The Rundown, Volume XVIII

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 18, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | Be the First to Comment

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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.

The end might be near for the Mavs as another back-breaking loss finished their week. Dallas is now four games back of the Los Angeles Lakers for the 8th spot in the Western Conference with only 16 games left. It might take a miracle for the Mavs to make it 13 consecutive playoff appearances. Let’s take a look at the week for that was for Dallas.

Did THAT Really Happen?

- Chris Kaman went from the starting lineup to appearing on the side of a milk carton in the game against the Bucks. He started, played a total of 2:14 and was done for the night. Carlisle told reporters in Milwaukee that he didn’t put Kaman in a position to succeed by going up against an athletic big man in Larry Sanders (hey, now). Kaman was clearly peeved with the situation. He does have a solid case when he mentioned a few weeks ago that he’s struggling with trying to figure out what his actual role is with the team. He goes from starting, to sitting for a couple of games, to playing off the bench. He’ll just need to learn to be ready for anything.

- Kaman needs to learn to be ready for anything, except for this. No…..NO!

- Much discussion came from the final shot in San Antonio, one taken by Vince Carter, not Dirk Nowitzki. On the final possession, Carter took a contested 3-point shot as the Mavs were down only one point. It shouldn’t come as a shock that Carter took the final shot. Behind or tied, within 3 points with less than 10 seconds left, Carter has taken eight shots to only one shot for Dirk. The numbers are going to be somewhat skewed with Dirk missing a solid chunk of the season due to his knee surgery, but it still shouldn’t be a surprise that Carter takes a lot of the shots. Look at the specific instance in the San Antonio game. Dallas had less than six seconds to work with. Timing, defensive placement and the ability to separate were things going against Dirk having a solid chance to succeed. That leaves Carter as the next likely participant to take the final shot. In retrospect, the only thing Carter could have done differently is play more off the mismatch of having the bigger Tiago Splitter trying to defend him. Carter had him off balance and he needed to use that to his advantage.

- Dirk voiced his displeasure about the overall spacing on the final play against the Spurs. He wasn’t upset that Carter got the final shot, but he felt that he attracted more defense in the area of where Carter was trying to operate. No one needs to try to make Dirk voicing his displeasure about the play into anything bigger than it actually was. All it shows is that Dirk isn’t the awkward kid we saw when he arrived in Dallas. He’s a man and he knows he can openly speak his mind on different issues. No one should have a problem with that.

- Shawn Marion was diagnosed with a strained left calf, more serious than the initial diagnosis of a contusion, when he was re-evaluated by team physician T.O. Souryal on Friday. There is no definite timetable for Marion’s return. With his overall versatility and peskiness on defense, the Mavs need Marion at 100 percent. They’ll have to survive as best as they can as he continues to recover from the injury.

- It was a random night, so you knew Roddy Beaubois would find his way into the stat sheet. Actually, it was much needed as the Mavs were on the second night of a back-to-back against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Energy was needed and Roddy responded. Beaubois tallied a team-high 18 points to go along with three rebounds and a team-high-tying five assists in 22 minutes off the bench against Cleveland. It was his best all-around game of the season. He was battling on the defensive end of the floor and playing with a force and intensity we’ve rarely seen out of him.

- Of course, Roddy followed that great performance against the Cavs with a potential season-ending injury against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Beaubois exited the game after fracturing the second metacarpal in his left hand during the second quarter. He is out indefinitely. If the injury is a season-ending one and free agency looming, this could be the last time Roddy wears a Dallas uniform. It’s such a shame and a disappointment that Roddy has never been able to fully tap into his potential that he’s shown during his four-year stint with the Mavs. Was he about the turn the corner? We’ll never know. It will be an interesting summer for the young guard. If the game against the Thunder does mark the end of Roddy’s stint with the Mavs, he went scoreless in six minutes of action and committed three turnovers and two fouls.

- I guess the D-League isn’t such a bad option after all. After refusing to take an assignment with the Texas Legends and being released by the Mavs, it was reported that Dominique Jones signed with the Springfield Armor of the D-League. With the inability to be active for the playoffs, it appears no one in the league decided it was worth even as little as a 10-day contract to decide if Jones could help their team out.

- Dirk went the entire fourth quarter of the game against the Thunder without a single field goal attempt. His last attempt from the field came with 2:25 left in the third quarter. While Dirk didn’t necessarily force the issue and that falls on his shoulders, a majority of the blame has to fall on Rick Carlisle and the other guys on the team. Carlisle did take responsibility for the lack of touches and shots by Dirk in the fourth quarter. Yes, teams are going to try to take Dirk out of the equation, but everyone else on the Mavs’ squad have to find ways to free space out on the floor for him. There is clearly a personnel issue for the team as they lack a true distributor, like Jason Kidd, who can ensure Dirk is able to get touches or shot attempts. That’s not to say the team is missing Kidd. It’s just that they’re missing someone who can orchestrate the offense on a consistent basis. After the game, Dirk deflected the notion that the team went away from what was working, mainly him shooting the ball. He noted that the team wasn’t having an issue on offense and that they couldn’t come up with key stops against the Thunder.

Box Score Revelations

- Jumper after jumper rained down from Vince Carter in the game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Vince scored 13 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter in the victory for the Mavs. It’s a shame that Dallas doesn’t have a better record because it would put a bigger spotlight on Vince Carter. To many, he’s been the best player on the Mavs this season. He’s been dramatically better than he was last season and much more consistent as a scoring threat. He was clearly in high demand during the trade deadline and his performance in the game against the Bucks was a good example of why.

- Dallas was neck and neck with the San Antonio Spurs down to the bitter end. When looking back at the loss, the Mavs only need to look at the rebounding stat to see where they hurt themselves. The Spurs were +14 on the glass with a 49-35 rebounding advantage. At one point in the first quarter, Tim Duncan had more rebounds than the entire Dallas squad. Duncan ended up finishing the game with 19 rebounds.

- Dirk Nowitzki notched his third straight double-double (fifth of the season, 374th career) with 13 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals in 33 minutes against Cleveland. It was his third straight game with 11 boards.

- Dirk was truly efficient against the Thunder. He made his first eight shots of the game before missing his final two. Unfortunately, the efficiency and end result led to something Dirk and the Mavs have never experienced before during his time with the team. With him going 8-of-10 from the field in the loss, Dallas moved to 12-1 all-time when Nowitzki shot at least 80 percent from the field in a game (minimum 10 field goal attempts).

Check Your Calendar

- The Mavs come off their loss against the Thunder and have little time to prepare for the Atlanta Hawks. The game will be the second night of a back-to-back for the Mavs as well as the fourth game in five nights. The game for the Hawks actually marks the second night of a back-to-back as well as the fourth game in five nights for them.

- Dallas will host the Brooklyn Nets in their lone appearance to the American Airlines Center on Wednesday. It should be somewhat interesting to see the reaction Deron Williams receives during the game. It will be the first time he plays in front of the hometown crowd since opting to stay with the Nets instead of signing with the Mavs as a free agent. With Dallas taking the first matchup between the two teams earlier this month, they know they need to handle their business and take the season sweep against Brooklyn.

- It’s reunion night on Friday as Jason Eugene Terry returns to Dallas as a member of the Boston Celtics. It will be the lone appearance of Terry and the C’s this year. Knowing Terry, he’ll want to do everything in his power to rain daggers down on his former team and show them what they’re missing. It’ll also be the first time the Mavs see the Celtics since it was revealed they were almost trade partners at the deadline. That’s just another wrinkle on a game that should be highly entertaining.

- Dallas’ week ends as they host the Utah Jazz on Mar. 24. The game will mark the first night of a back-to-back for the Jazz as they will host the Philadelphia 76ers on the 25th. With Dallas and Utah fighting to capture the 8th spot in the West, this will be a must-win game for both teams.

BG’s Baller of the Week

Baller status has been granted to … no one. You could make a case for Dirk, Brandan Wright and even Jae Crowder, but the state of affairs doesn’t necessarily lean towards the positive end. The Mavs started the week with such promise and momentum on their side only to see it go by the waste side with two losses to the Spurs and the Thunder. Sure, moral victories can be had by hanging tough with those elite teams but moral victories aren’t going to inch Dallas closer to the 8th spot. A loss to the Hawks would likely be the kill shot to the playoff hopes for the Mavs. This week truly summed up Dallas’ season in a nutshell. Just when things were starting to look up, reality once again came crashing down.

A year of change and a youth movement appears to be coming to a sputtering halt. Without some luck on their side, 16 games separate the Mavs from a long and disappointing summer.

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.