Top West Competition Exposing Mavericks
By Asher Feltman
Dallas Mavericks 2014-2015 Record: 15-6. +
Dallas Mavericks 2014-2015 Record against other Western Conference elites: 0-4 —
Eventually that will have to change for the Mavs, or even my bracket-tested knowledge indicates they’ll be a first round exit.
There’s nothing at all wrong with a 15-6 record and I don’t want to be a nitpicker or a negative nancy, but I also want to be a writer and that sells papers, baby.
Yes, we have several new players, three new starters and the rotation isn’t even close to being finalized (point guard, backup small forward, another big) but the losses at San Antonio, at Portland, at Houston and vs. Phoenix have all been ashy black marks on an otherwise exciting and clean but not quite pristine start to the season for our Dallas Mavericks.
San Antonio was missing Kawhi Leonard, Tiago Splitter and Patty Mills.
Portland was missing nobody but killed us.
Houston was missing Dwight Howard and some of Patrick Beverley, then again not all of Patrick Beverley is ever really present.
Phoenix was without Isaiah Thomas, and this one was in Dallas.
Now I’ve heard the Mavs were tired or things just weren’t clicking, and yes the Spurs and Portland games were two of the first five games and the Rockets game was on the second night of a back to back and the Phoenix game last night preceded a four-games-in-five-nights stretch on the road where the Mavs –on the back of Monta Ellis— won all of them.
Yet, it’s a troubling pattern forming. While the Mavericks chemistry isn’t an issue at all (not even a little get that darn idea out of your darn head) they have had a really tough time with three things in particular.
- Integrating Chandler Parsons
- Getting any consistency from their point guard and small forward rotations
It’s still way early, but these are all serious issues. The first one is progressing in the past few games. CP25 is showing more aggression and some of his three pointers are finally falling. However, the next two are experiencing some major hiccups that time may not fix.
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Time won’t make Al Farouq-Aminu a respectable three point shooter.
Time won’t make Brandan Wright an effective post up defender.
Time won’t decelerate Richard Jefferson‘s aging process. In fact the opposite is probably happening.
Time won’t make Jameer Nelson anything close to 2009 NBA All-Star Jameer Nelson.
Time…is ticking…for Dirk.
Photo Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports
That last one is ever present on a night like last night when the youth and energy and hustle and tenacity of the Phoenix Suns limited a rested Dirk Nowitzki to 10 points on 2-10 shooting/6-7 free throws.
fouled flustered all night by the likes of Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, P.J. Tucker, Gerald Green, Alex Len and Miles Plumlee. “Dat Dood” didn’t attempt a three for the first time all season.
He was seriously contained, Dirk Nowitzki was contained. Not helping was terrible floor spacing compounded by poor outside shooting, awful defense transition and stationary and baskets only seeming to come by Monta Ellis isolating and just taking defenders to school.
The Mavericks next game is Sunday at home vs. the recently battled Milwaukee Bucks. But then Tuesday night they’re in Memphis against the Southwest division leading Memphis Grizzlies, led by early MVP candidate (and impending free agent!) Marc Gasol.
The 15-4 Grizzlies vs. the 15-6 Mavericks will seriously be offense vs. defense. The Grizzlies allow the second least PPG at 93.8. The Mavericks score a league leading 110 PPG.
But first, Milwaukee.
Still though, Tuesday will be a big one.