The Rundown, Volume XIV

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on February 11, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | 3 Comments to Read

6793099442_34a77b0ec6_z

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.

With the All-Star break rapidly approaching, the Mavericks have started their do-or-die homestand. Dallas is at 22-28 with 32 games to go. The approach will be to take things one game at a time, but the mindset should be to look at the remainder of the games in four-game chunks and win three of four the rest of the way out with each chunk. That will get them to 46-36. With how the rest of the bottom half of the West is trending, that should be enough to sneak in and take the 8th seed. It’s possible that they can do it, but we’ll have to see how things play out. With that in mind, it was another up and down week for the Mavericks. It was full of milestones, hammers being dropped and facial hair. Let’s take a look at the week for that was for Dallas.

Did THAT Really Happen?

- Dallas laid an egg in Oklahoma City against the Thunder. It’s a good thing Dallas handled their business in 2011 against Oklahoma City because they haven’t been able to do much of anything since then. The Mavericks have lost 10 of 11 games against the Thunder, including last season’s first-round sweep, since beating Oklahoma City in the 2011 West finals. It was the end of a four-game, eight-day road trip for the Mavericks. It was clearly a case of them wanting to get home and they didn’t have anything left in the tank against an elite team like the Thunder.

- Rick Carlisle hit a huge milestone in the win against the Portland Trail Blazers. He recorded his 500th career win. He became the 28th coach in NBA history to reach the 500-win mark. Carlisle, who recorded his 500th victory in his 853rd game (went 500-353, .586, in his first 853 games), became the 11th-fastest coach in NBA history (of the 28) to reach the milestone. He also became the 16th coach with 500 wins and an NBA title. His 500th career victory was his 219th win with the Mavericks (he went 219-142, .607, in his first 361 games with the club). Carlisle joined the Mavericks on May 9, 2008, after spending two seasons with the Pistons (2001-03) and four seasons with the Pacers (2004-07). He went 100-64 (.610) with Detroit and 181-147 (.552) with Indiana. On getting his 500th win, Carlisle said, “As Coach [Jim] O’Brien said walking through the tunnel, it means I’ve been around a long time; I’m getting old. But it means I’ve had a lot of good players. It’s meaningful, but I’m not into those kinds of things. I’m into the day-to-day stuff. One relief I have is I think after tomorrow I won’t have to hear about it again for a while, so that’s good.”

- Dirk Nowitzki let it be known that the Mavericks, or a good chunk of them, are growing .500 beards. After the win against Portland, Dirk said that he and several teammates wouldn’t shave until the Mavericks were back at .500 again. “It’s been rough,” said Nowitzki. “There’s been some itching going on. Since we’re still down seven games under .500, it’s a long way to go.” O.J. Mayo and Vince Carter were the originators of the idea. Dahntay Jones, Elton Brand, Chris Kaman, Shawn Marion and Jae Crowder have joined in the effort. It might be silly, but the beard movement is a good way to show some solidarity through a trying time. I just want to see the Goatface Drillah emerge.

- Shawn Marion let it be known to reporters that he doesn’t want to go to a bad team if he ends up being traded. “If I’m going to get traded, they’re going to tell me what’s going on and where I’m going,” Marion told reporters over the weekend. “Because if I’m going to a (expletive) situation, I’m not going. It’s just that simple.” It appears with his salary that he would be safe in his request. It doesn’t seem likely that many bottom feeding teams would be interested in adding his salary. Now, a contending team might be willing to take the risk on adding Marion’s salary as they make a push for the playoffs.

- That being said, it appears Donnie Nelson and the rest of the front office have different intentions. It appears they don’t want to let guys like Shawn Marion or Vince Carter go. “The fact that Shawn [Marion] recently expressed an interest to stay here, well it’s mutual,” Nelson told reporters during the team’s shootaround in preparation for their game against the Golden State Warriors. “Shawn and Vince [Carter] have probably been our most consistent players all year long. We like guys like that.”

Nelson expressed that state of where the Mavericks are when it comes to trades. It really hasn’t changed. “I don’t think this team needs more change, unless there’s good reason for it,” Nelson continued. “If there’s something that’s an over-the-top type move, you know us, we’re not afraid to pull the trigger around here.” Whether or not Nelson is posturing remains to be seen, but it would not come as a complete shock if the Mavericks held their ground during the deadline. They could just decide to hold their assets, ride out the rough patch, regroup and start over with a clean slate during the offseason. The countdown to the 21st will be interesting.

- The Mavericks dropped the hammer on the dead-legged Warriors. Dallas used an 11-0 run from the 5:32 mark of the first quarter through the 3:49 mark of the period to take a 20-10 lead. The Mavericks then led for the remainder of the contest. Dallas held Golden State to 36 points in the opening half, which marked a Mavericks’ opponent low for points in the first half this season (previous low: 39 in first half vs. Memphis Jan. 12). The Warriors came into town playing their fourth game in five nights and on the second night of a back-to-back. It was good to see Dallas handle their business and put them away.

Box Score Revelations

- Oklahoma City left nothing to chance as they throttled Dallas. The Thunder’s defense held the Mavericks to 34.7 percent shooting in the second and third quarters combined, while also making 11 steals and forcing 14 turnovers. The Thunder scored 39 points in the second quarter en route to 68 first half points, tying its season-high for points in a half. The 68 points allowed by Dallas in the first half was the most they’ve allowed to an opponent this season.

- You could say Portland couldn’t or can’t hold the Mayo. Yeah, I said it. In his 350th career game, O.J. Mayo went 11-of-14 (.786) from the field en route to a game-high 28 points against Portland. It was the second-best shooting night of Mayo’s career. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, his best shooting performance came against Boston on Mar. 10, 2012 when he went 7-of-8 (.875) from the floor. Mayo shot 8-of-9 (.889) from the field half in the first half against Portland and scored 20 of his 28 points before intermission. Mayo is averaging 25.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists in three games (three starts) against the Blazers in 2012-13. He doesn’t mind seeing the Blazers as he is shooting 68.3 percent (28-of-41) from the field, 68.8 percent (11-of-16) from 3-point range and 80 percent (8-of-10) from the line against Portland this season.

- With the first of two free throws at the 11:06 mark of the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors, Dirk Nowitzki passed Wilt Chamberlain (6,057) for 15th place on the NBA’s all-time free throws made list. It was the 6,058th free throw of Nowitzki’s career. He has shot 6,059-of-6,910 (.877) from the stripe for his career. Wilt went 6,057-for-11,862 (.511) during his career. Needless to say, Wilt left many points on the court with that percentage.

- Shawn Marion recorded his 12th double-double of the season (fourth in his last five games) with a season-high 26 points (11-16 FGs, 2-3 3FGs, 2-2 FTs) to go along with a game-high-tying 11 rebounds and two steals in 30 minutes against the Warriors. His previous high scoring game was 23 points, which he recorded at Oklahoma City on Feb. 4. Marion scored 20-plus points for the second time in his last three games (fourth time this season). It was his second 20-point, 10-rebound game of the year (195th career). He had 20 points and 10 boards at Orlando on Jan. 20. Prior to the game at Orlando, Marion hadn’t recorded a 20-point, 10-rebound game since Apr. 6, 2011 vs. Denver (21 points and 10 rebounds). Marion is averaging 18.8 points and 10.0 rebounds over his last five games. The Matrix is a major groove right now.

Check Your Calendar

- It will be an incredibly light week for the Mavericks. They will have two more games to their homestand and then hit the All-Star break. The first game of the week will be against the Atlanta Hawks on Feb. 11. There won’t be any major scheduling issues for the Hawks as they come in to take on the Mavericks. The biggest story revolving around Atlanta is whether or not they will be dealing Josh Smith. It remains to be seen if Smith will make it to the trade deadline on the 21st. This could be the last time the Mavericks see him in a Hawks uniform.

- The final game of the extended first half of the season will be against the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 13. The Mavericks need to end this chunk of the season on a good night and they have the schedule on their side. The game against the Mavericks will be the fourth game in five nights for the Kings and the second night of a back-to-back. Sacramento will be in Memphis to take on the Grizzlies on Feb. 12 before heading to Dallas to take on the Mavericks the next night.

BG’s Baller of the Week

Baller status has been granted to Rick Carlisle. Shawn Marion wants to earn lifetime baller status, but the honor must go to the coach this week. He wanted no part of the discussion leading up to the game against the Trail Blazers in regards to the potential of winning his 500th game as a head coach. After the victory, he still didn’t want any part of the discussion. Carlisle understands that he’s had a lot of help along the way, with great assistants and great players. The coach also understands that his team is fighting for their collective playoff lives at the moment. He made it a direct point to acknowledge that this was not the time to discuss a positive moment because there was a long road ahead for the team.

The championship year, the lockout-shortened season and this season have showed that Carlisle is persistent and relentless in his approach to making the team better, There are other teams around the league that are struggling and have leaders that appear to have no clue how to right the ship. While the ship isn’t directly on the course everyone wants it to be on with the Mavericks, people can believe in Rick Carlisle.

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.