DONUT 1: No zone? ...
Do these Dallas Mavericks lack the right personnel for the zone?
One of the staples of the 2010-2011 Mavericks’ championship team was their ability to efficiently defend using a 2-3 zone defense, especially in the Finals against the Heat. While much of the general media likes to think that LeBron and company “choked away” that series, more enlightened viewers will give some credit to how the Mavericks’ zone defense -- overseen by Rick Carlisle and Dwane Casey -- lured the Heat into low percentage shots.
So with the Mavs struggling to find defensive consistency this season, where is that great zone defense that Carlisle so famously implemented less than two years ago?
According the Mavs’ head coach, this current team just might not have the personnel to run that sort of zone with any consistency.
“Not much good,” Carlisle said of what he's seen from this year's zone work. “At times we’ve been able to break a little rhythm with it. The guys that we had before had more size, more experience, just more basketball experience in general so it was more effective. This year our guards are smaller. That’s been one of the challenges of it. We’re still going to look at it. We’re still working on it.''
Make this another TY lament if you must. Or another Kidd lament. But that's what, and whom, Rick is really talking about here.
DONUT 2: Cubes suiting up? ...
It’s been a frustrating season for Mark Cuban. And now, with the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, there’s really nothing the Mavs’ owner can do but watch and hope that things are getting better.
How does the lack of control amidst a losing season make Cuban feel?
“Anxious to get something going,'' he said. "I was going to suit up, but I didn’t think that would add any value.”
DONUT 3: Phenomenally Efficient Frontcourt...
The Mavs have tried everything at center this season. They have seen great games from Dirk Nowitzki as well as a few uncharacteristically average games from Nowitzki. Elton Brand’s shot has come and gone more times than we can count this year.
But Wednesday night in the win over Houston, everything was clicking for the Mavs’ front-court men. Led by Shawn Marion, whose hot night started with 12 points in the first quarter, the Mavs forwards/centers were incredibly efficient on the offensive end.
Marion, Nowitzki, Brand and Brandon Wright (who was put in the starting lineup at center) combined to shoot 29 -44 from the field.
They combined for 65 points, and we'd like to say we anticipate more of the same tonight in Detroit from the starting center on down ... but frankly, we cannot even be certain who the starting center might be.
DONUT 4: A much better third quarter ...
In the Mavericks 136-103 loss to the Rockets back on Sunday, it was the third quarter that really did them in. Dallas was down just 64-61 at halftime of that game only to give up an embarrassing 44 points in the third while only scoring 17 of their own. You will recall some of the same issues in surrendering a 25-point lead in Memphis last week, too.
Wednesday’s game was a whole different story. While they didn’t exactly lock down the Rockets on defense, they did hold them to 27 points and scored 27 of their own.
The Mavs entered the fourth quarter of Wednesday night’s game up four points as opposed to down as opposed to down 40 points and already having accepted defeat going into the final period of Sunday’s blowout.
Is this a matter of something as simple (or trite) as "halftime adjustments''?
DONUT 5: Fish at Cowboys Stadium! ...
Our man Mike Fisher will be hanging out with AV Spots on Saturday at the Great Big Texas Home Show at Cowboys Stadium! If you're in the building, go see The Fish!
DONUT 6: The Rockets aren’t lacking sharp shooters ...
We assume the Mavs will watch the playoffs from the outside looking in. We assume Houston will qualify ... and will win or loss with its sharpshooters.
Can the Rockets win in the postseason simply based on sharpshooting?
Before the game on Wednesday, established shooter and recently-acquired Rocket Francisco Garcia told me that this was one of the best shooting teams that he has ever been a part of.
I asked him what if he could rank the shooters on the team and if he would put himself No. 1. Garcia gave a very politically correct answer.
But while he was answering, Chandler Parsons, whose locker is next to Garcia’s, overheard the question, looked at me and smiled and pointed to Garcia holding two fingers in the air, implying the Garcia was the second-best shooter on the team behind him.
Garcia shot just 2-of-5 from the field and 1-of-4 from behind the line on Wednesday. Parsons' shot held true to his word, shooting 8-of-15 from the field and 5-of-8 from three.
Despite the loss, the Rockets still made 12 three-pointers in the game. ... and maybe their playoff salvation won't be 3-point bombs, but rather Harden's uncanny knack for tricking his way to the free-throw line.
DONUT 7: Thanks to our sponsors! ...
A tip of the cap of appreciation to Frisco Party Station and
Red Rock Bar & Grill! They help make DB.com what it is ... thanks, guys!
DONUT 8: Want more Mavs? ...
the best and deepest coverage of the Mavs available anywhere ... take our free seven-day trial and then get your Mavs gold for pennies! ... Go Mavs and Go Premium!
By the way, we take that same focus that we provide on the Mavs here on DB.com and apply it to the Mavs and the Cowboys on 105.3 The Fan. Listen live here for some Fish on Football and for breaking Mavs stuff, too ... throughout today and every day ... and we'll take you inside the teams in every possible way!
DONUT 9: Mavs at Detroit tonight ...
And now all these components needs to come together again as the Mavs hit the road, tonight in Detroit for a Fox Sports Southwest telecast that begins at 6 p.m. Fish, Coach Ortegel, Mark Followill and the rest of the gang bring you the game.
The Mavericks, still 4.5 games out, are launching a four-game roadie here against a Detroit team they've beaten in the last two games by a combined 29 points. Dallas has won seven of eight in the series and three of four at Detroit. The full preview is here.
DONUT 10: 'The Powder And The Glory' ...
It's being lauded by DB.com readers and DFW media members alike. Michael Dugat's essay on the Mavs' present circumstance is a must-read for the serious Mavs fan.
It's The Powder And The Glory - The Statement Of Our Fears: A Mavs Essay.
DONUT 11: Pass The Mayo ...
With the Mavs’ frontcourt providing so much scoring, OJ Mayo wasn’t a typical offensive centerpiece in the first three quarters of the Houston game like he has been in the past. But Mayo adjusted by showing that he can do more than just score the ball.
Mayo reached a new career-high in assists with 12 assists to go along with some clutch fourth quarter scoring and six rebounds.
Mayo’s driving ability opened up the floor for the entire Mavericks team all night. While his 13 points may not seem jaw-dropping, Mayo’s overall performance was essential to the Mavs’ production. Dallas will need him again tonight in Detroit -- and as we've noted before, what's needed isn't jaw-droppingness, but rather consistent efficiency.
DONUT 12: The Final Word - 'Dirk Dynasty' ...