The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 114, Portland Trail Blazers 91

Posted by Kirk Henderson on November 6, 2012 under Recaps | 4 Comments to Read

Hammer2

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

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Posted by Brian Rubaie on November 1, 2012 under Commentary | 4 Comments to Read

OneStepForwardTwoStepsBack

The departures of Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Delonte West created a gaping hole in the Mavericks backcourt. While much of the offseason attention has focused on the development of new acquisitions and starting guards Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo, an equally important but under-examined three-way race for backup minutes is already underway. Rookie Jared Cunningham joins familiar and popular holdovers Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones in the backcourt to compete for playing time. Beaubois clearly won the race in the season opener, anchoring the second unit in an impressive offensive performance against the Lakers. It was a big step forward for the inconsistent young guard. The best-case scenario for the Mavericks is that Beaubois sustains his hot start and provides much-needed offense in Dirk’s absence.

It is important to remember, however, that Beaubois has an unfortunate tendency to follow great performances with games that land him back in Rick Carlisle’s doghouse. Collison and Beaubois slashed a flat-footed Lakers backcourt that never found their rhythm. Future matchups against more athletic opponents may expose defensive weaknesses that have plagued Beaubois throughout his NBA career. That could create opportunities for Cunningham to earn playing time this season, if only because Carlisle has little patience for inconsistency. Carlisle summed up the state of his backcourt nicely after the final preseason game against Charlotte, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas:

“I have no [expletive] idea. … Our backup point guard position struggled tonight.”

Read more of this article »

The Rundown, Volume II

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on October 29, 2012 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

4114614199_e719b5b366_z

The Rundown is back. Every Monday, The Rundown will chronicle the week that was for the Mavericks, as well as let you know what is coming up for the boys in blue, with a unique spin. Simply put, it is your Monday catch-up on all things with the Dallas Mavericks.

If you thought you saw it all in The Rundown last week, you’ve got another thing coming. The news kept on coming for the Mavericks (most of it being unfavorable). Another chapter in the Delonte West saga was written, and new Mavericks came walking through the doors of the American Airlines Center. As the preseason wrapped up and the regular season is approaching, let’s take a look at the week for the Mavericks.

Read more of this article »

Blue and White

Posted by David Hopkins on October 18, 2012 under Commentary | 6 Comments to Read

Blue, White, Blue.

David Hopkins is a freelance writer — a regular contributor to D Magazine and Smart Pop Books. Follow David on Twitter at @davidhopkins.

———-

“Are you sure it’s okay for me to wear Jason Kidd’s jersey?”

My wife April has asked me this question about three times now. She loves basketball. She knows the game. But April is still leery about jersey etiquette. I reassured her that people still love Kidd, and it’s very respectable to wear the jersey of a former player… as long as it’s not Bruno Sundov. That’s just weird.

I bought the Kidd jersey for $8 as the pro shop purged their warehouse, before shipping the lonely remnants to Central America.

Thus, the benefits of Jason Kidd leaving:

  1. Cheap jerseys
  2. The Mavs’ fast break will no longer look like when the P.E. coach tells the stoner kids to hustle.
  3. I don’t have to give a damn about his DWI.

April wanted a Kidd jersey ever since our first game together, when she pointed from our upper-deck seats down to the old man with the ball. “I like him. He’s all business.”

April has good instincts. She foresaw the greatness of Tyson Chandler in 2010 while I was still weighing the benefits of Brendan Haywood. And she gave up on Lamar Odom months before I did.

We were going to the Mavstoberfest event to see the Blue vs. White scrimmage. She wanted to wear her new jersey, and I saw no crime in it.

Read more of this article »

Rank This

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on October 10, 2012 under Commentary, Roster Moves | 4 Comments to Read

Photobucket

Ed. note: This post doubles as an introduction to a new member of The Two Man Game family, even if Mavs fans are undoubtedly quite familiar with his work already. Bryan Gutierrez is a contributing writer for Mavs.com, and formerly worked the Mavericks beat for Mavs Moneyball. You can follow Bryan on Twitter at @BallinWithBryan.

Ranking teams or players before the real season tips off is a chore that doesn’t really make a lot of sense but it’s great for conversation. Unless you live under a rock, you probably followed ESPN.com’s #NBARank project. We’ll put a wrinkle on it by ranking the Dallas Mavericks’ expected 15-man roster.

The experts who rated each player ranked them in terms of “the current quality of each player.” Here are the rankings for the Mavericks, alongside a notable player for comparison.

#463 – Jared Cunningham – Comparison: Mike Bibby, 472
#447 – Bernard James – Comparison: Hasheem Thabeet, 443
#381 – Dominique Jones – Comparison: Jonny Flynn, 386
#339 – Jae Crowder – Comparison: Kelenna Azubuike, 345

#301 – Dahntay Jones – Comparison: DeShawn Stevenson, 319
#212 – Brandan Wright – Comparison: Drew Gooden, 213
#204 – Roddy Beaubois – Comparison: Corey Brewer, 203
#185 – Vince Carter – Comparison: Richard Jefferson, 181

#159 – Delonte West – Comparison: Jason Kidd, 157
#113 – Chris Kaman – Comparison: Kendrick Perkins, 120
#98 – Darren Collison – Comparison: Jose Calderon, 96

#92 – Shawn Marion – Comparison: Thaddeus Young, 91
#90 – O.J. Mayo – Comparison: Jason Terry, 81
#85 – Elton Brand – Comparison: Taj Gibson, 82
#11 – Dirk Nowitzki – Comparison: Kevin Love, 7

ESPN.com’s panel  views the Mavericks in a lone star way as Dirk Nowitzki is the only player ranked inside the top 50. Here at The Two Man Game, we’re down for a discussion or starting another string of debates. Over the next few days, we’ll have player capsules for each Maverick and rank them in terms of projected importance for the team this coming season. It’ll start with the back end of the roster and work our way up to Dirk, whoops, I mean the top of the roster. Here are players 15 to 10.

Read more of this article »

Adventures in Summer Leaguing, Volume II

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 16, 2012 under Commentary, Recaps | 6 Comments to Read

Screen Shot 2012-07-16 at 11.34.52 PM

The Las Vegas Summer League is a meal best consumed in buffet style — there is little order to the layering of flavors for the event, but one can nonetheless find plenty of tasty morsels, however disparate they may be. With that in mind, here is a closer look at a few of the notable prospects from Dallas’ first game in Vegas, assembled for you in the most edible form:

  • The offense in Monday’s game still revolved around Dominique Jones, albeit in a very different way; having proved his point in the Mavs’ Summer League premiere by dropping 32 points on just 25 shots, Jones slid into a pattern of more altruistic shot creation in the follow-up. The assist totals don’t show it, but Jones consistently made plays for his teammates through his dribble penetration, and did well as a spot-up option when other Mavs drew additional defenders or got themselves into trouble. He didn’t necessarily strike a perfect balance between scoring and playmaking, but Jones inched closer to that equilibrium — a state that will be essential if he’s going to fill minutes in the season to come.
  • Related: Jones is so quick and so strong that a euro step almost seems unfair.
  • David Harrison certainly has the potential to be a nice player, but is distractingly emotive to both himself and observers. He reacts demonstratively to virtually every call that goes against him or the team, occasionally to the point where his teammates are forced to counsel him on-court. That’s not necessarily a problem beyond remedy, but it’s a turnoff in a competitive business with so many comparable talents.

Read more of this article »

Adventures in Summer Leaguing, Volume I

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 15, 2012 under Commentary, Recaps | Read the First Comment

Screen Shot 2012-07-15 at 10.48.02 PM

The Las Vegas Summer League is a meal best consumed in buffet style — there is little order to the layering of flavors for the event, but one can nonetheless find plenty of tasty morsels, however disparate they may be. With that in mind, here is a closer look at a few of the notable prospects from Dallas’ first game in Vegas, assembled for you in the most edible form:

  • The Mavs’ stint in Vegas is very clearly an audition process of sorts for Dominique Jones, whose role in the upcoming season is an open question due to Dallas’ open roster. With Rodrigue Beaubois almost perpetually shaky off the dribble and Delonte West as of yet unsigned, there’s a distinct possibility that the Mavs will be forced to rely on Jones as a reserve ball-handler and playmaker.
    .
    It’s in that regard that Jones’ Summer League success becomes a bit tricky to translate. On this team, he’s the end-all creator, the primary scorer, and the bailout option. He has a lot to prove and a considerable weight to carry, giving these showings a notably different dynamic than what he has and will encounter as a member of the Mavs’ A-team. He did a tremendous job of pouring in points, but I’m not sure there’s much to take away from his shiny scoring total aside from the physicality and skill behind it.
    .
    There’s no question that Jones is a reasonably safe ball-handler with good driving instincts and imposing strength, but none of that is exactly new. What is new — or at least renewed — is his capacity to finish around the basket after drawing contact. That was the crux of Jones’ college success, but he hadn’t yet managed to convert that element of his utility to NBA defenses and NBA bigs. We may have seen the start of that transition with this kind of performance, even if the level of play makes for an imperfect comparison to standard NBA basketball.

Read more of this article »

Rumor Mongering: Delayed Payoff

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 5, 2012 under Rumors | Read the First Comment

Oceans have dried up and mountain ranges have crumbled since the Dallas Mavericks drafted Nick Calathes in 2009, but the team’s specific circumstances — while entirely different — are eerily familiar. The Mavs are still in need of a successor to Jason Kidd (who is almost assuredly gone), could still benefit from a cross-matching playmaker to pair alongside Rodrigue Beaubois or Dominique Jones, and are — as is team custom — very thin in terms of developmental depth. Calathes could oblige in many of those capacities, and for the first time since Dallas drafted him, he’s contractually free to ply his trade stateside. Per Eurohoops.net, that’s precisely what he intends to do:

Nick Calathes’ contract with Panathinaikos ended, he is a free agent and he will try his best in order to get a roster spot in Dallas. That should be the natural evolution for him…Calathes is a 23 years old player, who believes that he learned all he could from European basketball and now feels that it’s the right time for him to try and achieve his childhood dream of playing in the NBA. He will play for the Greek national team at the FIBA Pre-Olympic tournament, but he wants also be present at the Las Vegas summer league and will chase his dream, something that can be done if Greece doesn’t qualify to London.

Read more of this article »

The Difference: Chicago Bulls 93, Dallas Mavericks 83

Posted by Rob Mahoney on April 22, 2012 under Recaps | Read the First Comment

Screen Shot 2012-04-22 at 10.13.19 AM

Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FTRORRTOR
Dallas89.093.341.824.120.812.1
Chicago104.550.614.319.510.1

  • Talk amongst yourselves, all. As Jason Terry goes, so do I.
  • (That withstanding, a brief note: Dallas did a perfectly reputable job considering that both Jasons elected to sit this one out, and it was easy to be particularly impressed with Rodrigue Beaubois (for resiliency alone; returning after dislocating a finger can’t be fun) and Dominique Jones — both of whom did good work in considerable minutes. This rotation obviously looks very different when two candidates for 30+ minutes watch from the bench, but considering that fact — as well as how little the Mavs have to play for at this point — the result was quite favorable.

The Difference: Golden State Warriors 111, Dallas Mavericks 87

Posted by James Herbert on March 11, 2012 under Recaps | Read the First Comment

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.

  • There aren’t a lot of positives to take from a loss like this, except for the fact that it’s probably not all that representative of anything. The reality: the Mavs are now the third team this season to lose all three games of a back-to-back-to-back. At 23-20, they’ve dropped eight of ten and would occupy the West’s final playoff spot if the season ended today. Fortunately, the season doesn’t end today. This brutal stretch of nine games in 12 nights is over and I’m closer to the Mark Cuban “these losses are meaningless” school of thought than the “Dallas is a disaster” stance that clean-shaven Sam Mitchell took on NBA TV Friday night. Brendan Haywood will be back soon, Delonte West after that, and we’ll look for incremental improvements over the next month or so.
  • Oh, Jason Kidd will be back soon, too. He was a late scratch. No need to play the soon-to-be 39-year-old on three straight nights. This meant we were treated to a starting backcourt of Jason Terry and Dominique Jones, with Rodrigue Beaubois and Vince Carter theoretically adding scoring punch off the bench. For JET, it was his first start since last January. For Jones, it was the first of his career. Also, this was Terry’s 1000th career regular season game.
  • For the second night in a row, Dallas looked old and slow and fell behind early to a non-playoff team. The Warriors scored the first six points of the game and Rick Carlisle took his first timeout with 6:31 left in the first, down 11-5. The Mavs’ legs were dragging from the opening tip, while the Warriors, who hadn’t played since Wednesday, were full of energy, even if it wasn’t always channeled correctly. The Mavs started the first quarter shooting 2-13 and finished it 6-22.
  • That energy I talked about? Much of it came from Ekpe Udoh, who was running and jumping and contesting shots all over the place. Early in the first, he challenged a Dirk Nowitzki jumper, then blocked Ian Mahinmi’s follow attempt. He blocked a Nowitzki shot a few possessions later. He should become a Serge Ibaka-like league-wide fan favorite as soon as the Warriors are relevant.
  • The first quarter wasn’t all one-sided and it wasn’t just the Mavericks being sloppy — both teams had six turnovers in the opening frame. After that timeout with 6:31 left, Rodrigue Beaubois and Lamar Odom checked in. Both immediately hit threes and tied the game at 11. But in the last 3:31, Golden State went on a 13-2 run. For the rest of the game, Dallas was playing catch-up.

Read more of this article »