So I’m a huge Dallas Mavericks fan and an even bigger Dirk Nowitzki fan, but this game was one of the sloppiest games I have seen them play in years. However in saying that, you have to take into consideration that just in the starting lineup alone in the game, was only 2 players from the previous season, Dirk and Shawn Marion and they had just made a very long trip across the pond to Germany and you could definitely tell that jet lag had settled in on some of them.
Well, unfortunately my hero, Dirk, bless his humanitarian heart, was pulled in multiple directions from the get go, so when he missed the open dunk, lay-up, whatever you want to call it, you could tell that his legs were not as they should be. The good thing of it was this was only pre-season and it was the first game, but Coach Carlisle could see the areas where they are absolutely going to have to work on before they take on the Barcelona bunch on Tuesday.
When you take into consideration that Dallas committed 10 turnovers in the first quarter alone, you know you’re in trouble and to have a total of 26 in the whole game, the words that come to mind is, “practice, practice, practice” and then practice some more.
But overall, it was a good game. Before the game started Dirk and one of the German players addressed the crowd at O2 World Arena and, well I’m not quite sure what was said since it was in German, they could have been changing recipes for all we know, but I thought that it was cool that Dirk was so welcomed in front of a hometown crowd that he has been trying to get the Mavericks to do for quite a long time and I’m glad that Mark Cuban finally gave into the idea since we’re not sure how many more years Dirk has left in his body to play at the level that he plays at.
Even Commissioner David Stern thanked the NBA for their support of the European tour and the Mavericks for being there for the sole purpose of Dirk being able to bring a higher level of basketball experience to Germany and have the support that he had there at the game.
The night was full of highlights and low lights with the worse, well besides the turnover situation, was Roddy B turning his ankle. Everyone is hoping that this will be his Cinderella year since Jason Kidd is not there and he has the training that Kidd taught him over the last couple of years and he did look pretty good before his injury.
The biggest highlight of the night was at halftime when a young man jumped 25′ 5″ from a trampoline and dunked the basketball, it set a new world record; maybe he might be available later if we need an extra player!
As I stated about the turnover situation, Dallas did start out sluggish in the first quarter and the German team was a definite formidable opponent. There were several players on the German team from the States trying to prove they have what it takes to play at a high level and gave the Mavericks all they could handle. So much so that after the first quarter, Alba-Berlin led the Mavs 23-21.
Finally after the end of the first quarter, Dallas started to settle down some and playing together as they should and got a 24-16 jump in scoring on the German team. Now I know everyone is wondering what is going to happen next; well again you have to consider that on a roster of 15 players, there are only 8 from last season and only 2 of them are actual starters so you have to gel the rest of the team together in order to be totally prepared.
However, Chris Kaman, after suffering a back strain on the first day of training camp, looked pretty good and as a matter of fact, he was one of three who led the Mavs in scoring. He had 14 points and 6 rebounds, along with Darren Collison who also had 9 assists to go with his 14 points and then Vince Carter also had 14 which included connecting on 4 of his 8 three points attempts.
Dirk, our leader, had a total of 8 points to go with 5 rebounds. I was hoping that he would make a better showing in front of the hometown crowd, but he took it all in stride and again was a supporter if not being a scorer and that’s what you need. Like I said, the German team was not a roll over by any means. They came to play and play they did.
If one was to look at the stat sheet for the night, Dallas did very well in all categories, of course except for the turnover stat, but they finished by shooting 53% from the field, 40% from behind the arc and connected on 73.3% from the free throw line; they had 40 rebounds and 10 steals. It does look like we need to hit the gym and work a little more on our free throws as well as protecting the ball.
The German team finished with shooting 39.8% from the field, 17.4% from the three point line and connected on 66.7% of their free throws. They had 36 rebounds, only 17 turnovers and 16 steals. Not bad for playing an NBA team. They even had 5 players in double digit scoring for the night and kept it very interesting throughout the whole game.
So where do we go from here? Dallas will board a plane and head for Barcelona, Spain and see if they can work on those problem areas before heading back to Dallas to finish training camp and get ready to play at home. Maybe Dirk can concentrate more on the game since they are leaving Germany but I know this was a wonderful experience for him, the Mavericks and the people of Germany.
And with that, I will bid you a good night and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!