As I set out to write the intro to this week's column, I had an internal debate about what sort of tone I should take to reflect the Mavs' disappointing 1-3 week. Scathing negativity ("This is absolutely embarrassing")? Thick self-deprecating sarcasm ("Great road trip, everyone, bang-up job")? Guarded optimism ("There's still time to right the ship")? Blissful delusion ("Phh, brotato, the Mavs didn't even have any games this week")? So many fine, fine choices.
Ultimately, I decided to keep it plain and straightforward. The Mavs completed the final four games of their six-game road trip this week, beating the Los Angeles Clippers but then losing three in a row to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Golden State Warriors, and the Portland Trail Blazers. Let's take a look at what worked and what didn't.
1) Shawn Marion
The Mavs were so bad for most of this week that making the Hot list required little more than simply not playing like garbage. Marion far exceeded that threshold, netting himself a good week by any standards. He started off with 10 points and 9 rebounds against the Clippers and then a quiet 9 points and 4 rebounds against the Lakers. The next two games, Marion was the best Mav on the court. Coming off the bench against the Warriors, he notched 21 points on 10-of-17 (59%) shooting and 8 rebounds. The next night in Portland--a game attended by yours truly--Marion headlined a deplorable Mavs effort with 19 points on 8-of-11 (72%) shooting and 5 rebounds.
2) Sharing the ball
As horrific as this week was at times for the Mavs' offense, the team assist numbers are better than you'd expect. The Mavs had 30 dimes on 41 made FG's against the Clippers (73%), 18 on 31 against the Lakers (58%), 25 on 37 against the Warriors (68%), and 21 on 34 against the Blazers (62%). Other than the second half against the Lakers, when the ball stopped moving from long stretches, the Mavs passed pretty effectively. The problem is they didn't often make shots, and when they did, they didn't play any defense (e.g., Portland second quarter).
3) Tempers, shenanigans, and chaos
You knew this one was coming. The fourth quarter of the Mavs-Lakers game was one of the most bizarre NBA scenes since the 2004 Palace Brawl. After Jason Terry took a cheap shove against Lakers guard Steve Blake, pandemonium ensued. Lakers guard Matt Barnes was physically restrained by Mavs assistant coach Terry Stotts, who Barnes shoved to the ground. Four players were ejected: Terry, Blake, Barnes, and (somewhat inexplicably) Brendan Haywood. A fifth player, the Lakers' Shannon Brown, was ejected later in the quarter. And the off-court scene at Staples Center was just as chaotic. Numerous fights and fan ejections occurred throughout the crowd. A female Lakers fan wearing no pants charged the Mavs bench and was promptly subdued by security. Brick killed a guy. All in a good night's work.
1) The Jasons
The combined stat-lines of Jason Kidd and Jason Terry for the week are scarier than this. For Kidd: 2.75 ppg, 6.5 apg, 5-of-28 (18%) shooting, 3-of-20 (15%) from deep. For Terry: 8.0 ppg, 4.0 apg, 12-of-41 (29%) shooting, 2-of-14 (14%) from deep. Having thus showcased their shooting prowess, both Jasons have been invited to try out for the Butler Bulldogs men's basketball team. Now excuse me while I go splash some ice water on my face.
2) Everything else
Normally, we omit a third Cold item whenever the Mavs have an undefeated week. This week, we'll be omitting a third Cold item because every other thing falls into this one. Let's not sugarcoat it--other than the stuff mentioned above, and perhaps Jose Juan Barea too (who had a decent but unremarkable week), everything about this week was Cold at some point or another. The offense was poor against the Lakers and Warriors. The defense was poor against the Clippers and Blazers. Dirk Nowitzki had bad games. Tyson Chandler had bad games. Rodrigue Beaubois had bad games. Coach Rick Carlisle made some questionable roster moves. It's all here--everything you could want and more.
So let's just move past this and look forward to next week and the playoffs. Hopefully things improve, but if not, we'll see you next week for Mavericks Cold and Really Cold.