Donuts: Rick Carlisle As 'Most Improved Mav'?

Time to make the Friday Morning Mavs Donuts! ... Is Rick Carlisle the Most Improved Mav? ... Miami's non-denial denial on LeBron tampering ... Tyson Chandler's Heart-and-Soul Food Restaurant is cookin' compared to the rest of the Western centers ... Barkley vs. Barack? ... It's Donuts!

DONUT 1: The Emmitt Smith Memorial Diamond-in-a-Pile-of-Trash Quote of the Week comes from our team Pet Rock (and increasingly productive backup point guard) J.J. Barea, who observed after the Wednesday win over Minnesota:
"(Rick Carlisle) is doing a better job with that,'' JJB says of the coach juggling his rotation parts. "He's more consistent. He's more comfortable with the players he's got. He knows when to put everybody in, he knows the combinations. Like everybody, he got better."

Errrrkkkkkkkk! (That's the sound of putting on the brakes.) What'd he say?

Sometimes with JJB, his quotes are wobbly in context because he speaks with a funny accent. But think about it … since the insertion of DeShawn Stevenson into the starting lineup, there really has been a consistency about who's who.

The "Be Ready'' mantra now hangs over guys like "The Janitor'' and Ian Mahinmi. But elsewhere, roles are pretty defined, aren't they?

We know Barea to be "fearless'' when it comes to propelling his 5-10 body to the rim or to the floor. Turns out he's also fearless when evaluating his own coach.

DONUT 2: I've got TV duty tonight for Mavs at Utah: FS Southwest has the tipoff with Mark Followill and Bob Ortegel and the telecast starts with the "Mavs Live'' studio show at 9 p.m. ... featuring Ro Blackman and yours truly.

And then I'll goof off in the FS Southwest Game Lounge to chat throughout the game … and then we've got the postgame show back on TV, featuring Ro and myself, Bob and Mark, Rick Carlisle and all the key participants.

Come tune in!

DONUT 3: Tyson Chandler tells how much he'd like to make the All-Star Game … and even agrees that he's more deserving than any other center in the West – even though he's not on the ballot.

But you go ahead and decide for yourself. Here's the Western Conference ballot for centers:

Andris Biedrins


Andrew Bynum


Marcus Camby

Trail Blazers

DeMarcus Cousins


Marc Gasol


Brendan Haywood


Chris Kaman


Robin Lopez




Emeka Okafor


Mehmet Okur


Yao Ming


Um. … yeah.

DONUT 4: I watched the Clippers beat the Spurs on Wednesday night (you do not see that too often!) and Blake Griffin as best-player-on-the-floor was the real deal.

Too bad Baron Davis cannot be counted on to do what he did here, bulling inside, dishing for 10 assists, putting pressure on the opposing defense like he can – but more often than not, does not.

That is a one-man show. Which is better than what the Clippers usually are, which is a no-man show.

DONUT 5: Three great ways to stay in touch with what the heck is going on around here: Boards, Mavs coverage on Twitter, and Friending Fish on Facebook. Come say hi. I seem pleasant enough.

DONUT 6: Charles Barkley can say almost anything … and make it newsworthy. F'rinstance, regarding a one-on-one game between Chuck and President Barack Obama, the NBA Hall-of-Famer says:

I'm an old, fat guy, but I'll kick his ass…"

Really? Barack Obama played a little high-school ball. He's 6-1, 175 and he's 49.

Charles Barkley is younger, at 47. He's almost half-a-foot taller at 6-6, and he's well over 300 pounds. He's one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

Charles Barkley would pretty much kick the ass of every 6-1, 175-pound man who's greatest athletic accomplishment was having played high school basketball 20 years ago.

So, bring on the next "outrageous'' Barkley comment, please.

DONUT 7: How is it that the Lakers can lose four straight and there isn't Panic on Highway 1 … but if the Heat have a bad week, there are players-only meetings and secretive leaks questioning the coach and power struggles involving the players?

Because one team knows what it is doing, from top to bottom. And the other does not.

DONUT 8: A great way to nudge soccer-liking travelers into not attending the World Cup? Stage it in Qatar.

DONUT 9: So how is it Cam Newton is eligible? I mean, nothing unseemly occured?

Well, doesn't college football need Auburn? Doesn't it need Cam Newton? If Auburn is in this week's big game, and then next month's big game, doesn't the NCAA and the BCS need him participating?

Why? You don't get it yet?

Let's ask Hal Holbrook:

Follow the money.

DONUT 10: Have you figured out what to put under that Mavs fan's Christmas tree?

I have. And so have dozens and dozens of Mavs fans just like you.

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

We'll get you:

*Your TWO upper-deck tickets (they'll be at will-call at the AAC on the night of the game)

*Your special-edition Night at the Mavs t-shirt (or two)

*And your pre-game meet-and-greet with a special guest or two ... we'll hang out on the concourse in front of the Old No. 7 and go from there ...

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. It's Christmas and a Get-Together all rolled into one price! 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 ( originals designed by the brilliant Beau Shoulders) are limited-edition, and there is a limit to the ticket availability, too, though Ryan at MavCowTickets is pulling all the strings he can. … In fact, these same tickets are now starting to sell for around $20 each ... and we're giving you the whole package for that amount!

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

DONUT 11: The Cavaliers are pursuing tampering charges against Miami for that franchise's wooing of LeBron. … and let's make something clear: There is evidence that Pat Riley did exactly that before the Summer of 2010 window.

But no matter how the investigation goes, I'm fascinated by the reaction of Big Z, who of course played in Cleveland with LeBron and then signed to join him in Miami.

"That's chasing ghosts right there," Big Z he told FanHouse. "Let bygones be bygones. There are more important things in life: people dying from cancer every day, kids dying every day, people having HIV, people fighting wars. There are more important things than the Miami Heat going back to Cleveland.

"Let's put life in perspective, it's just a basketball game."

All true. Cancer and wars and stuff. (And just a basketball game last night in Cleveland, won easily by the visitors from Miami, 118-90, with LeBron scoring 38.) But that doesn't exactly directly answer the charges, does it?

Next time a traffic cop pulls me over for speeding, I'm gonna try that:

"But officer, there are people dying from cancer every day, kids dying every day, people having HIV, people fighting wars … so why are we focusing on me driving 67 in a 55?''

DONUT 12: And … you want "perspective,'' Mavs style? Here goes:

Dallas is 14-4. Oddsmakers would have them losing tonight, winning at Sacto on Saturday, a roadie split that would put them at 15-5. You with me so far?

Then next week they are back home against the Warriors and the Nets. Oddsmakers would say that puts the Mavs are 17-5. Then next Friday, it's the Jazz again, at the AAC. For the sake of argument, let's say Dallas drops that one.

That would put the Mavs at 17-6. Good? Yes. But the same exact record the Mavs had at the same exact time last season … which of course was ultimately not good enough.

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

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