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Mavericks Final Score: Dallas Finally Loses to Charlotte, 97-101

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Mavs stop rebounding in the 4th quarter and lose for the first time ever to the Charlotte Bobcats.

George Frey

Well that was just pathetic. I am furious beyond words and we'll get to the why shortly but before trampling our favorite team, respect must be paid to the Bobcats of Charlotte. They played hard, never gave up, and earned that victory down the stretch.

Kemba Walker was amazing with 26 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, and 8 steals. EIGHT STEALS. He's not a big guy and I kept thinking throughout the first three quarters that he would make a heck of a sixth man for a great team. He just kept coming and that relentless style of play rewarded his team with a win tonight. Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist showed why he was the number two overall pick of the 2012 draft tonight, with 25 points and 12 rebounds, five of them offensive. Heck, all of the Bobcats played well at some point against Dallas.

The Mavericks started the game very slowly, with turnovers and sloppy defense. At one point Charlotte led 17-4 before Carlisle did a hockey shift change and went with a whole new five. The second unit whittled down the lead before Darren Collison hit a buzzer beating runner to bring Dallas back within three, ending the quarter down 21-24.

Solid ball movement and shooting in the second quarter brought Dallas back in front. Mayo and Collison got into a rhythm offensively and Dallas took a 55-44 lead into the half. At half time, Dallas was dominating statistically, despite giving up a big half to Kemba Walker. The Mavs held the lead, were winning the rebounding battle 23-17, and were moving the ball better on offense resulting in a 14 to 6 advantage in assists.

The third quarter was much of the same, though Charlotte would not go away. The teams traded buckets for a while before the Bobcats went on a 13-4 run to bring them within three, with Dallas leading 68-65. The teams resumed trading buckets to end the quarter and Dallas took a 73-68 advantage heading into the final period of regulation. Charlotte had tied up the rebounding advantage at 31 a piece; Dallas had given up 9 offensive rebounds at this point in the game and each team had 12 turnovers.

Enter the fourth quarter, which, for me, was the single most frustrating period of basketball Dallas has played this season. Dallas expanded the lead to eight points, and then Kidd-Gilchrist managed to go coast to coast (while losing his shoe at mid-court) for a layup and the foul. Another Walker jumper pulled Charlotte within 3 and back to back layups by Ramon Sessions pushed Charlotte out in front for the first time since the second quarter. A huge Vince Carter three pointer put Dallas back on top 89-87 and two free throws from O.J. Mayo put Dallas ahead 91-87, but Charlotte would fight back.

Out of a timeout, Brendan Haywood got the ball for a dunk on a screen and roll and for some reason Darren Collison decided to foul him. Haywood missed the free throw because that's what he does, and Charlotte got the offensive rebound which led to a Sessions lay up to send the team into over time. Dallas managed to give up 7 offensive rebounds in this period alone and, just to pile on top, committed 5 turnovers. Long two point shots on offense were another culprit as Dallas' offense seemed to simply disappear.

The overtime period was much of the same. Dallas began by giving up two offensive rebounds on consecutive possessions resulting in layups from Haywood and a Byron Mullens and-one dunk. Dallas only scored 6 points the entire quarter, four of them on free throws and four of the six points in the final minute after the game was already out of reach.

So what do we take away from this? Dallas owned the game for three quarters with solid defense, ball control, and a steady offense. Then, in the fourth quarter, the game simply fell apart. I cannot fathom how a professional basketball team gives up 12 offensive rebounds in 17 minutes, which is exactly what Dallas did tonight. Dallas lost the final rebounding margin 53-43 after winning 23-17 at the half. Charlotte grabbed 16 more rebounds than Dallas in the second half!

It's true that the shots weren't falling, with Mavs shooting 40.7% for the second straight game, and that contributed to some to the Bobcat rebounding totals. But this is why I've been a bit of an Eeyore about the big wins last week against inferior competition. Some nights the shots aren't going to fall, and you have to win through defense and rebounding. Giving up ridiculous number of offensive rebounds in the 4th quarter of winnable games is not a recipe for success. Effort is one of the only things you can control in a basketball game and rebounding is primarily a result of effort.

This isn't a problem that's going to go away when Dirk and Marion returns: we really don't want Dirk banging for boards as it takes an unnecessary toll on his body and Marion's been around for the early games where the Mavs gave up plenty of offensive boards. I'm sure you're tired of hearing me prattle on about this but effort is one of the few things you can control in a basketball game and rebounding is primarily about effort.

Some other notes, not about rebounding:

  • Thus far this season Collison is either really good or really bad. As the starter, he can't afford this Jekyll and Hyde stuff, we get enough of that from Roddy when he's tricking us into thinking he's good at basketball. Collison didn't have a single assist in the final regulation period or over time. As much as I respect how well the Bobcats played that game, I simply cannot believe all penetration dried up.
  • Mayo was a total non factor in the 3rd quarter, outside of a pretty assist to Brandan Wright. If he's going to be the go-to guy while Dirk is out, he can't do that. He has to find a way to assert himself and not turn the ball over.
  • Vince Carter played an admirable game, but Carlisle was forced to go to the well with Vince one too many times because Collsion, Mayo, and Kaman simply gave Dallas so little in the second half. Vince is going to be useful in short bursts, but asking him to carry the offense is too much and it showed as he managed to shoot 6-15 from the floor tonight.
  • I wrote for another site last night that Troy Murphy has to give Dallas something on offense while he's on the floor. He hit two early threes then proceeded to go 1-7 the rest of the night. I love his effort on the glass, but a professional basketball player of his skill has to be able to keep the defense honest. The brick laying he's doing is rather terrible right now.
  • Dallas plays 4 games in 6 nights next week, starting off at home Monday against the Timberwolves.
    Final - 11.10.2012 1 2 3 4 OT 1 Total
    Dallas Mavericks 21 34 18 18 6 97
    Charlotte Bobcats 24 20 24 23 10 101

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