The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 91, San Antonio Spurs 129

Posted by Connor Huchton on December 24, 2012 under Recaps | 2 Comments to Read

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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.

  • Positive: The greatest player in Mavericks’ history returned from injury on Friday night, and performed well in a brief stint.
  • Negative: The Mavericks lost by 38 points, a fantastic, awful deficit that ran its┬ácourse by the apex of the third quarter.
  • I don’t know how many teams in NBA history have made 20 of 30 threes and lost, but I doubt it’s many.
  • The Spurs will not hold that distinction, as they proved victorious by a mere margin of 38 points.
  • Speaking of distinction, the Spurs actually set their franchise record for three-pointers made.
  • At least the Mavericks are helping make history.
  • Chris Douglas-Roberts (three points) deserves a special mention for the following:
  • A) Making his debut as a Maverick
  • B) Miraculously achieving the team’s only positive plus-minus. The Mavericks were one point better than the Spurs in his ten minutes of play.
  • So how did Dirk Nowitzki (eight points, 3-4 FG, six rebounds) perform in his 20-minute return? Quite well, I’d say.
  • The one-legged fadeaway was back and working well for Mr. Nowitzki, and the pick-and-roll action returned with impressive rhythm.
  • Assimilating Dirk into the offense is a far smaller problem than what especially plagued the Mavericks tonight.
  • That plague would be perimeter defending, and more generally, defending as a whole.
  • Part of that issue stems from a night of rare three-point shooting form from the Spurs.
  • But it can also be attributed to their copious open opportunities.
  • O.J. Mayo (3-8 FG, seven points, six assists) continued his streak of sub-20 point, inefficient scoring performances.
  • Beyond this game, that’s something the Mavericks desperately hope improves. The Mavericks aren’t going to win many games with him playing at a subpar level.
  • The Mavericks “bench”, which is always in flux and tonight included Dirk Nowitzki, actually performed quite well offensively.
  • They made 21 of 39 field goals and scored 58 of the Mavericks’ 91 points.
  • It’s almost anomalous how dominant the Spurs were tonight: they outdid the Mavericks in every single statistical category.
  • That includes everything, from free throws to steals to blocks to fouls.
  • The only Maverick who played particularly well was Darren Collison (15 points, 6-9 FG) in 25 minutes off the bench.
  • Of course, the blame for the Mavericks’ perimeter defending troubles can also partially be attributed to him.
  • Collison actually played five more minutes than surprise starter Dominique Jones (1-7 FG, five points, four assists), who struggled significantly in 20 minutes.
  • Every active Spurs’ player received at least nine minutes of playing time.
  • I almost expected David Robinson to mysteriously return and put up a double-double.
  • Danny Green (9-10 FG, 7-8 3PT, 25 points) shone most notably from beyond the arc in only 23 minutes.
  • 25 points in 23 minutes on 10 field goal attempts is about as efficient as the game of basketball can be played.
  • Well done, Danny Green.
  • Elton Brand (1-4 FG, two points) returned from an injury absence for a less-than-stellar 14 minutes.
  • Brand comes to mind as part of a possible solution to the Mavericks’ defensive woes, but his position makes that difficult.
  • What pairing is best with Brand? Dirk? Kaman? The answer isn’t clear, and thus he may continue to play sparsely.
  • Positive: No Maverick played more than Mayo’s 28 minutes, so exhaustion shouldn’t be an issue.
  • Negative: The Mavericks don’t play until Thursday, so it likely wouldn’t have been anyway.
  • One encouraging aspect of the Mavericks’ loss is that the Spurs scored only two more points in the paint than the Mavericks, so the defense wasn’t completely broken down in every facet.
  • But the Spurs’ style isn’t built to overwhelm in the paint – it creates accessible three point opportunities first and foremost.
  • The Spurs seized nearly every one of those opportunities on Friday night.
  • A closing thought: In order to defeat the league’s best teams, the Mavericks can’t stray from what they’ve done all season – scoring easy baskets in transition. For a game as fast paced as this one, more than 16 fast break points were needed to entertain a possible win.

The Difference: San Antonio Spurs 104, Dallas Mavericks 87

Posted by Rob Mahoney on March 24, 2012 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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Box ScorePlay-by-Play Shot Chart Game Flow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FTRORRTOR
Dallas92.0115.253.631.623.112.0
San Antonio107.656.322.811.412.0

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

  • This game was a demonstration of how incredibly simple basketball can be at times; although intense basketball observers attempt to break the game down into dozens of very complicated, interrelated factors, Dallas was ultimately bested by effort, the extra pass, and the open three-pointer. And now, I will proceed to give you 16 more bullet points that are by no means arbitrary, but nonetheless seem rather silly in a game like this one.
  • Manu Ginobili — as a defender — was two or three steps ahead of Rodrigue Beaubois for this entire game. It’s not uncommon to see a young playmaker be stifled by an older, craftier defender, but Ginobili’s ability to peg and deflect Beaubois’ moves was downright uncanny. It’s to Beaubois’ credit that he still managed to notch 10 points and five assists, but even that passable stat line doesn’t convey just how thoroughly marked Beaubois was throughout this particular game.
  • It was certainly noteworthy that even with Shawn Marion’s return to the lineup — and after expressing some concern about Rodrigue Beaubois’ minutes inflating as a product of being in the starting lineup — Rick Carlisle elected to keep Beaubois in the opening set. Lineup variants involving Marion, Beaubois, Jason Kidd, and Dirk Nowitzki haven’t really played enough minutes together this season to be judged for their merits, but matchups depending, this could be a very sensible starting five (save Ian Mahinmi’s substitution for an injured Brendan Haywood) going forward.
  • Dirk Nowitzki had an absolutely horrific game, in which he provided little impact aside from his willingness to seek out contact and put up shots. It was weary legs, it was San Antonio’s active, dynamic defense, and it was a stark contrast just to highlight Nowitzki’s usual efficiency, but most importantly from a game-specific context: it was an outright disaster. There’s simply no other way to look at his 5-of-21 shooting mark, his inability to make an impact on the defensive end, and his noncommittal work on the boards. I’m not saying Nowitzki wasn’t trying, but next to the exemplary effort that the Spurs put forth, it sure seemed like it at times.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 101, San Antonio Spurs 100

Posted by Rob Mahoney on January 29, 2012 under Recaps | 5 Comments to Read

Screen shot 2012-01-29 at 10.17.43 PM

Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FTRORRTOR
Dallas98.0103.146.012.029.67.1
San Antonio102.054.820.226.48.9

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

Read more of this article »