With the Dallas Mavericks on a three game win streak and have won 2 of their 4 on this current road trip, they are currently tied with Portland with the 10th spot in the Western Conference, but only 3 games behind the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers who are 8th and 9th respectively, tied on the win-loss board, but the Jazz have the tie breaker over the Lakers. So as they say, the rest of the story is up to the Mavericks as to how they finish the season.
Right now there is no reason they can’t at least make the playoffs, if for nothing else, pride in their team and to represent their city and to keep their streak alive. For the last several years, Dallas has had a representative at the All-Star game in some shape, form or fashion, until this year and with some of the other streaks going by the wayside, this is one I want to make sure doesn’t. It’s important if nothing else to the players and the organization as a whole to make a showing. Who’s to say that even if they get in that they can’t win games or even a series?
Dallas has proven to everyone that they can play and they can win, but it’s more important to the team that they make a good showing. I know they are being tired of being called the “one and done boys” and there is a lot of pride in that locker room and they need this for themselves and the City of Dallas as a whole.
After seeing their last several games, if they work together as a team, there is nothing they can’t do, they have proven that over and over again. If it weren’t for Dirk’s late start and emergence, I really feel that this team would be toward the top of the standings because that’s who they are. Yes, we didn’t get a “star” in the off-season to stand along side Dirk, but we have learned to work with what we have and that’s what you need to do. You have to have the mindset to adapt to your opponent, overcome any obstacle and take the game to the enemy and put it all out there; we sometimes have trouble doing that, but they are getting better at it.
Take for instance in the last 2 games, Dallas barely escaped Detroit with a win and if Charlie Villaneuva had hit the three pointer at the end, it may have been a bit of a different game. We still have issues on defense and closing out games and that was one of them, but then we come to Minnesota and take care of business.
Now they did have a slow start, but once Dallas warmed up, they took control of the game and never looked back. The Wolves were playing short-handed and on the back side of a back to back against the Denver Nuggets, and they were tired, but unfortunately, we have all been in that position and I feel for teams when they have to face those odds, but that’s the way the league is and you have to adapt and overcome and make the necessary adjustments and Dallas did that very thing.
They finished the first quarter with a 21-20 lead, but then when the 2nd quarter started, they went on a 24-5 run which included scoring the first 14 unanswered points and extended their lead to 18 points and from there forward, the Wolves never got within 10 points of Dallas through the end of the game.
Minnesota came out fast and strong and even out-rebounded Dallas in the first quarter, but then their fatigue caught up with them and Dallas ended the game with a 59-40 rebound margin. Dallas shot 45.7% from the field to 36.4% by the Wolves and Minnesota only hit on 2 of 18 from behind the arc for 11.1% compared to Dallas’ 38.1% and Dallas hit on 80% of their free throw attempts for the night. Dallas also only committed 12 turnovers, but Minnesota did just a tad better with only 9 turnovers of their own. Dallas also did out-did Minnesota in the assists column (27-21), but the biggest stat for the night was the bench point scoring. Dallas had 58 points from their bench, compared to only 22 by the Wolves. Dallas is 3rd in the league on bench point scoring, so that’s not a bad place to be.
Vince Carter again was the hot man for the night for Dallas with scoring 22 points on 8 of 15 from the field, but also 3 of 4 from downtown to go with his 9 rebounds. Dirk Nowitzki added 16 points of his own on 7 of 13 from the field and 2 of 4 from downtown and also had 9 rebounds, but for the first time in quite some time, no free throws for Dirk at all, and he did this with playing only 28 minutes. Brendan Wright added 13 points and grabbed 7 rebounds and an early birthday present for Elton Brand was scoring 10 points and getting 12 rebounds for another double-double for the season.
Derrick Williams led the Wolves with 18 points and 9 rebounds, and former Mav JJ Barea added 16 points of his own.
Now a key point some may want to make is that the Wolves were playing with 3 key players in Kevin Love, Andrei Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic and that could have made a difference, but there again, Dallas has played without some key players during the season as well, that’s why you have to make the necessary changes to adapt your defense as well as your offense to match your opponent.
So now Dallas heads to Milwaukee who has won their last 2 games and is sitting in the 8th spot of the Eastern Conference with a 32-29 record, while Dallas sits with a 29-33 record of their own and with still being under that .500 mark, have not shaved the beards yet. Some are looking ok, but there again, some really need to shave those things and get to looking like a basketball team, but if this is the thing that brings them together as a team, then I’m all for it.
Now as I stated Dallas heads to visit the Bucks to keep their streak going and win the 3rd of the 4 game road trip which will end in San Antonio on Thursday night before they head home on Friday to face Cleveland.
And with that, I will bid you a good day and say good day and let’s go Mavs!