The Rundown, Volume XVI

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 4, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | 5 Comments to Read

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The Rundown is back. Every Monday (unless there’s a better feature to run with), The Rundown will chronicle the week that was for the Mavs, as well as let you know what is coming up for the boys in blue, with a unique spin. Simply put, it is your Monday catch-up on all things with the Dallas Mavericks.

To say the least, the playoff hopes are officially teetering on the ledge. The week saw a classic showdown between two future Hall of Famers, a colossal meltdown that left one team singing the blues, a loss that might be the nail in the coffin and the true return of the Tall Baller From the G. There was all of that, and a former Mav popped his head back into the news. Let’s take a look at the week for that was for Dallas.

Did THAT Really Happen?

- It the epic Sunday showdown against the Los Angeles Lakers, Dirk Nowitzki really wanted to bring his elite-level game as Kobe Bryant was on the other end of the floor. The Mavs ultimately suffered the loss because Kobe was doing work, but it was a true sight to see as Dirk was Dirk. He was feisty, calling for the ball and leading the charge for the Mavs. They definitely didn’t lose the game due to Dirk.

- Dallas couldn’t put away Milwaukee. Dirk had a game for the ages, for his standards, and the Mavs still couldn’t close the game out. Monta Ellis ended up having the last laugh on Dirk’s big night as he scored 11 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. The Bucks are a team that would make the playoffs if they started today but that doesn’t make them a team that should instill some fear in your mind. The late game execution was once again an issue for Dallas and it was a game that was filled with brain farts. In a season that was filled with games that they let slip away, the game against the Bucks was another one that will haunt the Mavs.

- Whether Memphis was spotting Dallas 25 points or not, the Grizzlies manhandled the Mavs in the second half. There have been games that have slipped away for Mavs but the game against the Grizzlies was an absolute meltdown. For as well as they played in the first quarter, Dallas was equally atrocious during the duration of the game. Memphis was going to be a tough game due to their grinding pace and dominant big men so Dallas did the right thing by jumping out on them early before getting beaten upside the head. Granted, it’s hard to stop a team when they build a ton of momentum, especially when you’re on the road, but the Mavs should have never put themselves in that spot to blow a 25-point lead. It’s hard to imagine that there’s a loss that has come this season that was more soul-crushing than this one.

- Dallas bounced back after the loss to Memphis and beat a quality team on the road as they beat the Brooklyn Nets. The Mavs moved to 2-15 on the road versus teams currently in top eight of their respective conferences this season with the win against the Nets. The other win came in December as they beat the Houston Rockets. That 2-15 record shows how this season has gone completely sideways for the Mavs. There shouldn’t be any style points given to wins this season. Yes, Dallas almost blew another lead in Brooklyn, but they were able to hold on. It’s not about style points. They just need to do whatever it takes to get wins, so the win in Brooklyn was a quality win.

- Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports first reported the story of Delonte West being scheduled to report to the Texas Legends, the D-League affiliate for the Mavs, today, according to a league source. For those who have forgotten, West was supposed to report to the Legends in early February but declined to report against the advisement of his representation. The Memphis Grizzlies were tempted to offer West a 10-day contract but it never materialized. Sources cited that Delonte would pass on the offer from Memphis if it actually was given as he wanted to join the Legends with hopes that he could show the Mavs he was ready to be a part of their team again. Mark Cuban let it be known that he wasn’t going to be welcomed back to the organization. That brings us to now. West realizes if he wants to make it back into the league, he has to show he’s willing to show he’s a team player and will prove it in the D-League.

- Houston delivered a knockout punch to Dallas with a convincing 136-103 victory over the Mavs. Per Chuck Cooperstein, radio play-by-play voice of the Mavs, the 136 points allowed by the Mavs were the most they have allowed in a regulation game since Dec. 26, 1994. Dallas scored 113 points in that game against Phoenix.

Box Score Revelations

- Dirk the double-double machine came to play this week, starting with the Lakers. Dirk recorded his first double-double of the season (370th career) with a season-high 30 points and a season-best 13 rebounds in 39 minutes against the Lakers (his previous high scoring game this year was 26 points at Portland Jan. 29, and his previous high rebounding total was nine on three occasions). It was his 224th career 30-point game (first since Apr. 18, 2012, 35 vs. Houston). It was also his 107th career 30-point, 10-rebound game.

- Kobe Bryant was up to the challenge against Dirk. Bryant tallied a game-high 38 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, to go along with 12 rebounds and a game-high seven assists in 38 minutes. Bryant, who scored 40 points in his previous game vs. Portland (Jan. 22), ended up averaging 39.0 points on 28-of-44 (.636) shooting during that two game stretch. Kobe might have gotten the last laugh but it was great to see Dirk get into full-on Dirk status.

- Dirk followed up his first double-double of the season with an epic double-double that had him seeing 20/20 vision. He finished the game against the  21 points to go along with a season-high 20 rebounds, three assists and two steals in 35 minutes against Milwaukee. It was his first 20/20 game since Apr. 3, 2003 vs. the L.A. Lakers (25 points and 22 rebounds). It was his seventh career game with 20-plus rebounds and his first since Dec. 27, 2007 (20 rebounds). With a new beard and a healthy knee, it felt like Dirk was channeling his inner Kevin Love with the performance against the Bucks.

- The Memphis meltdown was one for the record books. It was the fourth largest lead blown in team history. The largest lead the Mavs have seen disappear was 30 points in a Dec. 6, 2002, loss to the Lakers. Turnovers and other factors led to Memphis surging into a 36-4 run, seeing that 25-point lead evaporate in about 10 minutes of game action. Dallas had seven turnovers and only five points in the third quarter. Dallas didn’t get their first their point of the period until the 3:51 mark when O.J. Mayo split a pair of free throws. Their first field goal didn’t come until 3:03 mark when Mike James hit a layup. Dallas played 20 minutes of solid basketball. Unfortunately for the Mavericks, the game is 48 minutes long. They scored 38 points in the first quarter but, the Mavs managed to score a total of 46 the rest of the game.

- The third quarter was a bugaboo against Memphis but Dallas handled their business in the third against Brooklyn. It certainly helped to have Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter stepping up. Both squared seven points apiece in the third as the Mavs outscored the Nets 29-14 in the period.

- The loss to Houston marked the team’s 10 loss of the year by at least 20 points. The Rockets outscored the Mavs 44-17 in the third quarter. The 44 points allowed by Dallas were the most they’ve allowed in any quarter this season. Dallas scored 42 points in the second half. Chandler Parsons had a career night as he scored 32 points on 12-of-13 shooting from the field. He started the game hitting his first 11 shots.

Check Your Calendar

- Wednesday will be an interesting game as the Mavs and Rockets conclude their home-and-home series. With Dallas taking their last loss squarely on the chin and their playoff hopes swirling down the drain, how will they perform? There’s quite a bit of pride and veteran leadership on the squad so it’s hard to imagine that there will be a sign of resignation and quit, but they knew what was on the line with the game in Houston. It was clearly a dejecting loss. Wednesday shall be interesting and possibly very telling.

- The Mavs will head to the Motor City as they take on the Pistons on Friday. Having a record worse than the Mavs, Dallas needs to handle their business against Detroit. The margin of error is next to non-existent.

- Dallas will head to take on Ricky Rubio… … …. oh, and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Mar. 10. Minnesota has had to handle the injury bug in a big way this season. They’ve had to rely on former Mav J.J. Barea heavily this season. I’m sure he’ll want to bring something special for his former team. The Mavs have a chance to capitalize on the schedule as the game will be the second night of a back-to-back for the Timberwolves. Minnesota will have a tough game as they head to the mountains to take on the Denver Nuggets. With an up-tempo game against the Nuggets, the Mavs might be able to square up against a deflated Wolves squad.

BG’s Baller of the Week

Baller status has been granted to Dirk Nowitzki. Was there any doubt he’d get it this week? He has had two stinker games since the All-Star break (Memphis and Houston) but those games weren’t exactly due to father time periodically checking in on him. Since the break, Dirk is averaging 18.0 points, 9.3 rebounds on 48.0 percent shooting from the field and 50.0 percent shooting from 3-point range. Whether it is working in the post, faking defenders out of their shoes or hitting them with the one-legged fadeaway jumper, Dirk is back and delivering his full arsenal of moves.

This season has been a tumultuous one for the Mavericks. A revolving door has essentially taken over the entrance to the locker room as players have come and gone. It appears the Mavs’ consecutive seasons streak of making the playoffs (12 consecutive seasons) will meet its end this year. The season has seen more chaos and clobberings instead of cohesion and continuity. In a season that may be completely lost, Dirk’s return to Dirk-like status is a welcomed sight for truly sore eyes. If things continue to go south, Dirk just needs to show the fight and pride that has made him who he is and ensure he’s ready to go for next season.

There won’t be many positives to take away from the season but it’s reassuring to know that the basketball snuggie that is Dirk Nowitzki is not basketball dead.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.

  • Matt Hulme

    You know who really intrigues me? Otto Porter. He needs to add some muscle to his frame, but he’s definitely an interesting option considering the age of our small forwards. Of course Marcus Smart and Ben McLemore are great, but I doubt the Mavs can weave their way down into the top (bottom?) five.

    Are the Mavs in free fall mode yet? They should be. I know I am.

    • http://www.facebook.com/requesada Rolando Quesada

      Yeah it sucks, but we just gotta hang in there. We need to get a good draft pick, so a healthy amount of losses to finish out the season are okay with me – we need a reality check, and if last year’s sweep didn’t do it, not making the playoffs certainly will.

    • http://twitter.com/KirkSeriousFace Kirk Henderson

      The more casual fans dont seem to think so, though math and logic arent in the favor of that line of thinking. I am pro tank at this point. Otto Porter is going to go in the top 8, I think, so Dallas has to have some luck in order to get him. If not, I hope they grab the Michigan PG

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidghopkins David Hopkins

    I remember watching that game on December 6, 2002. I had never been more frustrated by a loss (this includes the 2006 Finals). I stopped watching NBA basketball for a short while after that.

    • http://twitter.com/KirkSeriousFace Kirk Henderson

      I remember that. It was my senior year of high school. I was so angry I had no idea how to handle it. One of the worst single game experiences Ive ever had as a fan.