When you miss any significant stretch of a good win, the things you miss most are the details. Seeing Jason Terry pump up the crowd after a big three. Watching the deflated look on the opponents’ faces after the Mavs drain the shot clock to the brink and then make a jumper. Watching Dirk measure up his defender, time after time, and spin perfectly to avoid the double-team. Or, in the case of last night’s game, this sequence described by Tim MacMahon of the DMN Mavs Blog: “The play took the ball out of Kidd’s hands, giving it to Jason Terry with Erick Dampier and Dirk Nowitzki setting a double screen. After setting the screens, Damp rolled to the hoop and Dirk popped out. Kidd said the players had discussed that set recently, and he decided to go to it when the Spurs were scrambling in transition. The Mavs used the play to close the quarter with a 6-0 run, sparked by Jet’s driving layup when he got matched up with Tim Duncan on the perimeter. “That was just a high basketball IQ play,” Carlisle said of Kidd’s decision to pull that set out of the mothballs.”
Jan Hubbard of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has a wonderful piece on the Mavs’ use of the zone defense: Last week when the Mavericks played the Spurs in San Antonio, Parker was unbelievable and made 10 of his first 11 shots, most of them against Kidd. But then the Mavericks went to a switching, help defense and then to a zone, and Parker made only five of his last 21 shots. So under the theory that evenbasketball is not rocket science, I asked Carlisle if a zone would be effective against quicker, penetrating players. ‘It can be,’ Carlisle said, and I felt pretty good about my expertise. ‘It just depends. The real quick guards generally can find a seam in the zone and get into it [and] you’re going to get one or two 3-point shooters open. Therein lies the dilemma. But it’s something we’ve looked at and will continue to look at because we’ve had some effective stretches with it and we’ve gotten hurt with it at times.’”
The Mavs are saying all the right things after last night’s win. In summary: “Dude, this win was awesome. But those other dudes we’re playing tomorrow are like whoa, and
Ball Don’t Lie’s Kelly Dwyer likes what he saw from Erick Dampier: “Most impressive of all, however, was the defense from Erick Dampier. Yes, he had help (Dirk was shading toward Erick all night), but Dampier nearly shut down Tim Duncan after TD came through with a strong first quarter. Beautiful footwork from Dampier. (Run an internet search on that last sentence this Saturday, and I guarantee it will only bring up one result.) Damp had four blocks, and Duncan had six of his shots blocked. Erick was easily the MVP…”
Jason Terry seems to agree with KD (via Tracey Meyers of Full-Court Press): “‘Erick Dampier is what makes this team go. He’s the one we look for to seal our paint and he’s always guarding the toughest player every night. When he plays and coach leaves him out there a good amount of time, he’s productive. He was tremendous. It shows what we’re capable of doing as a team when we allow him to play. He was doing stuff tonight we haven’t seen in a long time: chasing Tony Parker off a three, scrambling around, playing Tim Duncan tough. If we have a presence like Damp to defend Chris Paul, we’ll be tough to beat.’”
For a more complete recap from someone who was actually able to watch the entire game, check out Graydon’s post at 48 Minutes of Hell. Of course it’s more about the Spurs than the Mavs, but what can you do.
No rest for the weary. Even after a hard-fought game against SanAn, the team needs to be looking forward to tonight. Chris Paul needs no introduction, and these Mavs should be fully aware of what the Hornets are capable of. But above all, it’s not just about beating the Hornets, it’s about beating a good team away from American Airlines Center. From David Moore of the Dallas Morning News: “The Mavericks haven’t beaten a Western Conference contender on the road since Christmas night. Can this erratic, veteran team show the same sense of desperation on the second night of a back-to-back? Can it keep pace with a younger, more athletic team on the road?” Here’s to hoping for two yeses.
Ryan Schwan of Hornets 24-7 makes a funny: “Kidd was still considered a good point guard last year. Then he met Paul in the playoffs. I think CP3 broke him.”
Mark Cuban’s motivational tactics worked…for one game, at least. Kidd, Dirk, Howard, and Dampier in particular all seemed much more motivated on both ends, and there was very little that could be described as ‘settling’ in any sense. There were defensive mistakes and breakdowns, and certainly some bad shots, but I was definitely pleased with the Mavs’ effort. Cuban, not that he really has to in the case of a successful manuever, explains his comments (via Jim Reeves of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram): “I just thought it was necessary, that’s all,” Cuban said, huffing and puffing on from his pre-game ritual on the Stairmaster. “Every team has a different type of air about it. I just thought they needed a kick in the ass…Sometimes pressure coming from multiple sources has a different impact, than just coming from somebody who’s here every day.’”
Dirk insists that Cuban’s call-out wasn’t as influential as we might like to believe. From Tim MacMahon of the DMN Mavs Blog: “‘I don’t know if everybody was aware that he said something,’ said Dirk, who had 24 points and 12 rebounds. ‘But, hey, we knew that was one we should have had. We didn’t need Cuban to tell us that we’re outta here if he didn’t play with more effort.’”
If you can’t tell already, the Dallas area MSM did an incredible job covering last night’s game. Several authors covering the game from nearly all conceivable angles. Kudos to everyone with the Morning News and Star-Telegram for their consistently good work, and on this night: great work.