David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
The Dallas Mavericks had a brutal welcome in Toronto, falling to the Raptors 95-74 in a game that wasn't as close as it sounds. Shawn Marion went for 12-13 on 4-7 shooting, no one scored more than Chris Kaman's 15 (on 7-18 shooting), and no one besides Marion grabbed more than Marion and Brand's 5. For the Raptors, Linas Kleiza had his second 20 point game of the season, and Calderon and DeRozan each chipped in 14.
Why do the Mavericks keep getting blown out?
Why do they keep turning it over 9 million times?
Why can't they grab a rebound?
I honestly don't know, but here's the problem. Any team can go on a slide at any time. Any team can lose to a terrible team. But if you lose in the same way every time, it's not a fluke. And since Dirk may help with the rebounding, and MAY help with the turnovers, but not that much, and since he is unlikely to do much for the defense, the Mavericks have-if it somehow wasn't obvious-a serious problem. The rebounding is particularly strange, since one would think the Mavericks would play their two best rebounders, Brand and James, but they don't. It's a fine excuse to say they're currently offensive zeros, but then, the Mavericks scored 74 points this game without them.
There are all kinds of things to say about how bad tonight was. Chris Kaman shot under 35% and took twice as many shots as anyone else. OJ Mayo only took 8, only made 2, and it's clear that the consistent double-teams he's seeing are wearing him out-how much of that can be attributed to his play and how much to the lack of any other consistent perimeter scorers on this team is hard to say. Vince Carter, obviously feeling the pressure of a mixed reaction threw up a 1-8 highlighted by horrible shot selection. Only Marion had what you could call a good game.
The Mavs lost the turnover battle by a lot, the rebounding battle by a lot, and the o-boarding by a huge amount. Seems like anybody could punch a rebound out to the perimeter to get an o-board, but the Raps consistently did it and the Mavericks certainly did not.
In what continues to be a mystery--or not really a mystery since we know why it's happening but it nevertheless feels as if the Mavs have other fish to fry-- Brandan Wright came off the bench to score 12 points in only 14 minutes, on 6-6 shooting. Yes, he didn't record a rebound or block a shot. It was nevertheless more than 15% of the points the Mavs scored tonight.
But...honestly of course, it's hard for me to get upset about this tonight. The Mavericks will regret this loss, as they will regret the last one, because the schedule over the next week is much harder than the schedule of the previous week. But there was a national tragedy today, and though I'm not going to say any more about it, it is just basketball. Tonight, that's all it's going to be.