The Rundown, Volume XI

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on January 14, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | Be the First to Comment

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The Rundown is back. Every Monday, The Rundown will chronicle the week that was for the Mavericks, as well as let you know what is coming up for the boys in blue, with a unique spin. Simply put, it is your Monday catch-up on all things with the Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavericks completed their brutal stretch of 16 out of 23 games on the road. They didn’t exactly come out of it smelling like daisies. They did come out of it with a roster tweak, though. The week brought new players, fines, late game breakdowns, trade speculation, growth and regression. Through all of that, the week saw a little glimmer of hope. There truly is never a dull moment for the Mavericks. Let’s take a look at the week for that was for Dallas.

Did THAT Really Happen?

- Mark Cuban was fined $50,000 on Jan. 8 for his tweet after the team’s overtime loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Jan. 5. “Im sorry NBA fans. Ive tried for 13 yrs to fix the officiating in this league and I have failed miserably. Any Suggestions ? I need help,” Cuban tweeted. The league didn’t take kindly to that open plea from owner. Cuban, and most fans of the league, have been frustrated with the officiating this season. Cuban’s combined total for league fines over his 13 years as the owner for the team is upwards of the seven figures range.

- Mike James became a Dallas Maverick. Earlier in the day before Mark Cuban got fined, the Mavericks signed free agent guard Mike James to a 10-day contract. The Mavericks released Chris Douglas-Roberts a few days before the acquisition to make room for James. The veteran guard played in two games with the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League, averaging 18.5 points, 4.0 assists and 2.5 steals in 34.0 minutes per contest.

- A writer suggested that the Mavericks should attempt to try to trade Dirk Nowitzki for Dwight Howard. After the game against the LA Clippers on Jan. 9, Los Angeles Daily News columnist Vincent Bonsignore approached Dirk and asked him about the possibility of joining another struggling franchise at the moment, the Lakers, and reuniting with Steve Nash and playing with Kobe Bryant at the expense of trading Howard to Dallas. Despite the struggles, Dirk wants to remain in Dallas. He’s made it very clear though that he wants to see the front office stay active in their attempts to improve the team. The idea of Dirk being somewhere else is a silly notion, especially for trading for Dwight Howard. Acquiring Dwight is not a bad idea, but his chances of staying in Dallas without Dirk being in the mix are incredibly slim. The Mavericks would want to acquire Dwight during free agency this coming summer.

- DeMarcus Cousins hit someone…again. In the midst of the Mavericks’ comeback victory over the Kings, members of the Mavericks swarmed over Cousins as they were battling for a rebound. Vince Carter wound up getting possession of the ball and a forearm shiver from Cousins. Sacramento’s big man was initially assessed a flagrant foul 1 on the play but a video review upgraded the call to a flagrant foul 2. “It wasn’t intentional,” Cousins told reporters after the game. Cousins was suspended for one game by the NBA for a low blow on Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo back in December. Despite the reckless behavior, the Mavericks will still have a strong interest in Cousins if he actually becomes available as the trade deadline approaches.

- The Mavericks were actually on the good side of a blowout as they handled the Memphis Grizzlies in convincing fashion with a 103-84 victory on Jan. 12. Dallas led by as many as 34 points in the fourth quarter against the Grizzlies. It was Dallas’ largest lead in any game this season, previous high was a 29-point lead vs. Charlotte on Nov. 3. The Mavericks outscored the Grizzlies 54-39 in the opening half of the game. The 39 points were the fewest Dallas has allowed in the first half of a game this season, previous low was 40 on two occasions: at Memphis Dec. 21 and vs. New Orleans Jan. 5.

Box Score Revelations

- The Mavericks were in control at 86-80 over the Jazz with 6:20 left in the fourth quarter, but Utah rattled off a 13-0 run. Dallas was unable to recover from that run. The Jazz had season-high scoring performances from Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks. Hayward scored a game-high 27 points off the bench, and Burks scored added 13 off the bench. The two combined to score 15 points in the final quarter. Dallas, as a team, scored only 14 points in the fourth quarter.

- Once again, the Mavericks struggled to close a game out on the road. Dallas had a 10-point lead with 2:20 left in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers, but the lead evaporated by the 10:43 mark of the fourth quarter. Dallas was outscored 27-18 in the fourth quarter. Going into their next game against the Sacramento Kings, there was a serious concern on whether or not the Mavericks were going to be able to make it through the road trip as they kept finding a new demoralizing low to hit.

- Dallas overcame a 17-point third-quarter deficit to defeat Sacramento in overtime on Jan. 10. It was the Mavericks’ largest come-from-behind win of the season, previous: 14 at Washington on New Year’s Day. It their sixth double-digit comeback of the year. The Mavericks were trailing the Kings 71-54 with 3:51 left in the third quarter before they responded with a quick 7-0 run that fueled their comeback. O.J. Mayo and Vince Carter were huge in the comeback effort as they both scored in double figures in the fourth quarter, Mayo 11 points and Carter 10 points). It was an overtime victory for the Mavericks. It marked their first overtime win in 11 tries, dating back to last season. The Mavericks played their eighth overtime game of the season, third in five games, at Sacramento. It tied the franchise record for the most overtime games in a season. Dallas played 8 overtime games in 1995-96, 1997-98 and 2009-10. The Mavericks played their eighth overtime game of the 2012-13 season in just their 37th game of the year.

- O.J. Mayo (24 points and 10 rebounds), Shawn Marion (19 points and 10 rebounds) and Dirk Nowitzki (17 points and nine rebounds) all recorded at least 17 points and nine rebounds in the overtime-win at Sacramento. It marked the first time in nearly five years that Dallas had three players post those numbers. On Feb. 29, 2008, in another victory over the Kings, Nowitzki (34 points and 10 rebounds), Jason Kidd (21 points and 11 rebounds) and Josh Howard (20 points and nine rebounds) all reached those figures.

- Vince Carter passed Hal Greer (21,586) for 30th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list at Sacramento. Carter dropped 23 points in 34 minutes against the Kings. He made a pair of free throws at the 41.9-second mark of overtime that gave him 23 points for the game and 21,587 for his career, the exact point total he needed to pass Greer going into the game. Larry Bird ranks 29th all-time with 21,791 career points. Carter had 16 free throw attempts against the Kings, his most in a game since 16 vs Atlanta on Nov. 14, 2008

- The Mavericks tied a season-low with nine turnovers vs. Memphis on Jan.12 , recorded 9 on three other occasions. The Grizzlies had forced at least 10 turnovers in an NBA-high 138 straight games prior to the game against the Mavericks. The Mavericks have recorded 13-or-fewer turnovers in eight of their last 10 games, despite playing four overtime games in that span. Dallas has managed 13-or-fewer turnovers in each of its last five games. The Mavericks have also recorded 14-or-fewer giveaways in each of their last eight games, had 14 turnovers just once in that span: at Miami on 1/2. Dallas is averaging 12.0 turnovers per game over its last 10 games.

Check Your Calendar

- The Mavericks have one regular week in the schedule before a nice break in the schedule. They start a three-game homestand against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Jan. 14. Like the initial meeting of the season, the Wolves will be coming into Dallas hobbled. The Wolves will be without Kevin Love as he is out for a significant period of time as he deals with a similar hand injury that kept him out for an early chunk of the season. Former Maverick J.J. Barea is still dealing with back issues, so his status for the game is still up in the air. The Wolves will come into town on the second night of a back-to-back as they take on the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio on Jan. 13.

- Dallas will host the Houston Rockets on Jan. 16. Houston is the team that O.J. Mayo faced as he tied his career-high with 40 points on Dec. 8. The Mavericks will have to deal with the three-headed challenge of James Harden, Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons on offense. They will also have to stay honest in regards to rebounding with Omer Asik. The game will be the second night of a challenging back-to-back for Houston as they host the red hot Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 15.

- The Mavericks will host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Jan. 18. Dallas was able to hang tough with the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Dec. 27. Darren Collison scored a season-high 32 points and hit a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime. The Mavericks were right there with one of the better teams in the league, but they had their issue with not being able to close out a game and were unable to seize control in overtime. It will be interesting to see how the Mavericks stack up against the Thunder.

- The Mavericks end their week with a road trip to Orlando to take on the Magic on Jan. 20. The game will officially mark the halfway point of the season. It’s crazy to think that the season will be at the midway point for the Mavericks. Orlando is a collection of parts, after the Dwight Howard trade they completed during the offseason. The road hasn’t been kind to the Mavericks this season, but this is a game that is very winnable for the them. With their playoff hopes circling down the drain, this is a game they have to get if they want to keep hope alive.

BG’s Baller of the Week

Baller status has been granted to Shawn Marion. The Matrix has been doing it all for the Mavericks as they continue to try to get out of their funk. He averaged 14.0 points and 7.5 rebounds during the week for the Mavericks. Marion shot 55.8 percent from the field and an impressive 50.0 percent from 3-point range. Marion tallied a season-high 20 points to go along with four rebounds in 26 minutes vs. Memphis on Jan. 12. He put up a season-high point total for the second consecutive game, 19 at Sacramento Jan. 10. Prior to the game at Sacramento, the most points he had scored in a game this season was 18 at Chicago on Nov. 28.

Marion dropped 20 points for the first time since Jan. 30, 2012, 20 at Phoenix. He managed 19-plus points in consecutive games for the first time since April 2011, had 19-plus points in three straight games from Apr. 2 through Apr. 6, 2011. Marion led Dallas in scoring for the third time this season, including ties. He also registered his seventh double-double of the season (411th career) with 19 points, 10 rebounds and two steals in 28 minutes at Sacramento. It was his eighth double-digit rebounding effort of the season.

As keeping the winning mindset and culture intact during the rough stretch is a challenge, Marion continues to do what he can to step up as a leader on and off the floor.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.