Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mavs/Blazers Pre-Game 4 Musings...From the Obvious Dept

The Mavs plan today is simple: protect the ball, hit some free throws and play better defense than in Game 3 vs Blazers today if they want to go back to Dallas with a 3-1 lead.  

The Mavericks said Friday at practice they would like to get more of their guys involved offensively.  Tyson Chandler admitted he wants to make more of an impact.  When I asked Shawn Marion about producing more on the offensive end after Game 3, he gave me the "I take what comes to me" answer.  But I wouldn't be surprised if the Mavs do try to get him going.  He was so good down the stretch for Dallas, scoring 16 a game over the final month or so of the season.  In three games against Portland he's only putting up 7 & 5.

Some interesting numbers: 
-Portland is shooting a playoff-best 47.5% from the field; while Dallas is third hitting shots at a 47.1% clip.
-The Mavs are dominating the Blazers from the 3-point line, shooting a second-best 45% in comparison to Portland's 38.6%.
-The Blazers are outscoring Dallas in paint, 118-86, and on the break, 37-21, through three games.
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Monday, April 18, 2011

How Do the Mavs Do Following a Playoff Win? Here's the Ugly Info.

The Mavericks are focused on not having a let down in Game 2 vs Portland on Tuesday night.  It's good that is a point of emphasis because in the recent past, they have struggled in the immediate game following a playoff victory.

Check this out from the Negative Nellie Department:
Since Game 2 of the NBA Finals in 2006, the Mavs are 2-8 in the postseason in the game following a win.  The ONLY games immediately following a playoff win in which the Mavericks did NOT lose were Games 3 & 4 of their first round series against San Antonio in 2009.  They beat the Spurs in Game 3 and followed that with a win in Games 4 & 5 before ultimately winning the series. 

Here's the history:
2005-06 Postseason
June 11, 2006   Mavs beat the Heat 99-85 in Game 2 of the Finals
June 13, 2006   Mavs lose to the Heat 98-96 in Game 3
♦ Mavs lose the series 4-2

2006-07 Postseason
April 25, 2007   Mavs beat the Warriors 112-99 in Game 2 of the 1st round of the playoffs
April 27, 2007   Mavs lose to the Warriors 109-91 in Game 3
May 1, 2007      Mavs beat the Warriors 118-112 in Game 5
May 3, 2007      Mavs lose to the Warriors 111-86 in Game 6
♦ Mavs lose series 4-2

2007-08 Postseason
April 25, 2008   Mavs beat the Hornets 97-87 in Game 3 of the 1st round of the playoffs
April 27, 2008   Mavs lose to the Hornets 97-84 in Game 4
♦ Mavs lose series 4-1

2008-09 Postseason
April 18, 2009   Mavs beat the Spurs 105-97 in Game 1 of the 1st round of the playoffs
April 20, 2009   Mavs lose to the Spurs 105-84 in Game 2
April 23, 2009   Mavs beat the Spurs 88-67 in Game 3
April 25, 2009   Mavs beat the Spurs 90-80 in Game 4
April 28, 2009   Mavs beat Spurs 106-93 in Game 5
♦ Mavs win series 4-1

May 11, 2009   Mavs beat the Nuggets 119-117 in Game 4 of the 2nd round of the playoffs
May 13, 2009   Mavs lose to the Nuggest 124-110 in Game 5
♦ Mavs lose series 4-1

2009-10 Postseason
April 18, 2010   Mavs beat the Spurs 100-94 in Game 1 of the 1st round of the playoffs
April 21, 2010   Mavs lose to the Spurs 102-88 in Game 2
April 27, 2010   Mavs beat the Spurs 103-81 in Game 5
April 29, 2010   Mavs lose to the Spurs 97-87 in Game 6
♦ Mavs lose series 4-2

2010-11 Postseason
April 16, 2011   Mavs beat the Blazers 89-81 in Game 1 of the 1st round of the playoffs
April 19, 2011   ???????????




































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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nuggets/Mavs Preview: We're Getting Physical....Again

Could Wednesday's game against the Nuggets result in a win the Mavericks need to end their three-game losing streak?  Just at first glance, you could make the case for Dallas.  

The Nuggets are playing on the second night of a back to back, after losing to Oklahoma City in Denver on Tuesday.  It was actually Denver's first loss at home since February 7th.  They were 10-0 at the Pepsi Center since the Carmelo Anthony trade.  They had won six straight prior to the Thunder loss and are 15-5 since the trade. 

What's impressive is the way they've been playing. 

"Since trade they're best defensive team in the league, allowing 10 less points per game, which is staggering," Rick Carlisle claimed Tuesday at practice.  "They're doing it with great balance and are doing it with 10-11 man rotation."

In fact, prior to the Thunder game, Denver was allowing only 94.8 points per game in their previous 19 games, down from the 105.2 they were giving up before the trade.
Then Carlisle mentioned the "P" word which describes the Nuggets perfectly.  I'm channeling Olivia Newton-John. 

"They're physical and it's going to be a big test for us."

Oh Lord.  Another physical team (I still remember how the Mavs were pushed around in their 2009 playoff series against the Nuggets).  Another test.  How did Dallas do in its last test?   Need I remind you of last Thursday's game against the Lakers which has lit up the DFW airwaves and interwebs with "soft" talk? 


What's the focus for the trying-to-toughen-up Mavs tonight? 

"Transition defense is going to be big," Carlisle said.  "We have to compete for shots on offense because they stay into you." 

Denver has had a lot of success against the Mavericks lately, winning eight of the last 11 regular season meetings with Dallas and four of the last six at the AAC. 

I am personally stoked about this game, the first post-trade meeting between the two teams.  The Mavs said they worked on a number of things on Tuesday at practice: communication, defense and focusing on their flow game.  I'm anxious to see how they respond after playing poorly in those three straight losses and see how they react to Denver's aggressive, physical style of play which puts up a league best 107.2 points per game.
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Mavericks Failure to Communicate



With apologies to any Cool Hand Luke fan and the late actor, Strother Martin, who portrayed Luke's prison warden so wonderfully, the Mavericks have a failure to communicate.

"It depends if you're talking on or off court," Mavericks center Tyson Chandler said with a big smile across his face.  "They gotta open their mouths on the court."

No doubt Jason Terry's recent "Charminator" comments come to mind as an excellent example of off the court chatter.  On the court, though, is a different story. 

Shawn Marion alluded to the issue last month and Chandler brought it up at Tuesday's practice.  I asked Chandler and head coach Rick Carlisle why a communication breakdown exists on a veteran team this late in the season and, frankly, their answers weren't so surprising.

"We got guys that just aren't big talkers," Chandler admitted.  "It's something we got to get used to. A lot of good teams talk, a lot of good teams communicate, whether it's something you do, whether it's something you're comfortable at, you got to make yourself comfortable at it."

The Mavericks are full of a bunch of nice, respectful, fabulous guys.  Most fathers would love it if their daughters brought any of these guys home.  In your face, inspiring leaders?  Perhaps not so much.

Chandler says he's trying.

"I feel like as a big guy, you see everything coming.  You're the last line of defense so, you know, I try to communicate to my guys when I'm out there," he said. 

Carlisle likes the fact they're talking about it.

"We spent time working on that today," he said.  We're a team of guys that have high basketball IQ but our personality isn't to be outgoing and talkative all the time.  That's a habit that we've worked on all year to develop and we've gotten better with it.  We can't allow there to be lapses."

This is where I paraphrase former Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells who would say "you are what you are."  Is it too late for the Mavericks to try to become this communicative team when it's something they've struggled with this season?  The cynic in me says yes.

"Communication is so key, not only in keeping all the guys on the floor on the same page, but taking energy away from other guys on the floor, too," Carlisle added.
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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Handing Out the NBA Postseason Hardware Plus a Finals Prediction

For Sunday night's Mavericks/Blazers pregame show, our young producer Cody Winstead assigned Bill Jones and I a task: pick our NBA MVP, Mavs MVP, 6th Man of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year and our Finals prediction.

Bill and I didn't discuss our picks at all but they were almost identical, except for one.  So without further ado, here you go:

NBA MVP
Bill: Derrick Rose
Gina: Derrick Rose

Mavs MVP
Bill: Dirk Nowitzki
Gina: Dirk Nowitzki

6th Man of the Year
Bill: Lamar Odom
Gina: Lamar Odom

Rookie of the Year
Bill: Blake Griffin
Gina: Blake Griffin
(this vote should be unanimous, league-wide, IMO)

Coach of the Year
Bill: Doug Collins
Gina: Tom Thibodeau

Bill liked the turnaround Collins has done with a 27-win team (currently 40 wins) that doesn't have real superstar players.  I liked what Thibodeau has done with a young 41-win team (currently 56 wins) that dealt with injuries well and is playing good defense.

Finals Prediction
Bill: Lakers over Bulls in 6
Gina: Lakers over Bulls in 5

Bill just couldn't pick the Heat.  I kind of agree with him.

What do you think?  Agree/disagree?  Who's getting your postseason hardware?
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