The Rundown, Volume XVI

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 4, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | 5 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.

To say the least, the playoff hopes are officially teetering on the ledge. The week saw a classic showdown between two future Hall of Famers, a colossal meltdown that left one team singing the blues, a loss that might be the nail in the coffin and the true return of the Tall Baller From the G. There was all of that, and a former Mav popped his head back into the news. Let’s take a look at the week for that was for Dallas.

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Setting the Table: Minnesota Timberwolves (Game 24)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on December 15, 2012 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (11-12) are finishing up the second night of their back-to-back on Saturday night as they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves (11-9). The game marks the highly anticipated season debut of point guard Ricky Rubio for the Timberwolves. This will mark the first time since March 9 of last year that Rubio has played a game. Rubio is returning from a left knee injury sustained in the closing moments of the Wolves’ game with the Los Angeles Lakers last March, when he sustained a torn ACL and LCL. Rubio had surgery to repair the knee March 21.

The Mavericks have dropped back-to-back road games (at Boston 12/12 and at Toronto 12/14). Dallas has only one three-game losing streak this season (at New York 11/9-vs. Minnesota 11/12). As noted, this will be the second night of a back-to-back for Dallas. The Mavericks are 1-5 in the first half of a back-to-back and 2-3 in the second half of a back-to-back this season. The Mavericks have 16 back-to-backs in 2012-13, with only one stretch of four games in five nights. In total, 10 back-to-backs are on the road, three begin at home and conclude on the road and three are road-to-home. Dallas played 22 back-to-backs in 2011-12, going 7-15 in the first half and 13-9 in the second half of those back-to-backs.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Timberwolves.

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The Difference: Minnesota Timberwolves 105, Dallas Mavericks 90

Posted by Rob Mahoney on January 25, 2012 under Recaps | 5 Comments to Read

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Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FTRORRTOR
Dallas96.093.844.210.524.611.6
Minnesota109.450.042.919.314.1

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

  • Ricky Rubio (17 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds, four steals, seven turnovers) did a terrific job of getting the Wolves good looks both inside and out, be he hardly did all the work. Minnesota’s bigs fought hard to get good interior position and create contact once they received the entry pass, and the perimeter players worked diligently for a slice of open floor. The Wolves’ offensive success was hardly constant, but they at least seemed to know what worked and what didn’t, and sought to capitalize on their in-game strengths. Dallas, despite being a team of mismatch creation and utilization, didn’t quite share in that approach.
  • That said, there was a time in this game when the Mavs were pushing the pace not only as a means of getting easy transition buckets, but also forcing opponents to scramble into mismatches. On one particular first-quarter possession, Rubio was mismatched on Lamar Odom, giving Delonte West a chance to pull the ball out for a fake entry look before darting a pass to a wide open Brendan Haywood for an easy dunk. Haywood’s defender had snuck away to help on Odom, and West had correctly identified not only the mismatch, but its ripple effect.
  • The most succinct explanation possible for why the Mavs withered away on offense: they settled. Rarely is it so simple, but Minnesota applied defensive pressure, and Dallas recoiled. No rally. No response. There were simply too many pull-up threes and too many lazy sets. The Mavs tried to speed up their futile comeback attempt with quick jumpers early in the shot clock, but bricked pretty much every “momentum-changing” shot they attempted. I guess they did speed things up in a sense, merely not in the direction that they intended.

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The Difference: Minnesota Timberwolves 99, Dallas Mavericks 82

Posted by Rob Mahoney on January 1, 2012 under Recaps | 4 Comments to Read

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Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot Chart — GameFlow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FT/FGORB%TOR
Dallas94.087.242.222.114.018.1
Minnesota105.348.220.037.017.0

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

  • This is just the way of the season’s early going, apparently. The Mavericks more closely resemble themselves for a few games, but then dissolve completely on offense against a pretty poor defense just a few days later. We knew to expect struggles. We knew it would take time for the new Mavs to work their way into the system, and time for the old Mavs to work their way into game shape. But now we also know to expect complete inconsistency, as there are no assurances at all of which Maverick team will show up on a particular night. In this one? A team that scores 87.2 points per 100 possessions, and will wither away even against the most questionable defenses.
  • Dallas managed a brief return to normalcy with a fourth quarter combination of the zone defense and Dirk Nowitzki (21 points, 9-20 FG, four rebounds) attacking from all angles, but a timeout gave Rick Adelman a precious opportunity to calm down a jumpy young team. Ricky Rubio (14 points, 2-3 3FG, seven assists, four turnovers) drew the attention of defenders and hit spot-up shooters in the corners and bigs rolling to the rim, attacking the Mavs’ zone at two particular points of weakness. Kevin Love (25 points, 9-16 FG, 5-8 3FG, 17 rebounds) took over from there, and the Wolves finished the game on an uncontested 15-point spurt that left several minutes on the clock but no doubt in the game’s result. This year’s Timberwolves are every bit as entertaining as the manic team that ran up and down the court last season, but this year they’ve traded the unintentional comedy of a Michael Beasley-driven offense for a more sensible, balanced attack driven by pace and Rubio’s guile. It may not result in a playoff berth, but Minnesota is more than capable of “stealing” a game like this one against a supposedly superior team.

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Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on January 29, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Jason Terry, maybe, possibly, probably a little bit frustrated (via Earl K. Sneed):”It’s unbelievable to me that we’ve come halfway through the season and we still look like we’re searching in the fourth quarter. It’s not that hard. The fourth quarter, that wasn’t Maverick basketball.”
  • Seth Pollack of Bright Side of the Sun: “Switching picks was certainly also a big key to the Suns defense in the fourth quarter. With that group on the floor they were able to mix it up and didn’t let the Mavericks use screens to get open looks like they had earlier in the game. Physical, smart, aggressive defense. About as common of a sight in Phoenix as snow but just as exciting and welcome.”
  • Among the best players never to make the All-Star Game: Jason Terry and Derek Harper. Kevin Pelton, of Basketball Prospectus, on Harper: “Harper was probably the first person I thought of when I considered the best non-All-Stars before looking at the numbers. It’s hard to believe he never made it once while posting 10-plus WARP every season from 1986-87 through 1990-91, especially considering he was doing it with a good Dallas team. However, Harper was caught in a numbers crunch in the Western Conference. Magic Johnson and John Stockton were locks, leaving Harper fighting for spots with Kevin Johnson, Terry Porter and eventually Tim Hardaway (all three of whom made it in 1991, giving the West an unthinkable five point guards). Oh, and did I mention Fat Lever and Sleepy Floyd? Yes, the late ’80s and early ’90s were not a good time to be a West point guard.”
  • M. Haubs of The Painted Area has put together an incredible piece on Ricky Rubio. I am very much of the Church of Ricky, and to have comprehensive updates like this on Rubio’s progress is just brilliant. But, of particular interest: Haubs wonders if the best comparison for Rubio is, perhaps, Jason Kidd.
  • Last night’s loss sealed it: Rick Carlisle is officially out of the running to coach the Western Conference All-Stars.
  • Chad Ford (Insider) picks the Mavs as one of the teams most likely to strike a deal before the deadline.
  • Network programming note: Kurt Helin of the Lakers blog, Forum Blue and Gold, has been called up to the big leagues. Some congratulations are in order, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for Kurt and his writing.
  • The thing you may not have considered about Jason Terry’s blunt comments at halftime (via Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic): “The Suns already were in the locker room for halftime and were able to take in Dallas guard Jason Terry’s walk-off interview with TNT’s Cheryl Miller. Terry said, ‘We’ve got to score on these guys. They’re not very good defensively.’ It was the truth, but the Suns players still were fired up by the comment. It just didn’t carry over to the court, where the Suns starters proved Terry right by allowing Dallas to score on eight consecutive trips early in the third quarter.”
  • Maurice Ager: D-Leaguer.
  • Where have you gone, Dan Dickau? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you. Woo, woo, woo. (Also: Tony Delk.)
  • Just in case you have a random interest in Indiana’s Roy Hibbert, be sure to check out this collection of thoughts compiled by Jared Wade of Eight Points and Nine Seconds. It’s a great group of writers/bloggers, and worth the read.