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November 11, 2008

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Well, I don't know that they were two minutes away from pulling it out. They had their chances, obviously, but the Lakers just have so many different bodies they can throw out on any given night that it is unreal. I don't like how people start crowning teams in November in the way experts have done with the Lakers, but they are off to a strong start that they can build on throughout the season.

As for the Mavs, despite the effort, they still came up short. I was encouraged by Green's toughness and attitude when he had to leave the game. He didn't want to leave the game even though he had a busted lip, and I like that kind of mentality. We need that to spread like a wildfire does over a dry grassland amongst this team. I was also glad we had a Jerry Stackhouse sighting for the first time this season. He hit some big shots, especially in the fourth, that kept the Mavs close when they were struggling down the stretch. And Kidd's play was great as always. And I think the next time the Mavs lock horns with the Lakers, Dirk will have a better outing. They locked down on him defensively, but they'll get him easier looks in LA later this month. Finally, it was good to see the Mavs D play with some energy. That is something they can definitely build on.

The one thing you can take out of any loss is what you need to work on. There aren't as many question marks after this game like all the others, and when you consider that Howard didn't play and other guys stepped up, that is a positive as well. Without a doubt, though, fourth quarter execution has been a factor in every game. The defense stepped up tonight in the closing minutes despite Gasol catching a gift under the basket on the Fisher miss. That said, they must be more consistent on both ends of the floor. Also, when the game does slow down, they settle for too many jumpers. While in the bonus down the stretch, they settled for far too many contested shots while Kobe was attacking the rim along with the LA bigs. Have to get to the line and score points while the clock is stopped, especially when you have as many good free throw shooters as the Mavs do.

All in all, the Mavs now have an idea of what it will take to compete with the elite teams out west. They have something to build on now. Hopefully Carlisle can use this game as a template to convince them that it'll take that kind of effort defensively to win consistently in today's NBA. Lets not give up on this team just yet. Way too early.

I'm not happy, but seeing as how I went into the arena fully expecting to watch my Mavs endure a public flogging I'm not nearly as mad as I could be. I was there for the Cavs game; I ran out of swear words.

The Lakers won by shutting down Dirk. That's how they've been winning, shutting down The Man (whoever he is). And the team still hung tough right until the very end. A loss is a loss, but two minutes away beats the hell out of two quarters away.

As to settling for jump shots . . . I haven't seen the video of the game so I might be talking out the butt here, but the Mavs were trying. Aren't you supposed to hear a whistle when some nut tries to body-check you into next week?

I'll buy that the 08-09 Mavs are a work in progress and will continue to improve. For now.
-BJ

Sorry for this "glass is half empty" scenario: Dirk will return with strong performances, but if we can't win with near "maximum efforts from most others which occur intermittently at best, and the "game of the year" from Dampier, lets "get real" about team expectations.We should just enjoy the game of basketball and great individual efforts from Mavs and opponents alike.

With the insignificant changes the Mavs made in the off season, stick a fork in them, they are done...Get used to the "we were this close" statements, because they will not beat very many teams in the upper echelon this season......Reason?....Because they don't play D-E-F-E-N-S-E! and they shoot far too many 3's. The same gameplan that has doomed them for the last two seasons....As Brooklum Bill said, "We should just enjoy the game of basketball and great individual efforts"..and dash all hopes of a Mavs team doing anything in the post season.

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