Mavs are Feeling It!

by Jeff Fogle 20. April 2011 01:04

Forgotten man Peja Stojakovic showed everyone why Mark Cuban wanted him as an ace up his playoff sleeve with an 8 of 13 shooting performance (5 of 10 on three-pointers) in the Dallas Mavericks' 101-89 win over the Portland Trailblazers...

It's not like Stojakovic has been invisible this season. But, he scored 7 points or less in five of his last seven games. Tonight he scored 21 points in 26 minutes and had a plus/minus of +10 in a game Dallas won by 12.

Jason Kidd continued his hot shooting too with 3 of 6 on treys and 7 of 11 overall from the field to total 18 points. Portland thought they had the bases covered defensively coming into the series. Kidd, and now Peja have complicated matters significantly.

Let's run some numbers...

2-Point Shooting: Portland 48%, Dallas 51%
3-Point Shooting: Portland 7 of 14, Dallas 8 of 19
Turnovers: Portland 11, Dallas 6

Beautifully played game from Dallas with only six turnovers and what will grade out as a big night in offensive efficiency. This was another very slow game. I know the TNT announcers kept telling you it was being played at a much faster pace than the opener. It wasn't. When the expanded boxscore goes up you'll see another slow tempo. Games can feel fast when the shots are going in. Portland only took 66 shots! How could that happen in an up tempo game?

Game One seemed a bit lucky for Dallas because they were outscored badly on 1's and 2's despite having a big edge in free throws. A 10 of 19 night from behind the arc Saturday made up for very poor inside shooting. That's not the case tonight. Free throws evened out. Dallas did a much better job inside the arc.

Free Throws:
Game One: Portland 9/13, Dallas 25/29
Game Two: Portland 18/27, Dallas 19/26

The Blazers were fined for complaining about the Game One discrepancy. At least the complaints paid off because the free throws were much more balanced this evening.

2-Point Shooting:
Game One: Portland 55%, Dallas 36%
Game Two: Portland 48%, Dallas 51%

Portland was dominant in this stat back on Saturday. Here, even though some of the most memorable shots were treys from Kidd and Peja, it was Dallas winning the old school battle inside the arc.

Scoring on 1's and 2's:
Game One: Portland 75, Dallas 59
Game Two: Portland 68, Dallas 77

Both games go down in the books as playoff wins for Dallas. But this one suggests much better long term potential in the postseason than what we saw Saturday night. Portland will head home to play before a great crowd..and will now try to hold serve twice to even the series up.

Wanted to make a quick note about the Dallas defense. Late in the game, the TNT announcers were raving about the Dallas defense holding Portland to 81 and 89 points so far.Those numbers aren't quite as great as it sounds because the pace has been so slow. Portland's shooting 52% on two point shots! That's not great defense. Portland hit 50% of their treys tonight. It's like the announcers talked themselves into thinking they were watching a fast paced game this evening, then gave Dallas credit for keeping Portland below 90 points.

2-Point Shooting Monday and Tuesday:

Miami 54%
Dallas 51%
Portland 48%
Boston 46%
Indiana 43%
Atlanta 41%
Orlando 40%
Chicago 39%
New York 37%
Philadelphia 32%

Dallas has obviously played enough defense to get two wins. And, forcing an average of 12 turnovers per game at slow tempos is better than it seems at first glance because there are few opportunities to force turnovers. Be sure you keep the Dallas defense in proper perspective. They're better than their soft reputation of the past. They're not really as suffocating as allowing 81 and 89 points suggests. This series has been slow as molasses. It was offensive efficiency that was stellar tonight.

Back very Wednesday night as our playoff coverage continues...

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