The NBA: Hobblin’, But Hangin’

It hasn't been the best of starts for Vince Carter and the Dallas
Mavericks, but they're still not out of it.

*Unless otherwise specified, all images are from the Associated Press.

Don’t look now, but the Dallas Mavericks are the second-best team in the Southeast Division. They’ve won 7 of their last 10 games and are tied with the Portland Trailblazers for 7th spot out West.

A glance at the Mavs’ player stats, however, will make this seemingly upward trajectory a little baffling.

Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, Lamar Odom, Jason Kidd and Vince Carter are all putting numbers much lower than last year.

Odom, in particular, has not been himself. His production has practically been halved from last season, just 7.1ppg, less than 5rpg and shooting an anemic 33% from the field. All of those are career lows for the guy who “asked” to be let go from the Lakers.

Vince Carter has also produced career-lows in points, rebounds and minutes, while currently also being sidelined by a foot injury.

Old reliable Jason Kidd has never rally been a phenomenal scorer, but his 4.5ppg and 30% FG shooting are downright awful. But what’s worse is his unbelievable (in a bad way) assists production – just 5.4 per. That’s good for most players in the league, but for Kidd, who’s still playing about 30 minutes per game, 5.4 just won’t cut it.

Somehow, though, the Mavs ARE cutting it.

In their last five wins (over Detroit, Boston, Milwaukee, Sacramento and Utah), the Mavs have been led in scoring by 3 different people (Marion, Terry and Nowitzki). Flexibility? Perhaps.

The Mavs are also the fourth best team in terms of steals per game and they are 8th best in defensive rebounds. Solid defense? Perhaps.

These defending champs have certainly started out on the wrong foot, and by no means have they fully recovered, but given the way they’re hanging while still hobbling, no one should count them out.

After the JUMP, key stat-stuffers for today’s games:

HOU over NOH, 90-88 – The Rockets almost let the Hornets steal this one after leading by as much as 14 points. Now K-Mart and crew have won 5 straight.
MIA over LAL, 98-87 – LBJ’s “flu-like” symptoms weren’t enough to slow him down, says his 31-point, 8-rebound, 8-assist performance. Strangely enough, the Heat are 5-0 on the road WITHOUT Dwyane Wade, and 0-3 with him.
DAL over UTA, 94-91 – Could the Mavs finally be on the up and up? It seems VC’s injury has given Shawn Marion a boost.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Kevin Martin (HOU) – 32
LeBron James (MIA) – 31
Pau Gasol (LAL) – 26
Kobe Bryant (LAL) - 24

Kevin Martin has been the most potent
offensive force for the Rockets this season.
Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Samuel Dalembert (HOU) – 17
Paul Millsa (UTA) – 13
Emeka Okafor (NOH) & Andrew Bynum (LAL) – 12

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Jason Kidd (DAL) – 11
Kyle Lowry (HOU) & LeBron James (MIA) – 8

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
LeBron James (MIA) & Gordon Hayward (UTA) – 4
Kyle Lowry (HOU), Courtney Lee (HOU) & Kobe Bryant (LAL) – 3

LeBron James didn't let any flu stuff limit his ability
to take over a basketball game.
(image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
LeBron James (MIA) & Jason Smith (NOH) – 3
A LOT with 2

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Kevin Martin (HOU) – 5
Shane Battier (MIA) & Kobe Bryant (LAL) – 3

Jan. 19, 2012 First Five
C – Samuel Dalembert (HOU) – 15pts, 17rebs, 2asts, 2stls
F – Pau Gasol (LAL) – 26pts, 8rebs, 2asts, 1blk
F – LeBron James (MIA) – 31pts, 8rebs, 8asts, 4stls, 3blks
G – Kobe Bryant (LAL) – 24pts, 7asts, 5rebs, 3stls, 3 triples
G – Kevin Martin (HOU) – 32pts, 8rebs, 5 triples, 1stl

Samuel Dalmbert has been a huge reason the Rockets
have a winning record out West.
Honorable Mention:
Shawn Marion (DAL) – 22pts, 7rebs, 3asts, 1stl, 1blk
Al Jefferson (UTA) – 22pts, 9rebs, 2asts, 2stls
Andrew Bynum (LAL) – 15pts, 12rebs, 2asts, 2blks

For a full summary of the day, here’s today’s NBA Daily Zap:

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