With the Mavs 112-102 loss to the Rockets, critics around the Dallas area are already down on this season. Randy Galloway of ESPN radio and the Fort Worth Star Telegram claims that while the Mavs will be a lot of fun to watch through the first 3 quarters, 50 wins at best will be the result. We here at DallasDedicated want everyone to take a deep breath, as we play "Good News/Bad News"...
THE GOOD NEWS: If Game 1 of the long season taught us anything, it was that Jason Kidd is no overrated joke. Not only did he put up 12 assists, but he also racked up 7 boards and 7 points on 50 percent shooting. Not to mention his 2 impressive steals and short stints on guarding T-Mac.
THE BAD NEWS: Jason Kidd is 35 years old, and he will obviously not be able to play all 48 minutes. This means that a player off the bench will have to play backup point, a job that seems to be Jason Terry's this season. The offense looks so stagnant when Kidd sits, forcing the Mavs to force jumpers or just go to Dirk on every possession. And when Dirk AND Kidd sit....ugly.
THE GOOD NEWS: The fastbreak looked very efficient and impressive as the Mavs nearly doubled the Rockets in FB points throughout the night. 33 points in the first quarter!
THE BAD NEWS: 33 points in the first are indeed impressive, but Houston scored 32. Want some more bad news? 16 points were all that was scored by Dallas in the final quarter on 20 percent shooting, and it was because the tempo of the game became slower. This is typically what happens in the final minutes of NBA games, and we here at DallasDedicated hope that this does not become a trend within this team. The Mavs have been nearly unbeatable over the last 3 seasons when Howard scores over 20 AND the Mavs score over 100. J-Ho had 28 points, the Mavs got to 102, but Houston managed to score 112 of their own.
THE GOOD NEWS: Dirk and Josh Howard reminded us all just how important they are to this Mavs team. Dirk played great, as he had 36 points (including 14-14 from the free throw line). Josh Howard shot over 50 percent with 28 points, including 11 rebounds in 41 minutes of action. During one point in the third quarter I texted by co-blogger Patrick with the following message: "Dirk is unbelievable!"
THE BAD NEWS: Howard and Nowitzki combined for just 3 points in the final quarter, and nobody else took the initiative of stepping up and picking up the slack. The plus-minus totals for the Mavs' reserves pretty much sum up how bad the bench was:
-Jason Terry -- minus-16 in 30:56
-Brandon Bass -- minus-14 in 24:14
-Jerry Stackhouse -- minus-21 in 17:47
-DeSagana Diop -- minus-18 in 10:52
The bench must improve or else this season will be a LOOOOONG one.
THE GOOD NEWS: T-Mac was held to just 16 points on 3-10 shooting. Antoine Wright was given the starting job and his first assignment was to cover McGrady.
THE BAD NEWS: McGrady's bad game was not at all because of Wright's defense. Houston's coaching staff admitted after the game that McGrady's health status was at best 80 percent, and it showed throughout the game. T-Mac sat for the entire 4th quarter and watched his Rockets go on a 16-2 spurt without him. As for Antoine Wright, he was dreadful on offense (1-6 from the field) and a non-factor on defense. He only played 17 minutes, and most of the defensive matchup assignments throughout the game for T-Mac and Artest were done by Howard, Stackhouse, and Kidd. Rick Carlisle must get more production from his shooting guards. Wright showed everyone in the preseason that he is fully capable of being the elite stopper of this Dallas team, so hopefully this was just a bad game. We will see soon if Terry gets put back into the starting spot or if Gerald Green is given minutes.
THE GOOD NEWS: It is only one game. Everybody needs to take a deep breath and relax. The Mavs lost, but many parts of their game looked promising. Jason Terry said after the game, "We played well in stretches, we just didn’t sustain it to beat a good team. We’ll get there. We’re not there yet." Jet is exactly right, and Rick Carlisle will make sure that this team improves on the defensive end and on closing out the game. Keep in mind, 2 seasons ago when Dallas won 67 games, they began the season 0-4.
THE BAD NEWS: It is only one game. This could be a long season if the Mavs don't figure out how to play defense down the stretch and get to the basket. Closing out games has been the biggest headscratcher since the arrival of Jason Kidd, and the Western Conference is too good to be losing close games down the stretch. Let's see how the Mavs look tonight on the road against Minnesota.
Coming tomorrow: DallasDedicated will bring you the second edition of our running diary, but this time it will be of the Cowboys game against the New York Football Giants. Stay tuned! Also, next week we will discuss the Dallas Stars, who are having a rough start of their own.