Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Defensive rebounding continues as major flaw
By Jeff Caplan
The Mavericks continue to struggle to keep big teams off the offensive backboards and those problems can be directly tied to Sunday's overtime loss to the Lakers and Monday's triple-overtime defeat at Utah.
Just look at the numbers. Against the Lakers and Jazz, Dallas was outrebounded on the offensive glass 29-13 and outscored on second-chance points 31-18. The Mavs lost the two games by a total of six points.
"We were playing with smaller lineups a lot of the night [at Utah] so you're going to be up against it to some degree," coach Rick Carlisle said Monday. "I’d like to outrebound every team. It just doesn’t happen every time."
The Mavs were smaller -- to a degree -- at the end of regulation against the Jazz with 7-foot, 263-pound center Brendan Haywood on the bench. The 6-foot-11, 230-pound Ian Mahinmi was at center with 7-foot Dirk Nowitzki at power forward and Vince Carter at small forward. Dallas led 89-87 with Utah playing to tie on its last possession. Jason Kidd forced Gordon Hayward into a difficult, off-balance shot from the baseline as the clock ticked under five seconds.
What happened next took a comeback win out of the Mavs' hands and led to three overtimes and an eventual Jazz victory.
"Ian helped, which he probably shouldn’t have since Kidd rolled Hayward out pretty good," Nowitzki said. "So then he [Hayward] missed a shot, so then I had [Al] Jefferson and [Paul] Millsap coming at me and I decided to go for Jefferson who was coming high in the lane, and the ball bounced straight to the baseline. That’s where Millsap came. Like I said, we helped and then it was 2-on-1 on the boards and they made us pay."
Millsap, who combined with Jefferson for nine of the Jazz's 14 offensive boards, swooped in from the baseline and slammed in the game-tying basket to force overtime. Jefferson, who tied a career-high with 26 rebounds, nearly won it in the first OT when he snared an offensive board with less than a second to go, but missed the 2-foot tip.
And then there was little-known DeMarre Carroll in the final overtime soaring in and swiping Jefferson's missed jumper with 33.9 seconds to go and the Jazz up by two. The second chance ate up 19 seconds before Millsap got to the free throw line. He made one of two for a three-point lead with 14.9 seconds left.
"We had our chances," Nowitzki said. "If we get that one rebound in regulation the game's over."