Well it was only the Bobcats but hey—we’ll take whatever we can get, right?
The Mavericks showed a little more spark than they have for much of the preseason, especially on defense and ran away with a 99-82 victory with an improved all-around effort. The Mavericks won the game despite missing Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Kaman, Elton Brand and Brandon Wright.
The Bobcats were never close in the game despite a superb effort from forward Byron Mullins with 16 points and 19 rebounds as well as Gerald Henderson and Ramon Sessions, who put in 17 and 16 points respectively.
Little known factoid: The Mavericks drafted Mullins in 2009 and traded him to the Thunder for Roddy Beaubois. Hmm….
Shawn Marion looked like the Matrix of old and was nearly unstoppable with 24 points on 10-15 shooting plus 12 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
In his first game as a Maverick and his first start, Eddy Curry scored 11 points and 7 rebounds and blocked 3 shots while O. J. Mayo came within one assist of a triple-double. Mayo also had a great overall game with a +35 and Darren Collison was +24. All the Mavs starters and Vince Carter put up double figures.
Bernard James continues to look like a coach’s ideal role player. In just 15 minutes on the floor he scored 6 points on 2-2 shooting, 3 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.
Overall the team played better defense, looked more energetic and held the Bobcats to a pekid 30.3% shooting. The Mavs blocked 13 shots total.
The Mavs also hit 88.5% of their free throws, which is unheard of.
The Mavericks shot better and rebounded better than they have been but were still slightly outrebounded by the Bobcats and only shot 43% and 28.6% on threes. Those are going to have to improve to win games against better teams.
While O. J. Mayo had a great overall game he is still struggling from the field and scored his 13 points on 5-16 shooting.
Not much to complain about this time but the Mavericks are still turning the ball over way too much—21 times this outing. It’s not the rookies who are doing it either so the team simply needs to do a better job protecting the ball.
Jared Cunningham and Roddy also had rough nights from the field, going 1-7 and 0-3 from downtown, and 0-3 and 0-2, respectively.
Overall a much better game but the Mavs are going to have to step it up a lot more against contenders.
For everyone who thought the Mavs were in a free fall, this game is a good indication that things are improving, particularly with so many guys still missing. The Matrix can clearly still get it done and Jae Crowder and Vince Carter continue to consistently play well.
Getting Eddy Curry at this stage of his career is a real break and the Mavs are lucky the Spurs didn’t need him. He has always had talent and it appears that he is at a point in his life when he is committed to being in shape and trying to get his career back on track. With Kaman and Wright’s injury history, Curry’s resurgence could be more than insurance and if they all DO stay healthy, the Mavericks will have a post presence that may be the best in the NBA.
It may be time to make some serious decisions about the backcourt. Delonte West may be on his way out but Dominique Jones has failed to impress and Roddy B is also running out of time to fulfill his promise. ( cough cough Josh Akognon cough cough) Prior to Curry’s arrival, with so much backcourt depth it was becoming obvious that some of that needed to be parlayed into help up front but that now appears likely to be West although Mark Cuban has indicated nothing has been decided. If guys such as Jones and Roddy are not likely to get playing time it might be an opportunity to trade for draft picks or look for another point guard. (cough cough Josh Akognon cough cough)
The long-anticipated preseason opener against the L.A. Lakers will be Tuesday, October 30th. We’ll have a preview of the game before Tuesday and of course, I’ll be reposting this serious look at why the Lakers won’t be an issue this year…