One might think an NBA team couldn't make a living shooting contested fallaway mid-range jumpers. One might think an NBA team couldn't win giving up around 30 baskets in the paint to
8, sorry 12ish The Dallas Mavericks beg to differ. Their plan of doing nothing but shooting jumpshots would seem unsustainable, yet they've sustained it again, against the Rockets.
Dallas largely controlled the pace, and largely kept it slow. Carlisle called a timeout anytime Houston threatened to get into a flow, as he does. (He also complains about every single call against Dallas, which is tiresome.). Dallas hacked the Rockets inside pretty much constantly all night, but got called for it mainly in the 4th with the game pretty much out of reach. Only Dwight Howard got calls operating in the paint beforehand, and while Houston shot 29 free throws, they should have shot about 50 (as they've done previously this season).
One might see a free throw disparity in favor of Houston and conclude that justice was done. But the notion that a team that almost never goes inside to score should shoot a mere 6Ft fewer on almost nothing but jumpers, compared to a team that nearly always goes inside is somewhat baffling. It goes against reason.
Dirk continues to get his Player Emeritus calls - if a defender is nearby, and he's shooting, a foul will typically be called, often late. Contact is considered unnecessary. At least Dirk didn't elbow anyone in the head tonight in a fit of entitled petulance worthy of Karl Malone.
Anyhow, so yes, Dallas shot almost nothing but mid-range shots and 3s and shot 50%. They shot 50% on three pointers. Houston shot 54% on what were largely shots at the basket and 37% on three pointers. Dallas won by 7 with this approach, against all you might expect.
I suppose I should give Dallas some credit, they made their shots. But the sense that they're doing it all with smoke, mirrors, contested fall-away midrange shots, awful defensive switches, crafty coaching and FT off jumpers, makes for an irritating night.
I suppose I should step back and acknowledge that the Rockets are down a superstar in James Harden, and a starting PG, and two centers. But my sense is, even so Dallas really isn't better than Houston. Its hard to see them winning a playoff series against anyone in the West, as they'd have to shoot lights out to win every single game against a good team. Tonight they did that, and they won.
Until the Rockets figure out a plan to dictate the action, rather than react to what Dallas is doing, we will keep seeing these results. Dallas didn't throw out much zone tonight, perhaps Houston has solved that, and perhaps the more we play them the better we'll get at sorting out clever schemes, which is character-building, if not pleasant.
If there's something good to take away, its that Dwight Howard is looking completely dominant. When the Rockets figure out how to make Howard and Harden dominant at the same time they could be unstoppable. Until then....