As the Dallas Mavericks head into their fifth game of the season, they will be without Dirk Nowitzki (knee), Shawn Marion (knee) and Roddy Beaubois (doubtful; ankle). You’d think the Mavs and the fans would be in panic mode and distraught with the inevitable struggle to lottery-quality basketball. Things couldn’t be further from the truth. At all.
Don’t get me wrong, we’d love to see the Big German out there showing players like Kobe and Kevin Durant how the step-back, one-foot fadeaway is properly executed.Marion’ defense and all his intangibles, yeah those awkward teardrop floaters that athletic small forwards normally don’t shoot, will be missed. Add Roddy to the mix and it leaves you with only one healthy member from the championship team. Dominique Jones.
Yikes! That can’t be good. It’s actually been working though. DoJo, as most fans refer to him, has elevated his game at least to provide productive minutes as Darren Collison’s reserve. He’s been most effective penetrating the lane and finding teammates with some quality dimes.
A familiar face is in town, not a player, but a coach. When the Toronto Raptors play the Mavericks tonight, it will be a return to Dallas for head coach Dwane Casey. Casey was the defensive mastermind during our champion season. In Casey’s years as a head coach (Minnesota 2005-2007 & Toronto 2011-), he’s a measly 1-4 against the Mavs.
The Raptors are playing the second game of a back-to-back and will be without leading scorer Kyle Lowry. Lowry injured his ankle last night in a 108-88 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
That’s good news for the Mavs because Lowry has usually played very well against the Mavs in his time with both the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets.
Enough Raptors chatter, let’s delve into what’s going on with our Mavericks as they prepare for a third straight home game.
The birthday king O.J. Mayo poured in a second consecutive 30-point effort Wednesday night. You’ve heard about it by now. Who isn’t gushing about Mayo, the guy is a HUMAN TORCH! Feel bad for the nets. (I don’t really feel bad for them).
Collison has been ballin’ since the regular season started recorded his second straight double-double. In the last two games, Collison is averaging 16 points and 11.5 assists with ONLY 1.5 turnovers!! The guy has been ridiculously efficient and it shows with a 19.69 PER (player efficiency ranking).
Mark Cuban and the rest of the Mavs organization including the fans couldn’t have expected better frontcourt production from Brandan Wright and Chris Kaman. These guys have a hard time missing shots. Surely, the numbers will come down, but I’m okay riding this stretch for as long as they can sustain it. Wright and Kaman together have provided 28 PPG and 10 RPG on a combined 81-percent from the field!! That’s so crazy.
In wake of Marion’s sprained MCL, Rick Carlisle has a choice to make. Who fills the Matrix’s role?Carlisle loves rookie Jae Crowder as does the entire MavsNation. We ride that Crowder bandwagon with pride with great reason. CROWDER IS A BEAST! He’s beyond impressive with the demeanor of many veterans still lack. Another option for Carlisle could be reserve Dahntay Jones, but it seems much more likely that Crowder gets the opportunity to start and play big minutes.
The one half in Utah aside, the Mavs have provided us a brand of basketball we haven’t seen in Dallas for a long time. The high-octane style is back, but with a defensive emphasis that helps win championships not only regular season games. The defense is a work in progress though, but the right tools are in place.
The Mavs are only second to the Miami Heat in league scoring, averaging 108.3 per contest. The fact Dirk Nowitzki hasn’t even suited up yet is SCARY! Dirk’s an elite scorer in this league and has been for over a decade. It doesn’t take a genius to understand how amazing the offense will become once he joins the party.
It’s still going to be awhile before Dirk does return from knee surgery, but it has to be a welcome sight for him. These guys are playing HUGE and there’s no need to rush back early to save the day. Several players are stepping up and it’s a beauty to witness.
Mavs games WITHOUT Dirk ARE watchable. This year at least, because the new-look Mavs have made Mavericks basketball simply more fun than it has been in recent years. Hold your heads high MAVSNATION!!!
Game tips at 7:30 p.m. CT and airs locally on Fox Sports Southwest.
Notes: O.J. Mayo has never scored 30 points in three consecutive games, he gets a chance tonight. Darren Collison totaled three double-doubles last season with the Indiana Pacers; he’ll be going for his third in five games with Dallas.