Finally, the big German has come back to Dallas and scores big and pulls of the win and stops the losing streak bleeding. Dirk looked to be the true All-Star that he is in leading his Mavericks to a win tonight over the Utah Jazz 102-96.
Dirk came into the game from a high from New Orleans, but still a little low due to the loss; as he stated “it’s been pretty ugly and that loss was an ugly one”, so they are trying to rebuild some momentum and get a victory, especially at home.
Dallas will have a 12 game in nine night scenario going on and we are now in the middle of that scenario and there is no rest for the weary.
The Mavericks are slowly losing ground in the Southwest Division but also the Western Conference as well. They had been holding their ground at the #4 spot in the Conference, but now are dropping to #5 and even #6 after suffering losses to the Memphis Grizzlies and the New Orleans Hornets who are teams they should have been able to beat.
As statistics have shown for the Mavs, that out of the main 3 players on the team that if all three score 15-20 points, the Mavs will win 9 out of 10 times, and when 2 of those players score 15-20 points, they will win 7 out of 10 times and when only 1 of them score over 20, then the odds are increasingly lower. Well tonight we didn’t really have to worry about that much, well until the fourth quarter when Dallas let Utah go on a huge run after they had built up a 23 point lead.
Dirk had scored 20 of his 40 points in the first half and the team was looking good; making cuts, hitting threes and moving the ball well. After the end of the first quarter, Dallas had a 24-20 lead and at the break Dallas led 43-36 and doing well.
What sometimes happens at halftime is Dallas forgets how to play good ball and if they have a nice lead, they wind up losing the lead and sometimes losing the game. Well, that didn’t happen tonight. The third quarter was the best quarter I have seen them play in a long time. Dallas scored 31 points in the third quarter alone and it looked as if Dirk would be able to sit the remainder of the game after scoring a total of 30 points through the third quarter.
Well, Utah had something to say about that and came out in the fourth and made a game of it and outscored Dallas 41-28 in the fourth quarter alone, which of course meant that Dirk would have to come back in and try to save the game. As I had mentioned, Dallas had over a 20 point lead at one point, but when Utah made their push in the fourth, they got within 5 and that’s when changes, even more drastic changes had to be made to secure the win and stop this ugly, ugly losing streak; enter Dirk and again he took over and scored another 10 points to help get the win.
But unfortunately Dirk was not the only talk of the night from the Mavericks locker room, Lamar Odom was as well. Over the last couple of weeks, Odom has taken time off to tend to family/personal matters, well we were made to believe that anyway. Then the rumors started flying that he was looking for a buyout to go to Boston or New York, then a bigger rumor was that he had been assigned to the D-League Legends team. Well from what I have been able to muster, the first rumors were not correct, as far as we know, but the second one was true.
I don’t know if it was a voluntary thing or not, but if he needed the time in the D-League to get himself together to benefit the team, then go for it. How many veterans of his caliber would be willing to do that? I can tell you, not very many. But there again, not very many veterans would get themselves into the situation that he was in, if it was truly not a personal issue. Also, not very many teams would put up with it either. But according to the word from his teammates, he asked for their help and their support and they are going to give it to him and when he was called back to the team to play tonight, he got a good ovation from the crowd when he entered the game.
You could tell that he had been doing some extra work, because there was a little bit more spring in his step and a different kind of demeanor about his play. No more pouting look and hanging of the head. Lamar is a good player and I was a little skeptical at first when they brought him to Dallas because of the whole Kardashian thing, but I will have to admit, I feel Khloe is the more level-headed of the whole Kardashian clan maybe with the exception of Rob; the two of them run a close race, but the others can stay in California as far as I’m concerned. They are a distraction to the team and to Lamar as well; he is a professional and they need to respect him in that capacity and he needs to be focused on playing basketball, after all that’s what he gets paid to do.
Now that I have had that say, Dirk led the Mavs with his 40 points and was awesome on his shooting because he connected on 14 of 21 field goalds and hit 3 of his 8 three-point attempts and even though all of his shots are amazing sometimes, two of his three’s were just spectacular especially the off-balance, bank off the back board three that he hit in the third quarter. His running buddy, Jason Terry, was also hot tonight and finished with 22 points of his own.
Dallas has been doing some good things on the defensive end of the court and they showed it again tonight by holding Al Jefferson to only 11 points, when he has been averaging over 20 points against the Mavs. The Jazz’s main point man for the night was Paul Millsap who finished with 24 points, C J Miles added 13 and ex-Maverick, Josh Howard, added 10 and Derrick Favors had 14 points as well.
The Mavericks held the cards tonight on the numbers on the stat sheet by shooting 48% from the field and 43.5% from behind the arc and connecting on 83.3% from the free throw line. Utah finished the night shooting 44.7% from the field, 25% from the three and connecting on 76.2% from the free throw line. Dallas did have 16 turnovers compared to 15 by Utah, but Dallas got the edge on rebounds 40-39, not much of an edge, but still an edge.
With Utah making their large run in the fourth, it made Dallas have to face the fact that not every lead is guaranteed and you have to protect the lead if you have it. Now Dallas will be headed to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder who is leading the Western Conference and then will have to play another back to back before later in the week playing a back to back to back; so you better get some rest boys, you’re going to need it.
And with that I will bid you a good day and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!