Mavs Donuts: Re-Set 'Inexplicable-Loss' Timer

DALLAS - In the race for weirdest game of the season, Wednesday’s extravaganza has got to be the early nominee with the most legs. Mavs Donuts on Detroit 108, Dallas 95:

DONUT 1: The Big Lead

In the race for weirdest game of the season, Wednesday’s extravaganza has got to be the early nominee with the most legs. It was already an odd bird heading into the contest seeing as the Detroit Pistons were on a winning streak that eclipsed their win total prior to said streak. Sprinkle in a little DJ Augustin witchcraft, 56 Pistons points in the paint and nothing that even resembled transition defense on the Dallas Mavericks end and we’re all left wondering what the hell we just witnessed like the series finale of "Lost'' ... but Greg Monroe’s just there crop-dusting all of us.

The Pistons climb the mountain to seven straight wins and the Mavericks are forced to reset the “Days-Since-An-Inexplicable-Loss” timer back to zero. 108 to 95 are just numbers. Here are the words.

DONUT 2: Running the will out

You can’t get to any other talking points in this game before you talk about how bad the Mavericks defense was for the bookends of this game. In the first quarter it felt like the Mavericks coverages just never got set up and in the fourth it felt like it wouldn’t have mattered if they did.

The Pistons took 27 shots in the first quarter and only five of those shots were from 10+ feet away from the basket (and three of those were made threes). Prior to Rick Carlisle’s timeout with 5:42 left in the quarter I don’t think there was one Detroit possession in which all five Mavericks defenders got back in transition and stayed in front of their man. Nobody was anchoring the paint and the controlled pace that the Mavericks like to run looked like this version of basketball’s boring older brother that wouldn’t buy you beer.


Brandon Jennings really just did whatever he wanted for about seven minutes straight there. It seemed that instead of working up some kind of remedy for getting trampled by this Detroit stampede the Mavericks counter-attack was to run with the Pistons on the other end. The Mavericks actually outscored the Pistons on “fast-break points” (it wasn’t that they were fast breaking the Mavs to death; it was transition water torture) ... but overall it clearly kept the Mavericks from getting rebounding positioning as well. Detroit out-boarded them 19 to 7 in the first quarter.

They ran the will out of the Mavericks legs. ... part of why Carlisle, in our Power Points, calls this game "a wipeout.''

DONUT 3: The DJ Game

I haven’t forgotten about that fourth quarter. That’s when the sad realization that this would come to labeled as “The DJ Augustin Game” started to sink in.

The Pistons basically rolled their second unit with Greg Monroe at center for the entire quarter and let DJ Augustin eat. He seemed to gain superhero-like powers after he barked at one of the officials in a most-definitely-tech worthy way and then drew a tech. Augustin made four different layups and eight shots in the fourth as he warned the Mavs to not let him in his zone and then they just let him in his zone like Kanye.

When his little tantrum was over, he’d scored 17 points in the quarter, which is three shy of his season-high for a game. He’d finish the night with 26 points as my remote went flying over the coffee table and through the dining room like some kind of smokey-eyed Russian gymnast that we’re all sure isn’t of age. (Too old or too young whatever they’re definitely cheating.)

I’m fine with never seeing DJ Augustin again.

DONUT 4: Monta Have Too Little

The numbers won’t support this notion but I think this was one of Monta Ellis’ worst games this season.

A flurry of fourth-quarter buckets makes the numbers a little kinder on the eyes but there’s no way to get around the fact that through three quarters Mr. Have-it-all was 3 of 11 from the field with as many turnovers as made baskets. Also, what the hell is Monta doing shooting four threes through three quarters? He’s actually shooting one more three per game this season over last year. That’s not a trend I like.

You have to be willing to live with nights like this from a shooter that can straight bottle-rocket at any moment but my main problem came from his defense. I only notice Monta’s bad offense when it’s tagging along with it’s bad influence of a roommate, crappy defense. I don’t feel like he stayed in front of any of the Detroit guards whether it was Jennings or Augustin. At the start of the third quarter Detroit came out flat and looked like reality was about to slap them across the face and Monta was ready to unleash a flamethrower. Instead he went 1 for 5 in the frame for two points as the Mavs missed their window to bring the pain.

DONUT 5: New (lower) standard?

Sometimes I just wish Chandler Parsons would take control of the second unit when he’s out there with those guys. At one point it was Harris-Monta-CP-Charlie-Greg Smith on the court at the same and Parsons was invisible.


By this new ever-evolving standard that we have for CP, he didn’t play as mediocre as the box score might suggest. 5 of 13 for 15 points is never going to get the wolves off his back with the majority of his shots coming from attacking the basket ... but he’s played really good on ball defense the last two games. There were a couple moments when he didn’t step into the lane as the weakside pick-and-roll defender. In the third quarter when the game was just blowing around like a 100-dollar bill in the wind for anybody to grab, Parsons was a ghost (0 for 2). That’s the most disappointing part about his effort here.

Oh, yeah. Add to all this the fact Detroit was on the second night of a back-to-back roadie and had just won in San Antonio ...

“With them playing last night and coming down to the wire against San Antonio, there’s no reason or excuse that they should come out and play harder than us and hit first,'' Parsons said. "It was nothing really that they did that we couldn’t control, we just didn’t compete as hard as we could all night.''

DONUT 6: Thumbs-up Dirk

I thought Dirk Nowitzki played a really good game considering how the whole affair unraveled. There were a few moments in the third and fourth quarters when I thought to myself, “Dirk needs the ball every single time down the court right here.” That hasn’t happened too often this season. Dirk would finish with 19 points on 8 of 19 shooting. More importantly for the overall health of the team, there were a few spots in which Rajon Rondo got him the ball in stride popping open to the elbow that just hadn’t been happening. We talked about it after the Nets game: Rondo was just a few moments late which is an eternity when you have very few advantages at 36 years old. There was a key moment in the second when Dirk screened for Rondo then reset another screen for him and as his man started to fade into the lane fetching Rondo, he popped out to the elbow extended while Rondo got the ball to the spot before Dirk was even there. That ended with one of those long layups we like so much.

The overall evaluation from Dirk: “I felt like we had a lot of opportunities. Some bad turnovers, and I felt like we were a step slow on both ends of the floor all night long. And we had some shots. I think we missed a lot of threes that were quite open. It was just one of those nights. Whatever we tried just didn’t really work. We were just a step slow to everything.''

DONUT 7: Greg Monroe can play

Greg Monroe can play. After the start of this season and parts of last year I was starting to doubt my eye for talent seeing as I used to be obsessed with Greg Monroe. This 27/18 effort makes four straight double-doubles for Moose and his first 20+ point scoring game in nearly a month (fifth on the season).

What the Pistons did was basically pick out which one of their bigs beat their man down the court and run early pick-and-roll with them. When they weren’t in a transition situation they basically just ball-screened with whoever Dirk was guarding knowing Monroe and Drummond could beat him back to the basket and Tyson couldn’t help because that would leave the easy oop.

Without a backup center that can be relied upon to plug the levy then this will continue to be a problem. Detroit never had to adjust when the second unit came on. If you’re going to pick one thing that was the sugar in the Mavericks gas tank you don’t have to look any further than Greg Monroe’s pick-and-roll cutlery.


And if you are a Mavs Premium Subscriber, you can know what the Dallas front office thinks about a trade for the free-agent-to-be Monroe.

DONUT 8: Make 'em count!

Every one of Greg Smith’s fouls drove me insane. They were all body fouls that didn’t restrict the opposing player from completing the shot they were already taking. You’re a big; when you foul somebody coming straight at your head and coming to steal your flag, you make it count. This team is not good enough defensively to keep guards off of you in the paint. Either make them count or don’t foul.

DONUT 9: Apple Moving Move of the Day

Your Mavs Apple Moving DFW "Move Of The Day''? It's actually a non-move -- a non-move of the Mavs to the glass.


A little fun fact for you. The Pistons grabbed 60 rebounds. This season, in all the NBA, there have only been seven games in which a single team has pulled down 60 boards. Do you know how many games there have been this year? About four million. That was also only the third time this season that the Pistons had taken at least 97 shots. They were boogying. And the Mavs didn't move in the right way in response. And how here's my clever transition to telling you to call Apple Moving DFW, the very best in the business, when you need a mover. And tell 'em sent you!

DONUT 10: 80085

I didn’t know Kyle Singler was old enough to drink but I mean I guess he must be seeing as he stumbled onto the court with a blood alcohol content of 80085 (a little calculator humor for you). I’ve never seen a player less sure that he belongs in an NBA game in my life and I went to Mavs camps in the mid-90’s.

DONUT 11: Song of the Day

My while-I'm-writing Song of the Day:


DONUT 12: The Final Word

I hate to keep having to make this point but we’re here again. Shooting can abandon you on certain nights no matter how skilled you are. Defensive intensity will never abandon you.

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