Thermodynamics: Week 23

Posted by Travis Wimberly on April 4, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | Be the First to Comment

Ice

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

That’s all she wrote. While not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, the Mavs’ hopes of making the dance are all but dead. They came into this week with a discernible chance, but a 1-2 run against a slate of tough opponents changed all that. A loss to the top-flight Indiana Pacers put the Mavs on life support; another loss to the mediocre Los Angeles Lakers was the death blow.

To no one’s surprise, this will be the most downtrodden installment of Thermodynamics this season. But don’t fret. The Mavs won’t stay down forever.

Week 23 (Pacers, Bulls, @Lakers)

FIRE

1) Dirk Nowitzki (well, mostly)

In the first two games this week, Dirk was stellar. He scored 21 points on 10-of-20 (50%) shooting against the Pacers, and was essentially the sole reason a 25-point blowout wasn’t even worse. Two days later, in the Saturday matinee against the Bulls, Dirk turned in his best performance of the season: 35 points, an absolutely preposterous 14-of-17 (82%) from the floor, and a personal 8-1 run to end the game. That afternoon in Dallas, Dirk did what only a handful of players in the league can do — he single-handedly pulled a victory out of otherwise certain defeat, and he did so against a quality team. Nowitzki’s week didn’t end well, as he shot a poor 4-of-13 (31%) and was generally ineffective against the Lakers. Some will blame the team’s inability to consistently get him shots — “Well, of course he can’t shoot well if he only gets X shots in first half,” they’ll say. Although that complaint is indisputably valid as a general matter, as applied to Dirk’s shooting poorly in a particular game, it falls flat as an excuse.  Nowitzki is capable of shooting well on very few shots — in fact, he does it all the time. Exactly 125 times in his career, Dirk has shot better than 50% on fewer than 12 attempts. His poor shooting against the Lakers certainly didn’t cost the Mavs the game, though it most certainly didn’t help. Still, his week on the whole was vintage. The Bulls game alone has a firm spot in Dirk’s pantheon of greatness.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 78, Indiana Pacers 103

Posted by Connor Huchton on March 29, 2013 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

Clouds

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 coalescence of poor fortune dawns swiftly and without warning in the world of regression to the mean and jumper reliance, and the Mavericks faced down that unfortunate coalescence in unending quantity on Thursday night.
  • Offensive success never neared commonality over the course of a close, slow-paced second half, but things swiftly took an awful turn for the irritating in the third quarter, when the offense of Dallas achieved impressive stagnancy.
  • The acceptable, if not well taken, looks which led the Mavericks to a 41-point first half dissipated instantly in the first few minutes of the third quarter as the Pacers paced out to a double-digit lead.
  • Why and how are the question words which spring to mind, and part of the answer lies in a second-half opening lineup which just didn’t work against a stalwart Indiana defense.
  • That lineup included Chris Kaman (0-1 FG, four minutes, -11) and Mike James (0-4 FG, four assists, 20 minutes, -22), each of whom appeared equal parts listless in their respective outings.
  • Kaman, appearing in the game for the first time, couldn’t defend Hibbert and couldn’t find an inkling of offensive rhythm.
  • James, who played less than usual in the first half, struggled to find space in the swiftly shifting Indiana defense and rarely escaped the perimeter.
  • The lineup struggled along with them and failed to find Dirk Nowitzki (10-20 FG, 21 points, seven rebounds) early in possessions, and soon the Pacers were on their way to a 17-point lead and firm dominance.
  • It’s a worth noting how poorly the Mavericks’ style matches that of the strongly defensive Pacers.
  • The Pacers simply have to much capability in the realm of size and post presence for the Mavericks to outwit.
  • The Mavericks have no answer for the Roy Hibberts (5-10 FG, 16 points, 11 rebounds) and even the Tyler Hansbroughs of the basketball world – those who are weighty rebounders and energetic post defenders.
  • Dallas relied on mid-range jumpers to save their hopes because of the Pacers’ prevalent defensive size, and failed for the most part in that region.
  • And on the other end, Paul George (10-17 FG, 24 points, eight rebounds, six assists) scored at will.
  • In this I felt the Mavericks were less at fault. George is a great, versatile player, and he made many thoroughly tough looks.
  • The Mavericks may have been better served to place Shawn Marion (4-7 FG, eight points, four rebounds) on George instead of Vince Carter (5-13 FG, 14 points) and company, but tonight felt like a night when there was little the Mavericks could have done to hinder George, no matter who acted as his defensive foil.
  • No Maverick made more than half their field goals, and Dirk’s 10 of 20 makes was the only output in that realm.
  • Ian Mahinmi (4-8 FG, nine points, seven rebounds) played fairly well in his return to Dallas.
  • His return offered a reminder that his presence would be very welcome on a team that lacks for size and reliable defensive centers.
  • The Mavericks did a pretty poor job of finding ways to get three-point shooters open throughout Thursday’s game.
  • Dallas made four of 14 three-point attempts, and few of those attempts could or should be classified as ‘clean looks’ .
  • When Anthony Morrow (2-4 FG, 0-1 3PT, four points, 11 minutes) entered the game, I had some hope that he’d be use to run off screens and take threes, the skill that’s defined his entire career.
  • Instead, the offense continued its jumbled ways and Morrow looked lost within the team’s movement.
  • The Mavericks’ playoff chances decreased considerably with this loss, but with the aid of the Bucks’ victory against the Lakers, some hope remains.
  • It seems somewhat trite to describe Saturday’s game against the Bulls as a ‘must-win’, as such a description will be used for pretty much every remaining Dallas’ game, but with the Jazz holding the tiebreaker between the two teams, every game lost counts considerably.
  • I’ll let Dirk finish this recap, poignantly.

The Difference: Indiana Pacers 98, Dallas Mavericks 87

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 4, 2012 under Recaps | Read the First Comment

Screen shot 2012-02-04 at 1.07.11 AM

Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot Chart — Game Flow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FTRORRTOR
Dallas92.094.645.815.728.315.3
Indiana106.549.418.434.113.0

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • [11:26, 1st] – Brendan Haywood catches an entry pass from Vince Carter in the high post, and awkwardly anchors the offense from the elbow. He doesn’t panic, but does immediately look to get the ball to Dirk Nowitzki, who has been waiting patiently in the right corner. Nowitzki makes the catch on the wing, and immediately moves toward Haywood for the ever unconventional 4-5 pick and roll. He slides around the pick, but there is no roll, and no dribble penetration whatsoever; tucked behind Haywood’s screen, Dirk elevates for a jumper that leaves both David West and Roy Hibbert at arm’s distance. The ball splashes through the net, and drips with confidence.
  • [10:52, 1st] - Carter inbounds the ball to a flaring Rodrigue Beaubois, who looks to initiate the offense from the left wing. So around an impromptu Haywood screen he goes, and upon entering the paint, Beaubois hits a revving Shawn Marion on the opposite side for a driving counter from the right. Three Pacers are drawn to him, choosing to suffocate Marion’s runner rather than stick to their respective assignments. Nowitzki, who had been waiting at the top of the key, is the beneficiary.
  • [8:26, 1st] – The high pick and roll is a staple of virtually every team’s offense, and the Mavs have the luxury of running that play action with a wide variety of player combinations. On this occasion, Carter looks to work to the left side of the floor with Nowitzki acting as the screener. David West hedges early to deflect that action, allowing Paul George plenty of time to recover back onto Carter. However, that pick-and-roll set has effectively functioned as a beautiful guise for a Nowitzki iso; West’s recovery left a perfect window for an uncontested entry pass, allowing Dirk a clean catch and a chance to face up without the threat of a double team. He pivots forward. He measures up West. He stunts and then rises, launching a jumper over West’s vertical extension that seeps through the net.

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