Dallas Mavericks Wallpaper

Fantasy Focus: Searching for Answers in Dallas

Dallas Mavericks WallpaperAll Dallas needed was to convert once on its final three possessions to begin the second half of the season with a victory.

The team was clinging to a two point lead in the final minute of the game and could have put the contest out of reach, a clutch jumper proved to be elusive against the Magic.

Zaza Pachulia missed a contested layup and after fighting to gain control of an offensive rebound, he was whistled for traveling. 

The next time down the court, point guard Deron Williams posted up second year guard Elfrid Payton, but couldn’t lineup a clean shot at the rim, and with the shot clock about to run out, he found Raymond Felton, but his shot rimmed out.

Orlando managed to tie the game on a layup from Evan Fournier, but left 12 seconds on the clock for the Mavericks to salvage a victory.

After ignoring its superstar forward on consecutive possessions, Dallas immediately found Dirk Nowitzki and cleared out, providing him as much space as possible to operate. Nowitzki set up in the post, took two dribbles then launched his patented fadeaway jumper.

Only it hit the front of the rim, sending the game into overtime.

“We had our chances,” Nowitzki said. “I had a good look there for the game-winner, I should have just made it and gone on home.”

Instead, the Magic seized control of the game in overtime, as newly acquired guard Brandon Jennings assisted on a pair of 3-pointers, then sank two free throws to secure a 110-104 victory.

The loss was the fifth in the last six games for Dallas, as two of those defeats have come in overtime and another game was dropped by a single possession.

On the year, the Mavericks are 7-11 in games decided by five or fewer points.

“We had a couple of bad possessions, we had some missed opportunities and didn’t get stops. It’s a long game and you’ve got to outlast a team like this and we were unable to do it,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “That group (the starters) is not doing a good job finishing games. I told the team yesterday, there’s nobody in indelible marker as a closer on this team, with the exception of Dirk and D-Will. Those guys are going to be in there. The rest of it has to be earned.”

Dirk Nowitzki posted 11 points, three rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block Friday night in Orlando.
Dirk Nowitzki posted 11 points, three rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block Friday night in Orlando.

Dallas is searching for answers in crunch time, as the free agent acquisition of Wesley Matthews hasn’t provided the team with a the long range marksman it was expecting after signing him to a four-year, $70 million contract.

For the year, Matthews is shooting just 38.1 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from the field, both the lowest numbers of his career.

The struggles continued for Matthews in Orlando, as he posted five points on 2-of-10 shooting from the field.

The entire team struggled tack on points in overtime, as Dallas shot just 2-of-8 from the field and turned the ball over twice.

Rumors have circulated about the team picking up David Lee, a power forward waived by Boston earlier in the week, a move that could provide another proven scorer to help the team execute in late game situations.

Either way, the Mavericks have to find a solution to avoid slipping out of playoff contention.

“We’re not good enough to just coast,” Nowtizki said. “We want to win those close games, but sometimes that’s how it works in this league. You’re there, and somehow, you can’t get over the hump. You’ve got to keep being in close games and eventually, we’ll win our fair share.”

Tony ParkerBiggest Surprise: Tony Parker– San Antonio Spurs

The scoring numbers for Parker have dropped each of the past four seasons, but he started off the second half of the season for San Antonio with a dynamic scoring performance. Friday against the Lakers, Parker matched his second highest scoring performance of the season with 25 points and converted each of his seven attempts at the foul line. The 33-year-old guard had gone 12 consecutive games without hitting the 20-point plateau, and over his last 10 games, Parker has dished out 5.1 assists a night, nice output from a player taken on average in the 12th round.

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Greg MonroeBiggest Disappointment: Greg Monroe– Milwaukee Bucks

Instead of moving Monroe, Milwaukee’s prize in free agency this summer, at the trade deadline, the coaching staff instead sent him to the bench. For each of the past three games, Monroe has been a reserve for the team and he has seen his production diminish in each outing. After pouring in a season-high 29 points in his first game off the bench, the first game back after the All-Star break yielded just four points, matching his lowest total of the season Friday night. During 29 plus minutes against the Hornets, Monroe missed both of his shot attempts from the field and committed four turnovers.

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Doug McDermottPick ’em Up: Doug McDermott– Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are going to rely heavily on McDermott to provide a scoring impact with Jimmy Butler sidelined for at least the next two weeks. Friday against Toronto, McDermott proved just how vital he can be in Chicago’s offense. McDermott poured in 30 points as he connected four times from 3-point range, capping a hot stretch of shooting. During the past two weeks, the former Creighton star has averaged 14.4 points, with 1.6 conversions from 3-point range and is shooting 53.7 percent shooting from the field.

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Meyers LeonardPut ’em Down: Meyers Leonard– Portland Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers managed to blowout the best team in the NBA as Leonard only picked up playing time when the game was already out of reach. As Portland racked up 137 points — the most the Warriors have surrendered all season — it managed the lofty point total as Leonard was the only player on the team not to attempt a shot from the field. With Noah Vonleh supplanting him in the starting lineup and Ed Davis and Maurice Harkless receiving most of the minutes as reserves, Leonard may have fallen completely out of the rotation.

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Chris BoshInjury Watch: Chris Bosh– Miami Heat

For the second consecutive season, the All-Star break has Bosh thinking far beyond the basketball court. Once again, concerns about blood clots for Bosh, and Miami is uncertain of when he will be able to return to the team. Doctors discovered a blood clot in his half, and while it may not be as serious as the one that traveled to his lung last season, his absence is expected to be extended, as the 11-time All-Star has began taking blood thinners, and there are risks involved while playing on the medication.

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Stephen CurryStat of the Week: Stephen Curry– Golden State Warriors

Lost amid the barrage of 3-pointers tossed in by Damian Lillard was Curry’s latest achievement from beyond the arc. Curry finished the night with seven conversions from 3-point range, upping his total to 252 on the year. Curry has knocked down 250 or more shots from beyond the arc for the fourth time in his career, while the rest of the NBA combined as accomplished the feat three times. Aside from Curry, only Ray Allen, Dennis Scott and George McCloud are the only players to ever to connect at least 250 times from 3-point range in a single season. By sinking a 3-pointer in the first quarter against the Clippers Saturday night, Curry extended his streak with a 3-point field goal to 125 consecutive games, just two behind Kyle Korver for the all-time NBA record.

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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