And do you sense an absence of buzz?
DONUT 2: A major storyline for tonight's Jazz-at-Mavs game: How healthy (and rested) is Utah? The Jazz impressed last night in a 117-105 home blowout of Orlando. Kirilenko played with a quad problem … Okur is still out … Rookie Gordon Hayward started in place of Raja Bell (strained right adductor) … Center Kyrylo Fesenko was out (ankle).
Second night of a b2b. We'll see Utah can duct-tape this thing together.
DONUT 3: Maybe you want to come to Raptors at Mavs, DB.com Night at the Mavs, our get-together at the AAC on Tuesday, Dec. 28. Because you want two t-shirts, two tickets, a meet-and-greet and a chance for 4-packs FREE to Mavs-OKC and Mavs-Blazers. Or maybe you just need to do some Mavs Christmas shopping. Either way ... Visit the DB.com Store to check it out! …
DONUT 4: I tried to tell you about Rashad McCants.
Many electronic trees have died in an effort to make McCants-as-a-Mav into a story – a story that was never going to be. The latest: Rashad was leaving the Texas Legends to sign with China.
The latest-latest: China is saying "no thanks.'' (Only it's in Mandarin or whatever.)
I'm sticking with my original story: In addition to Rashad being a bit flaky, he is represented by a person or persons who are failing to grasp the circumstances here. The "misunderstanding'' over McCants "getting a chance to play for the Mavericks'' was their fault. Showing up late to Frisco was their fault. Leaving Frisco early was their fault.
Guess who is likely to blame for this Chinese gaffe?
DONUT 5: Dirk Nowitzki continues to demonstrate why he is among the best "Faces of a Franchise'' in sports history.
Asked about his dealings with former coach Avery Johnson – who rolled into town Thursday and took his lumps as the new Nets coach – Dirk was both honest and kind.
"He was the most intense person I've ever been around," Nowitzki said of Avery. And he could've left it there … and left it hanging.
"He definitely pushed my game to another level, forced me to help out on defense, rebound more. ‘Don't always settle for jump shots, get more points in the paint when your jump shot's not going.' … He pushed me to be MVP that season. I owe him a lot."
That doesn't mean Dirk is taking back his legendary "Lil' Dictatorship'' review of Avery's time here. Because that is still true.
But "I owe him a lot for me becoming an MVP''?
There, ladies and gents, is your Face of the Franchise.
DONUT 6: I get why Mark Cuban calling the Nets owner a 'p----y' gets press. Tony Cubes said it in front of a media contingent that includes New York/New Jersey writers. So naturally, it's "Back Page'' fodder. Result: The words "Cuban'' and "Mavericks'' all get Google-lumped-in with the words "Nets'' and "Prokorov'' and "billionaires.''
What I don't get is why anyone would fail to grasp that Cuban was joking.
Hell, maybe I'm just de-sensitized. I've been called worse by Cuban … and not when he was kidding.
DONUT 7: Speaking of Cuban using the media to keep himself and his team in the news:
Art Garcia quotes Tony Cubes as saying the best team in basketball is … the Miami Heat.
Does he really believe Miami (which was 15-8 at the time of his comments) is better than the 18-4 Mavs team that won in the head-to-head meeting?
What is material is that tickets are sold, attention is garnered, rivalries are built.
DONUT 8: Just when you're feeling bad that Roddy B isn't doing squat this year, I remind you that he was a draft-day acquisition in trade with OKC, because the Thunder wanted center Byron Mullens. … and that Mullens just got sent to Tulsa.
At least Roddy B's minor-league "assignment'' was a December Fools Joke.
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DONUT 11: Big Wood done good.
Brendan Haywood has established the "Brendan Haywood Single Parents Fund," set up with the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro in North Carolina, and has opened the fund by contributing a donation of $25,000. He plans on soliciting additional donations to help him provide grants to fund programs that assist underprivileged single parent families in North Carolina and Texas.
"My mother raised me as a single parent and she worked twice as hard to make sure I always had the things I needed," says Haywood. "I've seen other children from single parent families who haven't been as fortunate as me and needed a little extra help. I'm hoping this fund will provide support for numerous single parent families on various levels and help them during those times when they need a helping hand."
The first grant being issued by Brendan's Fund will be for $10,000 and go to a Dallas based organization called alley's house.
For more information about alley's house, contact Allison Whitehead at 214.915.9945.
For more information about how you can contribute to the Brendan Haywood Single Parents Fund, contact Livis Freeman at 919.389.3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org
DONUT 12: Fun factoid: The Nets have lost 10 straight in Dallas. The last time they won? March 2, 2000, on a buzzer-beater by … Keith Van Horn!