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Game 52 Non-Recap

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Hey folks, we could talk about a lot of things that went wrong tonight:  a general lack of focus and energy, offensive spacing that made the Mavericks look like all-world defenders, missing 50% of our free throws (again!), letting loose the only two guys guaranteed to score for them for 37 and 24 respectively, being forced to play weird lineups like Sergio, Jarrett, Brandon, Travis, and Channing.  You could also talk about a couple good things...Brandon and points in the paint mostly.  Here's the boxscore if you care to see it.

The short story of a too-long game appeared to be that we started our much-needed All-Star break rest one game early.  We're not the first team to do that and we won't be the last.

So forget all that and let's move on to the bigger picture.  We're four games above .500 at the All-Star break.  We have only 32 games left in the season and it's looking near certain that we'll finish with our best record in ages.

Here's a brief statistical comparison between where we are now and where we ended last year:

Scoring:  95.8 ppg, 20th in the league-- better by 1.7 points and 9 spaces
Opponent Scoring:  95.6, 9th in the league-- better by 2.8 points and 5 spaces
Point Differential:  +0.2, 14th in the league-- better by 4.5 points and 13 spaces
Field Goal Percentage: 14th in the league-- better by 9 spaces
Opponent Field Goal Percentage: 4th in the league-- better by 21 spaces
Three Point Percentage: 5th in the league-- better by 19 spaces
Assists:  16th in the league--  better by 14 spaces
Steals:  30th in the league-- worse by 5 spaces
Blocks:  22nd in the league-- worse by 5 spaces
Turnovers:  6th in the league-- better by 7 spaces
Opponent Turnovers:  29th in the league-- worse by 1 space
OVERALL RECORD:  19th in the league-- better by 5 spaces

And again, not to beat a dead horse, but all this without one of the main players we built the team around.

I see a lot of people asking what's going on in light of this recent losing jag.  What's going on is we're doing much better than we did last year, which in turn was much better than years before.  

We need some rest.  We need to regroup and refocus.  We need to make a stronger run down the stretch than we have in these last 15 games.  All of that is possible.  

There's a danger that we could lose confidence and spend the rest of the season in a tailspin.  If that does happen remember this is exactly what we've seen in the last few seasons.  It's not the end of the world.  What we've seen and done already is something to build on even if we can't quite fulfill the promise we showed a couple months ago for a full season.  And that's the worst-case scenario.  I'm betting this team will end up being much better than worst-case.

Even a relatively poor 10-20 finish puts us at 38 wins for the year.  That's near the higher end of what most reasonable people were predicting at the start of the season.

That's the point...no matter how you slice it this season isn't going to turn out that bad.  So our outlook on the team shouldn't be that bad either.  There's been plenty to hang our hats on so far and I'm guessing we'll have even more before the season is over.

Yes, we're suffering from some bad stretches of play, but realistically that was going to happen.  So far the good has outweighed the bad significantly.  We are on target.  We are progressing.  That is the message to take into the All-Star break.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)