Clank. Clank. Clank.
It was a rhythm so consistent that I expect one of the Mavericks could have rapped to it.
The Mavericks struggled to make jump shots the entire night, despite getting a plethora of wide open, high percentage looks from just about everywhere. Open corner threes? Check. Open wing threes? Check. Easy Dirk jumpers? Check. Missing nearly every one? Check. The Mavericks couldn't even hit free throws, missing seven of them.
A late push by the Mavericks was not enough, as the Mavericks fell short after they closed the game to just a three point margin with a minute and a half left in the game.
No doubt this game was a culmination of a lot of bad things. Dirk was not himself, something that almost immediately makes it very difficult to win, and the combination of Kidd, Beaubois, Peja, and Stevenson gave the Mavericks just 11 points. When Dirk shoots in the low-30's, the Mavericks have to get production out of their group of guards, but tonight the backcourt (excluding JJ Barea) gave less than nothing. However, it still underlines major weaknesses which the Mavericks simply don't have time to address, namely the lack of a second scorer.
Around the league, many teams are using this final stretch of games to get answers about their team, but the Mavericks just keep piling on the questions.
Every Crime Has Its Culprit(s)
- Stevenson's three point percentage has fallen all the way to 38% despite shooting over 50% early in the year. That's what happens when a player goes 28% and 20% in consecutive months. Stevenson has still been getting some minutes because of the defense and toughness he brings, but unless he can regain his stroke he's hurting the Mavs and taking away possessions.
- The Warriors went on a 13-0 run (ten by Monta Ellis) late in the 3rd to build a 11 point lead, as they watched the Mavericks shoot up five three pointers or foot on the line twos. The only other field goal attempt for the Mavericks during that run was an 18-foot jumper by Mahinmi (which surprisingly actually drew iron).
- As I said above, this team is close to hopeless when Dirk can't get it going. Dirk shot just 1-9 in the 2nd half, and despite being in the top 5 in 4th quarter scoring, had just three.
- Roddy B, Roddy B, Roddy B. The player who was thought of being the savior of the Mavericks might as well grow horns and grab a pitchfork, because he is looking much more like the Beaubois who the Mavericks saw in the 2010 Summer League than the rookie who impressed every chance he got last season. In just nine minutes, Roddy missed four shots, committed three fouls, and turned the ball over once.
- For Jason Terry, he showed his streakiness could come and go without warning. He scored seven consecutive points in the 1st quarter (3-4 for the quarter), but after making his first shot in the second quarter, proceeded to miss his next five shots (most of which were open looks), included an airballed short running jumper and a corner three pointer which clanged off the side of the backboard. Fourth quarter JET arrived to score eight, but it was not nearly enough.
Even a Hurricane Has A Little Bit of Silver Lining
- Marion continues to be possibly the most valuable offensive player excluding Dirk mainly because he knows how to get easy looks. He had 21 points on 10-17 shooting, and let's be honest, its not because he's more skilled than the other players. He just has the instinct of finding holes and gaps in the defense and exploiting them for simple floaters or easy dunks. On top of that, Marion was playing his heart out. His effort was most obvious on defense, where he recorded three blocks and a steal and disrupted half a dozen more plays with his length and quickness.
- Barea started the second half instead of Beaubois and, like Marion, brought an aggressive and energetic attitude with him. Early in the third, he battled with the Golden State big men for offensive rebounds and finally got one on a third chance, chasing down a long rebound that David Lee looked to have corralled. Barea was penetrating into the lane easily, which opened up passing lanes all over the place. This resulted in eleven assists for the Puetro Rican, including three successful lob passes.
- One of the biggest problems in the recent weeks, turnovers, finally did not pop up as a problem. The Mavericks committed just eight, and a couple were made late in the game with the game all but decided. The loss is disappointed, but I would rather missed shots than tons of turnovers, because its clear the former is much more likely to change next game.
The Deeper Meaning To Life, Or Maybe Just Tonight's Box Score
Let's go back to Rodrigue Beaubois for a second. An excuse I've heard repeated by several fans is that he is just not getting consistent minutes. A quick perusal of his game log shows a 29 minute game against San Antonio he missed seven shots, turned the ball over three times, and committed four fouls. Another game against the Lakers, where Beaubois got fourteen minutes and easily was the worst player on the floor. What about the more recent Laker game, where he played sixteen but was out of control for most of the game? Rhythm is important for continued success, but we saw Roddy come off the bench last year and immediately make an impact. Its simply up to Beaubois to prove he can play more than five minutes in a row and not hurt the team with dumb fouls or missed threes or careless turnovers.
Where Do They Go From Here? (And No, "Hotel" Is No The Right Answer, Smartass)
The Mavericks have now lost back to back games, after winning five in a row. They travel to Portland tonight to conclude their six game rodeo road trip, which they at best can go 4-2 on. Against Portland this year, the Mavericks have won two or three (including one win without Dirk) but lost the most recent outing 104-101. If the seeding stays the same, the Trail Blazers will be the Mavericks first round opponent, which makes this game an even bigger test.
Oh, And I Like That Man's Afro