Milwaukee has not been a happy place for the Mavericks this season.
The 20 point rally to end the twelve game winning streak was bad enough. Coupled with this game, where the already short-handed Mavericks watched Caron Butler go down to injury early and shots not go down late, its safe to say that the Mavericks really don't mind not returning to the Bradley Center this year.
The Mavericks showed resiliency in the first half. As the rash of injuries ravaged the Mavericks, they quickly fell behind, trailing by 13 at one point. For a moment, it seemed like the Mavericks had given up and the game was about to turn into a blowout, but they climbed back into the game to close the lead to 52-50, led by Barea's 16 in the 2nd quarter.
The second half was close for most of the game, with the Mavericks even taking the lead, briefly, in the middle of the third. However, as the fourth quarter drew to a close, nothing could find its way into the net. The Mavericks made just two field goals in the final five minutes, and did not score a single point in the final two. Still, even the 37.5% shooting for the Mavericks might have been enough if they had not allowed Milwaukee to shoot at a blistering 49.4%.
- No official word has been given on the severity of Caron Butler's knee injury, however, early reports say his wife was summoned from the stands. That's not very promising. Hope for the best, though, because with the way Butler had been playing, he's critical to this team.
- In other injury news, Earl K. Sneed reported that Ian Mahinmi did receive four stitches due to an elbow to the head, but he did return in the 4th quarter to play a few minutes, so he should be fine other than a nice old headache tonight.
- If the Mavericks had one, the story would be obvious: Jose Juan Barea. He's been ridiculed, slandered, and cursed by the Mavericks fandom, but when he was needed most, he stepped up and posted a career night. How do I describe his night? Relentless. He attacked over and over, as he always does. He's well aware that he's no where near six feet tall, though, pulling up for short jumpers, drawing contact before spinning away to hit an arcing, floating rainbow of a shot, or just plowing in to get the foul and earn free throws. From outside, he was able to hit several times, just enough to keep the defense honest, merely setting him up for his penetration he does so well. His 29 points were so full of energy and effort, and at least for a day, Barea deserves a reprieve from whatever criticism people would like to throw his way.
- How can I say enough about Jason Kidd? If Dirk is the heart of this team, keeping everything pumping and working right (we've seen what's happened when you don't have a heart the past few nights), then Jason Kidd is the soul. Despite the Mavericks missing four of their top players due to injuries (the fourth being Beaubois...it's been so long it's easy to forget), he's making play after play, and then trying to make a dozen more than at 37 he just simply can't. Got to like the missed pull up jumpers and errant passes, because despite the results, you know that its just a guy trying to hard to make his team win.
- And even though he can't make as many plays, Kidd still goes and posts 14 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds, 6 steals and a block. He's truly amazing.
- Unfortunately, Haywood can snap out of his major slump. In his nine minutes, he missed three of four free throws during hack-a-Haywood, tossed up an ugly looking hook early off an offensive rebound, and committing a technical for no apparent reason by pushing Bogut who was already falling out of bounds after a jump ball call. From everything reported, he's working as hard as he can to fix his issues, but he just can't snap out of this rut. Ian Mahinmi is looking more and more appealing as a backup option to Chandler. I think that the Mavericks will keep believing in Haywood for as long as they can, but nights like this will not help their confidence in him.