The Dallas Mavericks who are 18-24 and winners of five of the last six have been playing pretty well as of lately. Currently sitting 3.5 games behind the 8th spot in the Western conference. It seems that the Mavericks are slowly getting the train back on track after a rough stretch in December where they lost 10 of 15 games played that month and had everyone wondering what’s wrong with the Mavericks?
Since that stretch Dallas has won 6 of the 11 games they have played in the month of January. They deserve credit for cutting down on turnovers, better ball movement at times, and finding ways to pull off wins.
Darren Collision has been a huge part of this turn around averaging 13.8 points and 6.6 assists with only 1.4 turnovers in the last five games. Despite the fact that head coach Rick Carlisle gave his best attempt to shake his point guards confidence by burying him on the bench late in games against Houston and OKC by going with Mike James at the point guard position. James is on his second 10 day contract, and has played only 7 games this season for the Mavs. Collision responded with a huge 3 pointer late in the game against the Orlando Magic which put the Mavs back up by 5 and basically sealed the win for Dallas. Credit Collision for not letting head games rattle his confidence.
Vince Carter has also been a huge reason why the Mavs are getting wins, he’s averaging 14.2 pts a game in the month of January but most importantly he is responsible for many of the categories that don’t end up on the final stat sheet. If you watch Mav games closely Carter is always in the ears of young guys on the team, trying to keep everyone on the same page and calm in crunch time. He’s diving on the floor for loose balls, blocking out, and penetrating into the paint which opens up other Mav shooters. Elton Brand has also been key for the Mavericks with back to back double double performances, Brand has been strong on both ends of the court at the Center position. Brand had a game saving block on James Harden after Harden got by Mike James in the closing minutes of the game. (read above paragraph, connect the dots and make your own decision)
Back to my point
Carter and Brand are sparks off the bench, and it was evident in the game against Orlando. Carter and Brand subbed into the game in the 1st qrt with the Mavericks down 20-8 and 4:54 on the clock, Mavs go on a 15-0 run and finished the quarter with the lead 26-24. The team responds to Carter and Brand; the effort, energy, intensity, and tempo all increase when the Veterans are on the court. As of right now while Dirk is still working his way back to 100% the Mavericks best line up is Collision, Mayo, Carter, Marion, and Brand. That gives Dallas the best chance at both ends of the court to get wins.
9 of the next 10 games for the Mavericks are against Western conference opponents so Dallas has an opportunity to continue to gain ground in the race for the playoffs. Don’t forget the trade deadline of Feb. 21, 2013 At 3 p.m. ET is rapidly approaching, I don’t expect the Mavericks to make any huge moves as they are trending upward and will have Dirk back to full speed shortly but it’s always a possibility. I think the Mavs will ride this wave and make moves during the summer.
Mavericks host the San Antonio Spurs on Friday!
Written by: Norrelle Dickson/D210TV