You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
- It’s safe to assume that this was one of Brandan Wright’s (16 points on 8-of-12 shooting) best games as a Dallas Maverick. In a game decided by less than three points, every one of his plays on the offensive end mattered. He rolls to the bucket well, catches the ball (an underrated skill for big men these days), and has a smooth touch within eight feet. There have been numerous and loud calls to play Wright more often and tonight he proved he’s worth more playing time. And yet… I can still see why Carlisle is so reluctant to make Wright a part of the rotation. For all his offensive contributions, he leaves his feet way to often when playing man defense; Scola embarrassed him a few times in the first half with basic ball and head fakes. And while he grabbed four rebounds, he also played 23 minutes and didn’t get a single rebound for the first 15 minutes he was out there. To Wright’s credit, he was responsible for a late game strip of Scola which lead to Collison free throws to keep the game out of reach. I believe Carlisle should give Wright more of a chance, but he has to learn consistency on the defensive end of the floor.
- The assertive offensive play from O.J. Mayo (23 points, five rebounds) and Chris Kaman (15 points, seven rebounds) was refreshing to see after last night’s embarrassing loss. Mayo has a tendency to float for stretches of games, whereas tonight he made his impact felt constantly with his shooting and passing. He had six turnovers to pair with his five assists, but Mayo has the skill set to be a play maker even if he is not the primary ball handler. Some of Mayo’s passes are exceptionally ill-advised while others make one question why he’s not a point guard as a full time job. Additionally we saw Kaman take the battle to Gortat, coming off the bench to with a number of sweet low post shots, including two gorgeous fadeaways from the left block. He seems to be more confident in his jumper from the 12 to 18 foot range after he’s made a few shots in the post area. His late game ankle injury paired with Shawn Marion (10 points, five rebounds) straining his groin are potential causes for alarm as Dallas moves forward.
- Derek Fisher (three assists, three rebounds) may have gotten the start, but as the game got close Rick Carlisle stuck with Darren Collison (16 points, 10-of-12 free throws). Collison finding his groove is imperative for Dallas if they hope to keep winning games. As Connor Huchton pointed out after last night’s game, the Dallas schedule has been very weak to date. It’s about to intensify considerably. Strong, consistent play from Collison will be required if Dallas hopes to hang near .500, seeing as Dirk may not make his return until early January.
Kirk is a member of the Two Man Game family. Follow him on twitter @KirkSeriousFace for ranting about Dallas basketball, TV, movies, video games, and his dog.