The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 107, San Antonio Spurs 113

Posted by Kirk Henderson on January 25, 2013 under Recaps | Read the First Comment

GoldenSpurs

Box Score — Play-by-Play — Shot Chart — Game Flow

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • If one was to look at the final score without knowing anything about the game, it appears to be a real improvement from earlier Mavs-Spurs match ups. It was not. That the Mavericks whittled a 26 point Spurs lead to four is nice, but that they were down 26 at all is cause for alarm. With Tim Duncan out, Gregg Popovich not coaching, and Manu Ginobli only playing eight minutes, Dallas should have been able to stay with the Spurs. Instead, team defense was atrocious and the offense stagnant for most of the game.
  • I’m starting to get concerned about Dirk Nowitzki’s role. While he had 14 shot attempts against the Spurs, he often goes very long stretches of time without an attempt. Dirk took one shot to start the second quarter, then didn’t shoot again until just over a minute left in the period. While he was on the bench for some of that 10 minute stretch, I believe Dirk should be the focal point for consistent stretches as opposed to short outbursts. He is making a concerted effort to get his teammates involved, as evidenced by his four assists in the first quarter. But outside of the other starters and Chris Kaman, I don’t like Dirk passing up a shot to feed Mike James on the baseline as he did with 6:45 left in the fourth.
  • Dallas could not find an effective pick and roll coverage against Tony Parker (23 points, 10 assists) or Gary Neal (18 points, six assists). Carlisle attempted to trap the ball handler with Kaman in first half, which resulted in DeJuan Blair (22 points on 10 of 13 shooting) going off as the roll man. Both ball handlers were easily able to pass around any trap attempt.  In the second half, Carlisle elected to have Darren Collison (who still seems shocked every time he runs into a screen) trail Parker over the top of screens and Parker responded by hitting a variety of really tough shots.
  • Well would you look at that, a Roddy Beaubois (19 points on 6 of 8 shooting, and five free throws) sighting! He scored more points against the Spurs than he did the entire month of December (15). It’d be a boost for Dallas if they could somehow get some burn from Roddy. He’s incredibly athletic and instinctual, and his play can change the pace for a Dallas team that can be athletically challenged, particularly in the half court.
  • Someone needs to have an intervention for Jae Crowder and his shot selection. Every single shot he attempted was 17 feet or farther from the rim. In the first quarter he pulled up to take an uncontested jumper on a fast break when he had a clear attempt at the rim. He tried to make up for this in the second period by attacking the rim on a fast break, only to commit a turnover by running over Manu Ginobli. Later in the quarter he stole the ball from Tiago Splitter after a rebound and decided to shoot a three while at least two of his teammates were not yet past half court. In the fourth, when Dallas was making a fast and furious run, Crowder shot a contested 17 footer from the baseline that caused Jeff Van Gundy to question whether Crowder understands his role on the team.  He missed every single shot until a prayer three fell when the game was out of reach. Jae needs to spend a little more time modeling his game after Shawn Marion and a little less emulating Josh Howard.
  • If Dallas hopes to make the playoffs, losing games against short handed teams is no longer an option. Currently, eleventh in the West, Dallas still has an outside chance to make the playoffs. Portland and Minnesota are stumbling and the Lakers manage to keep lowering the bar. If the Mavericks take care of business and either Utah or Houston stumble down the stretch, the eight seed is still in reach. Some luck will be involved, but in order for that to be a factor, Dallas has to close out these winnable games.

Kirk is a member of the Two Man Game family. Follow him on Twitter @KirkSeriousFace for ranting about Dallas basketball, TV, movies, video games, and his dog.

 

The Longer Road

Posted by Brian Rubaie on October 29, 2012 under Commentary, Roster Moves | Be the First to Comment

LongRoadtoGreatness

A lot can change in five years. In 2007 Josh Howard and O.J. Mayo were both on top of the world. Howard was Dirk Nowitzki’s clear No. 2 on a team that won a team-record 67 games. Mayo was the country’s premiere high school prospect. Five years later, they are journeymen at a crossroads. Howard is still seeking employment, and though the Mavericks have had plenty of roster openings, they’ve displayed no interest in their former star. Instead, they’ve placed their hopes in the hands of the enigmatic Mayo, who arrives in Dallas with much to prove in what may be his last chance to cement a starting role. Mayo weighs in at precisely the same 220 pounds as Josh Howard but many doubt his ability to hold the same weight of responsibility that once rested on Howard’s shoulders. Can Mayo fulfill his promise and become the second option in Dallas? It’s a tall order but one that Mayo can meet.

Mayo’s career arc thus far has taken a steady decline. He arrived in the NBA after a solid but unspectacular campaign for USC. Viewed as a distant draft consolation prize behind Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley, he was dumped before the dance ended, traded by the Timberwolves for Kevin Love. Things only got worse in Memphis. The 38 minutes a game he was afforded by the Grizzlies in his first two seasons transformed to 26 minutes a game and a sixth-man role behind rookie Xavier Henry. Asking whether Mayo has fulfilled expectations yields an unflinching “no.” The better question is where his ceiling currently stands; what should Mavs fans reasonably expect from Mayo?

Read more of this article »

Homecoming

Posted by Rob Mahoney on October 24, 2011 under News | Be the First to Comment

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From Michael Lee of the Washington Post:

While explaining his decision to participate in Chris Paul’s charity game in his home town of Winston-Salem, N.C., earlier this month, Wizards free agent forward Josh Howard joked that “people still want to see me play.” But being around that thrilling, high-flying environment convinced Howard that he should organize his own event in Dallas, the city he still considers home since being traded to the Wizards in the deal that shipped Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson to the Mavericks at the trade deadline in 2010.

With the lockout wiping out the first two weeks of the regular season and more cancellations expected to follow after failed negotiations last week, Howard is taking advantage of the opening to host a charity game on Nov. 12. Players expected to participate include Howard’s Wizards teammates John Wall, Andray Blatche and Nick Young; his former Mavericks teammates Jason Terry, Marquis Daniels, DeSagana Diop and Quinton Ross; Portland Trail Blazers forward and Dallas native LaMarcus Aldridge; New Orleans Hornets guard Jarrett Jack; Mavericks guard Corey Brewer; Minnesota forward Anthony Randolph; Toronto forward Reggie Evans; Sacramento Kings draft pick Isaiah Thomas; and former NBA player Damon Jones.

Marquis Daniels, ‘Gana Diop, Quinton Ross, and Damon Jones are semi-headlining a charity game hosted by Josh Howard in Dallas. Ain’t life grand?

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on October 8, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Chris Tomasson, NBA FanHouse: “Once again, Nowitzki has a picture of the Larry O’Brien Trophy in his locker to serve as his motivation. ‘That’s been there for a while,’ said Nowitzki, who signed a four-year contract last summer after becoming a free agent. ‘It’s going to basically stay there hopefully for the next four years. Hopefully, I’ll get one before then, and I’ll take it down. Or I’ll leave it up until I get a second one. That’s really what it’s all about now. I don’t think I personally have to prove or achieve anything (other than) just winning the ring. So that’s what I’m working on.’”
  • Tom Haberstroh broke down the league’s 10 most untradeable contracts (Insider), and our very own Shawn Marion (four years, $32.2 million remaining on his deal) made the list at no. 10: “Already 32 years old, the veteran small forward will almost undoubtedly enact his $9 million player option in 2013-14, when he’ll be 36. Mavs owner Mark Cuban can probably stomach the $32.2 million outstanding on his deal, but that doesn’t mean it was a wise contract in the first place.” DeSagana Diop (three years, $20.8 million remaining) also made the list at no. 7.
  • The Mavs will play an outdoor preseason game against the Suns on Saturday night, but Dirk Nowitzki won’t.
  • Dee Brown won’t make the Mavs’ regular season roster, but he feels like he’s getting better year by year.
  • They’re a few days old by this point, but there was plenty of Dallas love in the annual NBA GM survey. Among the most significant: 11.5% of GMs (tied for 3rd) think Dwane Casey is the league’s top assistant coach, 28.6% (T-1st) think Dirk is the best at his position (which marks the first year of Dirk’s career that Tim Duncan wasn’t the leading vote-getter), and 21.4% (1st) think that Rodrigue Beaubois is the international player most likely to have a breakout season.
  • Mark Cuban doesn’t hate Don Nelson…anymore.
  • John Stockton is the prototype for aging NBA players hoping to remain productive, and Jason Kidd hopes to follow in his footsteps as he continues to play on the brink of 40. Brendan Haywood chimes in: “He takes good care of his body and he’s a consummate professional. He can play forever.”
  • Michael Lee of the Washington Post, on Josh Howard’s recovery from a left knee injury: “His improvement has been such a revelation that the Wizards may soon see him on the floor in the next few weeks. ‘If you watch him on the floor doing skeleton runs, you’d think that he could play that night. He’s pretty advanced. A lot more advanced than what we thought, but we’re going to take our time,’ Coach Flip Saunders said. ‘I would anticipate that he’ll probably facilitate things in the next two or three weeks. We’ll kind of take our time and see where we are at. We’re not going to push him back, but we’re not going to push him to get there. We’re going to make sure he’s back close to 100 percent.’”

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on September 22, 2010 under xOther | Read the First Comment

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on September 17, 2010 under xOther | 5 Comments to Read

  • Can the Mavs beat the Lakers? A definitive answer from within the Dallas organization.
  • Erick Dampier is making his list and checking it twice. Certain to be considered: Miami and Houston. A possible surprise: Atlanta. I’ve heard Utah may be interested as well, but I haven’t the faintest idea if there’s any reciprocation.
  • Josh Howard, on why the Wizards “took a gamble” on him for the coming season, and how the Wizards stack up with Howard’s former teams in terms of talent (via HoopsHype): “[The Wizards] see a natural-born leader. They got a guy that loves to win games, loves to play, has a total enjoyment for the game… I appreciate that they gave me the chance and I will take advantage of it...Oh, talent-wise the sky is the limit for this team. It’s a young team. Blatche, McGee, Nick Young, No. 1 pick John Wall and a host of other guys. These guys have tremendous upside. If we stay focused and stay dedicated to the game, the sky is the limit for them. I think that’s one other reason they brought me in here – to be a leader. I think I can take those guys on the right path.”
  • Mike Prada of Bullets Forever takes a look forward at what’s in store for Howard over the coming season.
  • Here, you can cast your vote for the top Mavs of all time at each traditional position, but the race has long been decided: Steve Nash, Rolando Blackman, Mark Aguirre, Dirk Nowitzki, and Roy Tarpley should win-out easily. There are other good candidates — Michael Finley, Derek Harper, and Jason Kidd among them, but those five were clear favorites from the tip. (EDIT: I stand corrected. Finley has surged to take the lead at SG. I love Fin, and I’m still shocked.)
  • For a journey down the other path, Tom Haberstroh, ESPN Insider, a fellow contributor at Hardwood Paroxysm, and one of the invaluable minds at HoopData, has identified the five worst statistical tenures for players of each and every team. Dallas’ bottom five: Devean George (’07-’09), Scott Lloyd (’81-’83), Darrell Armstrong (’05-’06), Bill Wennington (’86-’90), and Elston Turner (’82-’84). My initial reaction: isn’t there any way we could come up with a harsher distinction than “worst Maverick ever” for George? My secondary reaction: Armstrong doesn’t deserve to be on this list at all, if for no other reason than the role he played in the Mavs’ comeback, overtime win against the Toronto Raptors in February of 2006.
  • Haberstroh also continued his fine series exploring the statistical implications of position on HP, and it’s worth your time.
  • According to a report by Sport97, Jessie Begarin, a Guadaloupean and participant in Rodrigue Beaubois’ camp, was invited to tryout with the Texas Legends and his since been invited to Mavericks training camp. If this report is indeed true, you could be looking at a future Legend (capital L, y’all). (via DOH at Mavs Moneyball) EDIT: According to Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com, the Mavs/Legends don’t have any plans for Begarin after all.
  • Akis Yerocostas conducted an interesting exercise at his blog, Pick and Scroll, in which he launched a hypothetical expansion draft. I was consulted as an unofficial representative of the Mavs, in order to choose which players to “protect” for the purposes of the draft. See who I selected and who he ended up drafting here.
  • Tim Thomas, on his wife’s health (via Earl K. Sneed): “She’s healthy, she’s getting better. I don’t want people to think that she’s on her deathbed. I just want everybody to know we’re doing fine. She’s doing better. Who knows, if she gets better then maybe I’ll give it another try.”
  • This commercial for NBA 2k11 has nothing to do with the Mavs whatsoever, but is glorious nonetheless. Plus, the 2k series makes a mean game, to boot.
  • Rodrigue Beaubois goes shopping…at the MavGear headquarters.
  • Former Maverick Malik Allen will go to training camp with the Orlando Magic this season.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on September 10, 2010 under xOther | Read the First Comment

  • Rodrigue Beaubois reflecting on Game 6 of last season’s playoffs, in which Rick Carlisle opted to sit him in favor of Jason Terry and Caron Butler (via Eddie Sefko): “It’s some tough choices for coach,” he said. “If we had won, it would have been great. It’s just a coach’s decision. I just need to be ready when they call my name. For sure it was difficult. It was a very important game and we lost it. It was tough. I was feeling great. But it’s all good. That was last year. I’m focused on this year.”
  • A few other notes from the same Sefko piece: Beaubois fully intends to play for the French national team next year as they attempt to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, and though he’s no longer using crutches, he’s still in a protective boot.
  • Mark Cuban, and his $100,000 donation to the city of Dallas. Cool, but as Trey Kerby noted at Ball Don’t Lie, it may not be entirely altruistic.
  • Joe Crawford, whose rights the Legends selected in the D-League expansion draft, has been invited to camp with the Sacramento Kings. J.R. Giddens, who played for the Mavs’ summer league team, has also been invited. The Kings are clearly looking for a prospect to survive the intra-camp competition, as Luther Head, too, has been brought in to compete for a roster spot.
  • In the latest edition of The Works, Tom Ziller and Bethlehem Shoals revisit the Z-graph, an illustrated representation of position-based skills.
  • Dirk Nowitzki will do voice work for one of the worst shows on television.
  • Josh Howard still dresses like Josh Howard.

My Schedule and My Attitude, Not Necessarily in That Order

Posted by Rob Mahoney on August 26, 2010 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

Maverick fans are fervent in their defense of Dirk Nowitzki, typically merciless in their examinations of Jason Terry’s weaknesses, and frequently enraged at the idea that J.J. Barea could take even a minute of playing time away from Rodrigue Beaubois. There are charged responses abound regarding a number of Dallas players, and yet no Maverick — not even Nowitzki — could trump the emotional pull of Josh Howard. Josh simply had a hold of the Dallas fan base in ways that are difficult to describe or fully understand, and from Draft day, 2003 to his eventual exile, Howard took the Maverick faithful on a hell of a ride. It wasn’t just to the NBA Finals and back; a portrait of Josh Howard the Mav would be properly painted in shades of gray, the same shades he wore so well through every stellar game, every off-court incident, and every questionable decision.

He didn’t need hijinks to be polarizing. Howard did that all on his own.

Zac Crain did a terrific job of capturing what it was that made Josh Howard Josh Howard over on FreeDarko last week, and that piece, like so many other thoughts and views of Howard, has been doing laps inside my skull. The fact that Crain used Mike Finley as a mechanism with which to view and understand Howard is even more confounding to me, as I’ve long considered Finley to be one of the more deeply flawed yet still sympathetic figures in Mavericks lore.

All of this is to say that Josh Howard throws me for a bit of a loop. I’m not entirely sure how to make sense of his time in Dallas (his inclusion on lists of the all-time Mavericks seems so wrong and about right), but I’m glad that Crain can.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on August 18, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Kurt Helin, my fellow ProBasketballTalk-er, had a chance to interview Caron Butler. Here are Butler’s thoughts regarding what the Mavs’ areas for improvement in the coming year: “Controlling the glass, focusing on defense. Because we can score with the best of them. We have a great player, we have a Hall of Fame point guard and whole bunch of other guys that want to get it done and are willing to sacrifice whatever to win. We’ve just got to put it all together and we will.” Butler also noted that he’s been working with the needs-no-introduction Tim Grover.
  • Kevin Arnovitz has a great interview with Texas Legends’ coach Nancy Lieberman, who is getting serious mileage out of her catchphrase (which you may remember from my interview with Lieberman earlier this summer): “Making the irregular regular.” Here’s Lieberman on her voice as a coach, and what the voice will mean to men who haven’t had all that many female basketball mentors: “I think the end message will be similar, but the methods and how they get the information could be different. I’m excited about it because I’m not going to be in practice f-bombing people. That won’t be me. I’ll be firm and I’ll be fair. We won’t tell people what to do. We’ll explain what we’d like them to do. We’ll show them what we want to do. Then, they’ll do it. I will work their tails off. Trust me. I’m not as nice as I’m faking it on this conversation. I will work them really hard, but I’ll love them on the other side. And they need to know they’re loved and cared for. But that doesn’t mean you can walk over me, through me. That won’t happen. But look, I’m going to kill my guys so I might as well be nice to them. I have high expectations. I haven’t made it in a man’s world for 35 years by being soft, scared or insecure.”
  • Mike Krzyzewski on Tyson Chandler’s play for Team USA, via Chris Tomasson of FanHouse: “Tyson has been outstanding. We have a relationship from the 2007 qualifying team (and in 2008 when Chandler came close to making the Olympic team) … He doesn’t need the ball. He’s stronger. I bet he’s at least probably 15 pounds heavier and stronger than he was in 2007. He feels healthy.”
  • Have $25 burning a hole in your wallet? Then do I have the deal for you. (H/T: Scott Schroeder)
  • Josh Howard, infused with Devean George’s trade veto power.
  • Caron Butler thinks the Heat could make it to 73 wins. The Bulls’ sacred 72-win mark is seemingly unbeatable, but next year’s Miami Heat have definite advantages those Bulls were never afforded. The ’95-’96 Bulls are certainly one of the best teams to ever lace them up, but is Caron wrong? Isn’t the combination of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade — with Chris Bosh and a hell of a supporting cast — enough to at least bring the Heat into the discussion?
  • Andre Miller and Chauncey Billups are two big, strong point guards that have made the most of their size by posting up smaller opposing guards. The Mavs have dabbled with using Jason Kidd in a similar capacity, but he just doesn’t have the scoring chops for it. Regardless, Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook breaks down what it is that makes Miller and Billups so effective in the post.
  • Kelly Dwyer is ranking the top 30 players in each of the five conventional positions, beginning with point guards. You can see the first installment (30-21) here, and the second (20-11) here. Jason Kidd comes in at #12, which may seem a bit harsh, but consider the 11 PGs likely to top Kidd in Dwyer’s rankings (in no particular order): Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Jameer Nelson (already confirmed as #11), Rajon Rondo, Chauncey Billups, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Devin Harris, Tony Parker, and Tyreke Evans. Of those 11, which would you pick Kidd to best in the coming season?
  • Jeff Fox of Hoops Manifesto takes a stab at listing the top 10 Mavericks of all-time.
  • Rodrigue Beaubois’ surgery was successful.
  • From Caron Butler’s blog on HoopsHype: “Aside from the Tyson Chandler trade, my team has had a pretty quiet offseason. I’m not surprised. We had a great roster already. The management looked at the team and thought change wasn’t needed.” Well…that’s certainly one interpretation of the summer’s events.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on August 11, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Rodrigue Beaubois’ injury is as bad as initially feared, and he will undergo surgery on Friday to have a pin placed in his broken left foot. We’re looking at two to three months off the court, and while Mark Cuban has made it clear that such an event is not the end of the world, it’s unfortunate and inconvenient at the very least. Also, check out my post from Friday for how Beaubois’ injury may impact the Mavs’ rotation during the initial stages of the regular season.
  • I’m not one for schedule-gazing, so the allure of schedule release day is somewhat lost on me. Still, if you’re into that sort of thing, Mark Followill broke down the Mavs’ sched at DallasBasketball.com for your convenience.
  • Tim Thomas and the Mavs are inching closer and closer to an agreement on a one-year deal, and word has it that the signing could be official later today. I’ve already touched on the possibility here.
  • A kind reminder from Donnie Nelson that Rodrigue Beaubois is not a horse. Good to know.
  • Kyle Weidie from Truth About It dug up a pretty bizarre account courtesy of Lola Natisa, a friend/acquaintance of Brendan Haywood. This anecdote is very much of the unconfirmed variety, but worth noting regardless (excuse the lengthy quote and the non-basketball subject matter). Natisa wrote on her blog: “Brendan Haywood is an uncomfortably tall basket ball player who has recently signed with the Dallas Mavericks. When he was traded from the Washington Wizards to the Dallas Mavericks earlier this year, my friend Daylon (who knew Brendan from Charlotte) thought it would be cool to show him what Dallas had to offer. It was a Sunday night right after my gig at the House of Blues and the only place that was really jumping in Dallas was a night club called Wish. Brendan is a guy who enjoys muliti-cultural environments because they tend to be much safer, and the women seem to be much much nicer. After going out with him a few times, I can’t disagree with his preference. I’m not sure why…… but black women plus a night club, can add up to rude/bitter/unattractive results at times (lol) FYI: the black woman reading this and is offended, is the black woman that produces these unattractive results. Anyway, we warned him that this night for this club sometimes can become a little hood. Brendan listened to what we had to say and he asked, “Now, is this club just a little hood or is it Josh Howard hood”? I had never been to a Josh Howard party nor had I met him personally, so I wasn’t sure exactly what he meant. That was until I recently sang the National Anthem at Josh Howard’s Celebrity Softball Charity Game. All I can say is Josh Howard is sooo much more hood then just hood. His staff of hometown homeboys who sometimes need to ‘smoke one’ when under pressure were an interesting trio. The after party at the House of Blues looked like a Big T’s Bazaar fashion show. There were over sized gold chains, discount baby phat outfits and ass…just a whole lot of ass (tragic just tragic). Needless to say the night at Wish with Brendon and Daylon wasn’t Josh Howard hood. Hood is just that hood…Josh Howard Hood is hood on steroids, everything hood times ten.”
  • Say what you will about Jason Terry the player, but Jason Terry the person is about as endearing as they come. It’s from a bit of a fluff piece, but here’s Terry, via Gary Herron of the Rio Rancho Observer (H/T DOH at Mavs Moneyball): “I’ve been blessed and fortunate just to be in the business as long as I have. The ‘life expectancy’ of an NBA player is four years; I’ve been in the league now 11 years. I’ve been primarily healthy throughout my career, haven’t had any major injuries. Blessed with some big contracts; I have a beautiful family.”
  • Mike Prada of Bullets Forever applied the Cannon positional model to the Wizards with a spotlight on the John Wall-Gilbert Arenas tandem.
  • From Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas: “Cuban said Mavs head athletic trainier Casey Smith, a member of the Team USA medical staff, has reported that Chandler appears to have regained the explosion he had prior to ankle injuries that ruined the past two seasons.”