Maybe on some level, we haven’t given the Mavs’ enough credit. Yes, they’ve struggled of late. But considering that every single player has been struggling, and that they were missing two of their three best one-on-one defenders (Delonte and Lamar), maybe their 22-13 record since the first three games in the season is actually pretty good. Especially also given that they ditched half their team and pulled on another half without even a training camp, akin to you and I stealing a pair of jeans while running through Old Navy, and trying to put them on without stopping.
Not that I’ve had personal experience with that, or anything. Incidentally, it puts me in mind of those old Encyclopedia Brown novels—are you guys too young for that reference?---there was some case Encyclopedia solved by claiming that Bugsy’s story was implausible, since Bugsy could never have put something in his left pocket with his right hand while running, which seemed like a flimsy case.
It’s possible, too, that we have given the Mavs too MUCH credit. After all, opposing centers have scored approximately 30,000 points a game against the Mavericks, these last five, which is exactly what you’d expect if you gave up your best center and didn’t replace him with much. And if jump-shooting is just going to be down all across the league because of the lockout, who could be hurt worse than the Mavs? Other than the rim.
So the question is, are the Mavs a team playing well below potential, or about at it? Is this season going to get better, or a lot worse? How come all the crimes in Encyclopedia Brown’s neighborhood were so stupid?
Here’s an interesting fact for you: if you ignore Dirk’s insanely good game against the Jazz, then 9 of Dirk’s last 17 made field goals have been three-pointers. I’m not a mathematician, but since he took 41 shots in the two games which that number covers, made 17, and 9 of those were threes, that means, again besides Utah, he’s hit 8 of 24 on shots inside the arc in that time. If you throw in the game before that, in which he hit 7 shots, 3 of which were threes, you get 24 made shots, 12 of which were threes (50%), which means 12 of 42 on two-pointers over the last three non-Jazz games.
That’s weird, right? Especially given that nobody has shot the two better more or less in the history of the league.
Does that mean his shot is there—since he mostly shoots the three when open—but his rhythm isn’t? Maybe. Can that get better? That would make a big difference.
Here’s an interesting fact: The Jet is shooting 40% over the last 10 games, 37% in three games in March. He also had a great game against Utah, going 8-15 and 3-6 from three. Besides that, he’s gone 19 of 57 over the last four. That includes 6 for 25 from three.
That’ll probably get better, right? It wouldn’t even be that much of a problem now, since Terry has gone from the Mavs second option every game to one of about four equally mediocre second options, were it not for the Jet’s irrational confidence. I could be wrong, but I think the Mavs win that game last night, if not for Terry’s play at the end.
But what can you do about Terry’s irrational confidence? There’s no question the Mavs wouldn’t have a ring without it. This is a guy who tattooed the Larry O’Brien on his bicep then played a huge role in winning the Larry O’Brien. What can you do? If you die as yourself, at least no one is confused.
Here’s an interesting fact pour votre pleasure: given the complete lack of an athletic center, and the absence of Delonte West and until recently Lamar Odom, Shawn Marion is going to look like a worn-down pencil eraser by the end of the year. Although Roddy B actually played some terrific D on Westbrook last night.
Here's an interesting fact: Not once, and I mean once, did Encyclopedia Brown's Police Chief father come home with a crime he needed his son to solve that involved a dead prostitute in a quarry, or even a stabbing.
Here are your two potential realities: #1) Mavs have had some struggles that are actually pretty understandable, they’re going to break out of them sooner or later, they’re going to get Delonte back soon and be just as deep and dangerous as they were earlier in the season. Remember, you don’t have to be bad to lose to the Thunder, especially when they take 900 more free throws than you, and two, nobody saw last year’s title run coming either or
#2) This is not the Mavericks’ year, we hope they make it look respectable enough to get some quality FA additions and hope Dirk’s window stays open a lil’bit longer.
What do you think?