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Month: November 2008 (page 1 of 2)

Marion vs. Julius, Part 9

The Cowboys and Seahawks both welcomed back their regular starting quarterbacks, with the hopes that the offenses would get back on track. One team did, the other, not so much.

Tony Romo’s return to Cowboys allowed Marion Barber to be more of a threat running the ball and did it ever show. Barber finished the game with 114 yards on 24 carries with 1 touchdown and added 39 yards on 6 receptions. Barber’s running was crucial late in the game against the Redskins as he was able to lead the way in grinding out the clock for a 14-10 victory in Washington.

Meanwhile, in Seattle, Matt Hasselbeck returned to the Seahawks, but the results weren’t quite the same as they lost to the Cardinals 26-20. Julius Jones had another day to forget as he rushed 10 times for just 19 yards, caught a pass that was good for -5 yards and lost his first fumble of the season. For the Seahawks’ sake, hopefully Jones is able to work out whatever issues he is having in the offense.

This Sunday, the Cowboys are at home for a high-noon showdown with the 49ers while the Seahawks host the Redskins.

Stats through Week 11
Marion Barber rushing: 196 carries, 779 yards, 6 TDs
Julius Jones rushing: 139 carries, 616 yards, 2 TDs

Marion Barber receiving: 39 catches, 303 yards, 2 TD
Julius Jones receiving: 14 catches, 66 yards, 0 TDs

Fumbles
Marion Barber: 6 (2 lost)
Julius Jones: 2 (1 lost)

Info gathered from Yahoo! Sports

Mavs Winning Streak!!!

Yes, 3 wins in a row is a winning streak. Although the first two may have seemed like gimmes against the Knicks and Bobcats, Dallas traveled to Houston and beat the best team defense on their own court. Sure the Rockets were without Yao Ming and have an ailing Ron Artest and Tracy McGrady (of course) but a win is a win. And a streak is a streak. And like Kevin Costner said in Bull Durham ‘You don’t f*** with a winning streak.’

Another well managed game by Rick Carlisle kept Dallas playing smart and up-tempo basketball throughout. Dallas wasn’t running at every opportunity, but his style is showing through by limiting those one-touch-and-shoot possessions. It seems the team is understanding that when they run their plays, manage the game, play team defense, and stay positive that they are capable of winning.

With Yao Ming out of the game and TMac limping Houston didn’t have a go-to-guy. Ron Artest was effective on the boards but never got into offensive rhythm, thanks mostly to Shawne Williams defense. Williams was only 2 for 11 from the field but played 31 mins because of how he was playing Houston’s biggest threat. Artest, hobbled by a bad ankle, couldn’t separate from the quick Williams who stayed in front of him and contested every shot. Houston had few others to rely on as Alston, Brooks, and Scola couldn’t score more than 16 pts a piece. The only other shooter on the roster, Brent Barry, was 0 for 6.

On the offensive end Dallas turned to Jason Terry off the bench to carry the team. With 31 pts 4 assists and 3 steals Terry put the team on his back and gave the Mavericks what they needed when they needed it. Adding Kidd’s 7 assists and Dirk’s 24 pts including 9-9 from the charity stripe Dallas marched on to victory.

Rick Carlisle’s group is really starting to show their mettle. The younger players are able to contribute not only consistent minutes, but quality minutes. As Jason Terry ensured points were going on the board Brandon Bass and Shawne Williams kept Luis Scola and Ron Artest at bay in the 4th quarter. It is clear that play on both ends of the court is expected from all players. In an important game for Dallas their method remained unchanged – under 40 mins for Dirk, Terry, and Kidd while no one played less than 14 minutes. This isn’t just team play, it’s team growth.

I have to admit this is a vast improvement over Avery Johnson’s methodology. If you remember the 06-07 season Johnson relied completely on one-on-one matchups and a slow pace to win games. That play did not prepare the Mavericks for the quick pace small-ball they faced in the 1st round of the playoffs against Golden State. In addition the players that needed minutes the most didn’t get them while older NBA standards Jerry Stackhouse, Devean George, and Austin Croshere played crunch time. Even in games that were blowouts. It was nonsensical to have players with years of experience play over younger talent that you needed to evaluate, and you can only really evaluate players in game situations (see Jermaine ONeal or even DeSagana Diop). The 06-07 team was touted for having a deep bench, but it was hardly used (in terms of minutes, not overall age).

Head coach Rick Carlisle has changed that and is developing these no-names. He got Shawne Williams from the Pacers in the off-season because he knew his potential. The same goes for Singleton and Green. These are trees that he thinks can bear fruit, and he’s going to give them time to do so. When you have two future Hall of Famers in Kidd and Nowitzki, an All-Star in Howard, and a proven shooter in Terry you have that opportunity and can still win games.

Let’s hope all that talent ripens come playoff time.

Mavs Win Two in a Row

The Mavericks won their second game in a row by overwhelming advantage of talent emphasized by the Bobcats being without Jason Richardson (day-to-day with an ankle injury). Charlotte, without an inside presence, was dominated inside losing the rebounding battle 50 to 34. Erick Dampier played less than 20 mins still pulled down 11 rebounds and had 3 blocks, while Josh Howard put up 21 pts in wonderful play within 17 feet. In a game that Dallas never trailed they were able to manage the tempo well except for one blemish – 17 turnovers.  Luckily Charlotte couldn’t advantage and the Mavs coasted to a win.

This game was closer than it should have been. The Mavericks lack of communication on defense kept the Bobcats hopes alive for a comeback. Poor switching and helping on the defensive end allowed some pretty easy baskets. Add that a cold shooting by Jason Terry and the Bobcats had the possesions to make it a competition, but didn’t convert. Charlotte’s rookie DJ Augustine made some very exciting plays and looks to be in the beginning of a very successful pro career. Without any help inside Charlotte’s going to have a tough year in the Western Conference.

Most impressive in this game was how head coach Rick Carlisle managed it from start to finish. The days of playing Dirk, Josh, and other starters 40 mins a game are gone. He settled the Mavericks into a decent 10 man rotation that allowed plenty of rest for the big name guys while giving much needed experience to the teams younger talent. No player was in for less than 13 mins including one lineup, which was surprisingly effective, of JJ Barea, Terry, Howard, Bass, and James Singleton.

Minutes:

Dirk 37, Howard 35, Terry 34, Kidd 33, Bass 24

Dampier 19, Singleton 16, Barea 15, Green 14, Williams 13

Dallas shot 50% from the field and everyone got a chance to contribute. Dirk and Howard were as reliable as ever. Although Gerald Green isn’t knocking down shots he seems to be able to create his own at will. Shawne Williams is capable of hitting from beyond the arc and James Singleton shows a lot of energy around the rim. Limiting stupid mistakes and turnovers is vital for them to be successful (Kidd and Howard had 6 each). They will have to improve their team defense and force more turnovers against better teams.

Leftovers:

  • Don’t think Larry Brown is going to hang around Charlotte for very long. The guy has the attention span of my cat and will find something else as soon as a decent offer comes across his desk.
  • Diop and Wright did not play due to Coach’s Decision

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