Mavs Used Balanced Effort to Run Over Magic ... and Then Run Out of The Basement! - All-Access Pass
1. Finally with some momentum at their backs, the Dallas Mavericks looked to extend their two-game winning streak and do so against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night. With a red-hot offense at their disposal (and a Magic defense that gives up 113 per since the All-Star Break), the Mavs were able to avenge their earlier loss to the Magic with a 121-108 victory at the American Airlines Center.
2. Things were a little different this time for the Mavs, however, who, with the addition of David Lee and a healthy Devin Harris, look like a largely different team than the one that Orlando faced on February 19th.
3. David Lee is a serious player in this rotation. He is active, he plays smart, and he contributes at an increasingly high level on the offensive end of the floor. Maybe it’s the fit Rick Carlisle’s system (which is damn near perfect), or maybe it’s something else, but the acquisition of Lee has been paying major dividends early on for the Mavs. How long until Lee-as-a-starter over Zaza is a consideration?
4. Perhaps more importantly however, has been the continued red-hot play of Chandler Parsons. CP is finally looking like the guy the Mavs envisioned when they agree to that big contract, and barring injury, he shows no signs of slowing down. CP finished the game with 17 points on 50-percent shooting. And yes, as Fish and D-Lord report, there is another big contract coming. This is nothing new, despite all the sudden hand-wringing: Parsons, having established his road to health, will get a max deal this summer. The details are here for Mavs Premium Readers.
5. The first quarter ended with the Mavs exploding out of the gate with 35 points in the frame. The combination of Deron Williams and CP got things starter for Dallas, with seven and nine points, respectively, and David Lee closed things with six of his own. The Mavs would take an eight-point lead in the second quarter, with that momentum still on their side.
6. Something that’s been overshadowed a bit by the play of CP, is the resurgence of Wesley Matthews over the last few outings. In his last five games, Matthews has averaged 16.2 points per game, while shooting 50-percent from the floor and 47.1 percent from downtown. That’s a marked improvement from earlier in the year, where Matthews was struggling to find his consistency. Our Matthew Postins has a look at Wes' game here.
7. Almost a year to the day removed from the devastating Achilles injury, Matthews seems to have found his stride. Tuesday was no exception, as Wes scored 21 points on 67-percent shooting in 32 minutes. It’s been a long road for Wes, and it looks as though he has become one of the few in this league to make it back from such a gruesome injury and not lose much ... we hope.
8. The second quarter was more of the same for the Mavs, who finished the half with their highest scoring first half of the season with 69 points. This offense is straight fire right now. The Big German and Wes Matthews led the way for the Mavs in the quarter, scoring 11 points apiece.
9. The Orlando Magic are an interesting young bunch. They are playing in a tough division, with a very young team, and have been struggling as of late. But there is talent there. With the fourth-youngest team in the NBA at an average age of 24.9, its no wonder there have been some struggles there. But the Magic are learning, and there is optimism around the league that, Elfrid Payton’s hair aside, they are on the right track.
10. One of the reasons for all the optimism coming out of Orlando is the emergence of Victor Oladipo as a big-time player at the shooting guard position. This kid is a freak athlete with speed and quicks that will make your head spin at times. Since February first, the Indiana product has averaged 19.2 points per game on 44-percent shooting. He also has the tools to be an elite defender, and paired with a coach like Scott Skiles, the sky is the limit for this guy.
11. Truthfully, if it wasn’t for the play of Ersan Ilyasova in the first half, the Mavs may have blown this thing wide open in the early goings. Ilyasova had 18 points in the first half, and finished the game with 22 points and 10 rebounds, reinforcing the narrative of the Mavs below average defense in the post.
Add up all of Orlando's nice young talent and you can see why they might want to recruit hometown guy Parsons. But again ... every other team with cap space (like, all of 'em) will be in on exploring every free agent, too.
12. The third quarter got off to a slow start for both teams, but the Mavs took control at the end, scoring 27 points on their way to 96 points through just three quarters of basketball. This offense is HOT, y’all, and this quarter marked the ninth straight quarter of at least 26 points scored for the Mavs. Dallas also did an excellent job on the aforementioned Ilyasova, holding him scoreless in the quarter.
Oh, so how HOT? Coop notes that the Mavs have three straight games shooting 50-percent-plus for first time since Nov 2014, and have scored 120+ in three straight for first time since April 2004.
13. Dirk Nowitzki just keeps chugging along. In a year were the Mavs have had players with inconsistency issues, Dirk has been the mainstay and the rock that has anchored this team all season.
Here was just another example of the ageless wonder contributing another solid outing, with the Uber Man scoring 19 points on 7-13 shooting from the field.
14. After Tuesday night’s win, the Mavs have now won won three straight games, with a very manageable schedule in front of them. This was a big win for Dallas, who, just a few days ago was circling the drain of the Western Conference Playoff race. The 121-108 win was also the fourth time in the last five games that the Mavs have scored more than 120 points in game, good for their best offensive streak of the season.
Said coach Rick Carlisle: “We just have to stay positive. We have to keep showing our guys what we need them to do with short videos. We have to also show them the things that we need them to avoid, but we have to be more on the positive side with it, and we just have to keep cultivating the team chemistry and the togetherness. We are just the kind of team that needs to play that way. We don’t have one guy that we can throw the whole thing on. We have to have five or six guys in double figures, we have to have a bunch of guys contributing on the boards and we all have to be into it.”
All of that was part of the Wednesday workout in which Dallas was allowed out of the basement ...
15. The Dirkie/Player of the game: Wes Matthews and his 21 points on 8-12 shooting is our pick, but this is a democracy, so head over to the DB.com message boards and give us your choice for the Dirkie!
16. Stat(s) of the night: Hot Shooting. The Mavs shot a season-high 56-percent from the floor, including 47-percent from three on the night. Dallas also shot 84 percent from the line in the win.
17: Should have seen coming... Another high scoring night. The Mavs offense, as we’ve mentioned, has been on fire lately, and this game was no different.
18. Couldn't see coming... The Mavs turned the ball over 15 times, were outrebounded, outscored on bench points, out-assisted, and beat on the fast break 26-6, and still won the game… That kind of stuff usually doesn’t happen in the NBA. Now along comes Rondo, who can help his team (statistically, anyway) with assists and rebounds. D-Will talks "boxout'':
Said Rick: “We are moving it well, we are playing unselfishly and our shot making has been good. (The winning) is not because of our rebounding, I can tell you that. That is an area we just have to continue to harp on, for lack of of a better term, to not 'sugarcoat' it.''
19. What's next?: The Mavs will welcome the testicular tumor, formerly known as Rajon Rondo and the Sacramento Kings to the American Airlines Center on Thursday night at 7:30 pm, looking for their fourth straight win. The Mavs will look to slow down the dominant Boogie Cousins, who has torched the Mavs in their previous meetings this season.
That, of course, was the focus of the club's Wednesday morning working at the AAC, during which finding ways to try to contain opposing 4-men was surely a focus. Cousins on Thursday might continue a trend of trouble in that area, with Dirk among those challenged to deal.
20. The Final Word: "“We’re doing what we’re supposed to do. We’ve responded. We’ve got to continue to ride this and continue to get our swagger and find our groove, continuing to gain confidence.” - Wes Matthews.