After a busy offseason it was finally time for the Mavericks to begin their journey to the postseason last week as the 2009-10 NBA season tipped off. With three games in the books they stand atop their division with two wins on the road during week one action.
Fans were treated to a home opener on Tuesday night against the now-healthy Gilbert Arenas and the Washington Wizards. Dirk did his past with 34 points and 9 boards but it was not enough. Prior to tip off, Shawn Marion told the crowd: “We’re going to take you on a long journey. Enjoy the ride.” After the game he should have said starting tomorrow.
Sometimes being in enemy territory is what a team needs to really focus. That was definitely the case for the Mavs as they played the Lakers in downtown LA at the Staples Center. Playing without Pau Gasol, an integral part of their championship run last season, the Lakers looked to start their title defense in fine fashion. However, Dirk, Shawn, and company decided they would rather dominate the game instead getting out to a 52-45 lead at half before pulling away in the third and coasting to a 94-80 win. The Mavs held the edge in rebounding this time (46-40) with both Dirk and center Eric Dampier chiming in 10 apiece. The big difference this time had to be the extra help in scoring that Dirk got from the rest of the team (compared to the sparse amount of help he got against the Wizards). Dirk Nowitzki was one of four Mavericks to score in double figures (Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, and Jose Juan Barrea).
The California tour ended with a game against the Clippers on Halloween. Last year the first win of the season for the Clippers came against the Mavericks. This year, however, Dirk and Shawn were determined not to let history repeat itself- at least in the third period they were. Things were looking good in the first half for the Clippers. Point guard Jason Kidd got into foul trouble and had a hard time getting started. L.A. ended the first period with a 4 point lead, but the Mavs were able to battle back to a 55-55 tie by the half. Whatever Coach Rick Carlisle said at halftime must have worked as the Mavericks the Clippers by 9 points, which was the difference in the end with Dallas denying the Clippers their first win (93-84, Dallas). Shawn Marion (16 pts, 11 boards) and Erik Dampier (12 pts, 10 boards) both earned a dbl-dbl.
So far this season when someone besides Dirk Nowitzki is shooting the ball and making baskets the Mavs win. Their first game against the Wizards saw Dirk make 1/3 of the team’s total baskets. When Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, and Jose Juan Barrea were able to help out against the Lakers the team pulled out a win. Although it might have taken awhile for the team to wake up against the Clippers eventually there were three players other than Nowitzki scoring in double figures (Marion, Terry, and Dampier).
For a team that has prided itself on its ability to score they are not doing much of it this season so far. Perhaps it is because they have yet to see their starting point guard really kick it into gear. Jason Kidd has been a triple double threat on a nightly basis almost his entire career (last season he had three to go along with 19 dbl-dbls). What makes the man as valuable as he is though is his ability to get it all started and this year he has yet to do that. While he is averaging 9 assists a game he is also averaging 3 turnovers to go with it; not to mention that is scoring has been abysmal (he has made 4 shots all season so far).
Kidd will need to get it in gear for the Mavs to make a run at the playoffs again. Here’s hoping Week 2 sees the perennial all star do just that.