You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
- Mark Cuban may love Vince Carter (9-19 FG, 22 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists) more than I do, but I too admire the aging guard’s resolve. Carter had regressed a bit over the last month or so, but tonight reminded me why I was so enamored with his vitalized play in late-February and early-March. His performance was one of immense substance and resolve for a team no longer fighting for the playoffs, no longer fighting for much of anything other than a .500+ record and a lower lottery pick. Thank you for a season of stalwart professionalism, Vince Carter, and I hope to say the same as next season ends.
- When Corey Brewer (6-20 FG, 18 points, five steals) scored off a steal as regulation dwindled to a close, I did not expect the Mavericks to rise up and control the overtime period. But so they did, mostly thanks to O.J. Mayo (7-13 FG, 5-7 3PT, 20 points, six assists, two turnovers), who made a late bid for changing Mavericks’ fans perceptions with a commendable scoring performance. Mayo’s ability to find rhythm and function as a key offensive weapon in the Carlisle offense seems largely dependent on his ability to limit turnovers. With an offseason and another season in Carlisle’s system, it’s a problem Mayo may be able to address and quell to some extent. There’s no guarantee of that essential improvement, but Mayo is still only 25 years old.
- Though he tired a bit down the stretch, Dirk Nowitzki (9-17 FG, 22 points, 10 rebounds, four assists) provided a very resilient and potent 40 minutes tonight. He’s not the Dirk of old – he’s the old Dirk – but he’s still capable of charging an offense and bringing rebounds down with the most tenacious of elbows. Time has been the Mavericks’ bane for the last two years, and while it may be presumptuous of me, I’d like to ask time to freeze until next season, and allow this basketball Dirk to begin and end the 2013-2014 campaign in the same impressive form of recent months.