Ahhhh...trashed again, to nobody's surprise at this point I suppose. I was really hoping to be able to double some jersey contest scores tonight though. That would have been a great story.
Mavericks 99, Blazers 74
--I've already talked about our defensive woes, which obviously were in full force again tonight. I'll just say a couple things. First, part of it is ability. Good defenders see what's going to happen, whereas we continually find ourselves reacting to what has already happened, and pretty slowly at that. You don't even want to know the number of wide-open threes Dallas got tonight, and they're close to the best long-range shooting team in the league. Second, part of it is experience. We keep getting bad switches or two guys going to the same man on picks. But third, part of it is effort, which is the part that really rankles. There was a shameful play (I guess it's italics night) just two minutes into the game. Devin Harris picked the ball around the free throw line on our offensive end of the court. Zach and Jack both turned to run back in transition defense. Zach had a good twelve foot head start on Harris. Harris beat them both down the court for an easy lay-in. And I mean it wasn't even close. In the process he sped by Zach like he was standing still and Zach simply continued trotting, never changing speeds or reacting at all. Jack didn't really do much either but at least he was a little father away. Nate called a time out immediately after that bucket too. (And by the way in case someone wants to point out that Harris is faster than Zach, that's true...but not by that much! In fact Zach had the ball coming down the court later in the game and he was running at least half again as fast towards the basket while dribbling as he had running back earlier empty handed. That ain't right.) It's not just Zach with the effort thing, but that was the most glaring "you don't see that often in this league" example. Dallas color man Bob Ortegel noticed it throughout the evening too. His exact quote was, "Right now the Mavericks' fast break looks like a video game." I'll tell ya, I've played my share of basketball video games, and the one commonality to all of them is that they've never been able to come up with a way to make the computer opponent play credible defense...
--Our guards were missing tons of shots from outside early on. Will somebody tell me if there's a team rule that the first fifteen shots of every game must be long jumpers? I don't get why, when we're obviously capable of driving because we do it later on, we insist upon digging such a hole for ourselves.
--The Blazers ran a new wrinkle to that post play Jorga was talking about earlier in the day. They used Aldridge and Magloire as the post guys. The entry pass came then the guard would run to the post-player, using him as a screen. The post guy would hand the ball to the guard and the guard would get a short-range open jumper. Nice.
--Overall there was not a lot of ball movement tonight, which is poor against a so-so defensive team like Dallas. That's not to take anything away from the Mavericks...they shut us down good. We just made that a lot easier for them than it needed to be.
--Zach scored 21 and got 7 free throw attempts, which is good, but his rebounding is way down lately. Part of it is explainable by the fact that we're letting opponents shoot obscene percentages (51.5% for Dallas tonight). But that's not all of it. More effort PLEASE! We don't have any shot at all like this.
--Aldridge had another solid offensive game, shooting 7-14 for 14 points. Right now opposing defenses are kind of leaving him alone. It'll be interesting to see what happens if and when they ever key on him. His turn-around jumper is so sweet though. It's really, really nice to have a patented move as a rookie that you know is going to work as long as you're in the league. He's that far ahead of the game.
--Brandon Roy had another brutal shooting night, going 4-13. The good things are that he scored 15 anyway because he was perfect in 7 shots from the foul line and that he got 6 rebounds and 3 steals. I really hope he keeps up the tendency to make positive plays even when he's having an off shooting night. (I also hope he gets more "on" shooting nights though...)
--Forget Zach for a minute...we need Jarrett Jack to show up to have any chance of winning. Including tonight's game (in which he shot 2-7, scored 4 points, and had 2 assists) we are just 2-10 when he scores fewer than 10 points. Having him check out is like having a load-bearing pillar go down. And unlike our other main scorers we don't have other players who can make up even partially for his contributions.
--Jamaal Magloire did something tonight I've never seen. He missed a free throw under the rim. I've seen plenty of charity stripe airballs from arcs that fell short before. I've also seen complete misses left and right of the rim. But I've never seen one miss low. In fact I've never even seen that on the playground from anyone over 7 years old and 4 feet in height. How do you do that exactly? Good thing he had 6 rebounds in 15 minutes to make up for it.