You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
- It boggles the mind that the Dallas Mavericks managed to lose a game where Dirk Nowitzki and Elton Brand grabbed a combined 34 rebounds and scored 33 points. That the Mavs gave the ball away 20 times is a big reason, including 13 from the four primary Dallas ball handlers of Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Vince Carter, and Mike James. Sloppy play when every game matters isn’t going to cut it.
- The key possession started with 2:44 in the fourth and the game tied at 88. It lasted a full minute. Dallas managed to grab three offensive rebounds before Larry Sanders stole it from Dirk. Re-watching the possession, Dirk was camped at the three point with no one near him for 20 seconds and his teammates had no idea. I don’t understand how this continues to happen. He’s the best player on the team. Look for him on every possession.
- Darren Collison (12 points, eight assists) has had a tough time shooting the ball since returning from the All Star break, shooting 14 for 44 from the field. Though his shooting percentages for the year look great, he’s had a variety of peaks and valleys and it’s unfortunate that a low point is coming at a time for Dallas when they need him shooting well. He managed to only hit a third of his 15 shots against the Bucks but most were good looks that simply didn’t fall. I wonder how much his odd looking shot mechanics have to do with the streaky quality of his shooting?
- Vince Carter and Mike James managing to go 0 for 12 from the field with five turnovers really hurt the Dallas ability to maintain any sort of lead. Most of Carter’s shots were good looks, the sort he makes with regularity. James, on the other hand, keeps firing with no regard for the fact that he’s shooting a hair under 31% for the season. But he has to keep playing for some reason unknown to anyone outside of the Dallas coaching staff.
- That Dallas wasted throwback performances from two power forwards drafted in the last millennium is infuriating. Dirk looks better and better, boxing out, crashing the boards, and finally putting the ball on the floor and playing with a bit of swagger (thought his two turnovers in the final three minutes really hurt the Mavs). His spinning fade looks particularly good, even if it hasn’t fallen yet. The sort of leg strength and confidence required to even take that shot is impressive. Brand, on the other hand, keeps surprising all Maverick observers. Of his 14 rebounds, seven were offensive, including a few in traffic where the Bucks surrounding him had better angles on the ball. I hope Dallas finds a way to keep him in the off season, but he’s proven his worth as a fantastic back up power forward/center.
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.