The Dallas Mavericks beat the Utah Jazz 116-101, and move to 12-8. They got a sparkling game from Rodrigue Beaubois, who poured in 22, grabbed 6 rebounds, dished 7 assists, and had 4 blocks. Lamar Odom had one of his best games of the season, chipping in 19. Paul Millsap lead the Jazz with 22.
This was, to put it bluntly, a game of ghosts and might-have-beens. When Jason Kidd left early with a leg injury guarding former Mavs point-guard-of-the-future Devin Harris, and Devin hit a couple of long threes shortly thereafter, it was a grim reminder of the Mavs' mortality, the bargain they made to win the championship last year. So, too, with Al Jefferson, who could have been a Mav for no more than two first round draft picks, and Josh Howard, long the Mavs' most poignant might-have-been.
But on this night, when a group of 20-something Mavs, ex-Mavs and might-have-been Mavs (acutally J-Ho is now 31, but I digress) faced the 400-year-old Actual Mavs, it was the youngest, most future-smelling Mav of them all who made the difference.
And, lads and lasses, I needed this one quite a bit.
That fact, incidentally, is a victory of passion over reason since needing a game, early in the season, when you’re without Dirk, Kidd, and Delonte West (so your best player and both your point guards) is not way up there on the list.
But the truth, as you’uns know, is that the Mavs have had a bad offense most games this season, but a more a wretched fact is that when they’ve had a GOOD offense, they’ve had a TERRIBLE habit of letting the other team hang around until their offense goes stale like fruit cake and then it’s over.
In other words, I was not real happy at half-time when the Mavs had finished near 60% in shooting and the Jazz mid-40s , and needed two Roddy shots and a Haywood tip in the last two minutes to keep it from being a two point game.
(Side note: Has any team ever been worse at non-4th end-of-quarter execution than the Mavs? The Hell is it?)
By 1:15 left in the third, when yet another Jazz player hit another easy shot to actually bring it within two, I was threatening to punch a cat "right in it’s furry (freaking) face" and mentally composing a game recap where I celebrated Roddy’s efforts, pointed out the absences, and tried not to be too down. Like, you know, last game against Minny.
Then something magic happened, other than Yi Jianlain’s miss, foul and kicked ball in the first two minutes of the fourth (seriously, how many photos does Yi have of Carlisle’s family? While guys who do nothing but produce like Wright, previously Roddy, and even Williams, Yi Jianlian has averaged 18 minutes the last two games. He’s hit 8 of 20 shots and been knocked down going for a rebound 37 times).
The magic thing was:
Roddy Beaubois drove to the hoop, causing the defense, keying on that since he’s magic first half, to collapse, then throwing it to Ian for the easy lay-in. Then drawing a foul on the other end. Then making a three.
Whammo, 9 point game.
Then it was Lamar Odom of all people, hitting two threes in a minute, who put the game out of reasonable reach.
I loved the beginning of this game, I hated the middle of it, the 3rd quarter of it endangered the faces of nearby felines, and I loved the fourth. However it looked, the fact that the Mavs have won three of four without Dirk is amazing.
The fact that Odom bounced back from maybe his worst game of the season to hit 7-12 for 19 was awesome. The fact that Jason Terry found his stroke enough , again, to throw in 18 was superb. The fact that Vince Carter looked so good, coming off his injury, adding 12 was super sweet.
I was amazed to see that he had only a few more points than Lamar and Terry, but the thing is, this was the best game Roddy’s ever played. Yes, he scored 40 against Golden State that one time. Lots of guys can score 40, every now and again.
Today, he had 22, while shooting 60%, shot 60% from three, grabbed six rebounds, dished out SEVEN assists, many of them of the awesome variety, and blocked FOUR shots. Seven in the last two games combined. 11 in the last 5.
Roddy Beaubois, six foot nothing (6’1"), two hundred nothing (185 pounds), not a speck of athletic ability (so much. Like lots)---shot-blocker.
And the thing is, the actual thing is, is he was in complete control of the game from minute one. He was the initiator. He was always calm. He probed. He shot when open. He passed. It was magnetic. It’s what Rick’s been waiting for.
And if somehow, Rick’s bizarre treatment of Roddy, while gifting the likes of Yi Jianlian 20 points a game, was the thing that changed him from a scorer to, tonight, a premier play-maker, abso-freakin’-lutely.
Anyway. The Mavs lost Jason Kidd again tonight, and it’s hard to say when he’ll be back. The really unfortunate thing is that this doesn’t matter very much. It’s not that Kidd can’t return to form (he was NEARLY as old last year, after all), but he hasn’t when he’s played this year and until he does the Mavs are probably better off without him. They don’t know when they’ll get Delonte back. They’ve been supposed to get Dirk back Sunday, but it’s certainly not a guarantee. After going through this trouble, they’re definitely not going to let Dirk play again until he’s actually ready.
And they will miss Kidd, incidentally, when Dirk comes back. Kidd may be shooting like a stormtrooper at the moment, but nobody else is as good at looking for Dirk where Dirk wants the ball, and hopefully that play will go back to being just what the Mavs need it to be.
For tonight, enjoy your team. On a night when the Wolves held the Spurs under 80, and the Magic got less than 10 points from everybody not named Dwight Howard, the Mavs got 16 +from four guys without their best scorer and their two PGs.
Very nice. Spurs on Sunday.