DONUT 1: Let's get you ready for tonight by letting you see and hear and feel what 20,000 will see and hear and feel on the AAC big screens as the Mavs are about to be introduced:
Oh, and the Lakers will be introduced as well.
DONUT 2: Yeah, as a Dallas Mavericks follower, it felt like Breaking Bread With The Enemy. (Even though Nobu doesn't have bread, apparently. So, Breaking Edamame.) But we found ourselves dining at Nobu last night and it's located in the Crescent, where the Lakers (and other teams) reside when they settle into town.
Three quickie impressions after rubbing a few elbows one table over:
DONUT 3: Kobe Bryant will never make THAT mistake again. He went nowhere in the lobby of the Crescent and then into the restaurant without being flanked by twin security guards. I'm told that the two fellows represent a human barricade at his hotel-room door while he sleeps.
DONUT 4: All by their lonesome, deep in conversation, off in a corner of the restaurant: Ron Artest and Derek Fisher. Makes perfect sense, a bonding time for the team's intellectual and rational leader and the team's Crazy Pill.
DONUT 5: Brian Shaw was surrounded by lovely women. Family members, I suppose. And his group eventually blended into the table occupied by gentle giants Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. I regret to inform you that Pau and Bynum were lovely humans, acquiescing to WAY to make photo requests from fans who probably hate the Lakers as much as you and I do.
But there they sat, the two 7-footers squeezed into their tiny chairs and their tiny table, looking like fathers visiting Kindergarten class on Parents/Teachers Night.
It was all plesant and peaceful and friendly. Now, maybe after dinner all the Lakers went out in the alley and tortured animals and laughed at bums and threw rocks at taxi cabs. I don't know. I went home too early, maybe.
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DONUT 8: Bumped into The Matrix yesterday at lunch (yes, I ate too much on Friday) and even on an off-day, he was busy -- mostly, getting his body ready for tonight's visit from Kobe and the Lakers.
"Oh, I feel great,!'' Shawn Marion told me as I tried to get him to pick up the lunch tab. "Ribs are good, but I'm heading into that hyperbaric chamber just to get it just right.''
I was going to ask 'Trix to let me also climb into the hyperbaric, but inasmuch as Marion wouldn't even pay for my sandwich, I didn't want to push it.
DONUT 9: Part of what makes The Drama Queen a winner, I guess: Even when he loses, he talks like he won.
Example: Thursday at Miami, his Lakers are trailing by two and 56 seconds remain. LA throws inbounds to start a fresh 24-second clock. Bryant catches the inbounds pass and immediately leaps for a desperate fade-away contested 3.
Explains Kobe: "I wasn't as off-balance as you think ... I told (inbounder Artest) to put it right there in that spot in the corner so I could raise up and shoot. I didn't think Wade would expect that. ... The clock doesn't make a difference; if you can knock it down you take it. We had the rebounding position underneath. My guys knew I was going to take it. It just didn't go."
See? It was a fadeaway but he wasn't off-balance. It was a surprise even though Wade contested it and blocked it. It was hurried but "my guys'' KNEW it would be hurried.
It was stupid. But it was smart.
I hope Kobe takes about 50 of those "smart 23-foot fadeaways'' tonight.
DONUT 10: Nothing against Guinness. Nothing against Bill Walton. But will you become one of the 10 men who drink Guinness because Bill Walton says he drinks it?
DONUT 11: Hottest shirt among Mavs fans? I would say it's the Fish-tested, Dirk-approved 'TAKE THAT WIT CHEW!' from the DB.com Store!
DONUT 12: Welcome to Dallas, Kobe!