THE THIRD QUARTER CURSE IS BROKEN. EVERYONE GET EXCITED.
For once, the Mavs (4-2) did not let up in the third quarter, and defeated the Utah Jazz (2-4) quite convincingly for the second time in this early season.
Dirk Nowitzki started this game determined to get some serious work done. He scored 7 in the first quarter, and ended up with 17 at half (including 3 made threes). Monta quietly helped out as well, especially towards the end of the first half, going 3-6 and drawing some good fouls to finish the half with 8 points. Furthermore, the Dallas defense wasn’t terrible in the first quarter, forcing 8 Utah turnovers and holding the Jazz to their lowest scoring quarter of the season.
Rick Carlisle played around with his rotations some in the first half as well. Brandan Wright got some burn at power forward, playing alongside Tyson Chandler for the first time this season. Charlie V (unfortunately) came in for a brief (and unsuccessful) first half stint. Crowder still didn’t get any burn, nor did Richard Jefferson. It’ll be interesting to see Rick keep experimenting in the early part of the season.
Overall, the story of the first half was Dirk. Not only did he carry the team offensively, but he had some really quality moments on defense as well. In one particular moment, he shut down Enes Kanter during a 5-on-4 situation, which allowed Monta to throw the deep ball to Tyson Chandler for the cherry picked slam. It was amazing.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who welcomed the third quarter with a sick feeling of dread. But then Dirk said screw it and knocked down a three on the Mavs’ first possession of the second half. And the curse was broken. Tyson Chandler promptly drew an offensive foul, and then the Mavs forced a shot clock violation. It was glorious. And despite Parsons missing every three he took, the Mavs kept piling on. Monta got a steal, then Parsons drew a foul. Mavs scored 9 straight before Utah finally scored.
Unlike the Portland game, the Mavs kept going in the second half. Dirk kept hitting threes. Wright kept throwing down slams. Monta kept doing Monta stuff. And the Mavs kept getting turnovers. The Jazz finished the game with 22 turnovers. And the Mavs bench held onto the big lead. Mavs win on the road, on the second night of a back-to-back, 105-82.
1. What to say about Chandler Parsons?
Parsons continues to be really confusing. He’ll look completely out of it for stretches, then just go off. Except tonight he left off the “going off” part of the equation. He had some better effort on the defensive end this game, but it still really feels like he isn’t living up to his potential. The guy is being paid like the second best player on the team, and yet he went 1-11 and 0-4 from three. I was leading the Parsons bandwagon to being the season, but even I’m starting to turn on the guy. He’s got to get his stuff together here. No excuses.
(For the record, Parsons was somehow a +21 in this game. I won’t pretend to understand this statistic.)
2. I continue to be underwhelmed by Jameer Nelson.
Seriously, it is like he inherited Vince Carter‘s hero ball spirit. That or he has convinced himself that anything Monta Ellis can do, he can do better. He had some bright moments in this game, and at times looked much more under control. And yet he still runs around too much. Dribbles too much. Takes too many tough mid-range jumpers. The Mavs really need Jameer to rack up assists and operate as a catch-and-shoot threat beyond the arc while Monta and Devin drive and dish. Yet he doesn’t seem to get this.
3. Dirk is the best.
Dirk has some great pieces around him this season. Maybe as good as he’s ever had. But Dirk absolutely carried the team tonight. The big German was focused, determined, and absolutely unstoppable tonight. Let’s take a look: 11-18, for 27 points. 5-8 from three. 10 rebounds. Dirk was a +22 on the court tonight. I love this man.