Setting the Table: Charlotte Bobcats (Preseason)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on October 26, 2012 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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It’s reunion night as Brendan Haywood returns as the Charlotte Bobcats face the Dallas Mavericks play in the preseason finale. Bobcats center Brendan Haywood played in 154 games. started 81, for the Mavericks over the course of two-and-a-half seasons from 2010-12, averaging 5.4 points and 5.9 rebounds. Haywood was a member of the Mavericks’ 2011 NBA championship team. We will see the debut of Eddy Curry for the Mavericks. He should get extended minutes as Elton Brand sits due to be given the night off.

As of 6:15 pm, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Melvin Ely had not arrived at the arena.

Here are notes of interest as the Mavericks face the Bobcats.

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Dallas Mavericks 98, New Orleans Hornets 95

Posted by Rob Mahoney on November 16, 2010 under Recaps | Read the First Comment

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Comfort was allowed to come to them rare, welcome, unsought: a gift like joy.
-Ursula K. LeGuin

Jason Terry curled around a screen. He streaked by his teammate and his defender. He rose. He fired. With the gradual click of grinding gears, the Mavericks’ universe balanced itself. With each give goes a take, with each reaction an equal and opposite reaction.

Statistically speaking, Dallas’ defense is the strength on which they’ve built their season, but it’s the improvements in the offense that give just as much reason for hope. Jason Kidd won’t score 16 points every game, but other than that, Dallas didn’t do anything out of character. Dirk Nowitzki faced up and hit over his defenders. Jason Terry found the ball when plays needed to be made, and had a fantastic second half to balance a crummy first one. Other than that, Kidd knocked down spot-up attempts, J.J. Barea got to the rim a few times with mixed results, and Tyson Chandler finished a few inside. There’s nothing to see here, other than Dallas’ offense executing against one of the best defenses in the league, doing nothing apart from what they do on a nightly basis.

The Mavs have been haunted in the past by their predictability, but this is one case in which familiarity offers sure comfort. Opponents should know that Dirk and JET are central to the Mavs’ offense, but Rick Carlisle and his staff have done a great job of freeing up both players in a variety of ways. This year, it’s been Dallas that meticulously picks apart opposing defenses with smart cuts, well-planned picks, and expert shooting. From a taglined perspective, it’s still Nowitzki and Terry, but their ability to get open consistently and execute against defenses like Boston and New Orleans is promising.

Of course, what happens to that offensive balance and flow when Caron Butler is reintroduced to the lineup is still a concern. Wednesday’s rematch with the Hornets could end up being an interesting case study on Caron’s impact, for better or worse.

As I mentioned in The Difference, Dallas’ second-half defense on Chris Paul (or on pick-and-rolls in general) should be commended. It’s not just the decision to put Tyson Chandler on David West, which turned out to be a fantastic strategic call, but the execution against the pick-and-roll by the team defense was top-notch. It was Chandler, it was Barea, it was Terry, Kidd, Nowitzki, Marion…every Maverick on the floor was rotating well, and the chosen concession was to give three-pointers for Willie Green, Peja Stojakovic, and occasionally Trevor Ariza. Those players get a pat on the head for hitting their open shots, but that was an excellent choice considering the alternatives. Paul was corralled, West was smothered. The ball was put in the hands of New Orleans’ lesser talents, and that’s something Dallas can live with, even if Green decided to be an above-average NBA player for a night.

Well-planned, and well-played, Mavs. Now do it all again on Wednesday.

Closing thoughts:

  • The Hornets lost, and it doesn’t really matter. I’m sure they’d prefer to still be undefeated, but New Orleans is a damn good basketball team.
  • I could watch Tyson Chandler hedge on pick-and-rolls all day.
  • This wasn’t Shawn Marion’s game. His five turnovers were killer, and to make matters worse, he wasn’t all that successful defensively. Marion can easily get lost on a night like this one, in which the opponent has no clear scoring option on the wing. Marion isn’t the type of defender the Mavs want chasing Peja Stojakovic down the baseline. He’s the type of defender you want to blanket a superstar wing scoring in isolation. Matchups like these negate Marion’s strengths, and though he did some good things on the court, the circumstances didn’t exactly help him along.
  • Jason Terry deserves much more credit than he received in this recap, but rest assured, more is coming on JET’s performance. The same goes for Dallas’ fourth-quarter defense.
  • I’m not sure there’s a more infuriating player to defend in the NBA than Chris Paul. He’s sickeningly good, and that makes the task of D-ing him up a tough one in itself. But factor in the fouls he draws both in the half-court offense and in transition by exaggerating contact, and it’s a miracle that anyone guarding Paul can keep their head. Paul Pierce and Chauncey Billups are just as crafty with their manipulations of perception, but neither combines CP’s blend of top-level production and infuriating extracurricular activity.
  • Jason Terry’s defense really is much improved this season. Not only is he covering better in general, but it seems as though he’s somehow improved his anticipation in the passing lanes. Maybe JET is just more selective with his more blatant steal attempts, but he can really disrupt ball movement on the perimeter.
  • Brendan Haywood. Yeesh.
  • Dallas has actually run plays designed to get Shawn Marion mid-range jumpers this season, and they’re working. My guess is that they’re sets frequently used by the starting lineup to free up Caron for a jumper at the free throw line extended, and Marion is benefiting from sliding into Butler’s role. Regardless, Marion is making them, and he’s 3-of-3 in such sequences by my highly unofficial count.
  • The zone will give up threes, but opponents would be smart to put their most prolific three-point shooter on Dirk Nowitzki’s side of the zone. Dirk got burned a few times in this one by corner shooters, and given his responsibilities to collapse in the lane and his relatively slow recovery speed, I’d say that Nowitzki’s corner (usually the right one) is one of the zone’s more vulnerable points.
  • This was just a wildly entertaining game. If you didn’t have a chance to watch it, I highly recommend tracking down the game via League Pass Broadband, etc. The fourth quarter alone was one of the more entertaining frames in any NBA game this season.
  • J.J. Barea finished with three shot attempts at the rim, five rebounds, four assists, and no turnovers. I’d say he’s settled in nicely after his early struggles, wouldn’t you?
  • DeShawn Stevenson and Brian Cardinal finished with two threes apiece. I don’t buy into the “Cardinal doing the little things” rhetoric on most occasions, but I can definitely understand using him as a stopgap when he’s hitting his open shots.
  • Something needs to be said about Dirk Nowitzki’s passing. Dirk hit a game-tying three-pointer with a little more than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but he gave up a three in transition — a Nowitzki favorite — so that Kidd could get an even better look in the corner. Then, within the final minute, Dirk set up Terry out of the two man game for an open jumper. Nowitzki would love nothing more than to have taken a shot in both situations, but he deferred, and it paid off.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on October 18, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Art Garcia profiled the ’05-’06 Mavs in spectacular fashion for NBA.com. Among Garcia’s collection of quotes and anecdotes from that season was those Mavs’ little-known team motto: “Know when to party.”
  • This is a fantastic highlight mix of last season, complete with very high quality video. Questionable music choice, though…but then again, you’re asking this guy.
  • Rick Carlisle on the use of advanced stats in basketball (via Steve Aschburner of NBA.com): “Statistical analysis has gone two or three generations and now it’s at an extremely high level. So more teams are using that for everything, from performance of combinations to individual performances, to probability of injuries and everything else you can possibily imagine. It’s unbelievable. At a certain point, it’s making sure you don’t have too much information. In most cases, what you believe in your gut is 80 percent right. There might be another 20 percent where the data will make you say, ‘Hmm, I didn’t realize that.’ Whatever that might be. Sometimes it’s a subtle thing, sometimes it’s pretty severe.”
  • Jason Terry, on the prospect of taking over Rodrigue Beaubois’ (if you can rightfully call it his) starting spot (via Eddie Sefko): “Maybe I’ll just keep it warm. Or maybe I won’t give it back.”
  • Shawn Marion’s value to the Seven Seconds or Less Suns is already well-established among NBA diehards if not the casual basketball fans of the world, but Tom Ziller takes everything a step further in saying that without Marion, playing Amar’e Stoudemire at center would never have worked.
  • Marquis Daniels drains a three from half-court. As is everything with ‘Quis: no big deal.
  • The Mavs could up keeping Steve Novak and Brian Cardinal. Or they could end up keeping neither. News! Either way, I think it’s safe to say that Dee Brown and Adam Haluska are dust in the wind.
  • Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer: “[DeSagana] Diop has been a punchline the past year. On performance, he deserved it, but let me tell you something: If there’s a better guy in that locker room — and this is the best locker room I’ve covered in 21 NBA seasons — I don’t know who it would be. You don’t think Gana knows people ridicule him? If he became bitter and surly and introverted, who could blame him? But even when he never got a uniform, when he wasn’t activated for the playoff series to give fouls on Dwight Howard, he was gracious and classy.”