The Dallas Mavericks fell to the Blazers on the road Sunday night, losing 140-123. With so many players out of the Dallas line up, the result isn’t shocking, nor does the final score tell the tale of a game in which the Mavericks made a it a fight the whole contest, until Portland pulled ahead in the fourth.
Here’s some numbers which helped define the game.
42: Free throws attempted by the Blazers
When one pairs an inability to defend the perimeter with an inability to defend the paint, this is the future the Mavericks are staring at unless they get their defensive issues under control. Portland is not a team known for their driving and even when considering foul merchant Damian Lillard, it’s still reasonable to hope the Mavericks can defend better without fouling.
8: Made field goals for Jaden Hardy, leading to his career high 25 points
This is really just an excuse to post Hardy’s shot chart. Take a look.
This is efficient shot selection, with every attempt either at the rim or behind the arc. I’m sure Hardy has some midrange to his game, but as he’s seeking out a role in a NBA offense, efficiency is going to be the order of the day. If you’re nitpicking and see the various misses behind the arc, that’s one area I don’t worry about Hardy, because I’ve seen him hit a lot of shots and make it look effortless. The rim attempts though, those are gold. Dallas needs attacking players. This is progress.
0: Minutes played by key off-season acquisition JaVale McGee
By now, there’s probably the open question of whether I have something personal against JaVale McGee, between how often I find a reason to write about him or his game. The answer is no, but he’s one player I’ve seen his entire career as I lived in DC where he was drafted to. Anyone in the off-season who said he was a rim protecting big capable of grabbing rebounds and helping in areas where Dallas didn’t do well last season is most likely looking at his basketball reference page, where you see a guy with great per-minute numbers on low minute volume.
It’s all sound and fury signifying nothing. He didn’t play meaningful minutes for any of the title teams he sat the bench for. He is a third big and Dallas promised him a starting role and gave him three years with a player option when he’s going to be 36. It’s a travesty.
Then tonight, he played zero minutes with Dallas missing FIVE rotation players. Everyone played! Theo Pinson, local cheerleader, played! The two G-League players got minutes. Everyone! While I’m sure McGee is exhausted from his eight minutes last night, the Mavericks really could’ve used a player who could do literally anything positive. It might’ve made the difference. Alas.
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