3-pointer: Shawn Marion for all-NBA defense?

January, 17, 2012
1/17/12
9:00
AM CT
LOS ANGELES -- Following Monday night's 73-70 loss at the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban took to his Twitter account.

No, not to rip the game's referees. Not to promote his e-book to commissioner David Stern. Cuban actually doesn't make many statements regarding his team or his players on Twitter, but he did on this night:

[+] EnlargeKobe Bryant
Gary A. Vasquez/US PresswireLost in the Mavericks' tough loss to the Lakers was the job that Shawn Marion did defending Kobe Bryant. Marion held Bryant to 14 points on 7-of-22 shooting. "I'm just trying to make it hard on him and make sure I kept a hand in his face," Marion said.
"Tough loss. Will someone tell me why @matrix31 (Shawn Marion) is not perennial all-NBA defense 1st team? He doesn't get respect he has earned"

A little later, Marion replied to Cuban on his Twitter account: "Thanks, man."

Marion certainly plays Bryant as tough as anyone in the league. Marion put the clamps on Bryant in the second-round playoff sweep and in the first meeting since the sweep, Marion did it again. Bryant came into Monday's game with four consecutive 40-point games -- while shooting better than 50 percent in that stretch -- and leading the league in scoring at 32 points a game.

Marion was in his jersey all night long. Bryant missed his first shot and didn't score his first bucket until the 4:41 mark of the second quarter. Marion actually got the assist. The Mavs forward grabbed one of his six offensive rebounds, but he couldn't hold back a pass back out top that went right to Bryant for an easy dunk.

That's all that came easy. Bryant finished with 14 points on 7-of-22 shooting.

"I'm just trying to make it hard on him and make sure I kept a hand in his face," Marion said. "I try to take away easy buckets."

Three more thoughts after a weird Lakers loss and before playing a new Clippers team:

1. Vince Carter was in pain: The veteran wing couldn't pressure on his left foot after he sprained it on the final play of Monday's 73-70 loss at the Lakers. That Carter was subbed in for Shawn Marion with 3.1 seconds to go and was given the opportunity to tie the game shows the confidence that coach Rick Carlisle has in him. Carter has been a valuable player off the bench and if he's sidelined for any period of time -- and he was on crutches -- then Rodrigue Beaubois is going to have to prove he can bring consistent play at both ends on a nightly basis.

2. Dirk's shrinking average: The Mavs' perennial MVP scored 21 points Monday night on 8-of-17 shooting, which wasn't bad considering he missed his first six shots. Nowitzki is now averaging just 17.9 points a game, his lowest since he averaged 17.5 points in the 1999-2000 season. Nowitzki went seven games without scoring more than 20 points, going back to Jan. 2.

3. Jason Kidd's shrinking shooting percentage: Monday was not a good night for the old point guard in his second game back from a bad back that kept him out of four in a row -- although coach Rick Carlisle said Kidd was ready to go Friday night, only to be held out for precautionary reasons on the first night of a back-to-back. But, back to Monday's loss at L.A., Kidd was 1-of-9 from the floor to drop him to 30.0 percent shooting from the floor. He missed all eight of his 3-point attempts and is now shooting just 30.2 percent from beyond the arc.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9