ID check: Not pretty, but effective
I thought Rick Carlisle had an interesting take in the postgame presser with the assessment that this team is surviving. Perhaps that’s exactly what they are – survivors.
Let’s face it – a lot of these wins have by no means been pretty, but they are wins. For all the complaining and hand wringing over not putting opponents away early and snuffing the fight out of 'em, the Mavs are still sitting at a pretty salty 13-5 mark.
That record will play.
Fans, players, especially coaches – nobody likes excuses. But the Mavericks find themselves in the odd position of defending their wins. If you lose a game and talk about the injuries you’re enduring, you get beat up for dropping a lame excuse. But are injuries a good excuse for not winning in a convincing fashion?
Case in point – the Mavericks went into the fourth quarter against the 76ers up 78-72 but were already at an 11-board deficit with 12 minutes to go. So what does Carlisle decide to do for the majority of the fourth quarter? Roll with a three-guard lineup and fall back into a 2-3 zone against a big Philly lineup that amplified the mauling of the Mavs on the glass to the tune of 18-6 in the final frame.
Is that the ideal scenario the Mavericks front office and coaching staff envisioned heading into the season? Of course not.
But that dream scenario wasn’t available with Josh Howard and Quinton Ross in street clothes, Shawn Marion hobbled with a bum ankle that stiffens up on him, Tim Thomas several hours removed from a trip to the chiropractor and Erick Dampier available for limited minutes on his first night back after missing the past two weeks.
So the Mavs went small – very small - and survived. Carlisle wanted the play-making ability that Barea provides, and JJ rewarded him eight eight points, two assists and a little vintage old-school styled moxie in the fourth. And it got the job done.
Was it pretty? No.
Did they survive? Yes.
So we wait to see the eventual identity of a team that, once healthy, will be versatile, long, athletic, deep, seasoned and aggressive. For now, we’ll have to settle for a band of survivors grinding their way to 13-5 and first place in their division.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.