Heard It Through the Grapevine 2-25-09

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 25, 2009 under xOther | 2 Comments to Read

  • Please.  Please.  Please.  Put Gerald Green in the 2010 dunk contest.
  • Graydon Gordian of 48 Minutes of Hell has some love for Michael Finley after last night’s game, and he better, after that flashback of a performance: “No discussion of this evening’s game would be complete without a brief mention of Michael Finley, who nailed three straight 3-pointers in the 4th to put the game solidly out of reach. Finley may not be the scorer he once was, but he plays with an air of grizzled malice that I continue to appreciate. He remains a fearless contributor, and although his fearlessness is just as likely to produce misguided fadeaways as it is dagger 3s, I do love the stern sense of pride he emits when his shot is dropping (I’m going to ignore the fact that, if you take away Finley’s 4 3-pointers on 4 attempts, the Spurs were 2 of 16 from beyond the arc).”
  • How exactly does a cast of Kurt Thomas, Matt Bonner, and Fabricio Oberto manage to handcuff one of the premier offensive talents in the league?  Mike Fisher breaks it down: “I believe during the telecast Mark and Bob mentioned something about Dirk being ‘in a war,’ a compliment to SA’s rugged defense. And after the game, Dirk noted all the double-teams he faced. I’m sure they’re right, but I’ll tell you what I saw: A journeyman in Kurt Thomas squaring up with Dirk and surviving it. A complete stiff like Bonner (hehe, I said “stiff’’ and “bonner’’) playing ball denial and Nowitzki and the Mavs finding no solution for it. Fabio getting in his face, one-on-one, and Dirk not being able to spring free.”
  • Thank you, David Moore, for allowing us all a sigh of relief.  From the Dallas Morning News: “But when New York reached a buyout agreement with its petulant star Tuesday, the Mavericks never discussed adding him to the roster. The decision had nothing to do with reports that Marbury is destined to land in Boston. It had everything to do with the improved play of J.J. Barea. ‘We looked at it early in the season,’ owner Mark Cuban said of pursuing Marbury if he were released. ‘But J.J. is playing a whole lot better.’”  With Barea’s play of late, he deserves it.  He does tend to force the action on occasion, but his helter skelter, penetration-heavy style is a nice contrast to the passivity the rest of the team comes to embody from time to time.
  • Rick Carlisle shares our displeasure with last night’s efforts.  Via David Moore of the Dallas Morning News: About 42 minutes of a [butt]-kicking…We threw about six, tough minutes at them in the second quarter. The rest of the time, they dominated the game with their disposition and how they played.’
  • Mark Cuban refuses to let sleeping dogs lie, and decided to rip into SanAn’s premier attraction once again: “‘Now that they’re cleaning it up, my next project is to tell them they need to put up those little aluminum things to keep people from falling in,’ Cuban said before his team played the Spurs. ‘Maybe I’ll start a website, Ifellintheriverwalk.com to find out how many people have fallen in and what has happened to them. I just want to know. Send me your pictures to Ifellintheriverwalk.com.”  For what it’s worth, he’s right.  And for what it’s worth, the Mavs made sure that the Riverwalk wasn’t the only thing in San Antonio that was “ugly-ass” last night.

Dirk did an interview with Five Magazine.  Here are some highlights from Part 1:

  • On why he works so hard to improve his game every summer: “…That’s what makes it a challenge, playing away from your weaknesses or attacking those of your opponents. That’s what makes a team sport attractive. Finding a way to win despite your own weaknesses is important. But, sure it’s bitter sometimes when a teammate doesn’t invest the necessary time. The best example was Shawn Bradley. He would some times come to training camp and not had a ball in his hands for four months. But what can you do? There is no rule. Everyone needs to figure out for themselves how to stay fit.” (Emphasis mine.)
  • On the possibility of missing the post-season: “Not even reaching the playoffs? I am too old for that now. And Mark Cuban and General Manager Donnie Nelson know that. I cannot imagine us making any moves which would cost us a spot in the playoffs. We still have a playoff-caliber team. And even if things absolutely do not work out with Kidd, I cannot imagine that we would drastically make the team younger as long as I’m in Dallas.”
  • On the notion that he may never win a title: “I saw an interesting interview with Charles Barkely. He was talking about his career and said he can’t blame himself because he always gave 100 percent. That’s how I see it. I have given my all for the last 10 years in Dallas. And if that’s not enough, I can’t do anything else. Then at 35, 36 – however long I can go – I can retire and say: “In the summer and winter I gave everything I had for my team.” Unfortunately not everybody can win. But I hope that I can still fulfill my dream in the future.”
  • On his basketball future: “Of course it would be more exciting to do it in Dallas and being the franchise player. The best thing would be me carrying the team to the title. But the other teams have gotten so strong, also through some unfair trades – Pau Gasol to Los Angeles and Kevin Garnett to Boston. Maybe I will see if it helps changing teams in like three years. Maybe it won’t be fun any more or I can’t keep up with the athleticism anymore. Maybe I will play in Europe again. I can imagine all of that. What Karl Malone did back then – heading to L.A. after all those years in Utah – yeah it was a little questionable. But when you want the championship so bad, then you can’t rule out a move like that.”

Breaking: Stephon Marbury Is a Free Man

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 24, 2009 under News | 7 Comments to Read

The Knicks and Stephon Marbury FINALLY came to terms on a buy-out, meaning he’ll soon meander his way to a playoff team.  The favorite is the Celtics, but one Mark Cuban happens to be best buds with Starbury.  I’m slightly concerned.

You know that if Cuban thinks this is good for the team, he’ll do everything he can to get it done.  You know that Marbury could contribute on the right team, and you should know that this team is not it.  The Mavs are still a team in search of its identity, and throwing Marbury into the mix jeopardizes what is already an incredibly delicate process.

At Hardwood Paroxysm, I kicked off the impending Marbury signing with a proactive event.  Rather than idly waiting and worrying, why can’t we all use the power of hope to solve our Starbury problems once and for all?

Let us work together, fellow Mavs fans of all walks of life, to save our team from Starbury!

Heard It Through the Grapevine 1-28-09

Posted by Rob Mahoney on January 28, 2009 under xOther | 2 Comments to Read

In case you didn’t notice, there was no Grapevine yesterday.  Apparently there are only so many synonyms for “embarassment,” “blow-out,” and “complete and utter destruction.”  Pity.  Oh well, let’s kick it.

  • The Mavs offense isn’t exactly the bell of the ball, but the D is definitely the girl who tears her dress, spills punch all over herself, and breaks a heel when she tries to leave, crying.  That’s probably putting it mildly.  Via Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, Dirk harps on the Mavs’ defensive deficiencies: ” “You name it. Pick-and-roll. One-on-one containment. Transition. Rebounding. Rebounding actually is OK. But it’s all over the place. We got some work to do.” “
  • The same Sefko article has a lot of quotes from around the team concerning the Mavs “making their run” in the Western Conference race.  It could just be a strange coincidental slip of several tongues, or possibly the way the quotes are framed, but it all oozes a bit of arrogance.  If everything is going well, this team is capable of playing at a much higher level than they’re playing now.  But the problem is that they are absolutely clueless as to how they’re going to harness that power.  It’s as if they’ve unearthed a safe filled with precious goods, and plan on calling the locksmith in the morning and being done with it.  But unless Darrell Armstrong is going to single handedly make the fringe Mavs into good perimeter shooters, turn Josh Howard into a premier defender, keep Dampier motivated game-in and game-out, and significantly change the way the Mavs play team defense on almost every possession, I’d say it’s easier said than done.  We’re not biding our time.  “Waiting too long” to make a run isn’t an issue; we should be worried about making a run at all.
  • Randy Hill of FOX Sports ends up rehashing tired, false maxims, including the famous angles of “Dirk as a playoff failure” and “Kidd as a fast-breaking dependent.”  Nevermind the fact that Dirk has averaged 25.4 points and 11.1 rebounds for his career (that’s a 24 PER, holmes) or that Kidd’s New Jersey teams played at andante.  Still, his negativity concerning the short-term future of the franchise is surely something he shares with some Mavs fans: “Where do they go from here? Or, better yet, how can they be more efficient in hiring players? Well, upgrading the talent level will be tricky. Dallas has almost $69 million already committed to next year’s payroll, with Josh Howard, Jason Terry and Erick Dampier signed up to make around $10 million each. Superstar salaries for less than superstar players may make Cuban seem generous when the contracts are signed, but with those employees joining Dirk to win at a .568 clip, it makes for a weak financial case. Good luck trading one of those cats for anything or anyone of value or consequence.”
  • Jeff Caplan of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has some interesting numbers on the Mavs’ shooting from distance: “It’s no secret the Mavs need help with the 3-ball. Entering Tuesday’s games, they ranked seventh in the league in 3-pointers attempted per game (20.5), but just 25th in percentage made (33.7). Dallas shot better on the last road trip, three times hitting for 40 percent or better from behind the arc as it went 2-for-2. Jason Kidd, oddly the team’s most consistent long-ball threat this season, made 11 of the team’s 25 3-pointers on the four-game trip, accounting for 44 percent of the Mavs’ makes.”
  • Sports Illustrated‘s Jack McCallum, Chris Mannix, and Steve Aschburner all pick the Mavs to miss the playoffs.  But I tend to agree with Ian Thomsen: “We can talk all we want about all of the different reasons one or another team will fail, but injuries and trades will define the race. Utah has been hurting all season, and for the moment I’m thinking the Jazz without Carlos Boozer are the most likely outsiders among the contenders.”

    It hasn’t gotten much play, but Andrei Kirilenko could miss significant time if his ankle doesn’t improve “over the next two or three days.“  He’s not a starter, but he’s arguably been Utah’s second most important player to date.  Couple his status with Carlos Boozer’s ambiguous return, and you could have a team that’s waiting, waiting, waiting, and shown the door come April.

  • Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com breaks down Josh Howard’s monopoly on the first possession of the game.  He’s taking a lot of the Mavs’ first shots, and the stats aren’t pretty.  That said, Fish does offer a disclaimer that should entice a “Mmhmm,” among those familiar with the Dallas offense: “If the five guys on the floor are Dirk and Josh, and then, say,Kidd, Wright/George and Damp. … maybe Josh Howard SHOULD be taking two or three of the first five or six shots.”

    Fish urges readers to look at the data and analyze for themselves, and that’s a good idea.  Check it out.

  • Oh no.  Please, don’t let it be true.  OH DEAR LORD DON’T LET IT BE TRUE.  My words of advice to Mark Cuban (who confirmed a potential exploratory interest to Tim MacMahon of The Dallas Morning News Blog): just think the situation through before you do anything rash, like sign Marbury.  And then, if you still think signing Marbury would be a good idea, still don’t do it.  It’s for the best.