DONUT 1: The Dallas Mavericks at 60 ...
Entering Friday night's contest with the Pacers, the Mavericks had played 60 games. Here is a quick glimpse at where they stand in comparison to the same point last season.
2009-10 though 60 games:
101 Points per Game
98.8 Points Allowed
2.2 Average Margin of Victory (a.k.a. Point Differential)
2010-11 through 60 games:
99.6 Points per Game
95.7 Points Allowed
3.9 Point Differential
At a glance, you see five games better in the standings, improved defense and a better margin of victory. To make things a little more interesting, remove the nine games Dirk Nowitzki missed with injury.
2010-11 games with Dirk taking part through game 60:
101 Points per Game
95.3 Points Allowed
5.7 Point Differential
Not a bad picture to take in.
With Dirk, points per game hold steady in comparison to last season while giving up 3.5 less, and even after removing nine games from the season total (comparing 60 games last year to 51 this season with Dirk), Dallas has three additional wins to show.
That's at 60. Then came 61, another win Friday, over the Pacers, vaulting the Mavs to 45-16. Tonight it's the Grizz ... it'll be The Mavs at 62. ... and a chance to be 30 games over .500.
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DONUT 3: Want to hear some wildly different views on the future of Corey Brewer?
First, I give you a friend of mine who is embedded in Spurs Territory who knows that in San Antonio, they believe Brewer is a weapon who might be able to slow Manu.
He's suggesting that if Brewer catches on quickly, maybe Peja should be turned into Dirk's sub at the 4. Would that be natural fit? Would it spread the wealth and make the bench weapons so strong - Jet, 'Trix, Peja, JJB, Big Wood/Ianimal ...
Would Peja, with this group, open up more access in the paint for JJB and Trix?
It's reasonable, on paper, if only for this reason: If the Spurs are correct in their concerns about Brewer vs. Manu ... doesn't Brewer need to be starting by playoff time?
DONUT 4: And now for something completely different ...
Our man David Lord didn't like the multi-year offer to Brewer when we first heard of it. And after one game with the team, D-Lord likes it even less now. ... to the point he's even wondering of Cuban is having "buyer's remorse.''
Writes D-Lord: I didn't understand the fawning over him ... and I couldn't see anything more than a minimum salary deal making sense on someone so one-dimensional. Someone might outbid them if they only offered the minimum? Well, then let someone else owe him $7M+.
I hope I'm wrong, but he looked zero-dimensional to me. No offense, can't even shoot free throws, and can't play defense without fouling.''
It's a harsh review from D-Lord and a heckuva good conversation on DB.com Premium Forum from some of the biggest brains in the Mavs fandom family.
We'll see more from Brewer tonight (6:30 p.m. tip, Grizz at Mavs) ... and by "more,'' we hopefully mean "better.''
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DONUT 6: You see them on TV. You see them at the AAC. This week, you'll see them in Dirk's locker. It's the Fish-tested, Dirk-approved 'TAKE THAT WIT CHEW!' from the DB.com Store!
DONUT 7: Brendan Haywood matched our prediction and met our expectations.
On Friday, Big Wood had another strong performance, and once again displayed an appealing amount of aggression and energy.
He would end the night with 10 points, five rebounds, three steals and a block.
While Haywood started and looked good, Ian Mahinmi acted as the closer. With the game undecided in the final minutes it was Mahinmi on the court. This may have been a side effect of Big Wood's free-throw troubles, but extended beyond the two-minute mark until the final buzzer (when fouling Haywood intentionally without the ball is no longer an option).
With Mahinmi, we continue to see what we expect. He brings deep energy and hustle. He would finish with seven points, five rebounds and one block.
As a duo, Haywood and Mahinmi contributed 17 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks. With Tyson Chandler missing the night due to his sprained ankle, we'll happily accept that from the center position.
"Brendan played well and Ian played well,'' Rick Carlisle said. They both played well.''
Added Dirk: "They're our three-headed monster at center.''
DONUT 8: Please join our Dallas Mavericks FISH Facebook Page ... prizes to be won, fun to be had, friends to be made! Please swing by. I seem nice!
DONUT 9: Tim MacMahon writes insightfully of Friday: "This is the kind of game that's frustrating to the "Free Roddy B." crowd.''
The FREE RODDY B crowd, of course, is us.
And yeah, it was frustrating to watch Rodrigue Beaubois glide by Pacers at will for a first half in which he totaled 13 points in 11 minutes during the first half. ...
And then to watch him be benched after three quick second-half minutes, never to appear again.
Is Rick back to where we started with FREE RODDY B? Or are we back to where we started on this subject with Rick?
DONUT 10: Mavs vs. Grizz: Playoff preview?
"Everyone is going to be in playoff mode," Carlisle says. "The eighth position is being heavily competed for. The positions up top are extremely competitive. So, it's going come down to the last day like it always does."
And the last days leading up to the last day. Which includes tonight.
DONUT 11: Dallas is now 34-2 when scoring 100 points. Is there a point when this fades? When it becomes something that cannot be relied upon in the playoffs? Or is this offense this good, this consistently good, this thick with weaponry to survive ... even on the rare nights when Dirk isn't Dirk?
DONUT 12: Upon further review ...let's not count on 100 lasting forever. Jan. 15 wasn't THAT long ago ... and that was a day when Dallas looked a ways away from ever winning 18 of 19 as it was in the middle of a six-game failure streak that included an 89-70 loss to ... Memphis.