After their win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Dallas on Monday night, Dallas is looking more like the team of old, not in age, but in working together and putting something nice on the court for the fans to see.
It felt good, it looked good and you could tell that the players were in agreement with it because they looked relaxed and even smiling, yes I said smiling during the course of the game.
This was Dallas’ third win in a row, so I’m not going to go all gang busters about a streak, but it has looked like a different team that say even a month ago, why? One of the reasons could be that Dirk is back and is finally feeling a little bit more of his grove is back on as well. Even though he only scored 10 points in the last game, he also had 6 assists during the game and even though he only had 6 assists, just his presence on the court draws attention. The opponent doesn’t know if he’s going to make the play or pass it off to someone else so that they can make the play, so it keeps them guessing.
Dallas shot 59.7% from the field, which is not much below what they had shot throughout the whole game, at one point, they were shooting 62% from the field, not bad for a team that has been written off by a lot of naysayers. The key to such good shooting there Tex, is the transition game. Dallas had their game in overdrive from the very beginning and you can tell that everyone was in on the success when you see Dirk make 2 baskets on the run and even dunked on one!
Now usually you’ll see players like O J Mayo, Darren Collison, Roddy B or even Shawn Marion on the fast break and working the transition, which they did, but now everyone is getting sucked into the flow and it’s working. The proof as they say is in the pudding; Dallas ended the game with 33 assist and that only works if the team is working together and they showed how it’s done in this game for sure.
But if you at least look over the last 3 games that Dallas has won, the transition game worked there, the total sharing of the ball worked there as well and again I will say, this has a lot to do with Dirk being back into the flow of the game.
I realize that he missed a good portion of the beginning of the season and Dallas was lucky to stay at .500 during that time; we all anticipated his return, but really didn’t know how his return would effect not only the team as a whole, but also Dirk himself. Yes we were all glad to see him on the court in San Antonio, but he wasn’t at a strength that was useful to the team and as he had stated on more than one occasion, he felt that he was more of a hindrance than a help because he couldn’t close out games and didn’t think that he was effective enough, case in point the overtime game against Oklahoma City.
Dirk has never shyed away from taking control of the ball or the ball game, especially late in the game or in overtime, but his strength was not where it needed to be and when his team was counting on him to do what he normally does and did, you could see the urgency in the game for someone else to take the helm and run with it. This is something that the Dallas Mavericks are going to have to learn to do anyway. Dirk is only going to be able to be an effective player for a few more years and someone needs to say “hey, I can help, I’ll do that” and we all know that Dirk really doesn’t like being the center of attention, except maybe on the court during the game when he’s in his zone.
This is one of the main characteristics that I have respected about him for some time. He is a very humble player and that attitude effects the team as a whole and they all are on that band wagon. It’s never me or I when it comes to winning, it’s about team; the only time you will hear an “I”, is when something needs to be improved upon and then they will all say, “I need to do this or I need to do that to help the team”, that’s it. There are no superstars on this team and even though Dirk is what most of us classify to be a superstar, he doesn’t think of himself in that manner.
Dallas is doing better at working the system. Take for instance, as I stated, they had 33 assists in the games against Minnesota, which also had 6 guys in double-digit scoring, they also had more points in the paint and these type of things are becoming a repetitive nature and if they continue on this track, there’s no reason as to why they can’t compete for any position in the standings.
Right now, the Mavs are in the 12th spot in the Western Conference, but when you look at it, they are only 1.5 games out of the 11th spot and if you look further, they are only 4.5 games out of that illustrious 8th seed; so it can be done. We have played 39 games before they match up with the Houston Rockets and have 43 games left, so as they say, “it’s anybody’s ballgame”, so now it’s just a matter of who wants it.
The keys to a victory is, protect the ball, pass the ball (when needed), and rebound the ball. I have said it over and over many times that the best offense starts with a good defense and if you can’t defend the ball and block out, then you are going to have to work harder to secure a win.
And with that, I will bid you a good day and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!