It seems that the Mavericks have had the same story to each loss so far this season. Mavs get off to a great start, Mavs turn the ball over a bit and let the other team into the game, game gets close, CJ Carter and/or Marcus Tyus do what they can to keep the game close, Mavs miss some key free throws while the other team becomes incapable of missing free throws, and then I leave home sad. Even though last night’s game ended with a loss, it was refreshing to see a little bit of a different story.
The Mavs did not get off to the greatest start in this one. There were some poor decisions in the beginning, bad turnovers, bad luck, bad shots, and a lot of fouls. Then they fought to get back into the game a bit, kept it at a close game, got down by a few possessions, then cut it back down to a position, and even take a lead. It became a back and forth game, rather than watching than a runaway bride game. Jake White, Randy Reed, and Kyler Erickson all came off the bench to give the team a much needed jump start. Each played with great energy that has been needed of the Mavs bench all season, we saw a few lineups that we had not seen all year due to Tyus being out, Mike Rostampour in foul trouble, and CJ getting stitched up.
I brought my wife to the game, my wife does not get to many games due to a busy work and school schedule, but it is like having the world’s most critical commentator next to you. I have gone to sporting events with women in the past and they point out the things that you do not typically see as a dude, like, hey that player has stupid hair, he should cut his hair. My wife on the other hand played basketball for several years and is also coaches high school, so yes it can be emasculating at times.
Anyway, at her first game my wife sits down and asks “who is their best player”? I tell her that each of the key players brings something different that puts them in as the best at something on the team. Mike Rostampour is the best post defender and rebounder, Marcus Tyus is the best shooter, CJ Carter is the best slasher at getting to the basket, and Devin Patterson is probably just the most important player. If he has a 2-7 shooting performance, the Mavs are not going to have a good time. If he gets into foul trouble or rolls his ankle, the Mavs are not going to have a good time. 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists at Marquette, the Mavs had a good time. 2 of 8 with 7 points and 7 turnover against Kansas State, the Mavs did not have a good time. MmmmK. Things got bad for the Mavs this season when Patterson basically had to sit for 2 and a half games due to injuries, and you could tell he was still at least a little bit slowed down after that for a number of games.
My wife was a point guard, and her number in high school and in college was 3, so she has an instant respect for the junior point guard. The coach in my wife points out every miscue by the Mavericks: they are not moving, that was not the best shot available on that play, that player needs to figure out how to box out, that asshole does not want to play defense, I hate players who cannot catch the ball, but not as much as I hate players who pass an uncatchable pass, that idiot keeps dribbling the ball into traffic and he has three turnovers because of it.
So a lot of that was from the South Dakota loss, my wife did not have all of those complaints on Thursday against Oral Roberts. Mike Rostampour picked up three quick fouls and you can tell some energy is taken out of the crowd. Rostampour is the energy provider, best post defender, and it is also his senior day and he has to go sit down for 16+ minutes, so yeah there was some energy taken out of the crowd. Jake White comes in and provides some energy, but Randy Reed really brought it last night. My wife asks, we did not see him against South Dakota, why does this guy not play more? I have no answer, I do not know why really, I have felt he has needed more minutes all year.
With Rostampour limited with foul trouble, and already with no Marcus Tyus, and with CJ Carter only having 4 points at half time, many of the fans around me felt like the game was over. If you have watched the Mavs all season and seen that the story is much of the same game after game, I could see people feeling that, but this was not the typical game. The game never got so out of hand that you could see the players giving up, they fought through everything, even though the game did not end the way the Mavs wanted to, you have to proud of the effort and the fight.
I think the most frustrating thing as a player in a close loss like that is after the game you will find yourself sitting there thinking, if I would have just not turned it over on that one play, or missed that one shot, or driven right instead of left on that play with a few minutes to go in first half, we could have won that game. I can think of one play that me thinking, had that gone down differently, maybe they could have won that game. With much of the team returning for next season, the team can learn from these moments and fix a lot of the mistakes.
I never like to the blame the officials for a loss, and I still do not blame them for last night’s loss, but they were confusing and knit picky at times last night. Mid-major officials being inconsistent? Get out of here, that never happens… The Summit League officials seem to always want to keep Mike Rostampour in check, which they should do with any player, but at times it seems like they are singling him out. A double technical foul in the game AND a double foul of a block on the defender and charge on the offensive player tells you that the refs are afraid to look like bad guys. I officiated basketball for a few years, you can tell the refs that do not want to be the bad guy and the guys who do not care what you think about them. The refs that don’t want to be the bad guy call make up calls, and it makes people want to punch them in the face.
Refs are people too, they typically do not like being yelled at, and it is not like they get to explain themselves like an annoying Customer Service agent with some BS lingo. You want the refs who forget about what a player did five games ago, the Summit League has officials who want to make sure the players know they have things in check. Take Garth Algar’s advice on wanting expensive guitars, LIVE IN THE NOW! They do not look at it play by play, they look at is as Well This Guy Was a Jerk Last Month, I Will Give Him a Foul For Rolling His Eyes at Another Player. Don’t get me wrong, if some player caused a huge fight a month ago, yeah you want to make sure that guy does not do that again. Rostampour has not been out there punching dudes, there is no reason to “keep him in check” just because he plays like he cares. You want the refs that take thirty seconds of their life to proactively tell a player that they will call a foul if do that one bad thing again, there is a reason why Karl Hess is now only officiating basketball games at Nazi Summer Camp. Watch an Atlantic 10 game some time, ALL of their refs are Look at Me and I’ll Cut You refs, their players are basically not allowed to play with emotion, a guy like Mike Rostampour would only play 5 minutes a game and average 5 fouls a game in the Atlantic 10.
My wife and I were in Kansas City for a UNO at UMKC game in 2012-2013 and we sat directly behind the UMKC bench…we were even seen in the picture that UMKC used as the photo for the presser of the firing of Matt Brown. Anyway, there was one ref, and Matt Brown would have a complaint and try and talk to the guy, and the guy would come over and make some stupid joke and have a stupid shit eating grin on his face every time and laugh like it was the appropriate time for his failure of a comedy routine. I wanted to yell at this ref for Matt Brown. How much would that mess up that ref? He’s incompetent and trying to be a comedian for a pissed off coach, and the guy sitting behind the bench with the opposing team’s shirt gets up and calls him out as an idiot? I have not seen that ref work a Summit League game since that year, and I watch a lot of them thanks to ESPN3 replay options. If he got promoted I will be really upset. Mild mannered Derrin Hansen was even out at center court yelling at the refs that game because they were unorganized and messing things up. Comedy Ref stood there with incompetence the entire time, he just wanted to be everyone’s buddy. The Mavs won that game, I think it was their first Summit League road win, but they won that game partly with learning to deal with incompetent refs. This reminds me, why the hell is UMKC in the WAC?
A three paragraph tangent about refs might be a new record for myself. Where was I? Last night, yeah that’s right. It was a frustrating loss, but what loss is not frustrating? The most frustrating are the ones where you realize you deserved that loss due to not working hard. The ones like last night, you can actually learn something and move one, so we will do that, we will move on. We will lose two great seniors that helped set the ground work for division one, and who will not be forgotten. Last night when both were sidelined, we were shown that we will be in great hands in the future. The seniors to be, and sophomore Tre’Shawn Thurman, showed great energy and that they are ready for next year. We are in great shape because of what the two of them provided.
I say that Devin Patterson is the most important piece of the team, and that is because he keeps things moving (among other factors). Not only on offense, but on defense he can great so many bad situations for the other team. My wife averaged 4+ steals a game as a freshman in high school, and her favorite thing about basketball was being “the little girl” but also being able to install so much fear into her opponents that they would shit their pants. I have not verified if she made anyone literally shit their pants, but those were her words. Devin Patterson does that for the Mavericks, he creates fear for the opposing team and they try to keep the ball away from him, but they cannot do it. We can see that Mike Rostampour brings energy and gave the Mavs heart when they desperately needed it, and Devin Patterson brought that too when he came to Omaha.
At one point the Mavs were literally not moving, just four dudes standing around (while one picked up his dribble) like they were in a Jurassic Park film trying to not be seen by the T-Rex. You could see Patterson yell at them after that. I am not sure if he was scolding them for not moving, but they started moving around more and more after that. I have seen him yell at players before for making poor choices, and they typically listen and respond, or end up on the bench for not listening to what he had to say. He had this just ridiculous array of moves for the Mavs first basket last night, most NBA players would not have been able to defend it. My wife who was frustrated by the first few minutes of the game, instantly put down her drink and clapped for him with respect. Post game, she said “I can completely see what you mean by saying he is the most important player on the team.” When things got bad, he made things happen for the team last night.
So after last night’s performance, even though it did not end up as a win, I hope that Carter and Rostampour can feel confident about Patterson, White, Tyus, and the rest of the crew to carry on what they worked hard to help build as a positive future for the Mavericks basketball team.
Don’t forget though, they still have three games left. One game is even on ESPN3