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Mavericks 109, Pacers 106: Coming Up Empty Down The Stretch

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I was only able to listen to the end of the game last night which wasn't real pleasant but at least Mark Boyle and Slick Leonard didn't sugar coat the problems and gave me a good feel for the game. In six words: Strong effort, lost by dumb play.

Box score: Mavs win 109-106.

Here's Bruno's LIVE Blog and the Pacers.com Postgame Report. Jim O'Brien was pleased with the overall effort but left impressed with the weapons Dallas had to wield at crunch time.

“It was a hard fought game the whole way. I thought we played a really solid game and they just had more weapons down the stretch with Nowitzki and Terry. Kidd made big shots when they needed to and we did not.”

If the Mavs had one weapon down the stretch they would've had more than the Pacers last night. Danny Granger was firing blanks and no other options emerged.

A few other thoughts:

  • Troy Murphy appeared to be having a great game, although he wasn't involved in the offense late in the game. When Murph puts up 21 and 14 the Pacers should be winning.
  • Jim O'Brien pulled T.J. Ford after turning the ball over with 3:08. Jarrett Jack finished the game from there, although T.J.'s return wouldn't have mattered much since the game finished in Danny Granger's hands.
  • Brandon Rush played some significant crunch time minutes and held up quite well. He also finished with his best game to date scoring 18 points on 8-12 shooting.
  • Slick mentioned the local clock operator letting play begin for a second or two before starting the clock while the Mavs were behind. In the end it helped the Pacers.
  • Granger needs to play within the flow of a team offense. He's proven he can't take the game into his own hands and succeed. Slick and Boyle were taking him to task for his poor decisions down the stretch.
  • Trying to force a drive to the hoop is not working within flow of the offense. Also, keeps your teammates in a spectator role, since they're not in the offensive flow either. If an isolation play is called, there has to be an option to pass if the defense is sitting there waiting on you. As Slick put it, they "have book" on Danny so they're waiting for him.
  • If everyone is in moving along with the ball, all five are in the flow and ready to contribute. The problem was that as the lead started slipping away so did the execution. You would think with a lead, patience and execution on offense would be an obvious choice.