1. After a big 97-88 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night in which they went to the "butcher block,'' and after some great and fun preparation in the AAC basement on Monday (see Fish's Premium report here), the Mavs hit the road to face the Toronto Raptors in a rematch from early November amid signs of readiness. Part of the point was reflecting on a previous failure: In their first matchup, back in Novemeber, the Mavs fell to Kyle Lowry and the Raps in a rough night at home, in which Lowry showed out in big fashion.
And here? Unfortunately for Dallas, they just couldn’t hang with the Raptors talented guards, falling to the Raptors 103-99 ... and then they endured the wrath of coach Rick Carlisle, whose postgame mood had him threatening to trade some rotation guys to Siberia.
“We got our asses kicked at the beginning of the game,” Carlisle said.
“Do I look happy?” Rick said. “I mean, would you be happy? Look, it was a 24-minute, take-you-to-the-beach, kick-your-butt, kick-sand-in-your-face type deal. And then, hey, we come in at halftime and we're finally pissed, I get on their case and we decide to bust our ass in the third quarter. And we played a hell of a third quarter. But, look, if it's going to be like that, these guys aren't going to be Mavericks very long. I can promise you that.”
2. For two games in a row, the Mavs have gotten themselves into a hole early on. With the Mavs ability to move the ball and shoot, they have the ability to recover from slow starts. Against offensively-gifted teams like Toronto, however, its much more difficult to fight your way back into a game. And as Carlisle is trying to tell them, and tell us, it's all the more difficult when the effort and energy is absent.
3. The Mavs came out of the game shooting just 27 percent in the first quarter, while the Raptors shot 58 percent on their way to a 32-16 lead. The first period was complete domination by the Raps, and put the Mavs in a big hole heading into the second quarter. DeRozan and Terrence Ross combined for 18 points in the quarter, while Wes Matthews was the Mavs leader with just five.
4. Coming into Tuesday’s game, the Big German was just 29 points behind Shaquille O’Neal for sixth place in the NBA’s all time scoring list. Dirk did his best to keep the Mavs in it in this one, scoring 20 points, and cutting into Shaq’s scoring total in the process. Dirk will need just 10 points in Brooklyn on Wednesday night to finally move into sixth place on one of the NBA’s most prestigious lists.
5. Devin Harris (hamstring) was absent from the lineup in this game, causing the Mavs to be short handed once again in the backcourt. Considering Toronto’s depth in that area of the roster, that was a big disadvantage in this one, especially after the injury to D-Will in the third.
6. One player the Mavs didn’t have in their first matchup with the Raptors was JaVale McGee. Coming off of arguably his best game of the season (10 points, five boards and three blocks), McGee looked to build off of that strong performance. While McGee didn’t light up the stat book, his presence was felt down low, as he scored five points to go along with five rebounds and three blocked shots.
7. DeMar DeRozan is more than just a dunker, people. This guy can really score, and does a great job at getting to the line. He’s got the ability to shoot as well, which make his freaky athleticism even more difficult to defend. Coming into the game, he was the Raps' leading scorer at 22.6 points per game, and ended the night with 28 points on 59-percent shooting.
8. Wes Matthews had a pretty solid game himself on Tuesday, scoring 15 points on six of 11 shooting from the field. Coming off of a couple of rough games, where he scored just six total points, Wes really needed to get off to a good start, and he was able to that.
9. The second quarter was better for the Mavs, as they outscored the Raptors 20-17, cutting the deficit to 13 points. The Mavs played a much better quarter on the defensive end, forcing multiple turnovers and limiting the Raptors open looks at the basket.
10. Coming into Tuesday night’s contest, the Raptors sat at 17-12, good for fifth place in a much-improved Eastern Conference. The Raptors are led by a dynamic backcourt featuring Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, who combine to average around 44 points per game. They have the ability to score in bunches, and can attack opposing defenses from just about anywhere on the floor.
11. Kyle Lowry in particular is as good at point guard as you will find in this league. He’s an above-average defender that is as quick as they come on the perimeter, and he is great on the pick and roll either pulling up or finding an open teammate. Lowry is one of the more athletically gifted point guards out there and is exactly the type of guard that has the ability to cause the Mavs fits on defense.
12. It should be noted that Toronto was short-handed in this game as well, playing with out Jonas Valenciunas, DeMarre Carroll, James Johnson, and Pat Patterson. All four guys are big contributors for the Raptors, and the absences of Valenciunas and Patterson in particular were a big problem for the Raptors, as they were forced to put former No. 1 pick and current mega-bust Anthony Bennett into action in this game.
13. Deron Williams left the game late in the third quarter with an apparent hamstring injury, forcing him to the sidelines for the rest of the contest. D-Will has been playing his best basketball of the season as of late, so this had to be very frustrating for him.
"I hope I can (play Wednesday),'' said ex-Nets guard Deron of tonight's Dallas-at-Brooklyn game. The last thing I want is to miss that game."
14. Dirk really came to life in the third period, putting his team on his back and getting Dallas back into things in a big way. As previously stated the Mavs, are a team that is never out of a game. This quarter’s performance (especially from Dirk) was a sign of that, as the Mavs outscored the Raptors 31-23, cutting Toronto’s once 18-point lead to just five points.
15. In the end, the Mavs just couldn’t handle the Raptors backcourt. DeRozan, Lowry and Cory Joseph combined for 57 points, and were able to take advantage of the Mavs injury-riddled guard group.
Stat(s) of the night: Rebounding. The Raptors dominated the boards 53-34 in this game. The Mavs have been great on the boards as of late, but that was not the case here. Bismack Biyombo and Luis Scola combined for 24 points and 29 rebounds in this one, and it killed the Mavs.
This game was over when... Terrance Ross ended the Mavs' comeback bid with two clutch free throws with about 10 seconds left in the game.
Should have seen coming... DeMar DeRozan. After putting up 20 on the Mavs in their first matchup, the super-freak athlete lit up the Mavs for 28 points on 59-percent shooting.
Couldn't see coming... The Mavs late fourth-quarter run. Dallas emptied out the bench, but nearly tore the Raptors hearts out with a valiant comeback effort. A very scrappy and heart-filled effort from the Dallas reserves that unfortunately came up short. ... and one that wasn't matched by the first-teamers who earned Rick's scorn.
What's next?: The Mavs have a quick turnaround, as they head to the Barclays Center to faceoff against the Brooklyn Nets at 6:30 PM tonight. Discuss this game and that one and everything else, too, here on DB.com Boards. Fish's piece on Deron Williams' "homecoming'' (and his injury update) is coming up ...
The Final Word: ... "It was, frankly ... it was embarrassing.'' - Rick Carlisle.