Wednesday Donuts

We're live at shootaround today at noon (with an at-practice Mavs Podcast!) … and we've got a lot of ground to cover before we get to Lakers-at-Mavs tonight. Let's get to covering. … make my covering "glazed,'' please. With Donuts.

DONUT 1: I hand Donut 1 to the inimitable Michael Dugat, the rookie beat writer who loves his Mavs but wants to vent ... smartly ...

It seems as though lifetimes have come and gone since the Mavericks sat at 24-5 and danced in and out of the top spot on assorted Power Rankings. Dirk Nowitzki was laying the foundation for another MVP candidacy. Caron Butler was shaking off the dust of a slow start and becoming the player most had envisioned when he first arrived. Tyson Chandler was anchoring one of the league's best defenses.

For the first time since the 2006-07 season, it felt like a true contender had made Dallas its home. The roster was both young (Roddy Beaubois, Dominique Jones, Ian Mahinmi, Alexis Ajinca and even Tyson Chandler) and old (you know the names), a mix that was becoming interwoven to form a tightly knit fabric showcasing the strengths and hiding the weaknesses of the collective.

It was the best of times.

What happened?

A storm was unleashed as Dirk buried two free throws and walked from the court in Oklahoma City on Dec. 27, and though the Mavs would take a victory that night, the thunder rolled in. In the chaos of its fury, Caron Butler was lost for the season, Dirk missed the most consecutive games of his career (nine) and Tyson Chandler took ill.

Suddenly the clouds began to break and beam of warming sunlight pierced the gray; Dirk found his way back to the court.

Despite that single ray of light burning bright, the storm somehow circled around it, opened its guts, and spilled an increasingly familiar rain that choked the ground with mud, sinking the Mavs until they believed they had found "rock bottom" after getting run out of the gym in Memphis. Still tending to their wounds, with Chandler unavailable, the storm sought to sink them even further, and succeeded in knocking them flat before they'd a chance to find their feet.

What happened?

When did we start looking up at the swollen clouds expecting another wave of callous rain?

How have things changed since the Mavs rallied around each other and defeated the OKC Thunder before being enveloped by the thunder itself. To understand the storm, you must first see it.


Thru Dec. 27

Dec. 27 thru Jan. 18





Pts. Scored








Pts. Allowed




FG% Allowed




To put it bluntly, the Mavs have slipped in almost every conceivable way. They've scored far less, while giving up considerably more per game. They've lost their shot, while being unable to take them from opponents. It's almost as if the Mavs offense over the past 11 games has been forced to contend with the defense from the first 29, and vice versa.

The return of Dirk did not shed the malaise nurtured by his teammates in his absence, as we thought it would. It almost appears as if a team that found itself to be lacking in its attempt to succeed without him no longer believes it has the strength, or perhaps the right, to again thrive beside him.

One game away from the midway point, the Mavs have enjoyed the lush gratification of extreme early success, and endured the harsh realities of a severe slump. Caron Butler likely isn't coming back this season, meaning this team can't afford to wallow in the misery of his absence. Roddy Beaubois has to be left to the background for the moment, and Dallas must follow whatever breadcrumbs they can find to emerge from the storm surrounding them.

Jason Terry must find some consistency with his offense, as well as a way to produce in the first three quarters. Jason Kidd must relocate the precision that had come for him behind the arc, and not be asked to force other shots. DeShawn Stevenson, as well as he has played at times, must be allowed to move back into the role in which he prospered, as a great defender and spot up three-point shooter. Shawn Marion must create his attempts via movement around the rim, not deep jumpers, and again be the defender we know he is. JJ Barea must attack the paint, but pullback when the situation commands it, and create for his teammates either with passing or by pulling away defenders with his scoring. The young guys must bring energy without breaking the flow. Those filling vital roles from the bench, referring to Brendan Haywood and company, must embrace the roles asked of them and perform with the abilities we know they have. Chandler needs to get healthy, and Dirk simply needs to be Dirk.

Is it a lot to demand? Yes … but it's not impossible. And, it mustn't be us (writers, fans, etc) making the demand. This solution will not come from beyond those filling the Mavericks locker room.

Tyson Chandler should be ready for the Lakers' game, and Dirk proved against the Pistons that he's ready to do his part. Fish's All-Access Pass to Mavs practice yesterday was invaluable, I think, because YOU get to SEE what we see ... And what you see in that All-Access is a team that does care about itself.

Now, it's time to tend to their confidence by giving it the sustenance needed to flourish once more … a defeat of the Lakers sounds just about right.


DONUT 2: We're doing the Mavs Podcast LIVE from Mavs shootaround at the AAC … we're planning on Bacsik frothing at the mouth, we'll see if's Art Garcia wants a piece of this, and maybe I'll hand the phone to a Mavs coach or somebody to holla "Hello!'' at you into your computer.

Noon today, and archived for your future protection, it's the Mavs Podcast … every Wednesday!

DONUT 3: I mentioned this in the All-Access Pass yesterday afternoon, and I see some reporters are being hush-hush about it. ... So let me just come right out with it. No secret sources. No hush-hush.

"We need to make sure we stay flexible with that spot,'' Mavs GM Donnie Nelson tells me regarding Sasha Pavlovic and his 10-day contract. "Sasha's doing well, but we're wide-open there.''

I don't think that means something better is on the horizon. (And no, it doesn't look like the Mavs think Joe A. fills the bill.) But it certainly means Sasha should continue staying in the hotel room while the Mavs "stay flexible.''
DONUT 4: Rick Carlisle, speaking on Tuesday, covered almost every coaching cliche in the book in one big breath.

I am still very optimistic, but I know that optimism alone is not going to pull you through this kind of hard time. You've got to really fight as a group, you've got to have a strong collective will, you've got to rebuild your spirit and the time for talk is over. We're gonna have to play. "We had a good practice today, and it's good that guys are talking about the things that are going wrong,'' Carlisle said. "That helps you address it, both as players and coaches. Today, we've got to face the music, because it's been a disappointing stretch, a lot of losses in a row and effort that's really been beneath what we've stood for all year. So, now we've got to circle the wagon."

Nothing wrong with any of that. As long as the important people are listening.

DONUT 5: Other than him putting his boot in Belichick's ass, I guess I don't much otherwise care what Rex Ryan does with his feet.

DONUT 6: So you're a big Mavs fan, eh? Dress like it. The UberMan. Misty Mav awaits your call.

DONUT 7: How to stay in touch with your Mavericks stuff? Boards, Mavs coverage on Twitter, and Friending Fish on Facebook. Come say hi. I seem nice.

DONUT 8: A thought on DoJo:

He has skill. Natural skill. He plays with energy, and this is a time when Dallas could use that. But reflecting back onto the Friday loss at San Antonio: He sometimes attempts to do too much – in part because you can tell he thinks he's got to hit a five-run homer in the short times he's in there.

It becomes an almost "ball-hoggish'' thing … Like the kid who never gets to play… and at times I'm still fairly convinced he is still in the process of having a complete grasp of what the Mavericks are trying to run.

So there's your Carlisle Conundrum of the Day: Play the kid because he brings energy to a sluggish program? Or be intolerant of the learning curve that could cost you a possession or a series of possessions?

DONUT 9: "The good thing is we're going home, and hopefully our crowd can get us fired up for a big game against the Lakers,'' Dirk said after that Monday debacle in Detroit. "Hopefully, everybody has to sit on this one and come out strong again on Wednesday."

I'm interested in the "crowd'' portion of The UberMan's vision. Is that what will happen tonight? The AAC crowd energy feeding the players and the players feeding it back with good play and the echoed mutual support leading to a "strong'' performance.

God, I hope so.

But if the Mavs start out slow … and you get a little uncomfortable with what the oddsmakers say is doomed to be a seventh straight loss … and you paid good money for those seats … and you don't especially like the effort of so-and-so …

Well, like Dirk says, "hopefully, everybody … comes out strong.''

DONUT 10: Cam Newton's says he's going pro. Cam's dad says nobody's going anywhere until Pops gets $180,000.


DONUT 11: Thanks to all of you who have signed up for Premium Mavs (wait until you see the Mavs-Lakers stuff we'll be providing you all day and all night, all for just a dime-a-day) … and thanks to our friends and sponsors who help make it happen. Please click on, on ThreeSheets (where we're staging our big Feb. 5 Mavs Watching Party), on, on MavCowTickets, on Esparza's … and learn more about what my friends can do to be your friends, too.

DONUT 12: "Really,'' coach Rick Carlisle said of the Detroit game, "we didn't have enough fight to get us over the hump or even near the hump.''

Today's Hump Day.

Visit the Store and check out your own "UBERMAN'' T-shirt!

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