One critical intangible that the Dallas Mavericks have added to their offensive arsenal this season is the lob pass.
It’s a pass for which one player lobs the ball near the rim to either Tyson Chandler or Brandan Wright, who then finishes with a powerful dunk.
Strategically, it’s a quality play that has paid high dividends for the Mavs.
“You’ve got to create a problem first, you’ve got to break the defense down and you’ve got to have guys who can go jump up and get it,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I’m not going to get into too much explaining it because that’s strategic stuff. You don’t give all that stuff away, although it’s obvious to most people, but it’s a strong weapon to have.
“More teams are going to it, more teams are trying to get centers that are long and angular that can run and jump for that reason. And it’s always a priority if you’re playing a team like Detroit, or like Dallas, or like the Clippers, to try to take them away because they’re big momentum plays.”
Forward Chandler Parsons is one of the Mavs who likes to knife through the lane and lob it inside for a slam dunk.
“I could care less about scoring, especially with our offense and the players we have in here,” Parsons said. “We have so many guys that can hurt you.
“I’m not going to sit back and not be aggressive. I would much rather be creative, throw a lob to Tyson or hit Dirk [Nowitzki] for a wide-open shot than me score. That’s never been my game, and all through college I never averaged that many points.”
Fortunately for the Mavs, Parsons and his lob passes have become an integral part of the offense.
At the age of 42, Carlisle got his first head coaching job and promptly led the Pistons to a 50-32 record and a berth in the 2002 Eastern Conference semifinals. The next season, he led his team to another 50-32 record and a spot in the 2003 Eastern Conference Finals.
“This is a great place,” said Carlisle, whose Pistons won back-to-back Central Division titles. “This was a great experience when I was here.
“I had really good guys who played hard. It was my start in this business as a head coach, and I have very, very fond memories of it.”
Dirk proud of defense
Those 87 points the Mavs allowed to the Knicks on Tuesday night were pleasing to the eye for Nowitzki.
It marked just the sixth time this season that the Mavs have held an opponent under 100 points. That speaks volumes for a team that’s tied for 23rd in the league in points allowed at 102.6 per game.
“We can score with the best of them,” Nowitzki said. “But when we get in trouble is when we keep trading baskets and let other teams get hot.”
The Mavs have three more games before Christmas. They host the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs on Saturday and the Atlanta Hawks on Monday, before playing at Phoenix on Tuesday.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760