Scouting the Mavericks: Mavs defense adapting, offense still searching

Scouting the MavsBriefing Session

The San Antonio Spurs (12-8) continue to look to improve their road record (2-7) as they walk into the home of the defending NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks today, after going cold in Minnesota on Friday.

The Spurs hold a 1-0 series lead thus far after stomping the Mavericks in San Antonio by 22-points on January 5, behind 17-points from Matt Bonner and 16-points from Richard Jefferson. The Spurs as a whole shot 16-of-33 from behind the arc in their first matchup against the Mavericks.

Case No. 21: Dallas Mavericks

Record: 12-8, Home: 8-3, Last 10 games: 7-3

Offense: The Mavericks average 93.1 points per game while shooting an average of 44% from the field.

Commendable areas for the Mavericks

Defense: As much as they’re currently struggling to put together a consistent offensive attack, the Mavericks’ defense that was key in helping the franchise win its first NBA title last season is still breathing in this adapting team. The Mavericks are ranked 4th in the NBA in holding their opponents to 89.8 points per game, and 42% shooting from the field. The Mavericks also get their hands in the passing lanes as they average 9.5 steals per game, ranked 3rd in the league. Their defensive rebounding is also strong with an average of 32.2 defensive rebounds per game (8th in the league).

Deficient area for the Mavericks

Hoisting the long ball: The Mavericks shoot a lot of threes, and don’t always connect on them. The Mavs are ranked 4th in the NBA with 21.7 three point attempts per game.

Mavericks Five Key Players

Dirk Nowitzki: 17.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 46% Field Goals (FG), 14.1 Field Goal Attempts (FGA)

Jason Eugene Terry: 14.1 points, 1.4 steals, 37% 3PT, 12.7 FGA, 5.7 3PT FGA

Shawn Marion: 12.2 points, 6 rebounds, 1.05 steals, 47% FG, 10.7 FGA

Vince Carter: 9.7 points, 7.9 FGA

Lamar Odom: 8.3 points, 8.2 FGA

Game Expectation

Dirk Nowitzki is questionable to play tonight and Jason Kidd isn’t expected to play either, after straining his right calf on Friday. If this were a home game, I’d say that the Spurs have the advantage in almost every position from the backcourt, to the wing, to the frontcourt. The problem is on the road; the Spurs become susceptible to areas where they normally excel in like shooting and turnovers.

Tony Parker will have his hands full defending speedy Frenchmen Rodrigue Beaubouis and tattoo heavy Delonte West. The two guards have been playing well for the Mavericks but Parker should also be able to dominate on offense if he decides to drive into the paint instead of settling for outside jumpers.

Tiago Splitter should continue to show improvement, as the Mavericks don’t have a shot blocker who averages more than one block per game with Tyson Chandler now in New York. Tim Duncan will also look to rebound after posting one of his worst shooting efforts, 2-of-12 on Friday, and only scoring nine points.

Expect a close battle in this one, as the Mavericks’ defense will prevent them from falling too far behind the Spurs’ offensive attack. The Spurs’ defense has looked better as of late in their last two road games, but fourth quarter turnovers and shooting have been the two areas where the team will need to make an improvement to get a win against the Mavericks tonight.

Paul Garcia

About Paul Garcia

Paul is a San Antonio Spurs credentialed media member for Project Spurs. He covered the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, TX, and the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals. Paul has been featured on WOAI, Fox 29, and numerous nationwide radio shows.

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