Can the Dallas Mavericks survive the absence of Dirk Nowitzki?
We all hope and pray that our teams can survive the hurdles that are placed in front of them and the Dallas Mavericks are no different than any other team. When it was made known that Dirk Nowitzki was going to have to have knee surgery, everyone in the media jumped on the crappy bandwagon and bashed the Mavericks and said that there was no way they would make it without Dirk.
Well, the Mavericks had something to prove and they started out that very way. They took the opener of the season in Los Angeles and faced the heavily favored Lakers and was able to escape with a victory, and a nice one at that. Then they travelled to Utah the very next night and took a thumping against the Jazz, but there again, the Mavericks have taken thumpings from Utah before and that was with Dirk in the lineup, even if he got ejected during the course of some of the games; face it, Utah doesn’t like Dirk at all.
So we started the young season 1-1 with a relatively new team since when you put the team on the court and the only returning players are Shawn Marion, Vince Carter and Branden Wright. You have a new point guard, shooting guard, power forward/center (depending on where Wright plays), so to start your game, it’ s a brand new lineup, but I think they worked well together, but there again we were facing teams that was in that category of “teams that you should beat”.
We started the home season against the Charlotte Bobcats, a team that they have never lost to and the new guys didn’t fail in that category. Then we welcomed Portland to Dallas and even though it was a tougher game, the new, young guys were still able to pull out a victory, so we are looking good at 3-1. Now we lay out the carpet for Toronto and again, come out victorious, barely, but still got the win and the last two wins were against former Dallas Mavericks Assistant Coaches who taught our guys the moves they are teaching their new guys, so we should feel pretty good about ourselves, right?
Well, we did for a bit and then we jump on the plane after the Superstorm Sandy situation that effected the whole upper Northeast coast and try to do what we need to do to take care of business. Needless to say, New York loves basketball and they love the Knicks. Why not? They are the party city of the world, a city that never sleeps and they have our previous floor general leading their way and one of the better centers in the league that we had to help us win our title.
But Dallas was not going to take the battle laying down and for the first half they hung in there with the Knicks, but unfortunately without Marion guarding Carmelo Anthony, he lit up the court and led the Knicks to a victory and helped them to remain the only unbeaten team in the league. Now I have to give credit where credit is due and even though Dahntay Jones played with Melo in Denver, he knew him pretty good, but he didn’t have enough to be able to keep up with him and with the help of J.R. Smith coming off the bench and scoring 22 points, the Knicks won.
Our three point shooting dropped drastically and we fell off in the field goal shooting, but we did improve on the free throw line, but there is more to getting the victory than the numbers, you have to take it to your opponent and stop them before they stop you, but we weren’t able to do that.
So now we pack up and move on down the coast to Charlotte to face a team that they are 16-0 against, well that was up until tonight. Now when you let a team come back from a double-digit deficit and tie the game at the end of regulation to force overtime, well you know you’re in trouble. Kemba Walker scored a game high 26 points, Michael-Kidd Gilchrist had 25 points and 12 rebounds and Byron Mullens grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds. When you let these kind of numbers fly around, you have a good chance of losing.
The Mavericks were led by O.J. Mayo with 22 points, Carter added 19 points and Darren Collison had 14 while Elton Brand had 10. Granted Dallas did better in the three-point shooting and free throw shooting category, but still lacked in field goal percentage and got the stuffing beat out of them in the rebounds area, especially the offensive rebound numbers. When you let a team beat you 21-8 in offensive rebounds, again, you have a good shot at losing the game and they did.
Charlotte wiped the slate clean on the losing category against Dallas and took the smell out of the skunk and can now have some bragging rights and build on that momentum.
So now what does Dallas do? Well they pack up and come home and hope that some home cooking and sleeping in their beds will help to get out of this funk and pull themselves together to face their next adversary, the Minnesota Timberwolves.
And that they did. We celebrated Veteran’s Day in style as Dallas always does, but the party and celebratory atmosphere quickly vanished when the game started. Both teams were short handed due to injuries and it seemed thought that the Wolves were better prepared to handle the situation over Dallas and they did. Again Dallas was having trouble with the rebounds against a team and being able to contain the hot hand of the opponent.
Tonight’s hot hand went to Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko. Pekovic scored 20 points before having to leave the game due to rolling his ankle on Carter’s foot during the game and Kirilenko was everywhere, all over the court hitting shots and grabbing rebounds, a never ending Energizer bunny.
It’s very evident that Dallas misses Dirk and his taking over games in the late part of games and we can’t get him back fast enough, but in the mean time, the other guys are going to have to toughen up and play ball as they started the season. Even though they are 4-4 at this point, that’s not really bad as long as they play to the best of their ability and not just give games away. When you fall behind as much as 12-13 points to teams that you are supposed to beat, that’s not a good thing and they need to realize that sooner rather than later.
Now Dallas takes on another team, the Washington Wizards, that they should beat, but we’ll just have to wait and see if that will happen or not. If they let them control the boards, then they will let them control the game.
And with that, I will bid you a good night and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!