DONUT 1: UBER-EFFICIENCY
After back-to-back monster performances from J.J. Barea that resulted in back-to-back wins, the Mavs looked to extend that streak Monday against their fourth straight Eastern Conference opponent, the Milwaukee Bucks. They did so with a 103-93 victory in which the perimeter work of JJB, the scoring of Wes Matthews and the inside work of ex-Buck Zaza Pachulia exemplified uber-efficiency ... even as The UberMan himself was less than efficient.
And Zaza offered up an interesting remark in summary:
“I’m happy with a win, first of all. Thanks to my teammates. We won against Portland for Wes, we won against Brooklyn for D-Will, so it was my turn. I’m really happy about the win, especially the third win in a row.''
Well, that and the fact that Dallas turned the ball over zero times in the first half and only four times in total, tying a franchise low, and outscored the Bucks 26-0 on points after turnovers.
DONUT 2: FRESH STARTERS
Chandler Parsons made his return to the starting lineup on Monday night, after spending the majority of the last few weeks coming off the bench. Parsons continues to be right on track with recovery, and is looking more and more comfortable with each passing game. He was 6-of-12 for 13 points, with four rebounds, four assists and two steals ... and got to the rim ...
In the absence of Deron Williams (hamstring), J.J. Barea was also a starter again. He has been absolutely on fire recently, and came into this game averaging 29 points and eight assists per game over his last two. Without a doubt Barea was the driving force behind the Mavs' last two high-scoring victories, and his high-octane play could not have come at a more opportune time. While Barea came back down to Earth a bit in this one, he still did exactly was needed of him, scoring eight points and dishing out five assists with no turnovers.
Yes, that "no turnovers'' deal again. Efficient.
DONUT 3: HOTEL ZAZA
Zaza Pachulia had the opportunity to face his former team for the first time since being traded to the Mavs this offseason, and he got off to a really nice start, scoring nine first-quarter points. Considering what the Mavs gave up to get Hotel Zaza (nothing, really, in a trade), his impact on this team on the court and in the locker room has been astronomical this season. Zaza finished the game with 17 points and eight boards.
“It feels good,'' Zaza said of the win against his former club. "We’ve got the end of the (calendar) year, so we’re trying to finish strong.''
DONUT 4: QUARTER-BY-QUARTER
The first quarter ended with the Mavs on top 34-24 after a great offensive performance. Dallas shot 56 percent from the field, including 4-of-6 from three, and outscored the Bucks 9-0 on the break. The Mavs were lead by Pachulia with nine points, as well as Parsons and Felton, who each had seven in the quarter. The Mavs were also able to get a lot of high-percentage shots, scoring 12 points in the paint.
The second quarter came to a close with the Bucks outscoring the Mavs 27-26. The Mavs cooled off a bit in second frame, but still shot well for the most part. The failed to surrender even a single turnover in the first half, while accruing 16 assists in the process. It’s a lot easier to win games when you take care of the basketball and find your teammates in open spots, and that’s exactly what the Mavs did in the first two quarters.
A low-scoring third quarter saw the Bucks get the better of the Mavs, as they outscored Dallas 21-19. The Mavs struggled from the line, and were significantly outrebounded in this quarter, leading to the Bucks cutting into the Mavs lead. Dallas would take a 79-72 lead in the fourth behind a very balanced scoring attack.
The fourth quarter saw the Bucks make a serious push at the Mavs lead, even tying the game for the first time since the opening tip with just under five minutes to go in the game. Dallas is one of the best clutch time team in the NBA however, and once again rose to the occasion, holding off the Bucks in large part due to Wes' late-game shooting.
Said coach Rick Carlisle: “It’s a game that went exactly like I expected it. It was going to get hairy at some point. It got hairy, we never relinquished the lead, they did tie it, and we responded well.”
DONUT 5: DIRK'S STRUGGLES
Dallas received a season-low seven points on 3-of-15 shooting from Dirk.
"We survived a difficult game,'' Carlisle said. "Dirk had a rough shooting night and we had to grind to win it.''
DONUT 6: MAVSELLANEOUS
Former Mavs mercenary O.J. Mayo made his return to the AAC on Monday, and finished the game with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting. He’s found a nice role as the Bucks sixth man this season, and provides them with a decent scoring punch off the bench. ... The Mavs had a tough time checking Kris Middleton in the first half. The Texas A&M product scored 12 first half points, and outside of Jerryd Bayless, he was basically the Bucks only offensive threat. ... Wes Matthews has really come on as of late. Wes has now scored double digits in four consecutive games, and is averaging 16 points over that stretch. Wes stepped up big time in the fourth quarter, hitting a couple of clutch buckets down the stretch. Matthews finished the game with 22 points on 60-percent shooting. ... The Mavs bench really came to play in this one, scoring 36 points in the game. Dallas possesses one of the deepest rotations in the league, and that was really on display here.
DONUT 7: BUCKS LOOK
The Bucks are an interesting bunch. They sat at 12-19 coming into Monday’s game, but are also the only team in the NBA that has defeated the Mavs' Wednesday night opponent, Golden State. They are led offensively by Greg Monroe (15.8 points and 9.6 rebounds per game), and Giannis Antetokounmpo (15.4 points per game). The Bucks excel at scoring inside, and are 2nd in the league at scoring points in the paint. The biggest problem for Milwaukee this season, has been their lack of shooting everywhere else, as they currently sit 27th in the league in points per game.
One bright spot for the Bucks this season has been the aforementioned Antetokounmpo, aka "The Greek Freak.'' He is an elite defender, and has the ability to guard and play multiple positions on the floor. While he struggles as a shooter at times, his ridiculous athleticism helps him make up for those deficiencies. If need be, he can very literally play any position on the floor, and is really just an outside jumper away from being an elite NBA basketball player. Dallas did a good job on the Bucks' young star however, holding Antetokounmpo to 11 points and nine rebounds.
The Mavs also really did a great job of slowing down Greg Monroe in this game. The combination of Zaza, McGee and Powell frustrated Milwaukee’s big man for most of the contest, holding him to just eight points while getting to the rim on the other end.
DONUT 8: WHO DESERVES THE DIRKIE?
The Dirkie/Player of the Game winner? Zaza Pachulia is our pick. Hotel Zaza scored 17 points to go along with eight boards, and played great defense on Greg Monroe all night long. But head over to the DB.com Boards and give us your choice for The Dirkie!
DONUT 9: STATS OF THE NIGHT
*Assist to turnover ratio. The Mavs forced 15 Milwaukee turnovers to just three of there own, while also dishing out 21 assists as a team, to just 13 for the Bucks. That's extreme efficiency. The Mavs 25:4 assist to turnover ratio was huge in this one, and even for a team like Dallas it was an exceptional outing offensively. Ball protection, ball movement, efficiency.
And naturally, the deal would get sealed on a turnover when the Mavs forced the Bucks 17th turnover of the night with just under 20 seconds to go in the game, leading to a Devin Harris layup on the other end.
*Coming through in the clutch. The Mavs are second in the league in clutch field-goal percentage (46.4 percent), and have been one of the better teams in the league on defense in the clutch on defense as well as of late.
*The Mavs also managed to dominate the majority of this game, despite being significantly outrebounded 52-34. That just doesn’t happen too often, and shows you how important it is to take care of the basketball.
DONUT 10: STAY IN TOUCH!
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DONUT 12: 'HE'S HURTING THE GAME!'
Next up: A visit from the nearly unbeatable Warriors, and a chance for you to check in with Fish on Mark Jackson, the former Warriors coach who has watched his old group soar to places not envisioned under his reign ... and who wasn't really ripping Curry when he said that the Golden State star's perimeter brilliance is "hurting the game.''
It is clearly not Jackson's intention to "rip'' the player. But what were his intentions? And why is he so, so wrong?
Catch Fish's rant on how Mark Jackson is wrong about Steph, about kids, and about all the other stars who are mimicked by kids, here. Meanwhile, the Mavs (18-13) prep for the next one, as the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors (29-1) at 7:30 p.m. from the AAC.
DONUT 13: THE FINAL WORD
“We weren’t even thinking about Golden State. It was Chicago, and then it was Milwaukee. We can’t overlook any team. We’re not in a position to, and our margin for error is too small to do anything like that. We knew this team was the one team to beat Golden State and had them on the ropes again, so we knew they were going to play hard. We just had to play harder.” - Wesley Matthews.