The Rundown, Volume XIX

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on April 8, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | Be the First to Comment

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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 Mavs, 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.

As the season is starting to wind down, the odds look incredibly bleak for the Mavs and extending their playoff streak to 13 years. With five games left, they still trail the Utah Jazz by 2.5 games. Utah owns the tiebreaker over both Los Angeles and Dallas, so it’s essentially a three-game lead Utah owns over Dallas. The dark number for Utah is 2 and 3 for Los Angeles. That means Dallas needs to avoid any combination of actual losses and Utah wins equaling out to two to stay alive and three for Los Angeles. It’s going to take a miraculous run, and some luck, for Dallas to sneak into the playoffs. With a win against Portland, Dallas will have the chance to accomplish something they’ve set out to do since late January – shave their .500 beards.

Let’s take a look at the week for that was for Dallas.

Did THAT Really Happen?

- In the biggest game of the year, the Mavs put up a dud against the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant produced the 19th triple-double of his career, stuffing the box score with 23 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, four steals and two blocks in the 101-81 victory over Dallas. What was more shocking was the Mavs didn’t have the best bench player of the night. That honor went to Earl Clark, who had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Clark had a total of 16 points and 13 rebounds in the previous six games. With so much on the line, it was a terrible time to have a dud.

- Mark Cuban made comments about potentially drafting Brittney Griner in the second round of this summer’s NBA draft. You can read my thoughts on the issue here.

- Dallas announced after the game against Los Angeles that they had signed guard Josh Akognon to a 10-day contract. He took the roster spot of Justin Dentmon, who was informed after the loss to the Lakers that he wouldn’t be receiving a second 10-day deal. Akognon spent the 2012 preseason with the Mavs before signing with the Liaoning Jiebao Hunters of the Chinese Basketball Association. With 23 players on board during the regular season, that represents the second-highest amount of players used in Mavs history. Twenty-seven players used during the 1996-97 remains the high mark for the franchise.

- Vince Carter did not box out former Mav Corey Brewer on a missed free throw and that ultimately sealed the fate of Dallas in the 95-94 loss to Denver. Brewer was able to grab the rebound, setting up Andre Iguodala’s game-winning bucket. Brewer was essentially traded away for nothing in a post-lockout deal with Denver. The move will continue to get flamed as the days go by, but the logic was sound at the time of making the decision. Dallas was continuing their effort to lower salary in anticipation of trying to acquire a big fish. At the time, there were three big fish on the market (Dwight Howard, Deron Williams and Chris Paul). A lot of twists and turns led to only one big fish realistically being on the market, but the Mavs did what they felt was right to have a chance at the three that were actually available at the moment.

- Non-Mavs, Quasi-Mavs note: DeMarcus Cousins only played 9:08 in the victory over the Sacramento Kings due to a dispute with Kings coach Keith Smart in the team’s previous game. Cousins is a remarkably talented big man, but he has to work on is maturity. It’s becoming more and more evident that the organization seriously has to consider moving him in the near future. Would he be a fit with the Mavs? Time will tell.

- Elton Brand missed the games against Denver, Sacramento and Portland due to a sore right calf. The injury occurred during the game against the Indiana Pacers, but Brand decided to tough it out and play the games against Chicago and Los Angeles. It’s been an up and down year for Brand, but he’s provided more positives than negatives. It will be interesting to see what the market provides Brand this summer. The Mavs would definitely love to have him back, but teams such as Oklahoma City, Miami and San Antonio might offer Brand an opportunity to capture his first championship.

- Chris Kaman against Portland. Enough said.

- Dirk Nowitzki sat out the fourth quarter of the game against Portland as he was dealing with an undisclosed foot injury. “At this point, it’s not considered serious,” coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. “But you don’t mess around with something like that.” Dirk told reporters that he will be fine and good to go for the team’s next game on Wednesday.

Box Score Revelations

- The game against the Lakers was won by Los Angeles in the painted area. The Lakers outscored the Mavericks 44-26 in the paint. The Lakers went 21-of-33 (.636) from the line, while the Mavericks went just 6-of-12 (.500) from the stripe. The Lakers also outrebounded the Mavs in the game by a margin of 57-37.

- Kenneth Faried had a game-high 19 rebounds in Denver’s victory over Dallas. The Nuggets outrebounded the Mavericks, 50-41 (18-9 on the offensive glass). Denver outscored Dallas 46-38 in the paint, 18-9 in second-chance points and 16-8 in transition. The rebounding was a huge issue as they were outrebounded by a margin of 107-78 (37-17 on the offensive glass) in their two losses to Los Angeles and Denver.

- The second assist of the night for Vince Carter in the game against the Sacramento Kings marked his 4,000 for his career. With the dime, he joined a prestigious list of players with at least 22,000 points, 5,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists (now a total of 15 guys). He joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, John Havlicek, Alex English, Kevin Garnett, Jerry West, Paul Pierce, Charles Barkley, Ray Allen and Clyde Drexler. That’s not a bad list to be on. Carter continues to state his case as a potential Hall of Fame candidate.

- After building a 26-point lead, the Mavs had to hold on to dear life for a victory against the Trail Blazers. Dallas had four players n double figures. That’s not necessarily a surprise, but it would come as a surprise that Dirk Nowitzki and O.J. Mayo combined to score 13 points in the game. It certainly helped that they got a season-high 26 points from Chris Kaman. That marked the most points by a Mavs center since Shawn Bradley scored 26 on Mar. 9, 2000.

Check Your Calendar

- The penultimate week of the season begins with a matchup against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. Phoenix is “boasting” the worst record in the Western Conference. The game will mark the second game of a back-to-back for the Suns as they take on the uptempo Houston Rockets on Tuesday. Tired legs should lead to an advantageous opportunity for the Mavs. A win would allow Dallas to finally shave their .500 beards. For the record, Dirk just needs to keep his.

- Dallas will get one more crack at the Denver Nuggets as they host Denver on Friday. The Nuggets will likely be without Ty Lawson as he continues to deal with a plantar fascia tear in his right foot and they will definitely be without Danilo Gallinari after he suffered a torn ACL in left knee in the game against the Mavs last week. Denver is a much different squad on the road opposed to being at home so Dallas will need to take this one.

- The week ends with the final road trip of the season for the Mavs. They will head over to the bayou and take on the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday. The Hornets will be playing out the string and will be doing so against the Mavs. Sunday will start a home and home for New Orleans with Dallas, marking the final two games of the season for New Orleans.

- Keep in mind, Dirk Nowitzki is 53 points of reaching 25,000 career points. He will become the 17th player in NBA history to reach the 25,000-point mark. Nowitzki will also become one of only nine players in NBA history with at least 25,000 points and 9,000 rebounds (joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, Moses Malone, Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon and Kevin Garnett). With things wrapping up, this important milestone for Dirk is something definitely keeping track of.

BG’s Baller of the Week

Baller status has been granted to Shawn Marion. Honorable mention goes to Darren Collison and Brandan Wright. The Matrix has really gotten back in a groove after missing time with his left calf strain. Whatever the team needs, Marion will find a way to deliver. He finished the week averaging 16.0 points on 56.9 percent shooting from the field. He also pulled down 8.0 rebounds a game during the week for Dallas.

The highlight of his week came against the Sacramento Kings as he notched his 14th double-double of the season (418th career) with a team-high 25 points and a team-high 12 rebounds in 33 minutes at Sacramento. His 14 double-doubles are the most he’s recorded in any one season with the Mavericks (previous high: 12 in both 2010-11 and 2011-12). He produced 25-and-10 (points/rebounds) for the second time in his last 19 games (season-high 26 points and 11 rebounds vs. Golden State on Feb. 9), tying the total number of 25-of-10 games that he recorded in his first 260 games with the Mavericks.

Yes, Collison and Wright had impressive performances over the week. Collison’s was a welcomed sight as Mike James has essentially played the role of the invisible man. Wright’s week continues to show he might be a factor for the future for the Mavs. If Ian Mahinmi money is on the table, the team should definitely consider signing him to that kind of deal. All of that is great, but Marion needs to be recognized because he often goes unnoticed for his efforts on the floor. That’s what’s up.

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.