Thermodynamics (n.) – the science concerned with the relations between heat and mechanical energy
The Mavs have been officially eliminated from playoff contention, but they say they won’t quit on the season. In that case, neither will we. We’ve got about one more week before most of our regular columns here at The Two Man Game go into offseason hiatus, so let’s make it count.
Week 24 (@Nuggets, @Kings, @Blazers, Suns)
1) The Matrix
The 2012-13 Mavs have a handful of younger players whose grit and tenacity are sometimes easy to question. Meanwhile, they have a few older players for whom those traits are indisputable and unwavering. Shawn Marion is one of those guys in the latter category, and this week was the quintessential example. With the Mavs’ playoff hopes dwindling further and further, the Matrix rose to the occasion. After a respectable 10-point night in Denver, he produced 25 points against Sacramento, 20 against Portland, and 22 against Phoenix. It was the first time since 2007 that Marion has scored 20-plus points in three consecutive games. Not only that, he scored very efficiently — 34-of-58 (59%) shooting on the week — and contributed 8.5 rebounds per game to boot. I’m not going to say the Mavs have quitters on their roster, because I don’t think that’s true. But I will say this: Shawn Marion is the polar opposite of a quitter.
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The Dallas Mavericks started their do-or-die homestand with a solid 105-99 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. In his return to the team after sitting out one game due to illness, Vince Carter hit a 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left in the third quarter sparked an 18-4 run by the Mavericks that saw them turn a five-point deficit (82-77) into a nine-point advantage (95-86) with 4:41 to go in the game. He tallied 17 points in 25 minutes off the bench. Carter scored 17-plus points for the fifth time in his last eight games.
With the win, coach Rick Carlisle recorded his 500th career win against the Blazers on Wednesday. He improved to 500-353, .586, all-time in the regular season. He became the 28th coach in NBA history to reach the milestone. He is in his fifth season with Dallas and is now 219-142 (.607) all-time with the club. Carlisle, who recorded his 500th victory in his 853rd game, became the 11th-fastest coach in NBA history to reach 500 wins. He also became the 16th coach with 500 wins and an NBA title.
Quick notes before the quotes:
- Dallas handed Portland just its second loss of the season when leading after three (Portland moved to 17-2 when leading going into the fourth quarter). Dallas improved to 4-22 this season in games they trailed at the end of the third quarter.
- Dallas moved to 9-23 in games where they fell behind by at least 10 points.
- Dallas held Portland to 38 points in the second half after giving up 61 in the first half. They also held Damian Lillard to only four points in the second half after he went off for 15 points in the first half.
- The Mavericks outshot the Blazers 6-of-10 (.600) to 1-of-14 (.071) from beyond the arc in the second half. Portland shot 9-of-16 (.563) from deep in the first half, while Dallas went 4-of-10 (.400) from beyond the arc before intermission.
- O.J. Mayo totaled 20-plus points for the third time in his last four games (20th time this season). Dallas is now 13-7 this season when he scores at least 20 points. He led the Mavericks in scoring for the 23rd time this year.
- Shawn Marion recorded his 11th double-double of the season (415th career) and his third in his last four games with 13 points and a game-high-tying 10 rebounds in 31 minutes.
- Dirk is working on a beard (explanation is coming later). #GoatfaceDrillah
Here is the quoteboard for the Dallas victory over Portland.
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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.
- That O.J. Mayo (32 points, 6-8 from three) guy sure is fun to watch when he’s rolling. His jump shot really looks good from beyond the arc. Mr. Mayo finally had a good game inside the arc as well, shooting 6-10. It’s quite exciting to think what he might be able to do given the additional threat of Dirk once he returns from injury.
- One cannot mention Mayo without mentioning his back court partner, Darren Collison (14 points, 13 assists). Collison’s insistence on pushing the pace early and often got Dallas off to a fantastic start and got Portland rookie Damian Lillard into foul trouble. When the game tightened in the second quarter and into the third it was Collison who took control of the tempo, both with his fluid pick and roll game as well as his constant lane probing for layups or kick outs.
- Collison’s passing was clearly infectious - Dallas dominated the assist category 29 to 13.
- Before moving on to more of the various positive aspects of the win, let’s discuss the glaring negative: rebounding, again. While Dallas was only beat 48-37 on the boards over all, they lost the offensive rebounding battle 23-2. Over these first four games Dallas is giving up 18.25 offensive rebounds a game. The hot shooting in the three wins (57%) is covering up this problem, but it needs to be improved upon soon, simply because Dallas’ shooting will come back down to earth.
- Chris Kaman (16 points on 8-10 shooting, 6 rebounds) had a second great offensive game in a row. He seemed to have it all working; outside shooting and crafty moves near the bucket. His defensive leaves something to be desired. He’s a step slow on most rotations and last night did not protect the rim with much authority.
- Bringing Kaman off of the bench has allowed the Mavericks to keep the offensive intensity turned up to high. In the last 2 games Dallas has yet to score below 26 points in a quarter.
- I recommend keeping an eye out for Jae Crowder on the bench. His joy at big plays is fantastic.
- Elton Brand (8 points, 5 rebounds) finally had a decent game shooting the ball. His contributions aren’t showing up in the stat sheet, but his defense and hustle have been outstanding. I suspect when he sees more minutes against second unit players upon Dirk’s return his offensive numbers will improve.
- Though Shawn Marion (8 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks) missed a good portion of the second half with what’s being reported as a knee strain, he continues to be a vital cog for the team. His stat line is impressive for only 24 minutes of playing time.
- Brandan Wright (10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block) is playing with such confidence right now. Every shot he takes looks confident and, while I’d love to see him rebound more, he’s holding his own on defense. I also love the way he hedges screens. His length and quickness really bothered the Portland back court last night.
- Dallas centers are shooting 81% from the floor this season (38-47 for Kaman and Wright)
- Last night was also the first time in franchise history that the team shot 60% from the floor in back to back games. They did this without one of the most efficient shooters in the league in Dirk. This is the sort of stat that will grow more impressive as the season goes along.
- I continue to be impressed with Carlisle’s rotations. Ten Mavericks played at least 14 minutes. That sort of experience for the entire roster may prove invaluable as the season rolls along.
- The depth of Dallas clearly wore Portland down. Former Mavs assistant Terry Stotts was forced to go to his bench early and often, which had not happened yet this season. Though Portland boasts a fairly solid top 6 in their rotation, things start to get rather dicey quickly the deeper Stotts is forced to go into his bench.
- I’m not sure how I made it thus far without mentioning the contributions of Dominique Jones (6 points, 6 assists, 3 steals). He ran the offense with confidence, attacked the rim with a purpose and got his hands on a number of loose balls. Jones has not had an easy road as a Maverick and it’s nice to see him string together a couple of decent games. In the pre-season it looked as if he had played his way out of Carlisle’s rotation but injuries and roster changes have made Jones a bit of a necessity.
- Jae Crowder (9 points, 2 rebounds) posted a +22 in 14 minutes of playing time. When he is on the floor, good things seem to happen.
- Portland rookie Damian Lillard (13 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds) had a rough shooting game (2-13 and many of his deep shots went in and out), but you could see the great player he should become. Despite early foul trouble, he played aggressively, attacking the rim and getting 8 free throws in the process. He has great vision as well, making him an all around threat.
- LaMarcus Aldridge was held relatively in check last night (20 points, 7 rebounds), but he makes shots that are Dirk-like.
- Mayo and Wesley Matthews (20 points) engaged in a bit of a shootout last night. While Mayo clearly won that battle, after last night Mayo and Matthews are 1-2 in the NBA in three pointers made.
- Vince Carter’s (8 points, 3 rebounds, 3-9 shooting) shot selection left much to be desired. But I suppose with Vince, you take the good with the bad.
- Roddy Beaubois was unavailable against Portland but was apparently able to make it through most of the walk through. I’ll bet on his return Wednesday against Toronto.
- Are you following The Two Man Game on twitter? You should be. Great content like this and this is being posted daily.
- Wednesday night look to round out their three game home stand with a win against the revamped Toronto Raptors and their exciting guard Kyle Lowry. Visit us later today and tomorrow for continued coverage of the Dallas Mavericks.
Kirk Henderson is a member of The Two Man Game family. You can follow Kirk on Twitter @KirkSeriousFace
O.J. Mayo, who turned 25 on Monday, and Darren Collison will be half of the exciting duel between the starting guards as the Mavericks host the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland will start Wesley Matthews and early candidate for Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard. The four guards represent a nice peak into the future as all of them are 26 or younger and have tons of potential.
Roddy Beaubois, injured with a sprained left ankle, will once again be a gametime decision for Monday’s game against the Trail Blazers.
Here are some notes for the matchup against Portland.
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