Rick is searching for something, but it’s not clear what
After a lot of squabbling at the beginning of the year, the Mavericks had finally found a lineup and regular rotation that worked for them.
Some untimely injuries forced their hand a bit, but I don’t think anyone expected the wholesale changes Rick decided to go with.
Coach going with two scarcely used players in Barea and Jackson in place of Hardaway Jr. and Porzingis was interesting, but it didn’t just stop there. They were posting Luka more, taking him off the ball in favor of Barea, and had completely altered his rotation pattern. Heck, they even busted out some new set plays.
Nobody is going to pretend they speak Rick Carlisle, But admittedly it is head scratching. They’ve found themselves down double digits in both first quarters with this crew, and trailing at the end of each half they were deployed in. Rick made a great change to insert Maxi after in the third quarter, but starting fast is important and this lineup isn’t doing it.
The Mavs have horrible late game habits
You can add the Hornets game to the growing list of inexplicable losses the Mavs have this year. At what point does that list become so long that they aren’t deemed explicable anymore, but this is just who the Mavs are? That’s a question for another day.
These gut-wrenching, tight losses seemed to start popping up after Luka rolled his ankle. Since then you’ve had the Miami OT game, The historic Raptors blown lead, the OKC New Years game, and now this one.
What or who is to blame? Injuries for one have struck at the wrong time. They’ve been missing at least one of their top three guys for what feels like a month now.
And on top off that, they’ve just formed some really bad habits late in games. You saw in Toronto the inability to handle a press. In Milwaukee they couldn’t defend late in the game. Against OKC it was heinous shot selection down the stretch. Tonight was more of the same with some bad defense sprinkled in.
For whatever reason, they lose discipline late in these games. I also think Luka’s conditioning is an issue. When you’re main guy is worn out, chucking bad shots at the end of games it doesn’t make for good offense.
One thing is for sure, they better get it corrected or some more painful losses are coming their way.
Is it time for Maxi to be a full time starter?
Maxi Kleber continues prove himself as an absolute gem for the Mavericks. His defensive versatility, three point shooting, and improved rebounding have worked absolute wonders for his team. Much like fellow undrafted signee Dorian Finney-Smith.
There is no doubt Maxi is a starting caliber guy, but is there room for him? When healthy, everyone has a clearly defined role. And it’s worked up to this point, but it feels time for a change.
Dwight Powell has had a polarizing season. Some fans believe in his value as a rim runner and vertical spacer, others have a hard time seeing that. Admittedly, it’s tough to understand sometimes.
But as the Mavs brass would tell you, the numbers suggest he’s integral to the one of the best offenses in league history. It’s an interesting dilemma for Carlisle to weigh his defensive and shooting limitations against Maxi, but it’s surely on his mind after another awful defensive start.
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