RODDY B IS FREE: From the first moment Rick Carlisle opened the room to questions, Rodrigue Beaubois (formerly Roddy; more in a moment) was the topic dominating the minds and tattooing the words of all involved.
Carlisle spoke with reporters for almost 10 minutes. During that time, the conversation did not stray from the lone topic of Roddy B.
It's not "Roddy." It's "Rodrigue." Carlisle corrected the first reporter to pose a question.
To Rick, "Roddy" was a guy that showed "flashes of brilliance, but never any consistency."
This Rodrigue person is a matured version of the phenom we caught glimpses of last season. He is the next step in the evolution of "Roddy."
"This is a time to be excited, for sure," Carlisle would go on to say, while also trying to be mindful that this is only the first step of many.
As for the actual game, it didn't take long for the debut. With 9:52 remaining in the first quarter, Roddy B replaced Stevenson and the crowd noise enveloped his entrance. Yes, this was the 13-39 Kings in early February … but the prodigal son had returned … and people were pumped.
"I thought it was a great game for him to come back, in the sense that there's no pressure," Jason Kidd would say of Roddy after the game. "Just to make him feel comfortable."
Though he would miss his first attempt, an open three, Beaubois would hit 3-of-5 attempts to lead the Mavs in scoring after one with six points … though he was visibly fatigued by the end of his initial run of 8:31. In other words, he appeared far more comfortable than many would have predicted.
The first period went much as the rest of the night would. It reminded us of why we were excited … as well as the fact that this was his first game in over five months.
Roddy B would finish with 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting (1-of-4 behind the arc) with six assists, three turnovers, three steals and one rebound … and perhaps most importantly, he did this in 21 minutes of action.
Other than occasional fatigue towards the end of his runs, he looked fluid and strong with his cuts, and played as well as could be expected for someone having missed over five months. We'll have to wait to hear how he feels tomorrow, but if "survival" was all Mark Cuban was hoping for, as he stated before the game, this was a rousing success.
How did Roddy B feel about his return?
"Tired,'' he said. "It was tough. But this is the first one, and I need a couple of games. … It's always good to have the first game and get the win."
On how his foot treated him:
"No, the foot is good. I have to get my legs into it. The cardio is kind of tough. It's been a long time, but I have to keep working on it."
On an evening clearly orbiting around a single focus, but one we're glad to have finally witnessed, realistic expectations were soundly met. As far as first steps go, this was a solid performance.
In short, welcome back, Roddy Beaubois.
A LEAD LOST, AS USUAL: Dallas entered the third quarter up 13, only to see the game tied at 70 with just over six minutes remaining in the period … when they suddenly woke up to finish the quarter on a 26-to-6 run.
It all began with a 13-to-0 surge on the back of the offense from Roddy b and Jason Kidd, who would combine for 11 of the 13. From that point on, it became the Kidd Show.
On his way to a season-high 20 points, Kidd caught fire in the third. For the period, he would post 17 points on 6-of-7 field goals and 5-of-6 three-point attempts.
"There are not really contested shots when we've got two or three guys with their hand up," Kidd said, meaning the number of open potential receivers. "We're making that extra pass and everybody is touching it. When you have that type of game or system, it's hard to guard."
With fans focused on the point guard of the future, Kidd reminded us that the present may still belong to him.
MELO, MARK AND … THE METS?!: The subject of Carmelo Anthony inevitably came up with Mark Cuban after reports dripped from New York that ‘Melo would be amenable to signing an extension with the Mavs, the same reports that labeled the Mavs the final hurdle between the Knicks and ‘Melo.
How did Cuban feel about this?
"If he could do that as a Denver Nugget, that would be interesting." Cuban responded.
Cuban was continuously dancing around the ‘Melo questions, and those of deadline deals in general, Stating he would be happy to rent a player for a second round draft choice, but giving little more to those surrounding him.
"The only thing ‘Melo and I are doing is buying the Mets,'' Cuban said, tongue firmly in cheek.
MORE CUBAN ANALYSIS: Beyond ‘Melo and trade talks, Cuban did discuss other items.
*"I just want him to play, to get back into the rhythm of things. That's all." Cuban said of his hopes for Roddy against the Kings.
*He would go on to praise the work of Shawn Marion, who he labeled an "unsung hero" for his play this season.
*And Cuban stated firmly that he believes his team is a contender as presently constructed.
We assume by "his team,'' we are all talking Mavs, not Mets.
BIG WOOD PLAYS BIG: Doing his best to steal some of the spotlight from Roddy B, Brendan Haywood had one of his most complete games of the season, and appeared energetic, driven and engaged throughout his 22 minutes.
He ended with his season-high in scoring, as well as his first double-double of the year, with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
This was the center we envisioned when the ink was still drying on his contract this summer.
Which leads us back to a question we hate to return to: Why don't we see this with more consistency? The tools are there. When they are matched by the desire, so are the results.
WHAT HAPPENED TO FLU AND GROIN?: Joining Haywood in the "first double-double of the season" category was JJ Barea, who finished with 11 points, 10 assists and a steal.
JJB, you deserve a microphone and a DB.com camera, microphone and stage.
Brad Davis noted this on the FS Southwest telecast and it is hard to argue: How many players are doing more, right now, to help their teams win more games, than JJB?
QUOTEBOARD: Rick Carlisle had this to say on the return of Roddy B:
"I thought it was, all things considered, pretty solid. Predictably, there were some ups and downs, but the important thing was he was able to get involved … A lot of positives."
Stick with us all night and all day ... We'll collect all the locker-room quotes in McKinneyDentist.com Quoteboard!
MAVSELLANEOUS: Eight different Mavs would finish with at least 10 points, the first time that's happened with Dallas since 1993. The eight: Jason Kidd (20), Marion (14), Dirk Nowitzki and Roddy B (13), Peja Stojakovic, Brendan Haywood and Jason Terry (12), and JJ Barea (11). … The Jumbotron operators at the AAC were obviously delighted to pull the ol' "Rudy'' film parody – "Roddy'' – out of mothballs. … The bench scored 62 points, continuing its stretch of strong play and supporting the contention of Jason Terry that it is the NBA's best … Dallas has now won nine straight against Sacto, including 25 of the last 30 ... We now have evidence: Few cats in the NBA can go coast-to-coast faster than Roddy B, who performed the trick twice – and didn't seem to need more than seven second combined. … No Mavs starter would earn a trip to the free-throw line, and the Mavs took only six for the game, with five of those coming from Brendan Haywood. Meanwhile, Sacramento attempted 34 free throws. Odd, to say the least. … Too bad about that Aaron Afflalo Affluke. This would be 13 straight without that last-second loss at Denver. As it is, 12 of the last 13 will have to do. … Dallas has won seven straight at home … The Mavericks tied a season-high with 54 points in the paint – and Roddy B's pace-setting had something to do with that. … The Ianimal fouled out in seven minutes of burn. …
THE CENTURY MARK: J-Kidd values it.
"I don't know how many times we've scored over 100 points,'' he said, (but) our record is pretty good when we have scored over 100 points.''
Indeed, sir. Dallas has scored 100-plus points in 11 of its last 12 games. The Mavericks are 28-2 when they reach the century mark.
FINALLY, A BLOWOUT: It took awhile, but …
Buried beneath the newsy avalanche of Roddy B's return is the fact that Dallas finally snared the elusive blowout, which allowed them to rest key players down the stretch.
Dirk only played 22 minutes. Kidd led the starters, and the team, with 28.
With Phoenix coming up tomorrow night, the ability to keep minutes low doesn't hurt.
CHANDLER'S HEART-AND-SOUL FOOD:
A night without the DB.com cameras looking up and TY would be incomplete. Agree?
THE FINAL WORD: "Yeah,'' said Kings coach Paul Westphal of the Mavs. "They're loaded.''