Forget DeAndre Jordan, Dallas Mavericks Must Focus on Blake Griffin


Dallas Mavericks: Focus must be on slowing down Blake Griffin to get the win

Not surprisingly, all the talk leading up to tonight’s game between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers has been about DeAndre Jordan. From the ridiculous ESPN promo that paints Mark Cuban and friends as scorned lovers while featuring a huffing, puffing, and flexing Jordan from the two teams’ first matchup October 29th, to Mark Cuban’s saved text messages from this summer that may or may not be released to the public sometime, the focus has been on Jordan first and everything else second.

But forget DAJ. For the Mavericks to, you know, win the game, they need to concentrate on slowing down early-MVP candidate, Blake Griffin. Griffin has been outstanding on the young season, leading the Clippers to the second best record in the west by averaging 28.6 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 3.9 assists a night. He’s shooting over 58% from the floor and a career-high 80.8% at the free throw line. For those unfamiliar with basketball all of those numbers are good.

And BG was unstoppable in that first meeting in late October, showing further improvement on his mid-range jumper and scoring 26 points on 11-17 shooting. Griffin only played against Dallas once last season but scored 22 on 11-15 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and six assists. Needless to say, he’s a tough matchup for Dirk Nowitzki and any other Maverick.

The Mavericks need to do something to slow Griffin down, but without the correct personnel (does anyone have the correct personnel?) it will be tough to do. I know I wasn’t going to mention you-know-who, but one tactic the Mavericks can execute to limit Griffin’s touches is to put his front court partner on the free throw line at every opportunity.

Jordan is shooting a paltry 34.2% from the free throw line this season and sits at 41.6% for his career. For those unfamiliar with basketball those numbers are not good. Now imagine him trying to knock ’em down with nearly twenty thousand screaming Mavericks fans letting him have it. This technique wasn’t really employed by Rick Carlisle in Los Angeles, and as a fan of the game I don’t particularly like it.

But hey, the Mavericks will be scratching and clawing for a playoff spot all season long, and putting DeAndre on the line twenty times takes the ball out of the hands of Griffin and Chris Paul, two of the best players in the league. We’ll see how Carlisle chooses to do things, but this is a game the Mavericks would love to get so don’t be surprised if DAJ gets a lot of face time squirming amidst a chorus of boos at the charity stripe.

The game tips off at 7 pm CT.

Next: Dallas Mavericks: 3 Things from Loss to Pelicans

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