Tuesday, February 21, 2012
3-pointer: Defense gets cranked back up
By Tim MacMahon and Jeff Caplan
DALLAS – The Mavericks take defense so seriously these days that they consider it an embarrassment to allow 100 points in a game.
The Mavs took their frustrations out from Sunday's loss on the Boston Celtics leftovers the Monday night, cruising to a double-digit win despite an off night offensively.
“Coming off a loss, we definitely took this one the right way,” Dirk Nowitzki said after the Mavs’ 89-73 win. “We competed the right way.”
The Mavs competed like they expect to every game. That’s the standard for a team that allows the lowest field-goal percentage in the league.
“Our identity this year is that we’re a defensive team,” coach Rick Carlisle said.
If you don’t believe it, just ask Jason Terry, who has overcome his career-long defensive allergies the last two seasons.
“It’s all about your foundation,” Terry said. “When Rick Carlisle became coach, he emphasized defense from day one. He put up the numbers of the past teams that have won championships, and they were all in the top five in the defensive categories. We set that as a goal from day one, and I think we’ve been able to, for the most part, maintain it. This year, we’ve taken it obviously to another level and regardless of personnel.”
A few more notes from the Mavs’ win:
1. Who's next on Dirk's hit list?: Dirk Nowitzki is now No. 20 on the all-time scoring list. He started the season at No. 24 and has passed Elgin Baylor, Adrian Dantley and on Monday night Robert Parish. Nowitzki has 23,354 career points. Only two active players are ahead of Nowitzki, No. 5 Kobe Bryant (28,767, before Monday's game) and No. 19 Kevin Garnett (23,719). Interestingly, No. 18 on the all-time list is none other Charles Barkley (23,757). Say Dirk averages about 20 points a game, he should pass his biggest fan in about 20 games.
2. What's up with Ian?: The Mavs' second-string center might come in after starter Brendan Haywood on most nights, but his minutes suggest he has become the the third-stringer behind Brandan Wright. Mahinmi got the first nod Monday night, but upon entering the game, he tried to make a move on the baseline, but he slipped and fell out of bounds. His night didn't get much better. He finished 11 minutes of playing time -- three in garbage time -- with one point, two rebounds and two turnovers. Meanwhile, Wright bounced back from a rare off-game Sunday with nine points on 4-of-7 and five rebounds.
3. When to expect Rodrigue Beaubois?: The third-year guard remains with his family in Guadeloupe following the unexpected death of his father last Wednesday. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said he has been texting with Beaubois and that the 23-year-old brother to two older sisters is doing OK. Carlisle said he believes Beaubois will return to Dallas during the All-Star break, get a few workouts in and look to return to action when the season resumes in a week.