Mavs All-Access: Chicago To Milwaukee

A win at Chicago? A big deal in that damn wood chipper, no matter the era. A follow-up victory at Milwaukee tonight to end this roadie at 4-0? Let's All-Access this thing!

Mavs at Chicago - big!

A win against the Bulls in the United Center is a good win whether it’s 2014 or 1994. Nothing comes easy in the house that Jordan built. Particularly with the way Tom Thibodeau tries to put opposing teams in a wood chipper (ten points for a Fargo reference). You hope it doesn’t take 58 minutes of game time on the front end of a back-to-back but when you’re flipping an expected loss into a road win then by any means necessary. That was a gutsy win the likes of which we haven’t seen this year (Washington was close but they’re not on Chicago’s level).

Too much Monta

Too too too much Monta. And too much Kirk Hinrich for that matter. I mean what in the hell was that guy thinking (Pau’s reaction is a top 5 sports reaction this year. Challenge me)?

They should have known he makes questionable decisions the second they saw those goggles.

As impressive as Monta Ellis was in the fourth quarter and then later in the second OT(combined 5/9 for 14 points), give me that third quarter. That was fire (5/11 for 12 points). It seems to be a theme with Monta and third quarters. It was a simple fix earlier in the season when the Mavericks were struggling in the third to just let Monta eat coming out of the break. We haven’t talked about third quarter struggles since. ... Mainly because Monta is fifth in the league in third-quarter scoring (of players that have played at least 5 games) dropping in 7.3 points per frame on 50.9% shooting.

Digging deeper, in his last ten games he’s averaging 9 points per third quarter on 50% shooting. The only player ahead of him in terms of points is Russell Westbrook who has only played 3 games and dresses like a futuristic x-ray technician so we don’t count him. It’s easy to look at the 38 points on 35 shots and question the efficiency (by the way I’m starting a new anti-efficiency wave if anybody wants to join there will be bulletins posted in the hallway) but when it counted (from half time on) he was 11/24 for 28 points on some really tough looks that nobody else was going to make or take including the Mavs final five points in regulation. The awareness to attempt a shot when Hinrich’s dumb ass came reaching for the foul absolves Monta of any efficiency criticism that you devils might throw his way. Not to mention knocking down all three crucial-as-all-hell free throws and the game winning three pointer in the double OT showing everyone that he has giant minerals.

Dirk as Bird

As Dirk slowly transforms completely into Larry Bird we can now check off the back-issue-roller-thing-on-the-sideline trick as well as all that other awesome stuff. Heading to the locker room early is never kosher unless you’re Phillip Rivers or one of those quarterbacks that believe 45 more seconds of looking at pictures is going to give you a decided edge (the will to win). With all that gets lost in this double overtime Monta Mixtape I almost didn’t notice that Dirk nearly had a triple-double in a new season high of minutes. Werner finished with 22pts/10ast/7reb while fighting through a tight back.

His first half was ugly (still amazed they took a lead into the half. thanks, Parsons and Devin) just like Monta’s but when it mattered (second half and the overtimes) he shined bright like a diamond with 6/13 for 15 points 9 assists and 5 boards. Dirk’s distribution (like Noriega) was the difference late as he dropped some key dimes passing out of double teams to find wing-shooters wide open for three balls.

The back thing, though, is going to be a problem. There’s no way to hide that pill in a piece of cheese. I’ve dealt with the same thing a handful of times while playing hoops. Sometimes it’s a day and other times it’s two weeks. I’m assuming it will just be a couple of days seeing as he probably has a better treatment plan than mine which is rub it and half-assed stretch then just drink some booze later so you won’t feel it. It really sounds like sciatica from his description of it. It just feels like a knot wrenching your lower back. You might have experienced it as well. It’s pretty common in out-of-shape guys that try to play hoops past their college years and also in 36-year-old professional athletes. The real worry is the schedule because this is the first of three straight weeks of Tuesday-Wednesday back-to-backs. I’m hopeful that it gets smoothed out in between now and the game against the Bucks.

Just don’t use those heating pads that Shaq shills for. They are useless.

Devin's magic

As my fear of Devin Harris getting overexposed rose while on the same sliding scale my confidence in his game overall was dipping, he has his two best games and totally redeems himself! Just do exactly whatever the hell it was that you did prior to the Bulls game every game.

That was magical. He was lining up with supreme confidence from beyond three (finished 6/6) and played a perfect floor general in the second half and overtime (7 assists and 1 turnover) allowing the Mavericks to not play Jameer Nelson a single second in the fourth and the two overtimes. Devin tied or charted new season-highs in field goals, three pointers, assists and points. Not a bad game. I don’t know what was wrong with him in that mid-November swoon he went through but realizing he sat out two games leads me to believe that injuries affect his game more than your average bear. When he’s not healthy he’s not confident. Ultimately, Devin will be their most important point guard when the playoffs come around and that’s when he needs to be playing at full throttle. But, we’ve seen Devin not play like Devin for weeks at time when his shot abandons him before.

I was worried we were about to see that same movie for a few more weeks but obviously he found a convenient store that’s selling Surge already. That was good because I didn’t like a single thing Jameer did in this entire game. He was bullied on the defensive end and was a mud pie on the other end. I’m not going to waste a whole paragraph on it. Tip of the hat to Devin for keeping the Mavericks well above sea level in the first half when nobody besides himself and Parsons were contributing much.
Call the pigs!

Call the pigs, I said! Chandler Parsons come on down and get your pat on the back, young fella.

People used to criticize Josh Howard for only being a first-half scorer and that never made much sense to me. Don’t points in the first half count all the same? Not everybody is cut out to be a Dirk Nowitzki-level assassin down the stretch. This might be Chandler Parsons’ role to create offense in the first half and then do all the small things (while hopefully knocking down his open looks) in the second half. I’d be totally ok with that. The third quarter is obviously Monta time and the fourth quarter is strictly about match-ups and can they stop Dirk. Somebody has to drive the bus until then. Parsons was superb on the offensive end in the first half, scoring 14 points and getting to the line on three different occasions. In the third frame he got in where he fit in scoring 5 while looking confident stroking the three. The fourth quarter wasn’t great but in the overtime he knocked down a three to put them up by three with a little over a minute left. In the second overtime frame he did his trick where he jumps passing lanes. It was really neat.

The best thing to come out of this game for Parsons is, I never felt he doubted himself on the offensive end. Even when he jumped into the closeout defender and tried to draw a shooting foul. He at least had a plan and was calculating his moves before they happened. This wasn’t his best game but if this becomes something close to what we can expect from Parsons night to night then this team will be A-Ok. He honestly doesn’t need to play like a 15-million-dollar player for this team to reach its potential. He just needs to be better than he was the first month and he’s reached a cozy little plateau in his last five games 17.2 pts/5.6 reb/2.2 ast/1.2 stl. The shooting needs to inch back up to a respectable level but we’re seeing the outlines of what he can be moving forward.

Bull talk

Some words on the Bulls. Mike Dunleavy is way better than I remember. I mean, if you’re going to lean on him to carry your offense for the majority of the game then you’re in trouble but for stretches he can be the trigger man. I didn’t think that was possible.

Jimmy Butler is going to be a star. He’s too fast for larger wings to stay in front of and too damn strong for any guard to keep out of the paint. He abused all of the Mavericks guards at one point. By the end of this season the shooting guard position will be revitalized with Thompson, Beal and Butler leading the way. Butler will get a max deal and for his sake I hope it’s not to a team that’s going to ask him to carry too much of the offensive burden.

The key to this game that had nothing to do with on court productivity was Joakim Noah getting in foul trouble early in the second. He has to find the balance between playing super active and aggressive and not catching a foul per minute. They’re a completely different team when Pau is asked to play and defend the center position. Pau played well but it takes away one of their largest advantages when Noah isn’t on the court to pair with him.

The thing about offensively-challenged East teams is when they go on a “run” it’s like a nine-point run. Early in the third it felt like an avalanche of bullshit was falling on the Mavericks heads but in all actuality the Bulls just went on a 12-2 run and got back into the game. It was stunning to look at the bottom of the screen and realize all the emotions I had just felt just equated to a 61-61 tie. Then again later when they pulled ahead by 6 in the fourth quarter it felt like a better offensive team might have unhooked the trailer and pulled on down the road. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

A few brief Mavericks nuggets

Much respect to J.J. Barea for playing outside of his comfort zone over the last few weeks with Jameer Nelson sidelined. He rose to the occasion in this four-game winning streak averaging just under 9 points and just under 4 assists with less than a turnover per game. Now that he’s back in the role that suits his game I feel like this experience will helpful for him fitting into the offense moving forward.

Why Richard Jefferson? I don’t understand the fascination with what he’s doing on a basketball court. I understand all the minutes he soaked up in the Philadelphia game and this might have simply been a reward for the effort he put out there vs that turd but why is he playing 17 minutes against the Bulls? He was fouling the living hell out of anybody that got near him and didn’t have a role in that game. That felt like much more of a Jae Crowder type of situation. I don’t need to see Jefferson play more than 5 minutes in any game that is of any consequence from here on out. The only player he could defend would be himself and his three-point shooting thus far is inferior to what Crowder has brought. I just don’t get it but when I’m bitching about Richard Jefferson playing at all I guess it’s a good thing.

Also, there's another Dallas Mavericks game tonight. It's at Milwaukee. It's probably on FOX Sports Southwest, like now. Go.

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