Yet again, necessity was the mother of invention. In this case, reinvention. The Golden State Warriors shredded the Dallas Mavericks 147 – 116 playing only nine guys – notably, big men James Wiseman (wrist), Kevon Looney (ankle), and Marquese Chriss (ankle) were all out. You all know what that means – 48 minutes of small ball.
The man of the match was Kelly Oubre Jr., with a career-high 40 points. Oubre went 14/21 from the field, 7/10 from three, and added 8 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, and a block to his stellar performance. As Porzingis is listed as a PF and surely plays like one, we saw a total of 27 minutes of proper big men on the court (Marjanović, Powell, and Cauley-Stein). While the NBA is changing the rules to have more 140 point games, supposedly because the fans like it, one guy wasn’t too enthusiastic about the performance he saw.
“I’ma be the old man, get off my lawn. Y’all sit there and watch this stupid ass basketball. Just jack up threes all night, they go in, we win, they miss, they lose. Give me a break, you dumbasses.”Charles Barkley, Inside the NBA
The best part is, without context, you can’t be sure which team Chuck is referring to. While this was specifically about the Mavericks, I think it was more of an overview on basketball in general. If we look at the numbers, Chuck was wrong. Both teams shot very well from behind the arc. The Warriors shot an amazing 51.2% (22-43), and the Mavs shot 40% (20-50). So both teams were good for threes, yet one team got blown out. Why?
Chuck was talking about the volume of threes, and here the game is different from his days. 48.3% of all shots the Warriors took were 3s. The Mavs took it even further – 54.3%. Here, I think Chuck has a point. If your team motto is “live by the three, die by the three,” we’ve seen again, and again death is far more likely.
But last night, both teams were good from three. I agree with Barkley’s point, but this wasn’t the game to use as evidence. If you wanted to use this game to make a case for something, it’s the lack of appreciation we have for playing defense.
Luka has already called out his teammates for lack of effort and commitment to defense, and there’s a lot of work to get done there. The Mavs traded away Seth Curry for Josh Richardson with the idea of sacrificing a bit of shooting so they could improve on defense. To be fair, Mavs have had one of the toughest combos of a difficult schedule and injury/COVID minutes lost in the Association.
Still, they are far from where they should be. Chuck may have criticized their offensive approach, but the number the Mavericks need to take care of isn’t 116. It’s 147.