Box Score — Play-by-Play — Shot Chart — GameFlow
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 win is a win is a win, but this one was hardly glamorous or constructive. There’s certainly nothing wrong with the Mavs getting another game under their collective belt, but we don’t know anything more about Dallas than we did 24 hours ago, and I’m not sure the Mavs know anything more about themselves, either. Here’s three cheers for conditioning and repetitions, but this was a pretty cosmetic win.
- Ian Mahinmi (13 points, 5-6 FG, seven rebounds, two steals) is making it far too easy for Carlisle to leave Brendan Haywood (two points, six rebounds, one steal) on the bench. Defensively, Mahinmi has been solid, though admittedly imperfect. On offense, he’s done a tremendous job of finding spots on the floor with both open passing lanes and easy scoring opportunities. I don’t think we’re at all near a point where Mahinmi would supplant Haywood as a starter (such a move would be ill-advised for motivational reasons alone), but the games in which Mahinmi logs more playing time than his counterpart are becoming more and more common — and rightfully so.
- As terrific as Delonte West (12 points on six shots, four assists) has played to start the season, I was still a bit surprised that Rick Carlisle opted to start the game with him as the nominal point guard in Jason Kidd’s absence. It was a good call, mind you — and the right call, if such a thing exists in this case — but still one I didn’t expect him to make this early in the season. West and Vince Carter (who started at the 2) both responded well as starters, and Jason Terry (12 points, 5-9 FG, 2-3 3FG, four assists), and Rodrigue Beaubois (11 points, 4-10 FG, two assists, two steals, two turnovers) contributed nicely off the bench.
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Look, I don’t want to be tossing these wistful ideas around, and if you’re dawdling around these parts, odds are that you don’t much like reading them. Yet we must depart from the usual realism to discuss one specific rumor, from Marc Stein and Chris Broussard of ESPN.com:
There is also a small handful of teams that has informed the Hornets they are prepared to trade for Paul with no assurance that they can keep him beyond this season. That list, sources say, includes the Rockets, Boston Celtics and defending champion Dallas Mavericks.
Each of those teams would be gambling that Paul would be won over by his new surroundings and either elect to play out the final season of his current contract (valued at $17.8 million in 2012-13) or opt out of his contract on July 1, 2012, and sign a new deal. Paul’s 2011-12 salary is listed at $16.4 million.
How wonderful. Obviously Chris Paul would be an incredible get for the Mavs, but like so many other franchises reportedly vying to obtain him via trade, Dallas is low on assets. Just so we’re all on the same page, let’s run down the slim list of Maverick pieces that would be attractive to a team like the Hornets:
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The Difference is a new feature here at The Two Man Game, in which I’ll provide a bit of instant analysis on games shortly after they occur rather than the following morning. The longer, more detailed recaps will be up as soon as they’re available, but consider these morsels your post-game snack to hold you over until then.
For this feature, I’ll offer one bullet point for each point in the margin of victory. That makes this first installment fairly simple, but fun will be had when the blowouts come. Let’s not have another 50-point win though, eh?
- After a 20-point, five-assist, four-rebound first half in which he shot 72.7% from the field, Chris Paul went 1-for-5 for two points and four assists in the game’s final 24 minutes. There are three individuals to credit/blame. Paul himself was kinder to the Mavs in the second half, as he traded his weaving, probing style for a less audacious approach. Tyson Chandler deserves a heap of credit for challenging Paul’s jumpers aggressively, and showing well on almost every pick-and-roll he was involved in. The third player who deserves some sort of nightly hardware? J.J. Barea. Everyone’s favorite scapegoat got a bit of a raw deal at times from the officiating crew, but he fought hard from the top of the zone to keep Paul covered. New Orleans clearly had plans to exploit him, but Barea scrapped, Paul faded, and Dallas won.
- Peja Stojakovic turned back the clock with a throwback performance, but Willie Green turned the very laws of the universe. Long-time Mavs fans should be quite familiar with Stojakovic’s shooting potential give how good he was for the Sacramento Kings earlier in the decade, but Green has never and still is not a very good basketball player. He’s also not a particularly efficient shooter. The stars just aligned. Then they collapsed, merged into a giant black hole, and pulled all of us through an NBA wormhole. Apparently, we are now in the dimension in which it makes perfect sense for Green, who is shooting 18.2% from three this season, to make three of his four attempts from deep.
- The Mavs’ decision to match up Tyson Chandler with David West and Dirk Nowitzki with Emeka Okafor may seem like an odd one, but it was quite effective. Nowitzki’s interior defense is strong enough to challenge the robotic, predictable Okafor inside, and Chandler did a fantastic job of challenging West all over the court. The Nowitzki-West matchup — a red herring in the Mavs’ 2008 playoff loss to the Hornets — is no more, and in its place is something far less dramatic but far more beneficial for Dallas. New Orleans’ two starting bigs combined to shoot 7-of-24 from the field for the game and turned the ball over five times.