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Game Recap: New Look Mavs Notch First Win, 107-97

The Mavericks come into tonight’s game trying to quickly accommodate new teammates Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler while licking their wounds from a 13-point loss to the Thunder.  The Phoenix Suns are looking to steal one in Dallas and tip the season series in their favor.  Both teams are on the hunt and every win counts as the season heads toward its conclusion.

Are the "New Look Mavs" up to the challenge at home or do they wilt under the pressure?

Game as a Whole:

The Mavericks needed to prove to themselves that they could still win a basketball game. Standing in their way: a back-to-back against the Phoenix Suns.  Offensive rebounding and active defense got it done for Dallas tonight.  Whenever you can hold a high-octane offense like the Suns under 100 points for the night, you know you are doing something right. 

Haywood gets the start and immediately makes an impact by locking down the paint and sending back five shots.  Kidd gets into the act by chipping in a career-high seven steals, causing the Suns to lose their offensive continuity.  Finally, the fourth quarter was won on the back of offensive rebounding.  Every Dallas player was keyed in toward the end of the 4th, grabbing the offensive boards and securing another possession for the team.

The most exciting prospect of the night: the Mavericks haven’t even begun to play their best basketball. 

1st Quarter:
  • Late start happens due to the Duke/Miami FL game.  It was a pretty excellent primer to tonight’s action. 
  • Erick Dampier out, who knows for how long, can Maverick fans really complain?  It’s great to see Haywood get thrust right into the starting lineup. 
  • Suns start with the ball and Jason Richardson hits on a quick jump shot.  Let’s see how Amar’e plays with all the trade rumors. 
  • 11:08, Haywood deflects two shots in the paint.  Glad to see it isn’t going to be easy for the Suns down low. 
  • 10:44, Second straight night that Caron Butler airballs his first shot. 
  • 9:50, Great ball movement from Caron as he makes the swing pass.  Kidd doesn’t make the three.
  • 9:24, Shawn Marion has perfected that little "flip in the lane" shot.  I don’t know what you are supposed to call it.
  • 7:44, Haywood gets to post up a bit, Richardson picks up a foul on the play. 
  • 6:39, Nowitzki with the two handed flush.  Not often that you get to say that. 
  • The game currently looks like a track meet between both teams.  Mavericks still don’t look like they know now to play defense. 
  • 6:02, Butler picks up his first basket (a long two).
  • 4:52, Butler pulls up for another quick two and nails it.  He also grabs a defensive rebound.
  • 4:27, Haywood cleans up a miss that Nowitzki leaves at the front of the rim. 
  • 3:45, Welcome to the game Jason Terry.  Out goes the Matrix.
  • Does it feel like the Mavericks are running a lot more than they usually do?  Even with Phoenix scoring barrage in this quarter, the Mavericks have pulled to within four. 
  • 2:36, Nowitzki misses his first free throw of the game. 
  • 2:24, Najera in for Haywood.  Nowitzki slides over to the five.  The Suns, on their first possession against this unit, had to take a really bad shot. 
  • :49.6, Kidd shows how much he wants to win by taking the ball coast-to-coast. 
  • Dallas closes the first on an 11-0 run.  Switching all picks has worked well for the Mavericks. 
2nd Quarter:
  • 11:48, Defensive three second on the Suns.
  • Even though Najera doesn’t give you a lot of offense, you have to appreciate the hustle that he brings when it comes to chasing down rebounds and setting picks.
  • Déjà vu here, Phoenix Suns bench comes in and immediately starts sticking it to Dallas. 
  • 9:19, Barea finally forces the issue and takes it straight to the basket.  He gets a foul in the process. 
  • 8:51, Haywood is back off the bench and looking to score.
  • 7:30, Barea hits a deep two, Mavericks are in command with a six-point lead. 
  • 7:08, Haywood is really anchoring the paint.  He sends back a shot, which leads to a Mavericks score on the other end. 
  • 6:51, Catching a pass in traffic, Haywood spins and draws a foul.  Nice when your center goes to work.
  • 4:46, Nowitzki forces Nash into a shot clock violation.  Usually it is Nash who gets the better of that match up. 
  • 3:33, Haywood gets a block on Nash.  He is also doing some pretty good work on Amar’e. 
  • Amar’e currently is at 17 points while the rest of the team has only scored 22.  You really still want to trade this guy?
  • 2:23, Robin Lopez gets a dunk, Haywood counters with a dunk of his own. 
  • 1:09, Nice change on the defensive end, Haywood stays at home on Robin Lopez during the pick and roll. 
3rd Quarter:
  • Drew Gooden gets traded again (now he is with the Clippers).  One can only hope that he gets a buyout and can rejoin the Mavericks. 
  • Haywood is currently 4 for 4 from the field. 
  • 11:41, Caron gets the first bucket of the 2nd half.
  • 11:18, Nowitzki blocks Amar’e and gets the ball thrown off his head in the process.
  • 10:55, Even Marion gets into the act by hitting a short jumper.
  • 10:13, Haywood is now 5 for 5.  Definitely showing his worth.
  • 9:13, Kidd with back-to-back threes and the Mavericks go up by 15.  All smiles on the Dallas bench right now. 
  • 8:55, Butler goes in for the dunk on the fast break draws a foul instead.
  • 8:06, Grant Hill prevents a Shawn Marion basket on the 1v1 fast break.  Marion really needed to try to dunk the basketball.
  • 7:36, Marion throws down a trailing lay up.  Dallas is not letting off the gas.
  • 5:54, ESPN announcers are now talking about how Butler and Haywood add "grit’ to the Mavericks.  Do you all agree?
  • Carlisle takes a time out as the Mavericks have slowed a bit. 
  • 3:40, Dirk drops in a bucket to keep the Suns at bay.  Suns commit a turnover on their next possession. 
  • 1:39, Butler gets a steal and Jason Kidd gets the hoop on the other end.  Shouldn’t that actually be the other way around?
  • :36.7, Terry takes it straight into the lane and earns a trip to the line. 
  • Butler has extremely active hands on the defensive end.  He has been constantly trying to poke the ball loose from Dudley.
4th Quarter:
  • 11:38, Steal by Jason Kidd and a long outlet pass leads to a Jason Terry basket.  Start the quarter off strong.
  • 11:00, Amar’e sends back a Marion dunk.  That’s going to be on an Amar’e poster at some point.
  • 10:07, Richardson can barely keep up with Kidd as he races up the floor. 
  • 9:30, Dallas is letting the Suns second unit creep slowly back into the game. 
  • 8:00, Terry jacks up what has to be the most ill advised three of the game.  He could have easily taken it against Dudley. 
  • Mavericks are back on their heels now due to the Suns rediscovering their three-point shooting. 
  • 6:31, Butler has gotten a bucket, a key rebound, and a steal in less than 10 seconds.  You have to like the activity. 
  • 5:06, After two missed shots and two offensive rebounds, Dirk finally puts it in the bucket for Dallas. 
  • 4:22, It is officially "Nowitzki time".  Dirk is starting to take the game over, high banker off the glass. 
  • 2:46, Haywood has five blocks on the night.  Kidd has six steals.  Defense has been better tonight.  
  • 2:29, Butler makes the extra pass to Terry who hits a huge three.  No one was more excited than Butler as the Mavericks headed back down the floor.
  • 1:35, Nowitzki and Hill get into each other, a double technical ensues. 
  • :52.1, The Mavericks secure two offensive rebounds on another trip down the floor.  Offensive rebounding has killed the Suns tonight. 
  • Jason Kidd gets a career high in steals (7) tonight. 
  • Butler gets to dribble out the clock and he points out to the crowd.

Some Choice Statistics:

  • Josh Howard gets 14 points in his Washington Wizards debut. 
  • The Mavericks are decidedly middle-of-the-pack when it comes to their defense.  They are number 15 out of 30 in points allowed (99.5). 
  • Tim Thomas is out indefinitely for personal reasons.  Don’t know what that is all about. 

Closing Thoughts:

Can’t wait for the Mavericks to get more practice under their belt.