DALLAS — The Run DMC video that played on the American Airlines Center jumbotrons during the first quarter of Thursday’s home opener was a fun, witty way to feature the Dallas Mavericks’ three most explosive scorers.
[+] EnlargeSo much depth. So much variety. Such creativity. Such sweet chemistry.
“We have a lot of ways to hurt you,” Parsons said after matching Nowitzki for game-high honors with 21 points in the Mavs’ 120-102 rout of the Utah Jazz.
Just ask the poor Jazz.
Granted, the playoffs are a pipe dream for the rebuilding Jazz, and Utah looked tired while playing for the second consecutive night. But the Mavs, with their waves of offensive weapons, will make a lot of teams looked gassed.
This was “One Nation Under a Groove” indeed for Dallas.
Seven Dallas players scored in double figures, with Al-Farouq Aminu, Brandan Wright, Tyson Chandler and Devin Harris joining the Run DMC dudes. The Mavs made their first eight shots from the floor and shot 55.3 percent for the night. Dallas scored 69 points by halftime, when their pacing and spacing actually might have caused coach Rick Carlisle to crack a smile.
“Offensively, we looked great out there,” said center Tyson Chandler, whose 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting featured three highlight-reel finishes of alley-oops. “The pace was incredible, nobody overdribbling, the ball just moving and dictating the shot. It’s our style of basketball.”
It is beautiful basketball, the kind that allows sellout home crowds to free their minds and have their rear ends follow.
The offensive brilliance of the Mavs, an elite team on that end of the floor last season that made major offseason upgrades, begins with the sweetest-shooting 7-footer in NBA history. The big German was at his efficient best against the Jazz, needing only 13 shots to get his 21 points.
But there is less offensive burden on Nowitzki than perhaps at any point of his Hall of Fame career. That’s because the Mavs have such a vast arsenal of attackers, finishers and shooters.
Parsons, the $46 million restricted free-agent addition who bounced back from a dreadful debut with a fine performance against the Jazz, does a little bit of everything. He can create for himself and teammates off the dribble. He can slash. He can post up. He can shoot the 3.
This week’s return of J.J. Barea, the pick-and-roll pest who played a key role in Dallas’ 2011 title run, gives the Mavs four healthy guards who have proven they can beat opponents off the bounce. They’re all at their best as pick-and-roll trigger men but can also play off the ball. And they all embrace the Mavs’ mission to keep the ball moving. Even Ellis (14 points, six assists versus Jazz), who arrived in Dallas before last season with a reputation as a me-first gunner but has fit in phenomenally well with the Mavs.
“I don’t think we have any selfish guys out there,” Nowitzki said. “We want to share the ball. We want to look for open shots. We want to play for each other. We have a lot of playmakers.”
The Mavs also have two athletic big men who excel at running the floor and finishing above the rim in Chandler and Wright, who combined for 27 points on 11-of-12 shooting, with several of those buckets causing the crowd to get on its feet. Nowitzki forces the defense to gravitate toward him because of his perimeter shooting prowess; Chandler and Wright pull in the opposite direction or exploit the holes around the rim.
“You’ve got to pick your poison,” Parsons said.
Or just enjoy the electrifying show.