The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 116, Sacramento Kings 100

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 17, 2011 under Recaps | 2 Comments to Read

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

  • Dallas won by a wide margin, but Dirk Nowitzki scored just 13 points. Jason Kidd was the Mavericks’ leading scorer. J.J. Barea and Brendan Haywood were the only Mavs with double-doubles. This game was interesting for reasons that stretched far beyond the return of Rodrigue Beaubois (13 points, 6-13 FG, six assists, three steals, three turnovers), and the Mavs’ dominance was far greater than the impact of their young hope. Beaubois’ return was noteworthy for his individual efforts, but the Mavs played a pretty dominant offensive game overall. We can pick nits — the turnovers got a bit out of hand at times and Dallas rarely got to the line — but it’s hard to ask for more than eight double-digit scorers and a 62.8 effective field goal percentage. Bellissimo.
  • Barea has was easily the Mavs’ most impressive player. The 10 assists don’t mislead in the slightest; Barea’s vision was truly special in this one. He made phenomenal feeds to cutters, to shooters, to open dunkers — this was a remarkable playmaking performance unlike anything we’ve seen from Barea in recent memory. He’s done fine work as an efficient scorer in the last few weeks, but this showing was of an entirely different grain.
  • Another funny thing about Barea’s fantastic game? He wasn’t even supposed to show up to work on Wednesday. Barea had been held out of practice because of a groin injury and a case of the flu. Ain’t no thang, apparently.
  • 20-point performances from Kidd are always notable, as are games where any player — Kidd or otherwise — goes 6-of-7 from three-point range. And surprising though it was that Kidd was such so accurate, it was just as unusual that he kept firing away. Kidd took six three point attempts in the third quarter and though it’s a good thing for the Mavs that he did, that’s not a frequency in shot attempts that can be found on a game-by-bame basis.
  • Dallas’ final defensive numbers turned out just fine, but overall this was not one of their finer outings on that end. There were some notable individual efforts — Tyson Chandler, in particular, did a great job on DeMarcus Cousins (16 points, 6-19 FG, 12 rebounds, four assists, seven turnovers). It just didn’t add up to anything more. The offense was in gear for most of the game, but this was far from a complete game.
  • That’s one reason why Jermaine Taylor rattled off a career-high 17 points on just 12 field goal attempts, with five assists as the cherry on top. The Mavs aren’t far removed from the team that used to allow opposing wings to have career nights like Taylor’s on a frequent basis, but this season that’s been a bit of a rarity. Dallas’ defense hasn’t been air-tight throughout the year, but it’s certainly been more effective in limiting those singular, explosive performances.
  • The Mavs’ rotation looked as deep as ever. Not only did Beaubois’ return give Dallas a solid scoring boost, but Haywood’s (12 points, 5-8 FG, 10 rebounds) activity level was off the charts relative to his usual performance this season. His righty hook might still cue an arena’s worth of winces, but when he’s moving on offense and rebounding this consistently, Haywood gives his team a huge boost.
  • The Mavs made the most significant run of the game — a 9-0 spurt at the tail end of the third quarter — came with Dirk Nowitzki sitting on the bench. Nothing quite like fresh air, eh?
  • We’re still feeling out how Peja Stojakovic (12 points, 5-11 FG, 2-5 3FG, four rebounds) will function as a member of this team, but the early signs are pretty positive. His defense has been fairly competent for the most part, or at least competent enough that it hasn’t caused significant problems. His shooting stroke seems to be coming around, and this type of performance gives even more reason to hope for improvement. I’m not sure how the shot distributions will shake out once Beaubois becomes a regular, but if the ball winds up in Stojakovic’s hands for about 10 attempts a night, the Mavs could gain plenty from his contributions.
  • Keep in mind, though, that Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki only attempted 10 field goals apiece in this one. Those numbers are going to rise, and though more shots can be reallocated from other places, the offense can’t be expected to be quite so balanced nightly.
  • Plenty more to come on Beaubois’ evening a bit later, but something should be said of his patience. Beaubois’ attempts were high-percentage looks. He took threes, but only open ones. He didn’t settle for mid-range jumpers, instead opting to put pressure on the Kings’ defense. He attacked the basket frequently in transition, often triggering the one-man fast break a la Tony Parker and Devin Harris. For a player facing heavy expectation on his first day back, it’s commendable that Beaubois stuck so steadfastly to efficient offense.
  • In terms of actual skill, Beaubois barely showed any rust at all. He phased out on defense at times, but he was guilty of that during his rookie season as well. Conditioning was certainly an issue, albeit a temporary one. As Beaubois works up to NBA speed, he’ll become more effective on both ends and — one can hope — a candidate for more significant minutes. Still, 21 minutes in his debut is a pretty great sign for Beaubois’ place in Carlisle’s rotation.
  • It’s hard to pinpoint the exact nature of the Mavs’ turnover problems (five different Mavs had three turnovers apiece), but the easiest diagnosis is simple sloppiness. Some plays were overly ambitious, others lazy. Overall it’s not too much to worry about, but even veteran teams with experienced point guards running the show can fall into these ruts for games at a time.
  • That said, the same willingness to share the ball that burned the Mavs on many occasions is also what pushed the team to a total of 34 assists despite Kidd functioning as a gunner.
  • Another notable thing about Beaubois’ return: Rick Carlisle wasn’t shy in the slightest about putting the ball in his hands to trigger the offense. Even with Kidd on the floor, it was Beaubois who ran the pick-and-roll, initiated plays, and brought the ball up-court.
  • On the New York Times’ Off the Dribble blog, I outlined why starting in the NBA isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and cited DeShawn Stevenson as a part my explanation. Stevenson starts, and the role he plays on the Mavs is important. However, getting that nod at the beginning of games doesn’t mean much concerning the worth of Stevenson’s game, nor the quantity of his minutes. As of Wednesday, Stevenson had started 20 games in which he played fewer than 15 minutes. Make that 21, as Stevenson logged just 13 and a half minutes of action last night. Beaubois may eventually usurp Stevenson from his starting role, but regardless, DeShawn’s moment has passed. He made some threes for the Mavs, but his minutes will likely continue to hover around the 12-13 mark as long as the rest of the rotation remains intact.

Adventures in Summer Leaguing, Volume II

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 11, 2010 under Recaps | 5 Comments to Read

The journey continues, as the Mavs took on one of the Vegas Summer League’s most talented teams in the Houston Rockets:

  • Rodrigue Beaubois shot himself quietly into that good night during the first Summer League game, but put together quite the follow-up. Beaubois was far more patient in running the Mavs’ sets, but more importantly he looked like himself. Rodrigue hit jumpers spotting up and off the dribble, and made Houston’s defenders look positively silly with his speed. Ish Smith is a speed demon in his own right, but keeping up with Rodrigue in the open court isn’t a job for mere men. 28 points on 60% shooting with four assists — that’ll do.
  • And before you get too upset about Beaubois’ four turnovers, it kind of comes with the territory. Not only is Rodrigue trying to carry the Mavs’ SL squad, but he’s also trying to be extra aggressive in both his scoring and playmaking.
  • Omar Samhan is kind of fantastic. Conditioning is clearly still an issue, but his footwork, touch, and energy are all excellent. He killed it against the more athletic (but defensively limited) Jordan Hill by showing off his face-up J, array of interior moves, and even his ability to attack off the dribble. Samhan’s not the fastest guy in the world, but he uses his technique (whether it’s a shot fake or a drop step) to succeed despite inferior athleticism. He’s good, and while he doesn’t have the defensive seasoning or endurance to play a big role, he could be a reasonably effective bench scorer almost immediately. Summer League defenders aren’t identical to real NBA competition, but Samhan is an intelligent and physical player. He’s a guy you can trust to figure it out.
  • Jon L of Ridiculous Upside listed J.R. Giddens as one of the day’s “Nonstars,” but I was actually pretty impressed. Relative to Giddens’ usual efforts, he was much more in control and certainly more disciplined. He still gambled at times on defense and made his mistakes offensively, but his typically impressive effort level seemed a tad more calculated than usual. Maybe his basketball instincts were just more in tune, but he seemed to play relatively well in the areas which were previously flat.
  • Jeremy Lin was rather terrific again, even if he was completely eclipsed by Beaubois and Samhan’s incredible production. I’m still a little surprised at well he finishes inside, particularly after absorbing contact. His frame doesn’t necessarily suggest that he’s frail, but Lin’s release on floaters and layups is consistently soft and true. He’s also been rebounding pretty well for a point, even if he’s played off the ball at times as well.
  • I don’t see anything particularly interesting in Amara Sy’s game. He’s a big body and seems like a decent enough athlete, but doesn’t seem to have any offensive game. Sy lost the handle on a few possessions and airballed a baseline jumper, which is probably enough of a reason for Dallas to keep the ball out of his hands. If he’s a designated defender, I’m still waiting to be impressed.
  • Mouhammad Faye, on the other hand, I think is already a pretty decent defender. He obviously needs work before his defense is good enough to keep him afloat in the big leagues, but for Summer League purposes he’s a good glue guy. He finishes around the rim, grabs boards, and forces his match-up into tough shots. Dallas could have done far worse in terms of potential wing players.
  • Shan Foster seems to have matured as a player, but he hasn’t showcased any particularly appealing NBA skills. He’s bulked up a little bit and seems to be a bit pickier with his shot selection,but the results still haven’t been all that promising. Foster’s primary NBA utility was supposed to be his shooting ability, but he really hasn’t demonstrated that he can knock down shots from any range consistently in a supporting role.
  • Darryl Watkins made his debut for the Mavs, but he only played about three and a half minutes. He’s a more polished center than Moussa Seck (who can grab boards, but hasn’t shown any basketball moves nor the ability to properly use his incredible height), but also a bit older. Seck could be an interesting Texas Legends candidate, but Watkins hasn’t shown much yet.
  • Rockets guard Jermaine Taylor is a slightly more complete version of Dominique Jones. He shares Jones’ ability to fight to the rim and finish, but Jermaine is undoubtedly the better playmaker at this stage and a better ball handler overall. Taylor is one of my favorite players running in Summer League, and Mavs fans should really watch Jermaine and the Rockets to get a better feel of where Dominique Jones could be in a year or two. Jones is just as much of a natural scorer, but it’s about filling in the gaps.
  • Worth noting that the TrueHoop Network and SB Nation had a 5-on-5 Battle Royale for inter-network supremacy, and the good guys won, 50-47. Yours truly grabbed MVP honors with 32 points and 17 rebounds on 57% shooting, though those four turnovers were killer. Great playing with all of the TrueHoopers and the SBN folks, and hopefully THN can defend the title next time around.