The Dallas Mavericks, after their ugly loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night, get a nice win at home over the Phoenix Suns before heading out on a 4 game road show.
Not only was this a good win, but it was a milestone of events for several Maverick players. First, it was the 900th career game for Elton Brand who scored 12 points in tonight’s game, also Shawn “Matrix” Marion, played in his 1000th career game and he helped to lead the Mavs with 19 points, but he also had 9 rebounds and 5 assists. O J Mayo tallied up his 1000th career assist for the night and the Mavs all-time leader in almost every category, Dirk, scored 18 points, which moved him past Allen Iverson on the All-Time scoring ladder; he is now 18th on the list with 24,375 and is only behind Patrick Ewing, 17th on the list, by 440 points; maybe he’ll make it this season, but he should definitely surpass that goal next season.
It is very evident that Dirk will go down in history as the greatest Maverick in team history, but he is also making a name for himself as one, if not the greatest European born players in the league. His signature one-legged fadeaway shot is being copied by other players now, but no one and I say no one, will ever be able to do what he does, especially with his size. The special that Fox Sports Southwest had on Dirk, “How Dirk Became Dirk, From Wurzburg to Worldwide”, definetly was head on in his character and his drive.
Dirk is a very quiet person, but very competitive when you put him on the court and put a basketball in his hand. He is not a showy, flashy person, his niche is finesse with the ball and having that rainbow arc release that is very difficult to guard up on and his opponents know that, this is one of the reasons Dirk gets hit in the head a lot because guys will do whatever they can to get at him. This is the area of the game that he has perfected and has more drive to the basket.
Phoenix was able to get a quick 6 point lead on Dallas before they finally got some points on the board, and that was by 2 free throws from Dirk, but they finally was able to get some rhythm going and get some scoring going as well. Dallas also started Sarge James tonight, which was their 17th different starting lineup, but it seemed to fair well as they did start with a little bit more energy than what they have had in the more recent games.
One of the keys to the game tonight was to keep Goran Dragic out of the paint, which Dallas did fairly well in, but he was able to lead the Suns with 18 points and notched up 8 assists. Luis Scola added 14 while Tucker and Beasley added 12 each. Phoenix finished the night with shooting 44.2% from the field and 23.5% from behind the arc and 82.1% from the free throw line. Phoenix also committed 18 turnovers and had 38 rebounds and 22 assists and scored 40 points in the paint.
Now Dallas, once they gained control of this game, floated along very well and after finally taking the lead at 29-21 in the first, shot 48% from the field in the first, 49% for the first half and finished up shooting 51.1% for the game. They also shot 45.5% from downtown and 83.3% from the free throw line and only had 15 turnovers. They also snagged 44 rebounds and notched 26 assists and scored 50 points in the paint.
These are good things for Dallas to be doing because it shows that they are taking care of the ball and being aggressive on the boards, but we still need to work on blocking out and letting the other team get the easy baskets especially on layups.
The Mavericks took a 57-42 lead into halftime and maintained a lot of that lead, but then they got into that comfort zone and the lead quickly started to dwindle and eventually got down to only 6, when Coach Carlisle made some drastic changes and the energy level went up and so did the barrier of point difference between the Mavs and the Suns and they finally gained that final push to secure the 110-95 victory and keep them in the playoff hunt.
Right now Dallas is sitting in the 10th spot tied with the Lakers and only 4 games out of the 8th seed in the Western Conference. Now they head out with 4 games on the road, with the first one against the Portland Trailblazers, then off to Golden State, then to face Phoenix again before finishing off against the Oklahoma City Thunder, which all 4 teams are in playoff contention as well, so Dallas will have their hands full with all 4 teams, but they have proven that they can compete and be contenders to battle for one of those spots and they will.
Dallas fought back from a 26 point deficit against the Spurs on Friday night, which is a game they should have played better in, but there were just times that I felt they were not really into the game, and they should have been, but that was then, this is now and they have to be prepared, physically and mentally as none of these teams will be pushovers and Dallas should know that.
Now with that, I will bid you all a good night and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!