The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 112, Denver Nuggets 95

Posted by Rob Mahoney on March 20, 2012 under Recaps | 11 Comments to Read

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Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FTRORRTOR
Dallas99.0113.159.517.914.314.1
Denver96.047.024.111.113.1

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

  • Kenneth Faried (nine points, five rebounds) is a good player and an incredibly active defender, but he had the incredible misfortune of being pitted against a most dominant Dirk Nowitzki (33 points, 12-19 FG, 11 rebounds, six assists). What, precisely, would you have any defender do against Nowitzki at the top of his game — much less one with relatively limited NBA experience and far less matchup-specific experience? Dirk maneuvered too well to be blanketed, shot too accurately to be stopped, and passed too effectively to be doubled. Faried was damned before he even had a chance to consider his options, as Nowitzki triggered his usual array of fades and jumpers en route to one of his most spectacularly efficient performances of the season.
  • Dallas’ 33 assists were a season high, and the furthest thing from an empty total; the Mavs’ ball movement was the most successful and consistent force in this game, and sustained even during the roughest offensive stretches. The shots didn’t fall, but to the Mavs’ credit, they never abandoned the process. That commitment is more important than any series of makes or misses, wins or losses — it’s the backbone of successful offense, and that the Mavs are relying on a replicable formula to generate points bodes well for their future this season.
  • This particular matchup made for a fascinating watch due to the fact that size was a uniquely irrelevant factor. Nowitzki demands a certain size and length in defensive response, but Dirk aside, both teams were free to play whichever players gave them the greatest chance for success, regardless of the opponent’s configuration or traditional positions. The Mavs largely stayed “conventional,” if you could really term their usual lineups so ridiculously. The Nuggets, on the other hand, toyed with all kinds of combinations, most of which used Denver’s army of wing players in a futile (in retrospect, anyway) effort to get the jump on Dallas. Faried split time with Al Harrington as the only big on the floor for long stretches of the game, and though Denver couldn’t use their wing-heavy lineups to create any in-game leverage, it was still a hell of a sight.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 113, New York Knicks 97

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 3, 2011 under Recaps | 4 Comments to Read

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Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot ChartGameFlow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FT/FGORB%TOR
Dallas97.0116.556.521.425.615.5
New York100.045.519.310.28.2

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.

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Draft Ranges

Posted by Rob Mahoney on May 30, 2009 under xOther | 5 Comments to Read

The Mavs don’t have a very good track record when it comes to finding value late in the draft, though selecting Josh Howard with the final pick in the first round back in 2003.  But the stakes have never been higher, with the Mavs’ few young assets weighing their options in free agency and the Mavs’ 2010 pick in the hands of the New Jersey Nets.  This one counts big time, and it’s up to the management and the scouting team to find the diamond in the rough.

It’s tough, but hardly impossible.  Quality players pass right under the noses of many a team year after year, leaving latent value late in the draft.  The Mavs pick at 22, which is just a shade closer to the lottery than to the Mavs’ customary position at the draft’s tail.

Here are the picks at 22 this decade:

2008 – Courtney Lee
2007 – Jared Dudley
2006 – Marcus Williams
2005 – Jarrett Jack
2004 – Viktor Khryapa
2003 – Zoran Planinic
2002 – Casey Jacobsen
2001 – Jeryl Sasser
2000 – Donnell Harvey

Three of those players (Courtney Lee, Jared Dudley, Jarrett Jack) have shown rotation player chops.  Lee is the most notable as the starting 2 guard of an impressive Orlando team just one win away from the Finals.  In fact, if the Mavs could magically re-draft Lee this year, they’d be in pretty good shape.

Just for fun, here are picks in the late first round (20+) :

2008
Courtney Lee (22)
Nicolas Batum (25)

2007
Wilson Chandler (23)
Rudy Fernandez (24)
Aaron Brooks (26)

2006
Renaldo Balkman (20)
Rajon Rondo (21)
Kyle Lowry (23)
Shannon Brown (25)
Jordan Farmar (26)

2005
Jarrett Jack (20)
Nate Robinson (21)
Francisco Garcia (23)
Jason Maxiell (26)
Linas Kleiza (27)
David Lee (30)

2004
Jameer Nelson (20)
Delonte West (24)
Kevin Martin (26)

2003
Boris Diaw (21)
Travis Outlaw (23)
Kendrick Perkins (27)
Leandro Barbosa (28)
Josh Howard (29)

2002
Tayshaun Prince (23)
Nenad Krstic (24)
John Salmons (26)

2001
Brendan Haywood (20)
Gerald Wallace (25)
Jamaal Tinsley (27)
Tony Parker (28)

2000
Morris Peterson (21)

It’s certainly worth noting that even the 2005 draft, predicted to be a weak draft class among pundits and largely looked at as a failure in comparison to its contemporaries, still produced productive players late in the first round.  Blake Griffin is no Tim Duncan and the consolation prizes may have their flaws, but that doesn’t mean true commodities can’t be found late in the first.

Next week I’ll start examining potential picks for the Mavs, starting with those rumored and confirmed to have scheduled workouts with the team.  Some of those players seem poised for success on the pro level, and others may not even be top competitors in the D-League.  As fans, we can only hope that MGMT not only makes the right decision in assessing the talent of a potential pick, but also in picking talented players to fill holes in the Mavs’ rotation.