Mavs Donuts: Muscled By 'Planet Terror'

Historically, match-ups between No. 1 offenses and No. 1 defenses haven’t fared well for the offensively inclined. The Mavericks learned that Grindhouse lesson on Tuesday in Memphis. Mavs Donuts breaks it down ...

DONUT 1: Mavs at Memphis

Welcome to the Grindhouse.

Would it be "Planet Terror'' or "Death Proof'' for the Dallas Mavericks as they climbed in the cage to face the most surprising team in the Western Conference?

Historically, match-ups between No. 1 offenses and No. 1 defenses haven’t fared well for the offensively inclined. Good defense comes with a certain edge and mentality that emboldens a team. Defensive effort is voluntary. It’s just a matter of willpower. The aptitude for playing defense can fluctuate vastly but to genuinely perform as hard as possible is just a choice. Offensive shot making can come and go like a tomcat. It’s not a matter of choice. The Mavericks learned the hard way in Tuesday's 114-105 loss that defensive effort matters.

DONUT 2: Too-hurt Monta

A few different threads have led us to this point and most of them are centered around the man that’s tough as nails and has an elbow problem.

If you’d have told me that Monta Ellis was going to give the Mavericks next to nothing in a road game in Memphis, I’d have assumed this matchup would be far more lopsided. Monta tried to tough it out as he’s done a billion times before (and he typically delivers). This time I wish he hadn’t. It’s a fun story of overcoming adversity when he contributes while ailing but it’s just a sad tale of what could have been when he goes 1-of-11 from the field with more turnovers than assists.


My concern over the Mavericks leaning too heavily on Monta has been growing over the last week because what happens when he’s not knocking down every tough shot in the second half or even plays with a bum elbow and contributes absolutely nothing?

Well, you just saw that.

In the last five games, Monta’s usage rate, is 31.3 percent -- and that includes Tuesday’s injured 25-minute performance. The 31.3 percent would currently be fourth in the NBA in usage (more than Harden, LeBron and Melo). When his chunk of the pie gets minced into crumbles, who is supposed to eat? Where will those seven points come from? The Mavs clearly didn’t know. Their remedy was to shoot 40 three-pointers. Which is all fun-and-party time when you’re knocking them down blindfolded early but in the second half when you can’t stop the bleeding (8-of-23 from three) it feels like quicksand. It feels like a minus-19-point third quarter, which is exactly what it was.

“Most guys in this league wouldn’t even attempt to play,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of Ellis’ toughness. “We’ve got to see how he’s doing (Wednesday when the Mavs are back home against New Orleans). It’s just a very tough situation for him, so hopefully it’s more of a day-to-day thing and hopefully he’s feeling a lot better ... But we’ll have to wait and see.”

DONUT 3: The NBA highlight reel

Dirk Nowitzki wasn't good. Maybe you see that in the highlights. Maybe you don't.

I can't bare to look.

DONUT 4: The other side

The other side of that Monta dice, by the way, lands on the fact that the Mavericks third-quarter woes have vanished because that’s become the Monta quarter. When the Mavs were having their third-quarter swoon problems earlier in the year, Rick went to the smart answer which is the Nesquik offense of Monta. He’s averaging 6.9 points per third quarter, which is his best quarter.

How would the Mavericks fare in the third quarter without their machine gun? Not well.

The Mavericks scored seven points in six-plus minutes to start the third as the Grizzlies started a grease fire with at 17-7 run giving them a six-point lead. It was basketball manslaughter. When the Memphis offense is cooking it’s not really cooking. It’s like one of those turkey fryers. It’s nasty and brutal and it feels like somebody is trying to explain the Ferguson situation to you but you never asked.

Their offense is never smooth (unless it’s Marc Gasol) and it’s usually 50-percent basic bully tactics. See the smooth muscle here ...

And see the bully tactics everywhere else. That’s how they got their lead, Zach Randolph abusing Brandan Wright and Mike Conley getting pissed off. The Grizzlies lead the universe in chickenshit rebounding fouls that don’t get called. It’ll never change so it’s upon the opposition to adjust. Begging for the call will rarely get you mercy. They set the tone and make the referees stop them. They hardly ever do.

DONUT 5: Call the pigs!

This is the Chandler Parsons we paid for, right?

Actually, this is much better.

In his last two games he’s averaging 29 points/six rebounds/two assists on 65.6-percent shooting and 62.5 percent from three. That’s bananas.

The cool thing is I don’t recognize him doing anything particularly different. He’s just knocking down his looks. He’s getting the same shots at the same spots on the floor. The thing I loved the most is he didn’t go Full Josh Howard here. His game came out of the locker room with him for the second half as he hit 4-of-9 and 3-of-6 from three in the second half for 13 points. That’s nearly double his second-half average coming into this game which was sitting at 6.7 per. His three to make it 101-96 was cold-blooded but the willingness to post up Beno Udrih was the most impressive moment because it showed some maturity and total control over what was happening on that end of the court.

What’s the remedy? Shaving the crappy beard? I mean for real that thing looked like the continents from Pangea were breaking apart due to plate tectonics. Maybe it takes this long for a guy to blend into such a free-wheeling offense and for him to realize it’s his place to take certain shots. It has to be a bit much for Chandler to meld his mind around the concept of very few plays being called. It’s a different kind of offensive engagement. If you know you’re getting the ball off this flare screen as compared to getting the ball at any point during this possession I can see how it would be a challenge at first. Maybe he’s starting to gel and feel on the offensive end rather than think.


As the great philosopher Terry Ellis once said, "Free your mind and the rest will follow.''

DONUT 6: Barea's best

I’ve never been as impressed with J.J. Barea as I have in this last month. Oh wait, there was that whole Finals run where he played like a g-damn witch. Well, this is still pretty cool.

He’s the bucket of black cats that you’re going to blow up in the garage after the grown-ups go to bed. The fourth quarter has become his time. He sprinkles in his little magic perfectly in between getting all the other much more heralded offensive players going. He was huge here in the fourth with 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting and truthfully the only reason the Mavericks were still threatening with a few minutes left. In his last five games he’s averaging five points/1.7 assists on 43.8-percent shooting and 37.5 percent from three in the fourth quarter.

DONUT 7: A few brief Mavericks nuggets

*Man, we really miss Vince Carter. Hahahahahahaahahahahahaha no we don’t.

*I hate Mike Conley so much but damn do I respect him.

*Considering Memphis had 25 points off of turnovers, the Mavericks had no business being in this game.

*Why did Aminu and Greg Smith get zero minutes while Zach Randolph was chewing up Brandan Wright’s bones and spitting them back in his face?

*Jae Crowder has always felt like he’d be a Grizzly someday. I have no idea why. He needs more minutes. He might be starting to get it.

*Dallas is 16-7 and if you look at the Southwest standings it looks like they are mired in the basement with the Pelicans. But even the Pelicans are good enough to be 10-10. And unlucky enough to be in the Southwest.

DONUT 8: Weekend At Bernie's

That Jameer Nelson first half sure was fun. That Jameer Nelson third quarter sure sucked ass. After going straight "Weekend At Bernie’s'' in the first half on 6-of-7 shooting for 18 points Jameer should have retired. In the third he turned back into a pumpkin. Maybe he was trying to get all of his shots and bad passes out of the way because he knew he wouldn’t see a second of the fourth. For whatever reason Jameer went 0-of-2 with more turnovers than assists (2 to 1) and two personal fouls in the third. He and Monta were the third-quarter anchor that the Mavericks just couldn’t shake themselves loose of.

DONUT 9: Quoteboard

“We’ve got to continuously work at doing better against big, physical teams,” Carlisle said. “It’s a big challenge. There’s no doubt about it. They got the better of us in there. They’re a big paint-points team, so they’re going to get some. But it’s going to be an ongoing challenge that we’ve just got to take.”

DONUT 10: TY T'ed up

Tyson Chandler has to have a demo reel of some of the weakest techs in the history of the planet to show from this season.


The Rockets one stands out and here he got one because his shot follow-through caused him arm to touch a defender's head when the defender's head was situated at TY's waist. It was just ri-gosh damn-diculous. Open letter to the referees: these things matter and can cost players games so don’t be throwing this mess around like it’s your stylized business card, jagoffs.

DONUT 11: Touching the flame

I’m not that frustrated with this loss despite all the baskets the Grizzlies got by simply shoving people under the basket. It just felt like the Mavs fell in love with the three ball after touching the flame in the first half and shot themselves out of contention. Memphis is a better team right now and they beat the Mavs in the fashion in which they’ve suffocated so many teams this year. Monta brought nothing and Dirk was bad and you don’t have a chance in the Grindhouse when your recipe involves those ingredients.

It was more of a "Planet Terror'' kind of night.


DONUT 12: The Final Word

"We want to consider ourselves an elite team, and we’ve got to beat elite teams.'' -- Chandler Parsons.

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