Our Mavs-Thunder Coverage: 'All-Access Pass'

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SHOOTERS SHOOTING: We asked Jason Kidd to summarize an offensive effort that saw a Dirk-less Dallas score 95 points (four fewer than the winner) and shoot 46.8 percent (essentially the same 47 percent as the winner).

"We've got good shooters,'' Kidd told DB.com. "Our good shooters are just not shooting good.''

KIDD VID: Here's J-Kidd's meeting with the media at-large. (Our one-on-one with him is stashed in the DB.com Pocket for later ...)

Anyway, "good shooters not shooting good.'' That goes double for J-Kidd in this one. While the Mavs had five guys in double-figures (five with at least 14 points, actually), they had one key guy play 40 minutes without scoring.

That would be J-Kidd, who, as always, did so many other things – 10 rebounds, seven assists – but was 0-of-7 as a "good shooter.''

Teammate DeShawn Stevenson suggested that Kidd "does so much'' that those rebounds and those assists almost count like points. …

But "almost'' left Dallas two baskets short.

"I had a 3 early on that pretty much went in and then came out, and then the next one, you are thinking about it too much and it comes up short,'' said Jason in a frank explanation of what can happen to a player of even his experience. … If my game was ever judged on me making baskets I probably wouldn't be in the league.''

But here's raw stuff: Over the last eight games, Kidd is now 27-of-93 (29 percent).

ANOTHER 'TRIX TAT: If halves of basketball were to have a player's name tattooed to them – and heck, everything else in the NBA is inked up, right? -- the first half of this game would be branded "Shawn Marion'' for the remainder of its existence.

For the half, The Matrix would total 21 points while missing no field-goal attempts taken within the 3-point arc, shooting 10-of-12.

A 21-point half in a Thunder-Mavs game … and it wasn't KD and Dirk was in a suit?

Perpetually moving, ‘Trix sought and found the yawning gaps in a porous Thunder defense to find eight of those 10 made shots in or at the edge of the paint.

LET'S GO TO THE MATRIX LOCKER ROOM VIDEO: Speak it, Shawn.



Was he going to "hang half-a-hundred'' on the Okies, as Barry Switzer used to call scoring 50? Nope. Marion would finish with a season- and team-high 25 points. … so the bad news is that OKC found a solution to Shawn's assertive interior game.

"My teammates were looking for me and the ball was coming to me and I was making things happen, but our emphasis was winning this game," said Marion, not especially interesting in individual plaudits here. "We had them on their heels and we didn't put them away when we should have."

THE SECOND HALF, BRANDED: With the first already assigned the name "Shawn Marion,'' the second half would simply wear the label "Futile.''

"In this situation tonight we kind of had them on the ropes and let them off the hook," Tyson Chandler said after the game. "We had a 10-point lead then I felt like the momentum changed at that point in the game."

After surfing the wake of Marion's surge to shoot 58.5 percent as a team through the first two quarters, Dallas found their touch had abandoned them as the Thunder defense stiffened.

The Mavs would make only eight of their 22 attempts in the second half, or 36.4 percent, lowering their game shooting percentage to 46.8.

Down 59-53 early in the third, the Thunder would clap to an 18-to-4 run and never look back.

Here's all you need to know about how Dallas' offense hit the skids: In the first quarter, the Mavs scored 30 in a terrific first quarter. With about a minute remaining in the game, they'd scored 31 in the entire second half.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT (MAYBE): "Right now, we just have to ride the ship, be patient, not get too crazy. And we've got to play with the players we have." -Tyson Chandler

The full Quoteboard is here.

RICK'S PATENTED ‘UNDOING': "I really thought our undoing was not having a stronger first half," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "That would have put us in a stronger position headed into the second half. We had 10 turnovers for 12 points and a lot of them were timely. A lot of of those are four-point (swings).''

JET IN THE FOURTH: Jason Terry found his shot early, making three of his first five attempts and walking into the locker room at the half having made 5-of-9 for 10 points. In the third quarter he wouldn't make a shot, but would again find his stroke in the fourth … should we expect any differently?

Terry would go 4-of-5 in the final period, and would be joined by a suddenly hot DeShawn Stevenson in the final minutes – DeShawn hit a trio of treys late to get to 14 points -- but the duo could not deliver the win.

Terry finished with totals of 19 points on 9-of-16 shooting to go with four assists and a steal.



FISH GOES 1-ON-1 WITH DeSHAWN VIDEO: Listen and look!




MORE ON THREEVENSON: As a near echo of the trend Terry has set, Stevenson was only 1-of-6 from the floor through three quarters for a total of three points.

With the door all but closed, he got hot in an instant and swished a trio of 3-pointers over the final 1:07 and gave one last push to once again thrust the outcome into doubt … his second trey cut the lead to five with 38 seconds to go.

It wasn't enough, but Stevenson finished with 14 … a nice follow up after scoring 21 and 18 the previous two games.

Over this three-game span, DeShawn has hit 13 three-pointers in 29 tries.

And we lean to the positive here: This is still DeShawn averaging 17.7 points over the last three games … without the benefit of Dirk and without the benefit of having any plays run for him.

MAVSELLANEOUS: Rudy Tomjanovich was in the house, one of at least five NBA scouts eyeing the game. Rudy T is now scouting for the Lakers … Do we buy the "total-floor-game'' argument in favor of Kidd? Buy it? Hell, we're the ones selling it! That said, considering the circumstances of this game, it would have been nice to see a couple of those attempts fall … particularly either of a pair of 3-point shots within four seconds of each other with just over four minutes to go in the game. Has anyone suffered more, found his space harder to come by, since Dirk left the floor? Perhaps … but Kidd must be in the argument. … Members of the band Chicago attended the game. Good. They're no Bowling For Soup. But they'll do. … The momentum swing? Probably when the Thunder's lead jumped to 11 with 5:41 to go after Kevin Durant stripped Jet for a steal and a thunderous dunk. Sloppy play by one team, killer play by the other … Kidd personally would like to remind us that the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference standings still belongs to Dallas … Troubling: - Dallas achieved a double-digit lead – as has happened 27 times this year – but lost for just the fifth time. In other words, that late-game execution wasn't there. (And neither was The Executor, Dirk.) but lost the game. … Oklahoma City collected 13 steals, one shy of its season high. … With seven seconds left, Kevin Durant handed a live ball to Carlisle. (Video in Friday Donuts.) Funny? Stupid? Thoughts?

TYSON'S GRUDGE MATCH - AND VIDEO: As a Mav, Tyson Chandler came into Thursday's game averaging 12 points and 14 rebounds against the Thunder … the team that accepted and then rescinded a trade for Chandler due to an injury concern.

Perhaps we're reaching, but it feels safe to say he may carry a grudge.

He finished with 14 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks.

The Mavs had been an undefeated 6-0 when Chandler posted a double-double.

A LOOK AT JJB: JJ Barea had a strong scoring game, as the third Mav to finish with 14 points … and even went 2-of-2 behind the arc.That's a part of his game that Carlisle truly believes in, and a part that JJB has been working hard with assistant Darrell Armstrong on.

Barea did what was asked of him, and doesn't deserve the blame for the loss, but we'd love to see those five turnovers reduced.

As a badge of his effectiveness, Barea was one of only two Mavs who played over five minutes to finish with a positive plus/minus, and led the team in the category with a +6. Brendan Haywood was that lone other Mavs to join Barea with a +2.

BIG WOOD ON THE BIKE: We are happy to report that Brendan Haywood looked good early. … and looked good late into the night, well after the game was over.

The energy level was there early in the game, and Big Wood quickly collected a couple of powerful dunks. The first came on an alley-oop from Barea. The second was delivered thanks to an offensive rebound.

Big Wood finished with seven points and four rebounds in 12:44 of play.

And afterwards? No media for him (c'mon Big Wood, we don't bite!) … but his time was well-spent. Brendan took to the exercise bike, getting in some extra conditioning – after having just played 13 minutes in an NBA game.

OKC AND DIRK: This was the third matchup between the Mavs and the Thunder, with Dallas having taken both of the previous two meetings in Oklahoma City.

In our mind's eye is a clock frozen on 9:10 during the second quarter of their Dec. 27 contest as a freshly injured Dirk Nowitzki hit two free throws before disappearing from the court, leaving us to remain in wait for his return … a wait that continues as Dirk missed his sixth consecutive game (a personal-worst long streak).

For the season, the away team won all three matchups in this series. … and of course you wonder if Dallas-with-Dirk might've pulled off the sweep.

"We miss Dirk the entire game. … He changes the game." Chandler said. "When he's in the game he stretches the floor on both ends. He's a bigger body and he plays great team defense. He gets a lot of slack for his defense, but he knows how to play team defense, knows how to funnel and communicate out there."

As always when he's not on the court, Dirk was certainly missed on this night.

So … how about Saturday against Orlando?

Smile

Dirk will apparently discuss his sprained knee and his possible return to the lineup after Friday's practice at the AAC. (He's steered clear of the media for most of this week save for his endorsement of our "TAKE THAT WIT CHEW'' T-shirt plan. ... oh, and yeah... We're still working on the spelling with Dirk.)

We know the numbers now. Dallas is 2-4 without Nowitzki. No Caron Butler, either, of course … and even at 26-9, the burden is getting heavy.

"I think we would like to have a full team, but the NBA is like that,'' Kidd said. "It's a fine line. It only takes1/10th of a second for someone to get hurt. But we feel we're deep enough and we've got enough guys in here to get wins. You can look at it so many different ways, but I think at the end of the day we'll be a better team with Dirk getting back and us continuing to play the way that we're playing."

DIRK'S DAD: The UberMan met with a bunch of high school kids after the game (yes, DallasBasketball.com is preparing a pretty good and funny piece on it) and while he spoke – in his native tongue to some of the kids – we visited with Dirk's dad, Jorg Nowitzki.

"Hey, he speaks pretty good German!'' we laughed.

"Ya,'' Jorg deadpanned. "He's been working on it.''

ONE MORE DIRK KNEE NOTE: During his postgame visit with all the kids, he didn't bother sitting in an available chair for quite some time, opting instead to stand while addressing the throng.

Now, he eventually DID sit down. But we're trying to be hopefully in reading into this that even if he does miss the Orlando game … the knee isn't so seriously hurt that the man has to hobble about.

Smile

DOJO AND THE D-LEAGUE: "It's a great place to stay ready and get better," Carlisle said of the D-League in pregame reference to the time Dominique Jones recently spent refining his tools under the tutelage of Nancy Lieberman, coach of the Mavs D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends.

Carlisle reflected upon his own time in the CBA, where he played for the Albany Patroons during their 1987-88 season. He played alongside the Oklahoma City coach, Scott Brooks, before catching on with the Knicks.

Prior to chasing that stream of thought, Carlisle twice referred to the D-League as "extremely competitive."

On this night, Jones would only play 3:42 and miss his only shot attempt of the night, but would dish out three assists.

We continue to like what we've seen from Jones, but there wasn't enough shown Tuesday to sway an onlooker one-way or the other. … We'll continue to insist that he's an NBA-ready rotation guy and our argument will be helped when he experienced a break-out offensive game.

Smile

DURANT DURANT: You knew it was coming … Dallas' long-standing success against Kevin Durant couldn't go on forever. He scored 28 points here on 11-of-22 shooting. In the previous two games, despite some fourth-quarters problems, he scored 32 and 28 points.

THE STRATEGIC NUGGET OF THE NIGHT: In crunch time, OKC assigned long (6-10) KD to guard the smallish Jet.

"Terry had his way with us in the first half,'' Thunder coach Scott Brooks said, "and I thought Kevin's length (would be) tough to shoot over. He was engaged tonight; he was in a defensive stance and committed to getting stops on that end. And when he's like that guys are going to score on him but it's going to take their best, their best ‘A'-game, to score over the top of him. That's a long arm to shoot over the top and I thought he did a great job on him.''

Smile

DIRK'S NO. 6: As we noted in our pregame coverage, Dirk Nowitzki's unlucky number is "6'' … the number of games his missed consecutively and … his rank in this week's All-Star voting for West forwards. We'd like to see him higher. But first we'd like to see him back.




Videography by DB.com's Kevin Brolan. Graphics by DB.com's Beau Shoulders.



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