The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 103, Cleveland Cavaliers 95

Posted by Kirk Henderson on November 17, 2012 under Recaps | Read the First Comment

SeeSaw2

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.

  • Shawn Marion (10 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists) proved his worth repeatedly against the Cavs tonight. His little contributions here and there, from passing out of double teams, rebounding in traffic, or making the right pass on a fast break, don’t seem huge, yet one looks at the box score and his finger prints are all over the game. Without Shawn Marion, Dallas loses this game.
  • Chris Kaman (15 points, 8 rebounds, 6 blocks) was huge tonight. He still forces his offense a bit too frequently (he had five shots in the first quarter, then 7 shots the remainder of the game), but when he either makes a decisive post move or catches the ball off a pick and pop, its highly enjoyable to watch.  Six blocks is worth applauding; often this season Kaman has been slow to react and its apparently taken him some time to round into shape. Tonight he looked great and Dallas needed his defensive presence.
  • Unlike the last few games, Dallas’ shots were finally falling as the team shot 52% from the floor to Cleveland’s 37.5%.  The Cavs managed to stay in the game due to 20 turnovers from the Mavs, many of them unforced.  Turnovers are one area Dallas had improved upon as of late, so hopefully this is simply a one game blip.
  • The efficient play of O.J. Mayo (19 points on 9 shots) was entertaining to watch. He got to the free throw line 6 times and unlike last night, virtually all of his shots came within the flow of the offense and looked good upon release.  Mayo still makes a number of puzzling passing decisions (4 turnovers) from time to time, but he’s also capable of really dazzling passes out of the pick and roll.
  • Dominique Jones (10 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists) had perhaps his best game as a professional basketball player. Though Darren Collison (14 points, 8 assists) finished the game well, he struggled in the first half so Carlisle turned to Jones over the struggling Roddy Beaubois. Jones responded by getting to the rim repeatedly and making the correct pass in the flow of the offense. He could have finished with 16 or more had a few shots at the rim taken a more friendly bounce.
  • The Mavs managed to win this game despite getting four rebounds in the second quarter. Four. That they actually won the rebounding battle is impressive, but that should also be attributed to Cleveland missing a lot of shots.
  • Bernard James (4 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks) had his second straight solid game. It’s unclear if he’ll ever be called on for more than 10-15 minutes a game, but he does what he’s asked and plays incredibly hard.  Many of the Dallas big men lean more towards the finesse stereotype, so its refreshing to see James willing to mix it up with the likes of Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson.
  • It was good to see Vince Carter (14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks) resume his role of spark plug in limited minutes. He only played 21 minutes tonight and was not asked to repeatedly bail out the Mavericks offense, which clearly wears on him in games when Dallas is struggling.

Kirk is a member of the Two Man Game family.  Follow him on twitter @KirkSeriousFace 

 

The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 83, Indiana Pacers 103

Posted by Kirk Henderson on November 16, 2012 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

 

Maddening2

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.

  • Dallas has lost five games. In four of those five losses they were leading at half time. I do not know what this means. I do not know how to correct it other than to say “hit shots”.  Someone on the TMG staff should look into this phenomenon because it has plagued the Dallas offense heading back into last season.
  • O.J. Mayo (19 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) has a way of disappearing for huge stretches of time. Yes, he scored 19 points, but 11 of those 19 points came in the first fifteen minutes of game action. Expecting him to score 40 is unreasonable, but he can affect the game in other ways when he chooses to assert himself. Tonight, he looked like the player others have accused him of being.
  • Chris Kaman (8 points, 10 rebounds) needs to slow down.  He shot 4 of 12 from the field tonight and at least 3 of his 4 makes came within the flow of the offense. He insisted on trying to take the taller Roy Hibbert one on one  for the remainder of his attempts and most of them were simply awful decisions.
  • I don’t know what to make of Elton Brand’s (7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks) continued struggles offensively.  I believe his shot was blocked three times tonight.  I assumed the Pacers’ length would give Dallas trouble, but Brand is a crafty player.  His field goal percentage is a very Odom-like 36.8% for the year. I appreciate how he manages to contribute in other ways, but Dallas really needs him to be more of a threat offensively.
  • The two former Clippers combined to shoot 7 for 20 with one free throw attempted between them.
  • Bernard “Sarge” James played his best game as a pro, with 9 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 16 minutes.
  • Roddy Beaubois is 4-22 from the field since returning from his ankle sprain.
  • Darren Collision (10 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds) played one of his worst games as a Mav while hoping to play his best.  Perhaps calling it “his worst” game is embracing a hyperbole, but Collison played quite poorly, posting a +/- of negative 19, the worst on the Dallas roster.
  • Shawn Marion (2 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists) started tonight. He looked rusty, but he was also covering ground well and didn’t seem to be in any pain.  That bodes well for the future.
  • Carlisle opted to start Mayo on Paul George to start the game, an odd decision considering Mayo is still learning how to play defense and Shawn Marion was available. Marion started the second half on George, but I remain confused by the assignment. If Carlisle was concerned at all for Marion, he should not have played him. With respect to Mayo, I’ll take a one legged Shawn Marion on defense over most of the Dallas roster.
  • Paul George (11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) will be incredibly dangerous should he ever put it all together on a consistent basis.  He lit Dallas on fire last year, scoring 30 the only time the two teams matched up.  He’s taller than his listed height and is still clearly learning the game.  In an age when we’re spoiled by wings like Durant and Lebron, its important to keep an eye on a guy like George. He entered the league young and might not find his game for a few more years. If he does, he will be a devastating player.
  • I miss Ian Mahinmi (7 points, 4 fouls). Remember this?
  • Dallas lost tonight despite not turning the ball over too much (11 times) and keeping the rebounding margin within a reasonable amount.  Most of the offensive turnovers happened in the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand.  As Bryan was talking about tonight on twitter, that Dallas lost despite this is maddening.
  • The shooting once again was a major culprit (Dallas shot 37% from the floor).  It has to be a healthy mix of bad luck and poor shot selection as the shot chart would indicate there were a lot of long two point shots from everyone.
  • Carlisle opted to go zone when Paul George picked up his 4th foul and the Pacers responded by expanding their slim lead in a hurry. The Pacer ball movement was shockingly good, considering their offensive struggles this year.  Considering that the Pacers were dead last in the league in field goal percentage, they were bound to break out of their slump at some point. It figures it would be against Dallas.
  • Former Mav Gerald Green has found a home in Indiana, and he looked solid tonight.  His talent is so obvious (at one point tonight he hit a turn around and-one over Roddy that looked to be out of a video game) I’m glad he finally found a place to play.
  • 33, 35, 40, 43, and 34.  Those are the second half point totals from Dallas in the five losses.
  • The decision to go with Troy Murphy over Brandan Wright probably vexes a lot of casual fans.  To some degree it does me as well, yet in the first half it was obvious why Wright saw so little action.  In his two minutes of playing time he picked up two fouls simply because his match up exploited his general lack of strength. In the fourth quarter, while Wright was playing, Dallas surrendered 5 offensive boards. This isn’t the sort of stat the coaching staff can ignore, even if its not entirely his fault.
  • On the flip side, Lance Stephenson and Sam Young shot a combined 11-20 for 29 points for Indiana. That sort of role player contribution is hard to over come.
  • The Mavericks are asking too much of Vince Carter. His play has declined as the season has wore along because opposing teams key in on the fact that he’s the only Mav capable of attacking the bucket with regularity. This is frustrating because its not entirely true, as Mayo and Collison are both capable, but don’t seem to want to force the issue the way Vince is willing to. Vince is at his best as a spot up shooter and attacking weaker, second string small forwards and shooting guards. I expect him to find his groove again upon Dirk’s return.

Kirk is a member of the Two Man Game family.  Follow him on twitter @KirkSeriousFace 

 

Reproducibility

Posted by Ian Levy on November 14, 2012 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

Accuracy

Early-season euphoria has come to a screeching halt in Dallas. A 4-1 start has quickly become a 0.500 record with games against the Pacers, Lakers, Knicks, Sixers and Bulls all looming before the end of the month. Through the first five games of the season, the offense was a beautiful and unexpected surprise, singing at a tune of 111.3 points per 100 possessions, the third highest in the league and a full 10 points higher than last year’s average. Three straight losses later, the Mavs’ offensive efficiency has dropped to 103.6 points per 100 possessions. On some level this decline is to be expected, although not because of the stiff defensive opposition routinely applied by the Knicks, Bobcats and Timberwolves. Along with their personnel, the Mavs’ offense has changed significantly this season, and that doesn’t even consider the challenges of compensating for the seven-foot hole left by Dirk Nowitzki and his creaky knee. The early season offensive potency was based on some elements that were unsustainable, specifically an obscene shooting percentage on three-pointers.

Over the last three games the Mavericks’ offense has had less opportunities to get out in transition and less success with the pick-and-roll; a direct line to more isolations and forced spot-up jumpshots. With the news yesterday that Dirk Nowitzki’s rehab is not running as smoothly as hoped, this new shape to the Mavericks’ offense may need to be less of a stop-gap and more of a permanent solution. So what has changed about the offense this season, and which of those changes are likely to offer a chance for sustainable success?

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Make or Break

Posted by David Hopkins on November 13, 2012 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

makeorbreak_hopkins

“Galactus does what Galactus must to survive.” – Galactus, Devourer of Worlds

While watching the Mavericks play against the Knicks, I realized that with Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion out and with Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler now playing for the other team, there were actually more players from 2011 championship squad active for the Knicks than the Mavs. Then, I remembered that the Mavs had Dominique Jones and Rodrigue Beaubois — the yin and yang, the dueling fates, and the twins of a new Rome. The forgotten prophecy of a Dallas without Dirk. Do they even count?

During the Mavs’ championship season, Dominique Jones was in his rookie year, and saw more action in the D-League than in the NBA. Jones didn’t play a single minute during the playoffs. And Rodrigue Beaubois, right before the playoffs, sprained his left foot. Like Jones, he also won his championship while watching from the bench. They saw the victory but could never lay claim to the bragging rights.

For both these players, the omen of a “make or break season” has been relentlessly applied, as if fans are demanding that Beaubois and Jones become retroactively worthy of their rings or be forever abandoned to the wild fate of a trade deadline. Jones is in his third season, and the Mavs decided not to exercise their team option. Beaubois is in his fourth year of his contract (his injuries almost make it seem like his second year). Both will be free agents at the end of this season, free to roam and find their fortune wherever it might be.

Make or break. Dominique Jones and Rodrigue Beaubois have to prove their worth this season. Both were the 25th pick in their respective draft classes. Both have dealt with injuries early in their NBA careers. And both appear out of place in their natural position, and are fighting for the same roster spot as the backup point guard to Darren Collison. Their fates are intertwined – the All-American over-tattooed Jones and the forever-smirking Frenchman Beaubois. For one to live, must one perish?

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 82, Minnesota Timberwolves 90

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

Brick wall2

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.

  • With about three minutes left in the game, Dallas rediscovered that which had made them an offensive juggernaut the previous week: attacking the basket. Darren Collison (21 points, 11-12 FTs, 5 assists) is the engine behind the Dirkless offense and when he isn’t probing the lane and Dallas settles for long jumpers late in the shot clock, the offense is borderline unwatchable.
  • Dallas started the game the same way they’ve finished the last two: giving up four offensive rebounds in the first 8 minutes of playing time. However, the next three plus quarters they only gave up three.  Dallas is still -69 on the year in terms of rebounding margin, but tonight it was due to the poor shooting display (36.2%).
  • A variety of Timberwolves played excellent.  For the second straight game a point guard had a big game against Dallas; Luke Ridnour (15 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals) helped control the game for Minnesota. Andrei Kirilenko (16 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) set the tone early and abused Jae Crowder. Nikola Pekovic (20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) is such a massive man and to be that skilled offensively is such a rare trait in today’s NBA. Rookie Alexey Shved (16 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks, 9-11 FTs) didn’t shoot the ball well, but as you can see by his stat line, he managed to affect the game in every other possible way.  I recommend taking a look at A Wolf Among Wolves for their take on the game as well.
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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 94, New York Knicks 104

Posted by Kirk Henderson on November 9, 2012 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

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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.

  • 20 turnovers, 40% shooting, 11 offensive boards surrendered, and a 37 point second half. Much like the loss in Utah last week, Dallas lead in the first half only to suffer an offensive collapse in the second.  Carmelo Anthony (31 points on 22 shots, 14 free throw attempts, and 7 rebounds) attempted to bully the Mavericks from pillar to post and largely succeeded. All in all, a somewhat frustrating defeat.
  • And yet… Dallas was within striking distance for most of the second half despite missing Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion. Eight of the twenty turnovers and six of the eleven offensive rebounds came in the fourth quarter as New York steadily pushed the lead from 6 to 8 and then 10 points. The Mavericks clearly missed Dirk as the offense came to a grinding halt in the fourth quarter.
  • O.J. Mayo (23 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists) had another big game statistically, but only played 23 minutes due to foul trouble.  He was partially responsible for the Dallas first half lead but was forced to sit stretches in both halves in which Dallas could have used his offensive abilities.  He also managed to turn the ball over 8 times, bringing back pre-season memories where he had a great deal of trouble holding onto the ball.
  • Darren Collison (4 points on 1-8 shooting,  8 assists) had an excellent first half with seven assists, but his inability to connect on any of his shots seemed to impact his play in the second half. Exceptional pick and roll defense by the Knicks added to his frustrations; only Brandan Wright (11 points, 4 rebounds) seemed capable of slipping the screens and finding gaps in the Knicks coverage.
  • Vince Carter (15 points, 6 rebounds) seemed to tweak his groin muscle in the second half. We should all hope the injury isn’t too serious; first because groin injuries can linger and second because he’s the main scoring cog off the bench.
  • Elton Brand (8 points, 7 rebounds) and Troy Murphy (7 rebounds) need to discover some sort of offensive touch if Dallas is to keep winning games while Dirk heals. Brand is shooting 33% and Murphy is shooting 30% so far this season.  Neither player is expected to contribute an offensive punch, but connecting above 40% of shots shouldn’t be out of the question. Brand in particular has had a rough go of it; he seems very reluctant on most of his moves within 15 feet of the basket.
  • Jason Kidd hit two shots at the rim tonight. Last season he hit seven.
  • The production Carlisle is getting from the center position continues to impress. Chris Kaman and Brendan Wright combined to give Dallas 25 points on 10-14 shooting and 11 rebounds in 42 minutes.
  • Back to Vince for a moment; thus far this season he seems to have eliminated (or at the very least severely limited) taking mid-range shots. If you view his shot chart location from last season he was questionable at best on all shots taken from three feet out to right inside the three point line.  This season he’s taking much better shots; either from the low post over smaller defenders where he also draws fouls or from the three point line.  While he has hit a number of long two point shots, as long as these shots don’t become a staple in his shot selection, he’s likely to remain an efficient contributor off the bench.
  • Carlisle played deep into the bench tonight, establishing an 11 man rotation due to necessity from foul trouble.  No one on the team played more than 27 minutes; Dallas plays their fifth game in 8 nights tomorow against the Bobcats and Monday’s game against the Timberwolves kicks off another 4 game in seven night stretch for Dallas. The Mavericks have not had consecutive nights off since November 2nd and won’t again until November 22nd.

Thermodynamics: Week 2

Posted by Travis Wimberly on November 8, 2012 under Commentary, Recaps | 4 Comments to Read

Fire & Ice

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

Week 2 of the Mavericks’ 2012-2013 season is in the books, and the early returns look promising. The Mavs finished the week 3-0. That’s not bad. I’d be more impressed, but I had hoped the Mavs would find a way to win four or five games this week, despite having just three on the schedule. Call me ambitious.

In case you missed the debut of Thermodynamics last week (or ignored it entirely — fair enough), the premise here is simple. Each week, I’ll review the Mavs’ best and worst performances, and I’ll do so with an innovative, not-at-all-clichéd “hot-cold” motif. With that said…

Week 2 (Bobcats, Blazers, Raptors)

FIRE

1) “Juice” Mayo

After starting the season with two fairly unremarkable performances in Week 1, OJ Mayo quickly transitioned into remarkable. This week, Mayo was the Mavs’ best player. He led the team in scoring all three games, notching 30, 32, and 22 points, respectively. Perhaps more importantly, Mayo scored efficiently, shooting 30-of-52 (58%) and a blistering 16-of-24 (67%) from deep.  He also maintained a 2-to-1 assist-turnover ratio and showed strong single-game +/- numbers (+27, +21, +10). Mayo’s much-needed punch from the two-guard spot is a big reason why the Mavs are 4-1—and with last night’s Spurs loss, tied for first place in the West—without Dirk Nowitzki.

2) Chris Kaman

Think OJ Mayo ran away from the pack on the Mavs’ shooting charts this week?  Think again. Chris Kaman shot 8-of-9 (89%) for 16 points against Charlotte, 8-of-10 (80%) for another 16 points against Portland, and 8-of-15 (53%) for 22 points against Toronto. And Kaman didn’t rack up those numbers on dunks and layups — in fact, nearly half of his field goals came on mid-range jump shots. Kaman showed excellent touch from the baseline and the elbow, and demonstrated a nice array of low-post moves while finishing with both hands. His versatility won’t surprise seasoned NBA observers, as his biggest issue has always been health, not talent.

3) Offensive Pace & Efficiency

Here are two things about the Mavs’ offense in Week 2: they played it fast, and they played it well. The Mavs averaged almost 20 fast break points per game this week, evidencing a team-wide effort (spearheaded by point-guard Darren Collison) to push the tempo. And even when the Mavs didn’t score on the break, their up-tempo approach often created exploitable cross-matches in the half-court. Behind those efforts, coupled with excellent ball movement and shooting, the Mavs eviscerated their opponents’ defenses this week. They currently rank second in the league in points per game (108.2) and third in Offensive Rating (114.2).

ICE

1) Player Availability

Before the season opener in Los Angeles, many assumed the Mavs would struggle to tread water without Dirk Nowitzki for several weeks. So far, that hasn’t been true. But unfortunately, “without Dirk Nowitzki” hasn’t even told the full story. This week, the Mavs also lost Shawn Marion (sprained MCL) and Rodrigue Beaubois (sprained ankle) from the lineup. Elton Brand missed the Toronto game (understandably) for the birth of his child. Taken together, these events have left significant holes in the Mavs’ active roster. The schedule has been pretty forgiving, and will continue to be for the next few weeks, but the Mavs’ depleted depth may rear its ugly head against tougher opponents (like the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Friday night).

2) Defensive Glass

Last week’s column emphasized the Mavs’ poor defensive rebounding. This column will do the same. Don’t call it a streak (yet…); the Mavs didn’t quite suffer a rebounding meltdown like they did in Utah last week, but their overall numbers on the defensive glass continued to disappoint. They gave up 15 offensive boards to Charlotte, 23 to Portland, and 10 to Toronto. The Portland game was especially troubling, as the Blazers dominated 23-2 on the offensive glass and 48-37 overall. For all the things the Mavs have been doing very well this year, this is one area that’s been decidedly poor. Having a complete roster will help, but that won’t solve the problem on its own.

3) Troy Murphy’s Shooting

At first, I was reluctant to rag on the Mavs’ 11th (or so) man for his first few games on a new team. But then I remembered Troy Murphy is a millionaire professional athlete, so I got over it. Murphy wasn’t awful this week. He moved well, rebounded the ball decently, and even showed some savvy in the Mavs’ pick-and-roll defense. But after declining to shoot even once against Charlotte, Murphy showed us during the next two games why he declined to shoot even once versus Charlotte. Against Portland and Toronto, Murphy shot a combined 3-of-10 (30%) from the field and 1-of-7 (14%) from deep. Some of his misses weren’t pretty, including a corner three against Toronto that nearly got lodged between the rim and the backboard. Always remember, Troy: Keep Calm and Shoot Less.

Travis Wimberly lives in Austin, Texas and writes about the Dallas Mavericks on Al Gore’s Internet™. Travis enjoys shenanigans, claptrap, and frivolity. Follow Travis on Twitter @TravisRW.

The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 109, Toronto Raptors 104

Posted by Connor Huchton on under Recaps | Read the First Comment

Mountains


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’s difficult to avoid a sense of surprise. The Mavericks have now won four of their first five games under the following detrimental conditions: an injured star player, injuries to several other key rotational players, an almost entirely new roster, and a lack of expectant team identity. And yet, it feels as though this Mavericks team hasn’t overcome the odds at all – they’re winning with the simplicity of fully formed ball movement, defense, and overwhelming lineup advantages, all stemming from the principles of Coach Rick Carlisle. The Mavericks won on Wednesday night with the same style that had previously powered them to become the NBA’s second-ranked offense, behind the sums of Vince Carter (6-14 FG, 17 points, five rebounds), Chris Kaman (8-15 FG, 22 points, eight rebounds), and O.J. Mayo’s (8-17 FG, 3-6 3PT, 22 points, six assists) offensive performances.
  • There is a sense within this Mavericks’ team of unceasing purpose. Any lineup – whether it be endowed with Carter or Jae Crowder (3-4 FG, 8 points, four rebounds) or Brandan Wright (5-9 FG, 12 points, seven rebounds) – is quickly cohesive and intently unselfish. Much of this has been powered by Darren Collison (5-13 FG, 15 points, two assists), who this season has performed closer to his 09-10 mold than more recent iterations. The top of the key is his domain, and the Mavericks benefit at every turn due to the unrelenting nature of his movement. The Mavericks are now shooting almost 50% from behind the three-point arc this season (having made 51 of 103 attempts), a percentage equal parts daunting and deserving, and a product of the team’s collective passing efforts.
  • The Mavericks’ ability to mix lineups and hold leads will only be expounded upon after the hopefully rapid return of Rodrigue Beaubois. His presence would quickly shore up the Mavericks most significantly pressing area of concern: backcourt depth. Vince Carter has filled in nicely in stead behind the stellar play of Collison and Mayo, but Beaubois’ return will bring a greater sense of completeness to the team’s rotation.
  • The primary question floating in the minds of many Mavericks’ fans is how a currently effective offense will react to the return of its essential placeholder, one Dirk Nowitzki. I expect continued success and improvement, though a slightly awkward assimilation period may occur. One of Darren Collison’s greatest strengths this season has been in pick-and-roll situations. His distributing efforts have created many open jumpers for Elton Brand, who has not yet been able to capitalize on these attempts with any great consistency. These are opportunities that Nowitzki will be more likely to finish than Brand, and are thus likely to improve the offense’s base efficiency. Though the load of the offense given to players like Brand and Mayo may decrease upon Dirk’s return, the strength and quality of team personnel will remain. Carlisle’s options will grow and the tenets of his offense will likely be implemented at a more efficient rate. The returns of Beaubois, Marion, and Dirk should be eagerly anticipated, despite what change they may bring.
  • It is important to note that the Mavericks 4-1 record has not come against overwhelming competition – the Mavericks’ first five opponents have a current record of 7-16.

The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 114, Portland Trail Blazers 91

Posted by Kirk Henderson on November 6, 2012 under Recaps | 4 Comments to Read

Hammer2

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.

  •  That O.J. Mayo (32 points, 6-8 from three) guy sure is fun to watch when he’s rolling.  His jump shot really looks good from beyond the arc.  Mr. Mayo finally had a good game inside the arc as well, shooting 6-10.  It’s quite exciting to think what he might be able to do given the additional threat of Dirk once he returns from injury.
  • One cannot mention Mayo without mentioning his back court partner, Darren Collison (14 points, 13 assists).  Collison’s insistence on pushing the pace early and often got Dallas off to a fantastic start and got Portland rookie Damian Lillard into foul trouble.  When the game tightened in the second quarter and into the third it was Collison who took control of the tempo, both with his fluid pick and roll game as well as his constant lane probing for layups or kick outs.
  • Collison’s passing was clearly infectious - Dallas dominated the assist category 29 to 13.
  • Before moving on to more of the various positive aspects of the win, let’s discuss the glaring negative: rebounding, again. While Dallas was only beat 48-37 on the boards over all, they lost the offensive rebounding battle 23-2.  Over these first four games Dallas is giving up 18.25 offensive rebounds a game. The hot shooting in the three wins (57%) is covering up this problem, but it needs to be improved upon soon, simply because Dallas’ shooting will come back down to earth.
  • Chris Kaman (16 points on 8-10 shooting, 6 rebounds) had a second great offensive game in a row.  He seemed to have it all working; outside shooting and crafty moves near the bucket.  His defensive leaves something to be desired. He’s a step slow on most rotations and last night did not protect the rim with much authority.
  • Bringing Kaman off of the bench has allowed the Mavericks to keep the offensive intensity turned up to high. In the last 2 games Dallas has yet to score below 26 points in a quarter.
  • I recommend keeping an eye out for Jae Crowder on the bench. His joy at big plays is fantastic.
  • Elton Brand (8 points, 5 rebounds) finally had a decent game shooting the ball. His contributions aren’t showing up in the stat sheet, but his defense and hustle have been outstanding. I suspect when he sees more minutes against second unit players upon Dirk’s return his offensive numbers will improve.
  • Though Shawn Marion (8 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks) missed a good portion of the second half with what’s being reported as a knee strain, he continues to be a vital cog for the team. His stat line is impressive for only 24 minutes of playing time.
  • Brandan Wright (10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block) is playing with such confidence right now. Every shot he takes looks confident and, while I’d love to see him rebound more, he’s holding his own on defense.  I also love the way he hedges screens.  His length and quickness really bothered the Portland back court last night.
  • Dallas centers are shooting 81% from the floor this season (38-47 for Kaman and Wright)
  • Last night was also the first time in franchise history that the team shot 60% from the floor in back to back games. They did this without one of the most efficient shooters in the league in Dirk. This is the sort of stat that will grow more impressive as the season goes along.
  • I continue to be impressed with Carlisle’s rotations.  Ten Mavericks played at least 14 minutes.  That sort of experience for the entire roster may prove invaluable as the season rolls along.
  • The depth of Dallas clearly wore Portland down.  Former Mavs assistant Terry Stotts was forced to go to his bench early and often, which had not happened yet this season. Though Portland boasts a fairly solid top 6 in their rotation, things start to get rather dicey quickly the deeper Stotts is forced to go into his bench.
  • I’m not sure how I made it thus far without mentioning the contributions of Dominique Jones (6 points, 6 assists, 3 steals).  He ran the offense with confidence, attacked the rim with a purpose and got his hands on a number of loose balls. Jones has not had an easy road as a Maverick and it’s nice to see him string together a couple of decent games.  In the pre-season it looked as if he had played his way out of Carlisle’s rotation but injuries and roster changes have made Jones a bit of a necessity.
  • Jae Crowder (9 points, 2 rebounds) posted a +22 in 14 minutes of playing time. When he is on the floor, good things seem to happen.
  • Portland rookie Damian Lillard (13 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds) had a rough shooting game (2-13 and many of his deep shots went in and out), but you could see the great player he should become.  Despite early foul trouble, he played aggressively, attacking the rim and getting 8 free throws in the process. He has great vision as well, making him an all around threat.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge was held relatively in check last night (20 points, 7 rebounds), but he makes shots that are Dirk-like.
  • Mayo and Wesley Matthews (20 points) engaged in a bit of a shootout last night.  While Mayo clearly won that battle, after last night Mayo and Matthews are 1-2 in the NBA in three pointers made.
  • Vince Carter’s (8 points, 3 rebounds, 3-9 shooting) shot selection left much to be desired. But I suppose with Vince, you take the good with the bad.
  • Roddy Beaubois was unavailable against Portland but was apparently able to make it through most of the walk through. I’ll bet on his return Wednesday against Toronto.
  • Are you following The Two Man Game on twitter? You should be. Great content like this and this is being posted daily.
  • Wednesday night look to round out their three game home stand with a win against the revamped Toronto Raptors and their exciting guard Kyle Lowry.  Visit us later today and tomorrow for continued coverage of the Dallas Mavericks.

Kirk Henderson is a member of The Two Man Game family. You can follow Kirk on Twitter @KirkSeriousFace

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Posted by Brian Rubaie on November 1, 2012 under Commentary | 4 Comments to Read

OneStepForwardTwoStepsBack

The departures of Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Delonte West created a gaping hole in the Mavericks backcourt. While much of the offseason attention has focused on the development of new acquisitions and starting guards Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo, an equally important but under-examined three-way race for backup minutes is already underway. Rookie Jared Cunningham joins familiar and popular holdovers Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones in the backcourt to compete for playing time. Beaubois clearly won the race in the season opener, anchoring the second unit in an impressive offensive performance against the Lakers. It was a big step forward for the inconsistent young guard. The best-case scenario for the Mavericks is that Beaubois sustains his hot start and provides much-needed offense in Dirk’s absence.

It is important to remember, however, that Beaubois has an unfortunate tendency to follow great performances with games that land him back in Rick Carlisle’s doghouse. Collison and Beaubois slashed a flat-footed Lakers backcourt that never found their rhythm. Future matchups against more athletic opponents may expose defensive weaknesses that have plagued Beaubois throughout his NBA career. That could create opportunities for Cunningham to earn playing time this season, if only because Carlisle has little patience for inconsistency. Carlisle summed up the state of his backcourt nicely after the final preseason game against Charlotte, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas:

“I have no [expletive] idea. … Our backup point guard position struggled tonight.”

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