DONUTS: Mavs In-Depth As They Prep For N.O.

We fix Big Wood's FTs, peek into Caron's Hyperbaric Chamber, quick-take Iggy vs. Caron, ponder Cuban buying the Stars, report on bittersweet times for Steve Nash, and consider Dallas' centers seeing "20/20'' … Time to make the Donuts!

DONUT 1: A showdown of sorts is set.

On Saturday, the Hornets pounded Portland, pushing New Orleans to 8-0. Meanwhile, the Mavs practiced at the AAC working to fine-tune things after their sound 6-2 start.

Monday in Dallas comes the Southwest Division showdown. The Hornets have momentum, and …

"Momentum is something that we been talking about getting,'' Mavs coach Rick Carlisle says. "We have a little now and we want to keep it going. They're the only undefeated team left. We're going to have to be ready. I've watched them and it's no fluke. They're good.''


DONUT 2: The Mavs centers are now talking openly about a goal of 20/20. That is, Big Wood and TC combining for 20 points and 20 rebounds per game … or at least, doing it some games.

I'll tell you how to get nearer that (unrealistic) goal: Fix the only thing that now ails Haywood.

Free-throwing.

In 07-08, Brendan Haywood shot 73.5 percent from the line. Last year he was at 64.6 percent. So some level of competence is in there … somewhere.

But this season? Brendan – as skilled as he can be on offense – has been a clunker from the line. He's taken 17 attempts (acceptable) and made … THREE. (Unacceptable.)

Gary Boren … Activate!

DONUT 3: Caron Butler is living in that Hyperbaric Chamber in order to work out of those back spasms. Hey, look what that same machine has done for the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Terrell Owens and Michael Jackson. …

Oh my God! Caron, get the hell out of there!!!


DONUT 4: Yes, you can lurk. Poke around. Get a feel for the joint. And then, if you are so inclined, join on up and be part of the Mavs DB.com Family on DB.com Boards!

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DONUT 6: An emotional weekend for the Nash family. On Friday, Steve and Alejandra celebrated the birth of their third child, a son, Matteo. On Saturday, Nash and his wife released a statement announcing their plans to divorce.

"After five years,'' the Nashes say, "we are now in the process of dissolving our marriage. While we have lived separately for the past several months, we remain firmly committed to raising our children in the most positive, nurturing way possible."

This is "bittersweet'' defined.

DONUT 7: After getting an up-close look at Andre Iguodala – the object of some trade-minded Mavs fans' affection – my analysis:

He's a more springy Caron.

That is to say, he can create … but often doesn't, opting instead to settle for jumpers. And he's probably best on the fly, on the wing of a break or in motion … when as you see in this video from Friday, he can use his athleticism to almost literally fly OVER Brian Cardinal.

Sorry, "Janitor,'' for the posterization.


DONUT 8: Hey, Heat! You asked for this.

You made noises about going 73-9 and you made noises about never losing two in a row and you filmed TV commercials about yourself and you did live TV shows about yourself and you recorded documentaries on yourself and you showed disloyalty and disrespect to your previous home cities and you caused a basketball nation to nickname you the "Miami Hate.''

So smug. So arrogant. So mediocre.

Oh, you'll probably get this fixed. You'll probably still be a grand playoff team that fights for a berth in the Finals along with Boston and Orlando and whomever. But coming into this weekend?

You'd lost three of four. That included two in a row at home. You are supposed to be tough on defense. But the Miami paper calculated that you gave up 196 points over a 77-minute span of basketball (that's about 31 points per 12 minutes). You are 0-2 against the Celtics, a club that has – due to your self-hype – actually become a little bit lovable by comparison.

You wanted the scrutiny that comes with being a "championship'' team without having done anything besides pose for cameras.

You've got it.

DONUT 9: Kevin Love's incredible 31/31 night Friday in Minnesota's 112-103 win over the Knicks deserves to be discussed in historical terms. Both numbers are career-highs for the kid. Love is the first player since Barkley in '96 to pull down 30 rebounds. He's the first NBA player to go for 30/30 or more since Moses Malone in ‘82.
And then the accomplishment needs to be discussed in zany terms. Those 31 rebounds? Just 12 fewer than the whole Knicks team had. And one more than the Wizards had in another Friday night game against Charlotte. And Love didn't get any rebounds in the first seven minutes of the game.

How is it that so far this season, Minnesota's coaching staff has failed to realize Love's ability and has therefore jerked him around? Critics of Love are arguing that "if he'd focus, he could do stuff like this all the time.'' But "stuff like this'' is obviously done about once every 30 years.

The T'wolves – who won that Knicks game depite being 21 points behind in the third – don't have anybody else on their roster who can serve as justification for playing ahead of Kevin Love. That was obvious before 31/31, and now, even coach Kurt Rambis ought to be able to see it.

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DONUT 11: An unfortunate tale from Portland, where budding superstar Brandon Roy might never make it there due toa bum knee.

Roy tried to play in that Hornets game last night, by the way, and couldn't finish. This isn't good.

DONUT 12: Is Mark Cuban interested in buying the Dallas Stars? There was buzz around town last night about midnight on the subject. ... Give me a few moments … I'll get to the bottom of this.


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