You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
- After hitting a three at the 7:43 mark of the third quarter, Dirk Nowitzki played 8 minutes and 49 seconds without attempting a shot (he did attempt two free throws). This does not include the time he spent on the bench as his next shot came at the 7:33 mark in the fourth quarter. The lack of a Dirk-centric offense is really concerning. The argument has been made that Dirk’s still working himself back into form, but it’s hard for him to do so when he doesn’t get shot opportunities. Dirk took 14 shots and attempted six free throws. O.J. Mayo 20 attempted shots and no free throws. Who is (or should be) the number one option in this offense?
- The lackluster contributions from Shawn Marion (10 points, 3 of 10 shooting) really took a toll on Dallas’ offensive flow. The Mavericks rely on his easy buckets which come on the break or through ball movement, and Marion’s well-timed cuts are a valuable action in both contexts. Yet against the Hawks, Marion had trouble getting much of anything to fall, missing dunks, put-back attempts, and post-ups as he struggled to contribute.
- Maverick fans got a taste of the crest of the Josh Smith experience. 26 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, on 66% from the field and 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. He’s an impressive player, no doubt, but I also question the Maverick strategy of defending him. First, Dallas opted to have Dirk cover him defensively, which is bizarre considering Dirk’s lack of lateral quickness. Second, the Mavericks didn’t even try to challenge his outside shots. I understand giving him space, but he is a paid professional basketball player, and these guys can hit open shots given the opportunity. Even a late challenge might have affected his jumper a bit, and in the process earned the Mavs a more significant buffer.
- The O.J. Mayo experience is hard to quantify. He takes and makes tough shots, as he did in the first half, shooting 6 of 9 from the field and getting some friendly bounces on the rim. Then he follows that up with an atrocious second half, shooting 3 from 11, including six misses on long two point shots. His late game turnovers also effectively cost Dallas the game. The first, a fast break turnover when he did not have a numerical advantage is a somewhat understandable, if frustrating (he should have known a player was behind him). The second, where he passed it off of a defender’s back is inexcusable. The quality of Mayo’s offensive decision making is often a key factor in a game’s final outcome.
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.