Did you see Jason Kidd in the first half?
The Mavs needed this one (they’ll need a lot of them, against better teams), but they didn’t start out looking like it. After a fine Haywood block on the Kings’ first attempt, they made the next four, missed one, got the o-board and put it in. Then J-Kidd was like I’m actually constitutionally opposed to starting out every game down 25-10, and hit a three, making a 10-4 game a 10-7 game.
Then, of course, like all teams do against the Mavericks in the first five minutes, the Kings continued to roll. Then Kidd juked DeMarcus Cousins (who had a monster game tonight) out of his shorts and gave Mahimni an easy dunk. It rubbed off as Mahmini did the same for Marion on the next play.
Kidd drove, today. He made a layup. He blocked two shots. Did you see it? Some Mavs commentator, maybe Skin, made the point earlier today that when Kidd was tired going into the playoffs two years ago, the Mavs looked terrible. When he was rested last year, they looked great. Unfortunately, they can’t really rest him any more till one or two of Houston-Memphis-Utah-Phoenix start losing for the love of god.
One time, he drove into the paint, and made a whirling attempt at a layup. Did you see it?
The Mavs offense really clicked today, and it was wholly a team effort. Dirk didn’t shoot well, though in fairness to him, he took a lot of shot-clock chucks and didn’t play all that much (29 minutes). But his 15 was matched by Marion’s 10, haywood’s 11, Delonte’s 13, Terry’s 13 and Beaubois’ 15. It’s not going to happen too often, but it sure is nice when it does.
The surprise of the night—I jokingly titled it "Yi Jianlian saves Mavericks season"—was that young man stepping in and hitting 4 straight jumpers. It’s hard to parse Yi as a player, or how he was ever that high a draft pick. I trust him as much as anybody to take a long two, but he can neither hit a layup nor a three. Were his pre-draft workouts just long twos? We’ll never know. Still, he and Wright and Marion shared backup PF duties tonight,and it was him who provided the spark.
To be honest, tonight, the Mavs survived their warts more than overcame them. It looks good in the box score, but they turned the ball over so much in the first half that you could reasonably be confused who was the point guard for which team. They missed a lot of easy layups and open looks. In all honesty, they probably don’t win this game if the Kings have a center to keep the Mavs off the board. But when you lose to teams like the Cavs and the Hornets you don’t much complain about nights like these.
The highlight of the night, since the Mavericks won, was a Vince Carter dunk attempt that started as a soaring slam from the middle of the pant, turned into a layup halfway through, and ended up on the front rim. Half Man Little Light on Gas These Days. Still, he had some nice offensive plays and passed well today (5 assists, to go with 7 boards).
I don’t know what they put in the Matrix’s cereal but since he came back from injury he’s been rebounding the heck out of the ball. Tonight was his 4th double digit boards night since March 24th , and his 7th with 9+. He is now the team’s leading rebounder and will be the first player under 6’8" to lead the Mavs in that category in some time. Not surprisingly.
New father Ian Mahimni didn’t play much tonight. Probably just foul trouble. But he did play for a while in the second alongside Wright, a new look for the Mavs. Results were uneven.
I believe this is the Mavericks’ first win without Odom in the lineup, believe it or not.
Mavericks play the Warriors on Thursday, the Blazers on Friday, the Lakers on Sunday, the Jazz on Monday and the Rockets on Wednesday. There are 8 games left in the season. They’re all must wins until someone else starts losing.