It all started nicely, then became a nightmare as Oklahoma City dropped forty points in the second quarter and never looked back defeating the Mavs 99-86 Tuesday night. Dallas has now lost six of their last eight and this wasn’t how the Mavs wanted to debut new players Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson.
Even though things looked pretty horrid at times, there are still positives to be taken out of this game. First of all, it was the team’s first game together with all the new pieces so it’s going to take some time to get acclimated, but both Butler and Haywood looked good early on.
I like what Caron Butler brings to the table. Obviously his size and toughness are key, but he brings things Josh Howard didn’t. I feel more confident with Butler’s ball handling skills and he wasn’t afraid to take it to the basket. Once he gets acclimated, he will be just fine. “Tough Juice” contributed 13 points in his Mavericks debut.
I was very pleased with what I saw out of Brendan Haywood. He finished the night with 7 points and 6 rebounds in 15 minutes. I honestly don’t think it will be long before Haywood overtakes Dampier in the starting lineup permanently. Haywood’s addition to the trade becomes even larger now that Damp suffered an open dislocation of his right middle finger. There is no timetable set for his return.
Hopefully the Mavs get it all moving in the right direction soon because there are still big games remaining this week without a lot of practice time. We will see how they stack up Wednesday night against the Suns.