Vecsey On Mavs - We Play 'FISH or CUT BAIT'

After all these years – and after a column in which he makes painfully trite Dallas, Texas references to Willie Nelson and the JFK assassination – did the NY Post's Peter Vecsey finally get a Mavs critique right? Let's play "Fish or Cut Bait'' on the Viper's recent analysis piece on your Mavs:

VECSEY: In his column about the Mavs (found here) he writes: And you thought Willie Nelson can't wait to get on a roll, er, the road again. Apparently, the Mavericks have snuck onto that tour bus (I can't confirm it due to all that smoke) …

FISH or CUT BAIT?: Peter doesn't know how close is he to the truth about a Mavs relationship with the Red-Headed Stranger. But it's former coach Don Nelson who's been on that musical bus. Rick Carlisle happens to be a Bruce Hornsby guy.

But Peter's point about the tour bus is his round-about way (way round-about) to note that the Mavericks are road warriors: A league-best 27-14 last year, 8-1 this year … and I should add, that one loss came at New Orleans, on the back-end of that Mavs-Hornets "double-header,'' with Dallas losing to the then-league-leading Bugs by just two.

So Peter's onto something. FISH.

VECSEY: When the revisionist history of Dallas is written, I suspect these past few weeks shall rank second -- right behind JFK riding through Dealey Plaza with the top down. Short of someone else financing the league office Christmas shindig, how could Mark Cuban's existence be sweeter?

FISH or CUT BAIT?: Sorry, Pete, but you do not have your finger on the Dallas pulse here.

Dirk Nowitzki does. He says that after the team won 13 straight late last year only to lose in the first round of the playoffs, Dallas knows that regular-season streaking doesn't necessarily translate.

And, if I may be immodest, Mike Fisher does. He … er, I … say that the Mavericks fan base remain in "show-me'' mode. A 16-4 start, we understand, is only a start. Let's handle the non-Nellie Warriors tonight and let's handle the Avery Johnson Nets on Thursday – the two games that begin a six-game homestand – and let's take this thing to Christmas.

And then we'll consider the situation's "sweetness.''

And dear God, Peter, please understand that we CUT BAIT largely due to the exhaustingly lame JFK reference.

VECSEY: Would Ricky Ricardo's relatives please 'splain to me how Nowitzki (12-18 FG for 26 points vs. the un-syncopated Jazz) has gone to the line a grand total of 12 times in the last seven games after getting 31 free flings in the previous two? Disconnected numbers get more calls.

FISH or CUT BAIT?: We CUT BAIT. Peter is wrong here – and anybody who thinks The UberMan gets anything short of superstar treatment is wrong, too.

Oh, in reviewing the Utah and Sacto tapes, we saw two spots in each game where Dirk wanted a call that he did not get. But here's the reason Dirk went to the line earlier in the season more than he does now:

Early on, he was establishing some low-post stuff. Working on that summer "tool box'' of his. Wasn't there a hook shot in there somewhere?

But lately, he's worked the 3-pointer back into his repertoire.

The numbers:

In Dallas' first 10 games, Nowitzki attempted 11 treys.

In Dallas' next nine games (from Chicago on Nov. 19 to the Utah game on Friday), he attempted 27 of them. … and made 12 of those.

Factor in two games during that stretch in which he was 0-of-1 from the arc but didn't play much due to those games being lopsided wins (Minny and Houston) … and you've got your reasoning.

They're not going to foul Dirk very often from 22 feet out.

By the way: What the hell does Ricky Ricardo have to do with any of this?

VECSEY: Look no further than Tyson Chandler as the primary reason for the improvement. Against the Thunder and Heat, the 6-foot-11 center played more productive minutes in one weekend than Erick Dampier did in a month the last few years.

FISH or CUT BAIT: It's a silly observation but we'll let it pass with a FISH – though we're trying to figure out why Peter cut two inches from T.Y.'s long-established height.

VECSEY: Brendan Haywood (is in) a classic "NBA Cares, starting with me, myself and I" funk that got him suspended one game. … According to Cuban's intelligence officers, Haywood supposedly had changed from his time on the Wizards' firing range. There's definitely something to being in your "contract year" that changes the spots on lots of leopards.

FISH or CUT BAIT: Lots to consume here.

Is Big Wood deserving of criticism for his too-often sluggish work? Yup. is on that. Is "contract whore'' a very real phenomenon in the NBA? Yup. That's why we so often use that phrase. Did Dallas not know what it was getting into in trading for Haywood and re-upping him?

I disagree with that assertion.

Cuban, Donnie and Carlisle know him. They know what they're dealing with. Carlisle summed it up pretty nicely the other day on his weekly radio appearance with Galloway, saying:

"No, he's been awesome (since that one-game behavioral suspension). He's really been great (attitude-wise) most of the year.''

That says plenty, doesn't it? That if Brendan's attitude is good enough most of the time, that'd be pretty awesome?

Overall, though, we'll FISH on the general criticism of Big Wood. He deserves it.

VECSEY: It seems to me the Mavs still need a more reliable guard to supplement Kidd and Terry -- better than the Jose Barea-DeShawn Stevenson combo.

FISH or CUT BAIT: This is no grand revelation. It seems that way to all of us in MavsLand, too. We're all over the JJB angle (even with his vastly improved work in the last two weeks). But we have to CUT BAIT on Peter's overall take because he actually thinks any of this has to do with DeShawn.

There is nothing negative about DeShawn's participation. It is valuable, limited and temporary.

Oh, and if you want to appear "in'' with the Mavs, Pete, quit referring to J.J. Barea as "Jose.''

VECSEY: (The Mavs) think it'll be Rodrigue Beaubois. Maybe it will. But I wouldn't count on it this season. … Should the Mavs obtain a really good third guard, or utilize Caron Butler as one when he's not at small forward, they'll be as good as anyone in the league.

FISH or CUT BAIT: Wrong. Wrong. And kinda right.

In order:

*The Mavs will be able to count on Roddy B to be a contributor as a "third guard'' – or, more likely, as a second guard – because he's superior to most anybody who will be on the trade horizon at that position in February.

*Caron "not at small forward'' was attempted last year. Didn't work.

* "As good as anyone in the league''? At this moment … aren't they already that?

Overall, we give Peter Vecsey the rare compliment of FISH. … and that's quite an accomplishment, self-burdened as he was with his use of the Ancient Jokebook for his Ricky Ricardo line from the ‘50's, his JFK line from the ‘60's and his Willie Nelson line from the ‘70's.

Next week from Peter Vecsey, we look for Heather Locklear lusting and J.R. Ewing joshing!

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

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