans started to leave the building.
  • When Brandan Wright, Dahntay Jones, and Dominique Jones came in for the first time with 3:37 remaining, even more fans left. During the “junk minutes,” none of them scored.
  • Last week on ESPN’s 5-on-5, I said some not nice things about Darren Collison. My words may have been: “for all his scoring potential, hasn’t been the floor leader the Mavs need.” I take it back. Lately, Collison has been a ray of sunshine. He’s averaging 18.8 points per game over his last 4 games and has led the team in scoring in 3 of Dallas’ last 4 games. I was most pleased by his 8 assists. That may not sound like an impressive amount, but during their last blowout (i.e., their last game) Collison had half as many assists. He’s averaging 4.9 assists per game this season. This game was a step in the right direction.
  • Elton Brand had a good game with 14 points and 10 rebounds. More of this please.
  • Bryan Gutierrez listed three keys to the game in his “Setting the Table” post. Let’s review them… #1. Guard the 3-point line. The Mavs did all right in the first half, limiting the Spurs to three of eight from behind the arc. The second half slipped away from them. In the end, the Spurs were 42.1%.
  • #2. Be cognizant of San Antonio’s thievery. As mentioned before, the Mavs only had 11 turnovers.
  • #3. Play inspired. No inspiration was witnessed. I saw a lot of ill-advised shots, which is code for “I don’t know what else to do, so I’ll just chunk it up there.”
  • If you’re a fan of the +/- stat, our +/- loser of the night is Vince Carter. When he was on the court, the Mavs dropped to -28. He had a nice dunk and scored the Mavs’ only 3-pointer, so the highlight reel might be more forgiving.
  • Jae Crowder was the only Maverick with a positive +/-. It was +1.
  • Shawn Marion did not score a single basket unless you count his 2 free throws. All the shots he missed were normal Matrix-friendly shots.
  • The Mavs now have a six game losing streak. Currently, the longest losing streak in the Western Conference. Let’s stay positive: The Mavs have 51 games remaining. The season is not lost.