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Mavs Play All the Right Notes in Drubbing of Jazz


 

The Mavs wasted no time turning the page following their tough 101-100 loss in San Antonio Tuesday night.  Dallas hit their first eight shots and never looked back on their way to a 120-102 blowout victory over the Utah Jazz.   The stands were flooded with royal blue as every fan had a Mavs t-shirt waiting for them in their seat to celebrate the home opener.  It wasn’t the only thing the capacity crowd of 19, 697 would have to celebrate on this fun night in Downtown Dallas.

Dallas blitzed out in front to a 36-20 lead after one thanks to its offense clicking on all cylinders.  Dirk Nowitzki went 4-4 from the field in the opening frame to lead the Mavs with 9 points and Tyson Chandler had 6 points off of three monster dunks from beautiful lob passes from his teammates.  Dallas finished the quarter shooting a hot 64%.  The Mavs continued the offensive show in the 2nd quarter by playing a lineup mixed between starters and bench players.  After a Devin Harris three pointer with just a hair under 3 minutes to go in the first half, Dallas had pushed its lead to 30 points.

Dallas struggled in the first six minutes of the 3rd quarter for the second consecutive game; allowing Utah to cut the lead into the mid-teens.  The Mavs survived the storm and relatively cruised in the second half to a final margin of victory of 18, 120-102.

Player of the Game: Dirk Nowitzki
Nowitzki only played 23 minutes in the game, but this was the best he has looked in a long time.  One of the things taken away from Tuesday’s loss at San Antonio was that Dirk might’ve not been involved enough in the offense.  He didn’t take his first shot until about 4 minutes into the game.  Tonight he took, and made, the game’s first shot.  It was a sign that the Mavs were going to get their man going.  Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons both finished with a game high 21 points and Dirk shot 9-13 from the field.  Through two games, Dirk’s shooting 67% and the one-legged fadeaway looked to be in midseason form.

Observations:
Dallas’ offense, particularly from the starting five of Jameer Nelson, Monta Ellis, Parsons, Nowitzki and Chandler, has been tremendous through the first two games.  They all seem to complement each other perfectly.  With Nelson, Ellis and Parsons all having the ability to drive and create lob opportunities for Chandler and spacing for Nowitzki, the offense is truly a thing of beauty.  The bench players have also played offense beautifully as well.  Devin Harris and Brandan Wright have continued their best-buds on the court relationship from last year and still flourish when on the floor together.  Al Farouq Aminu showed off his athleticism and rebounding skills tonight with a 14 point and 10 rebound double-double performance off the bench, and the return of J.J. Barea saw him doing a lot of the floating layups and constantly keeping the ball alive that we fell in love with before.

On the defensive side of things, it needs to improve.  Through two games, Dallas has given up countless open three point attempts for the Spurs and Jazz.  It’s what quickly erased the Mavs’ firm lead early in the third in San Antonio and allowed the Jazz to cut their massive halftime deficit in half within the first six minutes of the third quarter.  Tyson Chandler has been the intimidating force down low, forcing opponents to either leave the lane or put up shots farther away from the basket than wanted, but the perimeter defense has been concerning.  It’s definitely something that will need to be worked on as the season progresses.

What’s Next?
Dallas evens up their record at 1-1 and next heads to New Orleans Saturday for a matchup with the Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center.  New Orleans will be very well rested as it will only be their second game of the season after beating Orlando at home Tuesday, 101-84.  The standouts for this team through one game are their two post defenders: Anthony Davis and Omer Asik.  Davis is, of course, one of the rising stars in the league and Asik has been one of the more dependable bigs in the league the past several seasons for the Bulls and Rockets.  In game one, Davis has 9 blocks and Asik had 5.  It will be interesting to see if Dallas will be able to execute its drive to the basket success that is so key the overall result for the offense.  Look for Monta Ellis’ play to be a huge factor in this game.

Notable
It was a great night for the fans at the American Airlines Center.  They got to meet the entire team during pregame introductions (like you’d see on opening day in baseball) and they got to cheer for the official return of two big pieces from the 2011 championship season: Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea.  Feelings about Barea’s return are best summed up by this statement overheard from a fan in the stands: “They picked up Barea?  YES!”

Dallas is glad to have both of them back.

 

Dylan Duell

@DylanDuell

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