You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
- For years and years, the Mavericks prided themselves on winning close games, often on the heels of a Dirk Nowitzki (DNP; injury) fadeaway. With Dirk out of the lineup and this year’s Mavericks’ team performing dreadfully in close games, the team’s sputtering finish against a deep Warriors’ squad shouldn’t surprise. But it still does, and it acts an originator of a thousand “What if’s?” What if O.J. Mayo (8-13 FG, 3-5 3PT, 6-8 FT, 25 points, six assists, five rebounds) makes both of his free throws in the final minute? What if the possible foul on Brandan Wright (4-8 FG, nine points, three rebounds) is called? What if _______? In the end, that blank space can only be filled by disappointment.
- Like so many other Mavericks’ losses of the same brand, it’s difficult to find much issue with any aspect of the Mavericks’ game plan beyond the team’s execution in the final minutes. The Mavericks battled back and forth with Golden State all night, and fought bravely to give themselves a chance to win, albeit one which they did not ultimately take. All the same, Mayo played brilliantly and nicely utilized his transition abilities, Shawn Marion (8-11 FG, 18 points, 17 rebounds) rebounded like it was 2006, and the rest of the Mavericks collectively provided acceptable play, despite struggling with help defense on Klay Thompson (11-18 FG, 3-7 3PT, 27 points) and allowing David Lee (6-13 FG, 15 points, 20 rebounds, nine assists) to corral seven essential offensive rebounds.
- The potency of Lee’s game appeared in full force tonight. The Mavericks did a fine job of assessing and guarding Lee in the post-up situations he often thrives on, but also at times overcommitted or lost help defense awareness, leading to Lee’s nine assists (often from passes to open shooters) and a weighty rebounding total of 20 for the All-Star power forward. Lee’s offensive game is vast, and the Mavericks were quite often an audience to the power of that vastness on Thursday night.