Los Angeles Clippers (24-12) vs. Dallas Mavericks (26-11)
12:30 p.m. PST
January 10, 2015
FOX Prime Ticket
Video of the Day
Take it away, Dirk.
1. Are the Mavs better or worse off after the Rajon Rondo trade?
Kirk Henderson, MavsMoneyball, (@KirkSeriousFace): Different, trending towards better. The pre-Rondo Maverick offense was historic in terms of output, but defensively, Rick Carlisle was trying every different backcourt combination and nothing seemed to work. The spacing on offense is still dicey at times, but Rondo’s a wizard with passing and the offense hasn’t suffered much. Defensively, the Mavericks are now passable and recently that’s been enough. How it pans out long term is still hard to predict.
Seth Partnow, (@SethPartnow): Whether they end up being better or not, they are in better shape now. They simply weren’t going to be able to compete against the West’s playoff teams with Nelson, Harris or Felton. Rondo may no longer be a star level player, but he’s going to battle the Pauls, Currys and Conleys of the world every night, and will even win a few.
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): Better. Rondo’s been better in Dallas. Better than he was in Boston. Better than Jameer Nelson was with the Mavs. Simply, better. Dallas’ offense was going nutty with Nelson at the helm, but even if Rondo’s D has fallen off since his prime days (and it’s been a little better with the Mavericks), he’s an improvement on Nelson. Dallas loses depth, but come postseason, it now has a legitimate contender.
2. What makes the No. 1-ranked Dallas offense so effective?
Henderson: The egalitarian nature of the offense forces defenses to guard the entire team. Monta Ellis is the primary scorer, but the line up still boasts Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, and rim running Tyson Chandler. Rajon Rondo is still figuring out his place, but the fact that the ball rarely sticks with anyone player makes guarding Dallas a real challenge. Add in the passing ability of Rondo, Ellis, and Parsons and the ball can really fly around at times. Every player gets good looks at the basket.
Partnow: Space and flow. The threats of Dirk shooting, Monta driving or Chandler rolling puts defenses in lots of bad spots, and from their, they have players capable of exploiting the advantage.
Katz: In short, Dirk. Other teams can replicate the effectiveness of a Monta Ellis drive. Others can find a big who’s as powerful rolling to the hoop as Tyson Chandler. But no one has a stretch 4 who can shoot or play like Dirk. No one. Rick Carlisle’s brilliance helps, too.
3. What is the Clippers’ best chance at containing the Dallas scoring attack?
Henderson: Goading Rondo into shooting a lot is the best way to gum up the Dallas offense. He obviously looks to distribute, but playing off him and giving him open 15 footers can really throw off the rhythm of the Maverick offense. Additionally, just hoping that Dirk will miss is a pretty good strategy these days He hurt his back in a game at Chicago on December second and since has shot a very un-Dirk-like 43 percent from the field.
Partnow: Doing what they can to keep Monta away from the rim. If he’s not drawing help to the paint, a lot of the other options become far easier to defend. Parsons facing up against a set defender isn’t especially frightening, but Parsons catching the ball versus a late closeout is terrifying for a defense.
Katz: DeAndre has to have a killer game. That means keeping Ellis and Chandler away from the rim. It means not allowing Rondo to get into that sweet spot in the paint from where he loves to kick out to shooters and dump off to big men. DJ, you have a tough afternoon on your hands.