Last night – in what will officially go in the books as a professional basketball game – something happened halfway through the third quarter that frustrated me so much I took a video and sent it to a friend. I cannot attach it though because of the language I opted for in a boiling ball of rage, anger but worst of all sadness. I’m weird about sadness, not very manly but high school’s over so i’m officially allowed to be a very emotional young person.
After a pathetic first quarter, where Dallas allowed an ill-fitting 41 points, and 17 alone from Denver point guard Ty Lawson… also the number of Denver’s biggest first quarter lead… also absolutely pathetic and also a cause of very, very, very, very angry run-on sentences…The Mavs trailed at the half 68-51.
My pal and fellow #MFFL @JakeW31 pretty much texts the narrative each game, genuinely marveled (and not DC’d!) each night the Mavericks are trailing despite being a very good offense. While it’s a tired notion, it rings true in stunning fashion. (take a minute, that joke was top drawer)
The lack of defense almost every game is disheartening. But a lack of effort, especially after two losses and most certainly no excuse not to be rested and ready for the Nuggets, is beyond words. Unacceptable is the choice word, but the amount of wide open shooters and open lanes in last night’s nationally televised regular season game was almost remarkable.
I mean, seriously, logically speaking; if the Nuggets have all the looks from downtown they want, yet the line to the basket is as open as a 2012 Blockbuster, where in the hell are you?!
I mean you’ve all been so dang dreadful defending this year, how about we systematically break it down for you.
Point A and Point B. Those are your defensive options Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, Samuel Dalembert. Yet you fail time and time again, despite favorable odds. My math indicates 50/50.
So after the slow start that Charles Barkley could outrun, the Mavericks actually had a good third quarter. Before three minutes had passed after the intermission the 17 point deficit had been whittled down to a manageable ten.
The one redeeming factor on the evening was of course ‘dat dood.’ He scored 11 of his 27 in the 3rd quarter, and luckily – because Denver wasn’t missing due to defense – the Nuggets stopped making their shots, going 4/25 in the 3rd, tying Dirk Nowitzki as a squad with 11.
Which is truly an example of the night, it was Dirk vs. Denver. Even at 35 the ‘God of Fadeaway’ is a lethal weapon, but he can’t do it alone. Hence his seeking an improved roster after the *sigh* unfortunate dismembering of the championship roster.
With just about six minutes to go in the 3rd quarter Coach Carlisle pulled Nowitzki for his scheduled rest. Despite Dirk’s efforts Denver had gone back up by 13 when he checked out. Just as soon as he took his seat on the bench he was back up. Just not to check back in. It was much more heart wrenching for Mavs fans to see.
Wilson Chandler missed a three point attempt from the corner, and the rebound went up…and then came back down. Sure, being in a zone gives you a harder target to box out, but aside from Vince Carter who had well contested the familiar Nuggets downtown heave, the four other Mavericks stayed glued to the floor.
Sarge Bernard James was in for starter Sam Dalembert, who’s only contribution to the game was actually really impressive…a +/- of -18 in 9:33. I mean that’s hard to do, but it’s sadly apt to the effort levels on display roster-wide in the game, sans God of Fadeaway, Shawn Marion and Brandan Wright.
Sarge and Trix were the on duty frontcourt, and though it wasn’t a rebound to be found near the basket, neither showed much effort to grab possession of the ball, but our back court was perhaps clocked in for work but holy crap were they checked out once again on this play, which have I mentioned has cost me 8 1/2 fingernails and counting.
Monta Ellis is the second worst offender, as he sticks to his defensive spot in the zone before making a late “hey look I tried” jab at the ball but not before Timofey Mozgov poked it back out to his teammate for a new shot clock. Any effort at all from the initial bounce would have been a rebound for Monta.
Jose Calderon…look, man. I mean… ugh… he was somewhere chasing Ty Lawson in the paint but my gosh, he might as well have been sitting next to me on the couch. The two of us tied for contributing in this instance. The palms up ‘what I do?’ thing that our newest starting point guard does has gone from a displaced perception of passion to downright annoying – and frequent.
This particular occurrence though was MADDENING. As if Madden 25 wasn’t bad enough, the four Mavericks just watching as the orange innocently passed by while (impending unrestricted free agent) Dirk Nowitzki could only watch. Not that the league’s 13th all time leading scorer is much of a rebounder these days anyway, but his trying to bring the Mavericks back was routinely wasted by easy buckets for Denver.
Mozgov’s offensive rebound was one of six for him and 16 for the Nuggets. Second chance points are to comebacks what salt is to an open wound.
Dirk was sitting but used what space he had on the crowded bench to angrily stomp the ground and shout to whoever was listening. (I was, Dirk, I always am) It was a childlike reaction from a living legend.
We wasted two years of this living legend, the God of Fadeaway, but this year the Mavericks are in the thick of things in the playoff race, albeit at the back end of the conference unlike what Dirk’s era of Dallas Mavericks basketball has given the city, the team and the franchise.
If he doesn’t start getting it, can you really blame him if he tests the market? A mostly unthinkable thought and one Dirk himself has dismissed, seeking to retire in Dallas, a sports community he loves just as much as it adores and is so unbelievably grateful to him.
But frankly, Dirk Nowitzki deserves better than this. Let’s hope they can deliver for him.
Denver snapped a six-game losing streak.
Dallas has suffered their first three-game losing streak of the 2013-2014 season.
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