Thermodynamics: Week 20

Posted by Travis Wimberly on March 14, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | Be the First to Comment

Fire Ice
Thermodynamics (n.) – the science concerned with the relations between heat and mechanical energy

An undefeated week. 3-0. Say it aloud, because we’ve had little occasion to celebrate such things this season.

Okay, so admittedly, it was a weak schedule (the Mavs’ three opponents this week have a combined record of 77-115), and two of the games went down to the wire. But let’s keep in mind that we’re talking about the 2012-2013 Mavs, not the Mavs of yesteryear. For this squad, it’s no small feat to win three straight road games against any three NBA teams. And given that this team’s playoff hopes are slim, I for one plan to enjoy the small victories here and there for the remainder of the season.

Week 20 (@Pistons, @Timberwolves, @Bucks)

FIRE

1) Vinsanity

When the Mavs refused to move Vince Carter at the trade deadline, several observers questioned that decision, and perhaps rightfully so. But since then, Carter has made the Mavs’ front office look very prescient. He’s firmly cemented himself as either the Mavs’ second or third-best all-around player (depending on where you would put him relative to Shawn Marion), and he’s done so with excellent efficiency and irreplaceable leadership. This week, Carter averaged exactly 15.0 points per game, shot 18-of-31 (58%) from the field cumulatively, and pulled down 6.3 rebounds per game. That’s terrific, but it hardly tells the full story. Carter’s tenacity and willingness to take (and make) big shots was on full display this week. If you were one of the lucky few who watched the Mavs-Bucks game on NBA League pass with Milwaukee’s broadcast crew, you had the pleasure (as I did) of listening to them bemoan Carter’s bevy of clutch shots late in the fourth quarter. In net points per 100 possessions, three of the Mavs’ four most productive lineups on the season include Carter.  Carter now carries a player-efficiency rating (PER) of 17.7, the third-highest on the Mavs. Guess which Mav ranks number one by that metric?

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The Rundown, Volume XVII

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 11, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | 2 Comments to Read

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The Rundown is back. Every Monday (unless there’s a better feature to run with), The Rundown will chronicle the week that was for the Mavs, as well as let you know what is coming up for the boys in blue, with a unique spin. Simply put, it is your Monday catch-up on all things with the Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavs continue to still have a chance to make the playoffs, somehow. The bottom half of the playoff picture continues to see teams floundering, allowing Dallas to keep their chances somewhat alive. Dallas now holds the 10th spot in the West, via a tie-breaker over Portland. They’re now three games back of the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth seed in the West. They showed some pride against the Rockets, O.J. Mayo came alive and a Mav was let go. Let’s take a look at the week for that was for Dallas.

Did THAT Really Happen?

- Mike James made his first start of the season (264th career) against Houston on Wednesday. It was his first start since Mar. 25, 2009 vs. Charlotte (with Washington). Brandan Wright also got a spot-start as he filled in as the starting center.  The Mavericks used their 19th different starting lineup of the year. Having Mike James start over Darren Collison can’t be a promising sign for Collison’s long term future with the Mavs.

- Rick Carlisle was surly, in his own comedic way. During the team’s shootaround in Detroit, Carlisle was very matter of fact to reporters in regards to the ever-changing starting lineup. “I’m tired of hearing about 19 starting lineups being a lot,” Carlisle told reporters. “I had 31 one year, so you guys can all go f— yourselves and I mean that in the most endearing way.” Maybe it took some self-reflection time to realize a better approach would work. “As you can tell this year, nothing is permanent,” Carlisle told reporters about the lineup changes. “Nothing is going to be set in stone.” You have to love Rick Carlisle. The Mavs used their 20th different starting lineup of the season at Detroit. Jae Crowder started at small forward in place of Shawn Marion (left calf contusion). Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Kaman, O.J. Mayo and Mike James joined Crowder in the starting lineup.

- Shawn Marion missed the games against the Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves as he was dealing with a left calf contusion. He suffered the injury during the first quarter against the Houston Rockets in the second game of the home-and-home series. It’s a tough break for the Mavs as they desperately need all hands on deck as they continue to make their frantic push for the playoffs.

- Well, they don’t need ALL hands on deck as the team announced over the weekend that they had released guard Dominique Jones. Prior to the start of this season, the Mavs opted not to pick up the team option for next season in Jones’ rookie contract, making it clear that he didn’t fit in the franchise’s future plans. A first round pick in the 2010 draft, Jones never really made an impact on the Mavs’ roster during his time in Dallas. Sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that patience with Jones had been dwindling for some time. When the Mavs wanted to send Jones back to the D-League for another assignment with the Texas Legends in Frisco, sources said that Jones balked, prompting the team to let him go Saturday. Why he figured he had the clout to say no to an assignment in Frisco is beyond me. It does take me back to the time I covered a game in Frisco during his rookie year and he was assigned to the Legends. I spoke to him after the game and he clearly appeared like he wasn’t happy being there. He’ll likely be remembered as the guy who simulated being LeBron James during the team’s series against the Miami Heat during the 2011 Finals. He’s an NBA champion, so there’s that. With his departure, Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Roddy Beaubois remain the lone Mavs from the championship roster.

- News circulated during the weekend that the Mavs nearly acquired Paul Pierce at the trade deadline. There might have been a logjam of wings (if Vince Carter was still on the roster) and there might have been a chemistry issue early on between Dirk and Pierce, but it’s a clear upgrade in talent if you get Pierce for the suggested pieces that were involved. Yes, Jae Crowder is playing well as a second-round draft pick, even better as of late, but he is nowhere near an untouchable player when it comes to a trade. The Mavs would have gotten older in the process. The goal in a trade isn’t to get younger, it’s to get better. With Rick Carlisle coaching the team, it’s fair to believe the Mavs would have gotten better with that trade.

- O.J. Mayo had a relatively clean week in terms of turnovers. Just over a week after Rick Carlisle said that he wasn’t a creator, Mayo proved he could find a way to be a distributor and do so while protecting the ball. His last turnover before his turnover at the 4:54 mark of the second quarter against Minnesota was at the 5:37 mark of the fourth quarter of the game against the Brooklyn Nets on Mar. 1. He went nearly 115 minutes of game action without a turnover.

- Once again, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, the Mavs plan to sign point guard Chris Wright, point guard of the Iowa Energy of the NBA D-League, to a 10-day contract before the team’s game against Milwaukee on Tuesday. Wright, a 6-foot-1, 210-pounder averaged 15.5 points, 7.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 37.0 minutes per game for Iowa, earning a spot in last month’s D-League All-Star Game in Houston. A product of Georgetown University, Wright actually was in New Orleans’ camp during the preseason, but he was waived days before the team’s season opener. The book on him is that he’s a strong guard with a stronger motor. He can get to the rim and finish (unlike someone else). He can be a pesky defender and also can play in transition. He still needs to show more consistency as a shooter and the ability to lead an NBA team, but the team could certainly do a lot worse than Wright. If signed, he will represent the 21st player brought on board for the Mavericks, tying the second-highest total in franchise history (1980-81 season). The franchise record for most players in a season is 27 during the 1996-97 season.

Note: Wright has a very interesting outlook on life that he will bring with him to the Mavs. For more, go here.

Box Score Revelations

- In his “best game of the year” according to Rick Carlisle, O.J. Mayo recorded his second double-double of the season (fourth career) with 13 points, six rebounds, a career-high 12 assists and zero turnovers in 33 minutes against Houston on Wednesday. His previous high assist total was 10 (at Golden State Mar. 30, 2009). Seven of Mayo’s 12 assists came in the first half, including five in the first quarter alone. The seven first-half assists were tied for the most assists he’s recorded in any half in his career (7 in first half at Golden State Mar. 30, 2009; 7 in second half vs. Golden State Feb. 9, 2013). He must like dishing the rock against the Warriors.

- The Mavs dished out a season-high 35 assists in the win over the Rockets on Wednesday (previous high: 33 vs. Minnesota Jan, 14). It was the most assists Dallas has recorded in a game since Apr. 12, 2010 at the L.A. Clippers (37). The Mavs recorded 30-plus assists for the fifth time this season (4-1 record).

- Dallas shot 52.6 percent (41-of-78) from the field in the win at Detroit on Friday. It marked the third time in their last four games (15th time this season) that the Mavs shot at least 50 percent from the floor. Dallas is 13-2 this season when they shoot 50-plus percent from the field.

- With a 100-77 victory over Minnesota, Dallas had their biggest margin of victory on the road this year. Their previous high was by 10 in Phoenix on Feb. 1. Dallas led by double-digits for the last 34:26 of the game. Dallas also had their largest rebounding margin of the year (59-40) in the game against Minnesota.

- Dirk Nowitzki had four turnovers against the Wolves. He had four, but there will be one that stands out more than the others. (Credit: CJ Fogler) That will surely be featured on TNT’s Inside the NBA (specifically Shaqtin’ a Fool). Poor Dirk.

Check Your Calendar

- The Mavs hit the second half of their four-game road trip with a trip to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks on Tuesday. Upcoming restricted free agent Brandon Jennings will have another chance to “audition” for the Mavs. News came out over the weekend that Jennings is considering signing the qualifying offer in order to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2014. That would be a gutsy move, but it does have a chance to pay off in a big way for the dynamic point guard. The game will mark the first of a back-to-back for the Bucks. They will head to Washington to take on the Wizards on Wednesday.

- The road trip will conclude with a trip down I-35 to take on the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs have had to play without the services of Tony Parker since the start of the month. He sprained his left ankle and will be out for about a month. That might hurt the Spurs’ chances of claiming the top seed in the Western Conference but that likely won’t mean much to them as they’re a squad that can play against just about anyone.

- Dallas will have two games at home to finish the week, starting with a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. When facing the Cavs, it begins and ends with Kyrie Irving. The dynamic guard has taken his game to a new level. You could easily make a case that Irving could be considered a top-five point guard in the league. As the head of the snake, the Mavs will need to be ready to throw multiple weapons at Irving in order to try to slow him down. The Mavs might catch a break as Irving might have to miss the game. He suffered what is being classified as a shoulder contusion. Irving will be re-evaluated this week. The game will mark the first of a back-to-back for the Cavs as they will take on the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.

- The week concludes with a matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder. It’s clear that the Thunder’s rolling on cylinders right now. Despite it being a tough game, this is one Dallas needs to try to steal as they continue to push for the eighth seed. The fact that it’s a home game should help for the Mavs. Both teams should be healthy and well-rested so neither team should have an excuse if they don’t bring their best game.

BG’s Baller of the Week

Baller status has been granted to one Brandan Wright. He scored in double figures for the fourth consecutive game (18th time this season) with his 13-point performance against Minnesota. Wright averaged 24.7 minutes, 13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks during the week (all wins). He also shot 79.2 percent from the field during the week. The 24.7 minutes is a considerable and consistent uptick in action for Wright. He’s also seen some time at the power forward position during that time. No matter what portion of the year it is, Wright continues to have nice performances in spot duty. Rick Carlisle must be encouraged by the fact that Wright continues to perform well despite sporadic appearances from Wright.

Dallas needs Elton Brand’s aggression and tenacity. They need Chris Kaman’s versatility on offense. They need Bernard James’ energy in spot duty. Wright is showing that he can bring efficiency from the field when he’s on the floor. He still has work to do as a rebounder and as a on-man defender (though he is a decent team and weak-side defender). It’s obvious now that Dallas will try to beat their opponents with their depth. Over the week, Brandan Wright stated his case that he deserves to be a vital part to the team’s rotation.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.

Thermodynamics: Week 19

Posted by Travis Wimberly on March 8, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | Be the First to Comment

Fire Ice
Thermodynamics (n.) – the science concerned with the relations between heat and mechanical energy

The Mavs’ level of play this week was all over the map. From game to game, quarter to quarter, and even timeout to timeout, the Mavs showcased the level of frightening inconsistency we’ve seen pretty much all year. Really, the week was a perfectly framed microcosm of the basic “hot/cold” concept behind this weekly Thermodynamics column. They were hot. Then they were cold. Then they were hot again — unless they were still cold.

Fortunately, all of that makes it especially easy to write this week’s installment.

Week 19 (@Nets, @Rockets, Rockets)

FIRE

1) OJ Mayo

In the early part of this season, Mayo had pretty much camped out a permanent spot on this “hot” list. Since late December, though, I’ve had exceedingly few occasions to applaud him for a solid week’s worth of games. This week, he finally played consistently enough to earn this spot. He was far from perfect, but you could credibly argue that he had the best week of any Mav. He scored 17 points on 6-of-12 (50%) shooting in Brooklyn, including 3-of-4 (75%) from deep. One of those threes came late in the fourth quarter amidst a big Nets rally, and effectively stemmed the tide long enough for the Mavs to hold on for an impressive road win. Mayo’s performance a few nights later in Houston was a mixed bag; he was terrific offensively, netting 18 points on 6-of-9 (67%) shooting to go with four assists and a steal, but he was a huge part of the Mavs’ pathetically woeful defensive effort. Call that game a wash. A few nights later in Dallas, Mayo played much better against the Rockets — so well, in fact, that Rick Carlisle called it Mayo’s best game of the year. That may be a bit of rhetoric, but it’s not preposterous. Mayo contributed just 13 points in the Rockets rematch, but he was absolutely stellar otherwise: six rebounds, 12 assists, and zero turnovers. Mayo consistently made the right play and was singlehandedly responsible for creating a significant portion of the Mavs’ offense. Especially considering his lackluster performance in recent weeks prior, Mayo shined rather brightly this week.

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Quoteboard: Dallas Mavericks 112, Houston Rockets 108

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 7, 2013 under Interviews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks were able to avenge their catastrophic 136-103 loss to the Houston Rockets on Sunday with a 112-108 win at the American Airlines Center on Wednesday night. O.J. Mayo recorded his second double-double of the season (fourth career) with 13 points, six rebounds, a career-high 12 assists and zero turnovers in 33 minutes against Houston on Wednesday. His previous high assist total was 10 (at Golden State Mar. 30, 2009). Seven of Mayo’s 12 assists came in the first half, including five in the first quarter alone. The seven first-half assists were tied for the most assists he’s recorded in any half in his career (7 in first half at Golden State Mar. 30, 2009; 7 in second half vs. Golden State Feb. 9, 2013).

The clean sheet for Mayo in the turnover department marked the sixth game of the year where Mayo did not commit a turnover. The Mavericks are 5-1 in those games. The one loss came in the team’s last game against the Rockets on Sunday.

Shawn Marion went 10-of-16 from the field and recorded a team-high-tying 22 points to go along with three rebounds, four assists and two steals in 36 minutes against Houston. With the win, the Mavericks improved to 4-1 this season when Marion scores 20-plus points.

Dirk Nowitzki tallied 22 points, five rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes against Houston. He scored 20-plus points for the fifth time in his last seven games.

The Mavericks made a change to their starting lineup. They started Mike James in place of Darren Collison and Brandan Wright in place of Chris Kaman. It marked the team’s 19th different starting lineup of the year.

Some notes before the quotes:

- Mike James made his first start of the season (264th career) against Houston on Wednesday. It was his first start since Mar. 25, 2009 vs. Charlotte (with Washington). The Mavericks used their 19th different starting lineup of the year.

- Shawn Marion passed Rod Strickland (1,616) for 25th place on the NBA’s all-time steals list with a theft (his 1,617th career) at the 6:37 mark of the third quarter. Marion finished with two steals against Houston and now has 1,618 for his career. Eddie Jones ranks 24th all-time with 1,620 career steals.

- With a block at the 1:16 mark of the first quarter, Elton Brand passed Rockets head coach Kevin McHale (1,690) for 24th place on the NBA’s all-time blocks list. It was the 1,691st block of Brand’s career. Moses Malone ranks 23rd all-time with 1,733 career rejections.

Here is the quoteboard for the Mavericks’ win against the Rockets.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 84, Memphis Grizzlies 90

Posted by Kirk Henderson on February 27, 2013 under Recaps | 7 Comments to Read

Grizzbear

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.

  • A twenty five point lead is quite challenging to squander, but the 2012-2013 Dallas Mavericks find new ways to disappoint us, this time through turnovers and tremendously bad offensive execution. Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Mike James, and Vince Carter turned the ball over 13 times for the second straight game. Though Dallas scored 38 points in the first quarter, over the next three quarters the Mavericks managed only 46 points, including a five point third quarter.
  • The ongoing problem of the Dallas Maverick guards being unable or unwilling to get Dirk Nowitzki the ball when he’s open reared it’s head once again against the Grizzlies. At the two minute mark of the second quarter, Darren Collison attempted to penetrate the lane, as he had shaken his defender, Mike Conley. Zach Randolph effectively shut down the penetration about 10 feet out, because Collison is incredibly averse to contact when driving. Dirk was trailing the play wide open and called for the the ball. Collison looked at Dirk, but since his dribble was still alive attempted to maneuver around Randolph, who deftly cut off his penetration again. This time Collison made a decision to turn and pass to Dirk, but by this time Conley had caught up to Collison and tipped the pass. Memphis recovered the ball, which lead to a Marc Gasol dunk. Get the ball to Dirk Nowitzki. This isn’t a suggestion.
  • Mike James is now shooting under 30% on the year after going 2 for 10 against Memphis. Darren Collison’s terrible inconsistency is making it easy for Carlisle to look elsewhere, but why he keeps looking to James is beyond any basketball observer at this point.
  • Brett Koremos of the Grantland Network wrote a very interesting piece about the offensive pace of the Mavericks. The first quarter, it felt as if the team had read his piece and fully embraced the concept of an early shot clock quality shot attempt. When things began to bog down in the second, due to Dallas rotations and better defense from the Grizzlies, Dallas attempted it’s half court offense, with very poor results. It’s alarming that so few of the younger Dallas players can effectively run a pick and roll. To some degree, we Dallas fans were spoiled by Jason Kidd and Jason Terry’s ability to run a screen and roll with Dirk, both in using the screens to move along the offense or get Dirk the ball. Collison, Mayo, and James all approach ball screens from terrible angles and rarely seem to force a switch. Collison and James in particular seem to make up their minds early in any play and look to shoot more often than pass. Against a team of excellent defenders like the Grizzlies, that is a recipe for terrible offense.
  • There were only three positive aspects to the game against Memphis. First, Chris Kaman attacked the rim and defended hard. He’s not a good pick and roll defender, but early in the game, his one on one defense and help defense set the tone. Second, Shawn Marion resumed his roll of spark plug. He goes to where he’s needed; a flash to the open spot in the lane, a screen and roll for an awkward lay up, defensive rotations, and fast break finishes. Third, Jae Crowder used the high screen and roll to attack the rim and score a lay up in the first quarter. During the Bucks game, Derek Harper mentioned that a player of Crowder’s strength should get to the rim more often. As I’ve understood it, Crowder was a stretch four energy player in college. If he wants a rotation spot for the next few years, he needs to stop shooting pull up twos and continue this trend of getting to the rack.

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.

 

Keep Digging

Posted by Jonathan Tjarks on under Commentary | Read the First Comment

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 11.46.56 AM

Jonathan Tjarks writes about basketball and all that it implies at RealGM and SB Nation, and is a guest columnist here at The Two Man Game. Follow Jonathan on Twitter at @JonathanTjarks.

With All-Star Weekend and the trade deadline behind us, the stretch run of the NBA season has officially begun. Now that Rick Carlisle has finally gotten (somewhat) comfortable with a set rotation, the Mavs are unlikely to make any more moves to tweak their roster this season. Nevertheless, there are several D-League players that Dallas could sign tomorrow for short and long term gain. That the Mavs seem reluctant to go that path is a shame, and perhaps a metaphor of sorts for a franchise that has lost its way.

There aren’t any future stars in the D-League, but the level of play is higher than the casual fan recognizes. The D-League All-Star Game, held in Houston during All-Star Weekend, was a veritable “Who’s Who” of former second-round picks and collegiate standouts, many with the ability to be rotation players in the NBA. And in the league’s new economic climate, identifying the minimum-salary talent available to all 30 teams is more important than ever before. In that respect, signing and playing Mike James over someone like Shelvin Mack is a notable misuse of resources.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 90, Milwaukee Bucks 95

Posted by Kirk Henderson on February 26, 2013 under Recaps | 3 Comments to Read

Buck

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.

  • It boggles the mind that the Dallas Mavericks managed to lose a game where Dirk Nowitzki and Elton Brand grabbed a combined 34 rebounds and scored 33 points. That the Mavs gave the ball away 20 times is a big reason, including 13 from the four primary Dallas ball handlers of Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Vince Carter, and Mike James. Sloppy play when every game matters isn’t going to cut it.
  • The key possession started with 2:44 in the fourth and the game tied at 88. It lasted a full minute. Dallas managed to grab three offensive rebounds before Larry Sanders stole it from Dirk. Re-watching the possession, Dirk was camped at the three point with no one near him for 20 seconds and his teammates had no idea. I don’t understand how this continues to happen. He’s the best player on the team. Look for him on every possession.
  • Darren Collison (12 points, eight assists) has had a tough time shooting the ball since returning from the All Star break, shooting 14 for 44 from the field. Though his shooting percentages for the year look great, he’s had a variety of peaks and valleys and it’s unfortunate that a low point is coming at a time for Dallas when they need him shooting well. He managed to only hit a third of his 15 shots against the Bucks but most were good looks that simply didn’t fall. I wonder how much his odd looking shot mechanics have to do with the streaky quality of his shooting?
  • Vince Carter and Mike James managing to go 0 for 12 from the field with five turnovers really hurt the Dallas ability to maintain any sort of lead. Most of Carter’s shots were good looks, the sort he makes with regularity. James, on the other hand, keeps firing with no regard for the fact that he’s shooting a hair under 31% for the season. But he has to keep playing for some reason unknown to anyone outside of the Dallas coaching staff.
  • That Dallas wasted throwback performances from two power forwards drafted in the last millennium is infuriating. Dirk looks better and better, boxing out, crashing the boards, and finally putting the ball on the floor and playing with a bit of swagger (thought his two turnovers in the final three minutes really hurt the Mavs). His spinning fade looks particularly good, even if it hasn’t fallen yet. The sort of leg strength and confidence required to even take that shot is impressive. Brand, on the other hand, keeps surprising all Maverick observers. Of his 14 rebounds, seven were offensive, including a few in traffic where the Bucks surrounding him had better angles on the ball. I hope Dallas finds a way to keep him in the off season, but he’s  proven his worth as a fantastic back up power forward/center.

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.

 

 

The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 104, New Orleans Hornets 100

Posted by Connor Huchton on February 23, 2013 under Recaps | Read the First Comment

Sunrise

Box ScorePlay-By-PlayShot ChartGame 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.

  • The Mavericks have failed consistently when trailing in close contests this season, which made the Mavericks last-minute triumph on Friday night feel particularly rewarding. Mike James (2-4 FG, 1-2 3PT, five points) and Vince Carter (7-13 FG, 5-7 3PT, 22 points, nine rebounds) nailed consecutive essential threes in the final minute, the latter of which secured the Mavericks’ win.
  • Vince Carter’s three served as a nice reminder of why the Mavericks appeared so reluctant to trade Carter as the deadline neared. He’s been frankly great in comparison to expectations this season, through an amalgam of three-point skill, defensive improvement, and solid rebounding. Few players fulfill their roles as well as him, and never was that more true than in the final momentous seconds of a badly needed win.
  • Dirk Nowitzki (10-17 FG, 2-3 3PT, 25 points, seven rebounds, four assists) controlled the game offensively from the mid-range areas, namely on the right side, and continued his trend of looking progressively more comfortable serving as the Mavericks’ primary focal point on any given possession. The spacing Dirk creates just by finding a jumper rhythm early on is absolutely vital to the Mavericks three-point shooting and scoring efforts (Dallas was 8-20 from three tonight).
  • A couple of other thoughts: Bernard James (2-2 FG, four points, six rebounds, seven blocks) played an aesthetically pleasing and effective game tonight. He finished well, rebounded very well, and defended tenaciously. Seven blocks in 15 minutes is pretty impressive, no matter how you view it. I also want to mention how well the Mavericks passed tonight: 26 assists to 12 turnovers, a ratio I’d partially assign to Dirk’s presence and partially to the measure of perimeter spacing the Hornets allowed, which the Mavericks seized strongly.

Quoteboard: Dallas Mavericks 110, Phoenix Suns 95

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on January 28, 2013 under Interviews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks did well on a momentous evening as they delivered a 110-95 beating to the Phoenix Suns. Shawn Marion appeared in his 1,000th career regular-season game against the Suns on Sunday. He became the 107th player in NBA history to reach the milestone. Marion played in 660 games with Phoenix from 1999-2008. Marion recorded a game-high-tying 18 points to go along with a game-high nine rebounds, five assists and one steal in 30 minutes against the team that brought him into the league.

With a jumper at the 5:38 mark of the third quarter, Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki passed Allen Iverson (24,368) for 18th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The basket gave Nowitzki 13 points for the game (and 24,370 for his career). Next on the list for Dirk is Patrick Ewing. Ewing ranks 17thon the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 24,815 career points. Dirk tallied a game-high-tying 18 points to go along with seven rebounds in 30 minutes against Phoenix.

Elton Brand appeared in his 900th career regular-season game and recorded 12 points in 17 minutes off the bench. He scored in double figures for the sixth time in his last seven games (14thtime this season). Brand is averaging 12.1 points and 8.6 rebounds over his last seven games. Brand came off the bench because Bernard James made his first career start and managed two points and three rebounds in 11 minutes. The Mavericks used their 17th different starting lineup of the year in their 44th game of the season.

O.J. Mayo dished out a team-high six assists against Phoenix. His fourth assist of the game, at the 9:22 mark of the third quarter, was the 1,000th assist of his career. He finished the game with only eight points. Dallas now moves to 1-5 this season in games where he scored fewer than 10 points in a game.

Here is the quoteboard for the Dallas victory over Phoenix.

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The Revolving Door

Posted by Brian Rubaie on January 23, 2013 under Commentary, Roster Moves | 8 Comments to Read

RevolvingDoor

“The only constant is change.” – Heraclitus

Derek Fisher’s departure created a void which the Mavericks unsurprisingly filled with a veteran journeyman: the 37-year-old Mike James. James played well enough to earn a second 10-day contract, but Dallas must decide by Sunday whether the player Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas labeled a “poor man’s Derek Fisher” will remain with the team for the rest of the season.

It’s unclear whether Dallas plans to retain James, but Rick Carlisle clearly trusts him at the end of games, to the point of keeping him on the floor to finish several close contests while starter Darren Collison warms the bench. Carlisle’s short leash with Collison is evident in his stated reasoning for opting to go with James down the stretch against Houston, as he told our own Bryan Gutierrez that “(Jeremy) Lin just walked right in there twice in a row on Collison. The physical size with Darren is what is tough for him. We needed a stronger guy in there.” Carlisle continued that James offers “experience, some physical strength and some toughness” before concluding simply: “I like him. I really do.” As inelegant as James’ play sometimes appears, the Mavericks are 5-1 in games where James has been on the floor.

All of that said, it would ultimately be best for the Mavericks to part ways with James, even in spite of Carlisle’s praise and the team’s recently impressive performance. While physically stronger than Collison, James is several steps slower and a much worse shooter and distributor. James’ moments of great play are outnumbered by mind-boggling inconsistency.  Collison’s play has improved dramatically of late but he needs to receive consistent and consequential minutes to continue his improvement. Carlisle’s general preference for veteran guards shouldn’t mislead him into opting to keep James.

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