6 Promising Signs from the Mavs' Blowout Win over the Pistons
The reigning champion’s first road win conveyed the potential of this squad in what was the team’s most complete effort in a season so far filled with inconsistent play.
In a game in which they led by as many as 28 points, the Mavericks showed six signs that they deserve more respect than their pedestrian record suggests.
Dirk Has His Touch Back
In the two games before the Mavs’ outing against the Pistons, Dirk Nowitzki simply hadn’t looked like Dirk Nowitzki.
Mavs fans can put their worries to rest, however, after Nowitzki silenced the half-empty Auburn Palace crowd on an efficient 9-for-10 shooting crusade.
Besides a thunderous dunk that no one ever expects out of the finesse German, all of his shots were jumpers and his signature fallaways from at least 11 feet away.
The deadly Dirk that we witnessed in the playoffs made his mark tonight, and Dallas hopes that he’s here to stay.
Lamar Odom Is Getting Comfortable
Point the finger at Lamar all you want. Although he’s not putting up the points that he did when he rocked the purple and gold, Dallas’ premier offseason acquisition showed signs tonight that he’s making progress—slowly, but surely.
In 21 minutes of play, Odom didn’t knock down a shot, but pulled down seven rebounds along with four assists.
Although the stats don’t necessarily convey it, he’s looking more comfortable in the Mavs’ free-flowing offense and getting open looks at the basket. It’ll only be a matter of time before he begins to knock them down.
On a side-note—nice headband, Lamar.
The Defense Is Stepping Up
Contrary to what their mediocre record suggests, the Mavericks have been playing pretty solid defense, even with the offseason departures of center Tyson Chandler and assistant coach Dwane Casey.
In nine games before they took on the Pistons, the Mavericks ranked third in the NBA in steals per game with a 10.2 per game average. Tonight, they racked up 13 steals and held the Pistons to 43.5 percent shooting.
Delonte West spearheaded the defensive effort tonight with 5 steals and jumpstarted the team’s fastbreak offense. With his efforts on both sides of the court tonight, West essentially took control of the pace of the game, and ultimately triggered…
The Team's Selflessness
The ball movement was amazing tonight, as the Mavericks put up 28 assists on 38 field goals, including a beautiful Brandan Wright alley-oop from Jason Terry.
Delonte West led all players with 10 assists in the midst of Jason Kidd’s back injury. Shooting guard Vince Carter also dished out five assists.
I don’t care who you root for, when you watch a squad play with such selflessness, it reminds you of how this game is supposed to be played—not with superstars stacking their stats on consistent one-on-one play, but with a team desire to have every player contribute to the win.
That definitely was the case tonight, as not a single Mavericks player took more than 10 shots, and their ball movement translated into 55.1 percent shooting from the field and 42 points from the bench.
Ian Mahinmi’s Play
As the season progresses, center Ian Mahinmi continues to impress.
In the Mavericks’ 10 games, Mahinmi is averaging a career high 8.1 points on astounding 72.2 percent shooting. He has shown his soft touch around the rim, including a couple of hook shots that even ex-Maverick Tyson Chandler could never pull off.
Tonight, Mahinmi again demonstrated his scoring ability with 10 points on 5-for-8 shooting.
His ability to offer independent, low-post scoring meshes very well with the Maverick offense, which often relies on the team’s ability to knock down midrange jumpers.
Throw in his 1.8 offensive rebounds in 20 minutes of play per game, and suddenly the Mavericks’ center spot doesn’t seem so lackluster after all.
Coach Carlisle Will Not Let Up
Although the Mavericks were up by as many as 28 points in this game, those watching the game could hear and see head coach Rick Carlisle constantly displeased with any missteps or lapses in focus.
Everyone knew that this game was over after a 16-0 Dallas run in the third quarter, but even when the Pistons answered with harmless 7-1 run to cut the lead to 22, Carlisle felt the need to call a timeout and regroup the team.
After they pulled out to an insurmountable lead over Detroit, Carlisle visibly engrained a practice-type of atmosphere for the remainder of the game. Consequently, the players never seemed complacent on the floor and still offered their complete efforts as they continue to grow comfortable playing aside one another.
In a condensed 66-game season, any additional time to work on both your offensive and defensive systems without a game on the line is valuable, especially for the new-look Dallas Mavericks.