USA TODAY Sports
The defense goes missing in Dallas again, but this time for the away team
Once upon a time (and by that, I mean like, 2001), there was no D in Dallas. Allas.....Alice....?
That was the glorious Don Nelson era, in which he truly began trying to implement a 5-equal-parts offense around the rising duo of Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, which resulted in such a dynamic offense and anemic defense that announcers would regularly describe the Alice D as "5 guys just standing around, waiting to get the ball back." Not exactly a glowing endorsement.
To their credit, the Mavs turned it all around post-Nellie, with a couple of hard-nosed coaching changes and the arrival of standout career defenders like Shawn Marion, Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd. It worked so well, they won a championship. And they enjoyed that so much, they completely blew up the team the next summer. Go figure.
So one might not be that shocked to hear there's a lack of D in the American Airlines Arena again....until you hear that the deficit is from the visitors.
Bottom line peoples: The Mavericks shot 60% against the poor Puppers tonight.
Not 60 TS%.
Not 60 eFG%.
60%. Straight up.
Jae Crowder: 3-4. Vince Carter: 3-5. Chris Kaman: 5-6. Darren Collison: 7-11. OJ Mayo: 8-11. Elton Brand: 10-13. That's 72% shooting from six guys with horsey basketballs on their jerseys. And not one of them is named Dirk. Know that that means? You're drunk, defense. Game over. Go home.
And in an extra effort to not help themselves, the Wolves channeled today's 'Sota weather and shot just 41% from the floor themselves. Pekovic....well, he could have been better from the line, but his 20-12 game was typical bullishness. But the rest of the starters went 13-43 like they got ambushed by Mr. Freeze.
(does 6-18 from The Inferno warrant a 'hell's frozen over' joke? Deep thoughts, brought to you by tonight's game wrap)
The bench more than did it's part, but if the starters don't pull their weight and the bad guys shoot like it's nerf balls and hoola hoops, it ain't gonna matter much.
Say what you want about Minnesota's offense...and it's not good, by any means. But the real problem, sadly, ironically, tragically.....(Spiritually, ecumenically....grammatically....?)....is turning out to be the lack of defense.
There is no D in Minnesota. Now in more ways than one.
- 4 games, 4 blowout losses since we topped Atlanta a lifetime ago. To highlight the problem, let's look at the escalation here. Oklahoma: 47% from the field. New Orleans: 52% from the field. San Antonio: 56% from the field. Dallas: 60% from the field.
- And guess who's up next? Blake Griffin and the Clippers. Who have been such an offensive force that they'll problem start counting our own buckets as points form them at this point.
- Most nights Dante Cunningham is a master at playing withing his limits. Tonight was not one of those nights.
- Alexey Shved is now 5-24 over his last three games. If it's the rookie wall, then his looks like it'll be Great and Chinese. Someone get him a rope with a grappling hook and a manual on how to scale barricades like a Hun.
- Dallas might have a new look team, but they run the same defensive sets, and Barea clearly knew how to pick apart each and every one of them.
- The one bright spot tonight? The Spanish Unicorn showed flashes of recapturing his magic.
- Dwight Howard should have picked Dallas. Seriously. If I were him, I'd still pick Dallas this summer.
- As crazy as that 60% figure is, the Heat almost outdid it. While they managed to contain Utah in the second half (not enough to win, mind you) at one point the Jazz were shooting 67% against them.
- And yes, Miami still has a very serious rebounding problem (their starting frontcourt collected all of 10 rebounds tonight. Bosh got only 1) And no, they haven't signed Birdman yet. C'mon, front office.
And as a parting note, be glad Chris Nolan came along with his new Batman when he did. Because WB had a sequel to Batman and Robin starring Nic Cage and Madonna all planned out.
Everybody run for your lives.