Mavs Friday Donuts: Chilled In Portland
The Dallas Mavericks can, by reputation and by the numbers, score with anybody. But Thursday in Portland they couldn't get anybody to score, losing 94-75 -- a season-low in points married with just 37-6-percent shooting.
“I think it was a bad shooting night, but also we didn’t help ourselves,” center Tyson Chandler said of his now-40-23 Mavs. “We didn’t execute very well, we weren’t very fluent in our plays. We’ve got to do a little better job of executing and making sure that we’re in our spots and we run the play through.”
Even though the Blazers (who entered the night in third in the West, with Dallas in sixth) had played the night before, beating the Clippers in overtime, the Mavs were the team that ran out of gas.
Or, maybe better said, the team that played with a limp.
“I’m very disappointed,” center TY said. “I thought especially since we were catching them on a back-to-back.”
The Mavs don't have Chandler Parsons (ankle), who also won't play tonight at Golden State (his seventh straight miss) but is targeting Sunday at the Lakers for his return.
“I’m dying to get back, but at the same time you have to be smart,” Parsons said Thursday. “It’s still really painful, it’s still really sore, but it’s definitely getting better.”
They do have Monta Ellis, who managed to score 12 points on just 5-of-20 shooting ... and as frequently as he denies it, is clearly struggling in part due to a hip injury he insists on playing through.
“He plays no matter what,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “That’s just how he is, and I know he has aches and pains, and I’ve got to work harder to get him better shots.''
“We’ve got to step it up and hopefully get Parsons back pretty soon,” said Nowitzki. "He’s a good weapon for us offensively, and then hopefully we stay healthy and make a run at this thing.”
Where did the offense not come from? Dirk was 5-of-13 from the field for 12 points. Rajon Rondo scored 10, but was just 5-of-13 as well. Combine that with Monta's work and you've got a trio of starters combining for 15-of-46 shooting.
That's burdensome for a club that ranks fourth in the NBA in scoring at 105.2 points per game.
Amar’e Stoudemire provided Dallas with its only efficient offensive weapon (5-of-7 for 12 points). Otherwise, Dallas' offensive work was lowlighted, I thought, by a series of unforced errors, turnovers that erased what had been a 23-17 lead to end the first quarter. Even at halftime, Dallas was down just 40-36 after enduring a 12-1 Portland run to end the first half.
But then the Blazers matched their 10-point advantage in the second quarter with another 10-point advantage in the third. Damian Lillard, invisible in the first half, ended with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. Robin Lopez added 13 points and seven rebounds. DFW native LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Nicolas Batum had 15 points and 12 boards.
Dallas got flooded statistically by Portland, and a big part of it was the sloppy ball-management of Devin Harris and Rondo. Devin committed a couple of errors in the halfcourt, passes so poor that he was victimized by the fronting Chris Kaman. Rondo's four turnovers were largely of the overly-fancy-passing variety.
As Carlisle said, "Untimely turnovers hurt us. The possession aspect of the game is something we’ve go to do better with. We just got to keep turnovers down.”
Harris sustained an injury to his right hand. The Mavs are monitoring this. But it's nothing, of course, compared to the awful break absorbed by Wesley Matthews, who is lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
"I make that same cut hundreds of thousands of times in my life," Matthews said. "I felt the initial pop. And you guys could probably tell on the replay. I looked back - it feels like someone's kicked you. I was praying. I was praying someone was back there."
Dallas missed 14 of 16 shots from 3-point range.
“We didn’t make shots,” said Carlisle. “I thought we had quite a few good looks in the first half – and then some in the second. We just had a bad shooting night; the threes weren’t there. On nights like that you’ve got to somehow hang in with your defense.”
And of course, overall, that "somehow'' is usually even more elusive for Dallas than offense is.
Do the Mavs look generally disjointed here?
“We’re a team,” Carlisle said. “We’ve got to own it when it doesn’t go well and we’ve got to stick together when it doesn’t go well. And right now we’ve got to stick together and keep fighting through this. We’re working at playing better basketball and we’re just not there yet.”
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The last time the Mavs scored 75 or fewer points? December of 2012, when they managed just 74 at Toronto. A bad time to hit an offensive slump? Yeah. After Thursday’s loss, the Mavs jetted to Oakland, where tonight on the second night of a back-to-back they get the No. 1 club in the West, the Golden State Warriors. (We'll have "MAVS Live'' at 9 p.m. on FOX Sports Southwest.) All the Warriors will be attempting to do is win their 24th home game in 25 outings ... and a sixth straight over Dallas.
Leave it to TY to try to buoy the emotions around here.
"We're a couple of games away from third and a couple of games away from seventh," Chandler said. "We've got to find a way to climb the ladder. We're a veteran group so I believe we'll find a way to do that."
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