The Mavs’ futility in the fourth quarter reminded Rick Carlisle of one of his favorite sayings from a former boss.
“It’s making work out of sex,” Carlisle said, attributing the line to longtime NBA coach Bill Fitch.
Yes, the Mavs should have been able to kick back and enjoy themselves after taking a 20-point lead into the fourth quarter Friday night at Portland’s Rose Garden. But they got sloppy, committing eight turnovers in the final frame, and had to sweat down the stretch of a 97-94 win.
“I liked our intensity and our effort the majority of the night, but we made so many judgment errors that we can’t make going forward,” Carlisle said. “That’s an adjustment that we have to make.”
It looked a lot like the Mavs’ performance in the previous night’s win over the Warriors. The Mavs led Golden State by as many as 24 points in that game, but the Warriors got within three at one point in the fourth quarter.
So you can’t simply shrug off the sloppiness by pointing out that steady-handed floor general Jason Kidd was wearing a suit on the Mavs’ bench. Kidd played against Golden State, although the preference would have been to let him sit out the fourth quarter. To Carlisle’s credit, he didn’t make any excuses. But he also didn’t offer any apologies for winning ugly.
“We survived it,” Carlisle said. “That’s good news.”
Added Shawn Marion: “Right now, you just have to pile up Ws. I don’t care how you get them.”
A few more items from the Mavs’ closer-than-it-shoulda-been win over the Trail Blazers:
1. Changing of the center?: Brendan Haywood remains the Mavs’ starting big man, but his role has been greatly reduced recently. Brandan Wright has gotten most of the minutes at center the last four games.
It was an especially stark contrast against the Blazers, when Wright played 27 minutes and Haywood played only eight. Haywood’s only other single-digit-minute outing this season occurred when he sprained his knee in the opening minute of a loss to Oklahoma City.
Wright is earning his minutes, averaging 13.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in the last four games. However, it isn’t as if Haywood is playing poorly, especially Friday night against Portland. He had four rebounds and two blocks in those eight minutes, and the Mavs had a 10-point advantage with him on the floor.
It’s a safe bet that Haywood will get a much bigger share of the minutes Sunday when the Mavs have to match up against Lakers low-post monster Andrew Bynum.
2. Workhorse West: The Mavs had to rely on Delonte West even more than they expected with Jason Kidd’s scheduled night of rest. Rodrigue Beaubois strained right calf in the second half. As a result, West played 44 minutes, producing a 21-points, seven-assist, six-rebound, three-steal line. OK, so West also had six turnovers, but there’s no doubt the dude came through when the Mavs needed him.
“Delonte is a money player,” Carlisle said.
3. ET (No J): Jason Terry has averaged one of two absolutely awful shooting performances per month this season. The Mavs can hope that this was it for April. Terry, who had been shooting well since his 1-of-10 stinker March 29 in Miami, was 3-of-16 from the floor Friday.