The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 96, Cleveland Cavaliers 86

Posted by Connor Huchton on March 16, 2013 under Recaps | Read the First Comment

Sunrise

Box ScorePlay-By-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • Time makes us all fools, and the tale of Rodrigue Beaubois (6-10 FG, 18 points, five assists) firmly lives and breathes within the changing rhythms of time.
  • Not so long ago, Beaubois represented the Mavericks’ future; this year, he has unfortunately become a representation of disappointing present. The 2012-2013 season has easily been the worst of Beaubois’ career – his ability to score efficiently has submarined and Rick Carlisle has responded by keeping Beaubois out of the rotation.
  • Such a turn of events from the glory of three years’ past is difficult to contemplate and reconcile, but for one night, reconciliation deemed itself unnecessary. The Beaubois of March 15th, 2013 represents the basketball player every Mavericks’ fan once expected him to be – a scorer of flash and genius, an able passer, and an athletic marvel. In the bubble of a single instance, past expectations became reality, and we were allowed a brief glimpse of what could have been, of what should have been.
  • However passing that glance may be, the present is temporarily glorious, and the potential in Beaubois’ game will remain forever enthralling.
  • Of his 10 field goal attempts, only one occurred from between four and 23 feet. He’s never shot remotely well from the mid-range, so removing reckless jumpers in that alluring area could help keep Beaubois in the rotation. (I hope so.)
  • Brandan Wright (6-8 FG, 13 points, five rebounds) has essentially usurped the ‘scoring center’ role of Chris Kaman (2-4 FG, four points, six minutes) over the recent string of games, which I view as a positive development.
  • If Kaman can no longer embody the role he played in the earlier portions of his career, allowing Wright the chance to use those valuable minutes more effectively is the right choice, especially with the added bonus of an exciting block or dunk present.
  • Dirk Nowitzki (6-17 FG, 13 points, 11 rebounds) struggled a bit to begin the game (0-5 FG in the first quarter), but settled into a decent groove over the last three quarters. Early-quarter struggles followed by late-game success has been a trend for Dirk over this recent stretch of games.
  • A more odd and pleasant recent development has been his staunch rebounding, a trait never yet attached to his name. Dirk posted another double-double, his fifth of the season.
  • All five of those Dirk double-doubles (alliteration is fun!) are over the last 11 games. Are we witnessing a completely unforeseen and unlikely rebounding renaissance? (Probably not.)

Quoteboard: Dallas Mavericks 96, Cleveland Cavaliers 86

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on under Interviews | Be the First to Comment

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The Roddy Beaubois saga continues. Beaubois tallied a team-high 18 points (6-10 FGs, 3-5 3FGs, 3-4 FTs) to go along with three rebounds and a team-high-tying five assists in 22 minutes off the bench against Cleveland on Friday. He led Dallas in scoring for the second time this season (19 points vs. San Antonio on Jan. 25). It was his third double-figure scoring effort of the season. Beaubois, who recorded seven points and three assists in 15 minutes at Milwaukee on Mar. 12, is averaging 12.5 points and 4.0 assists over his last two games. Roddy showed aggression on both ends of the floor in easily his best game of the year.

Dirk Nowitzki notched his third straight double-double (fifth of the season, 374thcareer) with 13 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals in 33 minutes against Cleveland. It was his third straight game with 11 boards. Nowitzki is now tied with Jason Kidd (954) for second place on the Mavericks’ all-time steals list. Nowitzki is averaging 17.6 points and 9.2 rebounds since the All-Star break.

Once again starting for the injured Shawn Marion, Jae Crowder scored only two points, but he pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds in the victory.

Some notes before the quotes:

- With his second rebound of the game (8,975th career) at the 9:20 mark of the first quarter, Dirk Nowitzki passed Larry Bird (8,974) for 46th place on the NBA’s all-time rebounding list. Nowitzki finished with 11 rebounds on the night and now has 8,984 boards for his career. Johnny Green ranks 45th all-time with 9,083 rebounds. Nowitzki needs 17 rebounds to become the 46th player in NBA history with at least 9,000 boards.

- Vince Carter made his 8,000th career field goal with a 3-pointer at the 1:33 mark of the fourth quarter. He became the 33rd player in NBA history with at least 8,000 career field goals. Carter ranks sixth among active players in field goals made.

- In his first home game off a 10-day contract, Chris Wright made his NBA regular-season debut in the fourth quarter and scored two points in one minute.

Here is the quoteboard for the Dallas victory over Cleveland.

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Thermodynamics: Week 20

Posted by Travis Wimberly on March 14, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | Be the First to Comment

Fire Ice
Thermodynamics (n.) – the science concerned with the relations between heat and mechanical energy

An undefeated week. 3-0. Say it aloud, because we’ve had little occasion to celebrate such things this season.

Okay, so admittedly, it was a weak schedule (the Mavs’ three opponents this week have a combined record of 77-115), and two of the games went down to the wire. But let’s keep in mind that we’re talking about the 2012-2013 Mavs, not the Mavs of yesteryear. For this squad, it’s no small feat to win three straight road games against any three NBA teams. And given that this team’s playoff hopes are slim, I for one plan to enjoy the small victories here and there for the remainder of the season.

Week 20 (@Pistons, @Timberwolves, @Bucks)

FIRE

1) Vinsanity

When the Mavs refused to move Vince Carter at the trade deadline, several observers questioned that decision, and perhaps rightfully so. But since then, Carter has made the Mavs’ front office look very prescient. He’s firmly cemented himself as either the Mavs’ second or third-best all-around player (depending on where you would put him relative to Shawn Marion), and he’s done so with excellent efficiency and irreplaceable leadership. This week, Carter averaged exactly 15.0 points per game, shot 18-of-31 (58%) from the field cumulatively, and pulled down 6.3 rebounds per game. That’s terrific, but it hardly tells the full story. Carter’s tenacity and willingness to take (and make) big shots was on full display this week. If you were one of the lucky few who watched the Mavs-Bucks game on NBA League pass with Milwaukee’s broadcast crew, you had the pleasure (as I did) of listening to them bemoan Carter’s bevy of clutch shots late in the fourth quarter. In net points per 100 possessions, three of the Mavs’ four most productive lineups on the season include Carter.  Carter now carries a player-efficiency rating (PER) of 17.7, the third-highest on the Mavs. Guess which Mav ranks number one by that metric?

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Mortgaging the Future

Posted by Brian Rubaie on March 13, 2013 under Commentary, Roster Moves | 8 Comments to Read

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The makeshift Dallas backcourt suffered yet another shakeup last weekend following the release of little-used point guard Dominique Jones. The news, like Jones’ time in Dallas, was an afterthought to most fans. Aside from bearing witness to the Mavericks’ 2011 championship run, Jones was more well known for the playful nickname he despised owning — “DoJo” — than he was for his on-court production.

Jones’ exit should trouble Dallas fans, though not because his absence will result in any immediate threat to the team’s production. Jones was a ghost in Dallas before his abrupt departure, and his exit represents another example of Dallas’ inability to groom a once-promising young athlete into a steady rotation player.

There were some hopeful signs emerging for Jones earlier this season. He started three games and showed rare glimpses of the skills that made him a first-round draft selection, including intensity, defensive awareness and an ability to push the pace and get to the rim in transition. His stock was rising along with his playing time, a career-high season average of 11.7 minutes per game.

Despite his progress, Jones’ opportunities this season came few and far between and soon almost vanished entirely. He became glued to the bench as the calendar flipped to 2013, sitting out 25 of the team’s 29 games this year due to coach’s decision. Dirk Nowitzki summed it up best, in comments to Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

“He never really got a real shot at it,”’ Nowitzki said. “I like his athleticism, I like what he brought, it just wasn’t a good situation to be in.

“I obviously wish him luck for the future. I was always cool with D-Jones and I wish him luck.”

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The Rundown, Volume XVII

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 11, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | 2 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.

The Mavs continue to still have a chance to make the playoffs, somehow. The bottom half of the playoff picture continues to see teams floundering, allowing Dallas to keep their chances somewhat alive. Dallas now holds the 10th spot in the West, via a tie-breaker over Portland. They’re now three games back of the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth seed in the West. They showed some pride against the Rockets, O.J. Mayo came alive and a Mav was let go. Let’s take a look at the week for that was for Dallas.

Did THAT Really Happen?

- Mike James made his first start of the season (264th career) against Houston on Wednesday. It was his first start since Mar. 25, 2009 vs. Charlotte (with Washington). Brandan Wright also got a spot-start as he filled in as the starting center.  The Mavericks used their 19th different starting lineup of the year. Having Mike James start over Darren Collison can’t be a promising sign for Collison’s long term future with the Mavs.

- Rick Carlisle was surly, in his own comedic way. During the team’s shootaround in Detroit, Carlisle was very matter of fact to reporters in regards to the ever-changing starting lineup. “I’m tired of hearing about 19 starting lineups being a lot,” Carlisle told reporters. “I had 31 one year, so you guys can all go f— yourselves and I mean that in the most endearing way.” Maybe it took some self-reflection time to realize a better approach would work. “As you can tell this year, nothing is permanent,” Carlisle told reporters about the lineup changes. “Nothing is going to be set in stone.” You have to love Rick Carlisle. The Mavs used their 20th different starting lineup of the season at Detroit. Jae Crowder started at small forward in place of Shawn Marion (left calf contusion). Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Kaman, O.J. Mayo and Mike James joined Crowder in the starting lineup.

- Shawn Marion missed the games against the Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves as he was dealing with a left calf contusion. He suffered the injury during the first quarter against the Houston Rockets in the second game of the home-and-home series. It’s a tough break for the Mavs as they desperately need all hands on deck as they continue to make their frantic push for the playoffs.

- Well, they don’t need ALL hands on deck as the team announced over the weekend that they had released guard Dominique Jones. Prior to the start of this season, the Mavs opted not to pick up the team option for next season in Jones’ rookie contract, making it clear that he didn’t fit in the franchise’s future plans. A first round pick in the 2010 draft, Jones never really made an impact on the Mavs’ roster during his time in Dallas. Sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that patience with Jones had been dwindling for some time. When the Mavs wanted to send Jones back to the D-League for another assignment with the Texas Legends in Frisco, sources said that Jones balked, prompting the team to let him go Saturday. Why he figured he had the clout to say no to an assignment in Frisco is beyond me. It does take me back to the time I covered a game in Frisco during his rookie year and he was assigned to the Legends. I spoke to him after the game and he clearly appeared like he wasn’t happy being there. He’ll likely be remembered as the guy who simulated being LeBron James during the team’s series against the Miami Heat during the 2011 Finals. He’s an NBA champion, so there’s that. With his departure, Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Roddy Beaubois remain the lone Mavs from the championship roster.

- News circulated during the weekend that the Mavs nearly acquired Paul Pierce at the trade deadline. There might have been a logjam of wings (if Vince Carter was still on the roster) and there might have been a chemistry issue early on between Dirk and Pierce, but it’s a clear upgrade in talent if you get Pierce for the suggested pieces that were involved. Yes, Jae Crowder is playing well as a second-round draft pick, even better as of late, but he is nowhere near an untouchable player when it comes to a trade. The Mavs would have gotten older in the process. The goal in a trade isn’t to get younger, it’s to get better. With Rick Carlisle coaching the team, it’s fair to believe the Mavs would have gotten better with that trade.

- O.J. Mayo had a relatively clean week in terms of turnovers. Just over a week after Rick Carlisle said that he wasn’t a creator, Mayo proved he could find a way to be a distributor and do so while protecting the ball. His last turnover before his turnover at the 4:54 mark of the second quarter against Minnesota was at the 5:37 mark of the fourth quarter of the game against the Brooklyn Nets on Mar. 1. He went nearly 115 minutes of game action without a turnover.

- Once again, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, the Mavs plan to sign point guard Chris Wright, point guard of the Iowa Energy of the NBA D-League, to a 10-day contract before the team’s game against Milwaukee on Tuesday. Wright, a 6-foot-1, 210-pounder averaged 15.5 points, 7.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 37.0 minutes per game for Iowa, earning a spot in last month’s D-League All-Star Game in Houston. A product of Georgetown University, Wright actually was in New Orleans’ camp during the preseason, but he was waived days before the team’s season opener. The book on him is that he’s a strong guard with a stronger motor. He can get to the rim and finish (unlike someone else). He can be a pesky defender and also can play in transition. He still needs to show more consistency as a shooter and the ability to lead an NBA team, but the team could certainly do a lot worse than Wright. If signed, he will represent the 21st player brought on board for the Mavericks, tying the second-highest total in franchise history (1980-81 season). The franchise record for most players in a season is 27 during the 1996-97 season.

Note: Wright has a very interesting outlook on life that he will bring with him to the Mavs. For more, go here.

Box Score Revelations

- In his “best game of the year” according to Rick Carlisle, O.J. Mayo recorded his second double-double of the season (fourth career) with 13 points, six rebounds, a career-high 12 assists and zero turnovers in 33 minutes against Houston on Wednesday. His previous high assist total was 10 (at Golden State Mar. 30, 2009). Seven of Mayo’s 12 assists came in the first half, including five in the first quarter alone. The seven first-half assists were tied for the most assists he’s recorded in any half in his career (7 in first half at Golden State Mar. 30, 2009; 7 in second half vs. Golden State Feb. 9, 2013). He must like dishing the rock against the Warriors.

- The Mavs dished out a season-high 35 assists in the win over the Rockets on Wednesday (previous high: 33 vs. Minnesota Jan, 14). It was the most assists Dallas has recorded in a game since Apr. 12, 2010 at the L.A. Clippers (37). The Mavs recorded 30-plus assists for the fifth time this season (4-1 record).

- Dallas shot 52.6 percent (41-of-78) from the field in the win at Detroit on Friday. It marked the third time in their last four games (15th time this season) that the Mavs shot at least 50 percent from the floor. Dallas is 13-2 this season when they shoot 50-plus percent from the field.

- With a 100-77 victory over Minnesota, Dallas had their biggest margin of victory on the road this year. Their previous high was by 10 in Phoenix on Feb. 1. Dallas led by double-digits for the last 34:26 of the game. Dallas also had their largest rebounding margin of the year (59-40) in the game against Minnesota.

- Dirk Nowitzki had four turnovers against the Wolves. He had four, but there will be one that stands out more than the others. (Credit: CJ Fogler) That will surely be featured on TNT’s Inside the NBA (specifically Shaqtin’ a Fool). Poor Dirk.

Check Your Calendar

- The Mavs hit the second half of their four-game road trip with a trip to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks on Tuesday. Upcoming restricted free agent Brandon Jennings will have another chance to “audition” for the Mavs. News came out over the weekend that Jennings is considering signing the qualifying offer in order to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2014. That would be a gutsy move, but it does have a chance to pay off in a big way for the dynamic point guard. The game will mark the first of a back-to-back for the Bucks. They will head to Washington to take on the Wizards on Wednesday.

- The road trip will conclude with a trip down I-35 to take on the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs have had to play without the services of Tony Parker since the start of the month. He sprained his left ankle and will be out for about a month. That might hurt the Spurs’ chances of claiming the top seed in the Western Conference but that likely won’t mean much to them as they’re a squad that can play against just about anyone.

- Dallas will have two games at home to finish the week, starting with a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. When facing the Cavs, it begins and ends with Kyrie Irving. The dynamic guard has taken his game to a new level. You could easily make a case that Irving could be considered a top-five point guard in the league. As the head of the snake, the Mavs will need to be ready to throw multiple weapons at Irving in order to try to slow him down. The Mavs might catch a break as Irving might have to miss the game. He suffered what is being classified as a shoulder contusion. Irving will be re-evaluated this week. The game will mark the first of a back-to-back for the Cavs as they will take on the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.

- The week concludes with a matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder. It’s clear that the Thunder’s rolling on cylinders right now. Despite it being a tough game, this is one Dallas needs to try to steal as they continue to push for the eighth seed. The fact that it’s a home game should help for the Mavs. Both teams should be healthy and well-rested so neither team should have an excuse if they don’t bring their best game.

BG’s Baller of the Week

Baller status has been granted to one Brandan Wright. He scored in double figures for the fourth consecutive game (18th time this season) with his 13-point performance against Minnesota. Wright averaged 24.7 minutes, 13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks during the week (all wins). He also shot 79.2 percent from the field during the week. The 24.7 minutes is a considerable and consistent uptick in action for Wright. He’s also seen some time at the power forward position during that time. No matter what portion of the year it is, Wright continues to have nice performances in spot duty. Rick Carlisle must be encouraged by the fact that Wright continues to perform well despite sporadic appearances from Wright.

Dallas needs Elton Brand’s aggression and tenacity. They need Chris Kaman’s versatility on offense. They need Bernard James’ energy in spot duty. Wright is showing that he can bring efficiency from the field when he’s on the floor. He still has work to do as a rebounder and as a on-man defender (though he is a decent team and weak-side defender). It’s obvious now that Dallas will try to beat their opponents with their depth. Over the week, Brandan Wright stated his case that he deserves to be a vital part to the team’s rotation.

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.

The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 102, Detroit Pistons 99

Posted by Connor Huchton on March 9, 2013 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

Sunrise

Box ScorePlay-By-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • Patterns emerge over the course of a season, just as they do in every journey and in every life. The prevailing theme of this Mavericks’ season has been mediocrity, but the prevailing pattern is more complex and far too repetitive. That pattern is one of instantaneous fading, of an inability to sustain, and of a definitive lack of consistency. Such a pattern, of losing leads or the chance to compete in the basketball blink of a few minutes, can be particularly disheartening and draining. Those adjectives plagued the Mavericks’ heart in the last nine minutes of the final quarter, but for once, those adjectives did not win the day. A couple of jumpers from Dirk Nowitzki (6-14 FG, 12 points, seven rebounds) and O.J. Mayo (7-15 FG, 5-9 3PT, 22 points) saved Dallas this time, and the team’s playoff hopes, however scarce, remain intact for another day.
  • The Mavericks did two things particularly well for most of the game’s 48 minutes: make threes and defend the perimeter.  Dallas made 11 of 22 three-pointers (which is about 50%, according to my strident arithmetic), and held Detroit to 9-30 from three for the game. The first aspect of that performance isn’t too surprising, but the second certainly was, as the Mavericks have struggled mightily in the realm of perimeter defense all season. Though that strong perimeter defense didn’t last in the game’s closing tumultuous minutes, the overall showing encourages slightly, if not entirely.
  • Brandan Wright, (7-10 FG, 14 points, six rebounds, three assists) a notable proficient scorer, scored quite proficiently (thus, living up to his notability) in a scant 19 minutes, and provided the low-post scoring spark the Mavericks needed. Wright is always an interesting player in the sense of how defined his strengths (scoring) and weaknesses (defense) are, but tonight his impressive combination of height, arm length, and vertical served the Mavericks wonderfully in the first three quarters of the game. (Basically, it’s always nice to have someone who dunks with incessant aplomb.)

What Could Have Been

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 8, 2013 under Rumors | 2 Comments to Read

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Mark Cuban spoke on ESPN Dallas Radio 103.3 FM the day after the trade deadline. Of the numerous things he discussed, he mentioned that the Mavericks were close to landing a superstar. “It was crazy,” Cuban said the day after the deadline on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. “We thought we had a bunch of things done, literally a bunch of things done. We had teams get cold feet at the last minute. … Things that would have used cap room next year, would have had money next year, that were high-dollar guys, difference-maker guys.” Many people (sarcastic people) suggested that the players initials were BS (think about it and you’ll get it).

Reports today now suggest Cuban wasn’t fibbing. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported on Friday that the Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics were on the verge of a blockbuster deal at the trade deadline.

In a three-way deal that would’ve secured Josh Smith and surrendered Paul Pierce to Dallas, Atlanta wanted Boston’s first-round draft pick, too.

The Celtics were in talks to send Paul Pierce to Dallas at the trade deadline.

Dallas had constructed a package that included Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright and Dahntay Jones to Atlanta, with the Mavericks and Hawks exchanging positions in the 2013 NBA draft.

Nevertheless, Boston wouldn’t relent on the pick and the deal died on meeting-room grease boards in three cities.

Well, that’s something, isn’t it? Atlanta would have gotten the pieces they needed for a rebuilding project. Boston would have gotten a new superstar. The pieces on Dallas’ end don’t exactly match up in terms of finances, so other pieces would likely need to be involved in that suggested offer. It likely wouldn’t be pieces of a major consequence. Clearly Dallas and Atlanta were on board, but Boston was the team that put things to a halt. What would acquiring Paul Pierce mean to the Mavericks?

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Escaping the Basement

Posted by Brian Rubaie on March 7, 2013 under Commentary | 3 Comments to Read

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Playing basketball in the NBA’s Southwest Division is not for the faint of heart. The division is less than a decade old, born in 2004 after the dissolution of the Midwest division, but has successfully produced three NBA champions in the nine seasons since, and accounted for half of the Western Conference playoff field on four separate occasions.

This season marks the first time Dallas has posted a losing (4-7) record within the division, one of countless other unsettling and unusual occurrences. Fans struggling to cope with the new reality hope this season represents an anomaly, a rare transition year providing an opportunity for hungry and promising free agents to earn a spot on next season’s squad, a unit which aims to return to the top of the division standings with a healthy Dirk Nowitzki and the expansive cap room necessary to facilitate a big-ticket free agent signing.

That outlook is far too rosy. While the 2013-2014 Mavericks will possess a former MVP, a great coach and the hope of a big addition, their division opponents will be equal to any challenge they’ve previously encountered. Other divisional foes have only improved in recent years and show no signs of letting up. Dallas, meanwhile, will confront several obstacles that make a return to the top half of the division much more difficult to foresee.

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Quoteboard: Dallas Mavericks 112, Houston Rockets 108

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on under Interviews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks were able to avenge their catastrophic 136-103 loss to the Houston Rockets on Sunday with a 112-108 win at the American Airlines Center on Wednesday night. O.J. Mayo recorded his second double-double of the season (fourth career) with 13 points, six rebounds, a career-high 12 assists and zero turnovers in 33 minutes against Houston on Wednesday. His previous high assist total was 10 (at Golden State Mar. 30, 2009). Seven of Mayo’s 12 assists came in the first half, including five in the first quarter alone. The seven first-half assists were tied for the most assists he’s recorded in any half in his career (7 in first half at Golden State Mar. 30, 2009; 7 in second half vs. Golden State Feb. 9, 2013).

The clean sheet for Mayo in the turnover department marked the sixth game of the year where Mayo did not commit a turnover. The Mavericks are 5-1 in those games. The one loss came in the team’s last game against the Rockets on Sunday.

Shawn Marion went 10-of-16 from the field and recorded a team-high-tying 22 points to go along with three rebounds, four assists and two steals in 36 minutes against Houston. With the win, the Mavericks improved to 4-1 this season when Marion scores 20-plus points.

Dirk Nowitzki tallied 22 points, five rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes against Houston. He scored 20-plus points for the fifth time in his last seven games.

The Mavericks made a change to their starting lineup. They started Mike James in place of Darren Collison and Brandan Wright in place of Chris Kaman. It marked the team’s 19th different starting lineup of the year.

Some notes before the quotes:

- Mike James made his first start of the season (264th career) against Houston on Wednesday. It was his first start since Mar. 25, 2009 vs. Charlotte (with Washington). The Mavericks used their 19th different starting lineup of the year.

- Shawn Marion passed Rod Strickland (1,616) for 25th place on the NBA’s all-time steals list with a theft (his 1,617th career) at the 6:37 mark of the third quarter. Marion finished with two steals against Houston and now has 1,618 for his career. Eddie Jones ranks 24th all-time with 1,620 career steals.

- With a block at the 1:16 mark of the first quarter, Elton Brand passed Rockets head coach Kevin McHale (1,690) for 24th place on the NBA’s all-time blocks list. It was the 1,691st block of Brand’s career. Moses Malone ranks 23rd all-time with 1,733 career rejections.

Here is the quoteboard for the Mavericks’ win against the Rockets.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 103, Houston Rockets 136

Posted by Connor Huchton on March 4, 2013 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

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Box ScorePlay-By-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • If you focus on three of this game’s four quarters, what appears is another close loss to a good team.
  • But if you stumble across the dreaded third quarter, the worst of quarters known to man or woman (other than the 2003 Not-Centennial Quarter of A Quarter), things become impossibly bleak.
  • The Rockets outscored the Mavericks 44-17 over the course of a 12-minute period. Yes, the Mavericks allowed 44 points.
  • That 44-point mark is the most the Mavericks have allowed in a single quarter this season, and hopefully that record will hold for the remaining 23 games.
  • As faulty as single-game plus-minus is in the realm of statistics, the fact that every Houston starter had a +26 or better speaks volumes about the way Dallas began a tumultuous second-half.
  • Speaking of +/- and other symbols, tonight held a certain sadness beyond the final score.
  • The sterling career of consummate professional Shawn Marion experienced a slight tarnish, as he posted the worst plus-minus of his career, at -35.
  • So what went wrong? Such a wide-ranging question is difficult to quantify with a simple answer, but it begins with perimeter defense, a prevalent issue for the Mavericks all season, and never more so than tonight.
  • Chandler Parsons (12-13 FG, 6-7 3PT, 32 points) isn’t the greatest jump-shooter to grace this storied Earth, but he is enough of a well-rounded player to seize countless open opportunities.
  • Such opportunities came in spades tonight, especially from the aforementioned perimeter, as he made open looks that the Mavericks were so confusingly willing to allow him, especially in the late second and third quarters.
  • When you allow an opposing NBA team to take 34 three-pointers, you are almost assured to lose.
  • When the team in question is the three-point shooting-oriented Rockets, things are even more likely to go badly.
  • In the third quarter, a quick glance at the shot chart and a review of the game tape reveals a simple truth.
  • That truth is this: Over the course of those fateful minutes, the Rockets took an almost impossible number of three-pointers and lay-ups.
  • Those two types of shots, while broadly described, are definitively the most efficient shot types in the game of basketball.
  • A team that manages to primarily attempt those shot types will likely win, and the Rockets are such a team.
  • Esteemed GM Daryl Morey has often alluded to as much, and I’d guess he’s quite happy with how well the team’s methodology surged into the limelight as the game proceeded.
  • That methodology led to the following results in the 44-point third quarter, by my count:
  • A) 7-8 FG at the rim   B) 1-2 FG on mid-range jumpers C) 6-10 3PT from three
  • A defense that allows an opponent to generate those levels of shot discrepancies will always fail, and so the Mavericks did.
  • It was apparent with every passing play that the Mavericks could not find a cohesive defensive strategy: either they overcommitted to the perimeter or allowed far too much room for Jeremy Lin (8-14 FG, 21 points, nine assists), James Harden (5-10 FG, 4-8 3PT, 21 points, seven assists), and Parsons to operate, despite all three being known dangerous quantities from beyond the arc.
  • Harden, in particular, was allowed far too much room to pull-up or spot-up throughout the game.
  • An example that comes to mind is in the middle of the third quarter. Harden is given too much room off an Omer Asik (4-6 FG, 10 points, 10 rebounds) screen, he penetrates into the lane easily, and then dishes to an open Parsons.
  • Vince Carter (4-8 FG, 2-5 3PT, 12 points, four rebounds) goes to close on Parsons, but his contest is hardly one at all.
  • It’s a half-hearted hand wave in the general direction of Parsons, but not a movement that would affect a solid, tall three-point shooter.
  • Now, the fault of a play like this, and the countless similar plays that followed and preceded it in this game, is not solely on Carter or any particular player.
  • It’s a systematic breakdown, apart from any single Maverick, coupled with mediocre individual defense on the part of Marion (atypical), Carter, and Brandan Wright (5-8 FG, 12 points, three rebounds), who didn’t step up to affect Harden in a significant way.
  • Such an occasion is symptomatic of the night, and fairly representative of the Mavericks’ defense over the course of this wayward season.
  • I’d like to finish this (hopefully) comprehensive missive by briefly discussing a single offensive facet.
  • By facet, I’m referencing the tepid play of Dirk Nowitzki (2-8 FG, 8 points, four assists, four rebounds) in tonight’s game.
  • After such a strong stretch of production over the last five contests, Dirk struggled mightily tonight.
  • My issue is not with the shots Dirk took (it rarely is), but with the lack of focus around him offensively, both due to his choices and the team’s various distributors. The Mavericks aren’t going to win many games when Dirk takes only eight shots over the course of 27 minutes, especially if none of those looks are three-pointers and few of them fall into the categories of “easy” or “within the flow of the game”.
  • They certainly didn’t win this one, and time is swiftly escaping the sporadic squad’s grasp with only 23 games and a fading dream left to hold.