Team Pace Off. Eff. eFG% FT/FG ORB% TOR
Dallas 97.0 116.5 56.5 21.4 25.6 15.5
New York 100.0 45.5 19.3 10.2 8.2
You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
- Not every game goes according to the script, but this one went just right. The team that plays good defense played good defense, and the team that regularly fails to rotate and exposes a hollow interior did so splendidly. Most teams — even those at the bottom of the rankings in defensive efficiency — don’t give up quite as many wide open looks as the Knicks do. It’s just part of a run-of-the-mill Knick game these days. Part of their charm, I suppose. They certainly have their games where they really dig in defensively, but on the whole this is what you get with New York post-Felton’s drop-off. They’re good, but push the right buttons on D and they’re imminently beatable.
- Dallas went to work on the offensive glass, grabbing 25.6% of the available boards on that end. Typically these things even out for Dallas; they’re a poor defensive rebounding team, and even on their better offensive rebounding nights, allow their opponents to break even on the glass. Not so on Wednesday, as New York posted a lowly 10.2 offensive rebounding percentage.
- If you look at the offensive rebounding distribution, you’ll find that while Tyson Chandler had three offensive boards, you’ll find that the rest of the Mavs stepped up to grab a board here and there: DeShawn Stevenson had two, and Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki, J.J. Barea, Jason Terry, and Shawn Marion each grabbed an offensive rebound of their own. This is a bit misleading; Tyson Chandler was a tap-out machine on the offensive end, and had the opportunity to swat a mess of loose balls toward open teammates. Credit to the rest of the Mavs for hustling and not giving up on those opportunities, but it was Chandler that really created them.
- Dirk Nowitzki finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds, but his 10-of-16 shooting is the far more notable mark. One would expect Dirk to capitalize on a cast of undersized defenders, but that’s a level of efficiency we really haven’t seen out of Nowitzki since he rushed back from injury. There should be no mistaken declarations that Nowitzki is “BACK!”, but he’s inching closer, looking more and more himself by the day.
- Brian Cardinal again started for Dallas, and made but a single field goal in his 10 minutes of play. Not terrific, but this wasn’t his game; Cardinal isn’t on the team so he can hustle up and down the court to keep pace with New York. Cardinal was replaced to start the second half, and that turned out to be a pretty smooth move by Rick Carlisle.
- Shawne Williams blocked one of Dirk Nowitzki’s jumpers solely for the irony.
- I’m pretty sure Brendan Haywood airballed a baseline hook from the low right block. Foul or deflection aside, I’m not even sure how that happens.
- Barea (22 points, 7-12 FG, 3-4 3FG, three rebounds, three assists, three turnovers) was a monster. This is the second 3-of-4 shooting night Barea has had from beyond the arc in about a week, but it’s his ability to get deep into the paint and generate points that keys his value. The Mavs’ defense acted as a catalyst for their periodic runs, but Barea was just as influential. He energized and produced like none of his teammates could, and is as much a reason why Dallas won as anyone else.
- One more note about Barea: even on his lesser nights, Barea forces the action. Cardinal is a fairly passive offensive player; he doesn’t put pressure on the defense in any meaningful way, and tries to limit his defensive assignment rather than hound them. Barea drives and explores the paint, and on defense he tries to draw offensive fouls constantly. That means something, and in this particular game, it meant quite a bit.
- Wilson Chandler’s absence was a pretty big deal. Amar’e Stoudemire (21 points, 10-20 FG, five rebounds, four assists) and Danilo Gallinari (27 points, 7-14 FG, six rebounds) were the only Knicks who could score with any frequency, and Chandler can create a bit for himself and bank on spot-up/slashing opportunities. Toney Douglas did what he could to act as a stopgap, but the trickle down from Chandler’s absence was pretty damning.
- Felton’s (11 points, 9-14 FG, nine assists) fall back to Earth is as much his fault as it is the basketball gods’. He takes some really horrible shot attempts, and though that habit was bearable when he was making a ton of those questionable jumpers early in the season, his tendency to launch long, pull-up twos has bitten these team quite a few times in recent weeks.
- The lulls in the Mavs’ offense were of their own fault. Believe it or not, there is comfort in that; when given the choice between a team like the Knicks halting the Mavs in their sets or Dallas simply blustering their execution, I think most would prefer the means that allows the Mavs to maintain their agency.
- What more could I possibly add about Tyson Chandler (15 points, 6-9 FG, 11 rebounds)? He’s become this season’s constant. He’s been fantastic over the last seven games in particular, during which he’s been exactly the kind of crutch the team has needed him to be.