Mavs Donuts: Studying 6 Late-Game Meltdowns

The Mavs entered March at 51-18 in Carlisle's three seasons in games decided by five points or fewer. That's execution, precision, clutch. But in six straight now vs. West playoff-seeded teams, the Mavs are 0-6. Why: 14 late-game minutes in which ‘execution,' ‘precision' and ‘clutch' betrayed them. We break it down, minute-by-minute, to reveal the problem, in Donuts:

DONUT 1: Game-by-game. Minute-by-minute. The Dallas Mavericks' problems start in February, in Denver ...

February 10 at Denver Nuggets

Time

Mavericks

Score

Score

Nuggets

2:50

Dirk FT Miss

119

110

2:36

119

110

Anthony TO

2:23

Kidd TO

119

110

2:08

119

112

Afflalo 2PT

1:47

Dirk 2PT Miss

119

112

1:37

119

115

Afflalo 3PT

1:13

Kidd 3PT Miss

119

115

1:06

119

118

Anthony 3PT

0:47

Terry 2PT Miss

119

118

0:34

119

118

Billups 3PT Miss

0:33

Dirk Foul

119

118

0:33

119

118

Nene FT Miss

0:33

119

119

Nene FT

0:19

Dirk FT Miss

119

119

0:19

Dirk FT

120

119

0:00

120

121

Afflalo 2PT

DONUT 2: Summary: In the final 2:50 the Mavs got outscored by the Nuggets 11 to 1. The Mavs were 0-3 from the field, 1-3 from the line, had 0 rebounds, and had 1 turnover, while Denver was 4-5 from the field, 1-2 from the line, had 4 rebounds, and had 1 turnover.

The Mavs had three chances for an offensive rebound and didn't get one and had one chance for a defensive rebound and didn't get it. The Mavs missed 2 free throws (both by Dirk). There were 4 rebounds to be had and the Mavs got 0.

Afflalo made some "lucky" shots, but the Mavs could have stopped this loss at any number of points (by grabbing one more rebound, or making one more shot of any kind, etc.) and they didn't. The Mavs folded.

DONUT 3: March 6 vs Memphis Grizzlies

Time

Grizzlies

Score

Score

Mavericks

1:08

98

101

Terry 2PT

0:58

Randolph FT

99

101

0:58

Randolph FT

100

101

0:38

100

101

Marion 2PT Miss

0:15

Mayo 2PT Miss

100

101

0:14

Battier 2PT

102

101

0:03

102

103

Dirk 2PT

0:00

Randolph 2PT

104

103

0:00

104

103

Terry 3PT Miss

DONUT 4: Summary: The Mavs were outscored 6 to 2 in the final 1:08. The Mavs were 1-3 from the field and had 0 rebounds. The Grizzlies were 2-3 from the field, 2-2 from the line, and had 2 rebounds. There were 2 rebounds to be had and the Mavs got 0.

DONUT 5: March 9 at New Orleans Hornets

Time

Mavericks

Score

Score

Hornets

1:13

Dirk FT

92

85

0:58

92

85

Jack 3PT Miss

0:50

92

88

Belinelli 3PT

0:29

Dirk TO

92

88

0:25

92

88

Ariza 3PT Miss

0:23

92

88

Belinelli 2PT Miss

0:19

92

90

Okafor 2PT

0:19

92

90

Okafor FT Miss

0:17

Chandler FT Miss

92

90

0:17

Chandler FT Miss

92

90

0:08

92

91

Jack FT

0:08

92

92

Jack FT

0:08

92

93

Jack FT

0:01

Dirk 2PT Miss

92

93

DONUT 6: Summary: In the final 1:13 (after Dirk hit his technical FT for David West shoving Cardinal in the back and hip-checking Dirk into the stands) the Mavs were outscored 8 to 0. The Mavs were 0-1 from the field, 0-2 from the line, had 1 turnover, and had 1 rebound. The Hornets were 2-5 from the field, 3-4 from the line, and had 4 rebounds. There were 5 rebounds to be had and the Mavs got 1.

DONUT 7: March 12 vs Los Angeles Lakers

Time

Lakers

Score

Score

Mavericks

0:47

91

87

Terry 2PT

0:28

Fisher 2PT Miss

91

87

0:24

91

89

Marion 2PT

0:24

Gasol FT Miss

91

89

0:24

Gasol FT

92

89

0:12

92

89

Terry 2PT Miss

0:11

Bynum FT

93

89

0:11

Bynum FT

94

89

0:06

94

89

Terry 3PT Miss

0:04

Bryant FT

95

89

0:04

Bryant FT

96

89

0:00

96

91

Beaubois 2PT

DONUT 8: Summary: In the final 0:47 the Mavs were outscored 5-4. The Mavs were 2-4 from the field and had 1 rebound. The Lakers were 0-1 from the field, 5-6 from the line, and had 2 rebounds. There were 3 rebounds to be had and the Mavs got 1.

The Mavs did a good job coming from behind to cut the Lakers' lead to 2 points but they failed to get over the hump even after Gasol choked and missed a FT that allowed the Mavs to be within one possession and have the ball.

DONUT 9: March 15 at Portland Trail Blazers

Time

Mavericks

Score

Score

Blazers

2:56

Terry 3PT

99

100

2:29

99

100

Brandon 2PT Miss

2:04

Marion 2PT Miss

99

100

2:01

Dirk 2PT Miss

99

100

1:38

99

101

Brandon FT

1:38

99

102

Brandon FT

1:06

Kidd TO

99

102

0:47

99

104

Brandon 2PT

0:38

Dirk FT

100

104

0:38

Dirk FT

101

104

0:18

101

104

Aldridge 2PT Miss

0:00

Dirk 3PT Miss

101

104

DONUT 10: Summary: In the final 2:56 the Mavs were outscored 4 to 2 by the Blazers. The Mavs were 0-3 from the field, 2-2 from the line, had 1 turnover, and had 3 rebounds. The Blazers were 1-3 from the field, 2-2 from the line, and had 1 rebound. There were 4 rebounds to be had and the Mavs got 3.

The Mavs did a good job of putting themselves in the position to win this game but the Kidd turnover and the three missed shots kept them from pulling it off.

DONUT 11: March 18 vs San Antonio Spurs

Time

Spurs

Score

Score

Mavericks

7:26

73

71

Terry 3PT

7:07

McDyess 2PT Miss

73

71

7:03

73

71

Beaubois TO

6:58

Neal 3PT

76

71

6:28

76

72

Terry FT

6:28

76

73

Terry FT

6:11

Parker 2PT

78

73

5:54

78

75

Dirk 2PT

5:31

Ginobili 3PT

81

75

5:09

81

77

Dirk 2PT

4:41

Parker 3PT

84

77

4:24

84

77

Dirk 3PT Miss

4:01

Ginobili 3PT Miss

84

77

3:56

Duncan TO

84

77

3:46

84

77

Barea 2PT Miss

3:31

Ginobili 2PT

86

77

3:31

Ginobili FT

87

77

3:21

87

77

Kidd TO

3:17

Ginobili 2PT

89

77

3:01

89

77

Kidd 2PT Miss

2:35

Duncan 2PT

91

77

DONUT 12: Summary: In the 5-minute stretch from 7:26 to 2:35 the Mavs were outscored 18 to 6 by the Spurs. The Mavs were 2-5 from the field, 2-2 from the line, had 2 turnovers, and had 1 rebound. The Spurs were 7-9 from the field, 1-1 from the line, had 1 turnover, and had 4 rebounds. There were 5 rebounds to be had and the Mavs got 1.

During this stretch the Mavs could not stop the Spurs or grab a rebound (other than the one that Roddy B collected before having the ball stolen by Ginobili). The Mavs had done a good job of getting back into this game but they completely melted down during this 5-minute stretch.

So what went wrong?

DONUT 13: Defense: The Mavs' opponents shot 16 for 26 from the field during these key stretches—61.5%. The Mavs' couldn't get stops.

Turnovers: The Mavs committed 5 turnovers in these key moments while their opponents only committed 2. The Mavs were sloppy when it mattered.

Rebounding: This is the monster: The Mavs were outrebounded 17 to 6 in the key moments of these last 6 games against playoff teams in the West. And if you take out the Portland game (the anomaly in which they actually grabbed more rebounds than their opponent when it mattered) that would fall to 16 to 3. The Mavs were absolutely atrocious at "rebounding in the clutch.''

The mantra is true: defense and rebounding -- that is what you need to win in the playoffs. And in these playoff preview games the Mavs did neither when it mattered. Playoff games will inevitably come down to moments where you need to get a stop or grab a rebound (offensive or defensive). If the Mavs cannot execute in those moments then they will go home early. But if they can find the resolve to outwork their opponents' in those moments then they have a shot.

Smile

This isn't the final study on this subject, because it branches out into so many others. Why do the Mavs rebound so poorly in the clutch? Does this stress the importance of Tyson Chandler staying out of foul trouble so he can be available? Does it mean the SmallBall lineup is doomed to fail? It is a problem with personnel, or with effort and focus? (We'll talk about some of this on today's DB.com MAVS Podcast, at noon, featuring Fish, Mike Bacsik and Mark Followill.)

That 51-18 record in close games cannot be a fluke. It is hoped, therefore, that this 0-6 record in close games is.


Dallas Mavericks products in The DB.com Store! The ‘TAKE THAT WIT CHEW!' shirt is hot!

Dallas Basketball Top Stories