On the second night of yet another back-to-back, the Mavs fell to the Timberwolves, 106-112. This is the Mavs' second home loss.
With Calderon still recovering from injury, Gal Mekel got his first NBA start at point guard tonight. The first quarter saw both teams essentially keep up with each other shot for shot. Dirk started out fairly hot, as did Monta Ellis, which was nice to see early as he had a couple rough shooting nights coming into this game. At the end of the first, the Mavs were down 29-24.
In the second quarter, the T-Wolves started off with some key rebounding and a little run, but some key shots by "Sugar" Shane Larkin and DeJuan Blair got the score back within two pretty quickly. But the Mavs couldn't quite pull ahead, and Minnesota again pulled away a bit. The Mavs would end the quarter down 47-54 on a crazy Dirk 15 footer to beat the buzzer.
The third quarter saw the Mavs mount a slow comeback, tying it up with a little under seven minutes left, and going ahead on a Monta trey shortly thereafter. The teams would trade leads throughout the rest of the quarter, with Monta heating up a little, but the Wolves went on a little run at the end of the quarter and the score was 77-84 heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter saw a lot of suspect calls and non-calls on the Mavs, but they didn't seem to do themselves any favors by having VC at point for a good portion of the quarter with some weird sets and shot selection. But again, the Mavs would get it close about halfway through, with who else...Monta and Dirk...providing the sparks. But they couldn't sustain the rally and ultimately lost their second at home.
- Although point guard play wasn't horrible if you consider that the two main options were two rookies (Mekel and Larkin), the Mavs sorely miss Jose Calderon. Regardless of the stats, the game just had a much more disorganized feel to it with either of those guys at point, especially in the fourth quarter. Carlisle mentioned in his postgame press conference that if Calderon is out for any extended period of time (though they hope to have him back for Charlotte), they will probably use Monta at point to close games going forward. Get well soon, Devin Harris.
- There was a weird stretch in the second half where Vince Carter was running point for an uncomfortable few minutes. It seems clear that Carlisle is committed to trying different looks for Vince to try to get him back into something comfortable. The fall-off from last season continues to be unfortunate, and I'm certainly rooting for him to turn things around.
- The officiating in this game was certainly not helpful, and I'm being charitable there. There were a number of calls made against the Mavs that were flat out wrong -- a couple of offensive charges come to mind. And Dirk continues to be the only superstar who can't command foul calls. On one in particular, he took an elbow to the face from Ricky Rubio that actually drew blood, and yet there was no call. In a game where little things really mattered, those calls/non-calls add up.
- This was the second game in a row that was "winnable" that the Mavs lost. I'm much more disturbed by the first loss to the Hawks, but being on the second night of a back to back isn't an excuse. The Mavs scored 106 tonight and it wasn't enough -- they simply must find something more consistent on defense to win these games against teams that also have offensive firepower.
- Speaking of offensive firepower, it was really nice to see Monta have a great stat line after a couple off games. Monta and Dirk combined this game: 49 points on 19-28 shooting, 12 assists, 11 rebounds, 4 turnovers. Their individual stats in those categories were about the same, give or take. Shame to waste a game like that from your superstars (plural!!!)
- DeJuan Blair continues to impress off the bench. Eleven points on 5-8 shooting with 2 steals and 8 rebounds. He leads the league in total rebound percentage and is in the top 5 in a number of other statistical categories. Not a bad pickup at all.
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