NBA Second-Half Preview: Dallas Mavericks Will Succeed Because of Defense

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IFebruary 22, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 20: Loul Deng #9 of the Chicago Bulls reaches for the ball under pressure from Tyson Chandler #6 and Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks at the United Center on January 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Mavericks 82-77. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks will not be confused with the Celtics of the 60's or the Bulls of the 90's.

Those teams won multiple championships, and part of the way they did it was through playing lock-down defense.

This year's edition of the Mavs are still very talented on the offensive end, but they are also doing a much-better-than-fair job of stopping people on the defensive end too.

Currently, the Mavs are No. 9 in the league in points allowed—95.6 ppg.

In comparison, they are doing better on D (statistically), than they are on O—98.9 ppg, 15th in points scored per game.

Over the last few years, the Mavericks have added players whose strengths are defense and rebounding—namely Shawn Marion, DeShawn Stevenson and Tyson Chandler.

Marion can still guard multiple positions.

Stevenson, at 6'5" and 218 pounds, is a physical SG.

And Tyson Chandler, healthy for the first time in a couple years, patrols the middle and prevents opponents from going inside at will (as teams have done for years against Dallas).

Even the return-from-injury of lightning-fast guard Roddy Beaubois gives the Mavs another player who can exert defensive pressure on the perimeter.

Rather than Dirk Nowitzki having to beat everyone with his premier offensive skills, Dallas can make things happen at both ends of the court.

Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle has tried to move the Mavs towards being a more defensive-minded ball club since coming to town.

The mentality is slowly getting there, but with the right personnel arriving, Dallas plays a different brand of basketball.