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NBA Playoffs: Houston Rockets vs Dallas Mavericks Game 5 – Time to Send Dallas Fishing

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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Apr 26, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Al-Farouq Aminu (7) and guard J.J. Barea (5) celebrate a basket against the Houston Rockets during the second half in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. at American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Rockets 121-109. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Bench Mob:

Season Stats:

[table id=102 /]

Full bench stats at hoopsstats.com

During the season Dallas bench production was among the best in the league, but given the loss of Chandler Parsons and Rajon Rondo coupled with the injuries to Felton and Jefferson the reserves on the Mavericks haven’t held a huge advantage in the series. Game 4 it was the performance of Josh Smith (24 points) and Corey Brewer (23 points) who obliterated the entire bench scoring of Dallas (31 points)

Key Match-up:

Given the success of the Mavericks offense with JJ Barea and Al-Farouq Aminu: in their line-up the focus Tuesday night needs to be on handling the guard production (with specific emphasis on pace). For the first time in the series Patrick Beverley was sorely missed as his lock down defense would have caused problems for Barea, specifically by getting in front of him. Facing two guards in their late 30’s (Jason Terry, Pablo Prigioni) served to allow Barea to force the pace to his liking. Near the end of the game coach Kevin McHale inserted Nick Johnson to slow down Barea which was more successful. We could also see Brewer get some time on Barea to stop his rhythm with Ariza looking to match-up versus the speedy Monta Ellis.

In addition, the length of Aminu on Harden also created problems so the bearded man will need to figure out a way to offset that match-up. Look for McHale to set additional screens in an effort to free up Harden on more plays.

From my perspective the main goal needs to focus entirely on defense since the Rockets are a better defensive team. Putting Dallas in a half court system makes it more difficult for them to score so controlling pace is just as important as individual match-ups. While Houston played at a higher pace through the season they must have figured out playing at this increased pace just plays into Dallas’ wheel house.

Additionally, the Rockets have dominated the paint through the series (although Dallas was better in Game 4) so they should focus on this area especially at the onset of Game 5 by establishing Howard early. Once they do this they can look to utilize their other asset which is 3-point shooting.

Next: Difference Makers

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