USA TODAY Sports
Dirk-less Dallas heads to Phoenix
What is there to say at this point? I'm not sure. I'm demoralized as a fan. On paper this team is pretty good. In action the team really can surprise me. Unfortunately about half those surprises are horrible. I don't even know what to write about anymore because they keep finding new and different ways to lose games. Barring some of the really terrible blow outs in 2012, these 2013 Mavericks have fought the good fight and came up short more often than not, particularly in games where there's a single digit margin as the game winds down.
But, we all must trudge on. Together. Seeing as Dallas is playing without Dirk, the game should be pretty interesting. Or as interesting as two teams playing for nothing can be.
I suspect we'll continue to see heavy doses of youth, with Brandan Wright and Sarge getting chances. I've been pleased with their play, I think everyone has been actually, but they have clear weaknesses. As much as I've ranted about Jae Crowder recently I hope he keeps getting time, but we need to see him learn from his mistakes. I am exhausted with his long jumper routine.
Marion will continue to be brilliant because he's a true professional. I hope we all value watching him because he's a truly unique player in NBA history. He'll give all of the bigs and forwards on Phoenix trouble, despite being the second night of a back to back. Vince Carter seems to enjoy playing against the Suns; he very likely could explode this game.
O.J. Mayo will keep being Mayo. He really isn't very good in terms of team basketball. He puts up some great stats, but gives up just as many or more points as he scores in most circumstances. I enjoy watching him play but he strikes me as a great player on a lottery team (in perpetuity). He needs to stop taking steps back with each he takes forward. I suspect we see him get to the free throw line a lot tonight.
The Suns are better than their record, just like Dallas is. Goran Dragic and Martin Gortat possess the talents to light Dallas on fire, particularly if they get going early. Michael Beasley has been playing well as of late; Dallas needs to keep him in check from the moment he enters the game. Ball control and rebounding will be key against the Suns.
Dallas should win. But will they? It's the second night of a back to back on game three of a road trip which has seen two horrible losses. The guys could very well come out and get steam rolled. Hope for the best and expect the worst people. It's going to be a long road to finish the season.