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Defense and Free Throws

With a chance to take a full game advantage on both Denver and Utah, the Dallas Mavericks fell flat in Portland. Two things determined the outcome of the game (and if you read the title, you already know the answer): defense and free throws.

Defense is obvious. If you allow your opponent to shoot 50% for the game, you’re probably not going to win. The Mavs have had stretches where they lock down on the defensive end in the fourth quarter, as evidenced in the game against the Clippers in the game on Tuesday. However, tonight it was Portland who turned on the defense late and held the Mavs to 14 points in the final quarter.

As my old high school basketball coach used to say, “free throws win ball games.” Though he was referring more to making them, the saying holds true today. When the best free throw shooting team in the NBA only shoots 9 attempts in a game, one in the first half, something’s wrong. You can blame officiating for not calling fouls all you want (I usually do), but the Mavs need to do a better job attacking the basket and forcing the opposing team to foul.

With ten games left in the regular season, let’s hope our Mavs regain some defensive swagger and maybe listen to the words of an old high school coach.

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