Mavs Power Points: Lethargy Vs. Hawks
The Dallas Mavericks laid an egg. An egg on offense. An egg on defense. An egg in the area of energy. The 105-102 score representing a loss to the hot Hawks doesn't do this Monday nighter justice because it really wasn't this close of a game at all.
The Hawks built a huge first-half lead ... that was allowed to remain bulging at intermission when Monta Ellis sucked the life out of the building in the final seconds before intermission ...
And amid a flurry of unfortunate calls and weird techinical whistles, didn't really let up until the very end, at which point it was too-little, too-late for a Mavs team that was lethargic early and expending so much energy late. At numerous points in the game it seemed like the Mavs would post a season-low in points, but a 39-point fourth-quarter explosion saved them in the statistical category.
Of the five starters for the Mavs, only three were in double-digits in scoring and not a single one reached the 20-point mark, with Monta Ellis being the leading scorer with 18 points. The biggest concern was Chandler Parsons, who cooled down quite a bit, scoring only four points in the contest before he fouled out.
There were point guard struggles, too. This was the headline that the Mavs were looking to avoid the rest of the season when they brought Rajon Rondo on board less than a week ago, but Rondo struggled mightily ... in ways the boxscore will never show. Atlanta point guard Dennis Schroder was the leading scorer for the Hawks with his unlikely 22 points, which indicated Rondo's defensive struggles -- one of his strengths. Offensively, Rondo got into double-digits in assists with 11, but had 13 points on 6-of-15 shooting.
The passing brilliance is in there somewhere ...
Yet the most significant number in his stat line: 15. That's how many shots he attempted and it was the second most on the team. He led the team in attempts through three quarters, not something that is the recipe for success for the Mavs. Rondo is a facilitator, not a scorer. The Mavs have their scoring point guard in Devin Harris, who had 11 points, two less than Rondo on TEN less attempts. It will be key for Rondo to shoot less and create more opportunities for guys like Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler, both who were held in check offensively ... and yet you sense that foes will eventually try to force Rondo to find himself as the open shooter ... and they'll take their chances, as the now 20-7 Hawks seemed to.
“Josh (Smith) is super-talented. He fits the profile of a guy we’d love to bring in here. He’s one of those guys that gets a bad rap and we have a great track record of bringing the truth out about guys like that – Monta (Ellis), Stack (Jerry Stackhouse) … there’s a long list of those guys. Guys that were perceived as cancers.” - Mark Cuban, who wouldn't confirm Dallas' interest ...
But here, DB.com Premium Mavs Fans get the word from inside the front office on Dallas' thinking in Josh Smith.
The Mavs (20-9) lost two of the three key offensive categories to the Hawks, so it comes to no surprise that they lost the game. Mavs won in the 3-point percentage duel, edging the Hawks 39.3% to 38.6%. However, they lost the free-throw battle 65% to the Hawks 66.7% and lost overall field-goal shooting 43.3% to the Hawks 49.4%. Not exactly the number we have come to expect from the top offensive juggernaut in the NBA.
It was very interesting to see head coach Rick Carlisle play his starters so deep into the game when it seemed pretty obvious the Mavs weren't going to dig themselves out of this one. All of the starters played 30-plus minutes except Parsons, who played 29 before fouling out. Dirk Nowitzki had 30, Tyson had 34, Monta had 36 and Rondo had 33. The reason it's a concern is because the Mavs play in Phoenix on Tuesday night (an 8 p.m. start CT) so it will be very interesting, again, to see if the extended minutes has an effect on the starters.
Will Carlisle's management here against an Eastern Conference team cost him a Western Conference game in Phoenix? Or would it be more accurate to say the players did this to themselves?
“We’re just not playing very well. We’ve got to play better and we will play better. We’re not a finished product yet here with this new alignment and we have work to do. We made some cardinal sins in the first half. We gave up 12 blow-bys – we gave up a lot less in the second half. Our concentration and focus has got to be very narrowly set on the defensive end first. That’s got to be it. From there, we’ll figure out our offense.” -- Rick Carlisle.