Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Mavs at 3-1


If anyone told me the Dallas Mavericks would be 3-1, especially after their opening game home loss to the Washington Wizards, which hasn't done a thing since, I would have told them they were crazy. It's not that I was overly concerned about the Wizards game -- it was the first game of the season so it obviously no patterns were developed ... yet. What I was concerned about was the schedule that took the Mavs to two games in Los Angeles, a home game against Utah and road games in New Orleans and San Antonio before the middle of November. I could easily see the Mavericks, if they played as badly as they did against Washington, being 2-6 on Nov. 12.

I did not see the Clippers game on Halloween but in the game against the Lakers and, for three quarters of last night's game against Utah (the home crowd booed the Mavs at the end of the third quarter), the Mavs continued to play at the same level they exhibited against the Wizards. They were fortunate in that the Lakers, especially, played worse.

The main topic of Mavericks discussion this morning is Dirk Nowtizki's record-setting 29 point performance in the fourth quarter of last night's game with the Jazz. Put that in perspective: With eight minutes left in the game, the Mavericks trailed by 16; they won the game by 11. That's a 27-point turnaround in the last eight minutes with Dirk scoring 29 in the last 12 minutes.

Sure, Dirk is grabbing all the headlines, but the entire team on the floor in those last eight minutes contributed to this win with superb defense, passing, rebounding -- the fundamentals to winning basketball games. If Coach Carlisle could find a way to bottle those last eight minutes and then uncork it for a full game, the Mavs would finish this season 81-1.

Of course, that's fantasy. But I am anxious to see what carries over tonight against New Orleans. Was that last eight minutes of last night's game an anomaly or a turning point?

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