Now if you think that just because the Dallas Mavericks have signed guard Derek Fisher for the season is automatically going to guarantee a Championship, well you have another thing coming. Granted Fisher brings a lot of stuff to the table with his championship caliber of play and thought process, but after witnessing him in the game, you could tell that he had been sitting around a bit because he was a little slow to the draw and response on the play.
But that is to be expected of someone that has not played over the last several months and he’s trying to learn the ways of the Mavericks, so one should understand that he would be slower to respond to the plays since he’s just learning them. Now brings the millions dollar question to mind; did we need another point guard, especially one that was 38 years old, and then we start him before your normal starting point guard, where’s the thought process there? Evidently there wasn’t one.
I will have to admit that Darren Collison has been struggling as of late and then was hurt and didn’t play, but to bench him ahead of someone you just signed to the team, I would have an issue with that if I was a player, but they all sucked it up and played ball. Now Fisher was slow on some of the plays and to regroup on defense, but there again, he hasn’t played in a while, so maybe once he gets some additional conditioning and time to learn the Mavs playbook, he might do a little better.
I don’t mind saying that after watching the game against Detroit, it renewed my look and hope in Dallas because they looked like the team that hit the court at the beginning of the season against the Lakers on opening day. Everyone was working together, communicating, covering defensive plays and well, really, whatever needed to have been done.
The only place where the Mavs struggled was at the free throw line, but when you look at the numbers, Dallas dominated in all the categories, field goals, three point percentage, rebounds and done better in protecting the ball on turnovers.
They definitely looked better than how they ended November. They had won a great challenge against a very good New York Knicks team only then to go on a three game losing streak which included a smacking by the Lakers at home, then lost a close game to the hot Philadelphia 76’ers and then went to Chicago and lost another ugly one there, so as I have stated before, “welcome to the roller coaster ride”. We unfortunately don’t know which team will appear on the court on any given night, at least for now.
So to get this win to start the month of December off on a good note, I’ll take it any way we can get it. Whether they think Fisher is their “Knight in shining armor or not” is irrelevant. Now in my humble opinion, I think that Collison should start, and then have Fisher coming off the bench and be there as a learning tool for Collison; the same scenario that the Mavs were going to use if they had signed Deron Williams and kept Jason Kidd. Kidd had stated over and over again that he would be willing to be a backup to Williams if he signed with the Mavs and Fisher can do the same thing for Collison.
The young guard is that, young, but he has played on some very good teams with some really good players. He played backup to Chris Paul when they were in New Orleans and did very well in both a starting role as well as a backup role, but he then went to Indiana as a started and only had to resort to the bench after an injury and George Hill took the starting position from him while he was out recouping, but unfortunately, never got the starting role back, hence that’s why he came to Dallas; we needed a good, young guard to take the reins and run with it and he can. Collison is trying to fit into the system that is the Dallas Mavericks and you can’t expect him to be 100% successful all the time and when he makes mistakes, teach him how to correct those mistakes; that’s how you make him better and you are able to maintain that confidence that players need to have in order to be successful at their jobs.
Now when you look at Dallas as a team, without Dirk in the lineup, they are going to have to rely on others to take this team and make it be a great team so that they don’t fall off the grid and there is no hope for recovery and they certainly can’t expect Dirk to be the team’s saviour upon his return.
What I liked about the game against the Pistons, is they didn’t give up at all. O J Mayo had one of his best games of the season and probably one of his best games over the last couple of seasons with leading the Mavs with 27 points. But it just wasn’t his points that was good, granted shooting 10 of 21 from the field and connecting on 6 of 9 three point attempts was great, but it was his attitude that he had throughout the whole game. Yes, he got a tech called on him because he didn’t think he really fouled the guy and was just trying to plead his case, but with the new “rule”, you look cross-eyed at a ref and he doesn’t like it, you’ll get slapped with a “T” in a heartbeat. But Mayo had the swagger back in his step, the look of the tiger in his eye and was making it all work on both ends of the court which led to the rest of the team step up and try to do the same.
It worked for Elton Brand as well; this was his best game yet. He had 17 points, 12 rebounds and 4, yes 4 blocks for the night. Now bad at all for an older statesman of the game. Now here’s where I think Fisher will play a vital role for the Mavs and that is when you add him to the roster with veteran players like Brand, Vince Carter, Shawn Marion and Dirk, these are your leaders, your teachers, the mentors of the game that the younger guys can learn from. Those players such as Collison, Mayo, Roddy and such.
You have to have an equal balance of veteran leadership and youthfulness on the team, or you teeter-totter one way or the other. This team can benefit from the leadership they have and build from it for the future. These guys are not going to be able to play forever.
So now we take this win, this high self-esteem to Los Angeles and face the Clippers and see if we can do the same thing there. We have to stay as positive as we can before we are back to full roster capacity and it looks like the return of Dirk is coming soon since now he has his mentor from Germany here and working on his rehab even more.
The only thing that made this win sweeter and the game better, was it was before the wounded soldiers in the annual “Seats for soldiers night” at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. For the last several years, season ticket holders give up their floor seats for wounded soldiers from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and needless to say, these games always are great for the fans to see; it seems that we put on an extra show for the soldiers. I think an extra “thank you” needs to go out to actor, Gary Sinise, who plays a big part in this as well.
And with that I will bid you a good day and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!