Monday, April 21, 2008

It's not all about Paul

For all the talk about what the Mavericks have to do to stop Chris Paul, there’s also another side to that coin. Don’t stop yourselves.

The second half of Game 1 was a clinic of what not to do. Ball movement trickled to a standstill resulting in contested shots launched to beat the shot clock. The Hornets and Paul happily capitalized.

“Whatever changes we need to make, we need the ball to go in the basket more than 33 percent of the time,” Avery Johnson said Monday. “If the ball can go in the basket more than 33 percent of the time and we can get back to our normal offensive production, then we think that will help our defense.”

The offense starts with Jason Kidd, but the point guard and Dirk Nowitzki aren’t solely responsible for producing baskets. Josh Howard needs to remain in attack mode, especially when his jumper isn’t falling. Jason Terry and Jerry Stackhouse could also loosen the defense up, and some of the double teams against Nowitzki.

“We’ve got to get everybody touching the ball, swinging it,” Kidd. “It got a little sticky there where we were holding it and then when we were passing it with four seconds left on the shot clock and somebody had to take a jump shot.”

The numbers from the final two quarters of the opener read like a horror story. The Mavs shot 25 percent (9 of 36), had one bucket in the paint, turned it over nine times and scored just 40.

“We’ve got to keep doing what we were doing in the first half, more consistent for a longer period of time,” said Nowitzki, who scored 31. “The second half there were a lot of breakdowns there and offensively we couldn’t get going.”

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