Walking into work this morning I noticed the Christmas decorations were out in full force. Light posts were dressed up with red and green and the building had lights on the lower section. That’s funny. I don’t even remember eating Thanksgiving dinner yet. Did I miss something? Did I sleep through the Cowboys/Redskins Thanksgiving day game? We win?
My point? We’re jumping the gun on Christmas. Much like we’re jumping the gun now on the latest Mavs losing streak.
First of all, all three recent losses were winnable games. Mavs hung tough against a good New York Knicks team only to fall short in the 4th. It was more frustrating as the Mavs lost their first game EVER to Charlotte on Saturday night after a miserable effort to close out the game. And last nights loss to the Timberwolves was there for the taking if not for our awful shooting percentage.
By the way, I’m reading and hearing a lot of negative reaction towards the loss to the Bobcats. Let’s try taking the glass-half-full approach to this. This Bobcats team is the same team that we throttled in the 3rd game of the season, 126-99. I understand that sports are a “what have you done for me lately” type of scenario. But let’s not freak out over an OT loss to a team that we already beat earlier in the season. Plus, we were due for a loss to the Bobcats at some point.
“We have to play desperate basketball every night,” said sixth man Vince Carter, who endured his worst offensive performance of the season (four points, 1-7 FG). “We’re not one of the best teams. We have the ability to be, but we have to play harder than teams.”
With the Mavericks hot 4-1 start, it resulted in some unreasonable expectations. Not saying that this team is not that good, but the team also shot 62% from the field vs. the Blazers and Bobcats in games 3 and 4 of the season. Obviously, this wouldn’t sustain. Mavs were able to mask the negative rebounding proportions by making a lot of shots. A lot of these shots came from the 3 point line as OJ Mayo quickly found himself on the top of the 3pt shooting list for the league. On Friday night inNew York, the Mavs turnover machine was cranked up to a high level. 20 turnovers in NY and 19 in Charlotte were the main cause for the losses. Mavs reduced the turnovers to 8 against the Timberwolves but only shot 36%.
Some of you have commented that the Mavs defense needs work. This is true to a certain degree but it’s not the reason that we’re losing. Last night we surrendered the highest shooting percentage by an opponent all season, 46.2% but we also created 17 turnovers. The second highest percentage was given up to the Raptors at 44%, a game we won. The defense has been stingy this season for the most part. Grabbing more defensive rebounds would be beneficial given that we’re stopping a lot of first attempts. This is where an injured Shawn Marion would help. He was our leading rebounder before his injury.
The MAIN issue with this current Mavs team, without Dirk and Marion, is that they can not win games if they’re severely struggling in any of the categories of Shooting percentage, Rebounding, and Turnovers in one specific game. All three categories have to be at average or better to produce a win. (Season Averages: Shooting: 46.3%. Rebounding: 41.9. Turnovers: 15). With a scorer like Dirk on the floor, the Mavs can afford to have a bad turnover night simply due to the fact that Dirk can keep them in a game offensively. But this current Mavs team has limited scorers and once defenses close in on Mayo, the offense panics. Hence the desperation 3’s by Carter and company when down by 5 or more. Had the Mavs shot closer to their season average and not a abysmal 36% vs. the Timberwolves, they would’ve won.
Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda.
Let’s credit the opponents some for creating turnovers, grabbing boards, and forcing us into bad shots. But mostly these issues can be solved by the Mavs. The last 3 losses hurt but in no way is it showing the teams “true colors” and the first 4 wins were not as much of a “fluke” as some of Dallas’ own would say. No matter what Jean-Jacques Taylor wants us to believe, this Mavs team is better than what you think.
Stay strong Mavs fans, we’ll be ok. Just weather the storm until @Swish41 is back.
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