The Rundown, Volume XV

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on February 25, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | Read the First Comment


The Rundown is back. Every Monday (unless there’s a better feature to run with), 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 week was highlighted with trade rumors, determining if Dirk Nowitzki’s basketball game was dead and actual basketball. As usual, it was an up and down week for the Mavericks. The final game before the Rundown, against the Los Angeles Lakers, might prove to be the moment where people might need to find nails for the 2012-13 coffin for Dallas. There’s still time for them and they’re not mathematically out of the picture, but that loss against the Lakers will hurt in a big way. Let’s take a look at the week for that was for Dallas.

Did THAT Really Happen?

- The week was filled with rumors as the trade deadline approached. The very trusty and reliable Marc Stein of reported that the Mavericks had a last-minute deal lined up with the Milwaukee Bucks. It was for backup point guard Beno Udrih. Udrih? Not exactly the idea the Mavericks probably had in mind when they were talking to the Bucks about getting a point guard. Depending on who you talked to, either Chris Kaman would have been shipped out in exchange for Udrih, but it appears it’s more likely that Roddy Beaubois and Dahntay Jones would have been sent out in exchange for Udrih. The rumor ended up swirling down the drain as Udrih was used as a piece in the six-player deal for the Bucks as they acquired J.J. Redick. If Roddy was going to be dealt, that would have made Roddy go from untouchable to undesirable. Now we’re just on borrowed time from going from “Free Roddy B!” to “We are free of Roddy B!”

- The Mavericks ended up acquiring Anthony Morrow in exchange for Dahntay Jones. The Mavericks made the decision to sacrifice a defender that kind of slipped out of the rotation for a shooter of fell out of the rotation in Atlanta. Dallas is going to bank on Morrow being able to stretch the floor with his range. Sure, Jae Crowder can hit 3s, but I’m guessing most would rather prefer having Morrow take those shots.

Speaking of shots, here is an in-depth look at Morrow’s shots this year. This nerds out in a huge way.

P&R Ball Handler2.5%1.671-616.7%
P&R Roll Man1.7%00-20%
Off Screen14%1.128-1747.1%
Hand Off2.5%00-20%
Offensive Rebound5%1.333-560%
All Other Plays3.3%0.751-1100%

Here is a breakdown, with the same percentage of time, but in regards to shots that finished in a 3-point shot.

Plays Leading to 3s3FGM-3FGA3FG%%SF%TO%Score
P&R Ball Handler1-1100%33.3%0%66.7%
P&R Roll Man0-0-0%0%0%
Off Screen2-2100%0%0%47.1%
Hand Off0-0-0%33.3%0%
Offensive Rebound0-0-16.7%0%66.7%
All Other Plays0-0-0%50%50%

- Mark Cuban hypothetically pondered the idea of the Lakers amnestying Kobe Bryant. Cuban indirectly brought some fireworks to the table after the trade deadline. The Lakers’ organization clearly didn’t like the comments, even if they were a hypothetical. “We’re aware of Mark Cuban’s comments. We feel they’re inappropriate,” Lakers spokesman John Black said. “As far as the issue itself, we’re not going to comment publicly on the amnesty issue as it relates to any of our players.” Cuban got under the skin of the Lakers, even if it was just to give a new example of how the CBA can influence decisions for teams.

- Chris Kaman returned to the lineup in the game against the Lakers after missing 10 games due to a concussion. It remains to be seen what role he will have with the team with Elton Brand, Bernard James and Brandan Wright showing value at the position. It will be something to definitely monitor.

- Dirk opened up about the future. If you missed this from earlier today, it’s definitely amust-read.

- Though it is not with the Mavericks, Derek Fisher appears to back in the league. Sources told the Oklahoma City Thunder, after trading Eric Maynor away last week before the trade deadline, made plans to sign Fisher, who joined Oklahoma City for the stretch run in March 2012 after the Los Angeles Lakers dealt Fisher to Houston. The veteran guard appeared in only nine games this season with the Mavericks before asking for his release in December because the 38-year-old — after suffering a knee injury — wanted to return home to his family in Los Angeles.

Upon his release from the Mavericks in December, Fisher said: “The recovery time [from the knee injury] will be approximately two weeks. With this news and the difficulty I have been having being away from my family, I have asked the organization to waive me so I can return home.

“Mark Cuban has been extremely supportive and has granted me this request. I cannot say enough good things about this organization. From Mark, to Coach [Rick] Carlisle, to the players on the Mavericks’ team, I sincerely thank them for the opportunity.

“I have made decisions in the past, leaving money and opportunity on the table, and I will need to do that again. My family is my priority and that is where I choose to be. I won’t close the possibility that I will play again; however, for now my family and being close to them remains the priority.”

It’s quite interesting how Fisher keeps finding a way to get what he ultimately wants. That’s all that needs to be said.

Box Score Revelations

- The Mavericks outscored the Magic 42-30 in the first quarter on Feb. 20. The 42 first-quarter points were the most by the Mavericks in any quarter this season (previous high: 40 points in second quarter vs. Washington Nov. 14). Prior to the game against Orlando, the most points Dallas scored in an opening quarter this year was 39 at Houston on Dec. 8 (outscored Houston 39-24 in the first quarter). At the time, that marked a stretch of games where the Mavericks scored 30-plus points in the first quarter in three of their previous four games.

- Mike James recorded a season-high 12 points and added four assists in 17 minutes vs. Orlando. His previous high scoring game this year was 10 vs. Oklahoma City (Jan. 18). The 17 minutes was a surprise as he was the backup point guard in the game against the Magic. It seems like the backup point guard is still a game of musical chairs. Just before the trade deadline, I asked Rick Carlisle what factors are taken into account when deciding who the backup point guard will be. He replied, “who do you like?” I’m guessing it would have been awkward if I said Beno Udrih. The interview would have ended and he would’ve motioned me over to the corner. That would be the last you ever heard of me.

- The Mavericks hosted a block party at the expense of the New Orleans Hornets. They set a new franchise record with 17 blocks in the game (previous high: 16 vs. Portland Apr. 7, 1998). Bernard James accounted for seven of Dallas’ 17 blocks. Shawn Marion had three, while O.J. Mayo, Elton Brand and Brandan Wright each had two. Jae Crowder also had a rejection off the bench for Dallas.

- Bernard James blocked a career-high seven shots in just 15 minutes of action at New Orleans on (his previous high block total was 4 on two occasions). He became the first Mavericks’ rookie in franchise history to record seven blocks in a game (Kurt Nimphius had 6 as a rookie in 1981-82 and Roy Tarpley had 6 as a first-year player in 1986-87). Since the NBA began tracking blocked shots in 1973, only three other players had at least seven swats while playing less than 16 minutes in a game: Caldwell Jones (1977), Manute Bol (twice: 1988 and 1992) and Sam Bowie (1992). Prior to James, the last Maverick to have seven blocks in a game was Brandan Wright at Houston on Mar. 24, 2012.

- Dirk was never gone. He was just resting. You can say it if you want: Dirk is back. Dirk Nowitzki recorded his first double-double of the season (370th career) with a season-high 30 points and a season-best 13 rebounds in 39 minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers (his previous high scoring game this year was 26 points at Portland Jan. 29, and his previous high rebounding total was 9 on three occasions). It was his 224th career 30-point game (first since Apr. 18, 2012, 35 vs. Houston). It was also his 107th career 30-point, 10-rebound game. Nowitzki has shot 21-of-36 (.583) from the field over his last two games and is averaging 27.5 points per game and 10.0 rebounds per game in that span.

- Kobe Bryant got the last laugh in the “battle” with Mark Cuban. Bryant tallied a game-high 38 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, to go along with 12 rebounds and a game-high seven assists in 38 minutes. He also took to Twitter to comment on Cuban.

It probably wasn’t wise to poke in the direction of Kobe.

Check Your Calendar

- The games this week start a stretch of five consecutive games where the Mavericks’ opponents will be teams that would currently be in the playoffs. It jumps off on Tuesday as they host the Milwaukee Bucks. It might be a game that makes people think of what if as Brandon Jennings comes to town. He was a name of interest for the Mavericks as the trade deadline was approaching. The Bucks did make a move as they acquired J.J. Redick, a familiar face as the Mavericks faced him last week as the Orlando Magic came into town. The game marks the first game of a back-to-back for both teams. Dallas will head to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies the next night and Milwaukee will fly down to Houston to take on the Rockets the next evening. The Bucks could do the Mavericks a solid by losing to them and getting angry and taking it out on the Rockets.

- As it was just mentioned, the Mavericks will head to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies Wednesday. Simply put, back-to-backs have not been favorable to Dallas this season. The Mavericks are 2-9 in the first half of a back-to-back and 4-7 in the second half of a back-to-back this season. The Mavericks have 16 back-to-backs in 2012-13, with only one stretch of four games in five nights. In total, 10 back-to-backs are on the road, three begin at home and conclude on the road and three are road-to-home. Dallas played 22 back-to-backs in 2011-12, going 7-15 in the first half and 13-9 in the second half of those back-to-backs. To make matters worse, the Grizzlies will have two days off in preparation of their game against the Mavericks. Memphis isn’t the ideal team to face on the second night of a back-to-back, but Dallas put themselves in this position. In order to get into the playoffs, they’ll need to gut out some tough wins and this will need to be one of them.

- The Mavericks will make their first trip to the new Barclays Center on Friday as they take on the Brooklyn Nets. This will be the first time the Mavericks get to see Deron Williams since he decided to stay with the Nets and passed on joining the Mavericks. The Nets will have two days off in preparation for the game against the Mavericks. That is the good news, but the bad news is the game against the Mavericks marks the first game of a back-to-back for the Nets. They will head to Chicago to take on the Bulls the next night.

- Sunday’s game will hold majority priority as the Mavericks head down to Houston to take on the Rockets. Oddly enough, the game will start a home-and-home series with Houston as both teams will meet again on the 6th. With the Mavericks chasing the Rockets down for the 8th seed, it’s incredibly important for the Mavericks to get the wins against the Rockets.

BG’s Baller of the Week

Baller status has been granted to Vince Carter. The man who was mentioned the most from opposing teams during the deadline was Vince Carter. It’s obvious to see why he got so much attention. Carter recorded 22 points to go along with a season-high-tying nine rebounds and two steals in 29 minutes off the bench at New Orleans. He scored Dallas’ final 11 points of the first quarter, and also hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 6.5 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter that put Dallas up 102-100 and proved to be the game-winner. It was Carter’s seventh game with 20-plus points this season (5-2 record).

He passed Gary Payton (21,813) for 28th place on the all-time scoring list at New Orleans. He went 5-of-7 from beyond the arc and scored 22 points in 29 minutes. Carter passed “The Glove” with a three-point play at the 1:03 mark of the first quarter (which put him at 21,816 career points). It’s been an incredible season as Carter has reinvented himself as a better all around player. The discussion now needs to be made as to whether or not he will become a Hall of Famer.

Honorable baller status must be given Dahntay Jones. He was a soft spoken player on the floor but was very respected in the locker room. He brought a very strong sense of professionalism and tenacity to the Mavericks. Those assets left a very favorable impression on Rick Carlisle. Even though he’s in Atlanta, he has let it be known that he will continue to show his solidarity and will refuse to shave his beard until the Mavericks get back to .500. Hopefully for his sake, he can get to work on that sooner rather than later.

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