CARLISLE'S PISSED TIMEOUT:
Everybody is telling you about it; when Rick lets out that he's "pissed,'' it's newsy. But how about if we show you?
The source of Rick's ire? The Dallas Mavericks were down nine points in the second quarter to one of the worst road teams in NBA history. Rick called a timeout, threw a clipboard, and threw a tantrum.
"I was pissed, really as pissed as I've been all year," Carlisle said.
Initially in the postgame presser, Carlisle was reluctant to be more specific. But then he let it all out, terming Dallas' play to that point "a losing
brand of basketball."
"The reason I was pissed,'' Carlisle said, finally opening up, "is because I care about these guys. I believe in what we can be. I'm going to tell them what's on my mind. I'm going to tell them what's right and they can disagree if they want to, but I'm all about trying to help them win. Right now, that's all this is about."
ALL-STAR (ALMOST?) T.Y.: How much more praise can we throw Tyson Chandler's way … well, other than the fact that he deserves an All-Star nod?
Chandler finished with 18 points and 18 rebounds, including eight at the offensive end. He may have not drawn a block on the stat sheet, but he did play a significant role in holding the Wizards to 39.5 percent shooting via his constant activity within the paint and by aggressively showing on the perimeter when needed.
The Mavs are now 8-2 when Chandler posts a double-double.
Including Monday night's performance, Chandler is averaging 18.2 points and 9.8 rebounds over the last five games.
"In our offense there is a lot of movement,'' said Tyson in trying to explain his offensive prowess. "It's fair to say, that anyone can get a shot. I try to roam around and find my spots or run a pick-and-roll to either set myself up or set up other guys."
Sounds like an All-Star to us. And to Jet. "He's an All-Star! He's an All-Star!'' Terry yelled. "Coaches, you gotta vote him into that game! ... He's the best center in the West. I mean, you name another center in the West that's better than him, night in and night out."
MORE HEART-AND-SOUL FOOD: Quick tangent on Chandler's night, where he would again have double-digit free-throw attempts for the third time in four games: When the Mavs took the lead in the final seconds on the first half, as well as the first two times they would regain the lead early in third, the lead-change came with Tyson sinking free throws.
The team, and Chandler (8-of-14), would not have their best night at the line, hitting only 25 of their 37 tries (67.6 percent).
However, the fact that the same player regained the lead on three consecutive occasions at the line, gives a not-so-subtle hint as to the importance of those trips.
Over the last five games noted above, Chandler is averaging 10.2 free-throw attempts per.
DIRK FULL THROTTLE?: On offense, Dirk Nowitzki had his second consecutive game reliving his early-season efficiency. In 33 minutes of game time, he would collect 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and would also have a pretty block on a John Wall drive.
That said, it's clear that Dirk has yet to reach full throttle. This isn't a complaint or an excuse, but several instances saw The UberMan unable to move enough to grab attainable rebounds or move his feet with accustomed speed, as evidenced by his continued trend since his return by grabbing only four rebounds.
Though never particularly fleet-of-foot, something is clearly yet to return to his legs. Taking that into account, the offensive flow he's begun to reclaim is impressive.
While he may not be 100 percent, the improvement is showing, and one must find joy in what he's been able to accomplish while continuing his fight to return to health.
And then there's this: Reportedly, Dirk's biggest injury problem right now is actually a cracked toenail, the result of him reacting unhappily to a missed shot while playing billiards in the Mavs locker room.
We assume that even if he kicked a chair over while playing pool, he still made seven of every 11 shots.
A veteran team would like the luxury of resting its starters down the stretch against such an inferior opponent, but the Mavs didn't earn that luxury. This game was somewhat in doubt until Jason Kidd canned a wide-open corner 3 with 49.8 seconds remaining.
DIRK'S REGAINED FORM – AND NEW INJURY: Even with the toenail thing, Nowitzki seems to be finding his form, as he's gone 15-of-22 (68.2 percent) from the floor in the last two games.
THE FOUR-GAME SWEEP!: The Mavericks swept a four-game homestand for the first time since March of 2008 and have now won five in a row and six of seven games.
It seems like just two weeks ago (because it was) when Dallas was losing six straight, in ways not seen from this franchise in this decade.
The Mavs are only a half-game back from the Lakers in the race for the No. 2 seed in the West.McKINNEYDENTIST.COM QUOTEBOARD: Dirk tells it like it is regarding the beginning of the game: "There was just not a lot of energy going. They got whatever they wanted."
More good stuff in the Quoteboard here.
KIDD VS. WALL: Jason Kidd finished with a double-double, and would come very close to a triple-double.
J-Kidd ended the game with 11 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds, one steal and one block … all coming on a night that some thought might signify a torch-passing to Wiz rookie John Wall.
After consecutive misses from three-point range in the fourth, Kidd would also calmly launch the 3 that would essentially seal the game by putting Dallas up eight with 49 seconds to play – "That was the game,'' Carlisle said -- not to mention hitting 2-of-2 free throws with 27 seconds remaining to put the score at its final tally.
Those two makes would push Kidd above the 90-percent mark (37-of-41 or 90.2 percent), where he has never previously finished a season in his illustrious career.
Wall was good for 17 points and 10 assists, and has no reason to be ashamed of his work. As Wiz coach Flip Saunders said, Kidd "is a guy that (Wall) has looked up to in his career.''
Before the game, Kidd reflected on the moment.
"It just seems like yesterday that I was looking at John Stockton, Gary Payton and Mookie Blaylock, and I was looking up to those guys,'' Jason said. "Time goes by too fast. So, I guess I'm the old man."
Old. But 11/11/9 good.
THE CARDINAL CONTROVERSY: We told Brian Cardinal that we needed an on-camera 1-on-1 visit with him, and that he was deserving of the attention on two counts.
"Aw, you don't want to interview me,'' said the unassuming Mavs scrapper.
Aw, but yes we do: First of all because, Brian, you started the game, a Carlisle move that allowed him to continue to use his "two Sixth men,'' Jet and Marion, off the bench. And second, we informed him there is a controversy on DallasBasketball.com that rages on concerning his nickname.
The Cardinal Controversy is, for the first and last time, cleared up:
"The Custodian'' ate up 31 minutes while allowing Carlisle to keep some other cogs in place. Before the game, Rick said, "We've got options (for the fifth starter), everybody from Barea to Cardinal to Marion … (to) Mahinmi.''
But Cardinal got the start. Cardinal would reward that decision with some tough interior defense (we've said it before, and we'll say it again … you have to love the fact that Cardinal goes out of his way to deliver hard, not dirty, fouls that leave the opposition with little chance of an And-1) and by tying a season high with nine points, coming on a trio of 3-pointers.
So he got himself a start, nine points, four rebounds – and a nickname clarification.
Oh, and the Two Sixth Men deal worked out. Jet contributed 14 points and eight assists and Shawn Marion had 14 points and nine rebounds.
We went 1-on-1 with Jet in this Video Visit in the postgame locker room:
MAKING HISTORY: Dallas keeps the hopes alive of seeing one of its dubious records being broken, while obviously positively affecting this season's record by moving to 32-15.
The dubious thing?
The Wizards have now lost 24 roadies in a row. That places them third in the All-Time Hall of Shame for most consecutive losses away from home to start the season.
First on that list? Here's your history lesson, kids (oh, and while you're at it, go learn who Oscar Wilde was, too): The 1992-93 Mavericks, who would lose their first 29 roadies.
"They'll win some road games this year,'' said Carlisle, and yeah, he used the plural. We think he's being polite, and that the Wiz are contenders for the worst road record in an NBA season, which is 1-40 by the 90-91 Sacto Kings.
MAVSELLANEOUS: How quickly we forget that before this latest run, Dallas had lost seven of eight games ... Sports agent Jordan Woy, who is Dallas-based, hosted a quartet of clients from the Pittsburgh Steelers at the game … Washington "plays hard,'' Carlisle said repeatedly. But the Wiz do not play smart. That's as much a reason for that 13-34 record as anything. … Kidd's big made 3 came after a long-range miss that appeared to hit the top of the backboard. Washington players froze, but Dallas kept playing, retrieved the ball, and gave Kidd another shot with those 49 seconds left to seal the deal … In terms of trade fallout, it wasn't exactly the story of the night. Of the four players here and involved in last February's trade, not many would have predicted Stevenson would be the lone starter when the teams would face each other for the first time since that deal in the regular season. Josh Howard was kept from the floor with lingering knee issues. Caron missed with his own knee injury, and Tyson Chandler has earned the starting center role, meaning Haywood comes from the bench. When the game was over, none of the names featured in that trade would figure prominently into the final. Stevenson and Haywood (the only two who played) finished with a combined three points and two assists (all coming from Stevenson) in just less than 23 minutes of total action. … Six of Dallas' next seven games come on the road. "We've got some tough games when we go back out on the road,'' said Jet of a road trip that begins Wednesday at New York (and DB.com's own Mike Fisher will be part of the FS Southwest telecast team that brings you that game.)
IT WASN'T THE TURNOVERS: Washington entered Thursday night as the fourth worst team in the league when it comes to turnovers, with 15.8 per night.
Against Dallas, they would not turn the ball over until 3:31 was left in the second quarter, when Jason Kidd would draw a charge on John Wall.
For the game, the Wizards would tie a season low with only seven turnovers … four of those came courtesy of Rashard Lewis.
THE BACKUP CENTER: Again we saw Ian Mahinmi get most of the backup center minutes in the second half. Ian scored seven points in eight total minutes.
Speaking of Mahinmi: he did what we've grown accustomed to and brought a tangible level of energy and aggressiveness. He would finish with those seven points, two rebounds and a block that came on a ball he vehemently slammed into the backcourt after a John Wall shot attempt.
Mahinmi succeeded. TY succeeded. That leaves out … Big Wood.
"He had a tough night,'' said Rick of Brendan Haywood, who played nine minutes and posted lots o' zeroes.
DeShawn Stevenson said "it's fun'' playing against his former team from Washington. (This was the first meeting between the clubs since last February's
blockbuster trade involving Josh Howard, Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn.) He also thinks it's fun that his DB.com interview regarding his
throat piercings and "Black-Guy Band-Aids has gone viral. "It's not causing trouble, is it?'' DeShawn asked? Nah.
EXCLUSIVE DB.com AND JOSH HOWARD: Josh Howard was talking privately with ex-teammate Roddy Beaubois and preparing to board the post-game bus when we butted in.
"I know you,'' J-Ho said with a smile – and maybe with an acknowledgement of his most infamous DB.com moment:
‘You can't control what the ball do, man!'
Whatever his motivation, the Mav-turned-Wiz was engaging in our exclusive visit and praised Dallas as ‘still my town.'
"Dallas will always be my home, and it still is,'' Josh tells me moments after he sat out injured while his Washington team lost. "I still live here. I'm going to always live here.''
J-Ho's Big D devotion might come as a surprise to some, given the way he exited. Howard's final seasons in Dallas were controversial ones that came to an end last February when he was shipped to Washington in a deal that brought Dallas the threesome of Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson. His slide in the eyes of Dallas management and fans came after a lackluster performance in the 2007-08 playoffs, when in Round 1 against the Hornets he conducted a radio interview to explain his pot smoking and then later, in an exit interview with DallasBasketball.com, explained why he missed so many shots.
"You can't control what the ball do, man!'' he told me "Y'all crazy!''
Unfortunately for Josh, injuries have been even more beyond his control.
He's been unable to contribute to the Wizards' efforts to fix their awful season (the loss in Dallas dropped them to 13-34) due to a balky left knee, a carryover from him having torn the anterior cruciate ligament in that knee last season. He underwent surgery but the results haven't been positive enough, as he's played in just a dozen of the 79 games he's been in the Wiz employ.
"I'd like to be playing, believe me,'' Josh said. "It'll be OK. It's just tendonitis. I'll be back in like two weeks.''
After the game, J-Ho – dressed in a black suit with matching black tennis shoes – was surrounded by a group of well-wishers that included Beaubois and Josh's mother, Nancy Henderson.
As Josh mentioned his mother's presence, she approached us and introduced herself.
"My mom lives in Florida and my grandma's in North Carolina, which is also my home as long as my grandma is still kickin','' Josh told me. "But Dallas is my home. I love Dallas.''
THE FINAL WORD: "We know coach is a passionate guy and wants us to win,'' Tyson Chandler said about Carlisle's rant. "If that's the way he's feeling at the time, if he feels like we're not giving a valid effort or our mental focus isn't there, he's got the right to do that."