ESPN be dammed, the Dallas Mavericks say.
"Prime time matchup? Defending champs against the return of the MVP in Chicago? Psh," is what I can only hope Rick Carlisle said, preferably bent over while pretending to speak out of his rectum.
He rested Jason Terry and Jason Kidd. He still limited the minutes of Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion. He played a lot of Dominque Jones and wait, is that Kelenna Azubuike! Needless to say, Carlisle wasn't exactly going all out to win that game.
Yet the Mavericks had a lead in the third quarter and the game was only decided until the final minutes of the fourth quarter as Chicago pulled away. So here are three things that were good and just for transparency, three things that were crappy (after the jump, of course.)
- Rodrigue Beaubois showed something: And really, it had to be just anything. With J.J. Barea headed to Minnesota, Beaubois was the de facto backup point guard before the season started. Then Delonte West came along. And he's pretty great. Beaubois' minutes have been sporadic all season, with West's finger injury inflating and deflating his playing time. His wonky shot (28.7 percent on threes) hasn't helped either. So when Carlisle inserted him into the lineup, I can only imagine he wanted to just see something. And he got it. Beaubois looked relatively smooth and in control, scoring 16 points, grabbing six boards and dishing out six assists (and only two turnovers! And two made threes! Huzzah!). I'm not sure how the playoff rotation will shake out (first guess is West the starting two, going to the bench for JET then back in for Kidd to run the backup point with Beaubois playing maybe 5-10 minutes a game) but this only helped Roddy's chances of earning significant time in the postseason.
- Rebounding? REBOUNDING! The Bulls outrebounded the Mavs 46-43, but guess what? The offensive-glass-eating Bulls had less offensive boards than the Mavs (10 to 8). It wasn't a large margin by any means, but the Mavericks have been getting killed on the boards lately (exhibit A: recent losses to Los Angeles and Utah) and being able to show some life on the boards against the best rebounding team in the universe certainly calmed me down. Just a bit.
- Shooting 39 percent and still having a chance: If I was told the Mavericks had shot 39 percent on the road against the Bulls with Derrick Rose returning and no Jason Kidd and Jason Terry? Well, I certainly would have predicted the game going on like the eight-first quarter-point-output that the Mavericks started out with. But after that, they got it together and put a serious scare into one of the top four teams in the NBA at full strength – without it's two closing guards and somewhat limited minutes to Dirk and Marion. I'll take that.
- The defense on Richard Hamilton was dumb: I mean really dumb. Hamilton has enjoyed a few quality games in the last week, but Delonte West absolutely got lost on some of the screens as Hamilton enjoyed wide-open look after wide-open look. It was a little disconcerting to see West, who I believe is the Mavs best perimeter defender after Shawn Marion, look dazed and confused (no pun intended) trying to follow around Hamilton on the court. The Mavericks don't have to worry about this type of player in the West, running off screens and what not, but it was a little sad to see the Mavericks were primarily beat by Richard Hamilton and not Derrick Rose.
- Brendan Haywood's disturbing rebound trend: Let's take away Haywood's 15 minute, seven rebound performance against the Warriors (because this is my post, haters) and look at Haywood's last six games: 107 minutes played, 19 rebounds grabbed. That. Is. Putrid. Al Jefferson grabbed more than 19 rebounds in ONE GAME against Haywood and the Mavericks last week. Haywood has been a fine defensive contributor to the Mavs, but if he can't rebound, he'll continue to see the 13, 14 and 15 minute outings while Brandan Wright and Ian Mahinmi play more.
- Shawn Marion can't score anymore. At all. Seriously: Well, at least consistently. Gone are the days where it was all but a formality that Marion would plug in somewhere between 10 to 15 points on a given night. Marion had a strong start to April with four consecutive double figure games. But in games against Chicago, Houston and Utah in the past week, Marion didn't scored more than six points in any of those games. He tossed in a nice 14 points against Golden State. But, remember, Golden State.