Finger-Pointing: 5 Goats In Mavs Loss At NY

A seven-point margin at the end. A six-game win streak ended, too. And to continue the 7, 6, 5 Countdown: We point some fingers at The Top Five Blame-Worthy Goats in Dallas' 104-97 loss Sunday to the Jeremy Lin-led Knicks. And who is No. 1? Let's go to the incrimidating video ...

5. Lin Can't Go Left. But Dallas Doesn't Force Him To Do So Often Enough
The Dallas Mavericks were very conscious of Jeremy Lin's struggles with driving and creating while dribbling with his left hand. (I mean, heck, if I know it, they know it.) "Conscious,'' meaning they knew it going in. "Conscious'' not meaning they consistently did anything about it.

Lin was terrific, with 28 points, 14 assists and four rebounds. And yes, he was forced into seven turnovers as well. But on occasions when Dallas didn't trap Lin (as the Mavs have frequently done against PGs in the last week-plus), defenders Shawn Marion, Dominique Jones and Jason Terry seemed to forget how one-handed he is. Dallas didn't shade him to the right and therefore didn't force him to be as Lineffective as their gameplan called for.

Tyson Chandler said, ''I was talking to (Mavs players) before the game and they were saying they had an answer for Lin. I guess they were dead wrong on their scouting report.''

Not really. The report is right. The execution didn't follow it.

This isn't a "lesson learned'' for the Mavs, either. As the vastly more experienced team, against a club they won't see often and against a player who will undoubtedly work next summer to fix that flaw, this was a one-shot deal to kill Lin.

And Dallas seemed to forget where to aim that kill shot.

4. Nobody Combated TY
Old pal Tyson Chandler was not statistically dominant, with 14 points and 10 rebounds. But he centerpieced a New York Knicks focus on second-chance opportunities, and NY got those in the form of 40 rebounds (to Dallas' 41) and to 44 points in the paint (topping Dallas' 36).

Brendan Haywood and Brandan Wright combined for 14 points, but a little scoring isn't really the point here. Those two guys managed only seven combined rebounds in 47 minutes … and Ian Mahinmi didn't play at all, his contributions being limited to his pregame "The Ianimal'' yell.

The Knicks are not a physical enough team to be winning interior battles … except this once.

3. Dallas Needed A Second Scorer

Jason Terry returned after missing the last two games, one with a quad issue and the other due to personal reasons. In JR Smith's debut with the Knicks, it was a pefect occasion to assert who's who in their generation's Sixth Men 2-Guard Competition.

JR Smith donned the wings to aid the Knicks. Jet never got off the ground to help support Dirk Nowitzki's 34 points.
Terry finished with 13 of Dallas's 23 bench-points, but did so with poor efficiency and an even poorer shot selection. Of the 13 attempts taken to gather those 13 points, 10 came from behind the 3-point line for Terry, where he made only three. While true that some of these attempts came in desperation in the game's final moments, it doesn't mask the fact that Jet settled far more than he attacked.

Perhaps this is nothing more than a lingering effect of the quad issue that kept him out of Wednesday's matchup with the Denver Nuggets, or is somehow related to the personal issues that held him from Friday's game against the 76ers, but the Mavs need more from Terry.

We feel confident in saying that he will very rarely have a strong positive impact on offense when taking 76.9 percent of his shot attempts behind the arc.

Unfortunately, Terry's struggling on the road has become a trend. Prior to Sunday's game against the Knicks, let's allow's Michael Dugat to dig up and compare Terry's "Home" and "Road" numbers.

Home: 17.1 points, 51.5 FG%, 44.2 3PT% in 16 games

Road: 11.9 points, 32.7 FG%, 31.3 3PT% in 13 games

That's an alarming trend for a player who has seen only a minimal decrease on the road over the course of his career, and a primary factor in why the Mavs are 12-5 at home this season and 8-7 on the road.

2. If You Can't Win The Turnover Battle Against the Knicks, You Can't Win

Knicks turnovers = 19. Mavs turnovers = 19.

That's a New York victory. It's simple basketball math.
Part of D'Antoni's defensive philosophy – such as it is – is to take risks into the passing lanes in order to trigger instant offense. That concept is even more valid now that he has Chandler as his rim protector. The Mavs know all of this, and know that there is a level of offensive crispness and assertiveness that, if achieved, means that team cannot beat this team.

The crispness and assertiveness was not achieved.

Jason Kidd in particular is kicking himself for kicking so many easy grounders here. The future Hall-of-Famer did not separate himself from Lin in any way as the invaluable Mavs PG led the comeback but also led his team with five turnovers – more than the four assists he registered.

''He looks a little bit like Steve Nash out there,'' said Kidd of Lin, and therefore it would've helped had Jason Kidd looked a little more like Jason Kidd.

1. Lamar Odom Is All Messed Up Again

LamLam grew up a Knicks fan and in our dreams, was to experience a breakout game in the shadow og his home neighborhood. OK, maybe not a "breakout.'' How about more "baby steps''?

But "breakout'' devolved into "breakdown'' as Lamar Odom suffered two turnovers in the final 1:45 of a gag-it-up end to the third. He got called for a charge (maybe a dubious whistle), then lost his balance in the backcourt and tossed an interception to Lin for a Knicks dunk, then demonstrated a stunning inability to deal with second-star-of-the-game Steve Novak, and then moped about some more on his way to 20 minutes of missing five of six shots.

Here's MDug's Premium description of a key moment:
The wheels may have begun to wobble in the final seconds of the third quarter, when point-forward Odom was given the ball to advance it from the backcourt. As he attempted to dribble behind his back, the ball stuck to his hip and he briefly lost control, proceeded to lackadaisically retrieve it from the ground to keep it from a Knick defender, stood up and threw a lazy pass the full width of the court and then watched as Jeremy Lin easily intercepted it and raced in for the dunk … capping a 7-0 run New York closed the quarter with, and pushing the crowd into a frenzy.

Descriptive enough? Or must you see it for yourself?

''I thought we had the game under control,'' Nowitzki said. ''And then the fourth quarter, (the Knicks) really got the crowd back into it.''

In a high-profile game at Madison Square Garden and on national TV in which the Mavs stormed on a 25-10 run for a 70-58 lead in the third, is it fair to singularly blame Odom? Nah, but he truly did seem to suck the life out of the Mavs effort.

Besides, that's why we've got five goats. There is plenty of blame to go around.

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