The Mavericks tried to build on the comeback against the Magic tonight and got bulldozed by the Clippers 94-75, who not only won the game but also picked up the tiebreaker (they take the season series 2-1). It pretty much means that the Mavericks can kiss a Top4 finish in the West goodbye and it's even worse: The Memphis Grizzlies and the Houston Rockets picked up unexpected wins at the Thunder and Bulls earlier tonight so that Dallas lost ground on multiple fronts, dropping to 6th in the Conference standings.
The Clippers are one of the better matchups for the Champions in the first round and this game certainly doesn't change it, because it wasn't actually a game. In my eyes the phrase "game" implies at least some sort of competitiveness and effort. Check: No and no. The Mavs played their worst offensive game of the season at home and their second worst game overall.
Jason Kidd missed tonight with a groin injury and the Mavs couldn't score points on the scoreboard and couldn't field any point guards either. Some French dude and someone with a taped right hand provided bodies to complete the lineup, but what they did really didn't fit the job description. It's hard to pinpoint single players on a night where the Mavs as a team simply provided their occasional, "not-trying-at-all"-brand of basketball (which fans are way to accustomed to this season), but if you find a label "PG" next to someones name in any boxscore, please inform the site owner that it has to be a mistake.
Onto the bullets:
- Rodrigue Beaubois played one of his worst games this season. It was the epitome of why the "Free Roddy" movement has crumbled. He actually started the game pretty well, hitting his first three when the defender went under the screen and then fed a trailing Dirk on the fastbreak, who finished with the layup. Then it went south. Pretty. Fast. Roddy struggled with his long shot lately, yet his only shots out of garbage time were five threes and he went 1-for-5. He couldn't beat anybody off the dribble against a defense that really isn't too good and looked lost in general. He also had the stupidest turnover of the night in the first half when he missed a wide-open Terry two feet right on a 10-feet attempt.
- The boxscore might not tell you, but Delonte West didn't do any better. He gathered three quick assists to Dirk in the first quarter, but as soon as the Clippers made it a little bit harder to get the ball to the German, he went clueless as well. He didn't penetrate, he didn't hit anybody on the pick and roll and he didn't hit shots.
- Add Vince Carter to the backcourt struggles. He had a favorable matchup against Randy Foye and couldn't take advantage early (took one shot and turned it over once), which led to an early sub in the first quarter. He contributed rebounding but his offensive game has disappeared since the All-Star Break and that didn't change tonight.
- Jason Terry also was a big part of the first half struggles, but he rebounded in the second with some aggressive moves to the basket and overall solid play, but that was too late. He also rushed a horrible three in transition again, but hey... it's "his shot", right?
- Dirk was hot early, hit his first 3 or 4 shots but then the Clippers realized, that all the other Mavs were 0-for-2765 and that it would be best to make it a bit harder to get the ball to Dirk. Fortunately the Mavs have Jason Kidd, who knows how to get the ball to him in such situa... oh wait.
- Haywood took three jumpers or so. That's all you need to know.
- Shawn Marion was Shawn Marion: Solid on the glass, solid on defense, but his shooting performance against the Magic was probably just a fluke. Whenever he spots up beyond the arc, you think that there has to be something wrong with the offensive system. Tonight he tried two of them, hit none.
- I felt like Brandan Wright had more problems finishing around the rim than usual, otherwise he did what he was supposed to do.
- Randy Foye set a new record for most threes by an opposing player this season. He hit eight. JET and Roddy did a terrific job of leaving him open and failing to close out while he was hot and the two best contests came from Brian Cardinal. Pathetic.