Hey, this game ended up a little better than I expected! I mean, we did get set back by 20 but we made Dallas play our kind of game at least a little bit. I expected after the win in Portland that the Mavs would come out and steamroll us. Maybe they did a little, but we were at least a speed bump for a while.
In once sense we started this game the right way. The first three shots were Lamarcus, Lamarcus, Brandon, all makes. That opened up some shots for other people. I like it when our stars come out aggressively.
In the larger sense we fought a losing battle from the get-go. Here is the shot list from the first quarter. I'm not counting makes and misses, just shots: jumper, jumper, jumper, jumper, jumper, jumper, jumper, jumper, jumper, jumper, 8-footer, 9-footer, jumper, jumper, jumper, jumper, 10-footer, 9-footer (Second Quarter begins) jumper, Przy inside, jumper, jumper, jumper, jumper, jumper, running jumper, Jack makes a 6-footer and goes to the line for the Blazers' first free throw of the game.
Gather `round once again children, and let Uncle Dave tell you what happens when you play like that. You shoot 42% in the first half, which the Blazers did. You hold your opponent to only 39%, which the Blazers also did. But you find yourself down by 8, which the Blazers were at the break. It doesn't matter how many jumpers you hit. You will lose much more often than you win when that's your primary offense.
The one guy who came in the game aggressive and ready to drive was the same guy that almost always seems aggressive and ready to drive: Jarrett Jack. Brandon caught the fever in the second half but by then we were down. Nate needs to go out and buy our guards and small forwards bracelets as reminders for them when they have the ball in their hands out on the perimeter. The bracelets should read "W.W.J.D."--What Would Jarrett Do?
Nevertheless it was a pretty good first half. Again, we made Dallas play the ugly kind of game we could win. In the third quarter we went all to heck, as usual, and that was the ballgame. We should note that Nate left Joel Przybilla in as long as his fouls would let him in the second half. It didn't make much of a difference. Nate also gave Sergio a chance to run. It didn't make much of a difference. I'm not saying either guy had a bad game. In fact I think they both had fine games. That's the point. It doesn't make a difference. Neither one is the answer when it comes to winning. We're still going to lose to better teams on many nights.
--Lost in this losing jag is how well Lamarcus has been playing most nights. He always rips it up in Texas but man, this guy is something else right now. And he's so young too! You want to see something special? Rewind the game to 7:00 left in the first quarter. You'll see Lamarcus guarding Dirk on the perimeter, left side. Dirk makes a ball fake and Lamarcus goes for it, actually leaving his feet and getting into the air. Dirk made his move on the now-helpless Lamarcus but Lamarcus came back down and STILL managed to stay in front of Dirk and cut off the drive AFTER BITING ON HIS FAKE. Dang! I want you to imagine what this guy is going to be able to do with a mature Oden watching his back in the lane.
--Brandon really struggled tonight but again, Brandon is not built to go one-on-one into constant double teams. If his teammates come through he is deadly. If not he's just good-ish. As I said above he DID make the transition to driving the ball which was sorely needed. He has a brain for this game. He just needs a little more support.
--Martell was fairly non-descript. His shot didn't fall early and it looked like it threw him.
--Steve Blake keyed off of the stars and got some great shots in the first half. Not so much when the rest of the offense bogged down in the second half.
--Joel was plenty aggressive defensively but we were letting people leak into the interior far too much for him to be the kind of rebounder we need. It hurt having him try for more blocks than boards.
--Jack started nicely but he too got bogged down in the shooting malaise in the second half. Also I wasn't impressed with his transition defense. I'll take his drives and foul-drawing any day though.
--Forget about Travis Outlaw's 3-9 shooting performance. They put the poor guy on Dirk Nowitzki when we went small. Oy vey, that hurt to watch. This wasn't anything like the energetic game in Portland. This was...well...Dirk Nowitzki being guarded by Travis Outlaw. He gave up 6 obvious points to him in the first half alone (in a game where we only trailed by 8 at the half). After that I stopped watching the matchup to preserve my sanity.
--I thought Sergio did very well tonight. I liked how he came out with his jets burning. The kid just needs to go all-out whenever Nate puts him in and not worry about it when he doesn't...rather finding out what he needs to work on and mastering that so he can get in and go all-out again.
--James Jones: 3 minutes, 3 shots, 0 makes. Welcome back.
--The Mavericks broadcast crew has come up with the worst nickname I have ever heard. They call Josh Howard "J-Ho". And yes, it sounds just like it's printed. Uh...guys? Just don't do that.
--The Mavs crew also put up a stat board early in the game detailing the statistical discrepancies between Portland's home play and road play. It does not include this game, but here are the numbers they had:
Record: Home 5-3 Road 0-7
PPG: Home 93.4 Road 90.4
RPG: Home 41.3 Road 36.6
APG: Home 23.3 Road 17.6
FG%: Home 46.5 Road 44.2
One Sentence Game Summary
It was better than we feared, but it was still a loss.