Years ago when the whole Stockton-to-Malone era was in their swan song the Jazz were having increasingly difficult times even making the playoffs; let alone being a Top seed with homecourt through a few rounds. The Sacramento Kings really did a number on us for a few years, but it was the Dallas Mavericks that derailed our train. Right now the Jazz are on the opposite side of that equation. The Dallas Mavericks, far removed from their NBA Finals trials, are now looking at holding onto the 8th seed in the Western Conference. They are on a good streak of wins right now, but their roster is made up mostly by players who are on the downsides of their careers. It could be time to turn the table on them, at least for one night, and exact some form of revenge.
It's not going to be easy, though. The Mavericks are 29-21 and the current 8th seed in the West. They are 17-8 at home, and above .500 against Western Conference opponents. In their last 10 games they are only 6-4, but Dallas was won their last 3 games, and four of their last five. This season Rick Carlisle has cobbled together one of the best offenses in the league (#3 in Off Rtg with 110.7 points per 100.0 possessions). They are #7 in overall points per game, scoring 104.7 times on average. Their defense is where the problem is, they are #25 in Def RTG and #24 in opponents PPG. Why is their defense so poor? A quick look tells me that they are Bottom 5 in three of the four defensive factors. #27 in opponents eFG% (51.4%), #28 in DRB% (72.4%), and #29 in FT/FGA ratio (.248). Effectively, they rarely clear the glass when they do get a stop, the other team makes more than half of their shots, and they send the other team to the line once every four shots taken. It's bad. They do cause a lot of turn overs though. But they are just much, much better on offense than defense.
The rebounding problems persist here (#23 in ORB%), but that's partly due to the fact that they take and make good shots, and get to the line. They are a great Xs and Os team on offense, and all their vets /former All-Stars make them more than a handful when playing at home. In a way they are a lot like our old Jazz teams after the finals.
Except, of course, we still had statistical beasts on the team.
Yup, Monta and Dirk are doing their thing. But they play four guys 30+ mpg, and the next guy plays half the game. All five of these guys are vets, and the glaring thing here is that no one really rebounds for this team. They don't have the size advantage, though Dalembert is a Dalembeast once every six games. They aren't more athletic than us. They're just very smart on offense. This does sound like our old Jazz squad, right?
Speaking of the Jazz, we're on a three game losing streak, and have lost five of our last seven. We're going in the opposite direction. The Jazz are #27 in PPG, and #30th in Def RTG. We can't crow about anything, but we are healthy right now, so that's excellent news!
|9||John Lucas III||1||2||33||16.0||4.3||1.1||1.1||0.6||1.8||0.4||0.0||5.5||16.7%||11.0%||3.9%|
I would say we have to attack the glass tonight if we want to win. That's Dallas' main problem, and while it's been our problem too -- we should out hustle these old guys. We should worry because tonight is the Devin Harris revenge game v. 2.3932 -- so, you know, this is the one game I expect him not to air ball his technical free throws in. #Memories
Seriously, though; Dallas is a good team fighting for a playoff spot. We're a team that's young, with nothing to lose. This is almost like that Jazz/Dallas match-up years ago, except in reverse. If you care about the historical aspects of this battle, the Jazz are 89-63 against the Mavs all-time; but only 31-45 on the road. I call this the curse of Roy Tarpley.
So obviously, fate will let us win. We're going to break the Mavs win streak tonight. Or, you know, maybe not. We'll see. Basketball is supposed to be fun, remember? It's a lot more fun when our team is healthy. We can surprise anyone on any given night.