Bloom and Doom

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on December 26, 2012 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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In an effort to keep the discussion going, I sought out ESPNDallas.com’s Tim MacMahon for his opinion on pressing issues for the Dallas Mavericks. You can view MacMahon’s coverage of the Mavericks at ESPNDallas.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @espn_macmahon. Periodically, we are going to touch base and discuss topics with our own unique point of view.

MacMahon likes to call it like he sees it. That perspective can hover on the other end of the spectrum from my optimistic viewpoint on things. You could say it’s a classic case of good cop, bad cop. Our different perspectives should make for an interesting conversation on hot topics revolving around the Mavericks. Here is the first batch of bloom and doom.

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Setting the Table: Toronto Raptors (Game 23)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on December 14, 2012 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (11-11) head north of the border to take on the Toronto Raptors (4-19). You read that correctly. The Toronto Raptors only have four wins as they move towards their 24th game of the season. Toronto has the second worst record in the Eastern Conference and in the entire league (Washington – 3-16).

Simply put, this is a game the Mavericks need to get and do so in a comfortable fashion. It doesn’t matter if they played a grueling double overtime game on 12/12 against the Boston Celtics. Just handle your business.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Raptors.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 115, Boston Celtics 117

Posted by Kirk Henderson on December 13, 2012 under Recaps | Read the First Comment

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Box Score — Play-by-Play — Shot Chart — Game 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.

  • The seeds of a close loss are often sewn in little details throughout a game. One might not notice them at first, but then, upon reflection, it becomes easy to pick out a few things which might have turned the tide. The major reason tonight was turnovers, 27 of them to be exact. In 58 minutes of basketball, Dallas managed to turn the ball over nearly once every two minutes. That 16 of them were spread between the primary ball handlers in O.J. Mayo (24 points, nine turnovers) and Darren Collison (20 points, seven turnovers) is frustrating because each played remarkable basketball during key moments to make the game close. When playing a team as adept as Boston at blitzing the pick and roll (the Rajon Rondo-Kevin Garnett trap was devastating), unforced turnovers usually kill a team’s chances early. Instead they came back to haunt Dallas as the Mavs never got a handle on taking care of the ball, even late in the second overtime.
  • The lack of a solid spot up shooter for Dallas is resulting in less efficient offensive attempts during stretches of play. Outside of Mayo and Vince Carter (10 points, eight rebounds, five assists) there really isn’t a shooter capable of hitting the open corner threes that are available within the Dallas offense. Mayo and Carter rarely get these chances as they are often the play maker or facilitator within the offense. Over the past few games I’ve see Dahntay Jones, Collison, and Marion all end up with the ball the corner as a result of great ball movement only to pass up on an open three or brick them badly (the main recent exception was Collison’s three in the third tonight when Dallas fought to make the game close again). When Dirk returns I expect the team to see even more of these looks as he draws so much attention while operating in the center of the floor and hopefully Mayo and Carter will be the main beneficiaries.

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.

 

Quoteboard: Dallas Mavericks 119, Sacramento Kings 96

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on December 11, 2012 under Interviews | Read the First Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks used a 34-5 run from the 2:02 mark of the first quarter through the 2:44 mark of the second period to turn a one-point deficit, 29-28, into a 28-point advantage, 61-33, en route to the 119-96 victory over the Sacramento Kings. With the win, the Mavericks are now on a three game winning stream and have climbed above .500 with a record of 11-10. The Mavericks continued their domination of the Kings as Dallas recorded their 17th consecutive victory against Sacramento at home. The Kings have not defeated the Mavericks in Dallas since 2/27/03 (126-124 in overtime). It’s the Mavericks’ longest active home winning streak against any team.

O.J. Mayo entered Monday’s game coming off a 40-point effort at Houston on 12/8 and with 5,001 points in his career. He recorded a team-high 19 points to go along with a team-high seven rebounds, four assists and one steal in 28 minutes against the Kings. He led Dallas in scoring for the 14thtime this season. Dallas improved to 9-3 when he makes at least three 3-pointers in a game this year. Mayo is averaging 27.3 points on 57.7 percent shooting over his last three games. Mayo led the charge as the six players scored in double figures for Dallas in the win. It marked the fifth time this season that the Mavericks have had six players in double digits (4-1 record).

The convincing victory did have it’s share of drama. Late in the second quarter, Mayo and DeMarcus Cousins were fighting for position on the low block. Cousins delivered a back-hand, closed-fist punch to Mayo’s groin. Both were seen arguing with each other and Cousins and Mayo were whistled for a double-technical foul. Mayo spoke openly and candidly about the altercation.

Here is the quoteboard for the victory over the Kings.

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Setting the Table: Houston Rockets (Game 20)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on December 8, 2012 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (9-10) have a chance to do something they’ve haven’t done in a while if they can secure a victory over the Houston Rockets (9-9) on Saturday night. Dallas is looking for their first set of back-to-back wins since 11/3-11/7 when they won three in a row. It’s been a while. They will take on a Rockets squad that lost in San Antonio 114-92 on Friday night. It will be a challenge for Dallas as Houston owns an active six-game home winning streak (11/14/12-12/4/12). Over the run, the Rockets have scored 112.0 points/game, while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from beyond the arc.

In an update from injuries suffered in the game against Phoenix, Shawn Marion is doubtful for the game against the Rockets, and Chris Kaman might be able to play, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told reporters after the morning shootaround in Houston. The Mavericks have a chance for consecutive wins, getting back to .500 and putting an end to the Rockets’ home win-streak. It should be a fun one in Houston.

Here are notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Rockets.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 114, New York Knicks 111

Posted by Connor Huchton on November 22, 2012 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

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Box ScorePlay-By-Play – Shot Chart — Game 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.

  • On a night of needed triumph for the Mavericks, it’s difficult to decide what should lead The Difference: Vince Carter’s (9-17 FG, 5-10 3PT, 25 points) surprise fourth quarter domination, or another night of overarching and essential offensive efficiency from O.J. Mayo (10-17 FG, 27 points). I’ll choose neither, and mention what a relief it was to see Darren Collison (7-11 FG, 19 points, seven assists) back in early season form. The offense fell into step with Collison’s passing surge, and the Mavericks were able to limit turnovers and capitalize on open three-point opportunities (13-29 from beyond the arc). Even with Dirk injured, three-point shooting is central to the team’s identity and success, especially given how well Mayo, Carter, and Jae Crowder (4-6 FG, 3-5 3PT, 12 points, four rebounds) have shot from beyond the arc this season.
  • Speaking of Crowder, it was nice to see him back in the rotation and contributing immediately. His reaction after he made a three early in the game summed up the Mavericks’ night: an important moment of victory in the context of recent failure, and a huge relief in terms of the team’s prospects until Dirk returns. (Side note: Shawn Marion continues to be simultaneously fantastic and underrated on defense. That vital close on Carmelo Anthony’s jumper in the final seconds wasn’t perfect, but it was enough to cause a moment of crucial hesitation.)
  • It’s almost jarring how much more relaxed and smooth O.J. Mayo’s game as a whole has become in Dallas – there’s a fluidity and calmness to the way he creates space and pulls up for jumpers that almost never existed in Memphis. Perhaps that’s a product of how his role has largely shifted and expanded, and perhaps it’s due to the natural growth some players find in their mid-20′s. It likely stems from both the natural and situational, and Mayo’s dual evolution as a player couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for the Mavericks. At least in the short-term, he’s the relentless conductor that guides the Mavericks’ offense. That was never more obvious than tonight, as Mayo kept the Mavericks in the game through offensive lulls and quickly found Collison and Carter around the perimeter in key moments.

The Rundown, Volume V

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on November 19, 2012 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

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The Rundown is back. Every Monday, The Rundown will chronicle the week that was for the Mavericks, 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.

After a frustrating loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, causing a three-game losing streak, the Mavericks made some changes. Some perplexing negative trends popped up and a special person chimed in to say hello and give an update. Let’s take a look at the week for that was for Dallas.

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Setting the Table: Indiana Pacers (Game 10)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on November 16, 2012 under Previews | Read the First Comment

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For the Dallas Mavericks (5-4), it’s another weekend, another back-to-back against Eastern Conference opponents. They will start it off by facing the Indiana Pacers (3-6). The Mavericks are 1-1 in the first half of a back-to-back and 0-2 in the second half of a back-to-back this season. The Mavericks have 16 back-to-backs in 2012-13, with only one stretch of four games in five nights. In total, 10 back-to-backs are on the road, three begin at home and conclude on the road and three are road-to-home. Dallas played 22 back-to-backs in 2011-12, going 7-15 in the first half and 13-9 in the second half of those back-to-backs.

There will be reunions as Darren Collison, Dahntay Jones and Ian Mahinmi get to see their former teams for the first time this season. More importantly, it appears Shawn Marion (sprained MCL) is going to give it a go and play against the Pacers. He has missed the last five games due to the injury.

Here are some notes to get you ready for the game between the Mavericks and the Pacers.

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The Rundown, Volume II

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on October 29, 2012 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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The Rundown is back. Every Monday, The Rundown will chronicle the week that was for the Mavericks, 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.

If you thought you saw it all in The Rundown last week, you’ve got another thing coming. The news kept on coming for the Mavericks (most of it being unfavorable). Another chapter in the Delonte West saga was written, and new Mavericks came walking through the doors of the American Airlines Center. As the preseason wrapped up and the regular season is approaching, let’s take a look at the week for the Mavericks.

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Rank This

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on October 10, 2012 under Commentary, Roster Moves | 4 Comments to Read

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Ed. note: This post doubles as an introduction to a new member of The Two Man Game family, even if Mavs fans are undoubtedly quite familiar with his work already. Bryan Gutierrez is a contributing writer for Mavs.com, and formerly worked the Mavericks beat for Mavs Moneyball. You can follow Bryan on Twitter at @BallinWithBryan.

Ranking teams or players before the real season tips off is a chore that doesn’t really make a lot of sense but it’s great for conversation. Unless you live under a rock, you probably followed ESPN.com’s #NBARank project. We’ll put a wrinkle on it by ranking the Dallas Mavericks’ expected 15-man roster.

The experts who rated each player ranked them in terms of “the current quality of each player.” Here are the rankings for the Mavericks, alongside a notable player for comparison.

#463 – Jared Cunningham – Comparison: Mike Bibby, 472
#447 – Bernard James – Comparison: Hasheem Thabeet, 443
#381 – Dominique Jones – Comparison: Jonny Flynn, 386
#339 – Jae Crowder – Comparison: Kelenna Azubuike, 345

#301 – Dahntay Jones – Comparison: DeShawn Stevenson, 319
#212 – Brandan Wright – Comparison: Drew Gooden, 213
#204 – Roddy Beaubois – Comparison: Corey Brewer, 203
#185 – Vince Carter – Comparison: Richard Jefferson, 181

#159 – Delonte West – Comparison: Jason Kidd, 157
#113 – Chris Kaman – Comparison: Kendrick Perkins, 120
#98 – Darren Collison – Comparison: Jose Calderon, 96

#92 – Shawn Marion – Comparison: Thaddeus Young, 91
#90 – O.J. Mayo – Comparison: Jason Terry, 81
#85 – Elton Brand – Comparison: Taj Gibson, 82
#11 – Dirk Nowitzki – Comparison: Kevin Love, 7

ESPN.com’s panel  views the Mavericks in a lone star way as Dirk Nowitzki is the only player ranked inside the top 50. Here at The Two Man Game, we’re down for a discussion or starting another string of debates. Over the next few days, we’ll have player capsules for each Maverick and rank them in terms of projected importance for the team this coming season. It’ll start with the back end of the roster and work our way up to Dirk, whoops, I mean the top of the roster. Here are players 15 to 10.

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