Mavs Donuts: From 'It Sucks' To Bulls' Visit
DONUT 1: Pacers 103, Mavs 78 - no barber ...
Tied 41-41 at half, the Mavericks were badly outplayed by the taller, more athletic Pacers in the second half of Thursday's loss.
"We lost to a team that's deeper and better in all facets of the game," Dirk Nowitzki, who had 21 points, said afterwards.
Indiana began the second half on a 20-5 run and never looked back. Though O.J. Mayo's barber, Omar, was in the house and no doubt awaiting a hefty commission. He left the AAC empty-handed last night, and the Dallas Mavericks left still full of beard, frustrated by the opportunity wasted.
The Video Visit With Dirk:
DONUT 2: Pacers motivated by all the beard talk? ...
After the win against the Clippers, Dirk Nowitzki preferred not to talk about the potential for beard-shaving, fearful of jinxing the moment, should it come. And on Thursday morning, Mayo was careful, too.
Perhaps they were right to be apprehensive; preventing the Mavericks from shearing their facial fur was a seeming mission of the Pacers.
"That was the message coach [Frank Vogel] said to us coming in," Pacers forward David West said. "Another day for them to do it. It wasn't going to be tonight."
"Personally, whatever gimmick they have to do to rally themselves is fine," center Roy Hibbert. "We wanted to shut that [expletive] down."
And shut it down they did. Dallas was badly beaten on the boards, 55-34 in favor of Indiana. It was not the worst rebounding deficit for Dallas this season, but it was close (Nov 24th against the Lakers still holds that ignominious mark, where Dallas posted a -22 deficit on the boards).
The 78 points posted by Dallas on Thursday night was their second-lowest of the season. Dallas was held below 40% shooting from the floor. The Mavericks' 32 made field goals was tied for the 6th-lowest of the season.
Shut down indeed.
DONUT 3: Due for a letdown? ...
Call it a regression to the mean. Call it a premature celebration by having Omar The Barber in the house. Whatever you decide, it was a stinker.
Perhaps Dallas was due for one after their recent hot streak. Despite the recent uptick in play, we should keep in mind that this team is 2-14 against the top 5 teams in the West for a reason.
In other words: What happened Thursday shouldn't really surprise us. It's happened all year.
Our All-Access Pass to the game gives you a free look inside the loss and inside the locker room with the help of Elton Brand, Trix and Dirk. This is one-stop shopping for the best Mavs coverage on the planet!
DONUT 4: No Ground Lost, but Another Opportunity Wasted ...
If there is any good news to be enjoyed from Thursday night's drubbing, it is that Dallas did not lose any ground in their hunt for the eighth and final playoff seed in the Western Conference with the Lakers losing to the Milwaukee Bucks.
However, the corollary is that Dallas wasted an opportunity to gain ground on the Purple and Gold. "Knowing the Lakers lost now, we had an opportunity to cut into their lead," Nowitzki said. "And it sucks. It sucks."
DONUT 5: The Team that Won't Die ...
Seeking basketball knowledge outside of these hallowed DB.com halls? If your wandering heart leads you elsewhere, never will you be faulted for seeking wisdom from the great Zach Lowe, who's one of the best in the biz.
Yesterday, he wrote a fantastic piece chronicling from afar, this "strange campaign" of a Mavericks' season. Therein, he concludes that Dallas' rise is built primarily on three factors:
(1) The superb job Rick Carlisle has done this season managing the ill-fitting Dallas roster
(2) The recent uptick in scoring, buoyed by the return to form of Nowitzki and taking (and making) better jump shots
(3) Surviving their defensive and post deficiencies.
His analysis is all the more prescient in light of Thursday night's loss where Dallas' recipe was turned on its head once the jump shots stopped falling in the face of the stiff Pacers' D and strong interior presence.
DONUT 6: The Bad News … Bulls? ...
As thoroughly as Dallas was dominated here, Carlisle and Co. will need to find some solutions, if any exist, to Dallas' shortcomings against bigger, more defensive-minded sides as their next opponent, the Chicago Bulls, are constructed very similarly to the Pacers.
It's a 1 p.m. start on Saturday and DB.com will, of course, have The 75-Member Staff in place! ... and we'll chase one of the stories of the weekend as Mayo is getting an MRI on his troublesome shoulder.
DONUT 7: Earliest Shave ...
The loss Thursday gives even more importance to the already-critical April 2nd game against the Los Angeles Lakers. With the Lakers facing the Sacramento Kings next in what looks to be a winnable game, the pressure will be on the Mavericks to find a way to win against the Bulls if they are to continue their climb into the playoff picture.
DONUT 8: Want more Mavs? ...
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DONUT 9: 10 Games Left ...
Dallas remaining schedule looks like this:
3/30 vs. Chicago Bulls
4/2 @Los Angeles Lakers
4/4 @ Nuggets
4/5 @ Kings
4/7 @ Trail Blazers
4/10 vs Suns
4/12 vs Nuggets
4/14 @ Hornets
4/15 vs Grizzles
4/17 vs Hornets
Ten games. Five at home, and Five on the road. Logic says Dallas will need to win a minimum of six to seven of these games. Utah, which owns tiebreakers over Dallas, has six home games and four on the road. The Lakers only have nine games remaining, six of which are at home.
Worth noting also: Kobe was seen hobbling after last night's game on a crutch, due to inflammation of a bone spur in his left foot. He will be re-examined today, but it will likely take an act of God to keep a competitor such as Bryant from playing.
DONUT 10: Thanks to our sponsors! ...
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DONUT 11: The most roadies ...
So Dallas faces the most roadies of those above them in the standings. The good news is that, prior to Thursday night's games, their road is perhaps the kindest. as their remaining opponents have a combined win pct. of .504, easier than the remaining schedules of the Lakers (.536), Jazz (.522) and Blazers (.585).
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
The Mavericks have really put themselves behind the eight ball by losing what looked to be the most winnable game of the group of three.
However, if we have learned anything about this team throughout this trying season, is that they refuse to roll over. Though they seem a band of misfits and castoffs (outside of Dirk and Marion), and will largely be scattered at season's end, they are nonetheless professionals and take a great deal of pride in getting better each game.
With only 10 games remaining, it is our bet the Mavericks will fight to the bitter, but hopefully not bearded, end.