I started to be disappointed that the Mavs trailed New Orleans at halftime Monday night and had to use a 16-0 run just to survive and pull out a victory.
But then it dawned on me, any time you win an NBA game starting Richard Jefferson and Bernard James is a gift. And in no way should be criticized.
While we wait sorta patiently – but mostly anxiously – for the returns of Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons, gotta admit that last night Jefferson was good, Rajon Rondo was better and the Mavs’ defense continues to improve.
The 34-year-old Jefferson, channeling his inner Vince Carter from ’14, scored a season-high 16, Rondo attacked the lane for most of his 19 points and Dallas held the Pelicans to 13 points in the third quarter to take control of the game.
True, New Orleans was playing the second end of a back-to-back. But it’s also getting customary for the Mavs to play decent defense. In the month since giving up 51 points to Stephen Curry and 128 to the Warriors, Dallas has quietly gotten better. I see teams with fewer wide-open looks. More contested shots. And no more games giving up 110+ points.
In the 11 games since that defensive debacle in Oakland, the Mavs have allowed over 110 only once.
Until Chandler & Chandler return we won’t be able to fully assess this Mavs’ team. But Monday night was a step in the right direction.
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A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.