It was a real defensive battle out there, folks. The kind where it looked like both teams were wading through invisible mud. Chicago hit only 36.9 percent of their shots. Dallas converted on 35.6 of theirs.
The Bulls scored 12 points in the third quarter. That represented the team’s season-low for a single quarter.
The Mavs finished with 77 points. That was their third-lowest output of the season. On December 28, minus leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki, they scored 76 points against the Raptors. On January 15, in Dirk’s first game back, they managed only 70 points against the Grizzlies in Memphis.
The teams combined for two fast break points. Chicago had none.
Nowitzki — who is a legitimate MVP candidate — went 6-for-16 from the field, missed both of his three-point attempts, and pulled down only two rebounds in 38 minutes. In case you forgot, the dude is seven feet tall and has averaged 8.4 RPG over his 13-year NBA career.
Derrick Rose had a stellar stat line: Game highs in points (26) and assists (9) to go with 7 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Of course, he went 9-for-28 from the field, including 5-for-20 in the second half, and committed a game-high 4 turnovers.
Rose was the only Bulls player to score in double figures.
Now allow me to supplement myself. According to Hoopdata, Dallas was 5-for-12 at the rim (41.7 percent), 2-for-7 inside 10 feet (28.6 percent), 6-for-14 from 10-15 feet (42.9 percent) and 6-for-18 from 16-23 feet (33.4 percent).
Chicago was 7-for-21 at the rim (33.4 percent), including 1-for-6 by Derrick Rose and 1-for-5 by Omer Asik. The Bulls also went 4-for-10 inside 10 feet (40 percent) and 10-for-32 from 16-23 feet (31.3 percent).
My point? I'm surprised people in the United Center didn't have this reaction:
The Dallas Mavericks: The Mavs get their own entry for the way they delivered some bad news to poor Alexis Ajinca. Apparently, Dallas is working on a trade that would send Ajinca to the Raptors to create a roster spot for Peja Stojakovic without having to cut Sasha Pavlovic, whom they just signed. Ajinca was dressed and warming up at the United Center last night when Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle had to tell him to turn in his uniform and head back to the hotel.
Even to a guy like me, that's cold.
The Philadelphia 76ers: Man. Check out their last six games:
112-109 OT road loss to the Pistons 111-103 home loss to the Pacers 95-94 home win over the Bucks 96-92 OT home win over the Bobcraps 99-98 OT road loss to the Magic 100-97 road loss to the Bobcraps
Losses that were almost wins. Wins that were almost losses. But their 2-4 stretch typifies their 17-25 record and their average point differential of -0.6. On the one hand, they're losing a lot of close games. On the other hand, they're losing a lot of close games.
And it's the little, mental lapses that keep haunting the Sixers. In their previous loss, an overtime defeat in Orlando, they gave up two big four-point plays, one in regualtion and one in the OT session. Last night, they lost (in part) because they couldn't adjust to a single play.
The Bobcats' owner had to love what he saw from [Gerald] Henderson down the stretch.
Henderson, a bit player under former coach Larry Brown, has become part of the rotation though he is hardly known for his shooting. But he hit three consecutive jumpers on the same curl play from the right wing in the final 1:40. The last came with 26 seconds left to put Charlotte ahead 96-93.
"It was the same exact play all three times," said Henderson, who scored 11 points. "We call it 3-down and everybody in the NBA runs it. But it works because if you get two screens it's hard to defend. I came off ready to shoot, D.J. made a good pass every time and I just knocked the shots down."
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times...
Andre Iguodala: I don't mean to pick nits or anything, especially when the guy led his team with 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting to go along with 5 boards, 5 assists and 4 steals. But Iggy bricked a free throw that would have tied the game with 40 seconds left. Then, with 11 ticks on the clock, he shanked a jumper that would have brougth Philly to within a point.
And when you consider the fact that Andre gave up the four-point play in the fourth quarter of that loss to the Magic, well, it seems like he's kind of the Anti-Clutch...
...with all due disrespect to Vince Carter.
Doug Collins, coach of the year candidate: "It's always disappointing when you lose. I texted Michael [Jordan] the other night after they had beaten Chicago and congratulated him. He said 'Yeah, we can't beat you though.' So I'm sure Michael reached out to the guys for them to beat his old coach today. He probably gave them a little pep talk."
Ah, that Doug. He's the kind of friend you'd write a song about. I love how he loves to name drop MJ. I also love that his text might have moved Jordan to fire up his team.
The Los Angeles Clippers: Jordan Heimer of the TrueHoop Network wrote the lead story for today's Daily Dime. No, I'm not bitter he relegated my Derrick Rose piece to the second spot by writing about the Clippers' playoff chances (currently zero-ish percent). Not at all. Hey, the Clippers are 10 games below .500 and coached by Vinny Del Negro. They're obviously a bigger story than Derrick Rose and his burgeoning MVP candidacy.
Actually, the Clippers are a big story. I know 16-26 doesn't sound all that impressive. But subtract the 1-13 start and you have a team that's...15-13. Which, again, doesn't sound all that impressive until you realize we're talking about the Los Angeles Clippers. And let's not forget the two most exciting words in the English language: Blake Griffin.
Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because people have been getting so excited about The Other L.A. Team's recent hot streak -- 11 wins in 15 games -- that people have begun talking about...the playoffs. And you know what that means:
The stat curse was in. I mean putting the words "Clippers" and "playoffs" in the same sentence...it just can't end well. Sure enough, the Clips submitted one of their patented "They are who we thought they were" performances, choking away an early 14-point lead and ultimately losing by 15. The Other L.A. Team shot missed 17 three-pointers, shot 43 percent for the game, and gave up 20 poitns off 16 turnovers. Meanwhile, the Brandon Roy-less Frail Blazers hit 56 percent of their shots. Although, about that Bradon Roy-less part...
Brandon Roy: Did you know Portland is 14-7 without Roy this season? Which means they were 10-13 with him. Huh.
Vinny Del Negro, super-exciting quote machine: "I thought the Blazers executed much better than we did, in the second half especially. Our defense was not good enough or tough enough."
Chris's amazing one-line lacktion ledger: Jason Kapono punched out 26 seconds of time for a Mario, while Eduardo Najera gathered up a 2.05 trillion (2:03) for His Airness.