Running the Weave: Young Point Guards

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on August 19, 2013 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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Let’s be honest: we have some diverse writers on board here at the Two Man Game. The diversity is awesome and creates some unique content with the Mavs as the point of emphasis. The writers can see eye to eye on a variety of topics and they can also come up with some pretty unique answers to the same question.

With the summer slowly coming to an end, I wanted to touch base with my colleagues on a variety of topics revolving around the Mavs and pick their brain to see what answers they would share. Through teamwork and synergy, we’re running the weave on the Mavs and their offseason. I’ve shared my opinion on a variety of topics this offseason, but it’s time to hear what the rest of the staff has to say.

With that, here is a the first question that was posed to the TMG staff. Hope you enjoy.

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Size (Does or Doesn’t) Matter

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 16, 2013 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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Point guard or center: Where do the Mavs focus their attention this summer? That is the question. Last week, we covered how both positions were clearly below expectations for the Mavs and that they need to replenish those positions with upgrades.

I posed the hypothetical question to ESPNDallas.com’s Tim MacMahon during one of our Bloom and Doom sessions during the year about whether Tyson Chandler or J.J. Barea would have been more valuable to Dallas during this season.

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Fourth Round of Bloom and Doom

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on April 2, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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It’s time for another round of Bloom and Doom.

In an effort to keep the discussion going, I sought out ESPNDallas.com’s Tim MacMahon for his opinion on pressing issues for the Dallas Mavericks. You can view MacMahon’s coverage of the Mavericks at ESPNDallas.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @espn_macmahon. Periodically, we have touched base and discussed topics with our own unique point of view. It’s been a while, so it was necessary for us to reconnect and agree and disagree on a few subjects.

MacMahon likes to call it like he sees it. That perspective can hover on the other end of the spectrum from my optimistic viewpoint on things. You could say it’s a classic case of good cop, bad cop. Our different perspectives should make for an interesting conversation on hot topics revolving around the Mavs.

This round of bloom and doom analyzes if Rick Carlisle is having the coaching performance of his career, which 2011 departure would fit best this year and other topics.

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Timing is Everything

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 12, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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You can look at what the Mavs have to do if team X, Y and Z have a certain record over their last remaining games. You can do that, but all that really matter is what the Mavs do on their own over the last 20 games of the season. Win as many games as you can and the rest will sort itself out. Dirk Nowitzki is firmly back and showing signs he can be the old Dirk that everyone remembers. O.J. Mayo has shown that he actually can be a creator and facilitator, despite what his coach said just over a week ago. Shawn Marion is still known as the defensive stopper for the team. Elton Brand is going to do his part to be the defensive anchor and a presence off the bench. Despite the team’s record, Vince Carter is going to continue to be a massive bargain for the Mavs by showing he’s one the league’s best reserves off the bench.

Dallas has an elite coach, veteran leadership and pride that they will rely heavily on as they make their final push for a playoff spot. There is one player though that could really put them over the top and really put their push into overdrive.

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Being in the Moment

Posted by David Hopkins on January 15, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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“Human suffering is irrelevant to me!” – Galactus, Devourer of Worlds

I took my family to the game last night. My wife and daughter sat on either side of me, as we watched from the cheap seats (the proof via Instagram). We had a good time, each in our own way.

My wife quietly observes the game. She doesn’t get pre-occupied with the trivia, the history, or the box score like I do, but she always has a good sense for the flow and momentum of a game. She disapproves of me booing the opponent during their foul shots and is annoyed by fans who yell the same thing during every play. For instance, several games last season, we sat next to “Set it up!” guy in section 328. We were tired of “Set it up!” and privately cherished those moments when “Set it up!” would leave for prolonged smoking and drinking breaks during the middle of the game. This is not to suggest that my wife prefers a civil sporting contest. When I commented on J.J. Barea flopping, my wife had a more direct way of describing it: “Barea needs to stop playing like a little [expletive deleted].” I love my wife.

My daughter is concerned mostly about getting on the jumbotron and snagging one of the t-shirts being shot into the crowd. I try to explain that the odds are unlikely for fans in the 300s, but she remains hopeful. She loves the half-time entertainment, the crazy antics of the mascot Champ (also his cousin, Inflatable Champ), and the contests during timeouts. She loudly participates in the chants. “De-fense! De-fense!” She likes to dance and to yell. She protests and pouts until she can have a soft pretzel. My daughter is happy when the Mavs win, apathetic when they don’t.

I mutter to myself while watching the game. I clap my paper fan noisemaker to signal that the Mavs are playing well. I sigh and groan at bad calls, usually punctuated with a “Come on!” If the three-pointer is open, I urge them on (“Take it!”). A fast break culminating in a slam dunk almost always elicits an “Oh yeah!” and/or “That’s it!” from me. Sometimes I forget to breathe if the Mavs haven’t scored in a while. I lean forward in my seat, hand to face, during close games.

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Quoteboard: Dallas Mavericks 113, Minnesota Timberwolves 98

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

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Don’t call it a comeback, but the Dallas Mavericks are bouncing back from rock bottom. They are now on a three-game winning streak after recording a 113-98 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Dallas began the game on a 22-11 run and never trailed at any point. With the victory over the Timberwolves, the Mavericks recorded their third consecutive win, which ties their season-best win-streak. They also won 3 straight: Nov. 3 vs. Charlotte through Nov. 7 vs. Toronto, and Dec. 6 at Phoenix to Dec. 10 vs. Sacramento.

Darren Collison tallied a game-high 23 points  to go along with nine assists and three steals in 36 minutes against the Timberwolves. It was his fifth 20-point effort of the season. He led Dallas in scoring for the eighth time this year, includes ties. Collison has now scored in double figures in each of his last 12 games. O.J. Mayo recorded 20 points to go along with seven rebounds, a season-high nine assists and two steals in 38 minutes. It was his 17th20-point effort of the season. He was efficiency personified as he shot a season-high 72.7 percent (8-of-11) from the floor. Elton Brand turned back the clock as he tallied a season-high 20 points to go along with six rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes against Minnesota, previous high: 17 points on two occasions. Brand led all players with 14 points in 14 first-half minutes. He missed his first shot of the game and then made 10 of his next 12.

Collision (23), Mayo (20) and Brand (20) all scored 20-plus points for Dallas in the win. It marked the first time this season that the Mavericks had three players with 20-plus points in a game. The last time Dallas had three players score at least 20 and Dirk Nowitzki wasn’t one of the player was Jan. 30, 2012 vs Phoenix (Vince Carter 21, Shawn Marion 20 and Delonte West 25). Dirk had 10 in that game. Dirk finished the game against Minnesota with 10 points.

Dallas was sharing the wealth as they handed out a season-high 33 assists against Minnesota. It marked the second time this season that the Mavericks have recorded 30-plus assists in a game, 31 vs. Charlotte 11/3.

Here is the quoteboard for the victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 113, Minnesota Timberwolves 98

Posted by Kirk Henderson on under Recaps | Read the First Comment

Clockwork

Box Score — Play-by-Play — Shot 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.

  • This is the second straight opponent the Mavericks have beaten on the second night of a back-to-back. The tired legs of the Minnesota Timberwolves were evident from their shooting (41%), and as the game wore on, the Wolves simply couldn’t keep up with the constant pressure of the Mavericks both offensively and defensively (Dallas forced 15 turnovers). However, the poor shooting created lots of offensive rebounds for the league’s best rebounding team, which was the main reason this game was relatively close in the fourth quarter.
  • Of course, a great way to combat giving up 20 offensive rebounds is to shoot nearly 60% from the field as Dallas did.
  • The ball moves faster via pass than through the dribble, which enabled the Mavericks to keep the Wolves’ defense off-balance all night long with crisp ball movement to the tune of 33 assists on 46 made field goals.
  • The offense of Elton Brand (20 points on 10-for-13 shooting) is no longer hesitant. After posting a shooting percentage in the high 30′s for October and November due to his shot often falling short, Brand has been incredibly consistent. Looking at his shot location against the Wolves, one finds that nearly all of Brand’s makes came from his sweet spots at the 10-to-18 foot mark. Coincidentally, over the 10 previous games, Brand has shot 73% from this range.
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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 106, Minnesota Timberwolves 114

Posted by Kirk Henderson on December 16, 2012 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

Cliffs

Box Score — Play-by-Play — Shot 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.

  • With this being the second overtime loss in three games for Dallas, we can again look to small lapses in judgement which made a big difference in the final margin; two in particular jump out. First, Darren Collison got beat on a backdoor cut by J.J. Barea late in the first quarter. For some reason Collison tried to anticipate Ricky Rubio throwing a pass to a not-yet-rolling Greg Steimsma. Rubio read that move a mile away and instead fed the cutting Barea for a layup, which Brandan Wright goaltended off the rim. Second, to start the third quarter, Alexey Shved stripped Chris Kaman from behind after leaving a cutting O.J. Mayo. Mayo said nothing to alert his teammate to the coming double team. The Timberwolves took the ball down and scored in transition.
  • During the course of this three game losing streak, Dallas is averaging 21 turnovers per game. Tonight, the bulk of the Dallas turnovers game in the second quarter, when they had nine, as the Wolves outscored the Mavs 32 to 13.
  • The Mavs made a fast and furious attempt at a comeback in the fourth with a truly unorthodox lineup; at one point  Dominique Jones, Derek Fisher, Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, and Elton Brand were all on the floor together. Three point guards, a shooting guard, and a power forward. That Carlisle has to resort to these odd line ups for some sort of offensive effectiveness is frustrating, that they are working is fun.
  • Vince Carter (nine points, four assists) and Derek Fisher (20 points, five turnovers) fouling out played into Carlisle’s decision to return to a traditional line up for the overtime. The small ball line up managed to keep the Wolves off of the offensive glass until the final thirty seconds of regulation when Minnesota had five chances to win the game but were not able to convert any. However, the traditional lineup was terrible offensively, as Dallas was only able to convert one shot in eight attempts in the overtime.
  • Shawn Marion (14 points, 10 rebounds) is the glue that is holding this team together. Night in and out he manages to find ways to be effective. He scored in transition early, got second chances for the Mavs through offensive rebounds, and played very well in the pick and roll with O.J. Mayo (20 points, six assists). He’s often the center of fan trade proposals due to his contract, but his contribution level at this point is immeasurable.
  • I’m with my colleagues that Brandan Wright needs to play more. But he is such a frustrating talent. In his past two outings he’s played 22 minutes and gathered one rebound. His mental lapses are mind boggling; in his eight minutes of action against the Wolves, Derrick Williams beat him on not one, but two back-door alley-oop cuts which, had he been able to convert the dunk attempts, would’ve been Sports Center highlights. It’s not enough that he is able to score in the offense. He has to contribute in other areas, and this season he’s had stretches where he just can’t seem to do anything to deserve more playing time.
  • Seeing O.J. Mayo develop has been rewarding, even in games where he struggles with being the lead play maker. The next step in his game has to be getting to the free throw line more frequently. Prior to tonight’s game he averages just under four free throw attempts per game. As someone who is averaging 35 minutes a night and bears the role of primary scorer, getting to the line is something he has to do with more regularity. While he’s shooting at a blistering rate at the moment (48%), history tells us that’s bound to fall three to four percentage points as the year wears on. He’s been attacking the bucket more often these last dozen or so games, so hopefully his FTA’s will increase at some point.
  • Dirk was seen working out and getting shots up prior to tonight’s game. I very much hope he isn’t rushing his recovery as he sees the team struggle these past few games. As Connor has pointed out repeatedly, the schedule gets much tougher to close out the year and it’s in the realm of possibility that Dallas will not able to get another win in 2012. The loss tonight puts Dallas at a 13.1% chance to make the playoffs and while I know these rankings do not factor in things like Dirk’s injury, seeing this Dallas squad make the playoffs, even with Dirk, is hard to imagine when one considers their problems.

Kirk is a member of the Two Man Game family. Follow him on twitter @KirkSeriousFace for ranting about Dallas basketball, TV, movies, video games, and his dog.

 

Setting the Table: Minnesota Timberwolves (Game 8)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on November 12, 2012 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (4-3) will host the Minnesota Timberwolves (4-2). The Wolves have revamped their roster over the offseason. Adding pieces such as Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko, Chase Budinger and Alexey Shved. Minnesota has needed each and every one of those new players as they’ve had to start the season without their stars. Kevin Love has been out to start the season due to a a fracture of the third and fourth metacarpals in his right hand on 10/17. Ricky Rubio is recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL and a torn MCL in his left knee. The injury was suffered on 3/9. He will be sidelined indefinitely.

It was announced Sunday evening that Budinger will undergo surgery this week after tearing the lateral meniscus in his left knee on Saturday night. The team will not announce a recovery timeline until after Budinger’s surgery.

Here are some notes for the matchup against the Timberwolves.

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The Difference: Oklahoma City Thunder 95, Dallas Mavericks 79

Posted by Rob Mahoney on May 4, 2012 under Recaps | 5 Comments to Read

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Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FTRORRTOR
Dallas94.085.938.834.220.017.4
Oklahoma City103.349.420.017.48.7

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

  • With the Mavericks splattered on the Thunder’s windshield, it seems a more appropriate time than ever to reinforce just how limited Dallas’ half-court offense has been this season. This crew has managed to salvage just enough possessions for us to wonder if they’re still capable of more, and yet time and time again these Mavs trip into performances like this one: outings filled with bouts of lame, stagnant offense, designed to flow but caught in the mire. Dirk Nowitzki is a miraculous player, but the team so carefully propelled by its balance last season has very clearly caved in, leaving Nowitzki as the one self-standing tentpole to bear the weight of a drooping roster.
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    It’s all fun and games when the play action comes easy, but the virtues of extra passes and open shots don’t mean all that much when a team lacks the capability to consistently create such opportunities. Rick Carlisle has tried to find substitutes for the likes of J.J. Barea and Tyson Chandler, but ultimately failed to recreate the same perfect mix of ingredients that brought this same core their own slice of basketball immortality last June. Things could never be the same — not after all of the pieces Dallas lost, and after each of the team’s many additions subtly pushed the Mavs in a different direction. It’s no fault of the newcomers specifically, at least any more than it’s a fault of every Maverick; this was an experiment gone wrong, and though by nature of the process most eyes will turn to the experimenter himself in blame, every beaker and burner and unproductive big man played a part in not playing their part.
  • I’ve been among Brendan Haywood’s more generous supporters, and even I’ve completely run out of excuses and justifications for his poor performance. Perhaps Haywood still holds value in the right context, but at the moment that context seems far too limited to justify his standing or his salary. He actively holds the team back in the vein of an end-of-the-road Erick Dampier, and though he’s only 32 years old, Haywood seems to have sufficiently worn through much of his NBA utility. Haywood has seen Ian Mahinmi and Brandan Wright — two very imperfect players — take their turn in the spotlight during the regular season, all while he settled in with unimpressive rebounding, far too unreliable defense, and slim offensive relevance. Now he seems to have fully completed his downswing; his play leaves more to be desired than I would have possibly imagined, and he shrivels not in the shadow of Mahinmi, Wright, or even Chandler, but in the context of useful basketball players in the most general sense.

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