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Registration Date: 11-12-2019
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Local Time: 01-21-2021 at 01:39 PM

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A Few Thoughts on Knicks 106, Mavs 103 27
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A Few Thoughts on Knicks 106, Mavs 103 Dallas Mavericks and the NBA
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Well, that was embarrassing.

How did the Mavs manage to lose this game to the worst team in the NBA, for the second time in 10 days?

1.  Abysmal three-point shooting 

     8-36, including KP 1-5, SC 0-4, LD 3-12, THJ 2-7

     Combination of poor shot selection and statistical outlier. 

2.  Mediocre free-throw shooting. 

     8 missed free throws, 74%

     OTOH, Mavs were very good at getting to the line, earning 31 attempts. Especially noteworthy were 10-13 from Luka        and 5-5 from KP. Free throws essentially kept the Mavs in the game. Four more makes would have been the difference. 

3.  Subpar rebounding. 

     Mavs out rebounded 44-53, and gave up 15 offensive boards. 

4.  Issues with game management and execution. We'll focus on the fourth quarter. 

     The teams entered the fourth tied at 87-87.  

     Luka and KP sat for over six minutes at the start of the final frame. One could disagree with this decision, and it wasn't what I would have done (barring unknown circumstances), but I'm giving Rick a pass on this one. Coaches have to be able to make decisions on playing time, and this one was not outlandish. Also, the bench kept the team in the game. When Luka was subbed back in at 5:53, the score was 95-94 Mavs. 

     Let's take a look at the rest of the possessions, as many of the Mavs' issues have come in the clutch this season. 

5:41  MM missed three.
        Boban called for a charge.  Mavs TO. KP and Powell come in. 

5:00  Barrett layup off an offensive rebound. 95-96
         Luka live ball TO off Dotson steal. 

4:38   Knicks TO on Robinson charge. 
          Luka live ball TO off Ntlikina steal. That is three turnovers in a row.

4:23   That turnover resulted in a jump ball. Knicks gain possession, and MM hits a three.  95-99
         Luka missed three. 

3:37  FN missed jump shot. 
        After a couple of out-of-bounds plays, Powell oop from Luka.   97-99

2:59  MM missed shot, Knicks OR, MM misses another shot.
        Wright reverse layup from Luka.  Game tied at 99-99.

2:11  MM misses layup. 
         Luka missed three. 

1:32  Randle makes layup.  99-101
        KP misses jump shot. Somewhat curious why a KP post up was the effort here. Seems like something they might put in a "Bad Idea" Jeans commercial, but whatevs. 

0:48  DSJ missed shot.
         THJ missed three, Seth OR and putback. Yay!!!  Game tied at 101-101.

0:27  Barrett missed layup, Knicks OR, jump ball, Knicks gain possession, MM three. Aaaargh. What a cluster.    101-104
0:06  Mavs have a three-point deficit, no timeouts, a foul to give. Luka goes for a layup. This one really confused me. Not sure if he thought he could draw a foul, if that was a coached play, or if it was just a desperate attempt to salvage something from a broken play that looked like it was intended to result in a Luka three. Maybe by the time this is read, we will have a little more info. A headscratcher.  103-104

0:04  Knicks make 2 free throws off intentional fouls. 103-106

0:02  Long pass to Seth, who airballs a tightly contested three (which he had to take).

FT.  Mavs lose 103-106.

A lot went wrong in this clutch stretch. Three turnovers, resulting in three Knicks points off turnovers. Three Knicks offensive rebounds, resulting in 5 second chance points. Four missed threes. Only eight points in almost six minutes. At least a couple of questionable plays. And still, the game was tied until the last 13 seconds. Did not execute like a contending team, and indeed, they aren't there yet. 

Bigger picture. A lot of young team type issues. This should improve, probably a lot, as the season wears on, although that may not be reflected in W-L record, as there are a lot of good teams out there. I know I will get flamed for this, but this team may have set expectations a little too high with their early successes. Tbh, on paper, the roster, aside from Luka and KP, is pretty barf-worthy for a contender. Not that these guys aren't good basketball players -- they're very good -- but they're just (necessarily) being asked to do too much relative to their capacities. I would be surprised if many of these players are still on the team in a couple of seasons, and if they are, I think it will be for a good reason (they performed above expectations) rather than a bad one (the Mavs couldn't find anyone better). I think, although the Mavs are definitely trying to win this season and contend for a playoff spot, their numero uno objective is to mold the squad into a Carlisle team, even if it means sacrificing a few Ws. 

On the Bright Side. Luka -- OMG. Yet another triple double, with 33 points, 10 boards, and 11 dimes. What a tremendous privilege to watch this youngster! Also, the Mavs are 6-5, but have been right there in almost every game. When they learn to finish a little better, they should scare some teams. Finally, although this was a mortifying loss, considering the circumstances, the game itself was highly entertaining, so at least that. 

Random observations. The Knicks treated KP very rudely, booing him and yelling crude chants at him at every opportunity. He seemed to take it in stride. Secondly, I don't get how TNT permits Reggie Miller to pronounce Luka's name "Donkitch" for almost the entire game. Grrr. 

Next. Mavs play the Raps on Saturday.

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