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’s amazing whatt a simple thing like ball control can do to a team’s chances. After commiting a ridiculous 13 turnovers in the first half, the Mavericks committed two the entire second half. When Darren Collison stepped out of bounds at 10:48 in the third, one could assume Dallas would continue it’s sloppy play. They responded by not turning the ball over again until the final seconds of the game, when OJ. Mayo accidentally stepped on the baseline when the team was simply trying to run out the clock.
- Suns point guard Goran Dragic abused Dallas for the first three quarters, putting up 17 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists. A triple double seemed a forgone conclusion. However, despite playing 10 minutes of the final quarter, Dragic managed only two more points and one assist. I didn’t notice Dallas doing anything that differently with Dragic, oddly enough.
- When Darren Collison (19 points, six assists) gets into a zone he runs the Dallas offense beautifully. In the first three quarters he had 12 points, three assists, and four turnovers. In the fourth quarter, where he only played seven minutes, he scored seven points on three of three shooting, dished out three assists, grabbed one offensive rebound, had one steal, and even a block
- Is the Roddy Beaubois experiment over? Or was this a temporary look at Mike James after giving the back up point guard minutes to Roddy in previous games. James did not have a great game. He dished out five assists and committed three turnovers and somehow managed to shoot the ball nine times in 17 minutes of action, only hitting one shot. Personally, I’d rather see Roddy get time. He’s wildly unpredictable and I’ll take that over the consistent so-so play from Mr. James.
- The other second half change for Dallas was getting offensive rebounds under control. Dallas gave up 10 in the first half, two in the third quarter and none in the final frame. Second chance buckets kept Phoenix out in front early but as those extra possessions dried up as the game went along, Dallas was able to eat into the Sun’s lead. It helped that Dallas was able to grab six offensive rebounds of their own in the final frame as Dallas outscored Phoenix 35 to 24.
- The release point of Brandan Wright (11 points, six rebounds) is incredible. He already jumps extremely high at the height of 6’11″. He combines his jumping ability with a high armed release, making it feel as if his shot is unblockable.
- Returning to Mike James briefly; if he would stop taking these questionable shots I’d be much happier with his minutes. He started the second quarter with a wild fast break lay up attempt that managed to only hit the back board. That sort of shot is as bad as a turnover, in my opinion. The other side of the coin with James, though, is that he makes really smart passes on occasion As Dallas rallied down 10 in the third, James ran a beautiful pick and roll with Bernard “Sarge” James that saw Sarge catch a one handed bounce pass at the free throw line, take one giant step and lay it in gracefully. More of those plays and Mike James can play all the back of point he wants.
- According to my colleague Bryan Gutierrez, the twelve blocks from Dallas were the second most from any team in a game this year. Particularly impressive were the four from Shawn Marion (14 points, 11 rebounds).
- My favorite example of Wright’s high release: a pick and roll with O.J. Mayo at the end of the third quarter along the right wing. Wright set a screen and rolled baseline. As Mayo fed him a bounce pass the Suns defense had done it’s job; the baseline acts as a defender, limiting Wright’s ability to move. He simply rose above both defenders to shoot a fantastic 10 foot jumper.
- Wright and Sarge shared the front court with Vince Carter for long stretches. It worked. Granted, it’s not a if the Suns front court is amazing (though Luis Scola should teach PhD classes in basketball footwork), but it’s seasoned and crafty, and it was delightful to see a second round rookie and a power forward with limited defensive awareness hold their own.
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