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Position Grades – Power Forward

by Damian Jackson on May 12, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

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Power forward has been the Dallas Mavericks longstanding position of strength because of one man – Dirk Nowitzki. The NBA game at the position has been forever changed by Dirk and he continued to defy odds at age 35, turning in one of his most efficient seasons to date. The position was rather thin in terms of natural fit this year, but we’ll also take a closer look at DeJuan Blair, a five-year player from Pittsburgh.

Dirk Nowitzki:

A season ago Dirk labored through one of his toughest years in the NBA. The combination of knee surgery, missing 30 games and playing alongside an overload of one-year contracts snapped his 12-year run at playoff basketball.

Many questioned Dirk’s ability to return to star form. This only fueled the former league MVP who worked hard as ever to bounce back.

Let’s take a glance at Dirk’s 2013-2014 highlights:

- Averaged 21.7 points in 80 games played (10th player in NBA history to average over 20 points at age 35 or older)

- Returned to the All-Star Game for the 12th time

- Efficiency (23.68) ranked 12th in the NBA, shot 49.7% FG/39.8% 3PT/89.9% FT

- Became 10th on NBA All-Time Scoring List – passing legends such as Jerry West, John Havlicek and Oscar Robertson.

 

Dirk played a major role in earning a trip back to the postseason, only to play the rival San Antonio Spurs. Outside of Dallas, no teams knows the Mavs franchise player better than Gregg Popovich’s Spurs. It showed throughout the series as the Spurs took away much of what Dirk wanted to do and forced other Mavericks to be the difference makers.

The first four games saw Dirk fail to reach 20 points in such a stretch for the first time in his playoff career. Dirk had plenty of help in the series to push the league-best Spurs team to seven games in the 1 vs. 8 seed matchup.

Dirk would finished the final three games of the series averaging 23.3 points and 9.7 rebounds, but eventually lose the series battle in a lopsided Game 7 defeat.

Over the course of the season, Dirk showed he’s still an elite level player, especially at his age. Dirk doesn’t drive as much anymore which results in fewer trips to the free throw line, but his game as a whole exemplifies he can remain highly effective for several more years.

He played 32.9 minutes in the 80 regular season games and one should expect that to drop some going forward. While never a legit defensive player, Dirk has regressed to simply a very poor product on that end with opposing players scoring with ease when matched up with Nowitzki.

Now there were spots in the season where it seemed Dirk would disappear and it didn’t feel right. Whether the box score resembled it or not, we witnessed nights in which Dirk was a complete non-factor in both team wins and losses. Then again, it speaks loudly of how amazing his statistical end result on the year played out.

Dirk more than makes up for his defensive woes in other areas, but expect Mark Cuban and company to pursue a defensive anchor in the paint to pair with Dirk this summer. The Mavericks have plenty cap space and flexibility to explore options from a Tyson Chandler reunion, taking a chance on the Larry Sanders project or safe play with another veteran such as Marcin Gortat.

When it’s all said and done, Dirk’s year was one to remember for sure.

Grade: A

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DeJuan Blair:

After spending his first four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, DeJuan Blair chose to sign with the Dallas Mavericks who could only offer him the veteran minimum contract.

Most viewed it as a value signing at the time because Blair likely could have received more elsewhere, but down the line we’d understand why the ACL-less Pitt Panther product would choose the Mavs.

Blair was on the Spurs team that blew an opportunity to win the NBA championship last season. He wasn’t given the chance to be a difference, riding the bench behind Boris Diaw and Tiago Splitter. This didn’t sit well with Blair who made it known he had all Spurs game marked down after signing with Dallas.

It’s not as if Blair completely blew up and shattered seasons past, he actually had better statistical years in his first three seasons as a Spur.

Blair’s lone Mavericks season was more a bounce back from his last year with the Spurs. In Dallas, Rick Carlisle utilized the physical forward in his rotation almost the entire season. Blair had some ups and downs with DNP-CD based on opponent match ups.

Dallas’ need for a hustling rebounder who played with reckless abandon was filled nicely by Blair. Blair more than makes up for his lack of height with effort and it showed throughout the year with his ability to keep possessions alive.

His impact was felt most in the first round series against his former club. The combination of motivation and determination ignited Blair’s play and made him one of Dallas’ most important pieces.

In four games of meaningful minutes, Blair posted 9.5 points and 9.3 rebounds with three steals in 18.5 minutes. Blair was suspended Game 5 for the kick to the head of Tiago Splitter. His energy was missed and it was evident how big an addition Blair truly was for Dallas this season.

Grade: B+

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Projections:

The question isn’t whether Dirk will be back next season, but rather at what cost. Dirk has joked he won’t get Kobe money (2 year/$48.5M), but would like something where he still feels respected for his time in Dallas while leaving room to hopefully bring in star free agent help.

Early into the offseason, it appears the Mavericks have no interest in Chris Bosh, but will pursue Knicks’ star forward Carmelo Anthony who is set to opt out his final year with New York.

As for DeJuan, he’s one of four key Dallas free agents whose return isn’t set in stone. Blair is only 25 which makes him more attractive to keep on board. It’s possible the Mavericks could use an exception on Blair, but several things will need to play out first before Dallas likely makes a decision of his future.

Images via Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty; Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports; AP Photo/Eric Gay; Video via Phenom Clips (YouTube); 

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Mavs Game Plan Shows Promise, Needs Revisions

by Ryan Wilson on May 5, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

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The Mavericks 2013-2014 season came to a conclusion Sunday afternoon in San Antonio, and while it may not have been the type of performance we were expecting, we should still remember that many didn’t have them even getting this far. The Mavericks now head into a summer that will prove to be plenty busy for Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson. Questions that need to be immediately addressed our whether Vince Carter, Shawn Marion, or Devin Harris will return. Also, how low in salary is Dirk Nowitzki willing to sign for. These are questions that need to be answered in order to know what the overall game plan will be moving forward.

In terms of offense, the Mavericks were one of the best teams in the NBA. Defensively, they were on the other end of the spectrum. The Mavericks roster is full of players who play well on offense or defense, but not many who can do both. Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon are threats with the basketball, but in terms of being lock down defenders, they aren’t even close. Shawn Marion remains an excellent defender, even at 34 years old, but he isn’t a huge threat on offense as much these days. This is something they will need to address this off-season if they have any hope in becoming a serious threat in the dangerous Western Conference.

Something that was very clear in Sunday’s blowout loss was that the Mavericks have to find a big-time player to complement Nowitzki. Right now, Nowitzki still remains the Mavericks’ best player. While Ellis proved many of his critics wrong this season, he is just not capable oDirk and Montaf leading this team, and Dirk is only getting older. When Ellis is hitting those midrange jumpers, he is as big a threat as there is. When those shots aren’t falling, teams go underneath that screen and force him to hurt them from outside. The Spurs did that all day yesterday, and limited Ellis to only one basket in the paint, while he ended up shooting 8-21 from the field.

Look for the Mavericks to address some of these major concerns this off-season. While it is always difficult to see players go elsewhere, it’s going to have to be something the front office and the fans experience this summer. This was a team that overcome a lot of odds throughout the season, and almost delivered one of the greatest first round upsets this league has ever seen. However, in the end, this team was just not built to keep defying those odds. Cuban and Nelson will get back to the drawing board and figure out a way to give their aging superstar a couple more shots at it.

— Bryan Gutierrez (@BallinWithBryan) May 4, 2014

One thing is for sure. It will be awfully busy for the Mavericks this summer, and we will be right here to cover all of that crazy action for you!

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Wrap Up: After 4 Forgettable Quarters, Mavs Season Ends

by Greg Higgins on May 4, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

Wrap Up Mavs Drop Rough One

In two and a half hours, the Dallas Mavericks season came to a screeching halt Sunday afternoon. The amazing playoff ride they had found themselves in was over practically before the game began. Dallas briefly held a two-point lead at the beginning of the game and that was all she wrote as San Antonio cruised to a 119-96 game; a score which is much closer than the game itself.

How it went down:

793da6b97a7b3c11530f6a7067000cedFrom the very beginning of the game, the Spurs had the Mavs on their heels. Dallas had trouble stopping Tony Parker all night. Parker toasted the Mavs for 32 points, with 24 of them coming in the first half. The Spurs couldn’t miss a shot it seemed. They shot 68.4% in the half and scored 68 points.

More impressive, I thought, wasn’t the offensive side but the defensive. The Spurs made the Mavs work for everything. The guards had trouble getting set in the offense because Parker or Danny Green were playing suffocating defense.

The only Mavs’ player to do anything was Dirk Nowitzki who had 17 at the half. Even he needed 13 shots to get those points. Tiago Splitter was pushing him around on the block and making things extremely difficult for the big German.

The Spurs took a 29 point lead at one point in the second quarter and it just felt like it was over. Despite the ability of this team to score, it seemed like it was over. Dallas made a run towards the beginning of the third and got the lead down to 14. However, a quick timeout by Gregg Poppovich and the Spurs quickly regained their composure.

The game finished with players like Bernard James, Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin and Jae Crowder on the floor while Dirk, Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon were on the bench hanging their heads. The Spurs had done what most people thought they would do in games one through four. Apparently they saved the best for last.

Inside the Numbers:

This is the first time Dirk has lost a game 7 in his career.

Of the five game 7’s played this weekend, the home team won all but one of them. The Brooklyn Nets were the only road team to win.

Step up Mav of the Night: 

Dirk Nowitzki

It’s hard to say that someone stepped up today but Dirk did what he could to try and get his team a victory. Dirk, despite the double teams and constant pounding he took from the Spurs defense, finished with 22 points. He seemed determined to go down with a fight.

Quotes:

“I’m certainly glad it’s over. (This series) kept many of us up, night after night, trying to figure them out. We’re thrilled, and I think our best game was tonight. We played very, very well, and I think it was one our best games of the year.”  – Gregg Poppovich

 

“We got hit by a tidal wave early. They had their best game today. They’re the best of the best, and they’ve been great for a long time. They’ve got a great chance, obviously.”  – Rick Carlisle

Upcoming:

With that, the season comes to an end for the Mavericks. They came up short of their ultimate prize to win a title, but they surpassed last season by making the playoffs. Not only did they make the playoffs but they took the best team in the NBA to the brink of elimination. That’s nothing to hang your head about. The Mavs will be back and so will we at MavsFanatic.com. We hope you’ve enjoyed our game coverage this year and we would like to thank you, the fanatics, for supporting us in all that we’re trying to do.

 

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

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Seven Heaven: Mavs Prepared to Pull Off Upset?

by Greg Higgins on May 4, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

SEVEN

After Game 6 on Friday night, you could sense a feeling of satisfaction by the Dallas Mavericks’ players, but not a sense of fulfillment. Nobody gave the Mavericks any chance in this series, nor believed they could do anything with a chance against the San Antonio Spurs. Remember the feeling of despair that clouded the team and the fans after they lost the final game of the season to the Memphis Grizzlies?

Most major sporting outlets had the Mavs losing this series in four or five games. Very few people had them taking the Spurs to a game six and nobody that I saw had them going the distance in the series. With the exception of our staff writer Terence Huie, I didn’t see anyone picking the Mavs to win this series.

Nobody gave them a shot. Nobody except the Mavs. Before Game 6 I asked Mark Cuban about his team’s ability to bounce back when their backs are against the walls and what Rick Carlisle does different in those situations.

Cuban responded, “I don’t think the coaches do anything different. We have a lot of veteran guys.”

When Game 6 was over, the players all said basically the same thing: “This is why you play the game.”

Dallas is in the middle of a history-making first round of the NBA playoffs. Five of the eight games have needed the full seven games to decide the series. The previous record had been three series.

Before the playoffs started, all the experts were saying besides San Antonio and Oklahoma City, all the teams are basically equal. If the first two weeks have taught us anything, you cannot take the Thunder or Spurs out of that mix anymore. Memphis pushed the Thunder to the brink as have the Mavs with the Spurs.

This Game 7 should be highly entertaining as well. Take the history between these two teams. Take out the fact that they hate each other. Go back to the 2006 playoff series between these two teams.

During that series, the Spurs were the No. 1 seed and Dallas was the No. 4 seed. The Spurs won game one in San Antonio that year. The Mavericks came out, though, and won the next three games. With a 3-1 series lead, Jason Terry was that year’s DeJuan Blair. Terry got suspended for game 5 as he went below the belt with a hit on Michael Finley.

The Spurs would win the next two games forcing a game 7 in San Antonio. The Mavs took a 20 point lead in the game but the Spurs made a furious comeback. Manu Ginobili hit a three pointer in the final minute to put the Spurs up by three.

Dirk, however, drove to the basket late and made a layup. He was fouled by Ginobili on the play and Dirk calmly made the free throw to tie the game. On the other end of the court, Dirk got a block to save the game and send it to overtime.

In the overtime period, Dallas took over the game and won the series. It’s the moment that put Dirk over the top as far as clutch performers in the eyes of Mavs fans. Up until then, he had never really been able to get over the hump and take his team to the promised land. It was a moment that every Mavs fan remembers.

Fast forward to this series and it’s taken very similar twists and turns. The Spurs are hoping to win to erase the awful taste of the last game 7 in which they played. Last year the Spurs were a few seconds away from winning the NBA title against the Miami Heat. Only a few seconds away from the title and Gary Payton knocked down a huge three to win the game for the Heat. Miami would win game 7 and the title.

The Spurs are in danger of a similar fate happening this year. San Antonio had a 3-2 lead over Dallas going into game 6 but allowed the Mavs to win the game. What about the Mavs? Dallas is 4-1 in game 7′s in their franchise’s history. The only loss came against the Lakers in the 80′s. During the Dirk era, the Mavs are 4-0 including the aforementioned 2006 series with the Spurs. San Antonio, meanwhile is 3-5 in these situations and only 2-2 during the era of Tim Duncan, Manu, and Tony Parker.

Normally game 7′s favor the home team. Before this weekend there has been 114 game 7′s in NBA history. The home team has won 91 of those games. Of all active coaches, Gregg Popovich has the best winning percentage in closeout games. Based on those numbers, you would think the Spurs should win this game.

Remember this, though the Mavs aren’t your normal eight seed in the playoffs. Before the playoffs, the Mavs had dropped 10 straight to the Spurs, but this is a different team than we saw two weeks ago. This team has the confidence that they can and will go in to San Antonio and pull out a victory.

The Mavs will be the underdog in this game and I understand that. However, I’ve learned over the last two weeks to not count this team out. Whether it’s Dirk, Monta Ellis, Blair, Vince Carter, or someone else, they can and will find a way to win the game. That’s what this team has taught me. So go ahead and take the Spurs if you want, this fan has completely changed his mind on what the Mavs are capable of doing.

Photo Credit: Star-Telegram/Ron Jenkins; Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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Wrap Up: Mavs Come Through, Force Game 7

by Greg Higgins on May 2, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

Wrap Up1

Mavs Win!!! Mavs Win!!! Mavs Win!!!

Dallas needed a win to stave off elimination and force a decisive game 7 on Sunday in San Antonio. After a poor showing on Wednesday in Game 5, Dallas showed up in full force Friday night as they defeated the Spurs 113-111.

How It Went Down:

It’s no secret the Mavs defense has been one of the things that has haunted them during this series. Manu Ginobli has been able to pick apart the Mavericks’ defense during this series. Tonight the Mavs were able to limit the play of Ginobli. Ginobli finished with only six points in the game for the Spurs.

Another problem has been the area of pick-n-roll defense. The Spurs have torched the Mavs, especially in game 5. Tonight, the Mavs played the pick-n-roll much better and were able to limit the scoring.

Offensively, bot teams were on fire from the beginning. Dallas scored 34 points in the first quarter and another 37 in the fourth quarter. Dallas shot 51.7% while the Spurs finished with 53.3% from the field. Dallas

There seemed to be a feeling tonight that there was no way the Mavericks were going to lose this game. Early in the game Dirk put the team on his back and carried them, while in the second half – particularly the fourth quarter – it was all about Monta Ellis. Dallas played with the sense of desperation that we had hoped they would play with tonight. From the opening whistle Dallas was on their game.

Trailing by five with just under nine points to play in the game, Dallas went on a 14-2 run to go up by eight points. Everything looked great for the Mavs but the Spurs made it a lot closer towards the end of the game. A Boris Diaw three-pointer and a couple free throws by Ginobli had the game within three. Eventually the Mavs would close out and send the series back to San Antonio.

Inside the Numbers:

Dallas was 16-24 from the charity stripe for only 62.5%. San Antonio was 24-28 for 85.7%

With the Mavs win, there will be five game 7s played on Saturday and Sunday. If not for the stunning and amazing Damian Lillard game-winning 3-pointer, Houston would have made it six.

Step-Up Mav of the Night:

The Whole Team

Normally I pick one player for this role but game 6 is only fitting that the entire team receives recognition. Before his nose got bloodied, Jose Calderon was having a heck of game for the Mavs. Calderon hit two big three-pointers and finished with 12 points.

Much was made about Dirk and the  team needing him to step up. Tonight he did that. Dirk finished 11-20 with 22 points. Monta was Monta. Enough said. He finished with 29 points, with 12 of those coming in the final quarter.

DeJuan Blair was outstanding. Blair, coming off his suspension, finished with 10 points, 14 rebounds, four steals and one assist in 29 minutes of action. Vince Carter hit a couple big three’s tonight. It was a win-or-go home game for Dallas and everyone did what they needed to do to not go home.

Quotes:

“I’m just glad we got the win. Of course I was fired up…we at home and its game six against a tough team. It was fun.” - DeJuan Blair

 

 

On Deck:

The Mavs and Spurs will play Game 7 of their best-of-seven series Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. CT. Every first round game can be seen locally on TXA 21 and will be nationally televised on ABC.

Series Schedule/Results:

Game 1: Final – Mavs 85, Spurs 90

Game 2: Final – Mavs 113, Spurs 92

Game 3: Final – Spurs 108, Mavs 109

Game 4: Final – Spurs 93, Mavs 89

Game 5: Final – Mavs 103, Spurs 109

Game 6: Final – Spurs 111, Mavs 113

Game 7: Sunday May 4 @2:30 PM CT in San Antonio

Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

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Game 6 Preview: Mavs Ready to Extend Series

by Marc Cashion on May 2, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

MGNEllis

In a must win tonight, the Dallas Mavericks take on the San Antonio Spurs for Game 6 in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Coming off a very poor defensive effort in a game where big man Dejuan Blair was suspended the Mavs must turn it on if they want a Game 7.

The Game at Hand:

Dirk Nowitzki looks to have possibly turned a corner in Game 5 where he posted 26 points and 15 rebounds shooting 50% from the floor. Monta Ellis struggled for most of the game, but turned it on the fourth quarter as is typical Monta. Sixth man Vince Carter was unbelievable scoring 28 on 7-9 three point attempts.

Even with these three efforts the Mavs could not pull out the win as they just could not get past their porous defense. The Spurs really did whatever they wanted, it honestly looked like they were practicing doing layup lines as Duncan and Splitter had the lane open after setting the pick virtually every possession.

With Blair coming back hopefully the Mavs can play a little better defense as Brandan Wright was absolutely abused in the pick and roll. In fact, the entire defense did not communicate and time after time gave up the lane. Hopefully Blair can turn this trend around, he basically has to if the Mavs want to force a Game 7.

Keys to the Game:

Communication and Rotation on Defense:  

I have to give a shout-out one of our writers Terence Huie.  He should in a previous article just how terrible our defense was.  No one really knew what to do when Duncan or Splitter would come screen for Ginobli or Parker.  Our defense would either key in on the roller, giving up an open shot, or key in on the player with the ball giving the roller a wide open lane.  It will be up to the Mavs to communicate what to do and when to switch on the pick and roll.  If we continue with what we did in Game 5 I am afraid this series is over.

Production From the Role Players:  

In Game 5 only a select few played a good game in Dirk, Monta, and Vince. However, Devin Harris who shot 3-11, Jose Calderon 3-9 and Shawn Marion 3-10 have got to step up. The three combined for a total of 22 points. We just have to have better production from those three to win this game.

With Ginobli continuing to torch the Mavs and the normal production from the Spurs starters only having Vince, Dirk and Monta scoring is not going to be enough. Let’s not kid ourselves; the Mavs are in the playoffs due to their offense. They outscore teams to win the game.

Matchup of the Night:

Battle of the Big Men

In a Game 5 loss to the Spurs Samuel Dalembert scored 2 points in 23 minutes while Brandan Wright scored 4 points in 24 minutes. On the other side of the floor Tiago Splitter scored 17 points on 12 rebounds just dominating the Mavs centers. While Brandan Wrights minutes will likely be limited with Dejuan Blair back from suspension, the production of Blair and Dalembert will be huge on offense and defense.

We all have heard what the deference in an engaged Dalembert and a disengaged Dalembert can have on a game. For the Mavs to put themselves in a position to win we need the engaged Dalembert and an angry Dejuan Blair.

Quotes: 

 

 

When and Where:

Game time is tonight May 2 and will take place in American Airlines Center (Dallas, TX) at 7 P.M. CT; Watch nationally on ESPN and locally on TXA 21.

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(Photo Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

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Backs Against the Wall; Mavs Continue to Fight

by Greg Higgins on May 2, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

twb670

Game 6 is less than 12 hours away for the Dallas Mavericks and the question remains:

“Can Dirk Nowtizki and company stave off elimination and force a decisive Game 7 on Sunday?”

This is the burning question that every MFFL wants to know. This is the question that we so anxiously await the answer. At first thought, you might think their spirits are broken after suffering two straight defeats to the San Antonio Spurs; this, of course, after the Mavs had a chance to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.

Rather than putting the Spurs on the brink of elimination, though, the Mavs now find themselves in that position. Dallas will have to defeat the Spurs two games in a row for the second time in this best-of-seven series. Dallas blew out the Spurs on their home court in Game 2 and Vince Carter stuck a dagger in them with a buzzer-beating three at the end of Game 3.

Not very many people gave the Mavericks a chance in this series. Tonight we will find out if those people are right or if this team is as resilient as they’ve been all year long. Think back over the course of the year for Dallas. Time and time again they have proven themselves against the odds.

Remember the November 20th game against the Houston Rockets in which Dallas was down by 18 points? Dallas made a furious comeback to defeat the Rockets 123-120. What about the game right before the All-Star break? Off a humiliating 114-89 defeat in Charlotte the night before, Dallas bounced back in Indiana against the league-best Pacers with a gritty 81-73 road victory.

We all remember the disappointing eight-game home stand in which Dallas finished 4-4 with three losses coming in overtime. We were all disappointed because we had hoped for so much more out of them. Dallas proceeded to leave the AAC and go out to the west coast for four straight games. Dallas swept the four-game trip to put themselves in great position to make the playoffs.

 

All year long, this team has shown they have the ability to fight back and when their backs were against the wall. They have found a way to scratch and claw their way out of seemingly impossible situations all season.

Before the series started I picked the Spurs in six games. The Spurs had defeated the Mavs 10 games in a row. They had dominated this team for over two years. Other publications predicted the Spurs in a sweep or in five games.

However, we forgot something. We forgot how great this team can be in desperate hours. We forgot the ability of Rick Carlisle to match wits with the best of the best. It’s because of this, I fully intend to be talking about a Mavericks’ win tonight and I intend to prepare for Game 7 on Sunday.

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Examining Pick ‘n Roll Defense Prior to Game 6

by Terence Huie on May 1, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

sammy_Fotor

Last night’s Game 5 was a true test for the Dallas Mavericks in the Mavs-Spurs series. Maybe it’s me being the biased MFFL that I am, I truly thought that the Mavs could pull out a win in Game 5 in San Antonio. Game 6 on Friday night is simply the dreaded “win or go home” situation for Dallas. So I re-watched Game 5 again and one thing that really stood out was the Mavs’ Pick-N-Roll defense.

Comparing the Game 2 & 3 wins to Game 5, the Mavs were extremely lazy on defense. The Spurs were executing the pick-n-roll offense with ease, which was frustrating to watch as a Mavs fan.

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 9.08.28 PM

Example 1:

Here’s a Spurs possession where Tony Parker dribbles to the paint off a pick from Splitter. Marion decides to switch off of Parker late and guards Splitter, which gives Tony Parker the advantage on Dirk for an easy layup.

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Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 9.08.42 PM

Example 2:

Same exact Parker/Splitter pick-n-roll play ran on the wing about two minutes later. Ellis defends Parker but doesn’t switch to guard Splitter. This time Dirk is prepared to contest a Parker layup. Parker realizes Splitter is open on the roll and Splitter gets an easy two points.

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Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 9.08.53 PM

Example 3:

Manu Ginobili brings the ball up the court in transition. Tim Duncan sets the pick at the top of the key and rolls to the paint. Ginobili sets back behind the three-point line, which sucks in Monta Ellis and Brandan Wright to guard the perimeter. Ginobili leads a nice pass to Duncan for a layup. The help defense (Carter, Harris, and Marion) wouldn’t have had enough time to get to Duncan for a contest.

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Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 9.09.04 PM

Example 4:

The Spurs came out of the timeout and ran the two-man game with Patty Mills and Tiago Splitter. Splitter sets the pick and rolls to the basket. Dirk and Jose Calderon commit to Mills. Mills hits the “pocket pass” to Splitter for the dunk. Brandan Wright hesitated to provide help defense because he would then free up Boris Diaw.

 

The Solution:

Knowing Gregg Popovich, he’ll run a good mix of the pick-n-roll on offense since that is seemingly the Mavs’ weakness on defense. Better communication on the court has to happen in order for Dallas to get the defensive stops needed to win Game 6. With Dejuan Blair returning to the bench after his one-game suspension, his presence have an impact defensive to relieve the Mavs’ struggles in the frontcourt.


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Wrap Up: Mavs Pushed to the Brink

by Damian Jackson on April 30, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

Wrap Up Mavs Drop Rough One

The Dallas Mavericks went into Game 5 against the San Antonio Spurs with the goal to return home with a chance to end the series. Unfortunately, even though the suspended DeJuan Blair made the trip, the team defense did not. The Spurs used simple pick and roll basketball to methodically defeat the Mavericks and snag the 3-2 series lead.

How It Went Down:

Let’s start by going back just one day ago when Rick Carlisle talked about what hurt his team in Game 4:

“Our first-half performance from a competitive standpoint was just not up to snuff,” Carlisle said.

 

Did the Mavericks take swift action to flip the script? Not really. The Spurs got off to a hot start in the first quarter, leading by 13 at one point. To Dallas’ credit Devin Harris and Vince Carter came in and brought the Mavs back within one when the opening frame ended.

The Mavericks carried their momentum into the second quarter where they went back and forth with San Antonio for eight minutes. With four minutes left in the half, the score was 45-44 in favor of the Spurs.

Closing quarters and halves has not been a strength for this Mavericks team all season and so would be the case. Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili all chipped in to conclude the second quarter on a 13-5 run and hold a 9-point advantage at halftime.

Pick and Roll.

Those two, well three words ought to give the Mavericks nightmares tonight. It was executed constantly throughout the evening and Dallas’ inability to stop it allowed consistent success for San Antonio’s offense.

While all this was happening, Mavs’ own Sixth Man of the Year, Mr. Carter was having himself a flashback performance, finishing with 28 points. Dirk Nowitzki? He finally showed up with a signature game himself – 26 points and 15 rebounds.

Now most of the third and fourth quarter saw the Spurs lead by seven to 12 points, but never pull away in terms of reading the scoreboard. It felt much more out of reach to Mavericks fans who repeatedly watch the Spurs abuse the Dallas defense.

Trading buckets would not help the cause.

Credit the Mavericks for never quitting as they did pull within four at the 2:58 mark, but would never get any closer.

San Antonio now has the Mavericks on the brink of elimination heading into Game 6. It’s win or go home for Dallas basketball.

Impact Play of the Night:

With 2:15 left in the game and Mavs down 94-98, a red-hot Dirk caught the ball in the corner after great team ball movement. He would patiently allow a close-out defender to pass by, step into his jumper and miss. The Spurs rebounded, went down the floor and capitalized with the dagger on a Tony Parker three ball.

Inside the Numbers:

Vince Carter’s 28 points was the most he’s scored since January 18, 2013 when he scored 29 points against Oklahoma City.

Devin Harris looked great in the first quarter with six points, but tallied just two points the rest of the night.

Dirk, Vince and Monta Ellis scored 75 of the team’s points.

 

 

Step-Up Mav of the Night:

Vince Carter & Dirk Nowitzki

You have to hate wasting away two amazing performances from your big time veterans. But that’s what happened in this one. The efficiency on offense was spectacular for Carter who converted 10 of his 16 attempts and drilled seven 3-pointers.

Dirk really got into his groove in the fourth quarter, going 7-for-9 and 14 points. You want to see Dirk carry that kind of shooting into Game 6. The Mavericks will need every bit of this type of game from him and more.

Quotes:

 

 

 

On Deck:

The Mavs and Spurs will play Game 6 of their best-of-seven series Friday evening at TBD time. Every first round game can be seen locally on TXA 21 and will be nationally televised on ESPN.

Series Schedule/Results:

Game 1: Final – Mavs 85, Spurs 90

Game 2: Final – Mavs 113, Spurs 92

Game 3: Final – Spurs 108, Mavs 109

Game 4: Final – Spurs 93, Mavs 89

Game 5: Final – Mavs 103, Spurs 109

Game 6: Friday May 2 @TBD in Dallas

Photo Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

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Game Night: Mavs Look To Take Pivotal Game 5

by Marc Cashion on April 30, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

MavsGameNightb288

The Dallas Mavericks take on the San Antonio Spurs tonight in Game 5of their first round series.  Coming off a 93-89 loss at home Monday, Game 5 presents itself as a huge momentum game for either team with the series tied 2-2.  The Spurs had a 20 point lead in the fourth quarter, the Mavs stormed back only to lose by four after a huge Boris Diaw three in the fourth.

The Game at Hand:

After splitting their home court advantage the past couple of games against the Spurs, as in any playoff game, this game is huge.  If the Mavs can steal this game from the Spurs they could have a series clinching game at home. If not, they will have two win or go home situations in front of them.  The Mavs somehow couldn’t find their offense on Monday really struggling from the floor only shooting 38%. The offensive will have to get on track tonight for Dallas to go back home with the series lead.

Dejuan Blair was absolutely huge off the bench Monday putting up 12 points 11 rebounds and 2 steals in only 16 minutes of play.  He was the main piece that lead to the Mavericks erasing the 20 point deficit. However, midway through the fourth quarter he was ejected for kicking Tiago Splitter in the head.  Although it looked intentional he was suspended for the game tonight, so his presence will be truly missed.  Look for Brandan Wright to take the minutes that Blair has gotten in this series meaning he will have to step up.

Keys to the Game:

Getting Our Offense Back:  It’s not every day you see the box score and the Mavs have less than 90 points.  The Mavs and Monta Ellis have got to attack the paint and stop settling for outside jumpers.  Yes, I know Vince Carter scored the game winner in Game 3 but he really wasted a ton of possessions in Game 4 from early in the shot clock threes or long two pointers.  Get the ball to Monta and let him and Dirk execute the two man game.

Filling Blair’s Gap:  Blair played with a chip on his shoulder Monday until he was ejected.  His offense was great, but more noteworthy was his scrappiness and defense that was giving Tim Duncan fits.  Whether we win or lose very well may come down to the play of Samuel Dalembert and Brandan Wright.  Both will play substantial minutes and both cannot get bullied by Duncan and Splitter.

Manu Ginobili, Dirk Nowitzki, Monta EllisMatchup of the Night:

Ginobli vs. Mav’s Role Players

Although it absolutely kills me to type this Manu Ginobli has been an absolute machine so far in this series.  In Game 4 Ginobli had 23, Patty Mills had 10 and Boris Diaw had 17 including the go ahead three point shot to ultimately win the game.  On our bench Blair had a huge game but no other Mavs role player scored more than 8.  The Mavs role players must step up and score or God forbid guard the role players of San Antonio.

Quotes: 

“I love the way that we’ve competed all year long. I love the way that we’ve competed in this series, second quarter not withstanding [Monday night]. And you know, it’s now a three-game series and we’ve got to go back in there with the same kind of aggression that we did the first two games.” - Rick Carlisle 

 

They had us a little bit on our back heels, and I thought in the second half we reversed that. We were the aggressors there. We took it to them, got some stops, got some rebounds and sped the game up a little bit.” - Dirk Nowitzki 

 

When and Where:

Game time is tonight April 30 and will take place in San Antonio at 6 P.M. CST.

___________________

Quotes via Earl K. Sneed at Mavs.com

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

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