Some advice to my man Mark Cuban, with whom I've had a genial and valued relationship for almost 20…
First Impressions: Suns 100, Mavs 94
Early in the game at the AAC, the Dallas Mavericks had success scoring the ball by relying on a couple of veteran players. Elton Brand, starting for Dirk Nowtizki, scored more points (11) in the first quarter on Wednesday than he did in the entirety of the previous game against the Rockets.
Unfortunately, Brand went completely scoreless in the rest of the game. After shooting 5-of-8 in the first quarter he was 0-of-2 in the last three quarters.
Delonte West and Vince Carter were the first two Mavericks off of the bench. West, who got a loud round of applause when he entered the game following his eventual 24-hour suspension (which was all about a disagreement at the Mavs' "family barbecue,'' as he put it) seemed poised to handle the primary backup point guard responsibilities. He finished with seven points and four assists.
Said Delonte, noting that Dirk Nowitzki (knee) joined Roddy B (ankle) as the two inactives: "There's a lot going on. Dirk's not here, our bigs trying to get accumulated and the new guys, but you can see the flashes that we have shown."
Vince Carter was responsible for some of those flashes. He immediately took a shoot-first mentality and provided a quick offensive spark scoring 13 of his 15 points in the first half. In fact, Carter actually looked more efficient in his scoring role in the first half than starter O.J. Mayo as Vinsanity helped the Mavericks grab a 54-49 halftime lead.
But Mayo was a little more patient with shot selection and eventually finished with an efficient 14 points including seven points in the third quarter. However, the third quarter was not a good one for the Mavericks, who ruined an earlier 15-0 run as they were outscored 32-20.
Jae Crowder was once again a pleasant surprise and was perhaps the Mavericks' top player -- as could be argued was the case in Monday's win over Houston as well. He stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, six rebounds, five steals and three blocks while seeing action in every single quarter. Crowder's constant motor and aggression will make him tough to keep on the bench this season.
Offensively the Mavericks appeared more than willing to share the ball and spread around the scoring. Brand's first quarter chemistry with Chris Kaman was probably the most positive sign of the game. Kaman scored an efficient 16 points off of 8-of-12 shooting.
However, the high number of turnovers along with Darren Collison's inability to become involved in the offense was certainly alarming. Collison went scoreless, seemed to struggle feeding the balll inside, and his only shots were two missed three-pointers.
Defensively the Mavericks allowed too many easy points in the paint to the Suns especially when Brand was not on the court. Jared Dudley seemed able to overpower the Mavericks' guards down in the paint as well. The Mavericks may have to better prepare to defend bigger guards. Dudley is a capable scorer, but he is mainly known for his three-point shooting.
Rick Carlisle was not pleased with the performance of his team (2-2 in the exhibition season) Wednesday night. Perhaps fortunately, Carlisle points out that the problems are clear and the preseason is meant to address those problems.
"Our team defense was poor," Carlisle said. "When you factor the turnovers into that, early in the game, it's a recipe for disaster. We have some things to clean up and we have some time to do it."
We'll have more from the AAC all night and day -- including Donuts, Video Visits in the locker room and all the quotes and analysis -- coming up, along with Mavs fans talking it through on DB.com Boards!