Outside the Box: Valley of the Sun

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on June 12, 2013 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

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This week, The Two Man Game will start looking at what the Mavs could do as another pivotal summer is upon them. Mark Cuban has said there are different ways or “permutations” to ensure the Mavs won’t have a failure of a summer if they are unable to land a big fish acquisition.

Dirk Nowitzki said Cuban is “all-in” on this summer, and committed to bringing the franchise back to where it belongs. There are traditional ways to do that but there are also outside the box ways of doing that. We’ll look at five potential angles the Mavs could work that would be considered outside the box.

The Phoenix Suns have not made the playoffs over the last three seasons. That includes last season where they had the worst record in the entire Western Conference. They’re presently a team without a star, that really doesn’t have a direction or vision on how to improve their situation. They’re a mess.

They do have two intriguing pieces in Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat that could be of some use to the Mavs. Dragic likely appears the less realistic due to his contract. Dallas already had hesitations about him as a point guard (which I still don’t exactly understand), so I’m guessing they wouldn’t want to bring him on under the deal that Phoenix signed him to. That leaves Marcin Gortat.

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Quoteboard: Phoenix Suns 102, Dallas Mavericks 91

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on April 11, 2013 under Interviews | Read the First Comment

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Wednesday night ended up being the final jab into the collective jaw of the Dallas Mavericks. They suffered a devastating 102-91 loss to the Phoenix Suns. On top of that, the Los Angeles Lakers were able to secure a 113-106 loss in Portland to the Trail Blazers. The combination of the Dallas loss and Los Angeles win sealed the fate for the Mavericks. Dallas is now officially eliminated from playoff contention, ending their 12 year streak of consecutive trips to the postseason.

The loss to Phoenix put an end to the Suns’ 10-game losing streak. Before securing the victory, the Suns had not defeated the Mavericks at American Airlines Center since Mar. 14, 2007, when they recorded a 129-127 double-overtime win. The Mavericks had won 10 straight and 22 of the last 27 matchups with the Suns in Dallas before the loss.

Goran Dragic (21 points and a game-high 13 assists) and Luis Scola (11 points and a game-high 15 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles for Phoenix in the win.

Shawn Marion tallied a game-high 22 points to go along with a team-high nine rebounds and three steals in 34 minutes. He scored 20-plus points for the third straight game (eighth time this season).

Some notes before the quotes:

- Marion’s game marked the first time since February 2007 that he scored 20-plus points in three consecutive games (27 at Minnesota Feb. 23, 2007, 21 at Atlanta Feb. 25, 2007, 22 at Indiana Feb. 27, 2007). Marion is averaging 22.3 points and 9.3 rebounds over his last three games.

- Dirk Nowitzki totaled 21 points to go along with eight rebounds and three assists in 34 minutes. It was his 17th game with 20-plus points this season.

- The streak of 12 consecutive trips to the postseason was longest in franchise history and was the second-longest in the NBA. At 10 years, the Denver Nuggets now hold the second-longest active streak in the league. San Antonio (16 consecutive playoff appearances) is the only team with a longer active streak.

- Before this run of 12 straight playoff appearances, Dallas longest streak was five, from 1983-88.

- Dallas’ 12 straight playoff appearances ties for 13th-longest in NBA history. Syracuse/Philadelphia holds record of 22 straight (1960-81)

Here is the quoteboard for Dallas’ death blow of a loss to Phoenix.

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Setting the Table: Phoenix Suns (Game 78)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on April 10, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (38-39) are clinging to playoff hope as they host the Phoenix Suns (23-55). Dallas comes off a split of their four-game road trip in hopes of getting back to .500 for the first time since they were 11-11 after a loss to the Boston Celtics on Dec. 12. They look to get back to .500 against the worst team in the Western Conference. In a very odd finish to a very good game, the Suns lost on a goaltending call at the buzzer, 101-98, to the Rockets in Houston. Phoenix dropped its 10th consecutive game on a buzzer-beating three-point attempt by James Harden that was taken off the rim by a Suns player and ruled interference, making the basket good and giving Houston the three-point win. Phoenix has lost their last 10 by an average of 11.4 points.

Dallas is still mathematically alive to make the playoffs, but the odds are looking slim. The anti magic number for the Mavericks is two. That means between themselves, the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas needs to avoid any combination of their own losses and wins by Utah and wins by Los Angeles equaling out to the number two. Ultimately, Dallas needs to win out and hope that those two teams win no more than one game on their respective remaining schedules. It’s going to take a lot, starting with the game against the Phoenix Suns.

In an injury update, the team believes that Dirk Nowitzki (left foot) will play vs Phoenix. They are also optimistic that Elton Brand (right calf) will be in uniform. Brand has missed the last three games with his injury.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Suns.

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Setting the Table: Phoenix Suns (Game 47)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on February 1, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The road is a lonely place, and the Dallas Mavericks (19-27) head to desert to take on the Phoenix Suns (16-30). Phoenix is coming off an inspiring game as they rallied for a 92-86 victory over the Los Angeles Lakes in former point guard Steve Nash’s return to Arizona. Dallas is looking to rebound after two tough losses to the Portland Trail Blazers and the Golden State Warriors. It is expected that Dallas with be without the services of Dirk Nowitzki as he is dealing with a strained right adductor. They are also without Chris Kaman as he is back in Dallas getting treatment for his concussion.

The game will be the second night of a back-to-back for the Mavericks. The Mavericks are 2-8 in the first half of a back-to-back and 3-7 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.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Suns.

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Quoteboard: Dallas Mavericks 110, Phoenix Suns 95

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on January 28, 2013 under Interviews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks did well on a momentous evening as they delivered a 110-95 beating to the Phoenix Suns. Shawn Marion appeared in his 1,000th career regular-season game against the Suns on Sunday. He became the 107th player in NBA history to reach the milestone. Marion played in 660 games with Phoenix from 1999-2008. Marion recorded a game-high-tying 18 points to go along with a game-high nine rebounds, five assists and one steal in 30 minutes against the team that brought him into the league.

With a jumper at the 5:38 mark of the third quarter, Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki passed Allen Iverson (24,368) for 18th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The basket gave Nowitzki 13 points for the game (and 24,370 for his career). Next on the list for Dirk is Patrick Ewing. Ewing ranks 17thon the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 24,815 career points. Dirk tallied a game-high-tying 18 points to go along with seven rebounds in 30 minutes against Phoenix.

Elton Brand appeared in his 900th career regular-season game and recorded 12 points in 17 minutes off the bench. He scored in double figures for the sixth time in his last seven games (14thtime this season). Brand is averaging 12.1 points and 8.6 rebounds over his last seven games. Brand came off the bench because Bernard James made his first career start and managed two points and three rebounds in 11 minutes. The Mavericks used their 17th different starting lineup of the year in their 44th game of the season.

O.J. Mayo dished out a team-high six assists against Phoenix. His fourth assist of the game, at the 9:22 mark of the third quarter, was the 1,000th assist of his career. He finished the game with only eight points. Dallas now moves to 1-5 this season in games where he scored fewer than 10 points in a game.

Here is the quoteboard for the Dallas victory over Phoenix.

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Setting the Table: Phoenix Suns (Game 44)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on January 27, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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Before going out on a four-game road trip, the Dallas Mavericks (18-25) look to end their homestand on a good note as they take on the Phoenix Suns (15-29). The Suns come into town on the second night of a back-to-back as they suffered a 108-99 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. The Suns led 88-86 with nine minutes to go in the game, but the Spurs closed the game out with 22-11 run to secure an eight-game winning streak.

With a challenging road trip on the horizon, Dallas needs to handle their business against an inferior Phoenix squad.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Suns.

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Setting the Table: Phoenix Suns (Game 19)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on December 6, 2012 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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Thursday marks a matchup between the Dallas Mavericks (8-10) and the Phoenix Suns (7-12). Times have changed for the perennial playoff squads as both teams are below .500. For the longest time, a matchup between the Mavericks and the Suns would be considered must-see television. Now, this is a matchup between two teams that are still trying to find their way. Radio play-by-play announcer for the Dallas Mavericks Chuck Cooperstein made a note that this game will be the first game between the Mavericks and the Suns since March of 1998 that won’t have either Steve Nash or Dirk Nowitzki in the game.

The Mavericks suffered an embarrassing loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night. That marked the first night of a back-to-back for the Mavericks. Dallas is 1-4 in the first half of a back-to-back and 1-3 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.

Dallas has to get out of the funk they’re currently in. The Mavericks are currently 2-7 on road and have lost 13 of their last 15 games, including the playoffs. They have lost four of five overall. To make matters worse, blowouts have been coming in surges against the Mavericks. They have had four losses by at least 20 points this season, but three of them have come within the last five games. Even with the chaos of last season, Dallas only had four games where they lost by 20 or more points. Dallas will be looking to get back on track tonight in Phoenix.

Here are notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Suns.

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Setting the Table: Phoenix Suns (Preseason)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on October 17, 2012 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks take the court at the American Airlines Center for the second time this week as they host the Phoenix Suns for another round of preseason basketball. This isn’t your older, slightly weirder older brother’s Phoenix Suns squad. Steve Nash and Grant Hill are out of the mix as the team is now led by Goran Dragic, Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola.

Here are some things of note to set the table for the game against the Suns.

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