After a 3-0 week, the Mavs have the second-longest winning streak in the NBA. Feel free to preorder your championship t-shirt.
But seriously, lots of positives to talk about this week. The Mavs have gone from losing 6 in a row to winning 4 in a row and 5 out of 6, and a healthy(-ish) roster has a lot to do with it.
1) Tyson Chandler
Chandler is quickly becoming a fixture of the Hot list, having now appeared here three out of the last four weeks. This week, he brought scoring. Lots of it. Chandler dropped 21 points against the Clippers, 21 points (and 15 rebounds) against the height-challenged Rockets, and 12 points against the Hawks. Not bad for a guy who supposedly had offensive game only because Chris Paul was setting him up with easy lobs. Even Mike Tyson is impressed: http://www.mavsmoneyball.com/2011/1/29/1963116/lol-hilarious#comments .
2) Jason Terry
Finally. Since a fantastic week in late December, JET has been consistently underwhelming. That changed this week. JET fired off 28 points on 11-of-22 (50%) shooting against the Clippers, including 22 during the second half. He then had a serviceable (albeit inefficient) performance against the Rockets, scoring 15 points on 4-of-12 (33%) shooting while also tallying 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Finally, against his former team, the Atlanta Hawks, JET notched 18 points on 5-of-11 (45%) shooting and a season-high 11 assists.
3) Jose Juan Barea
It was an impressive week for the Puerto Rican sensation. Coqui. Barea started off by punking Los Angeles Clippers guard Baron Davis, whose career highlight reel would probably consist 60% of games against the Mavs. Playing an instrumental role in an impressive Mavs comeback, Barea torched Davis and the Clippers' defense for 25 points on 9-of-12 (75%) shooting, including 3-of-4 (75%) from deep. Barea also played exceedingly well against the Rockets, tallying 19 points on 8-of-10 (80%) shooting, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists. Most importantly, Barea hit a tough jumper with under one minute left to ice the game after the Mavs had blown a 25-point first-half lead.
1) The Southwest Division race
It's not really the Mavs' fault, as they did everything they could by going 3-0, but the division race remains a snoozer. As of right now, the San Antonio Spurs are up 8.5 games on the Mavs, who are three games ahead of the New Orleans Hornets in the loss column. Even with a 3-0 week, the Mavs failed to gain any ground on the Spurs, who continue to cash in on their deal with Lucifer promising no significant injuries this season.
2) Team rebounding
The Mavs were outrebounded 32-30 by the Clippers, but they outrebounded the Hawks 41-38. Let's call that a wash. The real issue here is that the Mavs were somehow outrebounded 42-40 by a Houston Rockets team whose starting center is 6'6" Chuck Hayes and whose tallest rotation player is 6'10" Jordan Hill (who played only 10 minutes). And that was despite Tyson Chandler collecting 15 rebounds (see above). The biggest culprit was probably a still-hobbled Dirk Nowitzki, who played almost 35 minutes but snagged only 2 rebounds. Of course, the Rockets actually rank significantly higher than the Mavs in rebounding rate (15th versus 22nd), but that's a whole other discussion we may need to have down the road.
That's it for this week. Per tradition, we'll omit a third Cold item in honor of the Mavs not losing a game. See you next Monday.