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 somewhat fitting that the playoff hopes of the Mavericks were squashed with finality against the Denver Nuggets due to the same exact issues that have plagued Dallas all year: dribble penetration and offensive rebounding. When Kenneth Faried grabs more offensive rebounds (nine) than the entire Maverick team (eight) it’s incredibly hard to win. Dirk Nowitzki ended up with only ten shot attempts again, but Andre Igoudala did his defensive work early, making it hard for Dirk to get the ball in his favorite spots. In fact, Dallas was lucky to be in this game at all, let alone ahead for almost the entire second half. The Nuggets shot 39% from the field, well below their season average of 47%. Denver was terrible around the rim against Dallas (see charts below), making just under 22 of 54 attempts, an incredible 17% under their season average of 58%. As much as I’d like to credit the Dallas defense, the Nuggets missed a lot of easy shots. However, Denver made up for this shortfall by shooting 20 more free throws than Dallas, a byproduct of their rim attacking style. That former Maverick Corey Brewer, who was traded to Denver for cap space and the possibility of limited playing time, and 37-year-old Andre Miller put up a combined 45 points on Dallas only makes this loss harder to swallow.
Denver Shot Chart vs. Dallas
Denver Shot Chart 2012-2013
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.
You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
Despite the somewhat lopsided final result, the Mavericks had several chances to make this a very competitive game, all the way up until the Nuggets’ final run in the middle of the fourth quarter.
The Mavericks grasped none of those chances, leading to another uneven loss.
Danilo Gallinari (14-23 FG, 7-11 3PT, eight rebounds) scored an incredibly quiet 39 points. The Mavericks left Gallinari open for a variety of corner threes, and he seized his opportunties.
Andre Iguodala (7-12 FG, 4-6 3PT, 20 points, eight rebounds) served as the other central Nuggets’ offensive threat, and capitalized on his own three-point chances.
Iguodala is not a historically strong three-point shooter, but his jumper can tend to be streaky.
The Mavericks were treated to the unfortunate type of streaky from him tonight.
As for the Mavericks’ offense, the performance was largely dismal with brief spurts of exciting passing and transition play.
So, quite similar to the Mavericks’ offense we’ve seen all season.
There weren’t many individual moments or performances to remember for the Mavericks, either.
O.J. Mayo scored acceptably (6-13 FG, 15 points, five steals) for the first time in five games, but also recorded a dismal six turnovers.
Like I wrote last night, Mayo’s turnovers often seem entirely avoidable. Mayo could likely reduce his turnovers by simply waiting for a few more moments before passing when ball movement stalls.
Dirk Nowitzki’s (2-10 FG, five points, one rebound) performance exuded tepidity after a few easy jumpers (for Dirk, that is) fell in and out of the rim.
Struggles are expected from an aging player just returning from injury, but time is running out for the Mavericks to right the proverbial ship in a very competitive Western Conference.
In all likelihood, the Mavericks will now need to win about 33 of their last 52 games to compete for a playoff spot, after a 12-18 start against a mediocre schedule.
That’s a tall and unlikely order, but the Mavericks have an accomplished seven-footer capable of rising to great heights.
(That wasn’t a great joke.)
The Mavericks are talented enough to make such a run, but it would take a near return to 2011 form from Dirk and a return to early-season form from O.J. Mayo to do so.
But the individual play of Mayo and Dirk is likely less integral to future success than overarching team chemistry, something which the Mavericks lacked for long stretches on Friday night.
One significant barrier currently blocking the Mavericks’ defensive chemistry is the struggle of Elton Brand (0-2 FG, 0 points, three rebounds) to find his role on the court.
Brand has missed quite a few easy scoring opportunities this season, and it’s neutralized his still-effective defensive ability at times. If Brand can’t provide acceptable finishing in a pick-and-roll dominated offense, it negates the defensive boost he’s capable of bringing the Mavericks.
Sunday’s opponent, the rival San Antonio Spurs, are stronger than tonight’s opponent and have played very well recently, including an impressive offensive victory tonight against an emerging Rockets’ team. If the Mavericks can indeed begin a much-needed turnaround, a win Sunday would be a terrific way to start.
You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
Dirk Nowitzki had an easy 22-point night and Jason Kidd threw together a triple-double on a whim, but this win was all about Jason Terry (30 points, 13-18 FG, 3-5 3FG). It apparently wasn’t enough for JET to stick to his regular fourth-quarter routine. He dropped eight points over a three-minute stretch in the second quarter. He put up 11 on perfect 5-of-5 shooting during seven minutes in the third. Then he capped it off with six more points in the fourth and threw a crucial assist to Kidd for a spot-up three. Terry couldn’t have been better, as he created points and benefited from Kidd’s passing to put together a pretty complete scoring game. They weren’t all jumpers, either; obviously the J is Terry’s weapon of choice, but he didn’t neglect driving opportunities on Tuesday night. Good on him.
Tyson Chandler (two points, five rebounds, 13 minutes) gave Mavs fans a panic attack when he came down awkwardly on his right ankle in the second quarter, but he was diagnosed with a sprain. Still not a good thing — there’s still no word on Chandler’s status for Friday. It could definitely be worse though, and the Mavs’ D isn’t capable of sustaining itself without Chandler at its focal point. Brendan Haywood (seven points, 3-4 FG, four rebounds) and Ian Mahinmi (zero points, zero rebounds, four fouls) are good players to be able to bring off the bench, but neither could perform so successfully in that prominent role. That said, Dallas did well defensively on Tuesday. Just don’t expect every opponent to have Andre Iguodala (15 points, 6-14 FG, seven rebounds, four assists) or Jrue Holiday (14 points, 6-15 FG, seven rebounds, six assists) around to be duped into taking jumpers.
Rodrigue Beaubois only finished with six points in just under 13 minutes, but he looked far more comfortable in putting his teammates in scoring position. Beaubois didn’t exactly rack up the assists, but he was making some nice one-handed feeds off the dribble (with both hands) to open teammates on the three-point line or spotting up from twos. Dallas had trouble hitting open shots all night, but during his stint, Beaubois nonetheless generated quality opportunities for players other than himself, which hasn’t quite been a constant.
Talented though Beaubois may be, there are still plenty of things that separate him from Terry and others. Within the context of the Mavs’ offense, one of them is screening; Dallas runs a lot of baseline action (and some at the elbow) in which guards are called upon to pick off Dirk or Shawn Marion’s man. Beaubois did a better job on Tuesday in that regard than we’ve seen in a long while, but he could still learn a lot from JET on how to set screens on players twice his size.
Dallas didn’t exploit it particularly well, but Nowitzki had this game under wraps. Philadelphia shifted more defenders his way as the game progressed — which no doubt helped Terry explode for 30 — but the Mavs also worked away from Dirk a fair bit despite his considerable matchup advantages. The 76ers seem particularly limited in the bodies they can throw at Nowitzki; Elton Brand doesn’t have the size, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes are poor post defenders, and the team tends to switch a lot of screens. That makes a pretty sweet cocktail that should have allowed Nowitzki to be the one with 30+, but the game just didn’t unfold that way.
Both Marion and Young did a good job on the glass; Marion finished with two offensive rebounds and 10 overall, while Young grabbed three offensive rebounds and seven total.
The Mavs didn’t make shots, but the execution was still a plus. Lots of good movement from Dallas, and Kidd did a fine job of getting the ball to cutters who found their slice of open space. Dallas made nine of their 11 first-quarter field goals in the paint (per @mavstats), and ended up with 40 points in the paint for the game. Of course the Mavs opted for jumpers at time, but there was little settling. The overall efficiency numbers don’t reflect the Mavs’ shot selection, but they were working for good looks throughout the night.
I’ve written before on the impact a limited, below-average player can have on a good team in the right setting, and Jodie Meeks (16 points, 4-7 3FG) fits into that mold quite perfectly. I wouldn’t say Meeks is a scorer. Not in Phily’s system, and likely not in any other. At the NBA level, he’s much more a spot-up/pull-up shooter, and overextending him would lead to a tremendous drop in efficiency. Yet Meeks can offer something that many of his teammates cannot, and he’s shot his way into a prominent role and a starting job as a result. Every good teams need players who can do what Meeks — and J.J. Barea, Ian Mahinmi, etc. — does: create a niche for themselves despite supposed redundancies.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com, on which teams could challenge the Lakers this season: “In the East, you have the same three contenders as you had going in: Boston, Miami and Orlando. In the West, I really like what I’ve seen from Dallas. Defensively, I think they’ve taken a step forward with Tyson Chandler replacing Erick Dampier. If their offense can come around, they’ll be a stronger foe than we thought the Lakers would have in their conference.”
Chris Mannix of SI.com: “Bottom line, to get out of this Groundhog Day-like loop, Dallas needs to make a change beyond what it’s already done. Since February 2008, the Mavs have acquired Kidd, Marion, Butler, Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson and Chandler to revamp their roster. Mark Cuban committed $80 million to Nowitzki last summer and signed Kidd to a three-year, $25 million extension in 2009 because Kidd, even at 37, is still better than most point guards in the league. Cuban didn’t sit on the sideline when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were being courted. He just didn’t have enough to get them. But to avoid history repeating itself again, the Mavericks may need to take even more risks. They have movable assets like Butler ($10.5 million expiring contract) and Stevenson ($4.2 million expiring contract). James, Wade and Bosh are no longer available, but there could be a few potential difference-makers who are.” Mannix goes on to suggest Gilbert Arenas and Andre Iguodala as possible trade returns for Caron Butler. One of those suggestions is tremendous and would be quite helpful, and the other could end up crippling the franchise for a decade. I’m not sure we’re at the stage where Butler has to go or the Mavs have to make a move just yet, but if that day comes, here’s to hoping the Mavs stay away from the guillotine.
It was rumored at one point that Greg Ostertag may be trying to make a comeback (or start his coaching career) with the Texas Legends, but no longer. According to Marc Stein, Ostertag will stay retired for now, citing “family reasons.” Bummer.
Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas: “His 84 field-goal attempts rank third on the team, just 12 shots behind Jason Terry — in one less game – who has made 20 more shots. Marion has made three fewer baskets on 25 fewer attempts. Jason Kidd is the only rotation player shooting a lower percentage (34.7), but Kidd has put half as many attempts and isn’t needed to score in bulk as is Butler. But, that doesn’t mean Marion is the more logical choice to start. Marion has handled the move to the bench with grace and a team-first attitude when at least some outsiders viewed it with trepidation. There’s no reason to stir things up by asking Butler to now come off the bench, a move he probably wouldn’t welcome. During an ESPNDallas.com chat prior to the start of training camp, Butler was asked if the team had plans to bring him off the bench. Butler stated that he’s not at a point in his career where that move makes sense. Plus, the Mavs want Butler on the floor and performing well, not only to accomplish team goals, but to elevate Butler’s value in the case his $10.8-million expiring contract can be flipped in a beneficial trade.”
Regardless of whether Nowitzki wants fanfare or not, the Mavs have launched DFWDigsDirk.com for fans to show support for ze German. Nothing too special, but the Mavs’ official store is offering a 41% discount on all Dirk merch as part of Dirk’s honorary week.
Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News: “…I would be shocked if the Mavericks don’t hang around the hoop and try to get a rebound in the Chris Bosh situation. People have been downplaying Bosh because he may end up being a package deal with LeBron James. But Bosh met early today with Houston GM Daryl Morey and if the Rockets are making a push for Bosh on the basis of pairing him with a perhaps-healthy Yao Ming, the Mavericks can do better than that. If the package deal with LeBron falls through, the Mavericks should be in the hunt for the 6-10 hometown kid, even if he’s a little reluctant to play in his backyard and put that extra pressure on himself. Dirk would help him alleviate it.”
Even though the Mavs may look like a better team on paper, the Rox are far and away the more likely Bosh destination. For one, Houston has a plethora of interesting assets (their own draft picks, the Knicks’ draft picks, young talent, expiring contracts) that could tempt the Raptors in a sign-and-trade, but the bigger issue is Bosh’s willingness to suit up for Houston. He’s a far more natural fit alongside Yao than he is alongside Nowitzki, and don’t think for a second that Chris doesn’t know that. Considering how set he is on playing power forward, he may be the least attainable free agent out there.
Even though the summer’s premier free agents give the Mavs a nice pipe dream to chase, the far more realistic option is an Al Jefferson/Andre Iguodala style trade without the red tape of free agency.
Donnie Nelson clearly prefers veteran free agents to undrafted ones, and for obvious reasons. There are a number of intriguing veteran options to be had on the market for a chunk of the Mavs’ MLE, but I can’t help but wonder: does that also open the door for a D-Leaguer or two?
Caron Butler on Twitter, back on Tuesday a little before midnight: “About to check out twilight ill get back and let you’ll know what’s good holla”
The three players most commonly linked to the Mavs are all wings: Kevin Martin, Andre Iguodala, and Caron Butler. The Mavs’ interest is said to flow in that order, meaning that acquiring Butler may very well be a back-up plan. It’s definitely an option, but hardly the option.
As my ESPN.com colleague Chad Ford wrote Thursday, Washington’s preference is moving Butler ahead of team statesman Antawn Jamison, who has been chased hard by Cleveland since last season and with particular vigor since the Cavs lost out to Charlotte in the trade race to acquire Stephen Jackson.
On the surface, a Jamison-to-Cleveland trade would seem somewhat irrelevant to the Mavs; a team in the opposite conference would get stronger by preying off of another team in the opposite conference, with none of the Mavs’ rumored targets directly compromised. But consider this: Cleveland is supposedly aggressively pursuing Antawn Jamison via trade, while the Mavs supposedly have something of a Josh Howard-Caron Butler swap on the back-burner. Though Washington may prefer to move Butler, they may not be in a position to move both Butler and Jamison. Trading away all of the talent opens up quite the can of worms, and the Wiz will have a rough go of it drawing season ticket holders and free agents alike if there are no ballers of note left in D.C. by summer.
If Jamison is indeed item 1-A on the Cavs’ agenda, it could put the Mavs in a tough spot: either Dallas strives for a possibly more attainable target in Butler (remember, Sacramento is still unwilling to move Kevin Martin and Andre Iguodala likely has Samuel Dalembert tied to his ankle as a salary anchor), or could miss out entirely if the Mavs’ other plans fall through and Cleveland scores Jamison. It’s a bit premature for the Mavs to jump on a deal for Butler, but there’s definite reason for the decision-makers in Dallas to have their ear to the ground for tremors out of Cleveland.
Now that trade season is officially upon us, I’ll be revving up the rumor dissection and analysis. But to take it a step further, we’ll be checking in with the Mavs’ rumored targets of choice periodically to keep tabs on their recent production. So keep your eye on the prize, no matter your prize of choice.
’09-’10 hasn’t been a great year for Caron Butler, but you’d never know it based on his dismantling of the Orlando Magic on Friday night. Butler poured in a season-high 31 points against Orlando’s stable of swingmen, and colored within the lines on a game-winning play:
Butler didn’t go rogue with the game on the line, but stuck to the game plan and was rewarded with a clean look. It’s also amazing what not having Shawn Marion in your face will do for your offensive game. To go along with his tidy 31 points (on 50% shooting with eight free throw attempts), Butler rounded out the box score with nine rebounds and two assists.
Kevin Martin’s night at the office was a bit abbreviated, but for all the wrong reasons. Phoenix absolutely ran Sacramento off the court Friday night (the Suns scored 39 in the first quarter alone), and Martin logged just 27 minutes as the starters turned in a bit earlier than usual. Not that Martin’s 27 were particularly productive — K-Mart scored just five points on 2-9 shooting. Perhaps worst of all: Martin was -31 on the night.
Andre Iguodala is the image of versatility, and his statistical contributions typically indicate as such. That was certainly the case on Saturday night, when he led the Sixers to a 102-95 victory over the Rockets. 14 points on 37.5% shooting is hardly awe-inspiring, but 10 rebounds? Six assists? Two three-pointers? All against a team of stellar perimeter defenders? Not too shabby.
The 76ers are limited offensively, and depend heavily on Iguodala to make everything go. Teams in that vein will always be fighting an uphill battle against Trevor Ariza, Shane Battier and the Houston Rockets, making 14-10-6 a pretty impressive line. Not to mention the fact that Ariza had just nine points on 33.3% shooting.
If Andre Miller has been haunting your dreams over the last few days, you might just want to skip on down to the second set of bullets.
Kelly Dwyer took a moment to reflect on Andre Miller’s monster night: “It was quite the show. Jason Kidd, Jose Juan Barea and Jason Terry just could not cut off Miller from penetrating into the lane for a series of stretched-out lay-ups. Absolutely could not stop the guy. Shawn Marion, a fantastic defender even in his advancing years, defended Miller ably but still failed to keep him from tossing in shots. Miller just drove, drove and drove toward those 52…And, for someone who essentially had the ball in his hands in every Portland possession, Miller’s two turnovers in 42 minutes of play might be more impressive than the 52 he gave Kidd, et al. “Might be.” Those 52 points, as a guard who has bounced around, working for a new team that has involved him in trade discussions for the last month and a half, for a player who will turn 34 in two months, against a team that prides itself on its sound defense? This was a bit of a jaw-dropper.”
In the least surprising bit of news all season, Rick Carlisle was none too impressed with the Mavs’ defense against Portland (via Eddie Sefko): “We’ve gotten very soft defensively as a team…We were a tough-minded team the first quarter of the year, and that’s gone by the wayside...It’s an attitude adjustment that we’re going to have to make to get it back.”
After the game, Miller was completely unphased by his own feat. Whether that’s measured as complacency or serenity is almost purely based on circumstance. Take it away, Ziller: “Jason Quick of The Oregonian heard from Miller’s teammates just how little the fitty-plus performance changed Dre’s M.O. Martell Webster said Miller walked into the locker room after the finish as if nothing had ever happened. LaMarcus Aldridge said Miller was stoked for the win — which came almost entirely because of Miller — but had no time to celebrate the personal achievement. And this is Miller, basically. When things weren’t going well between Dre and coach Nate McMillan earlier this season, Miller’s quiet confidence was seen as disruptive aloofness, as if the reserved and perturbed Miller upset the team’s once marvelous chemistry. Now? It’s egoless contentment, and no doubt Miller would be fine with 10 FGAs in the next game. Amazing how circumstances change perception.”
Dave from Blazers Edge qualifies Miller’s night with a bit of perspective: “Had this been Jerryd Bayless people would have been screaming to the highest heavens that he is the next Superstar of the League and Portland should start him now and always and so on and so forth. Miller had 52 points in this game and he’s none of those things (except the starter part), never has been, and never will be. In fact he had 7 and 2 points in the two prior games. Good players can have fantastic games. You ride them and celebrate them but in the end you judge a guy on what he does night in and night out and not what he did in one or two games.”
Mark Cuban, on nature of the trade market as we near the deadline (via Brad Townsend): “I don’t see any bargains happening out there, so I’m not looking for any big deals…Now that we have that trade exception, if somebody else has a big deal go down, we can demand a talented young player to pop in there,” Cuban said. “That might be our best opportunity…We’ll see. I think everybody waits for the perfect deal until the last second.”
“Winning isn’t always finishing first. Sometimes winning is just finishing.”
It’s easy to start with what went wrong against the Sixers, but one thing certainly went right: with the game on the line, the Mavs got the ball into the hands of a proven killer, put him in his comfort zone on the floor, and just watched as a relentless 76ers comeback was wiped away by a gentle splash of the net. Yet again, the Mavs were in a position to demoralize their opponents, the plucky, hard-working, but outclassed Philadelphia 76ers. And yet again, they capitalized.
The fact that Jason Terry was able to create his first clutch imprint of the season is icing on the cake. A shot like that (combined with JET’s clutch pedigree) establishes and diversifies the Mavs’ options in close games, which can only be a good thing.
Also: if you’re Willie Green, do you find solace in the fact that you blanked Jason Terry to the best of your ability and contested the shot well? Or do you find depression in the realization that it wasn’t good enough?
Based on the execution in the first half, it shouldn’t have ever come down to JET. The Mavs played a half of completely balanced basketball, holding the Sixers to 33% shooting while shooting 50% themselves, keeping pace in the rebounding battle, and maintaining the edge in the turnover margin. Provided they kept playing solid basketball, the Mavs had provided themselves enough of a cushion to coast to an easy victory.
Jason Kidd (22 points, 11 assists, six rebounds, four steals, three blocks, 5 for 8 from 3-point land) was reason #1 why everything was rosy at halftime. Kidd brought the heat early and often, connecting on three of his four 3-point attempts in the first en route to a 13-point, 4-assist first quarter. If leaving Kidd open on the perimeter was a strategic decision on the part of Eddie Jordan, it came back to haunt him. That quarter (and this game) was Kidd’s most prolific scoring display of the season, and the early momentum gained from his sudden outburst was a huge factor in determining how the first half would play out. As Philly adjusted to the threat of Kidd’s offense, the passing lanes opened up for the Mavs. Dallas registered 18 assists in the first half, compared to Philadelphia’s seven.
But Terry’s soul-draining shot may have been the only thing to go according to plan in the second half. Not only did the Sixers crank up their attack in the second half, but they toed a line between assertiveness and control. On offense, Philadelphia found a rhythm, but their moves were deliberate and controlled. Every offensive sequence didn’t unfold smoothly, but the Sixers, a relatively limited offensive team, never quite seemed out of sorts in the second half. I’m not sure if their gusto was due to a rousing locker room speech or if they simply picked up on the Mavs’ vulnerability, but their performance was pretty inspired.
Effort definitely played a role, and the Sixers exposed the Mavs on the boards. For the second game in a row, the Mavs struggled to rebound, and the 60-37 rebounding deficit was every bit as bad as it sounds. Dallas managed just 12 rebounds in the entire second half, which is an unacceptable number against any opponent, much less a poor rebounding team like the Sixers. Philadelphia ranks 24th in the league in rebound rate (“the percentage of missed shots that a team rebounds”), and yet the Sixer bigs dominated Dallas on the glass. Samuel Dalembert (19 rebounds), Thaddeus Young (7), Elton Brand (10), and Jason Smith (7) combined for 43 rebounds. Erick Dampier (1), Dirk Nowitzki (6), Drew Gooden (10), and James Singleton (1) combined for just 18. It’s tough to wrap your head around, and though Damp played limited minutes in his return, it doesn’t excuse the Mavs’ overall effort in terms of rebounding.
Last night’s game was conclusive evidence of the fact that when you outwork your opponent, good things are bound to happen. That is, unless you’re a results-oriented win-loss type of guy, in which the moral of the story is that regardless of how hard you work or how much you probably deserve to win, Jason Terry will stomp repeatedly on all of your hard work. Then he’ll go home and sleep like a baby.
As mentioned above, Erick Dampier made his return to the lineup last night. His mysterious illness is still, well, a mystery. Although his box score production was rather empty (three points, just one rebound, and one turnover), I liked what I saw from the Maverick defense with Dampier on the floor. It’s not like the Sixers have Monta Ellis, but the rim is better protected with Dampier in the game. Period.
J.J. Barea had a hell of a game. His 11-point 6-assist night is no doubt dwarfed by Kidd’s performance, but the playmaking and outside shooting of Barea were crucial in balancing the Maverick attack. J.J.’s night turned the three guard lineup into a productive bunch once again, as the trio of Kidd-Barea-Terry were responsible for all but one bucket during a 14-3 run in the second quarter.
Shawn Marion was moving with an obvious limp by the end of the game. That didn’t stop him from playing good defense on Andre Iguodala, but it’s something to keep in mind. Marion put together an unremarkable (14 points, 5 rebounds) but efficient (6-10 FG) offensive night, but in a game where every bucket counts, his contributions were much appreciated.
Kris Humphries (DNP-CD), Tim Thomas (DNP-CD), Quinton Ross (back), and Josh Howard (ankle) didn’t play for the Mavs. Although the latter is a foregone conclusion at this point, it’s unclear why Hump and Tim didn’t play. James Singleton was the primary beneficiary of the shift in the rotation. Singleton has averaged 15.7 minutes per game over the last three contests, up from just 4.4 minutes in the 15 games prior.
Iguodala got a pretty decent look to tie/win the game after Terry’s dagger…but it might have been intercepted by Samuel Dalembert. Dalembert clearly thought the shot was short, but from every angle of the shot I’ve seen (a whopping one), it looks like Iggy’s jumper had at least a chance of falling. So pat on the back for the big fella, and I hope he got a rebound (or a steal?) for that grab.
I got through this entire recap without really giving Dirk Nowitzki (28 points, 11-26 FG, zero turnovers) his due for another big scoring night. Dirk’s excellence is just assumed at this point, which is a testament to exactly how good he’s been this season.
GOLD STAR OF THE NIGHT: The Gold Star of the Night goes to, without question, Jason Kidd. Terry’s shot was huge, but Kidd’s outstanding first quarter deserves an accolade, even if it’s only a sticker. Efficient scoring and solid defense went hand-in-hand for Kidd in the first, and the results for Kidd and the Mavs were simply brilliant. Kidd’s night was beyond vintage; Jason combined his usual court vision and D with uncanny accuracy as a spot-up shooter. It was quite a night for the future Hall-of-Famer, even in the context of his long and illustrious career.