The Rundown, Volume VII

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on December 3, 2012 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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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.

Turnovers, lack of chemistry and overall poor play has plagued the Mavericks over this recent stretch. To make matters worse, O.J. Mayo has hit a rough patch with his shooting. Desperate times called for desperate measures. Through it all, the Mavericks found a way to end the week on a high note. Let’s take a look at the week for that was for Dallas.

Did THAT Really Happen?

- Dominique Jones got his first start of the season against Philadelphia on 11/27. He got the starting nod as Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle decided to send a message to Darren Collison. The team has been less than enthused about Collison’s overall performance as of late, so they wanted to shake things up in order to get Collison’s attention. It appeared that the move worked as Collison had 12 points, six assists and tying his career high with five steals in 30 minutes of action. The production came at a price as Collison had to miss the next game against the Chicago Bulls due to a sprained right middle finger.

- The game against Philadelphia saw the Mavericks come apart at the seams in the fourth quarter. Dallas committed turnovers on six consecutive fourth quarter possessions to fuel Philadelphia’s 12-0 go-ahead run. There wasn’t any rhyme or reason to the careless play. Despite that, the Mavericks still had a chance to win after a scoring outburst by Vince Carter. The new sixth man for the Mavericks had eight of hist 15 points in the final frame. His final bucket made the score 100-98 in favor of Philadelphia. The Mavericks got the stop they needed and had O.J. Mayo get to the line with a chance to tie the game. Uncharacteristically, Mayo missed the first free throw and then missed the second one intentionally. The Mavericks ended up falling short by the same 100-98 score. Dallas was 19-of-20 from the line before Mayo’s misses.

- The Mavericks announced that they would sign veteran free agent guard Derek Fisher shortly after their loss to the Chicago Bulls on 11/28. After suffering another loss where turnovers and general lack of cohesion on the floor were issues, the Mavericks decided they had to make a desperate move in order to try to fix what ails them. The move saw the Mavericks having to let Troy Murphy go in order to make room for Fisher. Murphy lost his job and his number as Fisher took No. 6. Many wondered what to make of Fisher’s comments when he said that he was told No. 2 (Jason Kidd’s number) was unavailable. Many hoped that meant Mark Cuban was changing his tune in regards to possibly putting Kidd’s jersey in the rafters when he calls it a career. Unfortunately for fans, Cuban was not the one who told Fisher about the jersey. It was head equipment manager Al Whitley. Cuban told the media prior to the game against Detroit that Whitley made an “executive decision” in regards to jerseys and he has no problem with that.

- Dirk Nowitzki’s longtime mentor and personal coach Holger Geschwindner arrived in town over the weekend. Dirk has been out of action for six weeks after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. While Holger arriving in Dallas isn’t a sign of bad news, it isn’t exactly an immediate sign of good news. The Mavericks will continue to keep their information close to the vest in regards to Nowitzki’s return. As far as we know, the timetable has not changed.

Box Score Revelations

- The Mavericks shot 45.7 percent in their game against the Sixers on 11/27 and still lost the game. The Mavericks had a magic number of 45 percent shooting in terms of win/loss success. The game marked the first time this season that the Mavericks had lost a game when they’ve shot at least 45 percent from the floor (moved to 7-1 in such games). As is the case with most teams, Dallas’ shooting percentages will be one of their barometers for success. Going into their game against Detroit on 12/1, Dallas was shooting 52.3 percent from the field in wins this season compared to 39.1 percent in losses.

- It appears that Shawn Marion has begun to really get out of his post MCL funk. He netted a season-high 18 points at Chicago on 11/28. He scored 17 points the previous night at Philadelphia. Prior to the game against the Sixers on 11/27, the most points Marion had scored in a game this year was 11 in the season-opener at the L.A. Lakers on 10/30. Marion had scored in double figures in each of his last three games (18 at Chicago 11/28; 17 at Philadelphia 11/27; 10 vs. L.A. Lakers 11/24) leading up to the game against Detroit. Marion scored only seven points against Detroit, but it appears that he’s back into the form we all expect from him as he’s being extremely active on both ends of the floor.

- O.J. Mayo got out of a scoring drought against the Detroit Pistons on 12/1.  In the last three games leading up to the Detroit games, Mayo was averaging 9.3 points on 32.4 percent shooting from the field, 10 percent from 3-point range. Gimpy ankles and stronger opposition in terms of defense had started to catch up to Mayo. It seemed like Detroit was just what the doctor ordered. Mayo scored 24 of his game-high 27 points in the second half against the Pistons, including 16 of Dallas’ first 17 points in the third quarter. Mayo went 6-for-9 from beyond the arc, marking the third time this season that he made at least six treys in a game. With the win, Dallas improved to 5-1 on the season when Mayo scores 25-plus points in a game. It was Mayo’s ninth 20-point effort of the year. He led Dallas in scoring for the 11th time this season (includes ties). Mayo shot 9-of-16 from the field in the second half, including 6-of-9 from deep. He scored 24 points in the second half, Detroit scored 29.

- The Mavericks used a hot performance from 3-point range in the third quarter to get their comeback victory over the Pistons. Dallas was only 2-of-10 from the perimeter in the first half, but went 6-of-7 from long range in the third quarter. Mayo led the way as he went 4-of-5 from 3 in the period. Detroit could not respond as they went 4-of-20 from the field in the third quarter. Dallas came back from a 44-33 deficit late in the second quarter, marking their second victory of the season when an opponent built at least a 10-point lead on them. Both wins came at home as the first occurrence came against the New York Knicks on 11/21.

Check Your Calendar

- The Mavericks will be on the road this week as they’ve got three games against Western Conference foes. It starts Wednesday night as the Mavericks take on the Los Angeles Clippers. It will be Dallas’ first look this season at Lob City. With Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan running wild, Dallas’ transition defense will need to be in top form. The Mavericks will also need to be aware of the Clippers’ strong presence that can come from the bench. Weapons such as Jamal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe could give the Mavericks fits.

- Dallas will leave LA and head directly to Phoenix to take on the Suns on Thursday night. It’s definitely a different looking Suns squad compared to recent years. Goran Dragic will be a player to watch. Fans should remember Dragic as he was a potential free agent target this summer. As the dust settled in the Deron Williams situation, Dragic was a name that would frequently pop up as a potential point guard of the future option. The Mavericks didn’t like his unproven track record and the suggested market price. They ended up acquiring Darren Collison and Dahtany Jones via trade. Marcin Gortat will be another threat for the Mavericks. Known as one of the most mobile big men in the league, he will present a serious issue to the Mavericks’ pick-and-roll defense. Phoenix is having a unique promotion on the night of the game against Dallas. I have no idea what to make of it.

- Dallas will end their week on the road as they take on the Houston Rockets on Saturday night. After a radical offseason of transition, the Rockets have reloaded with new weapons as they try to build towards the future. Led by James Harden, the Rockets have acquired pieces such as Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. All three weapons provide different things for the roster. As many fans remember during the first round series against the Thunder last year, Harden will be a pest with his versatile scoring. Lin will pester with his facilitating and scoring ability. Asik has emerged as one of the best post defenders and rebounders in the entire league. All three will present major challenges for the Mavericks. The Rockets will be on the second night of a back-to-back as they take on the Spurs in San Antonio on Friday night.

BG’s Baller of the Week

Baller status has been granted to Elton Brand. Through his first 13 games, Brand shot only 34.2 percent from the field, scoring only 5.5 points and pulling down 5.8 rebounds. It appears the veteran big man is figuring things out and it took a bit of a reunion to get going. He recorded a season-high 17 points to along with eight boards in 19 minutes off the bench at Philadelphia on 11/27. The game against his previous team was his third double-figure scoring game of the season and his first since 11/14 (11 points vs. Washington 11/14). Brand recorded his second double-double of the season (398th career) with a season-high-tying 17 points, a season-high-tying 12 rebounds and a season-best four blocks in 28 minutes vs. Detroit. He scored 17 points for the second time in his last three games. The big man has shot 53.8 percent from the field, scoring 12.7 points and pulling down 8.7 rebounds over his last three games.

Brand is getting out of his early season funk. He was concerned about his minutes earlier in the season. If he keeps playing at the level he’s played at over his last three games, minutes won’t be an issue for him for much longer.

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.