For the past decade, the Dallas Mavericks have had no trouble putting points on the board. Whether it was Steve Nash dishing off to Michael Finley or Jason Terry playing the two-man game with Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks continually thrive on the offensive end of the floor. As a matter of fact, this year the Mavericks are seventh in the league in scoring with their 101.2 points per game.
Defense has always been where the Mavericks have struggled. It’s no secret that their best player, Nowitzki, has a hard time guarding people. During crunch time, head coach Rick Carlisle will substitue for Nowitzki on the defensive end of the floor. Of course, he quickly puts him back in for offensive reasons. For years, the Mavericks were known as the team that would have to outscore their opponent in order to beat them. Under head coach Don Nelson, this was often the case. Sometimes the team would have to score 120 points just to have a chance of winning.
The title year was different, though. Tyson Chandler brought a defensive tenacity with him that seemed to be contagious and Nowitzki was playing better defense, as was Jason Kidd. However, that all seemed to change back with the mass exodus that took place in the summer of 2011. Apparently as Chandler goes, so does the Mavericks’ defense. This year, they have been awful on the defensive side of the ball. Against the Milwuakee Bucks on Monday night, the Mavericks gave up 35 points in the first quarter and 55 for the first half. Currently the Mavericks rank 27th in the NBA in opponent points-per-game and teams are scoring 102.2 points against Dallas this season.
Against the Bucks, the Mavs gave up 108 points, but luckily for them, they scored 115. For now, it would appear that the Mavericks have reverted back to their old selves–outscore opponents to win the game and right now, that seems to be working for them. However, I have a feeling sometime between now and the playoffs they are going to have to learn how to make a stop on the defensive side of the ball. If they don’t, they may find themselves watching at the playoffs from home.