The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 98, Phoenix Suns 89

Posted by Rob Mahoney on January 5, 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.

  • The Phoenix Suns clearly planned to smother Dirk Nowitzki (20 points, 7-17 FG, six rebounds, seven assists) with multiple defenders, and he made them pay with smart passes through and over the top of the defense. The precedent was set early in the first quarter: Shawn Marion set a baseline screen for Nowitzki only to find himself wide open under the basket just seconds later. Both defenders had rushed out to attack Nowitzki out on the wing, and in an efforts to satisfy their defensive emphasis, had forgotten about the other forward on the floor.
  • This was another very typical, low-scoring performance for Jason Kidd (three points, three assists, five rebounds, four steals), in which he manages to control the game in other ways. Nowitzki and Vince Carter helped Kidd enough in the playmaking department to make him a luxury in that regard, but his help defense was phenomenal against the Suns’ fluid offense. The game plan was simple: 1) Move Kidd off of Steve Nash as much as possible, 2) Allow him to dominate the passing lanes with his good timing and better anticipation, 3) Profit.

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