After an emotional surprise victory against the Lakers, the Mavs landed in Salt Lake City to take on the formidable task of turning around a preseason of rebounding woes against the Utah Jazz big men. Still without Dirk Nowitzki or Chris Kaman, the Mavericks nevertheless managed to turn up the volume for the first half but after that the music died. Leading by 8 after the first half, the Mavs disappeared in the 3rd quarter as the Jazz outscored them 37-13 en route to a 113-94 blowout.
New arrivals Mo and Marvin Williams led all scorers and 6 Utah players in double figures with 21 points apiece, while Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson added 15 and 14 rebounds each. The Jazz dominated the boards as Derrick Favors and Enis Kanter also chipped in 10 and 7 rebounds with only 18 and 14 minutes on the floor respectively.
The Mavs “Young Guns” (Collison/Mayo/Wright/Beaubois/Crowder) combined for 49 of the Mavs’ 63 points in the first half on 18-of-28 shooting and 8-of-11 from 3-point range.
Darren Collison had his second outstanding game scoring more than Jason Kidd scored all of last season and finished with 17 points, 7 assists and a steal. B
randan Wright continues to shine as he hit 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting along with 3 rebounds and a couple of blocks. On a team getting scorched on the boards,
Bernard James would get my vote for more minutes and he’s also a big man who can get to the line and sink free throws. Though he only went 1-for-5 he hit all 6 of his free throws and had 6 rebounds in only 16 minutes. He also had an uncanny (and apparently largely) unnoticed 6 assists.
Roddy B and Vince Carter had solid games off the bench. Like most of the team, Vince didn’t shoot well but he scored 12 points and has only missed double figures one time since the preseason began.
The Mavericks hit 50% of their 3 point attempts although the success was almost entirely in the first half.
Shawn Marion pulled down 11 rebounds but without Chris Kaman he has been the Mavericks leading rebounder, as he was last season.
The young guns who combined for 49 points in the first half scored 11 in the second.
Once again the Mavs shot poorly and in this case, it went from a great first half to something resembling a different team in the second. Overall it was bad enough to finish the night at 37.6% which is a number in a range we’ve seen far to many times this year. Outside of Collison, Wright and Roddy B the entire team shot poorly but it seems to be serial problem for O. J. Mayo (3-for-9) and Elton Brand (2-for-8).
Everyone is entitled to an off game but Mayo, who only shot 40% in his last two years in Memphis, hit under 30% in last year’s playoffs and hasn’t done much better this year. It was hoped that Mayo would improve with a fresh start in Dallas but after hitting just under 36% of his shots in the preseason and so far under 32% in the first two games, there’s a lot of room for improvement. By contrast, Brand is a career 50% shooter but he has also struggled: under 40% for the preseason and under 29% for the first two games. He also appeared tired in this game so he also has work to do.
There was no expectation for any easy night on under the glass but the Mavericks were blown out of the block and outrebounded 62-40 including 20-8 on the offensive glass. The Jazz didn’t have a great shooting night either but were given numerous second chance opportunities.
A lot of basketball fans seem to expect a Nowitzki-less Mavs to be about this bad and it will obviously be incumbent upon the team to prove them wrong. They are clearly capable of playing very good basketball even with some very important components missing.
Darren Collison is showing some of the promise fans saw early in his career and has added an entirely new dimension to the Dallas offense.
Brandan Wright is getting better and better. Possibly the Mav who plays above the rim the most, he has hit 12-of-13 shots in the first two games and also lead the team with 5 blocked shots.
The promise of the new team was having several viable second options to take the burden off Dirk but unfortunately, only a couple of them are consistently working. Players are shooting but the shots aren’t going in and with a lack of rebounding the Mavs aren’t getting second opportunities. Chris Kaman was leading the team in scoring and rebounding before his injury so there’s little question his return will help; however the Mavs must have a more balanced attack to be successful.
The Mavs face the Charlotte Bobcats in their home opener Saturday night in Dallas.
Topics: Al Jefferson, Chris Kaman, Dallas, Dallas Mavericks, Darren Collison, Dirk Nowitzki, DirkNowitzki, Elton Brand, Jae Crowder, Marvin Williams, Mo Williams, O. J. Mayo, Paul Millsap, Rick Carlisle, Utah Jazz, Vince Carter