Throughout this bad little stretch the Mavs have been on in the last two weeks, the rallying cry was at least the defense was showing some signs. Sure the offense was playing like ass, but the defense! It's looking good!
Well, so much for that.
The Mavs continued to puddle around in their awful rut as the Cavs absolutely steam-rolled them 127-94 Tuesday night at the American Airlines Center.
To be fair to the defense, the Dallas offense didn't do it any favors. Another drab shooting night as the Mavs were at 40 percent from the floor overall and 25 percent from three. It actually wasn't the worst of starts, with Dallas grabbing the lead a handful of times late in the first quarter and early in the second.
But then Al-Farouq Aminu hurt his shoulder, went to the locker room, never returned and the Mavs melted into steaming bullshit. This seems INSANE to type, but has Aminu become a top-3 most important Mav? Is he more important than Dirk, right now? Honestly, he might be.
Without Aminu and with a hobbled Tyson Chandler, the Mavs defense stood no chance with their poor shooting. Cleveland got out in transition seemingly at will after every Mavs miss. Dallas couldn't get back (25 Cleveland fastbreak points) and LeBron James had a field day. There was a moment before Aminu got hurt where James tried to post him up, failed and missed a fallaway jumper badly. It perfectly summed up how vital Aminu is to this thing -- he's good enough to go 1-on-1 with LeBron James and win some of those battles.
With LeBron rolling, everything fell into place for the Cavs. J.R. Smith got loose for five 3-pointers. Kyrie Irving took turns when LeBron was on the bench in scoring, blowing past every Mavs guard that stood in front of him. Kevin Love and Timofey Mosgov got plenty of easy baskets because of the Mavs lack of perimeter containment.
What went well? Uhm....
Chandler Parsons! He was easily the best Mav on the floor, scoring 18 points on 12 shots and doing a lot of nifty things in the midrange game to get to the basket. Amar'e Stoudemire was great scoring off the bench as well.
But again: defense. For some insane reason, Rick Carlisle played J.J. Barea, Dirk Nowitzki and Stoudemire at the same time -- for significant stretches! You can guess how well that went.
Also, Dirk shot 3-for-10 from the floor. He's shooting just under 36 percent for the month of March. Sadness covers me like a blanket. Tuck me in. Let me die.