26 March 2010
Rick Carlisle couldn’t believe what he was reading.
Neither could his six assistant coaches.
As the Dallas Mavericks coaching staff huddled in the back hallway at the Rose Garden minutes after another loss to Portland examining the final boxscore, one stat jumped out at them.
And it scared them to death.
“We had zero fastbreak points,” Carlisle said as he searched for words and a solution to beating the Blazers.
“And they had, what....16? You need to get stops to get out in transition and get quality looks at the basket. When you get beat 16-0 on the break, it’s tough to win.”
No joke. It only made matters worse that Portland (who shot 50% from the field for the entire game) looked like they couldn’t miss and were hitting their playoff stride. Re-run;Dallas has seen this show before.
In three attempts this season, Portland has had Dallas’ number this season (different team but the same results for Mark Cuban) and look to make another notch in the win column in two weeks when the Mavs return to the Rose Garden. But to get beat that bad on the break – at least on this night – seemed to actually break Dallas’ spirits. For the first time in a long time, the Mavs didn’t look like a team who could possibly give the Los Angeles Lakers a run for their money in Western Conference supremacy.
They looked like a team that couldn’t even run.
“When they make shots like that, it takes away your running game,” explained Jason Kidd, who finished with 11 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds.
“We have to understand what we have to do next time, because a big part of our game is getting out and running.”
The last time Portland held an opponent scoreless on the fastbreak was back on December 27, 2008 against the Toronto Raptors. Two years and four months later, the Blazers were back at it. Now Dallas is back at it, searching for solutions to their winless woes this season against Portland.
“Getting stops helps,” Dirk Nowitzki said when asked how to turn things around against a team that clearly has the Mavs’ number.
“We just need to do a better job at getting the ball in J Kidd’s hands and just running.”
It’s a word that was repeated throughout postgame interviews with Dallas from Carlisle, to Kidd and Nowitzki, to Shawn Marion and Jason Terry.
It sure beats the alternative that was also uttered by the Mavs after the heartbreaking loss:
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