Back with a vengeance in our normal time slot, it's time for another round of Mavs Hot & Cold. We'll be just as Cold as Hot this week, but that's not our choice. That's all up to the Mavs themselves, and unfortunately, they had a 2-2 run in four games this week (@ the Portland Trailblazers, @ the Golden State Warriors, vs. the San Antonio Spurs, vs. the Warriors again).
Make it two weeks in a row for the Wunderkind. Dirk tore up the hardwood yet again, starting with his tremendous 28-point (9-of-14 shooting), 11-rebound performance against the Blazers. Then, he was the biggest catalyst in the Mavs' huge comeback win at the Warriors, notching a tremendous 34 points on 10-of-22 (45%) shooting and grabbing 13 boards, including a few tough offensive boards late. Against the Spurs, he was the only Mavs player who we can justifiably commend. While the rest of his team foundered around him, Dirk posted 23 points on 10-of-16 (63%) shooting and grabbed 9 boards. In the second go-round against the Warriors, Dirk dropped 20 points on 9-of-15 (60%) shooting and 6 more rebounds. As we said last week, the playoffs are near, and there's no doubt Dirk's playing like it.
Although they lost 2 tough games this week, the Mavs showed a lot of heart. Despite faltering late against the Blazers, the Mavs' effort and execution at the Rose Garden was nothing to be ashamed of. That arena is notoriously tough (especially for the Mavs as of late), and the Mavs came to play, at least on offense, from the opening tip. In the first Warriors game and the Spurs game, the Mavs showed their resilience by overcoming big early deficits and fighting the whole way. Of course, the two games turned out differently, but in both cases the Mavs refused to quit when the chips were down.
1) Jason Kidd
When you play Jason Kidd as your starting point guard, you concede certain things from the position: consistent scoring, penetration, and dynamic half-court playmaking. In exchange, you expect to receive a few other things: a high assists total, decent three-point shooting, and generally smart defense. While the assists were fine (10 per game) and his defense was okay at times, Kidd couldn't hit the broad side of a barn this week. He shot 4-of-18 (22%) total from deep. His point totals were 1, 4, 7, and 8. Nobody expects Kidd to score en masse, but those numbers simply won't get it done.
2) First quarters
It's unfortunate that first quarters show up on the Cold list in a week in which the Mavs start one of their games hitting their first 10 shots (Blazers). But that's where we're at. In the Blazers game, despite that torrid start, the Mavs refused to play a lick of defense, resulting in 29 first-quarter points for the Blazers (the Mavs had just 32 despite shooting the roof off). Against the Warriors, the Mavs were outscored 35-24 in the opening frame, eventually leading to an 18-point Warriors lead in the second quarter. Finally, against the Spurs, the Mavs fell behind 30-20 in the first, primarily on account of poor shooting and several untimely turnovers.
This was a frustrating week for Mavs fans and players alike. The Portland loss was perplexing, considering the Mavs shot 59.7% as a team and still managed to lose. The Spurs game invoked more negative emotions, as evidenced by the players' postgame quotes. Fortunately, the week ended on a high note with the 101-73 smashing of the Warriors (round two). That was the biggest margin of victory by the Mavs this season, and the lowest opponent's point total. So the Cold list ends with a positive sentiment. Who knew.
See you next week.