11.01.2017 – Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Clippers

1st Quarter

  • Ah, there’s excitement in the air as Dallas plays its first (of hopefully very few) national TV game. That said, this is definitely the Clip Show. Outside of scouting DSJ and the pleasure of watching a Dirk jumper, there isn’t much Dallas is doing right now to warrant an audience this big.
  • After a few games of sleuthing in the background, DSJ comes out like a heat seeking missile to let the world know he’s arrived. Very early he beats his man on a screen and tries to scale Mt. DeAndre Jordan and gets a call. One of the most intimidating rim protectors in the league, it was cool to see DSJ have some success while ripping off that bandaid.
  • DSJ gets a wide open lane and throws down an absolutely narsty dunk. For the moment, the decision to move Dirk back to center seems to be paying dividends; Jordan isn’t a terrible defensive assignment, and on offense Jordan is forced to play near the perimeter, which shakes up the foundation of the Clippers’ defense.
  • Mark Jones mentions DSJ’s alley oop to open the season, which, sadly, was probably the last Maverick moment of note for most people.
  • Barnes again finds himself guarding a player much bigger and better than him as he draws the Griffin assignment. I think it took Blake a bit to realize that he was only doing Dallas a favor by settling for a perimeter game (granted he was hitting shots, it really didn’t matter), but by the end of the quarter he was barreling over Barnes and getting easy layups. Gasol seemed hesitant to just post Barnes up at first also; I think it just takes a few possessions for them to realize that it isn’t a mistake.
  • I’m thankful that DSJ didn’t have to go through the Beverly Baptism. Guess that was just for Lonzo.
  • Interesting that Klebur makes a first quarter appearance ahead of Powell. I thought it may be due to injury, but Powell sees the floor after the break. At the rate Klebur is taking over, he’s definitely going to be at least third-team All NBA by the end of the season.

2nd Quarter

  • Dallas goes to their don’t-move-Dirk zone defense, which gets immediately abused. Ball screens are freeing up drives, and when Dirk is forced to help his man is both wide open and DeAndre Jordan, who isn’t going to be stopped from dunking by a forty year old.
  • I don’t know if it is due to some low-key roster moves, or Chris Paul’s departure finally took the foot off the brake, but the Clippers are now athletic, fast, and love to run. Lou Williams’ aggression was particularly palpable; seems like he got a taste of Houston’s “don’t think just attack” style and brought it back with him. Dallas had a bad game offensively, and all those misses and turnovers were just turning into break after break and the Mavs couldn’t keep up. I was genuinely getting annoyed at how little half-court offense I was getting to see from LA, just as somebody interested to see what sets they’re running.
  • DSJ has the whole “getting to the rim” thing down, he just needs to work on what to do when he gets there. He’s avoiding contact, and while he’s still getting decent shots off, I feel like he’ll be at his best when he actually absorbs and uses it. That should come with more reps and strength, though it would be nice if he had a high level interior defender to go at in practice.
  • It’s hard to stay invested when Austin Rivers is taking your team apart.

3rd Quarter

  • DSJ is always a point of focus on our local broadcasts, but it was interesting to hear that he’s really the only point of focus for the Jackson Two calling the game. I get it, but it is still jarring to have it made so clear that there isn’t much to get excited about outside of your rookie who hasn’t even played enough minutes to make it through the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
  • Dirk went from hiding on Jordan to getting exposed by him. It seems like every possession boiled down to the Clips finding a good pass to Jordan who just hits a point blank shot.
  • Most of those good passes are being initiated by Rivers, who is officially having an Austin Rivers game on Dallas. He may be in the league thanks to papa GM, but he’s a big dude and knows how to play NBA basketball. Watching your team allow an Austin Rivers game is infuriating, I’m not sure if there’s a player that would inspire more self-loathing just by going off (Tony Allen? Tristan Thompson? Drummond? Kyle Anderson? Maybe Roberson, though I’m not sure there’s ever been an Andre Roberson game).
  • It seems like a common theme of DSJ’s poorer play is his penchant for overthinking. When the lane closes he’ll just stop the ball to look for the pass instead of escaping pressure, and there’s been a healthy diet of open threes that he’s passed up because he wasn’t sure he should be shooting. I’d much rather see overthinking than underthinking, and I love the instinct to avoid taking bad shots. He just needs to get used to being prepared for taking whatever the defense is giving at these decision points (which come fast and furious in Carlisle’s offense).

4th Quarter

It’s a blowout, Austin Rivers just owned my team, and I have a day job, I’m calling it. I’ll be back to describe the high comedy of watching us try to defend Anthony Davis and Boogie.

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