DONUT 1: Are We Angry Yet?
Following a heartbreaking double-overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets just 24 hours earlier, the Mavs had no time to wallow with DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul and the Clippers coming into town. Unfortunately for the Mavs, they all proved to be too much to handle, as the Clippers handed the Mavs their second-straight loss, 109-90.
"I mean, you guys can pick apart our team all you want,'' said a defiant Wes Matthews afterwards, and while we admire his fire ... we aren't the enemy.
Honestly: While the boo-birds were out once again for DeAndre’s second visit to the American Airlines Center since leaving the Mavs at the altar last summer, he's not the only guy who merits your ire. Make no mistake, at the time, this was the real life equivalent to the ‘Red Wedding’ from ‘Game of Thrones’ for the Mavs franchise. After such a gut-wrenching betrayal, they were left scrambling for soldiers to fill the ranks in an attempt to survive a brutal Western Conference. ... but what about distain for the home team?
It could be argued that so far this season, Zaza Pachulia has provided "value'' at center. And David Lee now does the same. But ... Zaza for $5 million or DeAndre for $24 million?
What's Rick Carlisle's answer here after Jordan's 23-points/20-rebounds domination?
"Now,'' the Mavs coach said, "you know why we wanted him."
DONUT 2: Quarter-By-Quarter - First
The first quarter was a bit of a wash, with the Mavs holding a 24-23 lead heading into the second. Dirk led the way for the Mavs with eight points in the frame, while J.J. Redick exploded out of the gate for the Clips, scoring 10 of the Clips’ first 14 points, and finishing the period as their leading scorer.
Energy, activity, and tenacity. That’s what David Lee brings. It’s something that the Mavs desperately needed after the All-Star break, and that’s exactly what they’re getting out of him. He’s an integral part of this lineup now, and he’s getting more comfortable after each outing.
DONUT 3: Quarter-By-Quarter - Second
The second quarter was another tightly-contested segment, with the Mavs holding a slim 52-50 lead heading into the break. DeAndre Jordan (6-13 from the line) and J.J. Redick led the way for the Clippers with 16 points apiece, while Dirk (12 points) led the way for the Mavs. The absence of Blake Griffin definitely helped the Mavs early on, as his athletic ability and production had been a big problem for the Mavs in their previous two meetings.
The Mavs dutifully employed ‘Hack-a-DeAndre’ at the end of the second quarter, in an effort to slow down the Clippers offensive attack. And hey it worked. As we’ve said before, the dude gets paid a cool $24 million to play a game where you put a ball in a hoop, and he can’t do it. Unless he’s throwing down an over-compensating dunk, that is. If people like Jordan want to bitch and moan about the strategy, then they need to start making their free throws, it’s as simple as that.
But that's an argument for another day. Let somebody else fix the league. We've got one team to worry about.
DONUT 4: Quarter-By-Quarter - Third
Outside of DeAndre’s woeful free-throw shooting, the Clippers are a good basketball team. They have athletes and shooters all over the floor, and can match up with just about any team in the Western Conference on a nightly basis. They’re deep, they’re big, and they’re athletic, all things that have given the Mavs problems this season.
That being said, the diminutive Chris Paul is the engine that drives the Clippers’ train. He was in foul trouble for a good portion of this game, but even in a limited role, he’s a hell of a problem for any defensive matchup you throw at him. His handles and step-back jumper are deadly, and for fans of the game, Paul is simply a treat to watch. To us, he’s one of the two best point guards to play in the NBA in the last decade, and it’s difficult to argue that he won’t be a first ballot Hall-of-Fame candidate.
Oh, the quarter: The third quarter was all Chris Paul for the Clippers, as he scored 18 points in the quarter, and helped the Clips outscore Dallas by 17 in the frame. Ouch.
DONUT 5: Quarter-By-Quarter - Fourth
And then it all fell apart.
J.J. Redick was all over the Mavs from the jump in this one. The Duke product finished the game with 22 points on 9-14 shooting, and was the Clippers main offensive threat for most of the game.
For the second straight home game, the Mavs offense struggled to get the ball in the hoop. Dallas shot 37 percent from the floor, including 16 percent from three. At one point, the Mavs even missed 17 consecutive threes. Despite the poor shooting, the Mavs remained in the game for the majority of three quarters, thanks in large part battling tough in the paint with the Clips all night, including 12 offensive rebounds to the Clippers six.
And the frustration mounted. Chandler Parsons was tee’d up midway through the fourth quarter in what was simply a microcosm of the Mavs frustrations in the second half. Everything fell apart once Paul re-entered the contest, but the Mavs poor defense, turnover problems, and offensive output in the second half would finally doom them.
DONUT 6: No Athleticism
Dwight Powell and JaVale McGee have become an afterthought in this rotation. One would think that their athleticism and size would have helped against a lineup like the Clippers. Rick told the team that its failure to get back on defense was an issue. Indeed, the Clippers outscored the Mavs 28-13 on the fast break. That’s not a recipe for success for the Mavs. ... and wouldn't more athleticism help there.
Ah, but hindsight is 20/20, we suspect.
DONUT 7: The Future?
We know some observers think Justin Anderson is "the future'' and that would be nice. But GM Donnie Nelson himself pinpoints in his visit with Fish who is actually the centerpiece.
"The reality is,'' Donnie says, "we were blessed and lucky that we landed Chandler Parsons because the B-plan (that summer) wasn't a very good one. And, so, to come out of free agency, and we extended a little bit to make it, which was definitely going to take the extra dollars. And then obviously Chandler went through a tough situation with his injury. And we have seen what he's capable of the last couple of months when he has his confidence back and NBA sea-legs.
"And we had a similar situation with Wes. And, so, it's not like you get healthy and then you just get thrown back in. It's timing. It's rhythm. It's teammates. It's that. We obviously we like both of them. They are key acquistions for us and starters and are the right age that gives us some youth and some upside. So, yeah, we're happy with both of them and would love for both of them to retire Mavericks."
That's your future. And with Donnie's help, Fish makes it clear in Mavs Premium that maxing out Parsons is part of this "future'' plan.
We're not telling you at this moment to love it. We're just telling you.
DONUT 8: What's Next
Ultimately, the Mavs just couldn’t overcome the second half onslaught of Chris Paul. Once he overcame his early foul trouble, Los Angeles took control of the contest and never looked back en route to this 109-90 win. The Mavs will need to overcome this bunch of devastating losses -- devastating in the standings, too, because ninth place is closing in via the rear-view mirror -- in preparation for Andre Drummond's first appearance at the AAC this season (Detroit at the AAC on Wednesday) and try to make the best out of their remaining two games in this home swing.
But before we go there ... back into the angry Mavs locker room.
DONUT 9: Quotable
We'll offer up a trio of doozies, all part of the Mavs-Clippers Quoteboard you can read here.
From Rick Carlisle regarding the playoffs: "A conversation about what may or may not happen with this team in the playoffs is not an appropriate conversation to have right now."
From Dirk Nowitzki regarding the playoffs: "We've got to get there first.''
From Chandler Parsons regarding "what's wrong'' (an issue our Matthew Postins writes on here): "That’s what we're trying to figure out. If we knew what it was then we wouldn't be losing these games."
DONUT 10: In Fairness ...
The Parsons comment deserves full context. As part of that same visit in the losing locker room, he made it clear that "chemistry'' isn't really the issue.
"It's definitely not a chemistry issue," he also said. "We all like each other, we all come to the gym every day and get along great."
But what if everybody likes each other ... and still feels loosely tied because of unknown contractual futures -- you know, shades of the Jason Terry "CTC'' final season in Dallas?
That's not "chemistry.'' It's not "talent.'' But it would be a "problem.''
DONUT 11: Up To Frisco!
Fish and RJ Choppy have the TV call of the Mavs' little brothers, the Texas Legends, tonight and the D-League game is on ESPNU.
DONUT 12: The Final Word
"It's the NBA. We've got another game on Wednesday. Yeah, this one sucks." - Wes Matthews.