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Mavericks Almost Lose Another Big Lead, Escape with Win against Boston

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Nov 3, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard

Monta Ellis

(11) falls to the court after being fouled during the second half at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Celtics 118-113. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In what is already becoming a tiresome trend in this young season, the Dallas Mavericks again surged out to a big early lead behind a nearly flawless offensive performance, only to allow the Celtics to get back into the game in yet another lackluster third quarter. In the fourth a few timely plays from the forward tandem of Parsons and Nowitzki let them salvage a victory despite ragged defense and miscues. After the dizzying highs of the first half, the third quarter was a familiar crash back to earth, as the Celtics cut a 26 point halftime lead to only 12.

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The Celtics picked up the full court pressure, and it really bothered the Mavericks guards, effectively disrupting the offense that had looked so effortlessly dominant in the first half. The offense that had flowed so freely just minutes before quickly ground to a halt, and the team settled for too many contested mid-range jumpers. On the other end, the Celtics seemed to score at will, with Jeff Green torching the Mavs multiple times.

The Mavericks responded and seemed to put the game away with some heady plays and key baskets, but a Devin Harris turnover and Jeff Green three-pointer made it a very close game at the end. In a fittingly anticlimactic ending, Monta Ellis was fouled hard by Rajon Rondo on a drive to the basket, leading to a lengthy replay review as the refs decided whether it was a flagrant. They finally ruled it a common foul, and Monta exhibited some of that toughness that has become a familiar sight in his time with the Mavs,  coolly draining two free throws to effectively ice the game. While the second half was a bit of a letdown after such a terrific first half, the Mavs were able to hold on for the win in another close game.

Three Points

1) Third Quarters Continue to Plague Mavs.

Again the team jumped out to a great start only to relinquish much of the lead in the third quarter. Carlisle has said he would look into altering his rotations. The guards looked uncomfortable with the ball pressure that the Celtics guard applied. So maybe he will consider going to Barea earlier to try to relieve some of the full court pressure.  The offensive malaise infected the defensive end as well, as they gave up 38 points in the quarter.

2} Frontcourt Shines

With enough games like this, the frontcourt could make  claim to being one of the best in the NBA. Parsons and Nowitzki bend the defenses with their ability to stretch the floor, and they were 8-9 from 3 tonight. Throw in Dirk’s sbility ti get a basket when needed and Tyson’s defense and rebounding, this is one of the most formidable frontlines that you’ll find. Depth beyond Brandon Wright is a concern, as Aminu was lost to a knee injury, and neither Jefferson nor Crowder have impressed so far this year.

3) Backcourt Shortcomings Exposed

The third quarter could serve as a blue print for teams trying to slow down the juggernaut that is the Mavs offense. The full court pressure applied by the Celtics platoon of Rondo, Bradley and Smart gave the Mavs guards fits, and allowed the Celtics to get out in transition off of turnovers and offensive rebounds. Too often in those possessions the Mavs did not initiate the offense until there were only 12-14 seconds left on the shot clock, which led to hurried looks and contested pull up jumpers.

Quick Hits

  • Devin Harris 2 for 1s are here to stay, apparently. Harris was one for three on two for one attempts, with his fade-away mid-range jumper counterbalancing two bad air-balls. It is still not clear why they never deign to throw it into Dirk on the block, but in Carlisle we trust.
  • Dirk Nowitzki bailed the team out on multiple occasions when the offense was struggling to score a basket. Maybe letting him isolate and either shooting over the defender or passing out of the double team could be an option when the other team (inevitably) makes their run in the 3rd quarter.
  • Losing Aminu partway through the game made it apparent how much the team already relies on him for his defense and rebounding. Without him, the Celtics dominated the boards and Carlisle had to go to Jefferson for more minutes than he should have to. Greg Smith hasn’t earned Carlisle’s trust yet, so there are few options when any of the starting frontcourt needs a rest aside from Brandan Wright.
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