Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Darkest before the dawn

After the 92-89 loss in Game 4, the Mavericks were left for dead. Myself included.

There were plenty of talking points: Rick Carlisle's rotations, Dirk's toughness + supporting cast, the worth of the Butler/Haywood trade and so forth. Some were viable (play Butler and Marion more), some weren't (fire Carlisle, trade Dirk).

Now there is life. There isn't much, but there is some. The resounding 22 point Game 5 victory at least gives the Mavericks one more night to prove why they won 55 games in the first place.

Will they wither away Thursday night in the Alamo city? I'm not sure. Just know that these adjustments from Game 4 to 5 have to continue:

Brendan Haywood AND Eddie Najera > Erik Dampier? I guess so.

This is pretty obvious after Game 5, but it wasn't earlier in the series. As Tim Duncan gashed the Mavs for 27, 25, and 25 during the first 3 games it looked as if Dampier or Haywood weren't being factors. Especially Haywood. Through the first four games Haywood was timid at best, lost even. He looked as if he had never defended a pick and roll in his entire life and his rotations were awful. But then he starts Game 5 and all that goes away. I guess it's the fact that he starts but Haywood HAS to start. No questions. Also Eddie Najera has found something of a way of production, even if that means picking up ejections and flagrant fouls. If anything Najera isn't letting the Mavs get tossed around and is "thugging it up" like a certain Mr. Galloway has been clamoring for the last 5 years at least.

Matrix with some Tuff Juice to wash it down.

This is obvious, but Shawn Marion and Caron Butler actually, you know, producing seems to have positive effects on this basketball team. According to mavstats, Marion held Manu to 2-of-7 shooting during the time he guarded him. So yeah, let's go ahead and bench him for the second half of Game 6. That makes perfect sense.

Butler's 35 was just what the doctor ordered. I'm no basketball genius (actually, yes I am) but Butler taking it to the rack got him 9 free throws as opposed to the two he had in Game 4. Also Butler looked sure of himself when he received the ball, and instead of going 1-on-1 to get off his jump shot, his 11 shots from 18 feet or greater were in rhythm and either spot up, or one to two dribbles in.

Score 100 and you win, it's that simple.

Two Maverick's wins this series have been when the Mavs have scored 100 points. That's it really.

Push the pace.

To make the 100 point threshold much easier to attain, the Maverick's running is much better than the Maverick's jogging. (Or yogging, might be a soft J.) Maverick's had 23 fast break points as opposed to the 12 in Game 4. Also, running doesn't always translate to fast break points. Pushing it against a good half court defense allows easier match ups. Basically, Dirk is easier to free up in the post when he beats his man to his spot instead of allowing the Spurs to set up and wreck havoc with double teams and fronting.

The Mavericks are fully capable of beating the Spurs tomorrow night if they follow their new game plan which shouldn't of been 'new' in the first place.

"Things were always going to get worse before they got better."

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