Mavs Donuts: 'Disgusted' In Dallas
If there ever was a word created for this emotion that’s stewing in my gut after Memphis undid all of the new superpowers the Dallas Mavericks seemed to realize last Monday when they beat the Grizzlies handily in Memphis, it would be "disgusted.''
Statistically, Tuesday's 109-90 home loss to the Grizz is the low point of the season, seeing as the Mavs hadn’t lost three in a row since last March (that was the only time that happened last season) and emotionally you’d have to concur that this is the bottom floor of the elevator thus far. (DMNews photo above.)
Look back over the course of the three.
There is no shame in losing to the Chicago Bulls of this season under any circumstances but despite everyone knowing that the Pelicans game was turned on its head by one fluky call it’s still never OK to lose to that group of adult diapers. (Review those games here in Mavs Archives.)
And this one? This one needed to get got mainly so I wouldn’t start to question whether all those fancy clutch-time stats we've assembled were balancing back out. The Grizzlies were on the tail end of a back-to-back playing without their starting point guard and starting small forward. On this rare occasion I didn’t even mind what Gasol and Randolph were doing to the Mavericks. What was irreconcilable was the combination of Courtney Lee/Beno Udrih/Nick Calathes scoring 34 points on 13-of-21 shooting. ... and the lowlights in general ...
Disappointment-in-Donuts will be served in heaping portions this morning.
As aesthetically grotesque as Zach Randolph’s second half was for Mavericks fans, I was shocked to realize he only scored 16 points after halftime. The box score could have read 200 and I just would have nodded. A mountain of demoralizing fadeaways came raining down on the Mavericks in the second half as Z-Bo hit six straight jumpers from the 3:59 mark of the third quarter and into the fourth quarter. When a player of his size goes "blue steel'' like that I don’t know what you do short of blitzing him like teams do to Dirk in the playoffs. It would have made everyone feel better if Tyson would have two-arm-shoved him into the stands just one time immediately after he started fading away.
I’m joking, but at some point you have to do basically anything short of drawing a fine to knock the player out of their rhythm.
Playing good defense for 20 seconds and then giving up a bucket on a weak-sauce fall-away look has got to do a number on one’s defensive gumption. It’s obvious the Mavericks don’t have the ammo for the battle when Gasol and Randolph are fully engaged and that’s why last week’s win in Memphis is so puzzling.
Memphis has this rendition of the Mavericks outflanked before the game starts and you can’t be for certain whether or not the hopefully-unretiring Jermaine O’Neal can do anything to change that story. The primary issue is that when the Grizzlies really start grinding on the Mavericks and throwing bodies around, the Mavs natural response is to shoot more threes.
What truly got the Mavericks beat in this contest was the fact that the Grizzlies' second unit didn’t allow their defensive intensity to fall off at all, while the Mavs couldn’t defend the perimeter as the Grizz went 4-of-7 in the second.
In the first half, the Mavs bench played 35+ minutes of game action and only had six points to show for it (all from Devin Harris) and five turnovers hanging around their necks. The Grizzlies bench accumulated 28 points in the first half and stretched their lead out to 10 points before the break. The bench built the lead and Z-Bo sat on top of it like a fat kid on the playground in the second half. The Grizzlies have only had three games this season in which they shot better from the field than they did tonight and have had only two games prior this one where they made 10+ threes.
Now, back to that end-of-the-shot-clock-defensive issue. Listen to Rick:
“Poor decision-making usually is the reason. I haven’t looked at all of them. It was uncharacteristic, but it was our downfall tonight.” (On the challenges of a three-game losing streak heading into a tough schedule of games) “Right now, our inability to sustain a high level of full-capacity is our nemesis. ... We got hit with over 50 points in the last eight seconds of the shot clock against Chicago, over 40 in the last eight seconds of the shot clock against New Orleans, and tonight, we got hit for 52 in the last eight seconds of the shot clock. That’s just pointing to the fact that we have been unable to sustain our defensive posture for whole possessions. That’s a problem that we’ve got to solve. These numbers, when we were talking about it during the playoffs last year, San Antonio was hitting us for 25 a game last year and that sounded like a lot. These numbers are the highest I’ve ever heard or seen.''
What’s getting lost in this mid-season trip through Toilet-land is how well Chandler Parsons is playing on the offensive end.
This isn’t his best stretch of basketball because that early December run where he averaged 24.6 points over a five-game run is still pretty strong ... but since Rondo has been on the scene I don’t think there’s any doubt that this is the best Parsons we’ve seen.
I have no explanation for why he can’t pull down more than 1.5 rebounds per game over the last four so don’t ask (I mean, all those teams do have some monsters on them but what the hell, man). What’s most encouraging is the percentages are sky-high over the last four games with the field-goal percentage reaching 59 percent and the three-point number hitting 53 percent. Parsons is simply getting more done with fewer shots. Over the last four he’s taking 11 shots per game with nearly four of those attempts being threes. Prior to that stretch he was averaging almost 13 shots per game with nearly six of them being threeballs. Here, Parsons came out with a flamethrower, making his first five shots, including two early threes, on his way to 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting.
More of the same will be required tonight when he makes another homecoming to Houston.
“It’s just another game to me,” Parsons said. “I’m sure they’ll make it a big deal and I’m sure they’ll boo me, but it’s just another game.”
Late in the second quarter, Monta had had enough of this mess and attempted to jump-start the Mavericks bus with simple willpower.
It didn’t quite work.
A barrage of Ellis aggressive possessions only drew the Mavericks to within seven points and after an out-of-control offensive foul followed by a tech nobody else could really grasp, the rope that was slipping away. The Mavericks would scratch back to a seven-point margin early in the third quarter but then all the bad things happened.
The Grizzlies didn’t miss. From the nine-minute mark of the third quarter until the fourth quarter began the Grizzlies hit 12 of the 15 shots they took. I just don’t understand. A lot of it was Z-Bo playing like he’d been promised Dickey’s Barbecue after the game, but Courtney Lee and Marc Gasol were just as unconscious. The Grizz finished the quarter on a 28-21 run and it could have been much uglier if not for AF Aminu.
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The inclusion in the rotation of Aminu, who was excellent. You know, I mean for Aminu standards. Every other Maverick on the court seemed content with sleepwalking through the rest of the second half and possibly staging a comeback if their shots started to fall. Not Al-Farouq. He was flying around like his hair was on fire.
Al-Farouq had a really fun sequence where he got matched up against Gasol and stood his ground, forcing a miss. Then, he forced a turnover on an entry pass to Gasol. Next, he blocked the life out of a transition layup attempt and finally stole a lazy pass in the backcourt for a run-out dunk.
THIS IS THE KIND OF CRAP I’M TALKING ABOUT.
Other than Monta, it seems that most of the Mavericks are just fine competing in a hard-nosed style of game so long as they’re getting their looks and the shots are falling. That surge from Aminu was the most fantastic display of "refuse to lose'' that I saw here. Sometimes these kinds of games need to be muddied up. Memphis was playing too pretty on their end of the court.
And too few Mavs wanted to get muddy.
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"We’ve got to eliminate distractions. We’ve got to eliminate distractions of the officials and what’s going on with them – that’s been an issue. We’ve got to play a solid, basic brand of basketball that plays to our strengths, which is IQ, it’s length, it’s together, and we didn't do that.” - Rick Carlisle.
The last time the Mavericks lost four straight games it was January 9 of 2013 and Roddy Beaubois played 11 minutes. The cloud that has been placed over Mavs Nation can be lifted tonight night in the flaming turd known as Houston. Beat that little hobgoblin of a team on its own court and we are all good.
After that (I write optimistically) there are three very winnable games and a chance to correct the course back to that home-court-in-the-West territory.
As you read this, then comb through DB.com Boards for conversation, then await Fish and the gang with tonight's 6:30 "Mavs Live'' pregame show on FOX Sports Southwest before the 7 p.m. tipoff in Houston, I give you music. And it’s pretty easy to understand what this song is about ...
“I wouldn’t say 'panic.' We definitely understand that we’ve got to come in a fix some things and we’ve got to make some adjustments. This is the first time we’ve lost 3 games in a row this season and we’re heading into a tough road trip. These games are very important.” - Tyson Chandler.
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