Can the Mavericks replicate their defensive performance?
Saturday’s Primetime showing in Brooklyn was probably the Mavericks most complete outing of the year (outside of the Clippers anomaly).
Their offense was crisp, free-flowing, & easy to watch. That end of the court had been coming much more naturally as of late, so it’s no real surprise to see them build on that.
But what stood out the most was the effort on the defensive end. The Mavericks held one of the most potent offenses in the league to under 100 points. Now, they were down two superstars in Durant & Irving, but still. It was a positive step for a team who’s struggled with it most of the season.
Particularly encouraging was the unique plan they put together and their players ability to execute it. It was aggressive, complex, and unconventional, but they aced that test. Something that bodes well going forward.
What’s the plan for Vucevic?
Piggy-backing off the last point, what should the Mavericks do with Orlando’s All-Star Nikola Vucevic?
The answer, at least in my humble opinion: send doubles. Lots of them.
It’s generally against the Mavericks defensive principles, but your team just proved it can exchange a scheme designed to stop a one-star offense. And did so against a more dynamic player and supporting cast.
There is just no reason to not at least explore this. We’ve seen how talented, multi-faceted centers can kill this team. I could understand maybe starting out with the stock defense, but the staff would need to quickly abort if Vuc warmed up. That’s really the only way such an offensively-challenged team can beat you.
What will the energy & focus level look like?
Its understandable that NBA teams have nights throughout the season where they don’t quite have it. The season is long, sometimes with no end in sight. It’s only human nature.
Thats why it’s imperative that these next two games have the Mavericks focus. It would be easy to look forward to the looming All-Star break and drop one of these next two (@ORL, VS. OKC), but for a team trying to dig themselves out of an early hole, there can’t be any of that.
I suspect the staff is on them about this. Handle their business and they will be two games above .500, right back in the thick of the West Playoff race.
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