1. Dirk and the Mavs showed up to close out Memphis
Josh Bowe recently wrote about the struggles of the Big German. Whether or not the reverse jinx was intentional, Dirk has looked more like Dirk recently. After putting up 25 points and grabbing 9 rebounds while knocking down four of his five threes against the Nuggets, he had another uplifting game against the Grizzlies.
Dirk put 21 points and 6 rebounds against the West's third-best team. More importantly, it's how he did it that should give Mavs' fans some excitement. He knocked down 2-4 threes and was 7-13 from the floor overall. With the game close, Dirk did what we've come accustomed to over the seasons. He knocked down a jumper off a pump fake three, rolled to the basket and hit a layup, hit his patented turnaround jumper and knocked down two free throws after a loose ball foul on the defensive end.
If this is actually Dirk turning the corner, fans and opposing teams will be seeing a new and better Mavericks' squad.
One note about Dirk and the Mavs' offense: The team went to him plenty in the final minutes, but throughout the game he seems to be more of a decoy than anything at times.
Along with Dirk, Rajon Rondo and Monta Ellis hit some big time shots for the Mavs. Down 89-91, Rondo hit a runner. Ellis would follow up Rondo's make with a jumper to give the Mavs the 93-91 lead. Rondo would knock down another jumper to extend the lead to four. The final eight points would come form the hands of Dirk. The Mavs' defense would also allow just four points in the final 3:47.
2. Powell earned minutes, but the rotation is shortening
The "throw-in" in the Rondo trade has found his way into the Mavs' rotation recently. Despite five fouls and just having three points and one rebound, the rookie's energy and size has been a pleasant site for the Mavs.
Powell has played both the power forward and center spot for the Mavs, which has left Greg Smith and Charlie Villanueva out of the mix. In the last two games, Powell has played 31 minutes to a combined 57 seconds combined for Smith and Charlie V. Powell's ability to play both spots, roll to the basket and spread the court some have made the other veteran bigs expendable for the moment.
Also in the win against the Grizzlies, J.J. Barea (seven minutes) and Al-Farouq Aminu (four minutes) saw limited minutes. The Mavs have struggled against the West's top teams and the shortened rotation could be common theme against better teams.