One of the things I really like about Mark Cuban is that the Mavericks always seems to be on the vanguard of, for the lack of a better term, "sports information."  Sure, his referee stats are a bit priggish, but I could spend all day studying features like this on the Mavs site.  Thanks to people like Mark Cuban, the world is a better place for basketball junkies.

Here's the Mavs' compilation of scouting reports on the Clippers this season.

A couple of things that jump off the screen:

  • Looking at the Clips' bread-and-butter play, the "9 Ice" - a set that Shaun Livingston has become increasingly confident in running - you can see how indomitable a nice 19-foot jump shot is going to make Shaun, not to mention the additional space it'll give Brand to work with in the half court.  At times, the Shaun-EB two-man game has looked fantastic and it's going to be the offensive foundation on which this franchise will be built over the next few seasons.

  • It's amusing that the feature stipulates that the Clips' LA 1 set "is strictly run in the half court" because, despite perception to the contrary, the Clips are exclusively a half-court team - particularly with Maggette on the bench.  This isn't a bad thing when you have one of the best post attacks in the league, but it also underscores the necessity of having a guy like Vlad who can hit from the arc, particularly when you study these sets.  Strained groin aside, Vlad needs to show something early in the Denver series, otherwise the Nugs will collapse on the block and we'll be right back to that dreadful New Years stretch when the Clips couldn't run anything because defenders didn't have to attend to the weak side.
  • Brand's decision-making is a big component of the offense and the essential variable in the Clips' improvement this season.  When you look closely at the Drop Post Up 42 and realize that Brand has slashed his turnover rate despite getting more touches, you can begin to understand why the Clips' offense this season in the half court is so much more fluid.  Brand's mastery of his options in the low post along with having a PG like Cassell make for a much more competent offense.

  • Mobley-Patterson is a key matchup in the Denver series.  Mobley has made his living against smaller defenders, but Patterson is bigger and tougher than a David Wesley or other guys he's been able to exploit - and Greg Buckner is no defensive slouch either.  Since he won't be able to post up, Mobley is going to have to fight through screens to be productive.  If he's up to the task, the Clips could be unstoppable against Denver.  If he can't, then it's going to be touch-and-go, particularly if we allow Denver to collapse on our bigs because our guards can't score.