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Mavericks 100 Hawks 98

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Boxscore

Gameflow

Team Poss Off Eff eFG% FT Rate OR% TO%
ATL 94.7 1.04 50.7 29.3 22.7 20.1
DALL 94.7 1.06 49.4 20.2 32.6 18.0

It may be useful to look at the table above to make sense of a game where neither team lead by more than four points during a low-scoring, not especially well but evenly played first half* before the second half featured a lengthy period of Dallas dominance followed by a brief, spirited, three-point heavy but narrowly futile Atlanta response**.

*A representative sample: from 3:38 to 1:18 of the second quarter, not a single point was scored while the teams combined to miss seven shots and turn the ball over three times.

**Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson combined to score 26 points in the first 39:27 of the game before combining to score 27 points in the final 8:33.

In a deceptively* high-paced game, Atlanta shot slightly better from the field and got to the free throw line more frequently but neither shot well enough from the field nor often enough from the line to overcome Dallas's greater number of field goal attempts which they accrued by (shock, horror) dominating their offensive glass and not turning the ball over as often as did the Hawks.

*Deceptively, in that, many of the possessions were short because of a turnover rather than something either offense wanted to accomplish quickly.

As I expected, the Hawks had no one who could keep Jose Juan Barea out of the lane though that did not prove dangerous until the third quarter commenced. Jason Terry caused fewer problems than I expected but Dirk Nowitzki came out a clear victor over Josh Smith in the battle of offensive star versus defensive star.

Despite that, had Brandon Bass (14 points on 9 shots, 6 rebounds, 3 of them offensive) not outplayed Marvin Williams the Hawks could have won. Then again, had Brandon Bass not played so well, the Hawks might not have fallen far enough behind to throw caution to the wind and begin to score points easily against a team that likely (and reasonably) assumed they had the game in hand.

Kudos to Zaza Pachulia, who, in Al Horford's absence, played the Erick Dampier/DaSagana Diop tandem to a draw. The less said about the rest of the Hawks' bench, the better, though Solomon Jones did contribute a nice six-and-a-half minute stretch in the second quarter.

Josh Smith on turning the ball over after first stealing it with the Hawks down 2 in the final minute:

"That summed up exactly what kind of night it was for us. It was so uncharacteristic of us to turn the ball over like that. I was trying to get a handle on the ball and just lost it.”

Joe Johnson:

"That [late turnover by Smith] isn’t what cost us the game. We turned the ball over all night, and we allowed them to get us on our heels in the third quarter and push that lead out …And yeah, we showed a lot of pride coming back the way we did in the last four minutes. But there are no moral victories for us this year. Those days are over.”

Some statistical analysis from Mike Woodson:

"The turnovers were huge. We had 19 turnovers, and that was 19 opportunities you didn’t give yourself to score. We made plays down the stretch to get back in it, but we had that dry, 16-point third quarter that just put us behind. And you can’t spot this team. They’re too good for that.”

A more disputable comment from Coach Woodson regarding Acie Law IV:

"He's caught in between a couple of veterans, and it's tough. I've got to help him out a little. He's going to be fine for us."

Here's an idea to help Law out: use him as the backup point guard. If he's caught in between a couple of veterans, one of whom is Flip Murray, I suspect that a) you're being disingenuous about needing to help him out (hence the "little" that ends that sentence) and b) you don't actually believe that he's going to be fine. If he's anything, Acie Law is a point guard. Flip Murray can do whatever it is he does playing off the ball.