As this picture shows, Shawn Marion led this Mavs defense throughout the night as everybody else played his part.
The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Utah Jazz, 94-91, in their third straight nationally televised game.
Dirk Nowitzki had yet another off night, shooting 5-12 from the field for only 12 points. His technical foul for pounding the ball probably had more to do with his own struggles than Jason Terry leaving Raja Bell open for a three-pointer. However, four of Dirk’s teammates – including Marion who had a team high 22 points – scored in double figures to help out with the scoring.
If the dreaded 12-point third quarter is separated from this game, Dallas played solid with a balance of flowing offense and lockdown defense. The Mavericks shot 52.1 percent from the field and held the Jazz to just 38.8 percent shooting. Paul Millsap (eight offensive rebounds) and the rest of the Jazz constantly pounded the boards which allowed them to stay in this game.
As recently pointed out, the Jazz’s early success won’t last because of point guard Devin Harris’s weak play. This was made clear after tonight’s game. The ex-Maverick shot 0-7 from the field, 0-3 from behind the line (including an air ball in crunch time), collected only two assists, and had a grand total of one point. I don’t have anything against Harris and would love to see him succeed, but if the Jazz want to win in a tough Western conference, I don’t think Harris can fill the point guard role effectively.
The Big D have their own point guard questions after tonight. Rodrigue Beaubois reminded the entire nation why “Free Roddy-B” was at one time trending throughout the DFW Metroplex. The flashy guard that put up 40 points on the Golden State Warriors just a few years ago stepped up tonight, scoring 17 points in 18 minutes along with a couple big blocks. He had this chance to finally get some consistent playing time since Jason Kidd had a hot-and-cold game of 11 assists and 6 turnovers. Getting the ball in his teammates’ hands where they want it hasn’t been a good skill of Roddy’s, but he finally looked capable of handling the standard point guard position.
For the first time in a while, Kidd played as if he should be described as “old” instead of “wise.” When J-Kidd replaced either Delonte West or Beaubois on the court, the energy level dropped – it could easily be noticed. Even though the veteran does so much more than what shows up on the stat sheet and still makes wonderful passes right where his teammates want the ball, he is struggling to get his game back. After fifteen games last year, Kidd had double-digit assists in seven games and double-digit points in six of those. What about this year? Only one time for each. Players are in fact still working out the kinks toward getting back into NBA shape, but how long can that excuse be used for a championship defending and striving squad?
Should Rodrigue Beaubois start getting more minutes?
J-Kidd has always been one to rack up a lot of minutes, and the past four years have been no exception. Jason has averaged 35 minutes during his most recent time in Dallas, which is a number that must be reduced this year in order to get everything out of him when he’s on the court. Anywhere in the 25-28 minute range would be much more suitable for the 38-year-old point guard.
The solution has to be to give Rodrigue more playing time. Roddy-B has been on and off this year, to no one’s surprise, as he hasn’t been able to get into any type of rhythm with his sporadic playing time. In the Mavericks last seven games, here are his minutes played: 18, 9, 24, 16, 0, 7, and 18. In the 24 and most recent 18 minute games, he has averaged 16 points and four rebounds.
This has to be the season Carlisle takes off the chains and just lets Roddy play. As many fans don’t want to accept, Mark Cuban will most likely use almost all players not named Dirk Nowitzki this next offseason by including them in a trade or releasing them to free up cap space in order to bring Dwight Howard and/or Deron Williams to Dallas. If Beaubois ends up being a bust and continues to have performances like tonight only on rare occasions, then he can simply be sent on his way without much of a financial obligation. If the Frenchman finally lives up to all the hype and all the potential, then Cuban has himself a very valuable trading chip or a player to keep for the future if no big names end up coming to his organization.
Transitioning of minutes from Kidd to Beaubois at this point in the season would result in some growing pains. Due to injury and immature play, Roddy-B has never received 20+ minutes during his time in Dallas. This might be a problem early on and would frustrate the Dallas fans and media, but the long-term benefits would greatly outweigh any early struggles. Furthermore, after Beaubois showcased a game where he had reliable shooting from long range, deadly penetration (something the Mavericks desperately need), and acceptable defense, why should he be held back from building off of that? For the well-being of the Mavericks present and future, the fervor has to come back to “Free Roddy-B.” And soon.
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