Monday, November 29, 2010

Having a Nice Little Saturday (Er, Week)

As I'm working on a few other things that I'll share with you throughout the week (for instance, what's up with Tyson Chandler, does DeShawn Stevenson need to play more and is Jason Kidd's shooting something to worry about?) I figure I'd throw down some bullet-points and thoughts on what was a fantastic week for the Dallas Mavericks

  • Any qualms or trepidations I had about Tyson Chandler before the season started have quickly evaporated. Quite simply, the man is dominating in the paint like NO other Maverick center has before. James Donaldson, I love ya, but what Chandler has done to this team is fairly remarkable. The team has a completely new defensive identity and pick-and-rolls (the torture play for Mavericks teams past) are less effective with Chandler's hedging ability. His length and athleticism have altered how teams run their offense down the stretch with Chandler showing inhuman like instincts on getting out to the guard on a pick-and-roll and forcing an awkward fade-a-way jumper.
  • Four games in five nights? Psh. A sweep of this type of run (and three of which being Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Miami to boot) doesn't happen very often. In fact, the Mavericks have only done it twice before (correct me if I'm wrong though): In 1988, the Western Conference Finalist team and 2007, the 67-win team. So people, this Dallas team has a great chance of being special. These type of runs aren't fluky at all. These are the type of runs great teams make.
  • Think about the teams Dallas has beaten this year: New Orleans. Denver. Oklahoma City. San Antonio. Miami. That's five playoff teams and two preseason title contenders. Not bad at all to be sitting at 12-4.
  •  Now for a power down moment: Brendan Haywood has been a complete disaster for the Mavs so far this year. He has not played more than 20 minutes since Nov. 15. He was suspended on Friday for having a dispute with Rick Carlisle. I'm not sure what has happened to Haywood. He really isn't doing much and his defense looks small and puny compared to Tyson Chandler. Maybe it's the fact that he's now playing with J.J. Barea more instead of Jason Kidd. Maybe it's because he's not alongside Dirk Nowitzki anymore. I don't know. What I do know is that Chandler is very fragile and will very likely miss between 5-10 games this season (I'd be shocked if he played between 77-82 games this year). I hope Haywood is able to remember who he is by then. 
  • If there is one thing I love about this team, is that Carlisle is playing whoever works. He has no second-thoughts about sitting Shawn Marion or Caron Butler for the entirety of the fourth quarter. In the last two cases, it paid off beautifully. On Friday against San Antonio, Butler was lousy offensive and not doing much on defense. As Manu torched Dallas on plenty of pick-and-rolls and step back jumpers, Carlisle switched Marion onto Manu for the entire fourth as Dallas rolled to the end. On Saturday, Butler actually had it going offensively as Dirk looked like a normal basketball player. Carlisle stuck with Butler and the Mavs pulled away in the fourth behind Butler's 23 points.
  • A key point in the San Antonio game was the beginning of the fourth quarter. Carlisle left in JJB and Ian Mahinmi as Chandler and Kidd watched from the bench, getting some rest. As I screamed at my TV to let these two back in, Dallas held serve as the game was tied I believe around the six minute mark when both players checked back into the game. The bench has gotten it's fair share of criticism this year (and rightly so) but on Friday, they won Dallas a game against the hottest team in the league on the road. Impressive, if only for one night.

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1 comment:

  1. It's certainly going to be interesting when Roddy B comes back and see if he meshes in well. Who knows how well he'll play coming back from a pretty nasty injury.