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 Mavs adjusting to physical play

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Posts : 54
Join date : 2008-01-21

PostSubject: Mavs adjusting to physical play   Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:16 pm

Quote :
Dallas Mavericks will dial it up vs. quality opponents
12:07 AM CST on Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Mavs occasionally dumfound us with their play against some of the NBA's scrubs.

Seriously, is there any reason the Mavs should have losses against Milwaukee, Atlanta and Sacramento this season? Of course not.

But they do.

The Mavs, however, showed us once again that when they're focused and interested, they remain one of the league's elite teams. So we shouldn't have really been surprised they turned in an impressive performance against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.

Now, it wasn't an aesthetically pleasing game not with the teams combining for 59 fouls. It was more of a physical, bump-and-grind affair, but it was the type of rugged game the Mavs will have to win to ultimately advance in the playoffs.

The Mavs beat the Lakers, 112-105, despite Jerry Stackhouse missing the game with a strained hamstring. Los Angeles was missing center Andrew Bynum, a rapidly developing star, and Trevor Ariza, so it was at a bigger disadvantage than the Mavs.

It took some time but the Mavs finally pulled away from Los Angeles with an efficient all-around performance from several players and a strong defensive effort by Trent Hassell and Eddie Jones on Kobe Bryant in the third quarter to turn a one-point halftime lead into a 17-point advantage entering the fourth quarter.

The victory pushed the Mavs' record to 19-3 against the Western Conference, including 13-1 at home.

Hindsight says Avery Johnson pushed the Mavs too hard last season, demanding supreme effort every night whether Dallas was playing a great team or a bunch of busters.

The Mavs whipped up on the dregs of the league and the Eastern Conference on their way to a franchise-record 67 wins with Johnson cajoling and wheedling a top-flight performance from his team every game.

In the end, the Mavs had nothing left to give when confronted by Golden State in the first round. We all know the humiliation that followed.

Johnson learned from it.

While he will never accept losing, he does understand his players can't physically give their maximum effort every night during an 82-game season and still play their best basketball in the playoffs.

So he grudgingly accepts some losses against bad teams, while using matchups against the league's best teams to obtain an accurate gauge on where the Mavericks rank in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

"You want to play everybody at a high level," said Johnson, "but we were up for this game. I could tell in shoot-around. We didn't have a great second and fourth quarter, but the guys battled through adversity. I liked their focus."

Against the Lakers, Johnson also had to like the way Dirk Nowitzki showed confidence in an array of low-post moves and drives to the basket that resulted in a 26-point night.

But he liked Nowitzki's halftime speech to his teammates, challenging them to play better, even more. The Mavs need Nowitzki to be more of a leader, and he's starting to show signs he can do that.

And Johnson had to like the way Devin Harris shrugged off a turned ankle in the first half to attack the basket on an array of drives to score 16 second-half points. And he had to like Josh Howard's all-around game that resulted in 26 points and 10 rebounds and Brandon Bass' efficient night (10 points and five rebounds in 18 minutes).

And when the Lakers made a run that sliced the Mavs' lead to five points midway through the fourth quarter, Johnson liked the Mavs' ability to fight through it and make just enough plays to hold on for a victory.

This team still has plenty of work to do, which will also make Johnson happy. You must understand Johnson still hasn't had a long stretch with his entire team together, so he can determine exactly what roles his top nine players will fill.

Seemingly, every time one of his role players comes back, whether it's Jones or Devean George, then someone like Stackhouse has to sit out a few games with an injury.

None of these bumps or bruises or strains are serious just annoying but they keep the Mavs from finding that little bit of continuity to make Johnson comfortable.

Maybe, that's good for Dallas.

The Mavs certainly won't have an opportunity to coast into the playoffs this year. They will have to play good basketball in the final month just to secure home-court advantage in the first round. Then, perhaps they will keep doing it once the playoffs start.
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PostSubject: Re: Mavs adjusting to physical play   Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:23 pm

can't be worse than the 1st round last year
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PostSubject: Re: Mavs adjusting to physical play   Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:26 pm

I think all fans have been critical of avery and his style this year, but when its all said and done people will be happier when the season is over this year than last.
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PostSubject: Re: Mavs adjusting to physical play   Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:30 pm

he just called charlotte a scrub team, maybe try beating us first?
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PostSubject: Re: Mavs adjusting to physical play   Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:34 pm

always tryin to be the spurs...
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