The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 102, Detroit Pistons 99

Posted by Connor Huchton on March 9, 2013 under Recaps | Be the First to 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.

  • Patterns emerge over the course of a season, just as they do in every journey and in every life. The prevailing theme of this Mavericks’ season has been mediocrity, but the prevailing pattern is more complex and far too repetitive. That pattern is one of instantaneous fading, of an inability to sustain, and of a definitive lack of consistency. Such a pattern, of losing leads or the chance to compete in the basketball blink of a few minutes, can be particularly disheartening and draining. Those adjectives plagued the Mavericks’ heart in the last nine minutes of the final quarter, but for once, those adjectives did not win the day. A couple of jumpers from Dirk Nowitzki (6-14 FG, 12 points, seven rebounds) and O.J. Mayo (7-15 FG, 5-9 3PT, 22 points) saved Dallas this time, and the team’s playoff hopes, however scarce, remain intact for another day.
  • The Mavericks did two things particularly well for most of the game’s 48 minutes: make threes and defend the perimeter.  Dallas made 11 of 22 three-pointers (which is about 50%, according to my strident arithmetic), and held Detroit to 9-30 from three for the game. The first aspect of that performance isn’t too surprising, but the second certainly was, as the Mavericks have struggled mightily in the realm of perimeter defense all season. Though that strong perimeter defense didn’t last in the game’s closing tumultuous minutes, the overall showing encourages slightly, if not entirely.
  • Brandan Wright, (7-10 FG, 14 points, six rebounds, three assists) a notable proficient scorer, scored quite proficiently (thus, living up to his notability) in a scant 19 minutes, and provided the low-post scoring spark the Mavericks needed. Wright is always an interesting player in the sense of how defined his strengths (scoring) and weaknesses (defense) are, but tonight his impressive combination of height, arm length, and vertical served the Mavericks wonderfully in the first three quarters of the game. (Basically, it’s always nice to have someone who dunks with incessant aplomb.)

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 112, Houston Rockets 108

Posted by Kirk Henderson on under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

Rocket

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 was quite possibly O.J. Mayo’s best game of the season with 13 points, 12 assists, and six rebounds. He set the tone early with five first quarter assists and continued to make the easy pass throughout the game. It obviously helps when teammates are converting shots (Shawn Marion was brilliant in this regard), but Mayo deserves credit in an area where he’s struggled recently, attempting to do too much and committing turnovers. That he didn’t post a single turnover against the Rockets is incredibly impressive and displays a level of patience not seen from him in weeks. His patience in play making carried over into his shot selection; he waited to assert himself until the final quarter, taking and making three straight shots over a 90 second period as Houston was attempting to take the lead.
  • Dirk Nowitzki’s willingness to give up the ball out of his short corner sweet spot kept the Maverick offense flowing. Though Dirk was quite efficient with his shooting, scoring 22 points on 9 of 16, I was more impressed with the three assists he dished to Brendan Wright (12 points on 6 of 7 shooting) in the first three minutes of the third quarter. Wright may not ever have a consistent rotation spot, mainly due to his rebounding (he grabbed two in 27 minutes of action against Houston), but when he’s hitting offensively, he helps open up the floor for the Mavericks. Dirk was able to get shots later in the game due to Houston being forced to guard the high post flash from any Dallas center.
  • Though many league observers focus on what a certain purple and gold clad shooting guard is doing at age 34, Shawn Marion is doing things defensively at the same age that should not be possible. Even throwing out his 22 points on 10 of 16 shooting, Marion had a brilliant game. Yes, James Harden had 16 free throws, mainly due to his ability to sell contact, but when the game was on the line Marion prevented Harden from getting quality looks. Harden is excellent at both direct penetration and getting off shots when moving side to side. Marion’s abililty to stay on his feet and in front of Harden made the majority of these looks incredibly dificult.  That Marion’s never made an All Defensive team is one of the unspoken travesties among close followers of the NBA.
  • What is Dallas going to do with Darren Collison (seven points, five assists, three turnovers)? He’s been forced to come off the bench at least once behind every single point guard Dallas has had on the team this season, this time behind Mike James. That list of point guards is not a short one. As maddening as his offensive inconsistency is, it’s his lack of defensive understanding that may limit his time in Dallas to a single season. He was unable to stay in front of Jeremy Lin (or any other Rocket) for much of the game. I fail to understand how a player as fast as Collison has such poor lateral movement. Lin repeatedly beat Collison to the middle of the floor which is counter to the Dallas philosophy of forcing a ball handler towards the baseline. I also don’t understand the recovery angles he takes once he gets beat as he often ends up on the side of his man instead of in front of him. Towards the end of the first quarter, after Lin had scored two consecutive layups on him, Collison was unable to get over a screen on a left wing pick and roll. His attempt at recovery did nothing to prevent Lin from whipping a pass to the right corner for a Chandler Parsons three, mainly because he saddled up next to Lin instead of getting between him and the basket. Finally, we have Collison’s tendency to float mentally when he’s off ball. At the three minute mark in the third, Harden caught Collison flatfooted and found Lin making a simple back cut behind Collison which lead to a Lin lay up. A starting point guard in the NBA cannot make the kind of mental errors Collison makes with alarming regularity.

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 Four Ingredients

Posted by David Hopkins on March 5, 2013 under Commentary | 9 Comments to Read

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“Victory must now be mine or Galactus shall not fight again.” — Galactus, Devourer of Worlds

Last week I wrote about Dirk Nowitzki, his legacy and his future. Do the past two years represent the sudden decline of Nowitzki? Should fans recalibrate their expectations? Or are these two years statistical outliers with a bum knee to blame? Like most things, the answer is probably somewhere in the middle. Regardless, there is no denying that the future inevitable departure of Nowitzki has been a concern as fans watch the season unfold. And as much as we’d like to put everything on Nowitkzi’s shoulders, he isn’t the only factor in making the Mavs a great franchise. When looking at the long-term health of this franchise, I would suggest that there are four ingredients.

1. Young talent
2. Reliable veterans
3. An All-Star “Go To” Player
4. Trustworthy management, ownership, and coaching

In the young talent category, the jury is still out. For players born in the late ‘80s and ‘90s, the Mavs have: Rodrigue Beaubois, Darren Collison, Jae Crowder, Jared Cunningham, Bernard James, Dominique Jones, O.J. Mayo, Anthony Morrow, and Brandan Wright. Young players aren’t just the replacements for the old team. They are valuable trade assets. They offer the greatest potential for improvement and growth. I believe in O.J. Mayo, and I’d be happy if he signed a long-term contract with the Mavs. The question is money, but I can’t imagine shooting guards are in such high demand that another franchise would overpay for him. Darren Collison? I just don’t know. When you look at his advanced stats, he’s actually slightly better than O.J. Mayo. However, I don’t trust him to run an offense. The rookie class isn’t too bad. Crowder and James are encouraging. This isn’t Cunningham’s year, but who knows how he’ll do once given a chance? Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones are a disappointment. I believe Brandan Wright is a better player than his minutes and stats suggest.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 98, Brooklyn Nets 90

Posted by Kirk Henderson on March 1, 2013 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

CautionNet

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.

  • Though his box score was not particularly impressive, the play of Chris Kaman (eight points, four rebounds) has set the tone for two straight games. Against the Nets he opened both halves with driving lay ups which seemed to catch their defense off guard. Prior to missing games with a concussion, Kaman had gone to his jump shot a bit too frequently, often at the expense of the flow of the Dallas offense. Though he still missed three long jumpers against the Nets, they were taken later in the shot clock and were not contested particularly hard.
  • The clash of play styles was obvious from the opening tip. A glance at the box score wouldn’t reveal this, but the Mavericks pushed the tempo on Brooklyn at every opportunity and the Nets seemed unsure how to cope. This became particularly apparent in the third quarter and the early part of the fourth as the Dallas lead ballooned to 20 points. The remaining influence of former coach Avery Johnson was clearly apparent, as the Nets ran an oddly methodical offense that bogged down into one on one match ups which Brooklyn could not exploit.
  • Easily the most entertaining match up of the game was Elton Brand (eight points, two steals, two blocks) against Andray Blatche (eight points, three assists). For some reason, they started barking at one another early and Brand managed to surprise Blatche early in the second with a catch and shoot from the post and a lay in after a botched steal attempt. Not to be out done, Blatche went back at Brand, using his superior size and athleticism for a driving lay in. It’s taken me nearly a whole season to figure out how Brand gets off a quality look against a larger defender, particularly out of face up situations. He’s always been a bit undersized for his position and has been robbed of most of his vertical leap due to an Achilles injury. When he gets the ball in the post or off of a pick and role, he nearly always sizes up his opponent before rising to shoot. He rarely seems to get blocked mainly because of the length of his arms combined with a slight fade. It seems as if defenders cannot accurately determine where his point of release is. Brand can make a living with that specific shot against second unit defenses for at least two or three more seasons.
  • It was strange to see the Nets not force feed the ball to Brook Lopez (19 points, nine rebounds), particularly in the third where he did not take a single shot attempt. His confidence and skill from the low block is rare in the modern NBA. He’s much stronger and more patient than a casual fan would give him credit for and really has the chance to be a special player if the Nets run an offense more attuned to getting him the ball. Against Dallas, they attempted point guard cross screens which did not work with regularity because it was clear what was coming.
  • When playing in a fast paced offense, turnovers are going to happen. But with Darren Collison (nine points, four turnovers), so many of his turnovers are the kind that he shouldn’t be making at this point in his career. After a Lopez put back basket, Collison attempted to pass ahead to O.J. Mayo. Carlisle has urged the Mavericks to push even off of a made basket, so this was normal. That Collison was unable to see Deron Williams, who stepped in front of the pass for the steal, is maddening. Later in the third, he had a terrible turnover on the screen and roll, attempting to loop a pass over Lopez. Defending after a live ball turnover is exceptionally challenging because the defense has to scramble to get back. The majority of both Collison and O.J. Mayo’s turnovers during the recently losing streak were of the live ball variety.
  • Though Dallas native Deron Williams (24 points) a had turnover plagued evening with seven, his strengths are so readily apparent. He gets to the rim almost at will, particularly when going right. The sort of strength he uses to get off shots is rare in guards, let alone those who handle the ball so well. It often looks like he’s going half speed, but if he were to run a more up tempo offense or if the Nets went to the high screen and roll with Lopez more often, the Nets might have a terrifying offense.
  • The Nets had no answer for Dirk Nowitzki (20 points, eight rebounds), who hit a variety of tough shots over nearly any Nets defender. He finally hit his patented wrong foot fall away over Kris Humphries in he second quarter. Dirk’s attempted this shot (usually off of a spin) three or four times in the last week and while it’s been impossible to stop in years past, Dirk’s leg strength hasn’t been there for him until recently. I hope it becomes a staple in the remaining games.
  • I’ve highly enjoyed the defensive play of Jae Crowder during the last week’s worth of games. Starting Sunday against the Lakers, he defended Kobe as well as anyone this season (that Kobe made a variety of insane shots is besides the point). He continued with decent defense against J.J. Redick, though Redick is the kind of player who causes any NBA rookie fits simply because he is constantly moving and knows how to use his strengths against opposing players. Against the Grizzlies he helped frustrate Mike Conley into a 2 of 13 shooting performance and against the Nets he made a key strip of C.J. Watson as the Nets were attempting to stage a comeback. Early in the season, Carlisle opted to try him on the various small forwards of the NBA and the size he encountered at the position caused him a variety of problems. He’s been much more effective against smaller or weaker guards who can’t deal with his physicality and quick hands. I still think he can turn into a fine defender against NBA small forwards, but asking a rookie to deal with Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony isn’t the easiest of tasks.

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.

 

Thermodynamics: Week 18

Posted by Travis Wimberly on under Commentary, Recaps | Read the First Comment

Ice

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

It wasn’t the worst week of the Mavs’ season, but it was arguably the most excruciating. It started off with a solid win in New Orleans, then slid rapidly from frustrating (against LA) to inexcusable (against Milwaukee) to downright comical (against Memphis).

Let’s hit all those points in a bit more detail as we wrap up the best and worst of the week.

Week 18 (@Hornets, Lakers, Bucks, @Grizzlies)

FIRE

1) Elton Brand

Brand’s production this week was impressive across the board. He scored well and efficiently, averaging almost 13 points per game on 22-of-40 (55%) cumulative shooting. He pulled down almost nine rebounds per game (despite averaging just 25 minutes and conceding many of his boards to Dirk, discussed next), including an impressive 14-rebound performance against the Bucks. He also defended the post well for most of the week, matching up at various points against Dwight Howard, Larry Sanders, Drew Gooden, and Marc Gasol. Brand didn’t exactly shut any of those guys down (although Howard did have a pretty pitiful game in Dallas), but he worked very hard to make things difficult for them. That segues nicely into the most impressive thing about Brand this week: his effort. Brand played exceptionally hard the vast majority of the time he was on the court. Nowhere was that effort more apparent than against Milwaukee, where Brand repeatedly beat multiple Bucks players (with position, no less) to loose balls and free rebounds. He was a disruptive force in the middle, which is something the Mavs have sorely lacked for most of the year. Sure, Brand’s in a contract year, but the pride with which he plays is palpable. At the right price, I personally would welcome him back next year.

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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.

 

Quoteboard: Milwaukee Bucks 95, Dallas Mavericks 90

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on under Interviews | Be the First to Comment

 

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Just when it appeared that it couldn’t get worse for the Mavericks, they found another way to lose the game. The turnover bug found its way to Dirk Nowitzki as he had two key turnovers in the final three minutes of the game. The Milwaukee Bucks were able to convert on both of the turnovers and secured a 95-90 victory over Dallas. The Mavericks had a total of 20 turnovers, leading to 19 points for the Bucks.

The Mavericks spoiled a rare 20/20 game for Dirk. He recorded his sixth career 20-point, 20-rebound game with 21 points to go along with a season-high 20 rebounds, three assists and two steals in 35 minutes against Milwaukee on Tuesday. It was his first 20/20 game since Apr. 3, 2003 vs. the L.A. Lakers (25 points and 22 rebounds). It was his seventh career game with 20-plus rebounds and his first since Dec. 27, 2007 (20 rebounds). Oddly enough, the Mavericks are now 3-3 in games where Dirk has scored at least 20 points and grabbed at least 20 rebounds in the same game.

Nowitzki, who had a season-high 30 points and a then season-high 13 rebounds against the Lakers in their previous game, recorded his second consecutive double-double (second of the season, 371stcareer). Nowitzki is averaging 25.3 points and 13.3 rebounds over his last three games. He is shooting 55.8 percent (29-of-52) from the field and 70 percent (7-of-10) from 3-point range in that span. Nowitzki is averaging 21.5 points and 10.7 rebounds over his last six games. He is shooting 53.4 percent (47-of-88) from the field and 64.7 percent (11-of-17) from deep in that span.

Monta Ellis spoiled Dirk’s night as he ending up having a game-high 22 points. He scored 11 of his 22 points in the final quarter. He also added a game-high nine assists and a season-high-tying six steals in 44 minutes. It was his fourth game with six thefts this season.

Some notes before the quotes:

- Nowitzki pulled down 11 first-half rebounds against the Bucks on Tuesday. It was tied for the second-most rebounds he’s recorded in the first half of a game in his career (he had 11 in the first half on two other occasions, and recorded 12 in the first half twice). The most rebounds Nowitzki recorded in any half in his career was 13 in the second half (twice).

- Elton Brand recorded his seventh double-double of the season (403rd career) with 12 points (6-8 FGs) and a season-high 14 rebounds (7 OR) in 25 minutes off the bench. His previous high rebounding game was 13 on two occasions. Brand is averaging 14.0 points and 8.5 rebounds over his last four games. He is shooting 57.1 percent (24-of-42) from the field in that span.

- Dallas went 1-of-17 from 3-point range.

Here is the quoteboard for the Mavericks’ loss to the Lakers.

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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.