After the Dallas Mavericks got off to a slow start, again, against the Orlando Magic, they were able to get the lead which of course resulted in getting the win; but again, we have a slow start and in no time found themselves down quickly 6-0 and it even took them over 2:30 minutes to score the first basket. But that wasn’t enough, because then the Magic went on another run and with just a little over 6 minutes left in the first quarter, Dallas was down by 14 points. Needless to say, not a good start for Dallas.
After missing eight of their first 10 shots, the Mavericks shot 70% (23-for-33) for the rest of the first half and finished the night shooting 50% from the field while Orlando also shot 50.6%. Dallas wound up having 7 players in double digit scoring led by Shawn Marion who had 20 point, but also had 10 rebounds. The key play towards the end of the game, after Dallas had erased their big deficit, also allowed Orlando to get back into the game and almost take it, but Darren Collison hit a big three pointer with just 31.9 seconds left that helped to put this game away.
Collison also had 9 assists while Dirk and Vince Carter notched up 3 blocked shots apiece and Dallas only had 8 turnovers; so it’s evident that the Mavs have been working on some issues and problem areas, but there is still more to improve on, but it looks like they are heading in the right direction.
Dallas is currently in 11 place, but is only .5 game out of 10 and for that matter only 3 games out of 2 teams tied for the 8th spot; so if they can put it together and keep it together, they can (crossing my fingers) make the playoffs; we don’t want that to be another streak that ends this season. We have had to start over as far as consecutive games with a 3 pointer and now Dirk’s All-Star game appearances ends this season, let’s do something positive and play some good competitive ball and prove to some that we are not done.
The Mavericks are going to have to, as I said, work on some more issues to finish strong and if you are a numbers person, then you’ll love this.
Dallas has got to be more aggressive on the defensive end, we all know that, but through 42 games, they have only held 2 teams below 90 points; not a good stat if you want to be competitive. As a matter of fact, Dallas is 28th in this category by allowing teams to score an average of 102.9 points on them, but the Mavs are 10th in offensive scoring by averaging 100.2 points per game. Now that’s not too bad, but if you allow teams, on an average to score 2 points more than you, not going to get too many wins over time.
We are also 18th in rebounding, which is not good. This has been an area that the Mavs have needed to work on since the beginning of the season; we are decent on the defensive end, but offensive rebounding we are not good at all. I have seen games where when someone, especially Dirk or O J Mayo, shoots the ball, there will be 3-4 defensive players and maybe, just maybe 1 of our players for the rebound. Hey people, there is not guarantee that every basket is going to turn into points, so you have to be ready.
This is the one that gets me, we are 24th in the league at allowing extra chance points per game. What that means is that we are not where we need to be on blocking out and getting to the ball. These are basic concepts of the game and with the guys we have, there should be no reason as to why we can’t be more aggressive on stopping them of getting those second chance points and we get more of those second chance points.
Also, points in the paint is another issue we have. Dallas is currently 20th in the league at getting only average 39.9 per game. With players like Collison, Mayo, Shawn, Carter and a few others, we should be getting more of these scoring opportunities because these are the guys that slice more to the goal and play in the paint, not everyone needs to be a jump-shooter.
One of the categories we are good in is the charity stripe, Dallas connects on an average of 80% of their attempts, which is good; but then Dallas has been fairly good in that category and a lot of that has to do with Dirk. However we are down on the number of attempts we are making this season as they are averaging on 26.2 per game which means we are not being aggressive enough on the offensive end of the court and either driving the lane but there again, I have seen a lot of jump shots and three point attempts being done instead of getting to the basket. Here’s the thing, if we are more aggressive to the basket, then we have more attempts at putting the ball in the basket or even getting and an 1 or 2 shots to put points on the board.
I know that I don’t play basketball, never have, but I have coached and played other sports and it’s all the same thing. You have to work together as a team and not rely just on one or two people to get you the win. Dirk and O J can’t do it all by themselves, but there again, Dirk and O J have to be more aggressive in their play on both ends of the court. O J is averaging 18.2 points per game and Dirk’s numbers are finally coming up, but have not been where they really should be. I am well aware of his time back into the game and we have to take into consideration his age and rehab after his surgery, but they rely on him to be more than what he has been and if that happens, then there is no reason that Dallas can’t be one of the top 8 teams in the Western Conference.
Sitting at 18-24 is not a good thing for the Mavs and being 1-8 in overtime games and 11-14 in games being decided by 10 points or less are not stats that Dallas wants to have and has not had in a very, very long time. We are not a rebuilding team, we are a transitional team and we need to embrace it and work with what we have. Yes we didn’t land that elusive big fish in the off-season, but by what I’ve seen in the two that Dallas was really interested in, I’m not sure if we would have wanted them. But there again, would they have done better if they were in Dallas instead of Brooklyn or Los Angeles? One will never really know.
So now we face the San Antonio Spurs, again; our I35 in-state rival tonight and all I can say is, Dallas you have come so close so many times, that it’s time to get over that hump and get this win. And with that, I will bid you a good day and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!