DONUT 1: Dallas' Jason Terry is the protagonist in a couple of ongoing storylines for the Dallas Mavericks, who pulled to within one game of the second-in-the-West Lakers with Friday's 107-96 win over the visiting Clippers.
Or hell, maybe he's the antagonist.
DONUT 2: Did this start with the passing of Jet's aunt two weeks ago? And then boiled over with the shove of Steve Blake? And then again with the T in the Denver loss?
Remember that early on Friday, I asked Terry about Denver coach George Karl having remarked that the No. 5 Nuggets would prefer to see Dallas slip to No. 4 so the two teams could meet in Round 1, because Karl viewed that as preferable to Denver opposing OKC.
"Hey, we want to play somebody, too!'' Terry yelled. "That's what you tell George Karl: We want to play somebody, too!''
He was being playful … but he was also terse, speaking in clipped sentences.
Moments before, Jet spoke with a group of reporters and showed no remorse for his recent involvement in controversy, including last week's flagrant foul in LA against the Lakers' Blake and that ill-timed technical foul in a loss to Denver, an impetuous decision decried by coach Rick Carlisle.
"Hey, it worked for me,'' Jet said, grinning. "Made me feel good. Got my point across.''
No remorse indeed, as the fiery Jet was involved in yet another incident Friday. Let's review it quickly, again … and then figure out how to harness it.
DONUT 3: With 9:53 to play in the second quarter, a pass from JJ Barea arrived slightly behind Terry, resulting in a turnover and a layup for the Clippers. Carlisle called timeout with his team down 39-25 and on the bench, Terry aggressively got in Barea's face and eventually had to be restrained by benchmates and even by team owner Mark Cuban playing peacemaker and restraining the Jet.
Terry would not see the court again, and was slow to join the rest of his teammates at the beginning of the second half.
Carlisle opened his post-game press conference with a statement on Terry:
"It is an internal matter. This is an emotional game, and it's a very compelling game, because in our league, guys don't wear baseball hats, and fans aren't seated 30 yards from the field, guys aren't wearing helmets or facemasks. Emotions run high and things happen. I'm going to leave it at that. He's an important guy to our team. I was considering giving him a nice night off going forward, but I think tonight will be his night off."
Terry was therefore a non-factor in the win (Dallas' first in five outings), having played a total of 7:54 and failing to score, missing his lone field-goal attempt.
DONUT 4: Said Jet of the brouhaha: "It's nothing at all, just supporting my teammates in a great game,'' Terry said afterwards in a FS Southwest visit, having hardly broken a sweat. "(Carlisle) said, ‘Get some rest, get back there on Sunday.''
We can assume that Jet will not do any hard time here; Carlisle, you know, doesn't really have a "doghouse.'' (Both fellas said this weekend that no hard feelings linger.) So yes, Jet, "get back there'' tonight.
But where is "there''?
DONUT 5: It is worth noting: Jet is dealing with the passing of his aunt. He deserves some emotional elbow room. But as we often say, emotion can be properly channeled. And that didn't happen here.
I will try to visit with Jason about that very thing today. He owes no one an explanation, of course. But he deserves a forum …
DONUT 6: I am quite certain the Mav-on-Mav problem will not linger. Barea, the target of Terry's ire, cooled the flames immediately by saying, "Nothing really happened . . . (Terry) is my boy, my favorite teammate since I got here . . . Heat of the moment, nothing big."
Dallas is a team strong on chemistry but traditionally weak when it comes to vocal fire. Jason Terry can be a vessel of change there … but the Mavs need to focus on the proper target.
DONUT 7: And who wants to be the target?
Memphis, New Orleans, Portland … Denver? Y'all sure you want this?
Carlisle is pretending he is unaware of George Karl's unorthodox honesty. I prodded the Dallas coach on Friday on the subject of the "we want Dallas'' mentality as bulletin-board material.
"Yes, it can be,'' said Rick, who later appeared on his local radio show to reiterate that view and to go a step beyond, saying that an opponents' sentiments about disrespecting Dallas can be "flammable.''
DONUT 8: For all the talk about who wants to play the Mavs as they worked their way out of a four-game skid, Dallas finished Friday not only ahead of the Thunder for third place but also just one game behind the Lakers -- losers of four straight now themselves -- for the No. 2 slot.
I think you might "want'' the Mavs team that fell behind LAC to begin that game … but didn't the Mavs do that with Kidd in street clothes, with the experimental starting backcourt of Roddy B and Corey B, with Tyson moving carefully due to the bad back, with Peja not allowed to be an issue until late …
The Mavs that outscored LAC by 27 in the final three quarters … you don't want THOSE Mavs in Round 1, do you?
DONUT 9: They By the time the regular season is over, there may be fewer reasons to "want Dallas.'' Maybe as soon as Jason Terry and the Mavs get done with their implosions, they can create a positive explosion in the postseason. It'd help, too, if Jet can get his offense back on track … but when you lose four straight, you have a lot of questions being raised. Heck, Dallas doesn't have any solid handle on who its starting 2-guard will be now … and depending on who it is, that might alter who the starting 3 is as well. (An excellent read on the subject of Dallas' uncertain backcourt situation here, by our David Lord, for Premium Mavs readers).
DONUT 10: It is conceivable that Dallas can take down Phoenix tonight, Houston on the road on Monday and then New Orleans in the regular-season finale on Wednesday. Do that and the Mavs are 57-25. Hard to complain about a 57-game winner.
DONUT 11: Do something shy of that and maybe -- in today's optimistic mood -- Karl's position is still lacking merit. Dallas is likely to finish 10 wins better than almost everyone in the second tier of the tournament. For all the issues the Mavs might have ... they have 10-wins-fewer issues than most of their competitors.
DONUT 12: So the Mavericks have met the enemy … and they need to make sure the enemy isn't "us.''
Listen to Dirk:
"We haven't played well, lost some games, had some injuries … so (the frustration is) all piling up a little bit,'' said Nowitzki. "Maybe this was the game we needed to kind of get some stuff out and re-focus, play with each other and fight with each other."
I assume when Dirk says "fight with each other'' he means, "fight alongside each other.''