No Dirk Nowitzki, oh no what are we going to do? Well according to Rick Carlisle, other guys are going to have to step up to the plate and cover both ends of the court and pull off the win without their all-star player.
Prior to tonight’s game, Carlisle advised the media that he was sitting Dirk for the next four games due to knee issues or should I say, conditioning issues and not rest issues; as a matter of fact, Dirk will be as it sounds doing a type of 2 a day practices to get himself in better shape.
Dirk himself admitted earlier in the season that he was not where he really wanted himself to be; he did play for the German National team, but did take some time off before that since he had played into June since the Mavs were in the NBA Finals, then after his international play, took some time off before he started working out on his own not knowing where the lockout was going to take him or when it was going to end.
I have listened to a lot of commentators talking about the game, the players and the teams and how so many of the players are not where they really need to be and Dirk himself put himself in that category. He is definitely off his game, not playing as many minutes, points are lower than even his career average and rebounds are down,so what do you do. Well if your Carlisle, you take that 7 foot forward, you get right up in his face and you tell him to shape up or else! Well, you get my drift; however I’d love to see that happen!
Even without Dirk, the Dallas Mavericks looked like they were going to be fine and it was a collective effort by many players to make up for the difference of him not being there. See it goes to show you that a team can come together without their number one guy and get it done, it’s a team sport anyway.
With Dirk out, Lamar Odom was inserted into the starting lineup at the 4 and was able to handle the pressure put on him. Finally looking as the Odom of games past and getting it done both in the paint as well as on the perimeter.
Odom and Delonte West led the Mavs tonight with 16 points apiece and not to be overlooked, Shawn Marion had another spectacular night with a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds; looks like ‘Trix has some tricks left in the bag. JET added 12 points for the Mavs tonight and Brendan Haywood had 6 points and 10 rebounds.
Dallas led the Hornets at the end of the first 27-23, but kind of went lazy in the second by letting the Hornets out score them 18-14 to end the half with a 41-41 tie; however JET had the opportunity to take the ball to the hoop for the lead with a couple of seconds left on the clock, but felt he didn’t have enough time left so he stopped at the 3 point mark and missed the go ahead basket. After the Hornets led 41-38 with a little of a minute remaining in the first half, the Mavs began a 15-0 late in the second quarter and took it into the third quarter to turn it into a 53-41 lead. The Mavs were able to man handle the Hornets as much as they could and take a 64-53 lead into the fourth quarter and from there, Dallas never trailed again.
The Hornets had many opportunities to tie and take the lead from Dallas, after all they outscored Dallas in the fourth 28-19, but the were never really ever able to capitalize on Dallas playing without Dirk.
However if you look at New Orleans, they were led by Carl Landry who had 19 points, Emeka Okafor had a phenomenal night with 16 points and 17 rebounds, Trevor Ariza and Jarrett Jack each had 12 points apiece. As a matter of fact, at the end of the game after JET scored on 2 free throws to give Dallas the 83-80 lead, Jack got the ball, drove down the court and was fouled by Jason Kidd and Jack went to the line to pull off the miracle.
Jack made the first free throw to pull within 2 points and it was obvious that he had to intentionally miss the second free throw and hope that one of the Hornets got the ball and was able to either score a 2 for a tie and force overtime or throw it out to someone who’d make a 3 for the lead. So Jack throws the ball up for the second attempt, misses and it was a battle for the rebound and it looked as if someone from the Hornets was able to get the ball, got it back to Jack and he tried the shot and missed it, Dallas escapes with the victory.
From the beginning of the game, it looked as if Dallas was going to have this game under control with their shooting; as one time they were shooting 60% or better from the field, but then they resorted back into their outside jump shots and finished the night shooting just 40.5% from the field, but it was still better than New Orleans’ 37.2%. The three-point shooting was a disaster for both teams as Dallas shot just 15.4% compared to 10.5% for New Orleans. They are still needing significant work on their free throws as they only connected on 75%, but again that was better than 65.6% for New Orleans.
Both Dallas and New Orleans committed 12 turnovers, but Dallas had the edge on rebounds of 48 to 41. Even without Dirk, Dallas was able to squeeze out of the state of Louisiana with a victory and come home for some much-needed rest and workout at home.
There are others that are in need of the same type of conditioning that Dirk is going to be getting and I’ll be willing to bet you that once the announcement was made prior to the game, Dirk’s longtime mentor, was on a plane from Germany to whoop his student back into shape.
This coming week will be an exciting one; even though Dirk won’t be playing, but Wednesday will be the ring ceremony for the Mavericks while the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves are in town. At least JJ Barea will get his ring while the rest of the current Mavs from the Finals team will get theirs. I am so proud of what they were able to accomplish last season and hope that there will be a few more to come before Dirk and Kidd have to hang their shoes up for good.
So here we come home to face the Phoenix Suns on Monday and we’ll see how they do against the run and gun format, think they’ll handle it just fine! So I bid you a good day and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!