DONUT 1: I keep saying it. Reporting it. Showing video of it. Caron Butler is not coming back anytime soon.
What do I have to do, take my Premium Video of Caron's practice work and show it to the world?
Rick Carlisle, who sees this level of Tuff Juice involvement/non-involvement every day, calls it "extremely unlikely'' that Butler will play in Round 1. However, that's not preventing dreamy reports from various outlets suggesting a miraculous and early recovery.
We're all hopeful of that. And as I noted on The Fan with Newy this week, in all my years of covering the NFL and the way those guys rehab, I've never seen anyone do so with more determination than Caron.
But I'm telling you about reality. And now I'm showing you reality. Caron isn't running or jumping or playing. He's launching setshots. In terms of basketball activity -- not counting the endless hours of rehab work he's doing elsewhere -- that's all.
DONUT 2: There seems to be some sensitivity at Mavs HQ regarding this idea that playoff opponents "want'' Dallas. Maybe I'm not as sensitive to it as I should be because the reasoning seems so obvious. ...
As detailed by Denver coach George Karl, who tells Galloway,: "If we had to pick and choose on it, we would probably say 55 percent Dallas, 45 percent Oklahoma City, only because Oklahoma City is athletic like we are and they have two great players.''
Do the Mavs want to use that as bulletin-board material? Or are we fooling ourselves by not accepting the inoffensive logic of Karl's statement?
DONUT 3: Do the Dallas Mavericks use the "Wanting'' as bulletin-board material?
It wouldn't be trumped-up fodder. It's REAL. So maybe the angry reaction to being dissed can be real, too. You WANT to try to outshoot Dirk? You WANT to try to out-think Kidd? You WANT to try to out-heart-and-soul Chandler?
Psychologically speaking, maybe sewing a chip onto the shoulder strap of the Mavs' playoff uniforms is worth a try.
DONUT 4: Give me a LIKE on our new DB.com Dallas Mavericks FISH Facebook Page, please! That joint, like DB.com itself, is going to rock with swag and info and laughs and cries?) and more swag. Included in the fun: We're planning a DB.com Mavs-Watchin' Get-Together at ThreeSheets for first round. Stay tuned!
Check us out! Click that LIKE button and come on over!
DONUT 5: Rick says "mitigating'' circumstances cause the Mavs to have a 10-13 record when Shawn Marion starts, and of course he's right: Marion's role as a starter has come in part in games in which Dirk isn't available, and yeah, Dallas loses when Dirk isn't available.
The Mavs don't need to overthink this: While the club might struggle to figure out who the sixth or seventh or 10th guys on the totem pole should be, there isn't any question that Marion belongs near the very top of the totem pole.
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: Congrats to Bryan G., who is part Clark Kent, part John Lennon and now ALL Mavs.com. Way to go, kid!
DONUT 8: "Tanking''? "Maneuvering"? This is my daily urging for the Mavs to be careful with this. You trick-'em/dick-'em so you can be on the Spurs' side of the bracket and maybe Denver keeps you from ever getting there. You, instead, decide you want to oppose N.O. without David West and N.O. upsets somebody to jumble your plans. You jigger around to avoid a team and then -- horrors! -- you end up playing them anyway.
I'm not saying the Mavs ARE doing this. I'm not even saying there aren't occasions when losing on purpose pays off. (Right, Tim Duncan?)
I'm simply saying that Fate doesn't always view you as her partner in these matters. She likes to be in charge all by herself.
DONUT 9: Regarding a Dallas-Denver matchup: I do believe the fact that THIS Denver group will have never been here before will factor in. I also believe that the presence of Jason Kidd will negate Denver's risk-taking, swipe-minded defense.
And yes, the betting window is open. I've got Dallas in this series. Who wants a piece of me?
DONUT 10: Want even more Mavs coverage? The Premium Stuff? DB.com happens to represent the most explosive membership growth in the history of FOX Sports, and the examples of why are everywhere!
This is a great time to get you in the middle of your Dallas Mavericks! It's about a dime-a-day to be a DB.com Mavs Premium Member and to get Inside Mavs HQ ... exclusive interviews, analysis, locker-room video, even video of the Mavs in practice ... it's all here.
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DONUT 11: I've done the study in the NFL that proves this. (It's like a 30-year research project and I've got it in a filing cabinet around here somewhere. In the NFL, "being hot down the stretch'' matters not for a team that eventually wins the title.
Do we need a similar study of recent NBA Finals teams? Orcan we just take all our words for it?
DONUT 12: I'm heading to Mavs (and Clippers) shootaround this morning. Job One, for me: How's TY's back? Check back to DallasBasketball.com in a bit for the latest!