The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 103, Houston Rockets 136

Posted by Connor Huchton on March 4, 2013 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

Clouds

Box ScorePlay-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.

  • If you focus on three of this game’s four quarters, what appears is another close loss to a good team.
  • But if you stumble across the dreaded third quarter, the worst of quarters known to man or woman (other than the 2003 Not-Centennial Quarter of A Quarter), things become impossibly bleak.
  • The Rockets outscored the Mavericks 44-17 over the course of a 12-minute period. Yes, the Mavericks allowed 44 points.
  • That 44-point mark is the most the Mavericks have allowed in a single quarter this season, and hopefully that record will hold for the remaining 23 games.
  • As faulty as single-game plus-minus is in the realm of statistics, the fact that every Houston starter had a +26 or better speaks volumes about the way Dallas began a tumultuous second-half.
  • Speaking of +/- and other symbols, tonight held a certain sadness beyond the final score.
  • The sterling career of consummate professional Shawn Marion experienced a slight tarnish, as he posted the worst plus-minus of his career, at -35.
  • So what went wrong? Such a wide-ranging question is difficult to quantify with a simple answer, but it begins with perimeter defense, a prevalent issue for the Mavericks all season, and never more so than tonight.
  • Chandler Parsons (12-13 FG, 6-7 3PT, 32 points) isn’t the greatest jump-shooter to grace this storied Earth, but he is enough of a well-rounded player to seize countless open opportunities.
  • Such opportunities came in spades tonight, especially from the aforementioned perimeter, as he made open looks that the Mavericks were so confusingly willing to allow him, especially in the late second and third quarters.
  • When you allow an opposing NBA team to take 34 three-pointers, you are almost assured to lose.
  • When the team in question is the three-point shooting-oriented Rockets, things are even more likely to go badly.
  • In the third quarter, a quick glance at the shot chart and a review of the game tape reveals a simple truth.
  • That truth is this: Over the course of those fateful minutes, the Rockets took an almost impossible number of three-pointers and lay-ups.
  • Those two types of shots, while broadly described, are definitively the most efficient shot types in the game of basketball.
  • A team that manages to primarily attempt those shot types will likely win, and the Rockets are such a team.
  • Esteemed GM Daryl Morey has often alluded to as much, and I’d guess he’s quite happy with how well the team’s methodology surged into the limelight as the game proceeded.
  • That methodology led to the following results in the 44-point third quarter, by my count:
  • A) 7-8 FG at the rim   B) 1-2 FG on mid-range jumpers C) 6-10 3PT from three
  • A defense that allows an opponent to generate those levels of shot discrepancies will always fail, and so the Mavericks did.
  • It was apparent with every passing play that the Mavericks could not find a cohesive defensive strategy: either they overcommitted to the perimeter or allowed far too much room for Jeremy Lin (8-14 FG, 21 points, nine assists), James Harden (5-10 FG, 4-8 3PT, 21 points, seven assists), and Parsons to operate, despite all three being known dangerous quantities from beyond the arc.
  • Harden, in particular, was allowed far too much room to pull-up or spot-up throughout the game.
  • An example that comes to mind is in the middle of the third quarter. Harden is given too much room off an Omer Asik (4-6 FG, 10 points, 10 rebounds) screen, he penetrates into the lane easily, and then dishes to an open Parsons.
  • Vince Carter (4-8 FG, 2-5 3PT, 12 points, four rebounds) goes to close on Parsons, but his contest is hardly one at all.
  • It’s a half-hearted hand wave in the general direction of Parsons, but not a movement that would affect a solid, tall three-point shooter.
  • Now, the fault of a play like this, and the countless similar plays that followed and preceded it in this game, is not solely on Carter or any particular player.
  • It’s a systematic breakdown, apart from any single Maverick, coupled with mediocre individual defense on the part of Marion (atypical), Carter, and Brandan Wright (5-8 FG, 12 points, three rebounds), who didn’t step up to affect Harden in a significant way.
  • Such an occasion is symptomatic of the night, and fairly representative of the Mavericks’ defense over the course of this wayward season.
  • I’d like to finish this (hopefully) comprehensive missive by briefly discussing a single offensive facet.
  • By facet, I’m referencing the tepid play of Dirk Nowitzki (2-8 FG, 8 points, four assists, four rebounds) in tonight’s game.
  • After such a strong stretch of production over the last five contests, Dirk struggled mightily tonight.
  • My issue is not with the shots Dirk took (it rarely is), but with the lack of focus around him offensively, both due to his choices and the team’s various distributors. The Mavericks aren’t going to win many games when Dirk takes only eight shots over the course of 27 minutes, especially if none of those looks are three-pointers and few of them fall into the categories of “easy” or “within the flow of the game”.
  • They certainly didn’t win this one, and time is swiftly escaping the sporadic squad’s grasp with only 23 games and a fading dream left to hold.

The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 84, Memphis Grizzlies 90

Posted by Kirk Henderson on February 27, 2013 under Recaps | 7 Comments to Read

Grizzbear

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.

  • A twenty five point lead is quite challenging to squander, but the 2012-2013 Dallas Mavericks find new ways to disappoint us, this time through turnovers and tremendously bad offensive execution. Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Mike James, and Vince Carter turned the ball over 13 times for the second straight game. Though Dallas scored 38 points in the first quarter, over the next three quarters the Mavericks managed only 46 points, including a five point third quarter.
  • The ongoing problem of the Dallas Maverick guards being unable or unwilling to get Dirk Nowitzki the ball when he’s open reared it’s head once again against the Grizzlies. At the two minute mark of the second quarter, Darren Collison attempted to penetrate the lane, as he had shaken his defender, Mike Conley. Zach Randolph effectively shut down the penetration about 10 feet out, because Collison is incredibly averse to contact when driving. Dirk was trailing the play wide open and called for the the ball. Collison looked at Dirk, but since his dribble was still alive attempted to maneuver around Randolph, who deftly cut off his penetration again. This time Collison made a decision to turn and pass to Dirk, but by this time Conley had caught up to Collison and tipped the pass. Memphis recovered the ball, which lead to a Marc Gasol dunk. Get the ball to Dirk Nowitzki. This isn’t a suggestion.
  • Mike James is now shooting under 30% on the year after going 2 for 10 against Memphis. Darren Collison’s terrible inconsistency is making it easy for Carlisle to look elsewhere, but why he keeps looking to James is beyond any basketball observer at this point.
  • Brett Koremos of the Grantland Network wrote a very interesting piece about the offensive pace of the Mavericks. The first quarter, it felt as if the team had read his piece and fully embraced the concept of an early shot clock quality shot attempt. When things began to bog down in the second, due to Dallas rotations and better defense from the Grizzlies, Dallas attempted it’s half court offense, with very poor results. It’s alarming that so few of the younger Dallas players can effectively run a pick and roll. To some degree, we Dallas fans were spoiled by Jason Kidd and Jason Terry’s ability to run a screen and roll with Dirk, both in using the screens to move along the offense or get Dirk the ball. Collison, Mayo, and James all approach ball screens from terrible angles and rarely seem to force a switch. Collison and James in particular seem to make up their minds early in any play and look to shoot more often than pass. Against a team of excellent defenders like the Grizzlies, that is a recipe for terrible offense.
  • There were only three positive aspects to the game against Memphis. First, Chris Kaman attacked the rim and defended hard. He’s not a good pick and roll defender, but early in the game, his one on one defense and help defense set the tone. Second, Shawn Marion resumed his roll of spark plug. He goes to where he’s needed; a flash to the open spot in the lane, a screen and roll for an awkward lay up, defensive rotations, and fast break finishes. Third, Jae Crowder used the high screen and roll to attack the rim and score a lay up in the first quarter. During the Bucks game, Derek Harper mentioned that a player of Crowder’s strength should get to the rim more often. As I’ve understood it, Crowder was a stretch four energy player in college. If he wants a rotation spot for the next few years, he needs to stop shooting pull up twos and continue this trend of getting to the rack.

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.

 

Quoteboard: Los Angeles Lakers 103, Dallas Mavericks 99

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on February 24, 2013 under Interviews | 2 Comments to Read

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It was a closely contested game, but the Los Angeles Lakers were able to prevail over the Dallas Mavericks with a 103-99 victory on Sunday afternoon. Kobe Bryant tallied a game-high 38 points (13-21 FGs, 4-5 3FGs, 8-10 FTs), including 14 in the fourth quarter, to go along with 12 rebounds and a game-high seven assists in 38 minutes. Kobe went a perfect 5-5 from the field in the fourth quarter. Bryant, who scored 40 points in his previous game vs. Portland, is averaging 39.0 points on 28-of-44 (.636) shooting over his last two games.

In comparison, Dirk Nowitzki stepped up to the challenge with his best game of the season. Dirk recorded his first double-double of the season (370th career) with a season-high 30 points (11-19 FGs, 4-4 3FGs, 4-5 FTs) and a season-best 13 rebounds in 39 minutes against the Lakers on Sunday. His previous high scoring game this year was 26 points at Portland Jan. 29, and his previous high rebounding total was 9 on three occasions. It was his 224th career 30-point game, first since Apr. 18, 2012, 35 vs. Houston. It was also his 107th career 30-point, 10-rebound game. Nowitzki has shot 21-of-36 (.583) from the field over his last two games and is averaging 27.5 points per game and 10.0 rebounds per game in that span.

Some notes before the quotes:

- Dirk Nowitzki recorded 16 points and eight rebounds in 18 first-half minutes for Dallas. Kobe Bryant led Los Angeles with 16 points, five rebounds and six assists in 17 first-half minutes. The score was knotted at 54 at the half.

- The Mavericks outshot the Lakers 51.3 percent (20-of-39) to 41.5 percent (17-of-41) from the field in the first half. But Los Angeles went 8-of-16 (.500) from deep in the first half (compared to Dallas’ 3-of-6 clip) and the score was tied at 54 at the break.

- The Lakers were winless this season on the front end of road/road back-to-backs (0-6) before the victory over the Mavericks.

- The Lakers came in having the fifth-worst scoring bench in the league at 14.6 points per game. Their bench had 29 points against Dallas.

Here is the quoteboard for the Mavericks’ loss to the Lakers.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 111, Orlando Magic 96

Posted by Kirk Henderson on February 21, 2013 under Recaps | 6 Comments to Read

Rabbit in Hat

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 2:03 in the third quarter and Dallas down 79-73, Darren Collison took a three point shot which rebounded badly off of the front of the rim. Vince Carter made an attempt at a tip out and Shawn Marion and J.J. Redick chased the rebound past half court. Marion saved the ball from going out, slapping it towards an open O.J. Mayo. Oddly, Mayo did not react to the ball bouncing towards him. Jameer Nelson hustled and beat Mayo to the ball and passed to a cutting Redick for a lay in. Somehow, Mayo recovered defensively and blocked Redick’s lay up attempt. Mayo grabbed the rebound, drove the length of the floor and found Carter for an ally-oop dunk. This play, and the following Carter three pointer, brought the momentum back to Dallas in a game they could not afford to lose.
  • I rewound and watched this particular sequence five times. As delightful as the end result was, that Mayo was even beaten to the ball by Nelson is inexcusable. Mayo was closer, but made no attempt to get the ball. The Maverick announcing crew made no mention of this initial lack of effort and I wonder if they would have had Redick converted the lay in. Though the narrative will be “O.J Mayo’s effort saved the day” and it did, apparently Dirk pointed out post game that Mayo should’ve gotten to the ball before Nelson. In a way, it felt like the O.J. Mayo experience in a nutshell: unbelievable poor decision making followed by a high light reel play.
  • Vince Carter had a season high assist night, dishing eight out in a mere 26 minutes and only posting one turnover. His best assist occurred in the fourth quarter: Carter stole an outlet after an Orlando rebound and whipped a behind the back pass to Shawn Marion for a dunk.
  • The Mavericks have the league’s worst point differential in the first six minutes of a game this season. An emphasis on getting off to a good start was an apparent sticking point during all star break practices. The Mavericks answered the call, outscoring Orlando 22-14 in the first six plus minutes and scored 51 points in the first 15 minutes of game action.
  • On Tuesday, Grantland’s Zach Lowe mentioned Darren Collison’s atrocious defense, saying Collison is “lost on defense, prone to confusion and especially to veering way off course negotiating picks. Point guard defense matters, and Collison’s is a big net negative.” Early in the season it felt as if the main Maverick problem was the lack of a solid rim protector (and because I pine for Tyson Chandler). As the season has progressed it’s become glaringly obvious that the Maverick back court would have a hard time staying in front of a bolted down park bench. Orlando is not a good basketball team and that the Mavericks had trouble stopping their penetration all night long is really concerning.
  • Elton Brand (17 points on 6 of 9 shooting) showed his value repeatedly against the Magic. His shot making abilities bolster the Dallas offense, particularly on nights when the Big German’s shot won’t fall. At the end of the first quarter, he scored on three straight possessions: a face up jumper from the left block, a driving lay up after facing up on the same block, and a fall away jumper from the free throw line. His lift may be limited, but in the right situations he can carve up a defense.
  • For some reason, I felt Chris Kaman looked like a giant substitute history teacher with his bench wardrobe. Get well soon, Mr. Kaman.
  • During the week long break, I spent a fair amount of time watching Dirk Nowitzki highlights from the 2011 title run.  To call him a different player now is a mild understatement. The level of explosive strength in his legs simply isn’t there in his moves this season. That’s an obvious side effect of his knee surgery, but it’s also been two seasons without a training camp for Nowitzki. Dirk hasn’t been ready to play in a way that he’d be satisfied with since the summer of 2011. It’s clear in the way he’s shooting, and while he looked better before the all star break, a 4 for 13 shooting night for 12 points is not a the kind of game Dallas can get from Dirk if they expect to make any sort of run for the final playoff spot.
  • Mike James (12 points, four assists) received back up point guard minutes and his numbers were solid. I think we’d all prefer Roddy Beaubois at this point, mainly because decent statistical nights like this one seem to bolster the confidence Jones has in himself. Prior to the game against Orlando, Jones was shooting a dreadful 26.9% from the field.
  • Case and point with Collison’s defense happened with 3:29 in the first quarter. Jameer Nelson saw Collison open himself up defensively as he anticipated a high screen.  Nelson simply drove to the basket, right past a bewildered Collison. Shawn Marion had to leave his man and rotate to the driving Nelson, who passed to a wide open DeQuan Jones for a dunk.
  • The rare jump shot from Brandan Wright (eight points, eight rebounds) is something to see. He jumps very high and when he took and made one in the forth quarter on the right baseline, the ball nearly went out of the TV camera’s range, so high was his shot arc.
  • One of the simplest defensive principles when trying to stop fast break is this: you must make the ball handler make a decision. With five minutes in the first, Shawn Marion grabbed a defensive rebound and pushed the ball up the floor. He was facing a three on two with Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo on the wings. Oddly, the two Magic defenders stuck with Mayo and Collison, never forcing Marion to do so much as alter his direction. Marion drove the length of the floor and finished with a monstrous dunk.
  • Dirk has been reduced to a jump shooter this season. His shots tonight all came within the flow of the Dallas offense, but the offense doesn’t seem to end up with Dirk getting the ball, back to the basket, in his former sweet spots. It’s unclear to me whether this is by design, a matter of the Dallas guards being unable to make entry passes, or if Dirk isn’t working for the ball the way he used to. Against the Magic, Dirk did not take a single shot closer than 12 feet from the rim.
  • Watching J.J. Redick move without the ball is entertaining. There wasn’t a single Maverick assigned to him tonight that had much success at all in staying in front of him. His career numbers compared to O.J. Mayo are not that different, but Mayo could learn a thing or two from Redick about how to get the most out of his talent.
  • This recap seems overly negative for a game Dallas won by 15. It was a close game from the 2nd quarter until the 5 minute mark of the fourth, when Carter hit a three to push the Dallas lead up to seven points. Within three and a half minutes the lead ballooned up to 18 points. This late game 14-0 run masked a number of problems which aren’t going away for the Mavericks.

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.

 

Overlooked

Posted by Brian Rubaie on February 20, 2013 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

Overlooked

An NBA All-Star roster without a single Dallas Maverick is a rare sight to behold. For the first time since 1998, Dallas fans had no familiar faces to celebrate. Dirk Nowizki, a Western Conference fixture since 2002, will return to Dallas from his first real “break” over All-Star Weekend in over a decade. He will return not from Houston, the All-Star host but, as reported by Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News, Mexico. This joins the Mavericks’ dim playoff chances as an unusual new reality in Dallas.

Not all the unusual events in Dallas, however, have been negative. Lost in the return of Dirk Nowitzki, the revolving roster, the inconsistent play and the trade talk is another unusual occurrence. For the first time in a spell, Dallas has a rookie of value in former junior-college standout turned Marquette University graduate Jae Crowder. There is a persistent worry in Dallas over the the team’s ability to develop young talent — a weakness which fans overlooked because of quality overall team play. In 2013, however, the roles in Dallas have reversed; the team’s general malaise has eclipsed the promise of Crowder’s rookie campaign.

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Third Round of Bloom and Doom

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on February 18, 2013 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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It’s time for another round of Bloom and Doom. For those that missed the first batch of it in December, here you go. January’s batch can be seen here.

In an effort to keep the discussion going, I sought out ESPNDallas.com’s Tim MacMahon for his opinion on pressing issues for the Dallas Mavericks. You can view MacMahon’s coverage of the Mavericks at ESPNDallas.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @espn_macmahon. Periodically, we are going to touch base and discuss topics with our own unique point of view.

MacMahon likes to call it like he sees it. That perspective can hover on the other end of the spectrum from my optimistic viewpoint on things. You could say it’s a classic case of good cop, bad cop. Our different perspectives should make for an interesting conversation on hot topics revolving around the Mavs. This round of bloom and doom really hits the crux of it all with the team. Everything is right in MacMahon’s wheelhouse, and the second-to-last question might be the hardest one I’ve had to answer.

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Microeconomics

Posted by Ian Levy on under Commentary, Roster Moves | Read the First Comment

A Pocket Full of Change

On Friday, at Hickory-High, Ming Wang put together a really interesting piece sharing an interesting new strategy for examining the tradeoff between production and cost for the contracts of NBA players. Here’s the rationale and method in his own words:

A few weeks ago, Kevin Pelton of ESPN looked at the best contracts in the NBA by multiplying a player’s WARP (wins above replacement level) by the average amount that teams pay for each WARP. I’d like to approach this same problem from a different angle: namely, how much value are teams getting out of the salaries they pay their players? Instead of looking at WARP, I’ll focus on win shares, another metric of player value. While Pelton’s methodology assumes that the overall NBA salary market is priced correctly (therefore attaching a value to each WARP a team pays for), my method makes no assumptions about overall pricing accuracy and instead seeks to evaluate relative player salary and performance.

At a basic level, my goal is to quantitatively evaluate the best and worst contracts in the NBA. To do so, I construct a simple metric that I call the “value ratio.” This is defined as: (Player Salary/Median Salary)/(Player Win Share/Median Win Share). In effect, I am comparing the amount over (or under) which a player is being paid vs. the median NBA player with that player’s production over (or under) that of a median player. Comparing salaries and win shares with median values serves as a way of normalizing these metrics and making them more readily comparable to each other. A simple way to think about this metric is the following: if the ratio is less than 1, the player is undervalued; if the ratio is greater than one, the player is overvalued; if the ratio equals one, the player is properly valued. In short, the most valuable players will be those with the smallest value ratios.

To get a more full picture of player production, Wang used a three-year average of a player’s Win Shares. To compensate for the fact that salary is not consistent in every year of a contract he averaged the per year salary commitments of this year and each remaining year on a player’s contract. There are several holes in his method, which he acknowledges at the end of his post, but if you know the context for specific players and specific teams, the stories told by his numbers become much richer.

Several Mavericks showed up in different places in Wang’s results. With a value ratio of 0.131, Elton Brand’s contract provided the 7th greatest value of any player who has played at least 500 minutes this season. At a value ratio of 0.259, Darren Collison’s contract provided the 10th most value of any player who had played at least 1,150 minutes this season. Driven by curiosity, I pulled together his results for all of the Mavericks to see how the team’s current crop of contracts rated in value.

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Asset Management

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on February 14, 2013 under Commentary | 5 Comments to Read

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The trade deadline is always an interesting time for the Dallas Mavericks. Mark Cuban has always said two things when it comes to that time of the year: the team will always be opportunistic and don’t believe what you hear or read when it comes to them. The team is at a crossroads. The chances of making the playoffs are slim and the team has to do what they can to ensure they don’t waste any more time off of Dirk Nowitzki’s career. The deadline on the 21st is one way they can help build for the futre. How do the Mavericks assess things as the trade deadline approaches? Let’s look at the assets and what could be out there.

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Quoteboard: Dallas Mavericks 123, Sacramento Kings 100

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on under Interviews | Be the First to Comment

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It turned out to be a historic night as the Dallas Mavericks recorded a 123-100 victory over the Sacramento Kings. Vince Carter made a season-high six 3-pointers against the Kings on Wednesday (he shot 6-of-9 from long range). His previous high triple total this season was five on two occasions. Carter’s fourth trey of the game at the 1:08 mark of the third quarter was the 1,600th 3-pointer of his career. He became the 11th player in NBA history with at least 1,600 career triples. His fifth trey at the 27.9-second mark of the third was his 100th three of the season.

With his sixth triple at the 2.9-second mark of the third quarter, he passed Larry Bird (21,791) for 29th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The 3-point basket gave him 21,794 points for his career. Carter went 3-for-3 from deep to the end the third quarter and scored Dallas’ final nine points of the period. Carter scored 26 points against Sacramento and now has 21,796 career points. Gary Payton ranks 28th all-time with 21,813 career points.

Carter went 6-of-9 from beyond the arc en route to 26 points in 23 minutes. It was his sixth 20-point effort of the season (4-2 record). It was also his third game with 25-plus points and his ninth game with four-plus 3-pointers this season. Carter exploded in the third quarter as he scored 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting (5-of-9 from long range) in only 6:33 of action.

Some notes before the quotes:

- With an offensive rebound at the 10:51 mark of the second quarter, Dirk Nowitzki passed Mark Aguirre (1,259) for second place on the Mavericks’ all-time offensive rebounding list. James Donaldson is Dallas’ all-time leader with 1,296 offensive boards.

- The Mavericks recorded their 18th consecutive win against the Kings in Dallas. It’s the Mavericks’ longest ever home winning streak against one opponent.

- Darren Collison record 12 points and seven assists in 18 first-half minutes. His first assist of the second half (eighth of the game) was the 1,400th assist of his career. Collison finished with 18 points, four rebounds and nine assists in 29 minutes.

Here is the quoteboard for Dallas’ victory over Sacramento.

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Quoteboard: Atlanta Hawks 105, Dallas Mavericks 101

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on February 12, 2013 under Interviews | Be the First to Comment

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The beards are going to be extremely itchy as the Dallas Mavericks suffered a heartbreaking 105-101 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The loss put a wet blanket on the run the Mavericks were on as they had won three of their previous four games and three home games in a row. Josh Smith tallied a game-high 26 points to go along with a game-high 13 rebounds and six assists in 40 minutes for Atlanta in the win.

Dirk Nowitzki scored a team-high 24 points to go with seven rebounds, two steals and one block in 36 minutes. It his fourth game with 20-plus points this season, and his second-highest scoring game of the year (26 at Portland Jan. 29). One of Nowitzki’s team-high seven boards came on the offensive end. He is now tied with Mark Aguirre (1,259) for second place on the Mavericks’ all-time offensive rebounding list. James Donaldson is Dallas’ all-time leader with 1,296 offensive boards.

The game saw Atlanta start on a 10-0 run and lead the entire first half. The Mavericks continued to scratch and claw their way back into the game and even took their first lead of the game with just over 11 minutes to go in the game. With a chance to take the lead and less than a minute to go, O.J. Mayo raced down the floor in transition. As he was about to make his final approach to the rim, Devin Harris swatted the ball out of Mayo’s hands and caused a turnover. The Mavericks were still within 3 with less than 30 seconds to go and Mayo’s pass to a rolling Vince Carter went astray.

The Mavericks’ playoff chances took a major hit with the crippling loss to the Hawks. It also showed the late-game execution continues to haunt Dallas. According to TV play-by-play voice of the Mavericks Mark Followill, the loss to the Hawks dropped the Mavericks to 8-13 in games where the margin is within 3 points in the final minute of the fourth quarter.

Here are some notes before the quotes:

- Dirk went 3-of-4 from beyond the arc against Atlanta. His third trey of the game at the 6.4-second mark of the fourth quarter was the 1,300th triple of his career. He became the 29th player in NBA history with at least 1,300 triples (he’s shot 1,300-of-3,423, .380, from deep for his career).

- Brandan Wright 5-of-6 from the field and contributed 11 points off the bench. It was his 13th double-digit scoring game of the season.

- The Hawks outshot the Mavericks 50 percent (22-of-44) to 45.7 percent (21-of-46) from the field in the first half. Atlanta outscored Dallas 14-2 in transition and 28-18 in the paint in the first half. But the Mavericks outshot the Hawks 41.7 percent (5-of-12) to 16.7 percent (2-of-12) from beyond the arc before intermission and trailed by only one (49-48) at the break.

Here’s the quoteboard for Dallas’ loss to Atlanta.

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