Mavs Donuts: 'When You Stink, You Stink'
DONUT 1: Stripped of sugarcoating ...
We'll not sugarcoat what will smack the palate as one of the most sour of tastes, one of the worst performances, on multiple levels, from the Dallas Mavericks in a long time. You can toss around words like "disengaged," "uninterested," "give up" and a bundle of other cold, callous adjectives to describe what spilled over the court as the Los Angeles Clippers strode easily to a 94-75 victory.
But DB.com's 75-Member Staff had huddled together all night and morning and here's what we've concluded: When about the best news you can take from a game is that nobody died, things probably didn't go well.
Things didn't go well.
DONUT 2: Hustle Stats ...
As per usual, Rick Carlisle addressed the media and hour a half before the opening tip. Monday night, he carried with him the news that Jason Kidd would miss at least a week with what is officially being labeled a "strained right calf." In the same breath, he confirmed DB.com's Sunday night report that Lamar Odom was suffering from a stomach ailment, and LO missed the game, too.
With their playoff hopes still undecidedly balanced in the palm of fate, the timing was about as poor as it could be ... and the situation was only compounded by the fact that the season tie-breaker was at stake.
Already facing difficult circumstances, the first-half display from the Mavs who did take the court only made things worse. Dirk Nowitzki (5-of-8 field goals for 12 points before the intermission) was forced to essentially undertake the task of competing against the entire Clippers roster alone at the offensive end. Excluding Dirk (19 points total), the rest of the roster was 9-of-32 ... a lazy 28.1 field-goal percentage.
As a whole, Dallas appeared resigned to the will of the injury report, surrendering the game before it had begun. At both ends of the court, they appeared slow, careless and disinterested in committing to the level of energy required to compete, playing in acceptance, almost in welcoming, of the 49-33 halftime score.
Comprised within that halftime score, and partly explaining it, lets take a peak at a few of the "hustle" stats:
Second-Chance Points? Clippers: 10, Mavericks: 0.
Rebounds? Clippers: 26, Mavericks: 18.
Steals? Clippers: 7, Mavericks: 3.
Turnovers (and points off turnovers)? Clippers: 7 (14 points), Mavericks: 9 (9 points).
Fastbreak Points? Clippers: 9, Mavericks: 2
Rather than going on listing numbers (Make it stop!!) let's just sum it up by saying the Clippers led in just about every meaningful statistical category ... and add to that every intangible facet of the game.
"We were poor in virtually every area of the game," Carlisle said. "I'm going to look at the film before I gauge the effort. Sometimes you just get your ass kicked that bad. We were poor and there are no excuses ..."
No argument here. But as we noted in "First Impressions,'' Rick needn't bother "looking at film.'' We can handle this in 25 seconds. We're all laymen, but see for yourselves: Uncontested passes, uncontested cuts, uncontested shot, and five Mavs half-assedly boxing out ... resulting in this:
DONUT 3: Got your tickets yet? ...
Yeah, there are moments right now when you want to turn away, to cover your eyes. But starting Wednesday? You'll want to look again. And if you want to see the Mavs in person? Nobody does it better -- or with a more personal Mavs touch -- than Ryan at MavCowTickets. You need to go to the game tonight, at the last minute? Planning a big Mavs or Cowboys or concert event? Need the best prices from somebody who knows the market, knows the facilities, knows the teams and even knows the seats?
You need Ryan at MavCowTickets. I give you my personal guarantee. He's helped me dozens of times. He's helped DB.com readers and Mavs fans thousands of times. He's your guy.
DONUT 4: So how do the standings look now? ...
We'll do you one better than the standings. Here's the updated-as-we-go Mavs Race In The West -- all the who's who in the chase for the playoffs, featuring the remaining schedules and strength of schedule for Dallas and the competition.
DONUT 5: Not that the Clippers aren't good ...
Hey, a minute ago their coach was in trouble and now they've won six straight! They are 32-21 to the Mavs' 30-23. They are in fourth in the challenging West ... but the Clippers had lost 10 straight in Dallas, dating back to 2006.
Once upon a time, the Mavs were clearly better than the Clippers. And the Grizzlies, too, who make a Wednesday visit as they presently sit in the No. 5 slot.
That means Dallas is No. 6. And as of today, not with a bullet.
"Yeah,'' Nowitzki said. "It's a tough (final) stretch. We've got our hands full."
DONUT 6: If we win this Super-Mega-Lottery ...
Our first act will be to give you free Premium Mavs Coverage for Life!
Premium Mavs coverage! This is what we do, every day, with 28 years of experience on the beat! It's pennies a day to get All-Access to what the Mavs are doing upstairs, down in the basement, in the locker room and on the court – and it's free to come inside for a 7-day tryout. Now more than ever, there's no reason not to give it a go! Thanks for your support of the site at less than a dime-a-day! Go Mavs and Go Premium!
So what we're saying is, even if we don't win the lottery, the best Mavs coverage on the planet only costs you pennies a day you can still afford to Go Premium!
DONUT 7: Knock him down? ...
You came in fearing a Blake Griffin dunkathon. He did his thing on his way to 15 points.
You came in hoping old friend Caron Butler wouldn't bust out of his slump against you. He was solid with 13 points.
You really didn't plan on Randy Foye seeped through cracks in the Dallas shell to set a new career high and tying a franchise record with eight made 3-pointers, did you?
Foye scored 28, largely due to the fact that Dallas defenders obviously didn't plan on him making 'em, either.
"I was waiting for somebody to knock him down, do something," said Carlisle.
DONUT 8: In addition to watching the Mavs ...
Follow the Mavs on Twitter with ... The 75-Member Staff!
DONUT 9: Jet's inefficiency ...
Do not be fooled by any Mavs stats that tease you into thinking there were positives here. We could pick on any number of Mavs. Man, it would be a good time for Vince to return to form. Or how about a more boistrous example: Jet scored 15. But he needed 13 shots to score those 15 empty points.
Is Terry's head screwed on tightly? Does he have CTC on the brain? Coming up, one of the NBA's foremost capologists, DB.com's David Lord, delves into Jet's contractual future in Dallas and beyond.
Check back in a bit ...
DONUT 10: Bench Guards ...
With no Jason Kidd available, Delonte West moved into the starting lineup beside Vince Carter. Roddy Beaubois and Jason Terry acted as the primary guards for the second unit ... and after a quick 3-pointer and assist from Roddy, seemed to enter into a duel of "who can play worse."
As a duo, they were 1-of-6 for three points in the first quarter, with one assist and two turnovers.
As it was, Roddy likely won the duel, though Terry gave him a run for his money much of the night. Beaubois took six of his eight shot attempts for the game behind the 3-point line, making only one, having more turnovers (3) than assists (2) and appearing either confused or disconnected from the game before him. And, we're likely being kind when saying Terry wasn't often far removed from that stance.
Jason Kidd had missed games previously, but never had the Dallas offense appeared so rudderless in his absence. The degree of the dishevelment on the court was alarming in its blatancy.
"Kidd,'' Dirk said, "is the head of the snake. He's going to be missed.''
Sure, but ... didn't Dallas just win a game in Orlando by using Delonte in place of the (apparently) healthy Kidd for the entire fourth quarter?
You should never feel justified in hosting the thought that a team felt willing to sacrifice a game from the opening tip. Whether it's true or not, can you label it as unfathomable in this case?
DONUT 11: Mavsellaneous ...
Dirk and Terry finished a combined 13-of-27, the rest of the Mavs were 17-of-50 ... Dallas shot 43.2 percent in the second half, which was actually an improvement from the 35 percent they shot in the first two quarters ... For a small bright spot, we'll have to look away from this game to the Texas Legends. On Sunday night, Kelenne Azubuiki played 14:23 and scored 14 points, 5-of-7 field goals, 1-of-1 3-pointers, and 4 rebounds. While working back into game shape, over four games with the Legends, he is averaging 13.8 minutes, 8.5 points, 4 rebounds, 54.2 field-goal percentage, 75 3-point percentage ... considering the outcome and flow of the game, it's surprising to see that Dirk and West were allowed to play about 36 minutes each ... the Clippers ended a 10-game losing streak in Dallas, a streak that began in 2006.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
Uncle Nellie (Hall-of-Famer Uncle Nellie to you) used to say a coach has about six shots in his postgame tirade cannon, anything beyond that risks losing the team. We're not a coach, but we're going to use one of our "Game Recap Bullets."
From the start, Dallas failed to remotely come close to matching the level of urgency, hustle, caring, or any number of other winning traits from the Clippers. It wouldn't have appeared much different had the Mavs simply stood at mid-court and recited the injury report to each other while Blake Griffin decorated the highlight reels with spectacular dunks and Randy Foye attempted uncontested 3-pointers with devastating success.
"I was waiting for somebody to knock (Foye) down, do something," Carlisle said.
He's still waiting.
Shawn Marion did his job on Chris Paul, helping to hold Paul to eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, though he did total 10 assists. Dirk was there to carry the offense in the first half, but seemed to relent after it became apparent he would not receive adequate support. And, the Mavs fell behind by as many as 22 points.
"We couldn't get anything going on either end of the floor,'' said Marion. "It was like bringing a knife to a gunfight. And you're going to lose when that happens.''
Rick Carlisle would have been warranted in turning to the very Popovich-esque approach and gone to a lineup of Dominique Jones, Roddy Beaubois, Brian Cardinal, Brandan Wright and Yi Jianlian for the second half ... in fact, it's unlikely many would have noticed.
The season tie-breaker has been surrendered to the Clippers. The game was soundly lost. It's time to move on.
We've vented. It's over ... and hey, nobody died. So, there's that.