DONUT 1: OKC 107, Mavs 93 ...
From the early going, just beneath the surface of Wednesday's game with the Oklahoma City Thunder, there seemed to be something a little off with the Dallas Mavericks. Perhaps it was playing on the second night of a back-to-back against a team returning from two full days of rest. Perhaps it was just the inevitable and unavoidable off night.
Sound passes found their way to open hands, only to bounce away. Whistles players expected to come remained silent. Steven Adams elbow found its way to the side of Vince Carter's head in a manner Carter did not appreciate, and Carter responded with a hard forearm/elbow of his own to Adams' face … and was quickly ejected.
So it was.
The best thing about this game may be the fact that it's over, with the Dallas Mavericks falling to 3-2 after a 107-93 loss. ... but we do cover it in great depth here in our All-Access Pass and of course below in Donuts, too.
DONUT 2: The Stat O' The Night ...
The stat issue of the night: Turnovers.
Even in building the 3-1 record coming into tonight, Rick Carlisle and the coaching staff had had some haunting concerns here, and if you speak Carlislese, you know the lingo: "catastrophic turnovers.''
That's what happened here.
Catastrophes in the sense that Dallas would commit a turnover in the open floor and OKC turns it the other way. Catastrophes when you've got your BBIQ point guard in the middle of a 4-on-2 break and you don't get a shot. Catastrophes when in the second quarter alone you shoot only 38.9 percent while committing seven cough-it-ups leading to 11 OKC points in the quarter.
Said Coach Carlisle: "The 21 turnovers for 23 points did us in."
DONUT 3: KD on Dirk ...
Did anything good come from this trip?
Maybe one. Kevin Durant has hinted before at his respect for The Uberman. On Wednesday he told reporters that he'd idolized Dirk since he "was 13. ... Sorry I'm making Dirk seem a little bit old, but that's when I started focusing on Dirk, and he became one of my favorite players to ever play this game," Durant said.
The tribune is in flesh-and-blood, as you've undoubtedly noticed KD's increased mastery of The One-Legged Euro LeanBack.
DONUT 4: The raw highlight reel ...
Such as it is:
DONUT 5:As the elbows fly ...
We're always concerned about keeping Vince's minutes down. We guess him getting ejected for winning an Elbow-To-The-Head Throwing Contest is one way to manage those minutes.
Vince was upset enough to swing a retaliatory elbow at Adams. And after being ejected, Vince was upset about his over-emotional error in judgment.
"I just want to apologize to the fans of both sides," Carter said. "There's no need for it. They're trying to clean up the game and make it fun for fans to watch. It was one of those things where I got caught in the moment and reacted to a reaction that was done to you. My intentions have never been that way. It's just one of those things."
Carter is quite aware the NBA might suspend him and said, "It is what it is. There's nothing you can do. I hurt my team giving up free throws and points, so, I just have to deal with the consequences and move forward. It happened. Sometimes when you do something like that, you wish you could take it back.''
DONUT 5: Shop-and-compare Ellis ...
Entering Wednesday games, Monta Ellis led the NBA in drives per game (11.8), points-per-game on drives (10.5), team's points-per-game on his drives (15.0), and after Tuesday's dominant performance against the Lakers he moved up to eighth in the NBA with a 58.8 field-goal percentage on his drives.
He was also tied for sixth in free-throw assists per game (1.0 – passes that led directly to a scoring opportunity, player-missed-field-goal-while-being-fouled, and made at least one of his resulting free throws) and led the Mavs with 11.3 assist opportunities per game (passes that lead directly to a shot that if made would have been counted as an assist; Jose Calderon was close behind at 10.3).
We covered most of that ground a few days ago, and we've talked at length about the return of the two-man-game Ellis has carried with him. Now, some statistical proof of that:
Entering Wednesday's games, let's compare how Ellis has fared as the ball-handler in pick-and-roll chances with Chris Paul (who's playing at an MVP level) and last year's (hoped) initiator of the two-man-game for Dallas, per Synergy Sports:
|Player||Chances||Pts per Pos||FG%||TO%||Team Scored%|
It remains to be seen if Ellis can maintain anything resembling this level of proficiency, but the numbers above lend easily to a growing optimism that he can thrive in Dallas alongside Dirk Nowitzki.
And per Synergy, Ellis was creating 24 points per-game off of the pick-and-roll, leading the league by a "significant margin."
It didn't work well enough in OKC. But it remains the foundation of something special.
DONUT 6: The smartest money guys in DFW ...
We're not what you would call "wealthy.'' We just have, like you, desire to create a more financial future for my family. Let us please introduce you to Woody Levinson and Bill Saplicki at LS Wealth Strategies! Because they're Mavs season-ticket types, we like 'em. But because they've taken such a keen interest in using their skills to help our family handle our finances, our investments and our future, we love 'em! Give them a click or a call at LS Wealth Strategies! and tell them The Fish sent you!
DONUT 7: GAL MEH-kel ...
Rookie point guard Gal Mekel played only 10:49 and had a rather nondescript night, finishing with no points. We noticed some poor decisions on the break, too ... which aligns him with Calderon, who suffered from the same ailment.
But thanks to Our Man Coop, we did get the proper way to pronounce the name: Gal (like a lady pal) and MEH-kel, emphasis on the first syllable.
It does seem that Gal is also comfortable with Gahl Meh-KALL. There is precedent for that around here, of course, with The Taller Baller From The G allowing us to handle the "w'' in his name in any way we prefer.
DONUT 8: Quoteboard ...
"We've been going at it for a couple of years now and have good battles up here always. It got chippy a little bit and the refs didn't really have it under control. They let a lot of stuff go, and that's what happens." - Dirk Nowitzki.
DONUT 9: Sam's downturn ...
Samuel Dalembert's boxscore doesn't seem to be a particular problem. Six points, 3-of-10 shooting, nine rebounds, three turnovers … well, OK, the three turnovers are a problem and they provide a hint.
This was not a "high-intensity'' game for Sam, can we put it that way? The "Haitian Sensation'' seems to be lacking in energy, in movement with purpose, and with the ability to avoid Damp-Hands.
Let's label this "Sammy's worst game in a Mavs uniform'' and hope we don't have to print up too many more labels.
DONUT 10: Chris Kaman's accusations ...
There is truth is Chris Kaman's accusations directed at Rick Carlisle the 'micro-manager' and Rick Carlisle the 'game-player.'
There is a story behind the truth. (Think 'black hole.') There is a reason for micro-managing. (Think about the low minutes played vs. LA in preparation for OKC.) And there is a result from Rick's game-playing.
Really, all Kaman had to do was play along. We take you inside the Kaman-vs.-Carlisle story here.
DONUT 11: Bugged by B-2-B's ...
There is no way to discount the back-to-back issue in here. Last year Dallas was 7-9 on the butt end of these things. Not good enough. This year, already, the Mavs are now 1-1.
Better!? Let's get used to this because we go b-2-b on the road this weekend. But here? The reason it looked like one of these teams played last night and the other has been off since Sunday. ... Is because one of these teams played last night and the other has been off since Sunday.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
This is the 13th OKC win in the past 14 Mavs-Thunder showdowns. That includes a sweep in the first round of the 2012 Playoffs and it motivates us to wonder if we should retire, at least temporarily, our popular and bad-ass Dirk-and-Durant-featured "Red River Shootout'' poster.