MONDAY DONUTS: A Point Differential Quiz

Monday Morning Mavs Donuts: Dallas' point-differential concerns, put to the test this week -- and you get to take the test, too! ... Plus J-Kidd's triple-doubles in double perspective, the problem with Dallas' zone intentions, and the uneasiness of wearing a crown you never earned ... Time to make the Donuts!

DONUT 1: You may be aware of the Mavs' Rick Carlisle-led penchant for winning close games. Coming into this year, I believe Dallas was at 38-12 in games decided by five points or fewer.

Well, they are doing it again.

The Mavs are 8-4. Good, right?

And this year in games decided by five points or fewer, they are 4-2! Good! … right?

This year, even Carlisle himself is on the Trollinger Band Wagon, wishing that Dallas' point differential was greater. And I'm there, too, in the sense that a season-full of 15-point wins might indicate such a consistent dominance over opponents that it could lead to playoff dominance as well.

But I still don't know how you control point differential. I mean, it's not like the Mavs are TRYING to only win games by four points, you know?

Eventually, there will be a point-differential test in the playoffs. But allow me to quiz the class on the subject for this week alone:

The Mavs host the Pistons on Tuesday. On Wednesday, it's the second night of a b2b at Oklahoma City. OKC is 9-4, the winner of four straight, and the leader in the Northwest Division. On Friday, it's another road game, this time in San Antonio. The Spurs are 11-1, the winners of 10 straight, and the leaders in the Southwest Division and the standings leaders in the entire NBA. On Saturday, Miami comes to the AAC. Miami is 8-5 and features the greatest collection of talent in the history of ever. (Or so it is said.)

Now to the quiz questions:

After the Mavs hopefully get by Detroit, do you as a Mavs fan require Dallas to beat OKC by more than five points? Would a win at San Antonio be more telling if it comes by a margin of nine than if it comes by a margin of 10? How dissatisfied will you be if the Mavs beat Miami by one?

DONUT 2: It's never been bigger, and I can't imagine how you can do this more affordably, and here goes: It's Night at the Mavs! We'll get together at the AAC on Tuesday, Dec. 28 … It's Raptors at Mavs, and when you visit The newly re-opened Store to order

I'll get you:

*Your TWO upper-deck tickets

*Your special-edition Night at the Mavs t-shirt

*And your pre-game meet-and-greet with a special guest or two

For a grand total of 22 bucks! (Or just $29 if you want two shirts!)

Yes, this is a very affordable way for you to do this. (Aw, heck, you can buy me some nachos when I see you!) But it's time for us to get together, time for us to get in the game, time for us to get suited up!

The shirts are limited-edition, and there is a limit to the ticket availability, too, though Ryan at MavCowTickets is pulling all the strings he can. …

So let's get in the game! Night at the Mavs! C'mon along!

The Store is open! Classic designs and new designs and more to come … top-notch gear for the Mavs-lovin' DB.commer …

But first things first: Let's get together at the get-together: Night at the Mavs, Tuesday, Dec. 28 at the AAC … tickets, T-shirts and a meet-and-greet! C'mon!

DONUT 3: "We're trying to be the best zone team in basketball,'' Carlisle says.


If that's what it takes to (Positive Spin Alert) best utilize Tyson Chandler's unique ability to guard and contest everything and everybody who ventures even near the paint, fine.

And (Negative Spin Alert) if that's what it takes to "hide'' guys who are not necessarily strong individual defenders, that's fine, too.

But we'd all better start dealing with the greatest downside to playing zone: It makes boxing out rebounders that much more difficult. This is middle-school stuff, but it applies in the NBA, too: You can't always find your man to box him out because you don't have a man …

Dallas' zone has been more than effective; it's even been clever, and confusing to some opponents. But when you get a little here, you give a little there. And what the zone defense gives is opponents' offensive rebounds.

DONUT 4: Anfernee Hardaway, bum knees and all, is saying he wants to make a comeback.

The newspaper report on this story says, "He should be completing a brilliant NBA career but … ‘'

But wait. Hardaway "should still be playing''?! He's 39!

It is Anfernee's position that because guys like Grant Hill and Jason Kidd are doing it, he should be doing it. Ah, if only it were that easy … guys who are 39 and DON'T have two bad knees would be doing it, wouldn't they?

DONUT 5: It's not easy being the Miami Heat, where championships are assumed … and things like illness, chemistry, poor play, or injury – like Udonis Haslem breaking a foot and maybe missing the entire year -- were never even considered as a possibility.

DONUT 6: If you missed it, here's my fancy-schmantzy Mavs-Hawks TV talk on FS Southwest, in which I deliver my stirring speech about how the Mavs need to worry about "identity'' instead of ‘geography'':

DONUT 7: offers you daily deals, every day … and all you have to do is pay the tiniest bit of attention …

Fresh example: You can play Bear Creek Golf Club, any day and any time, for 58 percent off … meaning, 29 bucks!

Oh, and speaking of golf: Congratulations to my guys at The Old American, named by Avid Golfer magazine "The Best New Golf Course.'' It's a truly special experience … golf the way it was played in the "Golden Age'' … and every time I visit The Colony and visit the course, touring around Lake Lewisville, it's a magical experience.

Except for my score, of course.

DONUT 8: It'd been years since I'd seen a football coach go as consistently, violently nuts on his own players … I mean, Frank Kush/Woody Hayes nuts … and then I saw Nebraska's Bo Pelini spend three unglued hours on my TV, losing it while his Huskers lost to Texas A&M.

His out-of-control screaming – complete with buckets o' spittle – started with the officials, who dared penalize his players 16 times. Then it continued with his players:Face-to-facemask, near-grabbing of collars, mad-dog ranting …

Now there are rumors that one of his stars is quitting the team over the embarrassment. And somebody tells me that if you think Bo Pelini went nuts, you should've seen his brother, defensive coordinator Carl, who reportedly accosted an A&M cameraman and broke his equipment.

It's been years since I've seen a coach act like that … and Nebraska has two coaches who act like that?

DONUT 9: How's Allen Iverson doing in Turkey?

In A.I.'s chase for attention/chase for money/love-of-the-game move (not that there's anything wrong with any of those), he made his Turkish league debut for Besiktas Cola Turka. Besiktas Cola Turka lost, 74-67, to Fenerbahce Ulker.

Allen Iverson scored two points.

DONUT 10: You want the good Clippers news? We can confirm our beliefs that Blake Griffin is special. LAC's "second-year'' rookie, who sat out all of last season with a broken kneecap, exploded on Saturday against New York with 44 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists.

That's like Oscar Robertson … with dunks!

Of course, this is the Clippers, so not even "the good Clippers news'' is good. Griffin and the fellas lost to the Knicks,124-115.

DONUT 11: Speaking of triple-doubles: the Charlotte Bobcats have been in existence since 2004, and not until this weekend did the franchise experience a triple-doub. Steven Jackson – 10/10/10 –did the honors. A first in franchise history, and as a way of framing the story, I give you Jason Kidd:

Kidd's career triple-double total is 104 more than the Charlotte Bobcats franchise.

DONUT 12: Good morning, Jason Garrett. What does an aspiring Cowboys head coach deserve if he is as classy as Landry, as passionate as Jimmy, as well-liked as Wade and more cerebral than any of them?

Well, with a 2-0 record, RedBall deserves … to coach for another week.

Visit the Store: Night at the Mavs on Dec. 28, two tickets and a T-shirt for $22!

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