The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 123, Sacramento Kings 100

Posted by Connor Huchton on February 14, 2013 under Recaps | Read the First Comment

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You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • “Where would the Mavericks be without Vince Carter?” is not a question I thought I’d be asking myself in February, but here we are.
  • Carter (9-15 FG, 6-9 3PT, 26 points, five rebounds) carried the day (or night) for the Mavericks by knocking down five three-pointers in the third quarter against an ever-floundering Kings’ defense.
  • Carter is now bordering on 40% for the season from three, which places him just behind O.J. Mayo (3-11 FG, 0-7 3PT, 10 points, three steals, three turnovers) on the Mavericks’ three-point shooting ladder.
  • On nights when Mayo’s jumper isn’t falling, having Carter as an outside threat is vital to the offensive effectiveness of Dallas.
  • Not many people liken the basketball style and production of Vince Carter to that of Larry Bird, but Carter has now scored more points than the famed Celtic.
  • (Tonight, he passed Bird for 29th on the all-time scoring list.)
  • Two other players carried the weight for Dallas: Darren Collison (7-12 FG, 18 points, nine assists) and Dirk Nowitzki (6-9 FG, 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists, three steals).
  • Collison looked sharp in transition play and did a good job of finding Carter open on the wing in the second half.
  • He also made four of five attempts at the basket, reinforcing the idea that if Collison is going to succeed in the Mavericks’ system, it will be by exploiting spacing advantages (often via Dirk) to the tune of reaching the rim and finishing artfully.
  • Tonight, he did that, and the rest of his game followed suit.
  • As for Dirk, this game provided great encouragement.
  • This was the second consecutive game where Dirk looked much like his old (or in this case, younger) self.
  • He spaced the floor well, made open jumpers, and took long strides to the rim when overplayed by a defender.
  • Those are the Dirk tenets to success, and their implementation resulted in both scoring and passing improvements.
  • Dirk’s passing has become more important to his game with age, and when he’s scoring at will in conjunction with those passes, his ability to assist evolves into a more potent threat.
  • I’ve also been very pleased with how Bernard James (2-3 FG, five points, six rebounds, 16 minutes) has played in his recent starts.
  • He’s paired quite well with Dirk on both ends, taken shots only when needed, and rebounded with decent aplomb.
  • He still struggles with foul trouble a little too easily (he recorded four fouls tonight), but the rest of his skills progress nicely with each game.
  • Comparing how the Mavericks and Kings controlled the ball tells the story of the game fairly well: 27 assists and 12 turnovers for the Mavericks; 17 assists and 18 turnovers for the Kings.
  • Jae Crowder’s (4-7 FG, 3-6 3PT, 11 points) solid play in a fairly brief 16-minute stint served as a pleasant surprise.
  • Crowder’s minutes have dwindled in quantity and consistency during recent weeks, so it’s nice to see him seize an opportunity like this.
  • Every time I watch the Kings, most of the team appears all-too-passive when it comes to guarding the perimeter. That passivity seems like a fixable problem, but it could be the product of an overarching personnel issue (only James Johnson strikes me as an above-average perimeter defender, and he spends much of his time guarding power forwards).
  • With the All-Star Break upon us, it’s a good time to look forward. The Mavericks will likely have to win about 20 of their remaining 30 games to compete for a playoff spot. I’m hopeful that the 8th seed is still possible, but the Mavericks will need to become a far better road team than they have been thus far this season (15-10 at home, 8-19 away) to achieve such a chance.
  • Nick

    I really hate when you are the one who gets to write the difference. Especially when there was a large margin. You treat it like a joke and it’s a shame. Someone has to be willing to do a better job than you do.