Mavs All-Access Donuts: Man, I Hate Houston
This is not going to be a fun read.
It’s been 13 games and I’m yet to say a word about the officiating. That’s not my deal. Today that’s gonna change. It’d be easier to list the things that I did like about this Houston 95, Mavs 92 game rather than the things that I didn’t.
Let’s just rattle off a few of them quickly so I can get back to some fashion of mental stability.
How does Tyson get a technical for defending a Harden continuation after the whistle? Yet, Harden simply gets a tech for continuing a play that ended five seconds earlier, faking like he just got struck by a close-range potato gun and then pushing the opposing player on the way back down the court?
There were three different acts that warranted Harden’s tech and I didn’t see one from Tyson Chandler that was technical-worthy. Double-technicals are the most ignorant cop-out that officials are using these days. Not everything involving two players is double-technical-worthy.
Sometimes, a guy is just being an a-hole.
I hate Houston.
I hate James Harden.
If he were to sign a deal to play basketball in China for the rest of his life nothing would make me happier. He’s a basketball vampire and countless number of referees continue to reward his rubric on a nightly basis. The Rockets' winning formula is almost as simple as whether the referee let’s Harden go to the line or not. His stardom has very little to do with skill, besides the skill to throw your head back like you just got tazed and maintain body control to get a shot up. It’s just incredible that grown men still fall for his chicken-s routine.
If Harden’s getting the calls then the Rockets win. If not, then they lose miserably.
That’s not what basketball should be about.
He’s a boy band that took the shortcut to the spotlight, a sponsored column about dish soap on your favorite website or a sidebar ad featuring the product you just online shopped for. He’s calculated and manipulative. More often than not it works.
The moment that sticks out to me was the charge that was called a blocking foul against Chandler Parsons with a little over a minute left. I don’t know who I’m more upset with ... Parsons for knowing that Harden is going to pull that cowardly bs, the ref for rewarding him or Harden for being such a contriving bastard.
He shot five free throws in the final 1:37 of the game when the Rockets offense had scored five points in the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter. How do you shoot five free throws in the final minute and a half? How is that even possible? He was thrown a lifeline. All he had to do was reach out and grab it. The fun part is he won’t get the calls in the playoffs and they’ll lose in the first round but what does that help when you just lost a division game that could be very crucial to your playoff seeding because of this nonsense?
While I’m burning down houses, let’s talk about Patrick Beverley. You are nobody. People know your name because you shredded Russell Westbrook’s knee with your bush-league tactics. Stop going bananas after you hit a three-pointer in the first quarter like you won a sweepstakes. You will be forgotten quicker than I can type Ish Smith. Nobody likes you. Just know that you will never be better offensively than you were on Saturday and that even evaporated with the quickness.
We might as well get used to Houston this year, this way. “They’re catching us four times on back-to-backs,'' Dirk Nowitzki noted. "I’ve never even seen this in this league before, but it is what it is.''
But once the scheduler is done giving the Rockets a break? I’d love to get a 4-5 or 3-6 Western Conference playoffs matchup with the Rockets so I could see Harden and Beverley dismantled by a better team on every level.
Chandler Parsons followed up one of his best games (best defensively by far) with another outing that made us question his mental toughness.
“Wish I would have played a little bit better,” said Parsons. “Never really got settled in.''
Yeesh. I don't like the way that sounds.
When a man as talented as he is misses the front- and back-end of a trip to the free-throw line on the court he used to play on, one has to assume that there was something rattling around inside that head besides confidence. He couldn’t knock down his free throws (? on the night) and he routinely passed up wide-open looks (which is pretty common by now) that could have put the game out of reach. The Mavs missed six free throws on the night and that’s as big of a culprit as any other number you’ll find in terms of why they lost.
I’m fine with Chandler realizing that there are a lot of talented guys on this team who can score the ball but when the defense yields him an open look it just can’t be the same result we’ve seen thus far. He’s actually shooting better with a defender 2-to-3 feet from him than with a defender 6+ feet away thus far in the season (58 percent to 48 percent).
It’d be nice to get through consecutive games without having to worry about whether or not Chandler’s confidence is rattled. He’s a good shooter and too good of a player to be hesitant at the moment of attack. Just let the damn thing rip, particularly when he’s out there with the second unit and Monta isn’t cooking. Get out there and eat. A missed three-pointer is not the worst thing especially for a team that’s averaging nearly 11 offensive boards a game.
The Jameer Nelson Magical Mystery tour lasted about 24 minutes. It was a wild ride.
After dropping eight points in the first quarter on 3-of-5 shooting, he’d only hit one more shot in the second quarter and put an egg up in the scoring column for the second half.
Overall the last few games there’s been a pattern emerge in the rotations that Rick is using to close out games: Jameer isn’t playing in the fourth. Like, not at all. He hasn’t logged a single minute in the fourth quarter in the last five games. Some of that was because of the game dictating the lineups used late but in the Wizards game and here he didn’t see a second of the floor when the game was on the line.
Before I step off my soap box and head to the next topic, I’d like to leave you with some fun Jameer stats from early in the season:
*Jameer has had 10 possessions in which he’s dribbled the ball 10+ times during that possession (that in itself is incredible). He has shot 20 percent on such possessions.
*When Jameer is defending a player, that player is shooting +11 percent above their average on threes thus far in the season. Houston made 13 first half threes for a new current season high-water mark. I wonder why.
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Brandan Wright is shooting .778 percent from the field and is on pace to destroy Wilt Chamberlain’s record for field-goal percentage in a season. I can’t say enough about what Brandan Wright is bringing to this team. This is the perfect situation for him and he’s thriving. The defense is just a bonus. I don’t think this insane level of production can possibly keep up but even three quarters of what he’s been giving the Mavs off the bench would be more than adequate from the backup 4.
He and J.J. Barea are playing some of the most important minutes on a nightly basis and making the theoretical term “depth” into something tangible. Wright and Barea combined for 11 fourth-quarter points and sparked the 22-8 fourth quarter run that got the Mavs back in the game and then ahead for a short period of time.
The official NBA highlight reel:
I warned you this was not going to be fun.
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“Still should have won the game,” said Nowitzki, with a season-low 11 points on 4-of-18 shooting. “I don’t care, I missed a lot of shots, but up four with 50-something seconds to go, you’ve got to find a way against a division rival to pull that game out.”
I can’t stand the way this game unraveled in the final minutes but the more I examine the crime scene I realize the Dallas Mavericks had no business winning that game (and that kind of makes it hurt worse knowing they nearly gutted it out).
The Rockets were knocking down blindfolded threes in the first half with guys named after alien spaghetti sauces filling it up on their way 13 first-half bombs. It also didn’t help that Jameer Nelson was the leading scorer for the Mavericks at halftime and that they shot 13.6 percent from three in the second half.
The Mavericks aren’t going to win very many games when Run DMC only score 36 points on 46 shots. Really don’t like our chances if that’s going to happen.
With all that being said, the game was there for the taking in the final minutes and the Mavs ancillary pieces made a big enough push to put them in position to win. Instead of smothering the fire the Mavericks allowed James Harden and his parade to sneak in through the chimney and steal the Christmas tree.
Man, I hate Houston.
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