The Dallas Mavericks were in the hole early and it appeared that Rick Carlisle’s experiment—inserting Dominique Jones and Jae Crowder into the starting lineup for Darren Collison and Elton Brand—might have been a dismal failure. However, if his point was getting sending a message, he apparently succeeded. Down by as much as 9 points, the Mavericks caught fire after Collison and Brand entered the game and ended the first quarter with a 31-28 lead.
The game would stay close but as has been the case all-too-often lately the Mavericks found a way to lose again, committing 5 turnovers in a row and 8 total in the 4th quarter, killing a late charge led by Vince Carter who finished with 15 points. While they were still able to pull within two and had an opportunity to win, O. J. Mayo blew a chance to tie my missing the first of two free throws near the end of the game and deliberately missed the second one, after which Jae Crowder missed the shot at the buzzer that could have sent the game into overtime.
The 76ers got 22 points and 4 rebounds out of Evan Turner, 20 and 7 from Thaddeus Young and Jrue Holiday had 18 points and 7 assists. The Sixers improved to 9-6 and are playing solid basketball with no timetable on a possible return for Andrew Bynum.
Chris Kaman continued to be the Mavs’ most consistent shooter and put up 20 points and grabbed 4 rebounds.
Elton Brand inexplicably came off the bench and played like…Elton Brand. For the first time this year Brand played inspired ball resembling his former self. As a result, with Chris Kaman also hitting his stride early, the Mavs offered a glimpse of what was the hope of the offseason that as of yet had failed to materialize so far this season…an effective inside/outside game from the bigs to complement the penetration and outside shooting from the guards. In a very ironic twist, Brand returned to Philadelphia to resemble his old self for the first time this year with a season-high 17 points, 8 rebounds a steal and a block – the Mavs’ only blocked shot of the game.
Shawn Marion also had 17 points and 8 rebounds.
O. J. Mayo had a subpar offensive game but only took 10 shots. Still he scored 11 points but also added 5 rebounds and 7 assists for an all-around solid game.
Darren Collison was solid off the bench with 12 points and 6 assists plus he tied a career high with 5 steals.
Vince Carter, as usual…15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal. #sixthmanoftheyear #jasonterrywho
It was pretty much feast or famine this game but I was personally sad to see neither Brandan Wright nor Bernard James on the floor.
The remaining Mavs were a collective 2-16 and the entire team shot 26% from downtown.
The big ugly truth once again which led to the loss was once turnovers once again. 6 straight possessions in the fourth quarter and 2 more before the end of the game when they only had 7 in the previous 3 quarters. The Mavs literally fumbled the game away and couldn’t come all the way back for the win.
O. J. Mayo’s missed free throw almost killed any opportunity to tie the game and although Jae Crowder grabbed the rebound off the second missed free throw, his shot was off the mark as well.
The Mavericks played pretty solid ball overall – they didn’t all shoot poorly and rebounding numbers were close. Had they not turned the ball over so many times in the 4th quarter it is almost a given they would have won the game. If they can continue to play as they did (especially Elton Brand) without the mistakes, they can compete with any team in the league. With the same mistakes they will lose to even lesser teams.
The Mavs go back-to-back In Chicago against the Bulls Wednesday night. Mavs-Bulls preview already up on The Smoking Cuban.