When you are trying to perfect your game you can’t rely on just practice to get it done. However, if you play some really tough competition it makes it kind of hard to work the kinks out or see if a particular idea is one you even want to bother trying.
That’s why college football teams typically schedule really soft non-conference opponents. That’s why homecoming opponents are pushovers. For the NBA, that’s why you have the New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks.
For the last week the Maveicks were 2-2, beatting the tough Celtics and the dangerous Wizards while dropping to the lowly Raptors and even worse the hapless 76ers. Consistency has been lacking along with stand out play. However, with the team method by which these guys typically play there is hardly ever a single player that stands out (if there is it is generally Dirk). The Mavericks are generally a team where everybody contributes meaning that if one or two guys are off then the team suffers, possibly losing.
Playing the Knicks can definitely get you back in track. For the night, seven players scored in double figures, two of them for 20. If a stand out had to be picked I would have to say it was Drew Gooden who scored 15, but more importantly crashed the boards for 18. Even without J Kidd and Dampier, the team seemed to operate absolutely smooth. When you shoot 58% from the floor and 94% from the line that does not leave much to complain about.
The question then has to be just what the right mix is on the court. Both Kidd and Dampier are stellar players; Gooden seemed to fill in rather well but no one really filled in with the assists that Kidd typically generates. Could it be that the team just needs to run their plays and let guys score rather than have a point man like Kidd doing the distributing?
As the Mavericks look back on being involved in another ignominious first, handing the Knicks there biggest loss, 78-128, (the first handing the Nets their record breaking defeat to begin the regular season) they can rest assured that the offensive explosion is there. Now if they can just find a way to make it happen each and every night.