DONUT 1: The Wrong Roll
The Mavs rolled into San Antonio on a two-game losing streak after getting dump-trucked by the Grizzlies on Tuesday night at the FedEx Forum, facing the final game of a brutal three-game stretch. The Mavs however, couldn’t overcome the superiorly talented Spurs, falling 88-83, and extended their losing streak to three games.
The Dallas roll? It's temporarily over for the Mavs, who are now 9-7.
The San Antonio roll? It flows on like the Ugly-Ass River, as this marks 10 straight wins for the Spurs, when, at home, against visiting Dallas. Now, previous to Wednesday, the Mavs dug themselves some deep early holes in those nine games and lost by an average of 15 points.
Do we take some solace in the fact that Dallas' defense propelled it to a tight finish?
“We didn’t start the game off well, and we got knocked on our heels a little bit,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “They just come out with a lot of force and energy, and we were on a back-to-back. We were a little slow, so we had to battle back there again. But I like the grit and the fight we showed to keep coming back and be in a position to be right there at the end.”
OK. A little solace taken.
DONUT 2: No On CP
As usual, Chandler Parsons sat out the second leg of a back-to-back, after playing a season high 25 minutes against Memphis. Parsons’ offense and versatility is always missed, especially in games like this one.
Maybe, someday, Dallas breaks this streak against its Texas rival because it has all hands on deck. Maybe.
DONUT 3: Yes On JaVale
After a rough start to the first quarter, the Mavs were able to close the gap to just six points and trailing just 24-18. JaVale McGee added some energy to a lineup that came out flat, and helped Dallas close the deficit. The Mavs need to find away to get off to a better start in the first quarter, or it’s going be tough moving forward in the Western Conference.
Could an early sprinking of JaVale be the solution here?
McGee made his second appearance as a Mav on Wednesday night, and once again did some pretty impressive things. He showed some ability to hit a midrange jumper and he bangs around well on the boards; something they lacked at the center position when Zaza wasn’t on the floor. McGee appears focused, and is playing (for the most part) smart basketball. JaVale ended up with nine points and six boards in 16 minutes of action.
McGee's return to the floor after leg injuries marks yet another success, we hope, for Casey Smith and the Mavs training staff. "The best trainer in the NBA, bar none,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. Our Premium report on this is here.
DONUT 4: Rough on Wes
Wes Matthews had a rough go of it once again on Wednesday, shooting just 37 percent from the field, including three-of-10 from three. He’s still moving well, and still playing solid defense, but he can't seem to find his stroke consistently. It’s not clear what is holding his shot back right now, but poor shooting is starting to become a trend with him. Wes finished with 15 points and was the Mavs leader scorer, however.
All of this speaks to an overall flaw so far for a Dallas team that will eventually, we think, be a good field-goal-percentage club. Truthfully, the Mavs shooting as a whole has been really tough to watch for the most part this season. This team has too much shooting talent to be missing this many wide-open looks.
“I thought we had good looks, and I think we have to keep stepping into them,” Carlisle said of the San Antonio failure.
It’s too early in the season to say they can’t rectify this, but ... a turnaround is needed. Like, now.
DONUT 5: Defensive credit
The Mavs hung around with the second frame thanks to some solid defense and timely shooting, and trailed 46-39 heading into the locker room. D-Will lead the Mavs in scoring in the half with just six points, but Dallas was able to get contributions offensively from just about everyone, scoring 16 bench points in the half.
And then later, Dallas used an extremely stingy defensive effort in the third quarter to hold the Spurs to just 17 points, and cut the lead to just three points going into the fourth. The Mavs played very effective defense throughout the majority of this game. The problem was their inability to hit shots. If they even shoot a respectable percentage from the field, they probably win this game easily. So we'll lean to the positive here: It took Kawhi Leonard putting the Mavs away with a late three to seal the deal in a game in which Dallas held the Spurs to 88 points.
This can be something to build on.
DONUT 6: The Quicks
Watching J.J. Barea and Patty Mills chase each other around is one of the most exhausting things we've seen this season. All sorts of quicks, at least until JJB was lost midway through the fourth quarter, after he turned his ankle while trying to get back on defense.
"Barea went out with an ankle, and he was playing well,'' Carlisle said, suggesting that JJB might miss some time. "It’s got to be next man up, so we’ll be OK.''
DONUT 7: More Dirk, Please
Dirk, who only took eight shots in the game, didn’t do much offensively on the night. Dirk did however pull down a season high in rebounds, finishing the game with 13 points and 14 boards. Nice work ... But let's backtrack to the shooting: On this three-game road trip -- all three losses -- The UberMan took a total of 30 shots.
Thirty shots in three games? That's a way to keep Dirk from having to do everything .... but it's also an indication that he's not being allowed to do enough.
DONUT 8: Hat-Tip
We have a great deal of fun "hating'' San Antonio ... but what, really, can you say negatively about Popovich and the Spurs? The way they work together as a team is so irritatingly efficient, that they are almost impossible not to fear for an opposing team. Tim Duncan is almost as dangerous as ever, Tony Parker is still doing Tony Parker things (scoring 16 points on 63-percent shooting, to go along with eight assists and eight rebounds in this one), and the addition of LaMarcus Aldridge gives them arguably the best frontcourt tandem in the NBA. Not to mention they have the deepest roster in the league.
Aldridge remains an absolute beast. Before signing with San Antonio, he was one of our favorite non-Mavs to watch in the NBA. He can be dominant offensive threat, he can rebound at a high level, he switches well while guarding on the perimeter, and he blocks shots. Aldridge, so Dirk-like in so many ways, finished the game with 18 points and seven boards, and roasting JaVale McGee when the two were matched up.
DONUT 9: Oh By The Way
Oh, and we're barely mentioning Kawhi Leonard, who nailed that three with 15.1 seconds to go to put San Antonio up 87-83 ... and really, truly might be waging an MVP campaign of his own. He’s a beast on the defensive end, can light it up from the field on any given night, and fits in nicely with this top-quality program ... eventually coming out on top here, as he did Wednesday as Leonard scored 26 points, grabbed seven boards, and ripped the Mavs heart out with the game-deciding trey.
DONUT 10: Down To Earth
After stringing together a few really impressive games in a row, Zaza Pachulia came back down to earth. Pachulia got into early foul trouble, and had a rough go against the Spurs' Twin Towers 2.0 in the paint. Pachulia finished the game with just four points and failed to secure a single rebound.
This provides an opening for anyone who thinks maybe the Mavs should trade for Chicago's Joakim Noah. The media has already started the gossip, which Mavs fans play with here on DB.com Boards ... and stay tuned so we can give you the scoop on the idea straight from Mavs HQ.
DONUT 11: What's next?
No practice on Thanksgiving Day for the Mavs, who look to break their three-game losing streak as they return home to face the Denver Nuggets (6-9) at 7:30 p.m. on .... at the AAC. Meanwhile, the Junior Varsity is also putting in work as the Texas Legends are in action this weekend, featuring a Saturday night home game in Frisco against the visiting OKC Blue.
As you may know, my 105.3 The Fan colleague R.J. Choppy joins me (Fish) on the Channel 47 telecasts of the Legends, who this year feature a handful of ex-Mavs campers and guys who are high on the D-League Prospects List.
During the 2014-15 season, an all-time high 47 players were called up a record total of 63 times. Two Legends who seem on the precipice of such a call-up: Forward Jamil Wilson, who was recognized as a top prospect (25th overall) during Week 1 of the D-League season ...
... and guard Toure’ Murry, who earned prospect honors last week (9th overall). You can read more about the Prospects List here and you can go to the Texas Legends website here to get more info and tickets to go hang out with Choppy and Fish!
DONUT 12: The Final Word
“It’s brutal. We got OKC without (Kevin Durant), we were down in Memphis without (Zach Randolph), and both nights we just were not good enough. And I thought (in San Antonio) we had enough. We fought and we battled against a good team.” - Dirk Nowitzki.