The Difference: New Orleans Hornets 93, Dallas Mavericks 92

Posted by Rob Mahoney on March 10, 2011 under Recaps | 3 Comments to Read

Screen shot 2011-03-10 at 12.08.46 PM

Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot ChartGameFlow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FT/FGORB%TOR
Dallas87.0105.749.334.810.310.3
New Orleans106.946.226.925.09.2

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin, only this time that margin is only one point, and the one corresponding bullet is really just a multi-paragraph bit that sticks to one basic theme.

If this were the Mavs’ first questionable performance in some time, this might be an understandable loss. After all, for whatever reason, professional teams are no strangers to letdown in a game like this one; Chris Paul watched from the sidelines, and a team that is so reliant on him for offensive stability seemed dead in the water against a quality club like Dallas. That clearly wasn’t the case, and while a one-point loss after a number of improbable Hornet makes isn’t the most torturous outcome for the Maverick faithful, this performance is an extension of the team’s depressed play of late. The Mavs are considered contenders because of what they’re capable of, but they certainly haven’t been living up to their top billing in recent weeks.

A slow, 82-game march toward the playoffs characteristically consists of wins and losses of most every type. There are blowouts in either direction, heart-breakers, momentum-shifters, near-losses, statement affairs, and everything else one can possibly imagine. Most teams don’t get through the year without experiencing them all, and thus all are a regular part of the in-season cycle. This is different. This is not a single loss or even a single pair of losses. It’s not a dropped game against a star-less team, or an underwhelming performance to wrap up a road trip. This loss is an indictment. It’s an indication of real weakness, and its a reason why I’m still hesitant to put Dallas on the same platform where San Antonio and Los Angeles currently reside.

The Mavs rank 28th in offensive rebounding rate and 13th in defensive rebounding rate, and they allowed themselves — Tyson Chandler aside — to be thoroughly out-muscled and out-hustled to rebound after rebound. That kind of thing doesn’t change against the likes of Tim Duncan, Andrew Bynum, and Pau Gasol, and it’s likely among Rick Carlisle’s concerns for this team moving forward. As strong as they’ve been at times on defense, the Mavs allowed a team with Jarrett Jack as the initiator of its offense to produce at a rate of 106.9 points per 100 possessions, all while Jack cackled with every bucket or assist. Trevor Ariza missed every single one of his 10 field goal attempts, David West shot 5-of-12 from the field and had a respectable but underwhelming 16 points, and the Mavs still didn’t win. Dallas couldn’t quite make it out to the perimeter to contest Marco Belinelli, despite the fact that none of Belinelli’s teammates were really posing that much of a threat. Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler excluded, Dallas just didn’t have the firepower; those who were scoring somewhat efficiently couldn’t create more opportunities against New Orleans’ defense (or else weren’t given the opportunity), and those who tried (Rodrigue Beaubois and Jason Terry, primarily) didn’t have much success. Jason Kidd went 0-fer on seven attempts for good measure.

Wednesday night’s game wasn’t a spectacular failure on either end of the court, but it was an occasion where Dallas ceded too much ground in every regard to a rudderless team. Make no mistake — without Chris Paul, that’s what this Hornets squad becomes, and that’s who got the better of the Mavs. Things were as they should have been at points throughout the game, but the significance of this loss goes well beyond what it means today. Maybe we can all look back at this game in a few months’ time and laugh, but for now it seems a pretty fitting asterisk on the team’s success: this year’s Mavs are very beatable, their defense is strong but not impenetrable, and their offense stable but not universally consistent.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 30, 2009 under xOther | 8 Comments to Read

  • Dirk is a pro among pros.  That’s why we shouldn’t be at all surprised to her from Marc Stein that any past history between him and Tim Thomas is just about the last thing on Dirk’s mind: “If you’re thinking Dirk Nowitzki will have a problem with Dallas’ recent signing of Tim Thomas because of the infamous kiss Thomas blew at Nowitzki during an on-court confrontation in the 2006 Western Conference finals, think again. Nowitzki said he was disappointed to read from Germany that the Bulls pulled out of the original construction of the deal that landed Shawn Marion in Dallas and would have sent Thomas from the Bulls to the Mavericks. Nowitzki then was pleased to learn the Mavs were able to get Thomas anyway this week as a tall shooter off the bench for the veteran minimum of $1.3 million. ‘That stuff is long gone,” Nowitzki said this week. ‘We were in the bottom [six] in 3-point shooting and we needed to address that. I’m happy he’s a Maverick.’ The clash with Thomas isn’t exactly a haunting memory. Nowitzki wound up scoring 50 points in that game, outscoring the Suns by himself in the fourth quarter (22-20) to put Dallas within one win of its eventual trip to the NBA Finals.”
  • Almost 12% of Erick Dampier’s shot attempts are tip layups or tip dunks.
  • Not that the Mavs were in a place to sign him (although Drew Gooden is not yet officially a Maverick), but Lamar Odom is reportedly a Laker, again.  While it doesn’t directly affect the Mavs roster, it certainly changes the outlook of the West; if there was ever any doubt that the Lakers are the team to beat, kindly remove it.
  • The Raptors nabbed summer league legend Marco Belinelli, a shooter who may or may not have true NBA chops, for the slim price of Devean George and some cash money.  Pretty good considering Marco could have a legit NBA future, and Devean George is Devean George.
  • Though this top ten list is for great passes, a Drew Gooden finish on the pick and roll does come in at number 9.