The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 112, Denver Nuggets 95

Posted by Rob Mahoney on March 20, 2012 under Recaps | 11 Comments to Read

Screen Shot 2012-03-20 at 8.49.09 AM

Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FTRORRTOR
Dallas99.0113.159.517.914.314.1
Denver96.047.024.111.113.1

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • Kenneth Faried (nine points, five rebounds) is a good player and an incredibly active defender, but he had the incredible misfortune of being pitted against a most dominant Dirk Nowitzki (33 points, 12-19 FG, 11 rebounds, six assists). What, precisely, would you have any defender do against Nowitzki at the top of his game — much less one with relatively limited NBA experience and far less matchup-specific experience? Dirk maneuvered too well to be blanketed, shot too accurately to be stopped, and passed too effectively to be doubled. Faried was damned before he even had a chance to consider his options, as Nowitzki triggered his usual array of fades and jumpers en route to one of his most spectacularly efficient performances of the season.
  • Dallas’ 33 assists were a season high, and the furthest thing from an empty total; the Mavs’ ball movement was the most successful and consistent force in this game, and sustained even during the roughest offensive stretches. The shots didn’t fall, but to the Mavs’ credit, they never abandoned the process. That commitment is more important than any series of makes or misses, wins or losses — it’s the backbone of successful offense, and that the Mavs are relying on a replicable formula to generate points bodes well for their future this season.
  • This particular matchup made for a fascinating watch due to the fact that size was a uniquely irrelevant factor. Nowitzki demands a certain size and length in defensive response, but Dirk aside, both teams were free to play whichever players gave them the greatest chance for success, regardless of the opponent’s configuration or traditional positions. The Mavs largely stayed “conventional,” if you could really term their usual lineups so ridiculously. The Nuggets, on the other hand, toyed with all kinds of combinations, most of which used Denver’s army of wing players in a futile (in retrospect, anyway) effort to get the jump on Dallas. Faried split time with Al Harrington as the only big on the floor for long stretches of the game, and though Denver couldn’t use their wing-heavy lineups to create any in-game leverage, it was still a hell of a sight.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 107, Washington Wizards 98

Posted by Connor Huchton on March 14, 2012 under Recaps | Read the First Comment

Sunrise

Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot 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.

  • When a team as talented as the Mavericks defeats a cellar-dwelling team like the Wizards by single-digits, it’s typically not considered much of a triumph. But following a dismal 2-8 stretch and a complete lack of team cohesiveness, it was comforting to watch the Mavericks build and sustain a lead, though not too comfortably. The Mavericks play an inordinate amount of games in the coming weeks, but games against the Wizards and Bobcats offer a nice opportunity to win without any particular strain on the Mavericks’ aging core.
  • The Mavericks’ offense was revitalized by the confused, scattered defensive efforts of the Wizards. The Wizards allowed almost every viable Mavericks’ scoring option to focus on their individual offensive strength. Jason Terry (10-20 FG, 24 points) was able to drive right and pull up for jumpers, Dirk  Nowitzki (10-14 FG, 27 points) easily earned position on the high block, and Rodrigue Beaubois (8-14 FG, 19 points, four assists, four rebounds) darted into the lane with little problem.
  • This Mavericks’ team is so much different when Jason Terry is playing well. Terry’s been in a weird funk lately that’s led him to commit 2-4 perplexing turnovers a game. Terry returned to early-season form Wednesday night, and managed to avoid the overly frenetic, rushed play that’s troubled him so greatly in recent games.
  • I feel like I say this frequently, but it really is a joy to watch Rodrigue Beaubois play basketball at a high level. There’s a positive trend emerging in Beaubois’ game, a trend Rick Carlisle hinted at in his post-game comments. Beaubois has begin to attack the basket with increasing frequency, and he’s almost entirely removed long pull-up jumpers from his offensive repertoire. He’s made a strong case to remain an integral part of the Mavericks’ rotation when Delonte West returns, and often provides the scoring spark the Mavericks so desperately need.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 105, Washington Wizards 99

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 27, 2011 under Recaps | 5 Comments to Read

Screen shot 2011-02-27 at 12.06.23 PM

Box Score Play-by-PlayShot Chart GameFlow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FT/FGORB%TOR
Dallas97.0108.251.925.917.812.4
Washington102.148.96.320.49.3

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • Washington isn’t a particularly problematic matchup for Dallas, yet games between the two teams seem to be a bit more interesting than they should be. With a little over a minute and a half remaining in the fourth quarter, Jordan Crawford hit a pull-up jumper to erase the final points of the Maverick lead. Any team in the league can be dangerous in a one-and-a-half minute time frame, and facing that kind of scenario in a very winnable game is exactly what the Mavs should aim to avoid. Luckily, it didn’t matter; following Crawford’s make, Tyson Chandler scored on a tip-in, John Wall turned the ball over, and Dirk Nowitzki was fouled on a three-point attempt. That gave Dallas just the buffer they needed to secure a win, but this was far from a reassuring victory.
  • The Mavs’ defense wasn’t poor per se, but it certainly wasn’t good. The buckets surrendered in transition to Wall et al are understandable, but the more glaring breakdowns were those that occurred in half-court settings. As usual, the initial contests were strong, but the inability to secure defensive rebounds make things unnecessarily difficult. The Wizards posted a 20.4 offensive rebounding rate, and that effort combined with  low turnovers and decent shooting made Washington unexpectedly competitive. The rebounding has to get better; if JaVale McGee and Kevin Seraphin are giving Dallas trouble on the glass, what happens when the Mavs play even stronger rebounding clubs?
  • Tyson Chandler (23 points, 10-14 FG, 13 rebounds) was the game’s unquestioned standout, as the Wizards failed to account for his presence in any offensive setting. Just one dunk for your viewing pleasure:
  • Chandler’s most important bucket and his most emphatic bucket both came off of offensive rebounds, but Jason Kidd (three points, 14 assists, eight rebounds) set up Chandler for the bulk of his points. JaVale McGee is a skilled shot-blocker, but clearly lacks the defensive awareness to compete with a consistent lob threat.

  • Dallas played as well in their transition offense as they have all season, and produced some truly beautiful sequences. The ball movement was terrific throughout the game, but particularly so as the Mavs looked to set each other up for fast break finishes like this one:
  • Dirk Nowitzki (21 points, 6-18 FG, 9-11 FT, seven rebounds, three assists) had an understated impact, leaving Chandler, Shawn Marion (13 points, 4-6 FG, 10 rebounds, three turnovers), and Jason Terry (25 points, 10-18 FG, four assists) to soak in the limelight. Dallas doesn’t win this game without Nowitzki’s 11 free throw attempts, but Marion played a superb all-around game while Terry funneled in some efficient scoring to compensate for Nowitzki’s poor shooting night from the field. If I can dote on Marion’s game for just a second more: no Maverick does a better job of closing out on three-point shooters, and his speed and length paid off in challenging a Nick Young corner three attempt with under a minute remaining.
  • Chalk this one up as the first big hiccup in Rodrigue Beaubois’ (two points, 1-7 FG, three rebounds, three assists) return. Beaubois played just 13 minutes of action, and Carlisle was right to keep his minutes down; the Mavs’ designated savior was drawing back rim on all of his jumpers, and blew a wide open layup attempt at the start of the third quarter. The Mavs even tried to run a staple alley-oop set from their 2009-2010 repertoire to get Beaubois going, but the set ended in a mistimed jump and a missed layup.

Washington Wizards 97, Dallas Mavericks 94: Abridged

Posted by Rob Mahoney on October 6, 2010 under Recaps | Read the First Comment

Neon Green Light

Box ScorePlay-By-PlayShot Chart — GameFlow

“The beginnings and endings of all human undertakings are untidy.”
-Anonymous

Game one is technically in the books, even if it’s not much more than a token. Unfortunately, for those of us out of market, it all came second-hand. Without the distinct privilege of watching 48 minutes of riveting preseason action myself, I’m inclined to defer to those who did. But don’t leave this to writers and journalists alone. Have some insight on one of the Mavs from last night’s game? Sound off in the comments.

  • Eddie Sefko, Dallas Morning News: “According to the coaching staff, [Jason] Terry had five deflections and caused three loose balls. This is a huge development because coach Rick Carlisle has maintained that defensive intensity is what Terry has to improve on to keep racking up the 30 minutes per game that he’s averaged over most of his career. When asked if Terry can do that, Carlisle said: ‘Why the (heck) not?’ Terry’s defensive tipped balls – even more than his three steals – made Carlisle smile. Terry, too. ‘That’s what we’ve been concentrating on,’ he said. ‘That’s what I have to do.’”
  • Michael Lee, Washington Post: “[John] Wall later intercepted an Ian Mahinmi pass intended for Kidd and zipped down the court to make a left-handed layup. But his best play was actually a pass: a lob from beyond the three-point line to JaVale McGee (13 points, 7 rebounds and 6 blocks) that McGee caught and dunked with two hands over Brian Cardinal. ‘That was the hypest play for me,’ Wall said of the alley-oop to McGee. ‘The main thing was getting the jitters out of the way and having chemistry down pat with my teammates.’”
  • Tim MacMahon, ESPN Dallas: “After two injury-marred seasons, [Tyson] Chandler is completely healthy again. He looked a lot like the dude who averaged a double-double for the Hornets in 2007-08 during his debut in a Mavs uniform. He finished with 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting (including one oooh-inducing alley-oop), nine rebounds and two blocked shots in 17 minutes. “‘I loved Chandler tonight, and I’ve loved him every day of training camp,’ coach Rick Carlisle said. ‘He’s really bringing not only energy, but he’s bringing some vocal leadership and personality to our team, which we need. He’s a very, very welcome addition.’”
  • Tyson Chandler: “They came out and threw a press at us and threw a zone at us. Those were things that we weren’t prepared for and some things that we haven’t gone over in practice. But, that is what preseason is for. We need to learn. Tomorrow we will go over some things for the next game.”
  • Kyle Weidie, Truth About It: “Four of [Gilbert Arenas'] five makes were assisted upon; two of those came from running off-ball screening action, and two came as he made himself available at the three point line in transition and off an offensive rebound. The one non-assisted make came on a sweet baseline jumper against the mis-matched Jose Juan Barea (that natural scoring ability Gil still has). Out of the four misses, only 1.5 accounted for “bad attempts” — The good misses being wide open in transition and when Marion gave him too much room at the top of the key. The bad miss came when he pulled up for three in transition when driving action clearly would’ve created something for Blatche down low or Hinrich in the corner. The half bad attempt was Arenas’ last as he tried to post his old buddy DeShawn Stevenson. It was a close shot, but going in the direction of help. In terms of changing his game for the team, Gilbert might just be okay … but I can’t speak for him otherwise.”
  • Dan Devine, Ball Don’t Lie: “No catchphrases here … just a note that Hudson, a training camp invitee who spent time last season with the Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies (as well as the D-League’s Maine Red Claws and Dakota Wizards), showed similar late-game flair during Summer League. Given the video evidence, if they don’t already call him Cool Lester Smooth, they might want to think about it. (Or, whoever “they” are might not want to start doling out “Wire”-related nicknames based on stuff that happens before the games start to count. Which would be fair, I guess.)”

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 23, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Guess who declared for the Korean Basketball League draft? If you guessed Samaki Walker, you’re a deeply disturbed individual. And totally right.
  • David Thorpe ranked the top rookies that played in Summer League, and Dominique Jones came in at #10 (Insider): “Jones is super competitive on both sides of the ball and capable of putting up points in bunches. Possessing a great frame for a combo guard, he has every chance to be this year’s Marcus Thornton — ready to play from day one and having the confidence to play in the fourth quarter.”
  • Kevin Arnovitz got SUMMER LEAGUE LEGEND Jeremy Lin on the phone for a few to get his reactions to the post-Vegas whirlwind. Among other things, Lin reminisced about his game against John Wall and the Wizards Summer League team: “Roddy [Beaubois] was hurt so I got a chance to get a little more playing time in the first half, which helped a lot because I got a chance to get comfortable. Going into the fourth quarter, we were down. I wanted something to happen. I was just, like, playing. It just felt like it was college again. I was just, like, out there. It felt very, very comfortable and very relaxed. It was such a natural feeling. It wasn’t like that with most of the other games. In those other games, it was more like, “Wow, this is a job interview. I have to perform well.” I had that kind of pressure. But in the Washington game, going against John Wall in the fourth quarter, trying to come back, I was just playing off instincts. It was the best quarter I had in summer league at the best possible time. If the Dallas Mavericks weren’t scheduled to play the Washington Wizards, I might not be in the NBA.”
  • Ancient news by this point, but Caron Butler is the “sole proprietor if six Burger King restaurants around the country.”
  • Antoine Wright will be playing in Sacramento next season. He’s not a great offensive fit next to Tyreke Evans, but I still like Wright as a defender, as does Tom Ziller.
  • Mike Prada ranked the league’s 30 GMs, and put Donnie Nelson in the 10th slot: “Ultimately, Nelson hits a lot of singles and doubles, and that’s not a bad thing for a team that is willing to spend and will therefore never have or need cap flexibility.”
  • “He doesn’t owe you anything. He is not a representative for every Asian-American kid. He is just Jeremy Lin.”
  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com, from Team USA training camp in Las Vegas: “Tyson Chandler is wearing the Zoom LeBron III, personalized to protect his toe.” Chandler seems more and more likely to make Team USA’s final cut, even after early reports indicated that he came into camp out of shape.
  • Reminiscing on Summer League, and more specifically, the match-up between Omar Samhan and JaVale McGee.
  • Could Jeremy Lin already have a shoe endorsement deal?

Adventures in Summer Leaguing, Volume IV

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 16, 2010 under Commentary, Recaps | Read the First Comment

  • Rodrigue Beaubois played a pretty miserable game. In almost sixteen minutes, Beaubois went scoreless, but still managed to pick up five fouls and turn the ball over three times. He suffered a bit of a high ankle sprain during the game, which does help to explain his hesitation and ineffectiveness. However, even with the injury as an alibi, this was a weak performance for Rodrigue.
  • With Beaubois sitting most of the game due to injury, there was an offensive void to be filled. That’s where Dominique Jones came up big, and Jeremy Lin, Omar Samhan, and Ian Mahinmi made notable contributions. Dominique had a high-usage outing (with Beaubois sitting, Jones ran the offense for extended stretches) but sitll a remarkably efficient one: He scored 28 points on 17 shots, shot 53% from the field, and only turned the ball over twice. Typically I’m more of an advocate of evaluating skills in Summer League rather than production, but Jones’ outing was too impressive to ignore.
  • However, Jones’ best work was on the defensive end. Dominique was matched up with the prodigious John Wall, and though Wall finished with a fantastic 21 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds, Jones’ ability to anticipate Wall’s moves was very impressive. The #1 pick may have gotten his, but he shot just 4-of-19 from the field in doing so.
  • Kevin Arnovitz on Dominique Jones: Jones played the point at South Florida and can distribute the ball in traffic, or make use of himself off the ball. He recorded four assists on Thursday and turned the ball over twice, which is a minor miracle for an active, high usage guard in summer league action. ‘I love the point guard position, as people can probably tell the way I work with the ball,’ Jones said. ‘But whatever the Mavericks need me to do, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to try to prepare myself and learn from Jason Terry and Jason Kidd so that when the time comes at either position that I play, I won’t be a liability.’ For an aging Dallas squad, the time might come sooner than later — and Jones seems far more of an asset than a liability.”
  • Jeremy Lin had his best Summer League performance yet. He threaded a long bounce pass through two defenders to a cutter. He picked off a lazy pass and sprinted out for an open court dunk. He sliced to the basket and found an open teammate on the other side of the rim. He unleashed a breathtaking spin on a shot attempt that was unfortunately led to an offensive foul call. He stuck with John Wall on defense. Lin looks every bit an NBA player, and at this point the only thing separating him from that official status is an invite, not skill.
  • Here’s my fellow Hardwood Paroxite, Zach Harper (also of Cowbell Kingdom and Talk Hoops), on Lin’s performance: “Jeremy Lin and John Wall faced off in the fourth quarter of the Wizards-Mavericks game in Vegas and pretty much played each other to a standstill. That’s right. An undrafted Harvard, SMAHRT kid, point guard went toe-to-toe with the number-one pick in the NBA draft and sort-of held his own. The final box score will show John Wall with an impressive 21 points (let’s just forget about the 4/19 shooting), 10 assists and seven rebounds. But it won’t show that the majority of the Lin’s 11 fourth quarter points were the result of him getting the better of the ‘best player in the draft’ for times than Wall will care to remember. Lin and Wall played the equivalent of an iso chess match on the hardwood game board. The kid from the Ivy League refused to back down from the YouTube sensation and while Wall walked away with the highlight reel, Lin walked away as the fan favorite.”
  • Ian Mahinmi looked good in his Maverick debut. He’s confident in his mid-range game, which is good, but he’s also not content to settle. Mahinmi attacked the rim whenever he could, including one impressive drive to the rim from the high post. Ian also rebounded fairly well, although the Mavs’ bigs on the whole did a poor job on the defensive glass. It’s tough to attribute specific blame when the defensive rotations are Summer Leaguerrific (forcing the bigs to step up and contest shots they shouldn’t have to, exposing the soft, chewy center of the defensive unit), but JaVale McGee and John Wall killed it on the offensive glass.
  • Omar Samhan looked strong again in a complementary role, but he’s not long for this NBA world. Samhan has agreed to a two-year contract with Zalgiris, a Lithuanian team, with a team option for a third year. Let’s hope he’ll be back stateside before that. Cheers, Omar.
  • With Ian Mahinmi inserted into the starting lineup, Mouhammad Faye was relegated to reserve duty. He didn’t look as impressive against Washington. Though Faye’s defense was above average, it wasn’t notable, and he didn’t contribute anything offensively.
  • DeShawn Sims had his most productive game as a Mav, but I have a feeling he’ll be picked up elsewhere. Sims is a pretty decent NBA prospect, but the Mavs need an immediate contributor as the back-up 4. Plus, if they’re going to take a flyer on anyone from this roster, Lin seems to be the better find.
  • If I’m not mistaken, Shan Foster had his first drive of Summer League in Game 4. This is not a good thing.