The Mavs have started fairly strong this season, opening with a 3-2 record and only one really bad loss (last night, against the Portland Trailblazers). Chandler Parsons has mostly righted the ship after a terrible start against San Antonio. The other new guys have mostly fitted in. Dirk has looked like Dirk. But there is one troubling aspect that those five games have in common: the team’s absolutely dreadful third quarters. How bad has it gone when the second half starts? They have been outscored 170 to 106 in the third quarter, or 34 to 21.2 on average. That is not good. Giving up 34 points is not good. Being outscored by 13 points is not good. It is all not good. So, what is up?
A. The team’s dominant offense has allowed it to coast a bit on defense. When the opponents make halftime adjustments to slow down the offense, the defense is exposed.
B. The Mavericks have a deep roster, but the second unit is not packed with scorers. When the starters naturally begin to drop off a bit, there is no one on the bench to bail them out and bring some renewed energy on the offensive end. (Quicker version: the team misses Vince Carter way more than it thought it would.)
C. During halftime at every game, Warden Hazen takes Parsons aside and threatens to pin Caretaker’s murder on him, thus extending his prison stay indefinitely. By the time Parsons decides to take his chances with the warden and starts playing to win again, it is already the fourth quarter.
Or maybe something else?