Somehow I feel like I’m in the middle of a “Where’s Waldo” cartoon when I’m watching the Dallas Mavericks as of late. I am and will always be a MFFL, but I have to agree with some of the critics here lately, that the Mavericks are in for a heap of trouble if they don’t clean up their game.
Dallas had gone on a three game winning streak, anxiously awaiting the return of their All-Star, Dirk Nowitzki, and holding their own, well most of the time, but then comes the last three games and even though the first one in Boston was close at the end and we came up just a little short, it should not have been that close. Dallas should have easily won that game.
Then we go to Toronto to face a Raptors team that is struggling as much as we are and dang, we made them look like a championship team. It was just as ugly as the game against Chicago the week before and then come down to Minnesota. Now the Timberwolves were coming off of a good game the night before, but there again, we made them look better than what they might be and we certainly help to fuel the crowd waiting for Ricky Rubio to hit the court since his injury last season.
What is the problem? Well one word can sum it up pretty much, turnovers; plain and simple, not taking care of the ball and the business at hand. We are trying to force things that are not there and trying to be fancy and fun with the ball when it’s not necessary.
When we took on the Celtics, I know the main thing on a lot of people’s mind was to take care of business against an ex-teammate, Jason Terry and make sure we look better or as good as what we were when he was here. Well, we didn’t succeed at that since we committed 28, yes that’s right, 28 turnovers, errors, mishaps, whatever you want to call them, bottom line is we looked like we didn’t know what the heck we were doing and looked very sloppy.
Now earlier as I had stated, we should have won that game. If you look at the numbers on paper, we should have mopped them up off the floor. With the exception of turnovers and free-throw percentage, Dallas had the numbers across the board. This included field goals, three-point shots, even rebounds, yes rebounds and with someone the size of Kevin Garnett on the other team, we out-rebounded the Celtics and with someone like Rajon Rondo leading the other team, we had more points in the paint,60-40, and we are not really known for scoring more in the paint than the other team, so that was a plus bonus for us, but the demise again was the turnovers.
You can not expect a team to win, even with good numbers when you commit so many turnovers in a game and you are not going to win a game with that many turnovers. A good team might commit 12-14 turnovers per game, a mediocre team might commit 14-18 turnovers per game, but to have 28, that’s ludicrous, and we don’t want to have that reputation.
So we let them stay in the game with committing all the turnovers and they were able to capitalize on those mistakes and score on them and forced the game not into just one overtime, but two overtimes and then of course our legs weren’t with us as we needed them to be and fatigue took over and of course created even more errors, none more costly than the last one where on the inbounds at the end that we threw the ball to who? No one, that’s who, no one and Boston was able to take the ball back and, well you know the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say.
Ok, so we take that nice little thumping and feel that we can overcome a loss, fix the errors and get back on top of things when we get to Toronto. We have pretty much handled this team, had some of the biggest come from behind victories against them, so let’s just take it one possession at a time.
Well that was all fine and dandy until, well until again mistakes started happening and then we fell apart again. We started the game very well, both teams battling it out for control of the ball and to secure a win. As a matter of fact, the first quarter was the best part of the game, if you’re a Dallas Maverick fan that is.
We ended the first quarter with a one point lead and feeling pretty good about ourselves. But then comes the 2nd quarter start and within 40 seconds into the second quarter, Dallas had lost the lead and would never get it back again. The Mavericks also made another sub-par team look like a championship team by not blocking out, not covering the open man and having their shooters standing at the three-point line all night long.
This was also a night where another streak, besides their winning percentage against a team went down the toilet. After 1,008 games of having at least 1 three-pointer in the game, well let’s just say we have to start the streak over. Dallas held a margin of over 400 games against the closest team with a three-point streak and now it’s over. Derek Fisher thought that he had one, but according to the powers that be say his foot was on the line so it was ruled a two instead of a three and we couldn’t connect on another one the rest of the game, came to end; now it’s back to square one.
So we leave Toronto with our tails between our legs and head to Minnesota. Here is another team that we have pretty much taken care of in most cases, and tonight hopefully was going to be our comeback from 2 consecutive losses that should have been wins. We find out that their top man, Kevin Love, will not be playing, but the crowd was anxiously awaiting the return of Rubio and you could tell it.
Dallas hit the ground running and took a 10 point lead to end the first quarter. It seemed that the basketball Gods were looking down and blessing us with some good plays and trust me, they were good. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end and it did before the end of the second quarter. Dallas only scored 13 points in the second quarter, period and again the mistakes were mounting against us and again we made another semi-good team look even better than what they were.
Minnesota had a strong quarter to keep the Mavs at bay and they did try to comeback in the third quarter and kept the scoring close, but the Wolves still had the upper hand in total points, they ended the third quarter with a 80-70 margin, but the Mavericks, it seemed, kicked it into overdrive in the fourth and outscored the Wolves by 10 points and ended regulation time with a 102-102 tie and kept Minnesota from scoring on multiple tries at the end of time to force the overtime.
Now this would be the second overtime game within a week for the Mavs and the last one didn’t fare well for them at all so they were hoping that tonight would be better, after all they ended the game on a 10 point margin and kept the opponent from scoring on the last possession of the game, so one would think that the momentum was in Dallas’ favor.
One can hope and wonder what will happen when you have to play another extension of the game, but let’s just say it was not in Dallas’ favor. In overtime, the Mavs looked worse than they did in the second quarter and only scored 4 points to Minnesota’s 12 and needless to say lost 114-106 and here again when you look at the numbers of the game, Dallas should have one.
What was the problem? Again turnovers and allowing the other team cash in on those mistakes and not rebounding the ball when they should. Dallas had 20 turnovers in this game to Minnesota’s 16. Dallas even had 5 people in double-digit scoring and Shawn Marion had a double-double that included 10 rebounds. But Minnesota had 6 guys in double-digit scoring that also had Andre Kirilenko having 10 rebounds as well and Rubio notched up 9 assists in his limited time on the court.
I guess that’s what Minnesota needed to continue their good play, they are in the running in the Western Conference, where Dallas is not. At this point we are again below the .500 mark and scratching for everything they can get in a win until something breaks through for them. Hopefully they will get it together before Dirk returns so that he doesn’t have to feel that the weight of the team and the season is on his shoulders by himself.
Dallas has the talent to be a tough competitor, but they don’t seem to have an inkling of how to make that talent gel together and make it work and that is a sad, sad situation. All that does is fuel the people that had the opinion that we made huge mistakes by not keeping the Championship team together as others have done in order to stay contenders. The difference between those team and Dallas, is that right after they won the title, the new CBA came into effect and it effected them worse than anyone.
So where do we go from here? Well now we come home and face the 76’ers on Tuesday night and hopefully get a “w” under our belt before we face the Heat on Thursday before they go on the road again. And with that I will bid you a good day and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!