The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 104, Memphis Grizzlies 83

Posted by Kirk Henderson on January 13, 2013 under Recaps | Read the First 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.

  • When Dallas managed to start the game by making three of their first 12 shots, I assumed it was going to be another long and painful game. Sometimes, though, being a nattering nabob of negatism means relishing a suprising win — as was the case on Saturday night  when the Mavericks turned on the offense and build up a thirty point lead by the end of the third against a team that’s won more than 70% of it’s games prior to tonight’s win.
  • Granted, playing the second night of a back-to-back clearly challenged the Grizzlies. After a tough overtime win against the Spurs, Memphis looked exhausted early and it showed in the box score as they simply weren’t able to hit a shot, finishing the game shooting 38% from the field.
  • Tonight was a tale of two Kamans. In the first quarter alone, Kaman managed to get up seven shots in around six minutes, only making three in the process. His early shots were rushed and it showed as he wasn’t able to convert a few easy looks right around the rim. He did, however, manage five rebounds in the period.
  • Third quarter Kaman came out playing like a man on a mission, scoring eight points in four minutes in a variety of ways. He started with a back-down hook shot, followed with a 15-foot jumper, then followed by a crafty up-and-under finish near the rim, and finally a pick-and-roll lay-in created off a pass from Darren Collison.
  • I’ve been displeased with the Marion-Dirk-Kaman frontcourt, but tonight those three were also responsible for my favorite play. On the right wing, Marion and Kaman engaged in a 3-5 pick and roll going to Marion’s left. He lost the ball when Rudy Gay reached in, but the ball ended up in the hands of Dirk. Dirk immediatly whipped it to Kaman, who was still on the right wing. Kaman then fed to Marion who had continued his cut to the basket after seeing Dirk end up with the loose ball. Marion banked in a lay up.
  • Shawn Marion (20 points on 9-of-13 shooting) eclipsed his season high set last game against the Kings by doing what he does best: moving without the ball. Towards the end of the first, Dallas cleared out the right side of the floor for a pick and roll between Marion and Collison. After seeing the opening, Marion immediately slipped to the bucket for an easy layup after a Collison feed.
  • Marion also managed to hit two threes in a game for the first time since January of last year. Both were corner attempts. Later in the game he tried one from a bit further out that failed to draw iron.
  • Over his last six games, including tonight, Elton Brand is shooting 66% from the floor. Though he got a little fancy when being guarded by the end of bench Memphis players later in the game, Brand seems to have finally found his niche in the Dallas offense. Tonight he scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds in only 18 minutes of action.
  • Watching Brand with Dirk on the offensive end is fun to watch. At the start of the second quarter, Roddy Beaubois found Brand at the left elbow. A pass fake to Dirk sent both defenders towards the Big German and left Brand to take a wide open jumper which he converted with ease.
  • Speaking of the mercurial French point guard (four assists), he’s quietly put together a series of nice games. Beaubois still actively sinks his game by way of poor shot selection, but he has run the offense well in his very limited bursts of playing time. He works the pick and roll well with virtually any big on the Mavs’ roster, as demonstrated by his smooth execution of the two-man game with Marion in the second quarter.
  • Of course, Mr. Beaubois managed to turn the ball over four times tonight, including two horrible giveaways near the end of the third as Dallas had taken a commanding lead. Carlisle needs to trust Roddy to make the right choices, and after playing a stellar first half, lapses in judgement like these are bound to set him back.
  • A trailing Dirk Nowitzki during a Dallas fast break has to frighten opposing defenses. Nowitzki hit three such shots on Saturday and was fouled on a fourth attempt.
  • Two of Dirk’s shot attempts are worth revisiting. In the second quarter, Vince Carter came up with a tough offensive rebound on the right side of the floor. He attacked the rim but saw Darren Collison in the right corner and passed it to him. Collison drew the defensive attention in a hurry and passed it to Dirk at the top of the key for a three.
  • Later in the quarter, O.J. Mayo pushed the ball up-court off of a Memphis miss and saw Collison again in the corner as he ran into defensive resistance near the rim. Collison received the pass, took one dribble in to draw defensive pressure, and found Dirk on the left side of the floor for an open jumper. Dirk didn’t hit the shot, but managed to draw a foul on Tony Allen.
  • While shooting those three free throws, Nowitzki (a career 88% free throw shooter) actually missed the first two. I wonder: When was the last time that happened?
  • Not to keep harping on the same subjects, but the threat of Nowitzki really creates a catch-22 for opposing defenses. After Dirk had hit the earlier threes, Memphis point guard Mike Conley challenged Dirk immediately on catching a pass at the top of the key in the third. Dirk responded by dribbling towards the bucket, spinning off of Conley’s attempt at defense, and finding Marion cutting from the right wing for a lay up.
  • Dallas has become adept, even in losses, at pushing the basketball. Collison got Memphis on its heels early with a fast break and-one layup after a Vince Carter block of Rudy Gay in the first quarter. He’s finished around the rim much, much more effectively than he had earlier in the season. Though he was only 4-of-8 for ten points, his attacking style paired with Marion’s assertiveness set a tone for Dallas that lasted the entire game.
  • Saturday night marked Collison’s first game without a turnover since December 1st at Detroit. His attacking style will inevitably result in some wasted possessions, but on this occasion he ran the offense effectively without frittering away potential scoring opportunities.
  • All hail the return of O.J. Mayo’s three point shot! Or so we hope. Prior to the two long-range makes on Saturday, Mayo had made just four of his last 25 tries from beyond the arc.
  • Vince Carter returned to his more reasonable role of “Jack of All Trades”. Despite some impressive point totals in Janaury games, I believe Carlisle uses Vince too much in spots. His line tonight of eight points, four rebounds, and five assists gave Dallas a boost in every aspect of the game.
  • The Mavs could easily have won by 40 or more, had Carlisle opted to play his starters any longer than he did. Clearing the bench meant time for Mike James, Sarge, and even Brandan Wright, who saw his first game action since 2012 (he’s been recovering from a quad injury), but that group failed to put up many points and allowed Memphis to chip away from the Dallas lead.

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.