Mavs vs. Bucks: Oops, we did it again

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes, the headlines just write themselves.

+ With a 95-90 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, your Dallas Mavericks are now 26-31 on the season. Here's their next four games: at Memphis, at Brooklyn, at Houston, vs. Houston. It's probably time to table the playoff discussion. At this point, are they even going to be able to shave their .500 beards? Of their 16 games in March, only 3 are against non-playoff teams. That's why all this tanking talk is a bit premature, by the end of the month, I'm not sure anyone's going to be able to tell the difference.

+ If there's a positive to take out of this game, it's Dirk. We'll see how he responds on the second night of a back-to-back tomorrow, but that's two straight games where he's looked like the All-NBA player we all remember. This was his first 20/20 game since 2003! He was active, attacking the glass and hitting some of his customary one-legged fade-aways. At the very least, it will be fun to watch one of the greatest players of all-time get back to work over the rest of the season. Enjoy it while you can Mavs fans.

+ While Darren Collison had a decent 8 assist to 3 turnover ratio tonight, this game is exactly why I've pretty much given up on him. He just doesn't seem to have a great feel for the action, in terms of when to slow it down and run the offense to get the right guys shots. Dirk was 8/16 and Collison was 5/15 ... that should never happen. If you've got 100% Dirk on the floor, there's really no excuse for getting a bad shot in a half-court set, yet Collison sure seems to find himself taking a lot of them. He's also an inconsistent perimeter shooter and a sub-par defender. How many starting PG's in the NBA is Collison better than? That's an honest question.

+ If you enjoy small guards with questionable shot selection, than you were in paradise on Tuesday night. Milwaukee check-raised the Collison/James duo with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. The Jennings/Ellis experiment really hasn't gone all that well, which isn't exactly the most shocking development in the world. If I was the Bucks, I would start JJ Redick tomorrow and stagger Jennings and Ellis minutes as much as possible. They desperately need Redick on the floor because the floor spacing for their starters is terrible. I'm really not surprised the Mavs got out to an 11-0 start because the Bucks had Jennings (iffy shooter), Ellis (terrible shooter) and Mbah A Moute (terrible shooter) on the perimeter.

+ Not exactly a showcase performance for Jennings, huh? I'd still take him over Ellis, who might have the worst shot selection in the NBA, but Jennings sure doesn't look like a guy you need to break the bank for in free agency. Watching Jennings and Collison go head-to-head really makes you appreciate Tony Parker, because speed isn't enough to be an efficient player in the NBA. Parker is just automatic on those floaters while the two PG's we watched tonight ... are not.

+ If Dallas had won the game, the story would have been the dominating rebounding performance from Elton Brand and Dirk. Those two looked like they got hooked up to a Hot Tub Time Machine tonight. Brand matched Dirk's 20/20 with a 12/14 night of his own. I'm kind of ambivalent about keeping a 33-year old on the downside of his career around long-term, but I guess I could live with Brand coming back next season on a minimum salary contract.

+Going in the opposite direction is Chris Kaman, who really doesn't look like he has a place on this team. The Mavs rotation at the 5 makes sense to me: Sarge James starts and provides a defensive presence, Brand is your all-around guy and Wright is someone you can bring off the bench for an instant offensive boost. Kaman might be useful to bang around with someone like Marc Gasol tomorrow, but for the most part, I think he's best used as a seat warmer going forward. Josh Bowe had some good thoughts on his role on the team today.

+I've been a huge Wright proponent for most of the season, and while he had his customary hyper-efficient offensive night (4-6 for 10 points in 11 minutes) on Tuesday, I can see why he exasperates Carlisle so much. The guy just cannot play solid individual defense. Whenever he's isolated, you can just tell he's hoping his man bails him out by passing. He let Mbah A Moute take him off the dribble and get an and-1 at the end of the first half. That's impressive. I don't feel like looking up his Synergy stats, but I don't imagine Mbah A Moute's 1-on-1 offense rates very highly.

+ Anthony Morrow played only 4 minutes tonight and looked pretty lost out there. I love his shooting, but he's a SG on a team with OJ Mayo and Vince Carter, so I don't know if they'll be able to find him minutes. Maybe he can take Jae Crowder's, but at some point, Dallas has to play their young players.

+ Looking back at it now, maybe they should have held on to Dahntay Jones. He's a guy you could have thrown on Ellis when he got hot in the fourth quarter; the Mavs don't really have perimeter stopper. Now, if a PG or a SG goes off, Marion is the only guy who might be able to slow them down and you really need his defense in the front-court. I just saw a replay of Monta's game-winning shot with less than a minute left; he shot over Collison like he was a chair. Ugh.

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