Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How The Mavs Can Get Back In The Series (maybe)

Long odds, yes. Probably not going to happen. But if the Mavs are to win three in a row against the Spurs they must:

1. Think defense, not offense. Everyone, including Rick Carlisle, is obsessed with getting offense on the floor. I say the Mavs offense is at it's best when they get stops and can run--when they play defense. So, Carlisle should be thinking about having his best defenders on the floor as much as possible. Less Terry and more Marion in the 4th quarter. Even think about Stevenson for a few minutes here and there to shut down a hot Spurs shooter. Good defense leads to transition offense which leads to a faster tempo.

2. Less JJ Barea, less Dampier, less zone defense, less small ball. Championship teams don't get away with playing 5'6 guards, bad centers, tricked up zones, or tricked up small ball. Be an NBA team.

3. Dirk must be more assertive. Catch and immediately shoot over the smaller defender, or catch and immediately drive around the larger defender. Don't dilly-dally. Don't triple pump fake. Don't wait for the double team to fluster you--fluster them!

4. Attack the rim! Good Lord, we've been saying this for a decade now. Good things happen when you attack the rim. The Mavs are the best free throw shooting team in the NBA--take advantage of it! Why won't Jason Kidd attack the rim? They are running him off the three point line, so why not take that big body into the paint and see what happens? Ginobili is not THAT much quicker than Kidd, yet he gets to the rim at will.

5. Be clutch. Biggest difference in these two teams so far. Parker, Ginobili, Hill--they are making their clutch shots. Dirk, Kidd, Butler, Terry--they are missing their clutch shots. It's about being mentally tough. Step up. Be clutch. The game will likely be in doubt in the final two minutes--it will again come down to poise.

Can all of this happen? A lot of it is up to Carlisle, so I don't know. A lot of it is up to the players to change bad habits, so I don't know. And if this is a lost locker room--if Marion and Butler are upset with their minutes, of if every player thinks the refs are out to get them, of if they doubt their teammates--then none of it matters.

We'll find out soon enough.

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