DONUT 1: We've got the Mavs-Nuggets game covered, covered with Quoteboard, and covered in Premium in as deep a depth as the rules allow. Dig in. Then c'mon back. Your Donuts will be waiting.
DONUT 2: So we're preparing to do Mavs pregame stuff on TV (makeup, bon-bons, autograph-signings, stars on dressing room doors, you know). And Derek Harper, the legendary Mav now in the TV analyst chair, says to me, "Fish, who do you think Dallas wants to play in the first round?''
Me: "It's a waste of time for them to think that way. They have no control, so why concern themselves with it? Unless, that is, if they are considering tanking games to get a favorable draw, which I do not endorse.''
"Well,'' Harp says, "I'll tell you this: Dallas might not 'want' anybody. But they might all 'want' Dallas.''
Harp didn't mean that as a dig. But he's right about the perception, I think. And if we think this, we aren't being "anti-Mav.'' We're just being logical.
DONUT 3: Now, let's not go panicking in the streets, OK? And at the same time, let's not storm the castles of the Nuggets, Blazers, Hornets and Grizzlies wielding pitchforks, either.
Of COURSE they "want Dallas.'' Consider the alternatives: Who are they supposed to want? The regal Lakers, who will be favorites to eliminate any of those teams in five or six games? The wire-to-wire Western-leading Spurs, who have flaws but also pedigree?
I haven't gotten around to thinking about whether OKC is in that bunch, and if OKC is above or below Dallas in that bunch. But the point is made -- and explained:
Right now, teams want to play the Mavs. And it is not insulting, but rather, logical, that they would.
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DONUT 5: Looks like The Matrix is a full-time starter going forward. (But "Be Ready!'')
Shawn Marion is on a 20/7 nightly roll. Dallas can't seem to afford him not being on the floor. So we probably should ignore the numbers that say Dallas wins when 'Trix (paired with Jet in a second wave of talent few teams can match) instead comes off the bench.
The Mavs are 10-13 when 'Trix starts, and 43-12 when he doesn't. Damning? Nah. Remember, he was the starter for the nine games Dirk missed. Those aren't black marks on Marion. And in recent games like last night's and in Portland, Marion was the best player on the floor for Dallas -- regardless of when he was put on that floor.
DONUT 6: "How do I get one of those?'' Dirk asked me shortly after he uttered the phrase, "TAKE THAT WIT CHEW!'' ... and my answer for him is the same as my answer to you: the DB.com Store!
DONUT 7: Corey Brewer was a difference-maker. Scored 13 points in 20 minutes -- both Mavs-career bests, of course -- but more, was energetic and disruptive ...
"Disruptive,'' especially to anyone who wishes Dallas could craft for itself a set rotation or even a set starting lineup. One minute, DeShawn Stevenson the 11th man and Brewer is the 13th man. Next minute, DeShawn is a starter. Next minute, Rick's got to consider letting Brewer at least dress.
As I've said many times before, this sort of depth is invaluable over the course of 82 ... but virtually worthless once we get to the postseason. You will note that Denver played eight guys. You will note that on Sunday, Portland had an eight-man rotation. You will note that Dallas features a "Million Man March''-sized roster from which to choose. ... and from which to choose mistakenly.
DONUT 8: LeBron James' classy mother, Gloria, just got arrested for assault in Miami at the Fontainebleau Hotel.
I had no idea the Fontainebleau was still a celebrity hotspot. Who'd she assault, Jackie Gleason?
DONUT 9: Roddy B as the starting point guard last night? Thumbs-up on the willingness to experiment. Thumbs-down on the results. Our man Mike Bacsik is wanting to bet that by the time meaningful games re-appear on the schedule (that is, playoff games), Beaubois won't even be a starter at the 2.
This tale isn't over yet, though. It's possible that J-Kidd sits out two more games over the course of this final four.
And shouldn't Dirk get some rest? ... And Marion, he could use a blow. ... Don't want to exhaust Peja ... or TY ... Add it all up and ... well, we'll get to Donut 12 when we get to it.
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DONUT 11: "We're pros here," Carlisle said.
Interpret Rick's postgame analysis of the fourth straight loss as you wish. But to me, it wasn't intended as a compliment ... or even as a reminder. It was a tongue-lashing. And it was the result of Jet's foolishness down the stretch (including a T) and 'Trix's failure to hustle back on defense on a play.
"We don't have a bunch of rookies running around out there,'' the coach continued. "We have one rookie who's got a screw in his foot, and he ain't played in more than two months. So we can't be doing that stuff. Simple as that. ... After the fact, I think our guys realized that, but in the heat of the moment we've got to be better."
Carlisle even went so far as to say that trying to distract Jason Terry into losing his temper is now part of opponents' gameplan. Hey, he's gone a little nuts twice in four games ...
And once again we ponder: Is this all a positive because it's fixable? Or is it a concern because it's even broken in the first place?
DONUT 12: So anyway, with the Lakers on one side of the bracket and the Spurs on the other ... and the No. 4 seed grouped over there with the Spurs ... and the Mavs guaranteed a top-four slot ... and all this possible resting ... the four-straight-loss Mavs are prepared to field accusations about tanking, right?