Dirk Nowitzki did not score 30 points and the Mavericks did not look good in a 113-107 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs were without Tim Duncan, but it didn’t matter. The Mavs refused to guard the 3-point line and San Antonio was willing to take them all night. The Spurs made nine 3-point shots.
The rest of the Spurs’ offense came from easy buckets off the pick and roll. Tony Parker showed once again that Dallas has no defensively adequate point guards. He scored 23 points on 9 of 16 shooting, but was more effective as a passer with 10 assists. DeJuan Blair had 22 points. Yes, DeJuan Blair.
As for my call for Dirk to have a big night. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Dirk looked a bit better, with more spring in his step on a 6 for 14 shooting night. Most disappointing was that Dirk finished the first half with only two buckets. After the break, he came out and hit his first jumper of the 3rd quarter. Then the largest man on the court became invisible. He took one more shot in the quarter as the Spurs went on an epic run that essentially won the game. Most point guards understand that when the other team goes on a run, you need to get your superstar the ball in his favorite spot to get a bucket and turn the tide. That, apparently, is asking too much of the bunch the Mavs put out. Dirk was frozen out until late in the 3rd quarter.
The only real bright spot is that Rodrique Beaubois remembered that he can play basketball for a night. He scored 19 points on 6 of 8 shooting.
This game wasn’t as close as the final score. The Mavericks played very poorly. The guards have no idea how to play with Dirk. So much so that even if he gets all the way healthy, and his shooting percentage improves, he probably won’t reach his level of normal productivity. He isn’t getting the shots he got with Kidd, and he isn’t demanding them either. Instead, Jay Crowder takes 3′s early in the shot clock. Elton Brand gets endless looks at the short corner. Darren Collison drives recklessly into traffic and too often turns the ball over. The franchise that has been known for smart basketball, now has a team with some less-than-smart basketball players. It’s getting better, but it’s still bad. The only question left, was Charles Barkley just a year early on burying Dirk?