DONUT 1: DallasBasketball.com is gearing up for Blazers thoughts, in anticipation of the most logical Dallas first-round foe.
A primary issue: How seriously are we to take Sunday's blowout loss at Portland vs. how much more compelling is the fact that Dallas was 2-1 against Portland previous to that so-called "meaningless'' outing.
DONUT 2: Some clear disadvantages that are not going away, starting with ...
The Mavs' smallish backcourt. Rudy Fernandez vs. JJ Barea, for instance, is a matchup Dallas is unlikely to win. Rudy is capable of literally enveloping JJB. Brendan Roy presents an edge due to talent, not just size. But if he's right (that is, healthy) Dallas doesn't have much of an answer there, either. Roy posting up could be a beast.
DONUT 3: Also deceiving from Sunday: The idea that Big Wood is a LaMarcus-stopper. It's true that Brendan Haywood played him well, relatively speaking. But it's not true that Dallas' plan is to give Brendan oodles of more chances. In a playoff series, Aldridge might play as many as twice the minutes Haywood will play. This is not destined to be a Dallas edge.
This'll be Tyson Chandler's job.
DONUT 4: Portland's already-tight rotation. The Blazers go eight deep ... and that's it. And Roy, coming off the bench, is part of that depth. There are no decisions, no debates, no tinkering, no "what-if's.''
Strategically, the Blazers are playoff-ready -- and Dallas, still searching (desperately?) for the right combos -- is clearly not.
DONUT 5: Now, you want some Mavs positives?
Let's start with the distinct possibility that Sunday simply wasn't real. Is Portland 20 points better than Dallas?
When the game is largely immaterial to the Mavs, while at the same time being meaningful to a second-tier Portland team. The Mavs get blown out so infrequently (though damn frequently in the last five days). ... It wasn't real. Five games in six nights and three back-to-backs in little over a week? That isn't playoff real.
DONUT 6: Dallas can run better than it did Sunday by using its multi-headed backcourt -- and if those heads would make some shots, that would help, too. If Kidd and Jet are going to combine for 1-of-12 shooting, that game will be lost.
Are Kidd and Jet going to do that four time sin a seven-game series?
DONUT 7: Dirk.
If it seemed like Dallas was tired, disinterested, outhustled on Sunday ... well, that effort (or lack thereof) was led by Dirk.
The Mavericks had nothing to play for on Sunday. Nowitzki had nothing to play for on Sunday. Try this theory on for size: After all these years, The UberMan wants to get his 50-plus wins, get a top-tier position in the playoffs, and then step on the gas. The regular season is his warmup -- near-MVP-worthy as its been.
It's 82 games of Dirk Nowitzki practice.
DONUT 8: You are about to see the REUNION ROWDIES t-shirts make a massive splash at the AAC. For that, The UberMan, 'TAKE THAT WIT CHEW,' the whole collection, check out the DB.com Store!
DONUT 9: No, silly. I'm not talking about "playoff disappointment.'' I'm talking about "playoff excitement.'' You want in? You want to come to today's practice? Have a press-row seat for Wednesday's Nuggets-at-Mavs game? Go inside the locker rooms during the playoffs? What you want is Your All-Access Pass! Be a Premium Mavs Fan for just about a dime-a-day! Take your 7-Day Free Trial and discover the Mavs coverage you shouldn't be doing without!
DONUT 10: In answer to a skillion readers' questions: Yes, you can still get Mavs tickets. Playoffs, down-the-stretch, whatever you need. The place to go for personal service? Check out Ryan at MavCowTickets ... Guaranteed (by me!) satisfaction!
DONUT 11: Let the fact that Charlie Sheen's stage-show debut in Detroit bombed -- fans booed first, but then, tiring of that, simply walked out -- be a lesson to the self-proclaimed "warlock'' (whatever that means).
Oh, and ... ahem. ... let it be a lesson to anyone who chooses to go into business with Charlie as well:
Sheen is not a stage actor. Is not an improvisational actor. And most of all, is not a writer. His "tour'' is already collapsing under the weight of his ego, which convinced him (while sober!?) that he could write his own stage act.
There is something Charlie Sheen is capable of writing: The loaded-with-emptiness metaphor. scribbling isnt 'writing.' a piano cannot play itself.
DONUT 11: Come give me a LIKE, will ya? The Dallas Mavericks DB.com Facebook Page is fillin' up. But friends are always welcome around here. C'mon in with a LIKE!
DONUT 12: Speaking of actors, is the Charles Barkley-is-interested-in-watching-college-basketball charade over yet?