The Dallas Mavericks had the opportunity to erase the ugly season opener against the Heat on Sunday with their first back-to-back against the Denver Nuggets. They started off looking slightly more like a team and hung around with the Nuggets for the first part of the first quarter, and then disorganization set it.
A phrase I imagine we'll be hearing frequently is "_____ with the nice pass, but _____ can't finish". I can understand that getting used to a system and learning plays takes time, but these guys should not be missing easy shots. That's just sloppy basketball. Along with the missed shots, Dallas was turning the ball over with reckless abandon, and Denver was able to capitalize. The first half saw the Mavs with 10 turnovers, leading to 18 points for the Nuggets.
The second half started off cold for both teams, but the Mavericks were frigid, taking six shots (and missing them all), four of which were three-point attempts. Their first points of the half came from Dirk free throws, followed quickly by a three from Jason Kidd (the 1800th of his career). That cut the deficit to 27 points. Despite Kidd's accomplisment, the Nuggets kept scoring, and the Mavericks could not get a stop to save their basketball lives. The first highlight of the third quarter was Brian Cardinal entering and getting two steals that led to a Dirk layup.
The Nugget's lead grew ever larger, despite the Mavs' best efforts to only shoot ill-advised three-point shots at the beginning of the shot clock. Can you sense the sarcasm? I'm laying it on pretty thick here. I will say, however, that there was a second third-quarter highlight when new Mav Sean Williams entered the game. He immediately made his way to the free throw line, hit both, then blocked a crazy shot on the other end and created a fast break for Vince Carter on the other end. But alas, the third quarter would end with the Mavericks down by 29.
The fourth quarter started with a flash when Sean Williams soared sky-high on an alley-oop from Delonte West. Then he blocked an almost-monstrous dunk by former Mav Corey Brewer. The crowd certainly woke up, as did the Dallas bench. This last point is probably most important- the Mavericks were completely lacking inspiration in this game until Williams came in and showed his enthusiasm.
Coach Carlisle saw the score as the fourth quarter wound down, and so he put the new Mavericks on the court to work out their kinks. A lineup of Beaubois, West, Carter, Odom and Williams looked SUPER strange but showed some promise. Roddy looked like he's in great shape and could really have a chance to get some major burn this season. Williams looked like he's been playing with the Mavericks for years, despite this being his first NBA game in two calendar years.
Funniest moment of the game, by far, was when Williams, clearly not in the best basketball shape of his life, left the floor and puked in front of the bench. The entire Mavericks bench cleared and got a good laugh as the staff cleaned up. As Derek Harper cleverly noted, Williams left it on the floor tonight.
The game would end in disappointment, but there were certainly positives for the team to take with them for Thursday's meeting with Oklahoma City. Namely, a tall dude with big hair and a French kid with lightning feet.