The big news on Saturday for a team desperate for the kind of veteran leadership at the point that left with Jason Kidd was the quick signing and injection into the starting lineup of Derek Fisher…uh, not Jason Kidd but you get the idea. Of course Fisher got two points on a goaltend and that was his only score but Darren Collison came off the bench and had another good game. More importantly Chris Kaman, O. J. Mayo, Elton Brand and Vince Carter were present and more than accounted for and pushed the Mavs over the top against a Pistons team that didn’t give them much resistance, falling 92-77.
The Mavericks shot less than 41% from the field but Detroit went cold in the third quarter, scoring a season-low 11 points and shooting 20 percent (4-for-20) from the field while O. J. Mayo and Vince Carter were draining multiple three-pointers.
The Pistons finished shooting only 34% for the game but Brandon Knight managed to get 20 points. Jason Maxiell (from Newman-Smith high school in Carrollton) had 10 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocked shots while center Greg Monroe managed only 8 points but did corral 15 rebounds.
Elton Brand had his best game as a Maverick tying season highs of 17 points, 12 rebounds and adding 4 blocks. Coach Carlisle called it “vintage Brand” which was dead on and we surely could use some more of that.
O. J. Mayo broke out of his slump for 27 points and added 4 assists and 5 rebounds in another well-rounded game.
Vince Carter drained 4 three-pointers (to go with Mayo’s 6) and the Mavs shot 44% from behind the arc.
Shawn Marion: 7 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, 4 assists. Every game, all over the court The Matrix is.
Darren Collison only scored 5 points but dished out 8 assists.
Chris Kaman started the game hot but got into foul trouble and ended up with only 18 minutes on the floor. He did add 9 rebounds and 3 blocks but also committed 4 turnovers. Kaman appears to need some work on his ball handling as good defenders seem to be able to harass him and he also has had trouble handling more than one good pass that could otherwise have turned into a basket.
Derek Fisher looked pretty rusty going 1-8 and the only basket coming on a goaltend. He did also have 3 assists and 2 steals but committed 3 turnovers. He’ll need to show a little more stability before I will be singing his praises. As a career 8 ppg / 3 apg player, there isn’t much to expect from the stat line so we’ll have to be looking for intangibles which are not always in the box score but you could always count on Jason Kidd for solid decision-making and that’s what Fisher needs to provide.
The Mavs played better but still lost the battle of the boards 52-49. Not a huge difference but still something the Mavs need to find answers for
Overall the team shot under 41%, which will rarely be enough to win a game. The Mavs were lucky the Pistons were totally cold or the results may have been different.
Jae Crowder was on the floor for over 30 minutes and shot 1-for-8 and made 3 turnovers. He grabbed 4 rebounds and had 3 steals but frankly, I am stunned that he somehow engenders this much playing time while Brandan Wright rides the pine. Make no mistake, Crowder has great potential and has had some great games but he jacks up way too many threes and simply isn’t consistent.
Dahntay Jones also went 1-for-6.
The Mavericks got to the line only 8 times, making 5 for 62.5% and meanwhile, continue to send opponents to the line more than any other team in the league. That’s a problem on both ends of the floor that needs to be rectified and likely won’t be until someone is on the floor who is consistently attacking the rim for starters.
Any win is better than a loss but there are as many concerns here as things to celebrate. It’s great to see Mayo back on track but is he going to continue to be streaky? The return of Brand could be huge but will it continue? Fisher is surely going to not routinely have games like this one but how good can he be? And will Crowder continue to struggle while Wright rides the pine?
How will the Mavericks perform against a team that doesn’t shoot 34%? The Mavs had moments for sure but the Pistons lost this game. To consistently win games the entire team must play well for the most part and this was a game where some guys clearly did but others were less than mediocre and it showed in the final numbers. Those statistics aren’t typically aren’t going to be accompanied by a “W.”
The Mavericks travel to the West Coast to take on the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday followed by a back-to-back against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday. Previews and commentary coming up on The Smoking Cuban.