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Thunder Drop Mavs 87-83, Bench Lone Bright Spot

Well, that's it. After two games, the Mavericks preseason wraps up, with a Christmas Day showdown with the Miami Heat on the horizon. Unfortunately, in what would be the closest the Mavs would have to a "dress-rehearsal" game, a majority of Dallas' rotation players looked disengaged, lifeless and downright bad. The bench was another story, making what was a runaway into a close score.

Bullets after the jump:

  • Jerome Randle, I believe a roster spot is in order. An undrafted rookie that couldn't stick with Orlando or Washington after brief preseason stints, Randle definitely impressed in a short amount of time, tonight being his finest effort. After displaying some sharp passing skills and respectable court vision in Game 1, Randle decided to show off his potential as a scoring guard tonight. Randle finished with 17 points on seven shots, including two made-threes. He displayed a certain confidence in going about his business and handled himself well slashing to the basket and controlling his body. There were times when Randle seemed to forget he 5'10'' (a couple of hilariously over-emphatic shots being blocked as a result) but still, the kid has something, and if it isn't in Dallas, Randle showed he deserves to be on an NBA roster.
  • I'm trying to think of reasons for why Brandan Wright can't get 15-20 minutes a game this season. And I'm drawing blanks. Scoring 12 points in a little over 16 minutes and making all but one of his seven shots, Wright's problems in his short career has never had to do with talent or ability: it's been opportunity and health. Buried on the bench of some lousy Warrior teams and then plagued by injuries, Wright never got to show off his lottery pick talent. Tonight, he did, with a silky smooth post game that reminded me a bit of a bigger and more athletic Antawn Jamison. Wright still has a ways to go in defensive rotation, but the boost he can provide with Dirk goes to the bench seem very viable in a supporting role. With Corey Brewer gone, the Mavs will most likely use Odom more at the three which, in my view, should open up some minutes at the four for Wright.
  • Brendan Haywood was so bad tonight, I lost 10 years off my life
  • Seriously.
  • He was bad.
  • What?
  • It's the preseason? Lighten up? Fine. It is the preseason and there's no need to panic, but Haywood's performance tonight was absolutely dreadful. There wasn't anything to redeem himself as he looked downright meager on the defensive end and downright brain dead on the offensive. Haywood took a few liberties with some possessions (it's the preseason, yadda, yadda, etc.) but under no circumstances should Haywood ever attempt a face-up 12-footer. How about we make more than 40 percent of our free throws first, hm? Haywood's most notable disappearance came on the glass. He created no extra opportunities and was absolutely manhandled by Kendrick Perkins and the rest of the Oklahoma City frontline, a big reason why the Thunder crushed the Mavs 51-39 on the glass. Tonight's performance doesn't have to be Haywood's mean for the season, tonight could have been just an aloof, meaningless preseason game, but rest assured, if Haywood plays a majority of the season like he did tonight, there will be many future "two minutes into the third quarter benchings."
  • The rest of the starters weren't much better. Dirk Nowitzki definitely took it easy, looking to just get some shots up as he didn't really feel like rebounding or playing much help defense. Lamar Odom knocked down a couple of three's in the first quarter, only to float around the rest of the game and make some careless passes. Jason Kidd had 17 rather OK minutes of time. Dominique Jones still needs work on his jumper. Rodrigue Beaubois had the same feast/famine type play.
  • Dallas is going to put itself behind the eight-ball if it solely relies on Ian Mahinmi as its back up center. Loving Ian's energy, hustle and pure athleticism is one thing, but Mahinmi simply can't be counted on for a consistent 20 minutes (or possibly more) to back up Haywood. Too many times Mahinmi finds himself in the wrong place on defense and unable to finish on offense due to just being raw. Mahinmi can prove me wrong in the regular season, for sure, but it'll be tough for him to adjust and stay on the court given his inclination toward fouling and being out of position.
That's about all I have on this game for now. Bring on the Heat...and hopefully some stable and concrete lineups.