Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 2, 2013 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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Looking over Quoteboards allows you to refresh your memory over buzz comments that were made. There’s one that has stuck in my mind and has me wondering.

This is what Mark Cuban said when the front office has to decide the worth of perspective free agents versus years and money and deciding whether or not to pursue:

“We don’t try to win the summer. We don’t try to say okay, we’re going to give a guy a lot of money. He’s got to be worth the money. There are guys that are team difference makers and none of these guys that you’ve mentioned (like Goran Dragic) went to a team and that signed as a free agent and turned them around.  What kind of impact would he have on your team? End of story. That’s it. How many games can he win me, if at all? If he’s not going to be a difference-maker why would you do it (sign him to a lengthy contract)?

“I have to look at Donnie and Rick. Donnie’s going to say don’t do it and Rick’s going to say don’t do it. I’m going to say to Donnie, should we do it? And he’ll say no. Teams sign guys all the time that they end up having to get rid of all the time. And it’s just a different animal when you’re trading for him and you get off a guy and you have to take bad contracts to get a good contract. We’re wide open for whatever puts us in a position to get a difference maker and if we can’t then we’ll deal with whatever it is.”

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Thermodynamics: Week 24

Posted by Travis Wimberly on April 11, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | Be the First to Comment

Thermodynamics (n.) – the science concerned with the relations between heat and mechanical energy

The Mavs have been officially eliminated from playoff contention, but they say they won’t quit on the season. In that case, neither will we. We’ve got about one more week before most of our regular columns here at The Two Man Game go into offseason hiatus, so let’s make it count.

Week 24 (@Nuggets, @Kings, @Blazers, Suns)

FIRE

1) The Matrix

The 2012-13 Mavs have a handful of younger players whose grit and tenacity are sometimes easy to question. Meanwhile, they have a few older players for whom those traits are indisputable and unwavering. Shawn Marion is one of those guys in the latter category, and this week was the quintessential example. With the Mavs’ playoff hopes dwindling further and further, the Matrix rose to the occasion. After a respectable 10-point night in Denver, he produced 25 points against Sacramento, 20 against Portland, and 22 against Phoenix. It was the first time since 2007 that Marion has scored 20-plus points in three consecutive games. Not only that, he scored very efficiently — 34-of-58 (59%) shooting on the week — and contributed 8.5 rebounds per game to boot. I’m not going to say the Mavs have quitters on their roster, because I don’t think that’s true. But I will say this: Shawn Marion is the polar opposite of a quitter.

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Quoteboard: Phoenix Suns 102, Dallas Mavericks 91

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on under Interviews | Read the First Comment

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Wednesday night ended up being the final jab into the collective jaw of the Dallas Mavericks. They suffered a devastating 102-91 loss to the Phoenix Suns. On top of that, the Los Angeles Lakers were able to secure a 113-106 loss in Portland to the Trail Blazers. The combination of the Dallas loss and Los Angeles win sealed the fate for the Mavericks. Dallas is now officially eliminated from playoff contention, ending their 12 year streak of consecutive trips to the postseason.

The loss to Phoenix put an end to the Suns’ 10-game losing streak. Before securing the victory, the Suns had not defeated the Mavericks at American Airlines Center since Mar. 14, 2007, when they recorded a 129-127 double-overtime win. The Mavericks had won 10 straight and 22 of the last 27 matchups with the Suns in Dallas before the loss.

Goran Dragic (21 points and a game-high 13 assists) and Luis Scola (11 points and a game-high 15 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles for Phoenix in the win.

Shawn Marion tallied a game-high 22 points to go along with a team-high nine rebounds and three steals in 34 minutes. He scored 20-plus points for the third straight game (eighth time this season).

Some notes before the quotes:

- Marion’s game marked the first time since February 2007 that he scored 20-plus points in three consecutive games (27 at Minnesota Feb. 23, 2007, 21 at Atlanta Feb. 25, 2007, 22 at Indiana Feb. 27, 2007). Marion is averaging 22.3 points and 9.3 rebounds over his last three games.

- Dirk Nowitzki totaled 21 points to go along with eight rebounds and three assists in 34 minutes. It was his 17th game with 20-plus points this season.

- The streak of 12 consecutive trips to the postseason was longest in franchise history and was the second-longest in the NBA. At 10 years, the Denver Nuggets now hold the second-longest active streak in the league. San Antonio (16 consecutive playoff appearances) is the only team with a longer active streak.

- Before this run of 12 straight playoff appearances, Dallas longest streak was five, from 1983-88.

- Dallas’ 12 straight playoff appearances ties for 13th-longest in NBA history. Syracuse/Philadelphia holds record of 22 straight (1960-81)

Here is the quoteboard for Dallas’ death blow of a loss to Phoenix.

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Thermodynamics: Week 15

Posted by Travis Wimberly on February 7, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | Be the First to Comment

Fire Ice Glass

Thermodynamics (n.) – the science concerned with the relations between heat and mechanical energy

If you’re anything like me, this week for the Mavs didn’t “feel” very good. They got rocked by the Thunder (a team they have consistently played very close in years past, even when the Thunder are much more talented), which left a dark underscore on an otherwise successful week. And objectively speaking, it was a successful week: when you’re the 2012-2013 Mavs and you’re several games below .500, a 2-1 week is success. Relatively speaking, anyway.

FIRE

1) Shawn Marion

Since Dirk Nowitzki returned to the lineup, people have suggested that it’s very difficult for him, less than two years removed from an NBA title, to suddenly be surrounded by this current cast of Mavericks. That’s probably true. But if that’s true of Dirk, it’s also undoubtedly true of Shawn Marion, the other remaining rotation player from the Mavs’ 2011 title team. If Marion is carrying that disappointment, though, he’s not showing it on the court. Every night, the man affectionately known as The Matrix is playing his tail off for the blue and white, and his numbers this week show it. He started the week by dropping a double-double in his former stomping grounds in Phoenix (12 points, 11 rebounds); in Oklahoma City, he contributed 23 points on 10-of-14 (71%) shooting and also blocked two shots; finally, against Portland last night, he notched yet another double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), his 11th of the season. And of course, all those stats accompany Marion’s usual, well-above-average individual defense. Glasses up to the Matrix — a true pro’s pro.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 117, Houston Rockets 110

Posted by Rob Mahoney on April 18, 2012 under Recaps | 7 Comments to Read

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Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FTRORRTOR
Dallas92.0127.258.932.926.311.7
Houston119.657.017.431.811.5

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 strategic turn of the game came when the Mavericks — who had been torched by Houston’s perimeter shooting since the early stages of the first quarter — began switching on every pick and roll. The Rockets immediately looked to exploit that fact by involving Brandan Wright (four points, five rebounds) in mandatory switches and then looking to exploit him off the bounce, but Wright did a fantastic job of getting down into a defensive stance and rebuffing dribble penetration. Similarly, Jason Kidd (12 points, 4-7 3FG, eight assists, one turnover) was as brilliant in denying the post as can be expected; Kidd’s ability to handle defensive switches was a huge reason why Dallas was so effective in the Finals, and he was similarly crafty in his fronting of Patrick Patterson and Luis Scola in the fourth. Houston warily tried to attack what they initially perceived as created mismatches, only to fall back into a less aggressive offense and let Dallas switch without penalty.  (Additionally: Kidd may have began the game with some defensive lapses, but by the end he was in full-on throwback mode. His effort was pristine and the results spoke for themselves. Even with the postseason right around the corner, it would be hard to ask for anything more from Kidd.)
  • That said, Dallas’ defensive adjustment came a bit late, or at least their early defensive failures made it so. There were simply far too many conceded jumpers throughout the first three quarters, and unlike Monday’s game against the Jazz, there was no strategic reason to collapse into the middle and leave the perimeter exposed. Goran Dragic (20 points, 8-12 FG, 10 assists, six turnovers) and company initially played the screen game as aggressively as is their wont, and until Rick Carlisle toggled the Mavs into a switch-heavy set, Dallas seemed hopeless against Houston’s outside shooters. The Mavs had still managed to force a good number of turnovers with a swarming interior defense and shading of the passing lanes, but the paint needs to be defended without such a complete disregard for what lies beyond the arc.
  • Jason Terry’s (19 points, 6-11 FG, 3-6 3FG, three assists, four rebounds, three turnovers) annual rut is apparently well behind him; JET nearly topped 20 points for the third consecutive game, and legitimately altered the course of the contest with his on-court gravity. Even as Dallas’ third-leading scorer, Terry was something of a motivational center. He went on a self-propelled 10-0 run. He attempted to put some early punctuation on the game with an attempted slam. He scored and created and provided all the extracurriculars, as Dallas rallied behind his effort and enthusiasm. It’s not hard to find games in which the Mavericks move one way and Terry moves another, but this contest was marked by their perfect symbiosis.

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On The Ground Floor

Posted by Ian Levy on January 24, 2012 under Commentary | 3 Comments to Read

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Ian Levy is the author of Hickory High, a contributor to Indy Cornrows, HoopSpeakU, and a part of The Two Man Game family. You can follow Ian on Twitter at @HickoryHigh.

Every NBA offense begins with the same purpose – put the ball in the basket, preferably repeatedly and in a manner that’s not too straining. The pieces and approaches that are chosen to strive for that goal take an infinite number of forms. Through 18 games, the Mavericks’ offensive form has shape-shifted through a variety of ghastly and ghoulish looks.

This season, the Mavericks have scored 100.3 points per 100 possessions — the league’s 22nd most efficient offense. That’s a drop of 9.4 points per 100 possessions from last season, when they scored 109.7 points per 100 and registered the eighth most efficient offense in the league. The offense has regressed, significantly, in almost every area:

2011-20122010-2011
eFG%47.3%52.5%
TO%14.4%13.6%
ORB%23.6%24.1%
FT/FGA0.2240.222

Taking a look at the four factors, we see a team that’s getting to the line at roughly the same rate (still way below the league average), while shooting less accurately, turning the ball over more often and recovering fewer of their own missed shots. The fact that they’ve been able to start the season by winning 11 of 18 games is a testament to how much defensive compensation they’ve done.

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