It has finally happened. The Mavericks have devolved into the selfish, playing-to-catch-the-eye-of-their-new-team group of future free agents that we feared they might. Even the mighty Rick Carlisle cannot hold a group together when each individual is faced with missing the playoffs, and the uncertainty of their next NBA check.
Mike James is the worst offender, taking 14 shots in the loss to the Brooklyn Nets. James is taking 8.6 shots per game in just over 20 minutes per game in the last 11 games. If you go back and watch the last three games in particular, all of the times that Dirk has been frozen out, James has been putting up shots like it’s 2005. It isn’t his fault – James wasn’t a true point guard when he was a good basketball player – it’s unfair to ask him to be one now that he is a poor player.
Other Mavs who have begun to play more selfishly: Darren Collison and Chris Kaman. Can you blame them? They are also the two players least likely to be back on the Mavericks roster in 2014.
Dirk Nowitzki is shooting the ball with a 76 percent rate of success the last three games, but the “me-first” approach of other Mavs has allowed him just 31 total shots in those games. The vast majority of those shots have come early in the game when Carlisle still has some control of the offense. As time passes in these games, guys who know they are not coming back are forcing up shots in order to inflate numbers and open their off-season options.
The Mavericks have 14 games left, and if the last three games are any indication, Dallas’ basketball team not only miss the playoffs for the first time in 12 years, they will also have giant ugly beards to show for it.
(photo by Streetball.com
The Dallas Mavericks have put two wins together for the first time in 2013. With a 104-83 victory that wasn’t even that close, the Mavs dominated this game almost from start to finish. The Grizzlies seemed sluggish from the start and Dallas pulled away at the end of the first quarter despite Dirk Nowitzki only taking one shot in the quarter.
The game would pick up for Dirk who had an incredibly efficient game with 17 points on 5 of 8 shooting in just 28 minutes. Add to that 6 rebounds and 3 assists, Dirk is really beginning to look like himself. His effort and energy on the defensive end is picking up as well. One assist in particular was impressive, as he got switched on a smaller defender, pump faked, spun, and spotted Shawn Marion all by himself as Marion’s defender had reacted to Dirk getting in the lane.
Marion had 20 points on 13 shots, and played maybe his most productive offensive game of the year. Chris Kaman also had a great offensive game. After starting off slowly making only 1 of his first 5 shots, he had a stretch in the 3rd quarter where he scored 8 straight points and completely dominated Zach Randolph. Kaman finished with 10 points and was 1 of 6 Mavericks in double figures.
Also making an appearance in this game for the first time was a sustained period of great ball movement within the Mavs’ flow offense. Still, too often the ball was pounded in the hands of Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo, but it seems they are slowly realizing that offense is easier if they allow their offensively blessed teammates to touch the ball. It also seems that Collison and Mayo are learning that it’s their responsibility to get to the rim since the older guys are less eager to risk their bodies.
It would be nice to get carried away and say that maybe after 38 games this team has figured out what it needs to do to win. Prudently, though, we should remember that Memphis was on the second night of a back-to-back and they have struggled in that situation at 3-4. This was a good win for the Mavericks, but much more is needed before we can afford to believe in this basketball team.