If you watched this game not knowing who the rebuilding team with an aging superstar was, you left either not knowing (because we’re assuming it’s still the Suns) or being right that it’s the Mavs.
If I told you that what happened in this game is that the Mavs gave up a comfortable lead, went down by ten in the fourth and had a chance to win or tie at the end that they squandered, you wouldn’t be able to pick that game out of a lineup.
Bullets! Of the sort used to shoot games like this, like the suffering animals they are.
Dirk was an extremely efficient 8-15 for 18 points, as usual, he can’t get a call to save his life (2 free throws), and as usual he didn’t touch the ball in the last two possessions, as cocksure and significantly worse players jacked up wild shots, too early in the shot clock.
Sean Williams was surprisingly good, with 4 points, 3 o-boards, 2 monster blocks, and was the only bench player to finish in the positive in +/-.
The question, as usual, is how deep this problem goes. Jason Terry played 20 minutes and got only 7 shots, because Jason Terry is playing terribly and deserves only 20 minuets and 7 shots, at best. The Mavs have been relying on a 1 and a ½ star system for years, with Dirk and Terry. It’s now Dirk and the incredibly vanishing Terry. I’ll be honest, I remember thinking Terry was just as washed up at this point last season. When he’s not hitting, he’s not good for anything, because of his terrible decision making. We’ll see. But without him, the Mavs don’t have a semblance of a reliable second scorer.
The overwhelming feeling I had watching this game was that for the full second half, the Suns hit all of their shots and got contributions from everybody. It isn’t true. What is true is that the Suns did shoot 70% from the start of the second half to halfway through the fourth. What’s not true is that the Mavs didn’t also get contributions from everybody. Five players had 12 or more. They had a four man bench to Phoenix’s six, but they scored 30 to Phoenix’s 31.
So how come it looked like the Mavs offense was entirely broken for all of the second half? I literally thought they weren’t going to score again in the fourth, after the first two minutes. And I was actually 100% correct from 10:02 left in the fourth to 5:47, in which the Suns built their three point lead to an eleven point one. Was it just Dirk being out? I don’t know.
Ian Mahimni had a horrible game. 0-2, 4 points, 2 rebounds. Gortat’s 16-12 could have been a lot worse. Lamar Odom played one of his best games at a Mav, scoring 15 points on 6-10 shooting, looking basically active. Roddy Beabuois was terrible. His second-to-last shot was bad luck, and should have gone down. His last shot was more open than anyone should possibly be at that stage in the game. Still, Carlisle better keep playing him. There’s no one else.
The Mavs got 13 free throws to Phoenix’s 27, got outrebounded 42-38, and still should have won this game going away. They didn’t though, which is becoming a bit too common this season. The Mavs closing lineup was Mahimni, Dirk, Kidd, Carter and Marion, which is pretty weird. The final lineup took out Mahimni and put in Roddy, which was also weird. I guess, with Terry and Lamar playing the way they’ve been playing, Delonte and Haywood out, it’s pretty hard to find the answers.
See you tomorrow.