The Cleveland Cavaliers were the team that could have put the Dallas Mavericks under .500 for the first time this year, but it did not work out that way. The Mavs took care of business in the 4th quarter to walk away with a 103-95 victory.
The main reason for the Mavs win tonight was because of their shooting. Despite being outscored in the paint 40-32, Dallas was on fire from the field. They were 43.5% (10-23) from behind the arc and 51.4% (38-74) overall.
It was not just one guy that was on fire it was most of the roster. Everybody on the Mavs lineup, except one, all scored in double digits with O.J. Mayo leading the way with 19 points.
However, despite the win there is one thing that can be taken negative from this game is that Elton Brand is still not living up to his potential. In tonight’s game he was in the starting lineup, but only played 11 scoreless minutes due to foul trouble.
There is no explanation why Brand only played 11 minutes, but it could be that his struggles he has been having in this early season. In the first nine games of the season he is averaging 7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
He has just not lived up to what the Mavs were hoping he could become. It could be different when Dirk Nowitzki returns or it could be even worse for Brand when he returns.
I hate to see it, but if he keeps struggling throughout the first half of the season then coach Rick Carlisle may not have use for him anymore. I do know that if he has any more games like he has been having then Carlisle may just bench him and put somebody else in his spot.
Troy Murphy could be the person who replaces him in the starting line up. In tonight’s win he played 19 minutes off the bench and scored 9 points. Those were all from the three point line, but if he is put in their as the starter then he could help the Mavs early on in games.
Going away from the negative of Brand one positive that came from tonight’s game was Shawn Marion 2nd game back from injury. He had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
These three games could determine where each player on the Mavs roster stands with the team. This will definitely show were Brand stands with this team. If he does not improve in these three home games, then it could be the end for him with the team.