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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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.