It was good to see the Mavericks actually care in a game, no? After a shellacking by the Spurs last night, the Mavericks took a tough Grizzlies team to overtime to secure a very important road win against a division opponent to maintain their spot in the West. Great overall games from Parsons, D-Will, Felton and Anderson in particular.
Also, 6-1 in overtime games this year. And they were on a back-to-back, AGAIN. Not bad at all! Here are a few things I liked.
Justin Anderson, y'all
It was nice to see Anderson get some playing time in last night's game, and even more so tonight. There was a LOT to like about his effort and aggressive play, especially on the defensive glass. I feel like almost every time I looked up at the game, he was doing something positive to affect the game, whether it be rebounding, hitting a timely three, playing aggressive defense, etc. He may not have made every play, but he's learning, and making the most of the chances Rick Carlisle is giving him.
I'd obviously rather have Devin Harris back out there as soon as possible, but injuries forcing Rick to give the rookies a chance in some extended minutes is a great thing to see now so that the team knows what they have in them come playoff time.
Parsons to everyone: "hi haters"
We've written a lot about Parsons in the past few weeks, and rightfully so: despite theoretically being totally healthy, Carlisle has been benching him in crunch time, trotting out some odd lineups instead. Not so tonight, as Parsons was a decided bright spot in this game. Think he's heard the criticisms? His first half line was especially sexy: 15 points, 6/10 (2/5 from three) and five boards.
Among many fun Parsons plays in this game, this was probably my favorite:
He was a little less visible in the second half, but had a timely steal inside a minute that was key to the Mavs staying in the game at the end, and hit two especially fantastic treys to carry the Mavs in overtime.
So they CAN play defense!
I don't watch games as closely as most, and as a newer NBA fan it's hard for me to pick out when small things are done well. But it was hard to miss Dallas' excellent defensive effort at points in this game, especially in the second quarter and into the beginning of the third. And not only that, but the team was decidedly turning good defensive effort into solid offensive possessions leading to actual points.
Either Memphis adjusted or Dallas decided to stop playing good defense, and so the fourth quarter wasn't great and of course we got overtime because hey why not the Mavs haven't played enough minutes in the past month or so. Point is, I saw the Mavs play excellent defense for a stretch and I would like to see it more.
It's good to have D-Will back
While Parsons was proving the haters wrong, D-Will was having himself a game as well. It may have taken him a game to get warmed up, but good lord does this offense hum so much better with him. He was passing with precision, hitting timely shots. I'm not saying he's consistently amazing, don't get me wrong, but he does have one of these "prime Deron Williams" games every couple weeks, and this was a good one. 22 points, 11 dimes and no turnovers is a stat line I like to see.
Make your free throws, dammit
This killed them, despite the win: 23-33 on free throws as a team. If they'd made those, we don't get overtime. I'll take the win, any way I can get it, I suppose.
One more game, then the All-Star break. We can do this!