The Dallas Mavericks are 6-3 after another road win in Memphis on Saturday night. Through 9 games this season, there are a couple of things that have remained consistent: Rick Carlisle’s rotations are very fluid, as he said before the season started and the Mavs need to defend a lot better than they have so far.
The Mavs currently average the 3rd most bench minutes and the 7th most bench points per game. As good as the Mavs bench has been and will continue to be, I think it will be important for Carlisle to get to a point where he has a set rotation. To this point, it has not hurt the team much because there is a bunch of guys that know how to play the game on the bench. Consistency will just allow guys to feel comfortable in their role and allow them to build continuity on offense and start to get a feel for each other on defense, which is my second observation from this week of basketball.
On Friday night, Seth Curry played 12 minutes and did not get a shot attempt. Carlisle was asked about that after the game and he said, “yeah sure, I’d love to get Seth more attempts. I’m looking at those things all the time. But other teams know hes a great shooter and they stay pretty close to him.” To that I say, that is unacceptable for the teams best shooter to not get a single shot attempt in a game where Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis combine for 66 points considering that Tim Hardaway Jr. got up 15 shots in 23 minutes.
The Mavs need to be better on defense and nothing demonstrated that more than against Orlando on Wednesday night. The Magic came into that game averaging 93 points per game (last in the NBA) and the only team that hadn’t scored 100 points in a game. They scored 106 points in that game and 60 of those points came in the paint.
The Mavs allowed the 28th ranked in scoring Knicks to score 106 points on Friday and allowed them to grab 14 offensive rebounds including a huge offensive rebound that would have allowed the Mavs to attempt to tie the game after New York missed both free throws up three with 26 seconds left in the game.
The Mavs allowed all four opponents this week to surpass their average points per game after allowing the Grizzlies to score 122 Saturday night.
I think the biggest position of weakness on defense is at the center position. The struggles come into play against teams that have great offensive rebounding and/or physical big men. Dwight Powell has shown that he is not capable of defending the center position possession after possession and teams are attacking that match-up . Kristaps isn’t a true center but his greatest strength is his ability to block shots. He is averaging 2.6 blocks per game and that puts him at 4th in the entire NBA.
Boban Marjanovic started Saturday night and I think he can play the role of the big man the Mavs need in spurts but I still think there is room for improvement in that department for the Mavs to solidify a spot in the playoffs.
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