Mavs Power Points: A Worrisome Win?
There was a 37-2 run in the second half. There was the 42-12 score to close the game. There was a 60-27 second half that turned everything around -- for one night, anyway -- and allowed Dallas a 93-72 win at Miami to snap a four-game losing skid.
So why am I left with that licking-rusty-metal taste in my mouth?
There is no denying the fun in seeing Charlie Villanueva perimeter-heat-check his way to 20 points, befuddling defender Chris Bosh at every turn. (For that alone, and for Rick Carlisle's decision to use Charlie V as a non-traditional center, he gets our "Apple Moving DFW Move of the Day'' props. And benchmate Al-Farouq Aminu? We called for him to get the minutes to free his production and he got 29 of them along with seven rebounds, two assists, four steals, 10 points and endless pep-in-step. (Those two guys powered the previously invisible Dallas bench to a 47-26 scoring edge.) And because those efforts came in such a fast second-half flurry -- Dallas was down by 16 in the third quarter and down by nine with three minutes left in the period -- coach Rick Carlisle was able to give the likes of Dirk Nowitzki (27 minutes) some rest as the Mavs prepare for tonight's 6 p.m. back end of the back-to-back roadie in Orlando. (Get in the GameThread and DB.com Boards here).
The Dallas Mavericks trailed 45-33 at the half. It was the fewest points and lowest field-goal percentage (29.7) for any half this season. All things considered, this was truly a candidate for the short list of all-time worst Mavs halves in franchise history. (An ignominious list, to be sure.)
Vegas at that moment was calculating the odds of Hassan Wilt-side getting more rebounds than the Mavs would get total points. (More on him in a moment.) Every guy on the Mavs roster was a minus on the stat sheet at intermission, some of them as sickly as Chandler Parsons, the native Floridian who missed the game due to an illness Carlisle chose not to detail. (Rick also declined to answer pre-game Rondo questions. Maybe soon there will be something positive to address there and the coach will alter his policy.)
And I made up my mind right there: nothing that could happen in the second half -- not even a monumentally inspired comeback win -- would change the taste left in our mouths, that licking-rusty-metal taste.
OK, I have to back down from that some, especially because even during those first-half tribulations, Dallas was trying to do one thing, was offering a flicker of inspiration, was demonstration that for whatever is wrong around here, all is not wrong:
The Mavs poured effort into the defensive end.
“The thing that I appreciated is we played incredible defense the entire game,'' said Tyson Chandler, who registered his 20th double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. “Not one or two quarters, but the entire game. And that’s the only reason why we were able to get this win.”
Agreed. Not enough to wash away the rusty-metal taste. But it's something.
Also bothersome: In the first eight minutes of this game, Hassan Whiteside surpassed the per-game rebounding average of every single guy in the NBA. He had 14 rebounds very quickly. He began the second half with yet another one. The 7-0 kid -- a three-year pro who has bounced around from the NBA to China to the D-League -- finished with 24 rebounds and 16 points ...
And it's now Saturday and no Mav has yet touched the guy.
I hope I don't sound like a bloodthirsty UFC guy when I politely suggest that when a guy is turning himself into Wilt Whiteside, you gotta knock him on his Wilt Backside.
This goes for Kobe scoring 81 in a game or Klay scoring 37 in a quarter and it darn sure applies to a kid who is in the process of putting up bigger numbers on you than he put on the Texas Legends when he played for the Iowa Energy. You've got to put the hammer to him. Hard fouls. Hip checks. Foul-outs. Something to quell the momentum and to remind him that Bill Russell's number is retired so he can't have it.
It's ironic that this happened in Miami because had it happened there to the 2011 Mavs ... well, it wouldn't have happened. Not thuggery. Not violence. Not Malice in the Palace. But a hip-check tip-toe towards that basketball line? DeShawn would've done it. Cardinal would've done it.
A Mavs team fueled by pride would've found a way to get inside his head and to get alongside his body.
Hey, maybe this edition of the Mavs thinks it found a better, equally prideful way to answer: Scoreboard! Dallas started the game shooting 4-of-25 but later scored 25 of the first 27 points in the fourth quarter (albeit against a Heat squad that played without injured starters Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng). The Mavs are now 31-17. Portland and the Clippers both lost last night, so Dallas is just 1.5 games out of fourth place.
Villanueva, understandably jubilant, called this win "wonderful'' and the Star-Telegram lets the Mavs off the hook by calling it "wacky'' but I'm sorry, I find this and other aspects of the much-needed win to be worrisome.
A weird mirror: The Mavs shot 11-of-37 in the first half. The Heat shot 11-of-37 in the second half.
Rick Carlisle, your thoughts on being the 24th coach in NBA history to get 600 wins?
“The only thing I was ever concerned with was getting the 31st win,” Carlisle said.
We've been beating up the Dallas bench pretty badly in the last couple of weeks. Which it deserves. But some acclaim is due now.
So it's up to you: Vote here for Player of the Game, from these candidates, and determine who deserves "The Dirkie.''
“It gets hard to the point where you’re down 16 in the second half on the road on national TV, it tests your belief in each other and everything else, and everybody stayed strong, everybody kept believing. We got the monkey off our back for the moment, but we’ve got to regroup and get ready for (tonight).” -- Rick Carlisle.
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