Culture of Hoops

Too Close for Comfort: Atlanta Hawks Sucker Punch Dallas Mavericks

Image courtesy of TJ Macias/Baller Mind Frame.

Image courtesy of TJ Macias/Baller Mind Frame.

The deprecation of a very restless crowd hit its peak in the fourth quarter of the home game between this new Dallas Mavericks team and the visiting Atlanta Hawks with only 5:44 remaining on the clock. DeMarre Carroll, after being on the receiving end of what seemed to be a Chandler Parsons foul, decided to voice his stentorian displeasure by getting in the small forward’s face. Voices rose in an outré fashion as Parsons stood his ground, refusing to back down until big man Tyson Chandler stepped in and separated the two before it came to blows. The referees, who had left their daytime job of guarding the gates of Hell to come moonlight Monday night’s game, surveyed the situation and handed out a personal foul to Parsons, a double technical to both Parsons and Carroll, and a technical to Chandler. After witnessing a slew of questionable calls throughout the entire game, the crowd was on their feet. Somewhere courtside, a chant of “Ref, you suck!” started forming, and whispered its away around the seats of the American Airlines Center until the entire arena was enveloped inside the chilling roar of a very displeased crowd.

Following the team’s strange 105-102 loss, Parsons shook his head when asked what the deal was with the technical foul called on him. “I don’t know, I have no idea,” Parsons said in a nonchalant tone. “I fouled the guy, he came up to me and talked trash and somehow we got a double technical. Check the rule book on that one, I guess.”

The entire game seemed oddly eccentric, so a nail-biting ending complete with a 24-point comeback by the Mavericks bench seemed like a highly appropriate way to close out the very warped final 12 minutes.

The first quarter was all Hawks guard Dennis Schroder, who put up 10 of his total 22 points in the opening 12 minutes, while the Mavericks struggled with giving up too many three-pointers to an excellent three-point shooting team. Dallas was still in the midst of getting used to new point guard Rajon Rondo and some teammates seemed to struggle with his phenomenal bounce passes, their current conflict being that they just aren’t used to a PG that damn skilled with his passing. Mavs were shooting only 34.8 percent during the first and were trailing 25-18. The bench showed up during the second in a desperate attempt to close the gap between them and the visitors, but the Mavericks headed into the locker room with the Hawks leading 52-38 after Monta Ellis missed a wide open breakaway dunk and left the crowd stunned.

“We’re just not playing very well,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of the first two quarters of the game. “We’ve gotta play better and we will play better. We’re not a finished product yet here with this new alignment and we have work to do but we made some cardinal sins in the first half. Our concentration and focus has gotta be very narrowly set on the defensive end first. And then from there we’ll figure out our offense”

The bench, including a usually quiet Charlie Villanueva, brought the Mavericks back from the brink of death during the final quarter of the game after Carlisle gave his starters a chance to redeem themselves. Tempers raged in that final 60 seconds as Ellis and Villanueva helped their team claw within to three points, but lost vigor in that final second and ended up falling to the feet of the Hawks.

The offensive hole left by the departure of backup big guy Brandan Wright has been plaguing the Mavericks in the paint, and has Dallas seeking other options, including Jermaine O’Neal and (now) free agent Josh Smith, a player whom Rondo is close to. In the video below,’s Tim MacMahon asks the point guard if he will attempt to recruit his old high school buddy to Dallas and why he would be a good fit for the team.

The Mavericks go on to face the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center on Tuesday night.

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