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Quick Look At Game Two

I haven't had time to put together a comprehensive post like I would have liked, but I definitely have some strong feelings about game one, some of them perhaps unexpected. Suffice to say that the rule-of-thumb that the Mavs should do the opposite of what the Dallas Morning News' Jean-Jacques Taylor recommends is in effect here.

Taylor recommends the Mavs get physical and unleash some hard fouls on the Nuggets. This is absolute stupidity, as it was a lack of discipline and a huge foul discrepency that killed the Mavs in the first game. What the Mavs need to do is foul less not more. One of the reasons the Mavs fouled a lot is due to their weak defense--when you can't stop a person with your defense, the last gasp is to foul him. The good news is that this actually worked for the Mavs in a sense, since the Nuggets were well below their normal offensive performance of late. Still, you don't want to make a habit of using the free throw line as your core defense. Ultimately, it will start taking your players off the floor.

The real story of the game to my view was the 20 turnovers. Further down the page in my game preview I recommended that the Mavs play fast and with discipline. This strategy undercuts Denver's best defense, which is aggressive and gambling in nature. In short, if you make good judgments on the court, Denver's defense can be frustrated. Unfortunately, the Mavs fell right into the Nuggets trap and played a horrible offensive game thanks to their lack of discipline.

The interesting thing for me is that I'm more optimistic about this series after the game one loss than I was heading into the series. Our defense did an admirable job against a first-rate offense, and our offense showed that it was missing one piece: Discipline. If you were to tell me that the critical adjustment heading into game two for the Mavs was to show better control and judgment on the offensive side of the ball three days ago, I'd be quite happy about the Mavs chances, and that's where I'm at today.

So let's not fall into Jean-Jacques Taylor's knee jerk reactionism. All the Mavs need to do is show more discipline, and they very well may steal home court advantage.