Heard It Through the Grapevine 4-6-09

Posted by Rob Mahoney on April 6, 2009 under xOther | 6 Comments to Read

  • Opening Day.  Blergh.
  • I’m a Rick Carlisle fan.  He’s made plenty of mistakes this season, but I appreciate his willingness to admit those mistakes, adjust, and move on.  But today, I’m especially appreciative of his ability to motivate, which has been a question mark in the past.  From Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News: “Carlisle addressed his team before the biggest game of its season and relayed a story about a telephone conversation he had Saturday with good friend Chuck Daly, the former Detroit coach who is battling pancreatic cancer…’Chuck’s the kind of guy who’s never going to offer advice unless you ask. He has that kind of humility. But he didn’t hesitate, he had one sentence. And that was, ‘Wipe everything off the board. It’s all about attitude.” So when the team was in the locker room before the game, there was nothing on the board. No matchup details. No scouting about Phoenix’s best plays. Just words from the coach about how much fight the Mavericks have left in them. Clearly, they responded. They outworked Phoenix, which is basically dead in the playoff race even if its magic number for elimination is one.”

  • Art Garcia of NBA.com: After watching the Mavericks annihilate a team with seemingly just as much or more to play for, the thought of Dallas providing a first-round scare doesn’t seem that alien. The Mavs are relatively whole with Josh Howard back, though the former All-Star is playing on a gimpy ankle that could go at any time. Jason Kidd (19 points and 20 assists) looked 10 years younger backing Steve Nash down in the post and moving past Magic Johnson for third on the all-time assist list…When Nowitzki admitted the Mavs would rather avoid the Lakers right off the playoff bat, it ran the risk of sending the wrong message. Didn’t it? ‘I’m a realist,’ Nowitzki countered. ‘I think we lost all three times we played them. That’s not a secret. We’ll just take it and run. We played them tough all three games, so why shouldn’t we be able to pull a couple out.’ A roster with Nowitzki, Howard, Kidd and Jason Terry is dangerous. That foursome combined for 89 points on sizzling 65-percent shooting against the defensively challenged Suns. Teams have caught lightning in a bottle going into the postseason before. ‘It’s just a bizarre year,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban said. “Maybe we’re the Arizona Cardinals.’”
  • Tim MacMahon saw what I saw, and shows some love for Brandon Bass.
  • Phoenix head coach Alvin Gentry from yesterday’s post-game press conference (via the Suns official site): “I wish I had an explanation for you. I don’t have any explanation, I really don’t. Not in a million years would I have thought we’d come out and play that way in a game of that significance. I’d like to have some big explanation for you. The score was 46 to 47, or whatever it was, and then that was it. I wish I had something I could say, but I never would have thought we would have performed that way in a game of this magnitude.”
  • Coach Carlisle, post-game: “Never underestimate greatness at any age. People used to ask me about Reggie Miller and I would say that. When I was in Detroit my first two years, Jordan was making a comeback with Washington and I said the same thing. We played Toronto my first playoff series as a head coach back in 2002 and Hakeem Olajuwon was playing. I said the same thing and he came out and he put about an 11 point run on us in four minutes during Game 2. It was very scary and he was toward the end of his career. You can’t ever relax on these guys. There’s a reason that Nash and Shaq are going to the Hall of Fame on a first vote. There’s a reason Kidd is going to the Hall of Fame on the first vote.”
  • Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com: “…I hope the Mavs realize that the success here was the result of working inside-out, that the low-percentage makes were often the result of earlier high-percentage shots and that when the NBA bean counters add it all up, the Dallas Mavericks will still be the third-worst 3-point-percentage team in the league.”
  • You may not agree with them, but Kidd, Dirk, and the rest of the Mavs seem convinced that Josh Howard is pretty good at basketball.  Here’s Kidd, via Tim MacMahon on the DMN Mavs Blog: “‘We can sit here and talk about Josh and his offense, but I think it’s his defense [that helps the Mavs most],’ Jason Kidd said. ‘He’s getting hands on balls and being distractive and rebounding on the defensive end, which we need. Offensively, he’s a talent. He can score with the best with them. But defensively, he’s been huge for us.’”  Based on the way Howard’s been playing of late, I think it would be hard to disagree with Kidd.  Josh is scoring easily without forcing the issue, he’s getting good looks close to the basket on runners and post-ups, and his defense both on the ball and on the weakside has been active, engaged, and effective.  I likey.
  • Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns: “Suns fans are accustomed to sickening ends to their team’s season. We’ve seen Duncan banking threes, questionable Amare and Diaw suspensions and crushing injury after crushing injury. But never in the past five years have we been able to officially lay the season to rest so early as the tender date of April 5, the day the Suns were demolished 140-116 in Dallas to lose what essentially amounted to a Game 7.”
  • David Moore of the Dallas Morning News with a nice nugget from Kidd: “Kidd has a feel for who needs to touch the ball. What may surprise you is that determination is not always made by which player on his team needs to find a rhythm. ‘I think about who on the other team doesn’t want to play defense,’ Kidd says. ‘There are a lot of guys in this league who don’t.’ A lot of them play for the Suns. But I digress.”
  • Kirk

    Josh HAS been great. I’m still not sold as I’ve been anti-Josh since the finals in 2006-2007 when he got it in his head that unless he scored 20, the Mavs lost (the stats proved this fact, but his points were a bi-product of his defense and working hard on the boards, not the shake and bake 17 footer).

    He’s still worth the perfectly priced salary we pay him, weak ankles and all, but I’m guessing we should just get used to the roller coaster that is the J-Ho experience.

  • Charles

    I wait until after the playoffs to judge Josh. There hasn’t been enough data from the regular season to accurately judge where he is at right now.

    If he finds it in his heart to consistently pound the ball inside, I’ll have no problem with having him stay in the offseason, regardless of whether or not we win a first round series.

    And on a separate note…how about JKidd? Wow. It was like watching NJ era Kidd all over again. No decent team would’ve let Kidd work the post like that.

  • Chaz

    I agree with Charles about Kidd. I was very very fortunate and at the game up in the way back and I commented to the people I was with that Kidd was playing like it was 4-5 years ago. It was a spectacular win and it just shows the heart and determination the team has to play with if they want to move up or have a shot at winning in the playoffs. I’d been really pessimistic about this end to the season, but now I’m even thinking we can take 4 of 5. What a difference a game makes.

  • Victor

    Check out this quote from Nick Young from the Washington Times –

    “Also give props to Nick Young, who with 10 points reached double digits for the 12th time in the last 13 games. Tonight was tricky for Nick because he was on the floor with more offensive weapons than he’s accustomed to. But he did a good job settling in and playing in the flow of the game. He’s starting to relish his sixth-man role. Before the game Andray Blatche was trying to mess with him in the locker room and Nick said “Man leave me alone. And since you’re not starting tonight, don’t you be coming in corrupting my unit. The second unit’s been doing nice, now don’t you come in an corrupt my unit!” Later Nick was telling Blatche “I’m Ben Gordon, I’m Jason Terry! I’m anyone who’s ever come off the bench as a sixth man and is nice!” It should be interesting to see how Nick is used next season. He showed last night he can play alongside Gil, Jamison, Butler and Haywood. But his scoring punch could be needed off the bench.”
    link – http://www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/outlet/2009/Apr/03/wizards-post-game/

    I think of myself as being a JET lover, but it’s comments like these that make me realize just how much I can overlook him sometimes. There really aren’t many guys who have the professionalism and (on top of that) the sincerity to be willing to come off the bench like JET. If it wasn’t for his attitude, I really don’t think the Mavs would be where they are. If the Mavs don’t get past the first round this year, his 6th Man Award will be a really, really nice addition to the franchise. He totally deserves it. And I forgive him for his past inconsistent seasons (mostly) and for ballsack-tapping Michael Finley.

  • http://www.bign.com/cagabel Cynthia

    I’ve always loved the Jet. And I’ve always defended him to those dumb a’s on the Mavs blog on dallasnews.com who were always screaming to “trade him for pretty much anybody.” To me that’s just asinine. Teams would kill to have a guy off the bench like Jason Terry. And what a team player! All he wants to do is help his team win. I watch PLENTY of basketball and there’s only a handful of players like that in the league and the majority of them are not as good as the Jet. I guess you can tell…I love me some Jason Terry. Always have. Always will.
    As far as Josh…..he’s still a phenomenal player and his play of late has definitely shown that. Hopefully we’ve got the old Josh back for good. And for that we have Darrell Armstrong to thank. So welcome back DA and thanks a lot…..Darrell was yet another player that was “team” all the way.
    GO MAVS!!!

  • http://www.bign.com/cagabel Cynthia

    And Victor…thanks for the quote. Nice to see that players see the same thing we do.