Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

November 14, 2008

Daily Ten: Thursday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bradford Doolittle @ 6:28 pm

The Mavericks have some serious problems.

Dallas fell to 2-6 on Thursday, blowing an early 21-3 lead against the Bulls, eventually losing 98-91. Dallas is 0-3 at home and has played a below-average overall schedule, so that hardly explains the Mavericks’ slow start. Under new coach Rick Carlisle, the Mavs rank 22nd in offensive efficiency and 22nd in defensive efficiency.

On the offensive end, Dallas is a stagnant quagmire, especially in halfcourt sets as Carlisle tries to overlay his template onto his veteran squad. Dallas rarely runs the pick-and-roll, which has been a bread-and-butter play for the franchise ever since Dirk Nowitzki ascended to stardom. Still, though, it’s a new system and Dallas has too much offensive talent–you would think–to continue to struggle for points.

I’m not sure the defensive problems are as easily repaired. The problem against the Bulls was that the wing defenders, especially Jason Kidd and Jason Terry, didn’t have the legs to slow down the dribble penetration of Ben Gordon, Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, nor could they stay with their Chicago counterparts in the transition game. After that early surge, Thursday’s game basically turned into a layup drill for the Bulls. Gordon continued his great start with a 35-point outing.

Nov. 13 (9.7% of season complete, 119/1230 games)

PLAYER, TEAM gRATE
1. dampier,erick_dal 11.9
2. gordon,ben_chi 9.9
3. smith,jr_den 8.2
4. hamilton,richard_det 8.2
5. billups,chauncey_den 7.6
6. gibson,daniel_cle 6.7
7. wallace,ben_cle 5.9
8. biedrins,andris_gsw 5.1
9. varejao,anderson_cle 4.9
10. james,lebron_cle 4.0

Explanation of gRATE here:

Center court

The Nuggets had to be encouraged by J.R. Smith‘s solid performance in Cleveland on Thursday. Smith scored 18 points on 11 FTA in his best performance of the season. Smith had shot a combined 13-of-46 over his previous five games, including 3-of-21 on three-pointers. Even after his 7-of-11 performance against the Cavs, Smith is shooting a meager 40% from the field.

In the news

  • A blurb in TrueHoop brought my attention to the fact that Yao Ming has had 17 shots blocked already this season. Blocks against isn’t something I really ever paid attention to until nba.com started including the data in their box scores. So while I track it now, I still don’t know what to make of the stat, other than a higher proportion of blocked shots are one big guy swatting another than I would have thought. Yao’s 17 rejections-against are the most in the NBA but his percentage of shots blocked is only the 10th-highest. Leading the league is DeSagana Diop, who has had five of his 20 FGAs sent back.
  • The fallout from the Suns-Rockets skirmish has resulted in a one-game suspension for Steve Nash while main offenders Rafer Alston and Matt Barnes got two games each. The Rockets play San Antonio tonight and New Orleans tomorrow. The suspension of Alston should boost Aaron Brooks into Houston’s starting lineup and we’ll see how Brooks can do in extended minutes with the Rockets’ first unit, where he’s going to have to be more of a playmaker than a shooter.
  • Possible contrast to Michael Curry‘s game-management style as opposed to Flip Saunders: Detroit’s four starters other than Kwame Brown logged 39+ minutes at Golden State last night, including 43 minutes for Allen Iverson and 46 for Tayshaun Prince. It’s just one game, but let’s keep an eye on this. The Pistons’ bench was a team strength last season.
  • Pomeroy stats favorite Richard Hendrix has been assigned to the D-league by Golden State. Hendrix has not appeared in a game for the Warriors after averaging 20.8 rebounds per 48 minutes during the preseason.

Tonight’s games

  • 23 det @ lal, 10:30 p.m. EST [ lal by 18 ]
  • 7 phi @ ind, 7:00 p.m. EST [ ind by 10 ]
  • 7 den @ bos, 8:00 p.m. EST [ bos by 10 ]
  • 4 orl @ dal, 8:30 p.m. EST [ orl by 11 ]
  • 2 atl @ njn, 7:30 p.m. EST [ atl by 16 ]
  • 2 por @ nwo, 8:00 p.m. EST [ nwo by 7 ]
  • 0 uta @ cha, 7:00 p.m. EST [ uta by 12 ]
  • -1 hou @ sas, 8:30 p.m. EST [ hou by 3 ]
  • -2 was @ mia, 7:30 p.m. EST [ mia by 18 ]
  • -4 phx @ sac, 10:00 p.m. EST [ phx by 7 ]
  • -8 mil @ mem, 8:00 p.m. EST [ mem by 2 ]
  • -12 okc @ nyk, 7:30 p.m. EST [ nyk by 15 ]

Notes: Games listed in order of quality, as determined by the sum of each team’s efficiency ratio. NBAPET projected winner and margin of victory is listed in brackets.

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