It’s just about over for the Dallas Mavericks. Last night’s loss to the Denver Nuggets put them three games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the final playoff spot. Dallas is still mathematically alive, but the hill just got a lot steeper to climb.
It’s hard to point to one event or one moment that caused the Mavericks to be in the position they are now. However, last night there was one play that summed up the entire Mavericks season. With 10.8 seconds left in the game and the Mavericks holding onto a one point lead, Denver’s Kenneth Faried was at the free throw line for two shots. After missing the first one badly, Faried also missed the second shot. The Mavericks couldn’t have asked for a better situation
However, someone forgot to tell Brandan Wright and Dirk Nowitzki to grab the defensive rebound. Instead, Corey Brewer came flying in and grabbed Denver’s 18th offensive rebound. After a quick timeout, Andre Iguodala made a layup with 2.8 seconds left to give Denver the 95 – 94 win.
Rebounding is something the Mavericks have struggled with all season long. Not only did they give up 18 offensive rebounds but they were outrebounded by Denver 50 – 41 for the game. On Tuesday night against the Lakers, Dallas gave up 19 offensive rebounds while being outrebounded 57 – 37.
There are several reasons and factors you can point to for this, however, the big one is they are not tough enough – plain and simple. There best player, Nowtizki, is a 7 foot power forward who plays best 20 feet from the basket. His game isn’t a post-up game, although he can post up if he needs to. His game and his style automatically pull him away from the backboard. If they get eliminated from the playoffs, and it looks likely, the blame needs to start under the basket and rebounding. This is an issue that has to be addressed or next year they will be on the outside looking in again.