You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
- You don’t know how much you miss watching great basketball chemistry until it arrives wonderfully on a quiet Tuesday night in December.
- The Mavericks played enjoyable, solid basketball for the duration of Tuesday night’s game, and that performance translated to a noteworthy win against a decent Sixers team. The Mavs’ offense appeared as well-constructed as it has in a month. The flow of the two-man game between O.J. Mayo (26 points, 8-12 FG, eight assists) and Chris Kaman (20 points, 9-15 FG, seven rebounds) was especially wonderful.
- An integral factor in the individual successes of Kaman and Mayo was the deftness with which they played off each other’s strengths. As the game progressed to a close, Mayo, upon seeing the defense key towards him, found Kaman several times for open mid-range jumpers. And when he didn’t pass, he smoothly glided to the basket or pulled up for an efficient jumper.
- Shawn Marion (14 points, 7-11 FG, nine rebounds) helped level the Mavs’ offense in the middle quarters between the peaks of Mayo and Kaman, which compels me to once again note exactly how consistent Marion has been this season when healthy. He’s an offensive and defensive cornerstone on a game-by-game basis, even in the third act of his career.
- The Sixers’ late-game offense existed in exact juxtaposition to that of the Mavericks. It seemed like nearly every Sixers’ possession that didn’t result in a Dorell Wright three (25 points, 8-18 FG, 7-13 3PT) resulted in a wasted twenty or so seconds, followed by a turnover or contested long-two. They clearly miss Jrue Holiday as a shot creator, though Evan Turner (17 points, 7-16 FG, five assists, four turnovers) and Maalik Wayns (3 points, 1-7 FG, nine assists, zero turnovers) did their best to shoulder the burden.
- Brandan Wright (5-6 FG, 10 points, six rebounds) continues to score at an unbelievably efficient rate. If he qualified, Wright would currently have the NBA’s second best FG%. He made the most of his 17 minutes, and notably capitalized on opportunities in the fourth quarter when paired with Chris Kaman.
- As reported by Michael Dugat on Twitter, O.J. Mayo has now led the Mavericks in scoring in 17 of the team’s 25 games. That’s incredible for a player largely thought of as a draft bust only a few months ago. And his game appears to grow and develop as every week passes.