The small forward position actually provides the most depth the Mavs had over the course of the season. The only change they saw was the addition of rookie Jae Crowder. Vince Carter was in his second year with the organization, and Shawn Marion was once again the starting small forward.
The Rundown is back. Every Monday during the regular season (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.
The end is here. The 2012-13 season for the Dallas Mavericks is officially over. There is some solace that the Mavs were able to finish the season with a record of 41-41. They became the 13th team in NBA history to be 10 games below .500 in a season and finish at .500 or better. The most recent team to achieve that feat before the Mavs was 2010-11 Philadelphia 76ers. The last Western Conference team was 1980-81 Portland Trail Blazers.
That’s a great accomplishment for a team that looked dead in the water back in December and January. That being said, there’s a lot of work to be done this summer for the Mavs if they want to get back to where they were just two years ago. They don’t need to be the number one overall seed in the Western Conference, but they need to get into a spot where they’re not having to scratch and claw just to have a chance to make the playoffs. There will be plenty of time to dissect what the Mavs can do this summer to fix what is ailing them. For now, let’s just look at what exactly happened this season.
Thermodynamics (n.) – the science concerned with the relations between heat and mechanical energy
And with that, the 2012-2013 Dallas Mavericks will ride off into the sunset.
Sixteen NBA teams will play on, but the Mavs’ season is over. It wasn’t exactly a ceremonious ending, but it could have been worse. The Mavs closed out the year exactly at .500 (41-41), tallying their final win ever against the New Orleans
Hornets Pelicans. In the process, they became the first Western Conference team in over three decades to finish at .500 or better after being 10-plus games below that mark at any point during the season. That says something (although I’m not sure exactly what).
In honor of the season’s end and the final 2012-2013 installment of Thermodynamics, this week’s column will be a little different. Instead of the usual “weekly recap” approach, this one will address the three hottest and coldest performances for the entire season. For each item on the list, I’ll include one of the first things I wrote about that player from early in the year, and we can see how those initial impressions line up with the player’s season-long outlook.
Off we go…
1) Brandan Wright
“Last season [2011-2012], Brandan Wright was a very serviceable rotation-caliber big man. This year, he will move well above that status, if the first two games are any indication.” – Thermodynamics: Week 1 (Nov. 1, 2012)
Those first two games were an indication, indeed.
Like countless Mavs observers, I spent the early part of this season perplexed by Rick Carlisle’s handling of Wright. Even accounting for Wright’s weaknesses, there was never any real justification for him to ride the pine for long stretches in favor of 2012 Troy Murphy. Yet as the year went on, Carlisle grew more and more comfortable with Wright. The 25-year-old big man began to rebound and defend better (although he still has significant room for improvement), all while the Mavs’ mounting playoff desperation necessitated Carlisle’s compromise.
As many of us suspected, Wright turned to be one of the Mavs’ most efficient and productive players, effectively showcasing his potential as a long-term piece for the Mavs. He also drove up his free-agent asking price in the process, but Dallas has cap room aplenty, which if nothing else will give Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson room to mull over a competitive offer. I consider him a top priority for this offseason. It would be foolish to let him walk unless another team wants to drastically overpay him (which isn’t completely outside the realm of possibility). Wright is already a highly efficient offensive player, and he has plenty of upside to boot. It’s hard to ask for more.
“…On my word, we’ll trouble you no more.” – Galactus, Devourer of Worlds
In March, I spoke with ESPN Central Texas 1660 AM about the Dallas Mavericks. During that segment, I said something to the effect that the Mavs are “a 500 team, but 500 won’t be good enough to get into the playoffs in the Western Conference.” Nailed it. They were .500 exactly with 41 wins and 41 losses. It’s the first time in franchise history that they’ve had a .500 win/loss percentage for a season. But what does 500 mean?
If we were to add up all the games this season as if it were one single game, the Mavericks were outscored by opponents 8,342 to 8,293. I don’t know if this number is all that significant, except to indicate that, on average, the Mavs losses had a greater point differential than their wins. Sure, the Mavs had some close games. But from this season, those blowouts are going to be what I remember most. When a game got out of control, the Mavs just couldn’t put on the brakes, couldn’t stop the bleeding. Use whatever metaphor you want.
Ever since the western dominance of the NBA, around the time when Michael Jordan retired, Shaquille O’Neal moved to Los Angeles, and the Spurs drafted Tim Duncan, the question has persisted: is a Western Conference record worth more than an Eastern Conference record? When the Mavs play powerful Western Conference teams more often than lowly Eastern Conference teams, doesn’t that count for something? Keep in mind, five Western teams have 50 plus regular season wins. In the East, there are only two. At 500, the Mavs would’ve made the playoffs in the East—pushing out Milwaukee. Of course, this is price the Mavs pay for being in a better, more competitive conference.
What a year it turned out to be for Vince Carter. He played relatively well in his first season for the Mavs, but it appeared that he was being asked to do too much and his impact fell off near the end of 2011-12. Fast forward one more year, Carter once again did most of the heavy lifting, especially when Dirk Nowitzki was on the shelf, but Carter never broke down. Outside of rookie scale contracts, Carter has to be one of the better bang for your buck players in the entire league.
His grit and determination really won Rick Carlisle and Mark Cuban over. He also showed that he could be a presence on the floor even on the rare nights where his shooting wasn’t on line. He took handfuls of charges over the course of the year, attacking the rim for rebounds and was a solid playmaker. Sure, he took and missed his share of shots at the end of the games, but the pros far outweigh the cons for Vince Carter this year. It will be interesting to see if the Mavs decide to keep him or see what he could fetch on the open market. One thing is for certain, Vince Carter isn’t ready to take the loss against Father Time just yet.
Here is the exit interview for Vince Carter.
The Dallas Mavericks were able to finish the season without a losing record as they secured a 99-87 win over the New Orleans Hornets in the season finale. Playing against the team that drafted him, Darren Collison went 10-for-15 from the field and tallied a game-high 25 points to go along with four assists, two steals and a block in 28 minutes off the bench against the Hornets. Collison left a positive last impression for the team as it was his second-highest scoring game of the season (32 at Oklahoma City Dec. 27). He scored 20-plus points for the seventh time this season and the first since Mar. 18 at Atlanta (24 points).
Dirk Nowitzki totaled 16 points, a team-high nine rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes against the Hornets. Nowitzki averaged 20.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists in his final five games of the 2012-13 season.
Some notes before the quotes:
- Vince Carter’s triple at the 9:29 mark of the second quarter was his 162nd 3-pointer of the season (he shot 162-399, .406, on the year). His 162 treys tied his career-high for most 3-pointers made in a season (he shot 162-397, .408, with Toronto in 2000-01). The 162 triples were also tied for the fifth-most treys made by a Maverick in any season (Jason Terry made 162 with Dallas in 2006-07). Carter made at least one 3-point basket in each of his final 25 games of the 2012-13 season. It marked his longest career streak (over a single season) with at least one trey (previous high: 16 straight games on two occasions).
- The Mavericks outshot the Hornets 51.2 percent (42-of-82) to 36.9 percent (31-of-84) on the night. They finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 21-3 when they shot at least 50 percent from the floor.
- Al-Farouq Aminu (16 points and a career-high 20 rebounds) and Robin Lopez (14 points and 13 boards) both recorded double-doubles for New Orleans. Aminu recorded a first-half double-double with 10 points and a career-high 17 rebounds (previous high: 16 rebounds on three occasions). Aminu grabbed 14 boards in the first quarter alone.
- Dallas has now sold out 472 consecutive regular-season games at American Airlines Center, which is an NBA-best sellout streak. The streak began on Dec. 15, 2001 and Dallas has sold out an additional 60 playoff games during that stretch.
Here is the quoteboard for Dallas’ victory over New Orleans in the season finale.
Mark Cuban was at it again with his open discussion with the media prior to the team’s game against the Denver Nuggets. His squadron was out of playoff contention, a position the team hasn’t been in for quite some time. This season definitely leaves him angry that he’s in a position that he’s not used to being in. He’s been knocked down and he’s motivated to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
Even more so than the discussion prior to the game against the Suns, Cuban opened up even more to reporters about his team’s disappointing year and what needs to happen going forward. He also had some high praise for one of his veterans. Here is the quoteboard for Mark Cuban for the game prior to the game against the Denver Nuggets.
Just one night after getting to shave their beards, the Dallas Mavericks ensured they will not have a winning season by suffering a 103-97 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis used a 9-0 run from the 8:02 mark of the fourth quarter through the 6:41 mark of the period to turn a one-point deficit, 78-77, into an eight-point advantage, 86-78. The Grizzlies then led for the remainder of the contest.
Dirk Nowitzki tallied a game-high 26 points in 36 minutes against the Grizzlies. He scored 20-plus points for the third time in his last four games (19th time this season). Nowitzki is averaging 22.0 points per game on 44.8 percent shooting over his last four games.
Vince Carter totaled 22 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes against the Grizzlies. With a reverse layup at the 3:30 mark of the first quarter, Carter passed Clyde Drexler (22,195) for 27th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The basket gave him five points for the game and 22,197 points for his career. Carter finished with 22 points on the night and now has 22,214 points for his career. Elgin Baylor ranks 26th all-time in career scoring with 23,149 points.
O.J. Mayo once again struggled against his former team. Mayo went 1-of-6 from the floor for only two points. He had four turnovers in the game. After seeing enough, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle emphatically called a timeout and benched Mayo for the remainder of the game. Mayo did not want to speak to anyone after the loss. He dressed and left the locker room by the time the media was allowed to enter.
Some notes before the quotes:
- Vince Carter scored 20-plus points for the second time in his last three games (12th time this season). Carter is averaging 20.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.7 blocks and 30.3 minutes over his last three games. He has shot 55 percent (22-of-40) from the field and 60 percent (9-of-15) from deep over his last three contests.
- With the loss, Dallas was unsuccessful at sweeping a back-to-back this season.
- Memphis’ 64 points off the bench is a new opponent-high. The previous high mark was 63 by Washington on Nov. 14.
- Against his former team, O.J. Mayo averaged 8.5 points on 35.1 percent shooting from the field, 30 percent from 3 and 3.8 turnovers this year.
Here is the quoteboard for Dallas’ befuddling loss to Memphis.
The Dallas Mavericks played for pride and found a way to squeak out a 108-105 overtime victory over the playoff-bound Denver Nuggets. Dallas used a 19-2 run (from the 8:22 mark of the third quarter through the 3:53 mark of the period) to turn an 11-point deficit (61-50) into a six-point advantage (69-63) en route to their victory. Dirk Nowitzki recorded his sixth double-double of the season (375th career) with a game-high-tying 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds and four assists in 40 minutes against Denver. He scored 20-plus points for the second straight game (18th time this season).
Another veteran helped lead the charge for the Mavericks as Vince Carter posted his first double-double of the season (89th career) with a game-high-tying 22 points to go along with a season-high 12 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks in 34 minutes against Denver (previous high: nine rebounds on three occasions).
O.J. Mayo went 5-of-7 from beyond the arc and scored 20 points to go along with three rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block in 42 minutes. Shawn Marion totaled 15 points to go along with eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block in 30 minutes against the Nuggets. Marion is averaging 20.5 points and 9.0 rebounds over his last four games.
Some notes before the quotes:
- Dirk Nowitzki now has 24,990 career points and needs 10 points for 25,000. He will become the 17th player in NBA history with at least 25,000 points.
- Vince Carter had his first double-double since Apr. 16, 2012 at Utah (18 points and 12 rebounds). It also marked just the second time in his career that he totaled at least 22 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks in the same game (46 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists and 3 blocks in 47 minutes vs. Washington Apr. 7, 2007. With the win, the Mavericks improved to 9-2 this season when Carter scores 20-plus points, and 12-3 when he scores 20-plus points over the last two seasons. He also tied his career high with eight offensive rebounds. He pulled down eight offensive boards as a member of the New Jersey Nets against the Chicago Bulls on Nov. 5, 2005.
- With the win, the Mavericks improved to 6-1 this season when O.J. Mayo makes at least five triples in a game. He recorded his 22nd 20-point game of the season (15-7 record), but his first since Mar. 8 at Detroit (22 points).
- With the victory, the Mavericks snapped the Nuggets’ five-game winning streak.
- The Mavericks played their 11th overtime game of the season against the Nuggets on Friday. Prior to the 2012-13 campaign, the franchise record for the most overtime games in a season was eight (in 1995-96, 1997-98 and 2009-10).
Here is the quoteboard for Dallas’ prideful win over Denver.
You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
- Mark Cuban may love Vince Carter (9-19 FG, 22 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists) more than I do, but I too admire the aging guard’s resolve. Carter had regressed a bit over the last month or so, but tonight reminded me why I was so enamored with his vitalized play in late-February and early-March. His performance was one of immense substance and resolve for a team no longer fighting for the playoffs, no longer fighting for much of anything other than a .500+ record and a lower lottery pick. Thank you for a season of stalwart professionalism, Vince Carter, and I hope to say the same as next season ends.
- When Corey Brewer (6-20 FG, 18 points, five steals) scored off a steal as regulation dwindled to a close, I did not expect the Mavericks to rise up and control the overtime period. But so they did, mostly thanks to O.J. Mayo (7-13 FG, 5-7 3PT, 20 points, six assists, two turnovers), who made a late bid for changing Mavericks’ fans perceptions with a commendable scoring performance. Mayo’s ability to find rhythm and function as a key offensive weapon in the Carlisle offense seems largely dependent on his ability to limit turnovers. With an offseason and another season in Carlisle’s system, it’s a problem Mayo may be able to address and quell to some extent. There’s no guarantee of that essential improvement, but Mayo is still only 25 years old.
- Though he tired a bit down the stretch, Dirk Nowitzki (9-17 FG, 22 points, 10 rebounds, four assists) provided a very resilient and potent 40 minutes tonight. He’s not the Dirk of old – he’s the old Dirk – but he’s still capable of charging an offense and bringing rebounds down with the most tenacious of elbows. Time has been the Mavericks’ bane for the last two years, and while it may be presumptuous of me, I’d like to ask time to freeze until next season, and allow this basketball Dirk to begin and end the 2013-2014 campaign in the same impressive form of recent months.