Box Score | Highlights
Final: Clippers 104, Mavs 88
Behind the Box Score
How important is pace? The Mavs are looking to get the ball across halfcourt in three seconds or less this season. In tonight’s game, Dallas scored 1.00 points per possession in 59 opportunities when they were successful in getting the ball across halfcourt that quickly, yet they scored just 0.66 PPP in 38 chances when they didn’t. Rick Carlisle has stressed the importance of pace since the start of training camp, and tonight we saw why that’s such a big part of what the Mavericks want to do.
After turning 16 fast break possessions into 25 points against Phoenix, the Mavericks had just 5 such possessions against L.A., good for only 6 points. A combination of forcing turnovers and running off of misses led to plenty of easy chances offensively for the Mavs in the season opener, but against the Clippers the Mavericks weren’t able to generate quick opportunities the other way.
Devin Harris took a charge tonight after taking two against Phoenix yesterday. The guard has long had a reputation as one of the best charge-takers in the NBA, and so far in this young season he’s lived up to the hype. Charges are momentum-swinging plays, so it’s obviously very beneficial to draw as many as possible. But, believe it or not, it does take talent. Harris has the ability, no question about it.
For the second straight night, Dallas did well defending in the post. After Wesley Matthews limited Markieff Morris last night, the Mavs did well in slowing down the Clippers on the block, holding L.A. to 8 points in 9 post-up possessions. Tyson Chandler was instrumental to the Mavs’ success last season when it came to defending in the post, and whether or not Dallas could remain strong defensively in that area came into question when the center left for Phoenix. But, as far as post defense is concerned, Dallas has done well so far this year.
With Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams both sitting out, the Mavs rolled out a different starting unit against the Clippers than the group that began the season opener. Jeremy Evans and John Jenkins replaced them in the starting lineup while Raymond Felton slid over to the point guard position. Matthews was rested strictly for rest reasons, per the team, and should be available for Sunday’s contest against the Lakers. Williams, meanwhile, was questionable for the Clippers contest before being ruled out, and his status for Sunday is uncertain right now, but the hope is that he can suit up.
The Mavs beat the Suns last night with a well-rounded offensive attack, but replicating that balance without two starters is a tough task. More of a scoring burden was placed on Dirk Nowitzki’s shoulders — after taking just 10 shots against Phoenix, the German took 14 shots in the first three quarters alone. He spent more time posting up both on the baseline and in the high post against the Clippers than he did against the Suns, suggesting that, when the situation calls for it, Nowitzki can still be relied upon to be the go-to guy and produce at a high level. The club’s goal is to have strong balance each night, however, so there will be plenty of games where Nowitzki might not take more than 10 shots — assuming the Mavs’ other stars are in the game.
The Mavericks went to “Hack-A-DeAndre” in the second quarter, and it worked to great effect. Dallas trimmed five points off an 11-point Clippers lead late in the first half before a last-second Chris Paul jumper put L.A. up 51-43. Jordan hit just 2-of-8 from the free throw line during that stretch of the game before Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was ultimately forced to call a timeout to remove him from the game. “Hack-A-Player” might not be the most aesthetically pleasing element of basketball, but — as many others have said — free throws are part of the game. If an opposing player has a weakness, you’ve got to exploit it, and Dallas did that to great effect in the second quarter.
The Mavs (1-1) play the Los Angeles Lakers (0-1) Sunday night at the Staples Center. Tip-off is at 8:30 p.m. Central.