Breaking down Mavs' final preseason game
By Chris Schneider
The Dallas Mavericks wrapped up their preseason Friday night with a 99-82 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. The win upped their preseason record to 4-4. The regular season begins Tuesday night against the Lakers in Los Angeles.
There was some good and some bad that came out of Friday's win.
Good: Eddy Curry resembled an NBA player on the court. He played 25 and a half minutes, going 4-8 from the floor, 3-4 from the line, and hauling in seven rebounds. He said after the game that wind wasn't a problem, but the tops of his knees were red from all the bending over he was doing in the second half.
Bad: Eddy Curry will likely be the Mavericks starting center on Tuesday night against the Lakers. If Byron Mullens can grab 19 rebounds against the Mavs, how many do you think Dwight Howard will have?
Good: Shawn Marion is no longer "The Matrix 4: Older and Slower" – but is now "The Matrix 5: Reloaded Again". He led the team with 24 points on 10-15 shooting. He also led the team with 12 rebounds, and recorded three blocked shots. Head Coach Rick Carlisle said he and Vince Carter have quietly assumed the leadership of this team in the absence of Dirk Nowitzki. "They're not big yappers about being leaders", he said, "They just go out and do it."
Bad: This team is relying on Shawn Marion to pick up the offensive slack in the absence of one of the game's all-time great scorers.
Good: O.J. Mayo was one assist shy of a triple-double. He scored 13 points, grabbed 10 boards, and dished out nine assists. He added two steals and a block in just under 29 minutes of play. Carlisle said of Mayo, "if all of our guys played as hard as he did tonight, we'll compete this year."
Bad: Mayo made more than his share of bad decisions as well. His 13 points came on 4-15 shooting, including 2-8 from outside the 3-point line. And as far as the near triple-double goes, as one reporter put it, "is there anything more meaningless than a preseason triple-double?"
Good: Darren Collison played a solid game, scoring 12 points on 5-9 shooting, dishing 6 assists and managing the game throughout. Carlisle lauded his point guard's play, saying he was much more in control tonight.
Bad: When asked if he could comment on the backup play from the point guard position, Carlisle said, "I could … if there was any." Rodrigue Beaubois is still bothered by a gimpy ankle. He was held scoreless in 16 minutes of play. Jared Cunningham went 1-7 in 4th quarter garbage time. Dominique Jones was a DNP-CD. If West does not return to the team, expect Jones to chip in at point guard some early in the season.
Good: Vince Carter hit two big baskets down the stretch to help ensure the victory. Carlisle says he will be a big part of games in the 4th quarter this season. Carter finished with 10 points in 22 minutes of play, and seems locked into the Jet Terry role of 6th man/closer on this team.
Bad: With a capital B. With one minute to play, Jae Crowder pulled his hamstring going up for a dunk on a fast break. He will be evaluated over the weekend. If it's serious, he will join Dirk Nowitzki (knee surgery), Chris Kaman (strained calf), and Brandan Wright (sprained ankle) as either questionable or out for Tuesday's game against the Lakers.
Good: Just so we can end on a positive note. The Lakers went 0-8 this preseason, and provided not one hint of being able to play together as a team with Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant together on the court. Bryant (bruised foot) is questionable for Tuesday's opener.