You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
- At halftime, Dallas had four more offensive rebounds than the Clippers, gathering eight to the Clipper’s four. In the third quarter alone, the Mavericks gave up eight, and three more in the final quarter. Two of those three came on one possession for the Clippers with around a minute left and the Clippers up 97-93. Caron Butler moved Carter underneath the rim and took the rebound away from he and Dirk Nowitzki for the first rebound. For the second, Butler got the rebound because Carter made no effort to box him out. Carter’s been a solid rebounder this year, but this sequence is indicative of the Maverick inability to close games.
- With 2:19 left in the third quarter, Dallas held a 75-65 lead. At the 10:42 mark in the fourth, the Clippers had tied the game 76-76. Then, by the 6:45 mark in the fourth the Clippers had taken a 90-83 lead. In just over seven and a half minutes, the Clippers managed a seventeen point swing on a 25 to eight run.
- This loss is maddening, mainly because for most of the game, Dallas did all the right things against the Clippers. They packed the paint to prevent any “Lob City” style dunks. The defense forced Blake Griffin (15 points, 13 rebounds) into a number of tough shots and also into committing six turnovers. Darren Collison (22 points, six assists) punished LA’s lackadaisical attempt at transition defense. And this is all with Dirk, Mayo, and Kaman shooting a combined 15 of 40 from the field. But when Chris Paul (19 points, 16 assists) decided to assert himself when Dallas went up by 10 in the third, the feeling of the game changed immediately.
- The shot select of Chris Kaman (nine points, four rebounds) is frustrating to watch. He took twelve shots tonight, including seven jumpers of the 12 to 17 foot variety. He hit two of those jumpers. He’s at his best when he attacks the rim through his crafty post play. For some reason, he has the green light to shoot far too many mid-range or fade away jump shots and it’s really doing the team a disservice. Kaman has such good moves, but doesn’t use them nearly enough.
- Carlisle’s in a rough spot with his crunch time line ups. In the final minutes tonight he finally went with the Dirk-Brand combination I’ve been hoping for, with Collison, Mayo, and Carter rounding out the starting five. The trouble spot in particular is the small forward position. On the one hand, Marion gives Dallas superb defense, excellent movement without the ball, and a certain “je ne sais quoi”. On the other hand, Carter brings outside shooting, pick and roll ball handling, and the ability to take and make tough shots. Tonight, Carlisle opted to go with Carter. It did not work out.
- To a certain degree, Dallas fans (myself included) have been spoiled by great point guard play for a long time. Jason Kidd, the great Steve Nash, followed by the solid Devin Harris, then Jason Kidd again. Darren Collison has had his ups and downs but one thing he’s not fantastic at is pin point passing. In the second quarter, he threw a truly aweful ally-oop pass to Shawn Marion who was wide open and was unable to catch and convert due to the low quality of the pass. I hate to pick nits in a game where Collison was really excellent, but in games that come down to detail execution, the little things can really add up.
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.