Dissecting How Lakers 'Whooped' Mavs
DONUT 1: FOREWARD ...
The Los Angeles Lakers came to Dallas playing their fourth game in five nights and promptly put a good ole-fashioned butt whipping on the Dallas Mavericks in the first half, scoring the most a Dallas opponent had scored in any half this season (65), doubling up the Mavs on the boards (28-14) and sprinting out to a 27-point halftime lead.
Things didn't get any better in the second half, as the Lakers pushed their lead to as much as 37 in the third quarter before putting the Mavs away by a final of 115-89 ... thus completing the ass kicking.
You will notice we went from "butt'' to "ass'' there. That fits the game and fits our mood as it declined from quarter to quarter.
"No sense in beating around the bush,'' Dallas' Shawn Marion said. "They whooped our ass."
DONUT 2: SO MUCH UGLY ...
Where do you even start with a loss like this?
Do you begin with the fact that the Lakers out-rebounded the Mavs 61-39? With the Lakers getting 34 free throws, making 23 of them, while Dallas made only 11 of their 20? That the Mavs shot only 36.9 percent, moving their record to 0-7 when failing to shoot at least 45 percent? That the Lakers hit 48.8 percent of their shots, including 65 percent and 36 points in the first quarter?
That Dallas wasn't defending, moving the ball, making smart decisions, rebounding, shooting, or scoring well?
In the perfect storm, can you pick out the rain drop that truly pushed the event into the realm of "disaster"?
Perhaps we should start with defense.
"It started on the defensive end," Rick Carlisle said. "They had a lot of blow by's at the beginning of the game ... being able to set their defense, they were really locked into that. They played a great game and we played really poor. I credit them. We all own this one ... They are physically stronger than us."
DONUT 3: IT LOOKED SOMETHING LIKE THIS ...
DONUT 4: HOLD THE MAYO ...
When purely looking at his shooting numbers, OJ Mayo's worst performance of the season came opening night ... against the Lakers.
He wouldn't fare much better in the next game against the Utah Jazz, but then rattled off 11 straight games of at least 18 points, doing so in impressive fashion (see down the Donuts) ... and then came the Lakers again, and a new season worst.
From the start, whether it was missing open jumpers he's made all year or leaving a finger-roll about a foot short, Mayo wasn't in top form as he was dogged early by Metta World Peace ... and shouldn't we all have known it was going to be a long night when World Peace hit 4-of-5 3-pointers for 16 first-quarter points?
Mayo finished with 13 points, 5-of-15 shooting (his second lowest shooting percentage of the season - matching his 3-of-9 performance against the Jazz in the team's second game), 0-of-5 behind the arc (the first time this season he did not make a 3-pointer), three rebounds, one assist and two turnovers.
"They remember Opening Night with us setting the tone for the season,'' OJ said of LA. "And they came out throwing punches and we really never recovered."
It wasn't pretty for Mayo ... but, then again, he was far from alone.
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DONUT 6: SAVOR THE MAYO ...
Though it wasn't on display here, we're all aware of the offensive prowess OJ Mayo has unleashed since joining the Dallas Mavericks as a free agent this summer.
We're aware that he came into Saturday night's game against the Lakers ranked seventh in the NBA at 22.2 points per game (eighth if you count Kevin Love, who's averaged 29 in just two games). We're aware of the 3-point barrage he'd hurled upon the league, having made 42, three more than the Chicago Bulls had made as a team, while reaching that total with an amazing 56.8 3-point percentage (second only to Matt Bonner's 60 percent).
Or, we should be.
But, how impressed we should be goes a level deeper.
Coming into Saturday night, Mayo ranked first in the league in points per possesion on isolation and spot-up offensive plays. The sample size remains extremely limited, with a long season still waiting to unfurl before us, but take a second to breathe that in. Handing the ball to Mayo to go one-on-one with his defender, to this point, has been more effective than handing the ball to LeBron James, Kevin Durant or any other name you can think of.
When the ball has found Mayo for a spot-up attempt, he's turned that into more points per possession than ... well, anyone.
The raw numbers (coming into Saturday night, per Synergy):
Mayo had 31 "isolation" attempts, which converts to 12.4 percent of offensive plays involving him, and is scoring 1.26 points per possession. Again, best in the league.
In these 31 attempts, he's hit 57.1 percent of his shots, including 55.6 percent (5-of-9) behind the arc ... perhaps worth noting, he has no "and-1" attempts in this situation (just an interesting note)
A total of 65 times, Mayo has found himself in a spot-up situation, or 26 percent of his offensive plays, and is scoring 1.6 points per possession while hitting an incredible 60.7 percent of his field-goal attempts ... and a flabbergasting (yep, flabbergasting) 67.6 percent from 3-point land (25-of-37), and one "and-1."
We're not saying he'll keep up these numbers, or that it's even possible ... I mean, you did see those 3-point percentages, right? ... but it's worth breathing in ... and hoping that sound you heard during Saturday night's game wasn't the beginning of these numbers coming crashing back to earth.
DONUT 7: NOT THE TIME ...
With Mayo off his game, the Mavs couldn't afford to have Chris Kaman, Darren Collison and Elton Brand all have their worst games of the season. Unfortunately, that's exactly what they got.
Kaman would eventually foul out, but totaled only four points by hitting 2-of-12 shots (16.7 percent) and grabbing three rebounds ... all season lows.
Collison had two points on 10-percent shooting (1-of-10) ... both season lows ... to go with four assists, four turnovers, two rebounds and one steal.
Elton Brand had zero points by missing all three of the shots he took ... both (points and field-goal percentage) tying season lows.
"Tonight, it was disgusting," Brand said. "It's disappointing for our fans with the kind of game it was."
Add this to Mayo's substandard performance and you being to see the currents spinning through the storm that ripped apart the Mavs. Perhaps they could survive one, perhaps not against a team as talented as the Lakers ... but enduring all four sounded an inevitable death knell.
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DONUT 10: BACK TO THE FUTURE ...
Rick Carlisle went back to the lineup that had shown success opening night against the Lakers, reinserting Brandan Wright (who had played 11 minutes in the last three games combined and never left the bench against the Knicks) into the starting lineup beside Brand ... moving Kaman to the bench.
"I wanted to get Wright involved," Carlisle said. "I like the way he played (in Los Angeles) and I didn't want Kaman guarding Howard to start the game. The starting lineup is down the list of issues in this game."
Needless to say, though the lineup was pulled from that past success, the result was not.
Wright started hot, scoring six of the Mavs first eight points, but would come out after six minutes of first-quarter burn and not see the court again until the game was well into garbage time ... to clarify, that means well into the fourth quarter, since the entire second half could be viewed as "garbage time."
Again, Wright showed flashes of his immense offensive skills around the rim ... but countered it by grabbing only one rebound in 13:27 of action. With that rebounding pace, his other contributions need to be off the charts to justify minutes ... Carlisle seemed to say those other contributions weren't there by keeping Wright on the bench for so long.
DONUT 11: MAVSELLANEOUS ...
Near the end of the game, a loud "Let's Go Lakers" chant broke out in the Mavs home arena. "I thought it was embarrassing well before that," Brand said of the chant. "Hopefully that's etched in our memory and we will be able to play them harder next time." ... Mayo may have been doomed from the start. He was physically incapable of preventing Metta World Peace from getting to wherever and doing whatever he wanted. "I thought Artest was the one that got them going," Carlisle said. "He blew by us twice for layups, he hit two or three three's in the first quarter. It got them going ..." ... Yes, Carlisle did call World Peace by his former name ... The Lakers, coach Mike D'Antoni said, "were very focused with a lot of energy and this was the fourth game in five nights -- and they had it. So we should expect this every night. I think they will. I think once they feel comfortable with things, I think we'll have this kind of effort every time.'' ... World Peace tied his career high with five made 3-pointers. ... The Mavs are trying to avoid using Dirk Nowitzki's absence as a crutch. "When we were 4-1 it wasn't a problem,'' coach Carlisle said, "and we're not going to make it a problem. That's all bull----."
DONUT 12: THE SILVER LININGS ...
After such a thrashing it's hard to refer to any positives that may have shown themselves, but there were a couple in the form of the the two second-round picks: Jae Crowder and Bernard James.
Crowder set a new season highs with 15 points and four steals, and tied a season high with four rebounds (which can also be viewed as a negative). Sure, some of this came during garbage time, but we also got to see a player that refused to become subservient tot he score, or to stand in awe of a legend like Kobe Bryant.
Crowder never stopped fighting, and though Kobe looked like he wanted to abuse the rookie he found guarding him at times, Crowder stood his ground and make Kobe work.
Bernard James didn't see the court until the game was well in hand for the Lakers, but once more showed the promise we've seen, and liked, from him thus far. He may be the Mavs most active interior rebounder, whether he gets the ball or not he's almost always bouncing around in the fray. There's a level of athleticism we hadn't expected, including a strong ability to finish around the rim ... even if he's forced to floor the ball to get to the rim.
Beyond this, he may already be the Mavs best interior defender ... though Brand has shown something there at times as well.
James finished with seven points, five rebounds and four blocks in 15 minutes.
DONUT 13: THE FINAL WORD ...
If someone had told you before the game that the Mavs would hold Kobe to 19 points, Dwight Howard to 15 points and seven rebounds, and Pau Gasol to 13 points and nine rebounds; you probably would have thought the Mavs would have a pretty good chance at taking the game.
Once more, if you tole them that the early Lakers offense would lean heavily on Metta World Peace and you would have been growing steadily more confident.
Add in that Antawn Jamison would tie for the Lakers' lead in scoring, as well as being their top rebounder (19 points, 15 rebounds), and you would have smiled ... but then maybe started to think, "but not all in the same game, right?"
Throw in World Peace's game and the Mavs' poor performances listed above, and the perfect storm begins to come into focus.
This was ugly.
To pull from Elton Brand's quote ... "it was disgusting."