Holy crap, Batman, no Dirk again; well Carlisle had announced prior to the New Orleans game that the big German would miss at least 4 games, and this was only the second one, but the Dallas Mavericks got themselves together and followed their leader of the night, which happened to be Shawn Marion.
When Marion played for the Phoenix Suns, his job was to attach himself at the hip of the best player on the opposing team and in our case, he was always matched up with Dirk. The Matrix had and has an arsenal of weapons he could use against you, from his rugged defense to his own style of offense. I have never seen anyone shoot the ball the way he does, with the tip of his fingers; that’s on regular shots, free throws and three pointers!
Carlisle had made mention that the first year he was here, they had discouraged Marion from shooting the three as they really needed someone to penetrate the paint and score inside since Dirk was more of a perimeter shooter, so he didn’t use his three-point shot much and now they realize that it was the wrong thing to do. Last season, Marion shot some three’s, but not as much as he has done lately and especially tonight. I haven’t seen him shot that many threes since his days when he wore that orange and gray uniform.
With both Dirk and Vince Carter, the Mavericks are looking each and every night for someone to fill those voids in points and rebounds and tonight Marion did a lot of that and more. Marion led the Mavs with 29 points, but it was also his presence on the court that led the rest of the Mavs to victory. Backup center, Ian Mahinmi, had 17 points and 9 rebounds while starting center, Brendan Haywood had 10 points and 6 rebounds of his own.
JET was landing all over the runway with not only scoring 12 points, but his active hands for steals and passes, helped to set up others for scoring. Lamar Odom who got another start tonight and added 11 points of his own. Odom is looking as if he might be getting more settled as the season progresses and knowing that the Mavericks are going to depend on him more with Dirk out.
Now this wasn’t just a game, and at times it seemed to be a sloppy game; yes Dallas led after the first quarter 32-27, and they were doing very well, I thought, but then they started that sloppy play in the second and once the bench came together, they settled things down somewhat. In doing so, helped Dallas to hold their lead going into the half 49-46.
Again, it seemed as if we forgot how to play during the halftime break because when the teams came back from the locker rooms, Dallas allowed the Suns to get the jump-start and let themselves get outscored 19-17 in the third quarter.
Grant Hill scored a season-high 19 points for the Suns, while Marcin Gortat had 19 points and 17 rebounds, which was his eighth consecutive double-double. Shannon Brown added 14 points for the Suns, while rookie Markieff Morris had 7 points and 11 rebounds. The ever popular ex-Maverick, Steve Nash had 8 points and 12 assists. But none of that helped the Suns pull off the victory which resulted in Phoenix losing six of their last eight. Phoenix was hoping to extend their winning streak and break Dallas’.
Now when you look at the numbers, which a lot of people do, things weren’t that much different between the teams; Dallas shot 40.7% from the field to Phoenix’s 37.3%, the three-point shot, Dallas connected on 32% to Phoenix’s 30%. Dallas is still struggling from the free throw line with only converting 65.5% into points to Phoenix’s 86.4%. Dallas did do better in the turnover category by only committing 12 to Phoenix’s 19, which resulted in 21 points for Dallas. However, Phoenix got the edge in rebounds, where Dallas had 42, but Phoenix had 52 and Dallas had 38 points in the paint to the Suns’ 36.
So as you can see, things were fairly evenly matched, it was just a matter of who committed the less errors as to who was going to win. Dallas is striving to prove a lot of people wrong in saying that Dallas is weaker without the likes of Tyson Chandler and Deshawn Stevenson, but I really feel that there are guys here that can help to pick up that slack and it’s evident since this was the 15th opponent that Dallas has held to below 100 points and that has helped to extend their franchise record streak.
Now the game was not without its excitement though, all the slams of the basket for dunks and so on, but then it was the forces of defense who rose its ugly head. Brian Cardinal, “the custodian”, went into the game and has been very infamous for drawing offensive fouls and in this case he did on Sebastian Telfair, or we thought anyway, but as it turned out in this case, Cardinal was called for a flagrant 1 foul on Telfair. Needless to say, Telfair, Alvin Gentry nor a lot of the Phoenix Suns liked the call and later out of frustration, Roddy B was given the ball on a breakaway play, when as he went up to shoot the ball, was clobbered in mid-air by Telfair who in turn was given a flagrant 2 which resulted in his ejection. Well if you would have seen it on replay, Telfair never attempted to go for the ball and swung with gusto as if to take Roddy out.
The point I’m trying to make is, “he who tries to get revenge is usually the one caught with his hand in the cookie jar”, my own little saying, but it was a proven fact. Telfair didn’t like the call earlier, so he took it out on Roddy; well you didn’t think he’d take it out on Cardinal did you? The custodian is bigger and he felt that Roddy fall to the ground and flop like a fish, but to his dismay, Roddy did fall, and fall ugly, but got up, wiped himself off and awaited the outcome of the call; result, 2 free throws and the ball and Telfair exit stage left to take an early shower and get ready for the trip home.
So now, the Mavericks will prepare for Wednesday’s game against the young and vibrant Minnesota Timberwolves, the return of JJ Barea and the championship ring ceremony. They showed a brief of a video of the rings being made, but no one paid particular attention until they saw “Nowitzki” on the side of the ring; they look awesome, but I know it’s going to be a bittersweet moment. I just hope that Dallas is ready for the game and not still on celebration station to play the ‘Wolves as they did after the banner raising game against the Heat.
I realize that they have played some games since then, but they need to get their heads out of the clouds and be ready to play this game, and get their revenge on Minnesota by winning the game. Tune in early for the ceremony and stay for the game; so I bid you a good day and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!