Thermodynamics: Week 18

Posted by Travis Wimberly on March 1, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | Read the First Comment

Ice

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

It wasn’t the worst week of the Mavs’ season, but it was arguably the most excruciating. It started off with a solid win in New Orleans, then slid rapidly from frustrating (against LA) to inexcusable (against Milwaukee) to downright comical (against Memphis).

Let’s hit all those points in a bit more detail as we wrap up the best and worst of the week.

Week 18 (@Hornets, Lakers, Bucks, @Grizzlies)

FIRE

1) Elton Brand

Brand’s production this week was impressive across the board. He scored well and efficiently, averaging almost 13 points per game on 22-of-40 (55%) cumulative shooting. He pulled down almost nine rebounds per game (despite averaging just 25 minutes and conceding many of his boards to Dirk, discussed next), including an impressive 14-rebound performance against the Bucks. He also defended the post well for most of the week, matching up at various points against Dwight Howard, Larry Sanders, Drew Gooden, and Marc Gasol. Brand didn’t exactly shut any of those guys down (although Howard did have a pretty pitiful game in Dallas), but he worked very hard to make things difficult for them. That segues nicely into the most impressive thing about Brand this week: his effort. Brand played exceptionally hard the vast majority of the time he was on the court. Nowhere was that effort more apparent than against Milwaukee, where Brand repeatedly beat multiple Bucks players (with position, no less) to loose balls and free rebounds. He was a disruptive force in the middle, which is something the Mavs have sorely lacked for most of the year. Sure, Brand’s in a contract year, but the pride with which he plays is palpable. At the right price, I personally would welcome him back next year.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 84, Memphis Grizzlies 90

Posted by Kirk Henderson on February 27, 2013 under Recaps | 7 Comments to Read

Grizzbear

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.

  • A twenty five point lead is quite challenging to squander, but the 2012-2013 Dallas Mavericks find new ways to disappoint us, this time through turnovers and tremendously bad offensive execution. Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Mike James, and Vince Carter turned the ball over 13 times for the second straight game. Though Dallas scored 38 points in the first quarter, over the next three quarters the Mavericks managed only 46 points, including a five point third quarter.
  • The ongoing problem of the Dallas Maverick guards being unable or unwilling to get Dirk Nowitzki the ball when he’s open reared it’s head once again against the Grizzlies. At the two minute mark of the second quarter, Darren Collison attempted to penetrate the lane, as he had shaken his defender, Mike Conley. Zach Randolph effectively shut down the penetration about 10 feet out, because Collison is incredibly averse to contact when driving. Dirk was trailing the play wide open and called for the the ball. Collison looked at Dirk, but since his dribble was still alive attempted to maneuver around Randolph, who deftly cut off his penetration again. This time Collison made a decision to turn and pass to Dirk, but by this time Conley had caught up to Collison and tipped the pass. Memphis recovered the ball, which lead to a Marc Gasol dunk. Get the ball to Dirk Nowitzki. This isn’t a suggestion.
  • Mike James is now shooting under 30% on the year after going 2 for 10 against Memphis. Darren Collison’s terrible inconsistency is making it easy for Carlisle to look elsewhere, but why he keeps looking to James is beyond any basketball observer at this point.
  • Brett Koremos of the Grantland Network wrote a very interesting piece about the offensive pace of the Mavericks. The first quarter, it felt as if the team had read his piece and fully embraced the concept of an early shot clock quality shot attempt. When things began to bog down in the second, due to Dallas rotations and better defense from the Grizzlies, Dallas attempted it’s half court offense, with very poor results. It’s alarming that so few of the younger Dallas players can effectively run a pick and roll. To some degree, we Dallas fans were spoiled by Jason Kidd and Jason Terry’s ability to run a screen and roll with Dirk, both in using the screens to move along the offense or get Dirk the ball. Collison, Mayo, and James all approach ball screens from terrible angles and rarely seem to force a switch. Collison and James in particular seem to make up their minds early in any play and look to shoot more often than pass. Against a team of excellent defenders like the Grizzlies, that is a recipe for terrible offense.
  • There were only three positive aspects to the game against Memphis. First, Chris Kaman attacked the rim and defended hard. He’s not a good pick and roll defender, but early in the game, his one on one defense and help defense set the tone. Second, Shawn Marion resumed his roll of spark plug. He goes to where he’s needed; a flash to the open spot in the lane, a screen and roll for an awkward lay up, defensive rotations, and fast break finishes. Third, Jae Crowder used the high screen and roll to attack the rim and score a lay up in the first quarter. During the Bucks game, Derek Harper mentioned that a player of Crowder’s strength should get to the rim more often. As I’ve understood it, Crowder was a stretch four energy player in college. If he wants a rotation spot for the next few years, he needs to stop shooting pull up twos and continue this trend of getting to the rack.

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.

 

The Devil You Know

Posted by Brian Rubaie on under Commentary | Read the First Comment

DevilYouKnow

February has been kinder to the Dallas Mavericks than any other month this season. While they don’t appear to be playoff-bound, the Mavericks are finally playing playoff-quality team basketball. This month has seen Dallas soundly conquer the postseason-worthy Golden State Warriors, comfortably take care of business against lottery-bound opponents and keep it close in tough losses to the Thunder, Lakers and Hawks. A roster full of veterans and one-year signings hoping to become permanent fixtures in Dallas has summoned a sense of urgency that few other lottery teams can muster.

This determination, combined with improved team defense, a more cohesive roster and Dirk Nowitzki’s return to dominance, has produced a visibly-improved Mavericks squad. The most compelling factor in the recent reversal, however, has come from a far less visible element: the quelling of the turnover woes that haunted Dallas throughout much of their season.

According to data from Basketball-Reference.com, the Mavericks have posted fewer turnovers than their opponent in their past six contests and are -17 overall in the turnover category over the past month. Their season average of 14.0 turnovers per game entering February, a consistent trouble spot in close losses, has been reduced to an impressive 11.4 a night. This improvement has led the Mavericks to become proud owners of the NBA’s fifth lowest turnover percentage, the only advanced measurement on either side of the ball where Dallas currently rates above 14th in the league.

Dallas management will carefully review the roster at season’s end to try to assemble a team that can reproduce the recent run of quality play in order to maximize Dirk’s last few productive years as a Maverick.  If Dallas wants to return to being a contender it should seriously consider how to make the kinds of roster moves that can replicate the team’s newly developed responsibility with the basketball.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 90, Milwaukee Bucks 95

Posted by Kirk Henderson on February 26, 2013 under Recaps | 3 Comments to Read

Buck

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.

  • It boggles the mind that the Dallas Mavericks managed to lose a game where Dirk Nowitzki and Elton Brand grabbed a combined 34 rebounds and scored 33 points. That the Mavs gave the ball away 20 times is a big reason, including 13 from the four primary Dallas ball handlers of Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Vince Carter, and Mike James. Sloppy play when every game matters isn’t going to cut it.
  • The key possession started with 2:44 in the fourth and the game tied at 88. It lasted a full minute. Dallas managed to grab three offensive rebounds before Larry Sanders stole it from Dirk. Re-watching the possession, Dirk was camped at the three point with no one near him for 20 seconds and his teammates had no idea. I don’t understand how this continues to happen. He’s the best player on the team. Look for him on every possession.
  • Darren Collison (12 points, eight assists) has had a tough time shooting the ball since returning from the All Star break, shooting 14 for 44 from the field. Though his shooting percentages for the year look great, he’s had a variety of peaks and valleys and it’s unfortunate that a low point is coming at a time for Dallas when they need him shooting well. He managed to only hit a third of his 15 shots against the Bucks but most were good looks that simply didn’t fall. I wonder how much his odd looking shot mechanics have to do with the streaky quality of his shooting?
  • Vince Carter and Mike James managing to go 0 for 12 from the field with five turnovers really hurt the Dallas ability to maintain any sort of lead. Most of Carter’s shots were good looks, the sort he makes with regularity. James, on the other hand, keeps firing with no regard for the fact that he’s shooting a hair under 31% for the season. But he has to keep playing for some reason unknown to anyone outside of the Dallas coaching staff.
  • That Dallas wasted throwback performances from two power forwards drafted in the last millennium is infuriating. Dirk looks better and better, boxing out, crashing the boards, and finally putting the ball on the floor and playing with a bit of swagger (thought his two turnovers in the final three minutes really hurt the Mavs). His spinning fade looks particularly good, even if it hasn’t fallen yet. The sort of leg strength and confidence required to even take that shot is impressive. Brand, on the other hand, keeps surprising all Maverick observers. Of his 14 rebounds, seven were offensive, including a few in traffic where the Bucks surrounding him had better angles on the ball. I hope Dallas finds a way to keep him in the off season, but he’s  proven his worth as a fantastic back up power forward/center.

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.

 

 

The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 111, Orlando Magic 96

Posted by Kirk Henderson on February 21, 2013 under Recaps | 6 Comments to Read

Rabbit in Hat

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.

  • With 2:03 in the third quarter and Dallas down 79-73, Darren Collison took a three point shot which rebounded badly off of the front of the rim. Vince Carter made an attempt at a tip out and Shawn Marion and J.J. Redick chased the rebound past half court. Marion saved the ball from going out, slapping it towards an open O.J. Mayo. Oddly, Mayo did not react to the ball bouncing towards him. Jameer Nelson hustled and beat Mayo to the ball and passed to a cutting Redick for a lay in. Somehow, Mayo recovered defensively and blocked Redick’s lay up attempt. Mayo grabbed the rebound, drove the length of the floor and found Carter for an ally-oop dunk. This play, and the following Carter three pointer, brought the momentum back to Dallas in a game they could not afford to lose.
  • I rewound and watched this particular sequence five times. As delightful as the end result was, that Mayo was even beaten to the ball by Nelson is inexcusable. Mayo was closer, but made no attempt to get the ball. The Maverick announcing crew made no mention of this initial lack of effort and I wonder if they would have had Redick converted the lay in. Though the narrative will be “O.J Mayo’s effort saved the day” and it did, apparently Dirk pointed out post game that Mayo should’ve gotten to the ball before Nelson. In a way, it felt like the O.J. Mayo experience in a nutshell: unbelievable poor decision making followed by a high light reel play.
  • Vince Carter had a season high assist night, dishing eight out in a mere 26 minutes and only posting one turnover. His best assist occurred in the fourth quarter: Carter stole an outlet after an Orlando rebound and whipped a behind the back pass to Shawn Marion for a dunk.
  • The Mavericks have the league’s worst point differential in the first six minutes of a game this season. An emphasis on getting off to a good start was an apparent sticking point during all star break practices. The Mavericks answered the call, outscoring Orlando 22-14 in the first six plus minutes and scored 51 points in the first 15 minutes of game action.
  • On Tuesday, Grantland’s Zach Lowe mentioned Darren Collison’s atrocious defense, saying Collison is “lost on defense, prone to confusion and especially to veering way off course negotiating picks. Point guard defense matters, and Collison’s is a big net negative.” Early in the season it felt as if the main Maverick problem was the lack of a solid rim protector (and because I pine for Tyson Chandler). As the season has progressed it’s become glaringly obvious that the Maverick back court would have a hard time staying in front of a bolted down park bench. Orlando is not a good basketball team and that the Mavericks had trouble stopping their penetration all night long is really concerning.
  • Elton Brand (17 points on 6 of 9 shooting) showed his value repeatedly against the Magic. His shot making abilities bolster the Dallas offense, particularly on nights when the Big German’s shot won’t fall. At the end of the first quarter, he scored on three straight possessions: a face up jumper from the left block, a driving lay up after facing up on the same block, and a fall away jumper from the free throw line. His lift may be limited, but in the right situations he can carve up a defense.
  • For some reason, I felt Chris Kaman looked like a giant substitute history teacher with his bench wardrobe. Get well soon, Mr. Kaman.
  • During the week long break, I spent a fair amount of time watching Dirk Nowitzki highlights from the 2011 title run.  To call him a different player now is a mild understatement. The level of explosive strength in his legs simply isn’t there in his moves this season. That’s an obvious side effect of his knee surgery, but it’s also been two seasons without a training camp for Nowitzki. Dirk hasn’t been ready to play in a way that he’d be satisfied with since the summer of 2011. It’s clear in the way he’s shooting, and while he looked better before the all star break, a 4 for 13 shooting night for 12 points is not a the kind of game Dallas can get from Dirk if they expect to make any sort of run for the final playoff spot.
  • Mike James (12 points, four assists) received back up point guard minutes and his numbers were solid. I think we’d all prefer Roddy Beaubois at this point, mainly because decent statistical nights like this one seem to bolster the confidence Jones has in himself. Prior to the game against Orlando, Jones was shooting a dreadful 26.9% from the field.
  • Case and point with Collison’s defense happened with 3:29 in the first quarter. Jameer Nelson saw Collison open himself up defensively as he anticipated a high screen.  Nelson simply drove to the basket, right past a bewildered Collison. Shawn Marion had to leave his man and rotate to the driving Nelson, who passed to a wide open DeQuan Jones for a dunk.
  • The rare jump shot from Brandan Wright (eight points, eight rebounds) is something to see. He jumps very high and when he took and made one in the forth quarter on the right baseline, the ball nearly went out of the TV camera’s range, so high was his shot arc.
  • One of the simplest defensive principles when trying to stop fast break is this: you must make the ball handler make a decision. With five minutes in the first, Shawn Marion grabbed a defensive rebound and pushed the ball up the floor. He was facing a three on two with Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo on the wings. Oddly, the two Magic defenders stuck with Mayo and Collison, never forcing Marion to do so much as alter his direction. Marion drove the length of the floor and finished with a monstrous dunk.
  • Dirk has been reduced to a jump shooter this season. His shots tonight all came within the flow of the Dallas offense, but the offense doesn’t seem to end up with Dirk getting the ball, back to the basket, in his former sweet spots. It’s unclear to me whether this is by design, a matter of the Dallas guards being unable to make entry passes, or if Dirk isn’t working for the ball the way he used to. Against the Magic, Dirk did not take a single shot closer than 12 feet from the rim.
  • Watching J.J. Redick move without the ball is entertaining. There wasn’t a single Maverick assigned to him tonight that had much success at all in staying in front of him. His career numbers compared to O.J. Mayo are not that different, but Mayo could learn a thing or two from Redick about how to get the most out of his talent.
  • This recap seems overly negative for a game Dallas won by 15. It was a close game from the 2nd quarter until the 5 minute mark of the fourth, when Carter hit a three to push the Dallas lead up to seven points. Within three and a half minutes the lead ballooned up to 18 points. This late game 14-0 run masked a number of problems which aren’t going away for the Mavericks.

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.

 

Third Round of Bloom and Doom

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on February 18, 2013 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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It’s time for another round of Bloom and Doom. For those that missed the first batch of it in December, here you go. January’s batch can be seen here.

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 Mavs. This round of bloom and doom really hits the crux of it all with the team. Everything is right in MacMahon’s wheelhouse, and the second-to-last question might be the hardest one I’ve had to answer.

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Microeconomics

Posted by Ian Levy on under Commentary, Roster Moves | Read the First Comment

A Pocket Full of Change

On Friday, at Hickory-High, Ming Wang put together a really interesting piece sharing an interesting new strategy for examining the tradeoff between production and cost for the contracts of NBA players. Here’s the rationale and method in his own words:

A few weeks ago, Kevin Pelton of ESPN looked at the best contracts in the NBA by multiplying a player’s WARP (wins above replacement level) by the average amount that teams pay for each WARP. I’d like to approach this same problem from a different angle: namely, how much value are teams getting out of the salaries they pay their players? Instead of looking at WARP, I’ll focus on win shares, another metric of player value. While Pelton’s methodology assumes that the overall NBA salary market is priced correctly (therefore attaching a value to each WARP a team pays for), my method makes no assumptions about overall pricing accuracy and instead seeks to evaluate relative player salary and performance.

At a basic level, my goal is to quantitatively evaluate the best and worst contracts in the NBA. To do so, I construct a simple metric that I call the “value ratio.” This is defined as: (Player Salary/Median Salary)/(Player Win Share/Median Win Share). In effect, I am comparing the amount over (or under) which a player is being paid vs. the median NBA player with that player’s production over (or under) that of a median player. Comparing salaries and win shares with median values serves as a way of normalizing these metrics and making them more readily comparable to each other. A simple way to think about this metric is the following: if the ratio is less than 1, the player is undervalued; if the ratio is greater than one, the player is overvalued; if the ratio equals one, the player is properly valued. In short, the most valuable players will be those with the smallest value ratios.

To get a more full picture of player production, Wang used a three-year average of a player’s Win Shares. To compensate for the fact that salary is not consistent in every year of a contract he averaged the per year salary commitments of this year and each remaining year on a player’s contract. There are several holes in his method, which he acknowledges at the end of his post, but if you know the context for specific players and specific teams, the stories told by his numbers become much richer.

Several Mavericks showed up in different places in Wang’s results. With a value ratio of 0.131, Elton Brand’s contract provided the 7th greatest value of any player who has played at least 500 minutes this season. At a value ratio of 0.259, Darren Collison’s contract provided the 10th most value of any player who had played at least 1,150 minutes this season. Driven by curiosity, I pulled together his results for all of the Mavericks to see how the team’s current crop of contracts rated in value.

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Asset Management

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on February 14, 2013 under Commentary | 5 Comments to Read

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The trade deadline is always an interesting time for the Dallas Mavericks. Mark Cuban has always said two things when it comes to that time of the year: the team will always be opportunistic and don’t believe what you hear or read when it comes to them. The team is at a crossroads. The chances of making the playoffs are slim and the team has to do what they can to ensure they don’t waste any more time off of Dirk Nowitzki’s career. The deadline on the 21st is one way they can help build for the futre. How do the Mavericks assess things as the trade deadline approaches? Let’s look at the assets and what could be out there.

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Quoteboard: Dallas Mavericks 123, Sacramento Kings 100

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

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It turned out to be a historic night as the Dallas Mavericks recorded a 123-100 victory over the Sacramento Kings. Vince Carter made a season-high six 3-pointers against the Kings on Wednesday (he shot 6-of-9 from long range). His previous high triple total this season was five on two occasions. Carter’s fourth trey of the game at the 1:08 mark of the third quarter was the 1,600th 3-pointer of his career. He became the 11th player in NBA history with at least 1,600 career triples. His fifth trey at the 27.9-second mark of the third was his 100th three of the season.

With his sixth triple at the 2.9-second mark of the third quarter, he passed Larry Bird (21,791) for 29th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The 3-point basket gave him 21,794 points for his career. Carter went 3-for-3 from deep to the end the third quarter and scored Dallas’ final nine points of the period. Carter scored 26 points against Sacramento and now has 21,796 career points. Gary Payton ranks 28th all-time with 21,813 career points.

Carter went 6-of-9 from beyond the arc en route to 26 points in 23 minutes. It was his sixth 20-point effort of the season (4-2 record). It was also his third game with 25-plus points and his ninth game with four-plus 3-pointers this season. Carter exploded in the third quarter as he scored 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting (5-of-9 from long range) in only 6:33 of action.

Some notes before the quotes:

- With an offensive rebound at the 10:51 mark of the second quarter, Dirk Nowitzki passed Mark Aguirre (1,259) for second place on the Mavericks’ all-time offensive rebounding list. James Donaldson is Dallas’ all-time leader with 1,296 offensive boards.

- The Mavericks recorded their 18th consecutive win against the Kings in Dallas. It’s the Mavericks’ longest ever home winning streak against one opponent.

- Darren Collison record 12 points and seven assists in 18 first-half minutes. His first assist of the second half (eighth of the game) was the 1,400th assist of his career. Collison finished with 18 points, four rebounds and nine assists in 29 minutes.

Here is the quoteboard for Dallas’ victory over Sacramento.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 123, Sacramento Kings 100

Posted by Connor Huchton on under Recaps | Read the First Comment

Clouds

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.

  • “Where would the Mavericks be without Vince Carter?” is not a question I thought I’d be asking myself in February, but here we are.
  • Carter (9-15 FG, 6-9 3PT, 26 points, five rebounds) carried the day (or night) for the Mavericks by knocking down five three-pointers in the third quarter against an ever-floundering Kings’ defense.
  • Carter is now bordering on 40% for the season from three, which places him just behind O.J. Mayo (3-11 FG, 0-7 3PT, 10 points, three steals, three turnovers) on the Mavericks’ three-point shooting ladder.
  • On nights when Mayo’s jumper isn’t falling, having Carter as an outside threat is vital to the offensive effectiveness of Dallas.
  • Not many people liken the basketball style and production of Vince Carter to that of Larry Bird, but Carter has now scored more points than the famed Celtic.
  • (Tonight, he passed Bird for 29th on the all-time scoring list.)
  • Two other players carried the weight for Dallas: Darren Collison (7-12 FG, 18 points, nine assists) and Dirk Nowitzki (6-9 FG, 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists, three steals).
  • Collison looked sharp in transition play and did a good job of finding Carter open on the wing in the second half.
  • He also made four of five attempts at the basket, reinforcing the idea that if Collison is going to succeed in the Mavericks’ system, it will be by exploiting spacing advantages (often via Dirk) to the tune of reaching the rim and finishing artfully.
  • Tonight, he did that, and the rest of his game followed suit.
  • As for Dirk, this game provided great encouragement.
  • This was the second consecutive game where Dirk looked much like his old (or in this case, younger) self.
  • He spaced the floor well, made open jumpers, and took long strides to the rim when overplayed by a defender.
  • Those are the Dirk tenets to success, and their implementation resulted in both scoring and passing improvements.
  • Dirk’s passing has become more important to his game with age, and when he’s scoring at will in conjunction with those passes, his ability to assist evolves into a more potent threat.
  • I’ve also been very pleased with how Bernard James (2-3 FG, five points, six rebounds, 16 minutes) has played in his recent starts.
  • He’s paired quite well with Dirk on both ends, taken shots only when needed, and rebounded with decent aplomb.
  • He still struggles with foul trouble a little too easily (he recorded four fouls tonight), but the rest of his skills progress nicely with each game.
  • Comparing how the Mavericks and Kings controlled the ball tells the story of the game fairly well: 27 assists and 12 turnovers for the Mavericks; 17 assists and 18 turnovers for the Kings.
  • Jae Crowder’s (4-7 FG, 3-6 3PT, 11 points) solid play in a fairly brief 16-minute stint served as a pleasant surprise.
  • Crowder’s minutes have dwindled in quantity and consistency during recent weeks, so it’s nice to see him seize an opportunity like this.
  • Every time I watch the Kings, most of the team appears all-too-passive when it comes to guarding the perimeter. That passivity seems like a fixable problem, but it could be the product of an overarching personnel issue (only James Johnson strikes me as an above-average perimeter defender, and he spends much of his time guarding power forwards).
  • With the All-Star Break upon us, it’s a good time to look forward. The Mavericks will likely have to win about 20 of their remaining 30 games to compete for a playoff spot. I’m hopeful that the 8th seed is still possible, but the Mavericks will need to become a far better road team than they have been thus far this season (15-10 at home, 8-19 away) to achieve such a chance.