Today, the Deron Williams Scouting Report on Your Mavs.
"This is the best Mavs team I've seen since I've been in the NBA. Across the board they have so much talent and depth. But they're just playing a lot better defensively. This is by far the best defensive team we've seen from them."
Williams went on, "Coach Carlisle is doing a great job offensively. You know you're going to score points, but they're getting stops and making plays when they need to."
For those that need some outside verification for what they believe they are seeing on the court from this year's Mavs team ... you're welcome.
DONUT 2: Kobe Bryant of the Lakers certainly respects Derrick Rose of the Bulls. And in his heart of hearts, he certainly recognizes that there will some day be a "next generation'' reality to be faced.
But not now.
Kobe was recently asked about his respect for Rose and about passing the torch.
"Sure,'' he said. "But I ain't passing s—."
DONUT 3: Are you "afraid the hot Mavs are going to fizzle in the playoffs''?
Your fear is justified … as it is for EVERY team.
The problem with The Fizzle Theory:
That is EXACTLY what will happen to 15 teams.
Somebody will get hot late, earn the No. 7 seed (say, Portland) … get props for the accomplishment … and then lose in the first round ... and 'hot' will have fizzled.
Somebody else (say, Miami) will go on a terrific roll, get to the ECF, and then face Orlando ... and if they don't win and advance to the Finals, it's a fizzle.
Oh, and if they do advance to the Finals and THEN they lose? Yes, that's a fizzle, too.
It happens to every team that makes the playoffs and then falls short: It gets labeled a 'fizzle.'
You want to avoid that embarrassment at all costs?
Don't make the playoffs.
Those teams never get accused of 'fizzling.'
DONUT 4: In other words, it's really about that "bar of expectations.''
Consider a recent article by our friend John Hollinger, a basketball scientist (when he's not rooting for his Blazers). The "unbiased'' Hollinger
– who in reality is about as unbiased about Portland as I am about Dallas – recently wrote a game story that began thusly:
By John Hollinger
PORTLAND – Cancel the funeral dirges, Portland. It appears the Trail Blazers may contest the rest of the season after all.
Portland played its most complete game of the season on Thursday, coming from an early 14-point deficit to topple Orlando 97-83, for its third straight win. The Blazers have clawed their way back to .500 at 11-11, and find themselves tied with Phoenix for the coveted eighth position in the Western Conference.
Wow! The Blazers are at .500! That's so impressive that the esteemed John Hollinger opted to write a game story commemorating the event! And what might the "achievement'' of .500 mean to the Blazers?
As the unbiased Hollinger explains, it means they are a tick from being alone in the No. 8 slot in the West … er, I mean, the "coveted eighth position.''
The Mavs have just won 12 straight.
The bar moves up.
The Blazers, one of Dallas' rivals in the West, has just won 11 TOTAL … and John Hollinger is throwing a "We're Tied For No. 8'' party.
The bar moves down.
DONUT 5: iDealGolfer.com has crafted a way for you to play golf at some of the finest courses in DFW for half off ... and less ... and all it takes is one click from you!
DONUT 6: "I think that task is behind us," says LeBron James of Miami's challenges in getting him and Dwyane Wade on the same page. "I think if it was a one- or two-game thing, you'd be like, 'OK, we're still trying to figure it out.' I think as a team we're still trying to figure things out, but I think as far as me and D-Wade on the court at the same time, we've kind of figured that out.''
So much so, it is argued, that Miami's six-game win streak entering this weekend is evidence that the team's problems are over … and that those early struggles were "not the real Heat.''
But if the negative reaction was "overreaction'' … why isn't the positive reaction "overreaction,'' too?
DONUT 7: In the Knicks' win on Friday over the Wiz, Stoudemire had 36 points and 10 rebounds … and 11 turnovers!
It's the NBA's first triple-double involving turnovers since February 2008. This is also the first seven-game win streak for the Knicks in 210 years. And – back to the individual numbers – this was Amare's seventh straight 30-point game.
He's now hearing "MVP'' chants. Premature? Maybe, but at least his presence is making the Knicks relevant again.
Of course, he can't really be the MVP. Not as long as Dirk's Mavs are more than just "relevant.''
DONUT 8: By last count, we've got 200 Mavs fans signed up for Raptors at Mavs, when weget together at the AAC on Tuesday, Dec. 28 for DB.com Night at the Mavs! When you visit The DB.com Store to order …We'll get you:
*Your TWO upper-deck tickets
*Your special-edition DB.com 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!)
And now this:
Everyone who takes advantage of this deal will be eligible for a DB.com Night at the Mavs drawing ... and one of you is ALSO going to a Mavs-Blazers game with four tickets ... and another of you gets four tickets to a Mavs-Clippers game. ... and another of you gets four tickets to a Mavs-Rockets game ... and another of you is going to a Mavs-Thunder game with four tickets!
No. I am not kidding.
DONUT 9: Goshamightly, good citizens of Minnesota, can my Vikings please have a new stadium now?
DONUT 10: Because so many of you asked, here's the Fish-and-Dana Larson postgame show on FS Southwest, wrapping up the Mavs' win over Golden State and featuring our brief dance move, a couple of French Toasts, and the controversy over Ian Mahinmi's first name.
DONUT 11: Chris Kaman has an "aggravated bone bruise and deltoid ligament sprain of his left ankle."
And for the Clippers, the beat (and the beatdown) goes on.
The Kaveman was an All-Star last season. But at 10.5 points a game and with this injury, that seems a long time ago.
Fresh start, anyone?
DONUT 12: George Karl this week became the seventh member of the 1,000-Win Club, joining Lenny Wilkens, Don Nelson, Larry Brown, Pat Riley, Jerry Sloan and Phil Jackson.
That's not as sweet as beating cancer. But it's sweet nevertheless.