You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
- The Wednesday night victory over Portland was game one in a five game home stand for Dallas which stretches out until February 22nd. This home stand is really a last stand, of sorts, in terms of Dallas hoping to make the playoffs. Winning all five seems unreasonable, since a four game win streak is all Dallas has been able to muster to date, but four out of five would be steps in the right direction
- We’ve not seen the O.J. Mayo-Dirk Nowitzki pick and roll as much as I would have hoped this season, but there were a number of instances of it tonight which bodes well for future games. The best example happened towards the end of the third quarter. Dirk and Mayo ran the pick and roll at the top of the key with Mayo driving right and using the Dirk screen. Due to Mayo’s 20 point first half the Blazers were concerned with him turning the corner and getting to the basket. Dirk saw that Mayo drew both defender’s attention and drifted to an open spot near the left elbow. Mayo saw an opening between the defenders and fired a quick pass to Dirk who nailed the ensuing jump shot. It was the sort of “pick your poison” option that used to happen between Dirk and Jason Terry.
- Damian Lilliard started the game with 12 points in the first quarter yet finished the game with 19. I was unable to see the first half due to a League Pass snafu, so I’d be interested in hearing what, if anything Dallas did different defensively beyond the first quarter.
- The difference in execution when Vince Carter (17 points, three assists) is in the line up is something to see. After the ugly Thunder game, the impact of Carter was felt throughout the game. His ability to shake off bad plays and make important ones was seen at the end of the third quarter. He somehow missed both free throw attempts, then forced a lay up, and then followed that up with a turnover when he made a sloppy pass to Dirk. Portland capitalized on these mistakes to go on a 10-0 run to go up by eight points. After a 5-0 run from Jae Crowder, Carter followed up nailing a huge three pointer at the end of the quarter to bring Dallas back within two.
- Great to see Roddy Beaubois (nine points, two assists) get 25 minutes of game action. He’s the best option available for back up minutes. He might not run the offense with the urgency of Mike James, but he’s smooth when he’s playing under control and really gives Dallas a bit of an “x-factor” when he sees his shot start to fall. His three pointer to start the fourth fully shifted the momentum back to Dallas after a bit of a frustrating end to the third quarter.
- Jae Crowder’s 5-0 run near the end of the third quarter was vital for the Mavericks heading into the final period. I still cringe at his shot selection, but the three he made to start the run was huge. His steal on the following Blazer possession was an instance of hustle and basketball awareness, two things he was said to bring to the table when he was drafted. When he plays within himself, he can be a very effective basketball player.
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