Sports-Thankfulness In Mavs Donuts
DONUT 1: Robin-as-Batman ...
After staring slowly Monday against the visiting Warriors (with only four points in the first half), O.J Mayo finished with 23 points after intermission to total a team-high 27 points. He also chipped in five boards, four assists and two steals – numbers plenty Batman-ish.
However, Mayo was denied an opportunity to be the hero as Dallas drew up a play that put the ball in the hands of Vince Carter to end regulation.
Dallas loses 105-101 in OT.
"We lost the game,'' said Mayo, who is now averaging 23.7 points in his last 10 games. "Oo I didn't put the team on my back that good. We took an L."
DONUT 2: Overtime Woes ...
With the loss, the Dallas Mavericks now falls to 0-2 in overtime games this season. Last night, Dallas was outplayed in the extra period as Golden State shot 57% and outrebounded the Mavs 7-2. On the night, Dallas surrendered 19 second-chance points to the Warriors and were once-again anhilated on the glass 62-43.
In fact,rebounding (or the lack thereof) is proving to be Dallas' Achilles heel.
Fish covered this in the game story , complete with the Carlisle quote:
"Nobody's focusing on rebounding. That's the whole game. That's the root of our problems. You could focus on the end of the game, who shot it, whether it went in. But it's possession of the ball (on rebounds) that's hurting us.''
DONUT 3: Ugly Rebounding Numbers ...
The Mavericks are getting absolutely hammered on the boards. On the defensive end, they secure about 70.3% of available rebounds, a rate that ranks them 26th in the league, and significantly below the league-average clip of 73%. That number may seem a bit abstract, so for comparison, in the championship season they were 7th in NBA at 74.8%. Successful defense ends with securing a rebound, and thus far, Dallas is not doing that.
DONUT 4: So what's keeping Dallas in games?
The short answer is near-ridiculous shooting, both hitting their own shots and preventing opponents from nailing theirs. On offense, the Mavericks are hitting .511 eFG%, good for 6th in the league. For those that don't know, this metric adjusts for the fact that a three-pointer is worth more than a regular field goal.
Give credit to Brandan Wright (.656 eFG%), O.J. Mayo particularly (.605 eFG%) with his hot hand from the arc.
Now, how often is Dallas going to shoot 60 percent in a game?
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DONUT 6: The defense has been good so far, too. ...
In what has become a multi-season theme nearly regardless of who is on the roster, the Mavericks are becoming a team of defense. This season, they are surrendering only .468 eFG% to their opponents, the 5th-best mark in the league. Overall, they are limiting opponents to .434 FG% (11th best), and are locking down the perimeter, yielding only .300 3FG% to opponents, tops in the NBA. These land them in the top-10 in the league in points allowed per game to opponents.
Obviously, there is much more nuance to consider in evaluating a team's defense; The Eye Test tells us there is a long way to go in this department. But these cursory numbers illustrate that the defense is not the Mavs' main problem.
DONUT 7: The Mavs are suddenly good at getting to the line ...
Historically, getting to the charity stripe has not been a strength of the Mavericks, but so far Dallas is top-10 in the league at FT/FGA (free throws made per field-goals attempted). In raw terms, Dallas is 4th in the league in free throws made and 6th in free throws attempted.
We will see if the trend holds when Nowitzki returns, but for a team searching for positives, Dallas' ability to earn trips to the line is a bright spot.
DONUT 8: Follow Fish and the Mavs on Twitter ...
DONUT 9: Who needs tickets? ...
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DONUT 10: Whats up with Elton Brand? ...
In his 13th NBA, to say things are not going quite as planned for Elton Brand is putting it gently. Indeed, Brand is averaging near career-lows across the board but he is playing the fewest minutes of his career as well, at 23.4 minutes per game.
Even on a per-game basis, his numbers are far less than expected. His frustrating season was exemplified Mondahy by his botched inbound pass that sailed right to the Warriors prompted a frustrated Rick Carlisle to take a timeout. He had his shooting shirt on backwards at one point, as well.
There are downs from Collison. There are ups from DoJo. There are dozens of stories and dozens or reasons for 6-6. But Brand has been a non-factor that it deserves a deeper look.
Elton's clearly off, but what's up? DB.com will delve into this issue later in the week.
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DONUT 12: The Final Word - What I'm Sports-Thankful for ...
As we approach a holiday centered around gratitude, I'd like to throw in my two cents on that for which I'm grateful. Genuine gratitude seems to be falling by the wayside in our modern times, but I'm blessed with a loving family and many wonderful friends. Further, as an Emergency Medicine physician (almost), I'm grateful for the opportunity to be there for my patients on their worst days and consider it a privilege to be able to care for them amidst trying times.
On a more light-hearted note, I'm pretty Sports-Thankful as well. I'm thankful that I can usually rest easy because my team is spear-headed by innovative and intelligent leadership and coached by one of the most astute game-managers today. More often than not, effective management creates winning teams. I'm thankful that in my lifetime I've gotten to see a transcendent, transformational figure like Dirk Nowitzki. My gratitude was deepened and enriched by watching him grow, develop, struggle, fail and ultimately succeed in achieving his greatest successes in winning an MVP Trophy and capturing an NBA title. He's scheduled for a meeting with the media on Tuesday afternoon (DB.com is on it) and I'm also thankful that it's assumed Dirk will talk of how he'll soon return from injury.
His teammates likely are Sports-Thankful, too.