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Game 49/82: Mavericks (33-15) @ Celtics (37-11) Open Thread

 

UPDATE: Kendrick Perkins will make his first start of the year in place of Shaquille O’Neal who is out with a sore heel. In addition, Ray Allen confirmed before the game he will participate in the All-Star Weekend three-point shootout.

Dallas at Boston
8:00 P.M. ET
TD Garden
ESPN

Offensive Efficiency:

Boston: 105.8 points/100 possessions (11th)

Dallas: 106.2 points/100 possessions (10th)

Defensive Efficiency:

Boston: 97.7 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)

Dallas: 102.2 points allowed/100 possessions (9th)

Probable Dallas starters: Jason Kidd (PG), DeShawn Stevenson (SG), Brian Cardinal (SF, kindof), Dirk Werner Nowitzki (PF), Tyson Cleotis Chandler (C)

Injuries: Peja Stojakovic – OUT

View From The Opposing Bench: The Two Man Game

Should be a good one tonight, guys. The Celtics suit up for a revenge game tonight against Mark Cuban’s finest possession. Except Broadcast.com, of course. I’ve got Broadcast.com open in another browser window right now. Don’t remember the last day I didn’t check out Broadcast.com. But the Mavericks are pretty sweet too.

If you look at their respective stats, the Mavs are sort of the Western conceptual doppelgangers of your C’s. They play slow, they defend similar areas, they hit jumpers, and they are dismissive of offensive boards. Pass-first point guards, PFs who shoot long jumpers, defensively-oriented centers, pure shooting guards, and small forwards with versatile (although completely different) scoring abilities.

The Mavs are on a six game tear now that Nowitzki’s back and healthy, but the C’s just went 3-1 on a West Coast road trip and got a extra day to hang out in Sacramento. They should be totally fresh to pick things back up at home.

Let’s get to the preview, if you can tear yourself away from Broadcast.com for five seconds.

WHAT THE MAVERICKS DO WELL

What the Celtics do well, pretty much.

Dissuade the opposition from the rim. Teams only shoot 20 shots at the rim per game against the Mavs, 2nd least in the league to, duh, Orlando. For more on this, see Make Me Worry, Players That.

Hit the long two. Thanks pretty much to Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs are tops in the league from this range, well over the league average at 45 percent. The C’s are 4th. This is one area of strength for the Mavs that could be potentially injurious for the green team, because the Celtics, as you know, like to force teams into low-percentage shooting zones.

WHAT THE MAVERICKS DO POORLY

What the Celtics do poorly, more or less.

Offensive rebound. Let’s not go crazy here. Nobody’s anywhere near as bad as the Celtics at this. But the Mavericks are as close as anyone. They’ve started sending their bigs back on D like the C’s do, and Dirk has historically not expressed much interest in this facet of the game anyway.

Get to the stripe. Because they don’t really attempt any shots at the rim (their biggest conceptual separation point from Boston), they have the sixth-lowest FTR in the league. Boston is tenth-lowest. For both teams, this shortcoming is related to the fact that their power forwards like to shoot 20-footers rather than bang underneath. Shame, because the Mavs have some decent free throwers, including Tyson Chandler as of recently somehow.

PLAYERS THAT MAKE ME WORRY

Tyson Chandler. I took some doody in various circles earlier this season for touting Chandler as a potential All-Star. While he isn’t actually that, because the West is too loaded and his efficiency has tailed off and the Mavs aren’t so hot anymore, he’s a major factor in this game. He keeps guys away from the rim, and the Celtics go to the rim with greater frequency than any other team. He’s also another superstar among player bloggers. He makes me feel like NBA players and normal guys like me are not so different, after all.

Dirk Nowitzki. Speaking of All-Stars, lost in the (wrongheaded) anointing of Derrick Rose as league MVP at this point is the fact that, before his injury, Nowitzki might have been having his best season yet. On December 22nd, he was scoring more and shooting better than he did in his MVP season, and his defense is a scoche better than it was back then. We as fans need to be more conscious of Dirk as an all-time scorer and absolute Hall of Famer. He’s easily worthy on Points Scored and Children’s Hearts Destroyed alone.

By the way, LeBron is the MVP if the season ends today. I don’t like it any more than you do, but the truth is too important.

PLAYERS THAT DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY

Brendan Haywood. I like Brendan Haywood the guy, but Brendan Haywood the basketball player has been nothing short of horrible. He’s rebounding worse than he has in three years. He’s getting more of his shots blocked than ever in history. He’s shooting 35% from the line, and he gets there as much as anyone on his team. His post defense is inferior to Chandler’s and his pick-and-roll defense is inferior to everyone’s. He’s barely managing four points per game. His PER is four entire points lower than it was in 2007, his worst PER season prior to this terrible one. And he’s got a True Shooting Percentage of 51, which is pretty much unacceptable because his shooting range is nonexistent.

His vocal range, however:

WHAT WE WANT TO SEE

Dirk pull up for a go ahead jumper with 20 seconds to play, but this time he bricks it. Seriously, the Celtics win the last game if one shot falls differently, so let’s hope the presence of Kendrick Perkins forces that difference tonight.

PREDICTION

C’s 98, Mavs 92.

  • hdavenport

    So thankful to Mark Cuban for posting that broadcast.com video three weeks ago. I owe him everything for that.

    • hdavenport

      Oops again. That video's been up for over a year. Unbelievable that it's been up that long with only 156 views!

  • Cool Hand Luke

    I really, really, really doubt those are Dallas's efficiency numbers.

    Let's go Cs!

    • JP-

      I was thinking they seemed low for a good Mavs team. One other note, Dirk can't be the MVP, he plays no defense, doesn't rebound etc. What Rose is doing in Chicago is amazing, scoring, distributing the ball, playing slick defense, he is all over the place. I had the pleasure to see 2 Bulls games when I was in Chicago earlier in the year, and D. Rose is even more spectacular in person.

      • hdavenport

        I said LeBron was MVP, not Dirk! Just pointing out that Dirk is having an amazing year.

  • Batman

    While Dirk breaks kids' hearts (The bastard) Paul Pierce owns kids in style http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OLy3dNl2QA

    Also my prediction: Celtics 95, Mavs 91

  • kricky

    What the F*** happened to our D!!?

  • I_Love_Green

    Where that defense at?!?!?!

    • someguyinsac

      Still in Sac, since they had to spend an extra day here?

      • I_Love_Green

        Nevermind they found it! Guess it got a quick flight back from there.

        • someguyinsac

          Jet lags gone now!

  • Batman

    RAY STUFFING CHANDLER

  • Batman

    Come on Rondo!!! AHHHHH

  • kricky

    That was like 10 straight trips without a basket. Uggggh! I'm really glad we don't see them again this year.

  • WTF

    This game was lost because of Rondo, first he didn't stick to Terry and caused the C's defense to scramble that led to Kidd's 3 ball; second, how did he overthrew an inbound?

    • Steven

      He overthrows a lot of alley-oops. It was not the first time. Garnett was open too.

    • Zee

      Rondo isn't why we lost the game. See my comment below.

  • someguyinsac

    Wah!

  • Steven

    I hate, hate the Rondo-Garnett set where everyone else is bunched up on the other side. They ran it 4 straight times down the stretch and about 6 out of 8 possessions and the only made shots were a Ray Allen three and a Perkins tip-in. It never works but they go to it all the time. I don't even understand the logic of it. Why have their two best shooters and scorers in Pierce and Allen hardly involved? And the thing about the Rondo and Garnett set late is that teams are happy to switch and let Rondo shoot. It's not effective.

    Why not have Ray run off screens? They didn't do that once down the stretch, not once. Why not post PIerce up? He had Terry on him and they did even try to work that matchup. Why not post up Garnett? Giving the ball to Rondo all the time doesn't work.

    • Steven

      Other possible sets: Rondo and Pierce screen and roll. Flashing Garnett into the middle to make use of his passing ability. Anything else but running the same damn set time after time. It's boring and ineffective. I just hate watching them sometimes.

  • ElRoz

    They lost the same way they lost in Dallas – a 5-6 point lead in the fianl 3-2 minutes…then Dallas scores a bunch of un-answered points….the same way as in Dallas – and neither Doc nor the rest of the team have done anything better this time around.

    You fail to score on your last 6-7 possessions of a close game – you got problems.
    Same as last time – i.e. no progress.

    I would not worry too much about Dallas – if Boston saw them in the fianls, I'd be happy but is Boston going to get to the fianls dropping games this way?

    Well, the firts test is a loss. Orlando, Lakers, and Miami coming in soon….Boston might actually be lucky to split this stretch, seeing how they played this game.

    • Zee

      Lets not overreact people. :) It was a good game and we could've won. We lost. It's okay. On to the next one.

      • kricky

        You're right. But the last 7 possessions are cause for some anxiety, no? Also the way the D just sucked in the first half. Let's hope they bounce back Sunday.

  • Stephen

    This one really pissed me off. You talk about lack of execution down the stretch. How in the hell did Rondo miss KG–he was wide open.Can't be throwing away games like this.

  • Zee

    Say what you will, but Jason Kidd's 3-pointer isn't what lost the game for us. We cost ourselves the game when we had the ball in our possession and Ray Allen shot a 3-pointer and missed, instead of us setting up a play and going for the easy 2. That would've put us up ahead by 4 and given us a nice cushion. We didn't score any longer after that attempt.

  • I_Love_Green

    What the fuck I hate the Mavs. Getting 2 bullshit lucky wins against us this year. I really hope they make the finals so we can smack the shit out of them. They're just a soft team, getting lucky against us. God this loss pisses me off.

  • I_Love_Green

    Oh and Kidd traveled when he did that pump fake on Ray. He brought his pivot foot up, which was easy for me to see in real time, I'm not sure how a ref right there could miss it.

    Also, why is ESPN's screen so small today?

    • Rav

      The "lifting of pivot foot" is almost never called in the NBA. Every player does it on more than half their possessions where they try to do something from the triple-threat position. I saw it so many times that I thought it was legal and maybe I was taught wrong.

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