The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 96, New Orleans Hornets 99

Posted by Kirk Henderson on January 5, 2013 under Recaps | Read the First Comment


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.

  • The starting front court of Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman doesn’t make a lot of sense. The spacing offensively is really rough, and defensively neither Dirk nor Kaman can play very good man to man defense or recover well on pick and rolls (though I’d argue each is a competent help defender). The Carter, Dirk, Elton Brand front court, however, has good spacing, and Brand seems to fit better defensively with Dirk, particularly as a rim protector. It was understandable that Carlisle went with Marion on that final possession since the Vasquez pick and roll meant a switch would be to the Maverick’s advantage, but the leaving Marion in as the “center”, along with Collison, Mayo, Carter, and Dirk for the second straight overtime simply didn’t work. I really don’t get why Carlisle went away from the line up from the last four minutes of the game. Then again, had Mayo hit any of the wide open shots he had in the overtime, we’d be having a different discussion.
  • In the third, Dirk Nowitzki (20 points, six rebounds) had back to back threes coming as the trailer for the transition offense. Any other trailer in the Dallas offense immediately continues swinging the ball around the perimeter. The threat of Dirk literally opens up the entire Dallas offense. He has the green light to shoot, drive, or reverse the ball, and is also a threat to make an interior post feed as he did to Kaman for a lay up later in the quarter after a Mayo ball reversal.
  • It feels like ages since O.J. Mayo (14 points, five rebounds) played a complete game. Tonight he kept his turnovers down, but couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn and failed to notch a single assist. As Mayo has improved throughout the first half of the season, it’s become easy to nit pick aspects of his game. Lately, it’s been his propensity to turn the ball over. However, I’d like to see him stop biting on pump fakes on long jump shots. In the second quarter, he bit on a Ryan Anderson pump fake, which led to a give and go lay up for Anderson. With Anderson being 6’10″, Mayo isn’t going to block his shot. All he can do is challenge with a hand up. Defensively, Mayo is a liability far too often.

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 109, Miami Heat 119

Posted by Connor Huchton on January 3, 2013 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

Screen shot 2012-02-29 at 2.46.54 AM

Box ScorePlay-By-Play Shot 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 concocted one of their most complete performances of the season in Wednesday night’s overtime loss to the Heat. The only thing missing was the single additional point needed to gain a much-needed victory.
  • When pondering how the Mavericks’ ‘squandered’ a six-point lead in the final few minutes, a few reasons come to mind:
  • The Miami Heat, who actually played quite well, are an unbelievably talented and thoroughly overwhelming team. That much was apparent from the stellar play of LeBron James alone (11-20 FG, 32 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists), as he engineered impressive possession after possession in the final minutes. James found other Heat players for open corner threes with the precision of a well-practiced tactician. And when that failed, he simply curved and dodged his way to basket proximity and scoring success.
  • That goes without mentioning the terrific performance of Dwyane Wade (9-21 FG, 27 points, 10 rebounds, five assists), who seized several key overtime opportunities to seal the win for the Heat.
  • Wade glided to the perimeter, plucked an airborne Vince Carter pass, and assisted on a basket at the other end to give the Heat a very sudden and commanding seven-point overtime lead.
  • The Mavericks made far too many unnecessary mistakes down the stretch, as O.J. Mayo (12-21 FG, 30 points, six assists, six turnovers), Vince Carter (5-16 FG, 15 points), and Dirk Nowitzki (7-15 FG, 19 points, six rebounds, 29 minutes) each contributed to the Mavericks’ late-game turnover woes.
  • Nowitzki appeared the closest he has to pre-injury form, especially in regards to his confidence in releasing diffcult shots. It was very nice to see Dirk attempt and make jumpers from more than one impossibly guarded situation.
  • Beyond Dirk’s contributions, the Mavericks scored only 14 bench points.
  • The Mavericks have now loss six consecutive overtime games this season, and have only competed closely for a win in a few of those six. For whatever reasons (age, consistency, identity), the Mavericks have been completely unable to sustain any kind of high-level play for more than 48 minutes.
  • As Andy Tobo writes at Mavs Moneyball, one of the positive aspects of these recent games has been the reemergence of Darren Collison (4-9 FG, 11 points, three assists). If his moderate ascension can continue and the Mavericks collectively play near the level they did tonight, there’s hope for this Mavericks’ team yet.

Searching for Answers

Posted by Brian Rubaie on January 2, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment


The Dallas Mavericks are searching for answers with little room for error or time to spare. Optimists soothed early doubters by suggesting that incorporating Dirk Nowitzki, grooming O.J. Mayo and stepping up the defense would inevitably improve the team’s long-term outlook, even if it took time. The recent losing streak, however, has prompted demands for immediate results. Suggestions have ranged from the dramatic, such as Rick Carlisle’s recent talk of player suspensions and panicked calls from some fans to fire Carlisle, to the mundane, with moves like calling up Jared Cunningham from the D-League.

The best ways to make short-term improvements to the team are tactical. The Mavericks should put the ball in Collison’s hands and take it out of Mayo’s, play lineups that halt opponents’ second-chance opportunities and make good decisions with defensive assignments. None of these solutions is a cure-all, but all are necessary to cure what ails Dallas.

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Quoteboard: Dallas Mavericks 103, Washington Wizards 94

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


I was able to get to the game in Washington DC last night, as Dallas stopped a six game skid against the Washington Wizards. The Difference provides a breakdown to the keys of the game, but to recap, Washington got out to a 14 point lead in the second quarter as the Maverick offense struggled to get any shots to fall. A Darren Collison fast break and-one finally got the Maverick offense going as they were able to close the Washington lead down to four by half time. A 35 point outburst in the third put Dallas up, as Shawn Marion and Darren Collison lead the way. The final period saw Vince Carter assert himself early and often, scoring 10 of his game high 23 points. He finished the game with a mighty left handed dunk.

Washington saw a solid performance from rookie Bradley Beal, as he put up 22 points. The Wizards have been dealing with a rash of injuries which have hurt their rotations. To give you an example, recently signed D-league call up Garrett Temple made the start at point guard for the Wizards.

Here are the top five quotes from last night’s game.

O.J. Mayo

On the last two weeks: “It’s been crazy. Not winning, I think we all lose sleep. We are all a little stressed out, a little tense. It definitely doesn’t make going home any better losing games so we just came into practice and got some good work in before we came out here. We understood that even though it’s New Years, it’s a business trip and let’s go out here and handle business the right way.


On the game: “I think we gave it a good game. We gave it a great first start. They had experience, they have good players. We wake up the beast (Dirk Nowitzki), and the beast starts making shots. Vince Carter looked like young Vince Carter. I think they did a great job including the post, they had great defense, they forced us to pass the ball to the side and we lost.”

Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman

On the third quarter:  ”They (Mavericks) came out and kind of blitzed in the third quarter. As a team they turned up their intensity and shot very well from the field. They got a lot of shots to go for them that weren’t falling in the earlier possessions of the game. It’s tough to defend a team that’s shooting 67% from the field.”

Rick Carlisle

On Vince Carter and Chris Kaman: “Vince had a great game. Offensively he was efficient. Defensively he was in the right place. He got some big rebounds for us. We need him to make plays, simple as that. I really thought everybody played well. I was especially impressed with Kaman’s game defensively tonight. He was down in the stance, was showing a level of aggression that helped us particularly in the third quarter.”

On Vince Carter’s athleticism: ”The play at the end of the game was pivotal because it kind of sealed the game. And it opened it up. He said to me coming off the court following the timeout, ‘I bet you didn’t think I could do that.’. But he still has tremendous athleticism even though he’s an older guy. He’s taking care of himself. He’s worked extremely hard, especially this year. And he’s a really important guy for us.”

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 103, Washington Wizards 94

Posted by Kirk Henderson on January 1, 2013 under Recaps | Read the First Comment


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.

  • There’s a scene in the movie The Replacements where Keanu Reaves says the one thing that scares him is quicksand. Not actual quicksand, of course, but the phenomenon in sports where one thing goes wrong, and then another, and then another. Soon enough it’s impossible to get back on the right track. These last six games, Dallas has come perilously close to getting pulled in by quicksand. A tough schedule, a recovering super star, and some glaring team deficiencies have caused unrest both in the locker room and in the fan base. Winning tonight, while certainly not the team’s finest work, was important if only to remind these guys that they are much better than they’ve been playing as of late.
  • While Dallas got off to a rough start offensively, it was the defense of Chris Kaman (12 points, seven rebounds) which kept the game from getting out of hand early in the first quarter. He’ll never be mistaken for a rim protector, but his three blocks in the first quarter were important to establishing a defensive tone that the Mavericks haven’t had since the win back against the 76ers.
  • The Vince Carter explosion was a great change of pace. His December scoring was down three points compared to November and his shooting percentage was below 40%. Tonight he had 23 points on 14 shots. We can’t expect this sort of scoring outburst by any stretch, but Carter’s contributions are vital if Dallas hopes to get back in the playoff hunt.
  • The most important part of this game’s box score was the number zero in the turnover column for O.J. Mayo (15 points, five assists). In 15 games in December, Mayo had five or more turnovers seven times. Connor believes these are correctable turnovers that should stop occurring as Mayo gets more experience. I tend to agree.
  • It was a delight to see Darren Collison drive from the top of the key only to whip a pass back to the trailing Dirk Nowitzki for a three. This was the sort of play we all envisioned with the signing of Collison.
  • Though we’re only seeing it in spots due to Dirk still getting back in shape, it’s fun to see how he changes the way teams defend Dallas. There’s more penetration available for Collison, which results in crisp passing, which then results in better shot attempts. The offense has worked in fits and starts this season, but Dirk’s the key.
  • Collison was unable to convert many shots tonight, going 4-for-13 from the field. However, his attacking style paid off for Dallas as he shot seven free throws and forced the defense to rotate to defend him as he probed the paint.
  • In post game comments, Carlisle talked about how the Mavericks really haven’t seen enough data on any of the line ups to declare any one unit better than the others, simply because of the injury issues and the revolving door of players Dallas has had suit up this season. It’s odd, just because we’re nine games away from the halfway point in the season, but he’s probably right. How they determine effectiveness and experiment with lineups as Dirk gets back into the rotation should be very interesting, because they’re also trying to make the playoffs despite being six games under .500.
  • Did anyone else think Shawn Marion had 14 rebounds? Being surprised by the constant effectiveness of Shawn Marion is one of the joys of being a fan of basketball.

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 86, San Antonio Spurs 111

Posted by David Hopkins on December 31, 2012 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment


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.

  • On the bright side, it didn’t feel like a blowout until the 4th quarter. Throughout the game, the Mavs were within reach. The teams took turns with their scoring drives; it always appeared close.
  • By comparison, the last time the Mavs played the Spurs on December 23rd, it was a soul-crushing 38 point loss. This game was only slightly soul-crushing with a 25 point loss.
  • Another way to look at it, this season, the Spurs have beat the Mavs by 31.5 points on average.
  • The Mavs have had 14 different starting lineups in the past 31 games. Vince Carter started for the first time this season. It didn’t help. At 8:28 in the first quarter, the Spurs were ahead 14-2.
  • San Antonio’s big three were… big. Tony Parker had 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 9 assists. Manu Ginobili had 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. And Tim Duncan had 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks. They scored 53% of their team’s total points. They are boring but deadly.
  • Also to the Spurs’ credit, they shot 50.6% as the visiting team. When a team shoots that well, the opponent cannot afford to make many mistakes. One big mistake would be allowing your opponent to shoot 50.6%.
  • Read more of this article »

Quoteboard: Denver Nuggets 106, Dallas Mavericks 85

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on December 29, 2012 under Interviews | Be the First to Comment


The Dallas Mavericks’ losing streak extended to five games after suffering a 106-85 loss to the Denver Nuggets. The loss was the eighth for Dallas in their last nine games. The Nuggets asserted themselves early used a 15-2 run from the 8:17 mark of the first quarter through the 5:27 mark of the period to go up, 21-8. Dallas used an 11-3 run from the 8:20 mark of the third quarter through the 5:37 mark of the period to trim a 13-point deficit (64-51) down to five (67-62). Denver closed the third quarter on a 20-8 run and led, 87-70, after three.

Danilo Gallinari scored a career-high 39 points against Dallas on Friday. His previous high was 37 at New York on Jan. 21, 2012. He added eight rebounds and three assists in 34 minutes.

In his home debut, Dirk Nowitzki couldn’t quite get it going against the Nuggets. He scored just five points, all in the first quarter, on 2-for-10 shooting. With the game getting out of hand, he played only 17 minutes. Though the shots weren’t going in, a lot of them rattled in and out.

Here is the quoteboard for the loss to the Nuggets.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 85, Denver Nuggets 106

Posted by Connor Huchton on under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

Screen Shot 2012-04-26 at 1.42.36 AM

Box Score – Play-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.

  • Despite the somewhat lopsided final result, the Mavericks had several chances to make this a very competitive game, all the way up until the Nuggets’ final run in the middle of the fourth quarter.
  • The Mavericks grasped none of those chances, leading to another uneven loss.
  • Danilo Gallinari (14-23 FG, 7-11 3PT, eight rebounds) scored an incredibly quiet 39 points. The Mavericks left Gallinari open for a variety of corner threes, and he seized his opportunties.
  • Andre Iguodala (7-12 FG, 4-6 3PT, 20 points, eight rebounds) served as the other central Nuggets’ offensive threat, and capitalized on his own three-point chances.
  • Iguodala is not a historically strong three-point shooter, but his jumper can tend to be streaky.
  • The Mavericks were treated to the unfortunate type of streaky from him tonight.
  • As for the Mavericks’ offense, the performance was largely dismal with brief spurts of exciting passing and transition play.
  • So, quite similar to the Mavericks’ offense we’ve seen all season.
  • There weren’t many individual moments or performances to remember for the Mavericks, either.
  • O.J. Mayo scored acceptably (6-13 FG, 15 points, five steals) for the first time in five games, but also recorded a dismal six turnovers.
  • Like I wrote last night, Mayo’s turnovers often seem entirely avoidable. Mayo could likely reduce his turnovers by simply waiting for a few more moments before passing when ball movement stalls.
  • Dirk Nowitzki’s (2-10 FG, five points, one rebound) performance exuded tepidity after a few easy jumpers (for Dirk, that is) fell in and out of the rim.
  • Struggles are expected from an aging player just returning from injury, but time is running out for the Mavericks to right the proverbial ship in a very competitive Western Conference.
  • In all likelihood, the Mavericks will now need to win about 33 of their last 52 games to compete for a playoff spot, after a 12-18 start against a mediocre schedule.
  • That’s a tall and unlikely order, but the Mavericks have an accomplished seven-footer capable of rising to great heights.
  • (That wasn’t a great joke.)
  • The Mavericks are talented enough to make such a run, but it would take a near return to 2011 form from Dirk and a return to early-season form from O.J. Mayo to do so.
  • But the individual play of Mayo and Dirk is likely less integral to future success than overarching team chemistry, something which the Mavericks lacked for long stretches on Friday night.
  • One significant barrier currently blocking the Mavericks’ defensive chemistry is the struggle of Elton Brand (0-2 FG, 0 points, three rebounds) to find his role on the court.
  • Brand has missed quite a few easy scoring opportunities this season, and it’s neutralized his still-effective defensive ability at times. If Brand can’t provide acceptable finishing in a pick-and-roll dominated offense, it negates the defensive boost he’s capable of bringing the Mavericks.
  • Sunday’s opponent, the rival San Antonio Spurs, are stronger than tonight’s opponent and have played very well recently, including an impressive offensive victory tonight against an emerging Rockets’ team. If the Mavericks can indeed begin a much-needed turnaround, a win Sunday would be a terrific way to start.

Setting the Table: Denver Nuggets (Game 30)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on December 28, 2012 under Previews | Be the First to Comment


The Dallas Mavericks (12-17) are looking to avoid a rare five-game losing streak as they host the Denver Nuggets (16-14). Dallas is looking to avoid a five-game losing streak for the first time since they lost six in a row during the 10-11 season (Jan. 6, 2011 through Jan. 17, 2011). In addition, the Mavericks are five games below .500 for the first time since April 2000, Dirk Nowitzki’s second season in the league.

The game against the Nuggets will mark the home debut for Dirk Nowitzki. There have yet to be any setbacks for him as he’s returned from knee surgery, which is good. It remains to be seen if Dirk will move into the starting lineup or will continue to come off the bench.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Thunder. Read more of this article »

Thermodynamics: Week 9

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

[Ed. note: All statistics in this post do not reflect Thursday night's game against the Thunder — which will be accounted for in next week's column.]

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

Here’s a picture representing the Mavs’ performance this week.

Here’s another one.

And another.

Ok, last one.

Just kidding, one more.

The Mavs had a truly awful week — perhaps  their worst in years. They went 0-3, had an average point differential of -21 (which easily could have been worse), and weren’t remotely competitive in two of their three outings.

On the other hand, the schedule was incredibly tough, and it’s not as though one bad week means it’s time to disband the team and ship off all non-essential personnel to Siberia. See, that’s called silver lining. And you’re about to see even more of it as I attempt to somehow glean three hot performances from this week.

Week 9 (Heat, @Grizzlies, @Spurs)


1) Dirk’s Recovery

Horrifying as it was, the Mavs’ 2.5-hour beatdown at the hands of the Spurs wasn’t a wholly awful experience. A bit before the game in San Antonio, the Mavs revealed that Dirk Nowitzki would be making a surprise return from knee surgery. Dirk’s return wasn’t enough to prevent the Mavs from being run out of the Spurs’ glorified metal barn gym, but it was still a welcome sight. And Dirk actually performed fairly well in limited minutes off the bench: 8 points on 3-of-4 (75%) shooting and 6 rebounds in just 20 minutes of action. As Dirk gets back into game shape, the Mavs will start looking like a much different team than they have for the past two months. Maybe it will be enough to make a late playoff push, maybe it won’t. Either way, the big German is back. Praise deity.

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