DONUT 1: The Dallas Mavericks are ready to roll. First thing you need is the schedule:
The schedule for Blazers-Mavs:
Game 1 - Saturday, April 16th at 8:30 CST
Game 2 - Tuesday April 19th at 8:30 CST
Game 3 - Thursday April 21st at 9:30 CST
Game 4 Saturday April 23rd at 4:00 CST ... The DB.com Mavs Get-Together at ThreeSheets is on! Big prizes, a huge Mavs-lovin' crowd and you … check it out on our ThreeSheets Mavs Party Facebook Page !
Game 5 (if) Monday, April 25th (Time TBD)
Game 6 (if) Thursday, April 28th (Time TBD) and
Game 7 (if) Saturday, April 30 (Time TBD)
The two teams split the season series, 2-2. There is reason to suggest that this is the toughest possible Round 1 matchup for Dallas. ... though I sense that some non-believers would've said the same thing had it been Dallas-Denver in the first round ... and would've conjured up similar concerns had it been New Orleans or Memphis or hell, the Timberwolves. Meanwhile, there has certainly been a level of confidence regarding opposing Dallas -- with a rep now of a one-and-done club -- seeping out of some of those NBA outposts.
Coach Rick Carlisle said, "We know there are doubters,'' adding that he promises the Mavs "are gonna go into this thing guns blazin.''
The pun was accidental.
Said Jason Terry: "A lot of teams want to play us. And they're going to get their shot, one by one."
DONUT 2: The final score of the final game (Mavs 121, Hornets 89) doesn't detail all that happened Wednesday at the AAC. (We do that in Your All-Access Pass.) But the second-half numbers detail enough:
The 28 points New Orleans scored is the fewest the Mavs have given up in a half all season.
Pair that with the 63 Dallas scored ... the fact that the Hornets are a No. 7 seed ... and a strong overall close to a 57-win season ... and you have about as solid a step-up to the postseason as you could ask for.
Let's let Dirk wrap up the night:
DONUT 3: Aw, there could've been one more thing: Dallas was dismantling New Orleans in such a way that the Mavs would've forever been inside N.O.'s head -- "forever,'' at least, lasting through a Round 1 match between the teams. (Admittedly, Chris Paul didn't agree with that in a first half in which he was rather mouthy ... though the physical play of Dallas in the second half both shut him up and shut him down as he managed just seven crummy points.)
So the night wasn't perfect. But it was fun. And the Portland matchup is far from easy. But it'll be fun, too.
DONUT 4: JJB's late-game minutes, ‘Trix's second-banana importance and being a weatherman thoughts on the Mavs from Mark Followill, right here. The Mavs' play-by-play voice will be a staple of DB.com's playoff coverage and we're proud to have him aboard on The 75-Member Staff!
By the way, we're also working on a top-secret radio'y/podcast'y project feauring Ro Blackman, Mike Bacsik, Mark Followill and a cast of 75 that we hope to unveil in a bit ... hang with us while we tinker ...
And more heads-ups: We'll cover Rick Carlisle's afternoon presser today ... We'll review in depth this year's four Dallas-Portland games to see if there is something to learn from history ... We'll have ton of one-on-one Video Visits with Mavs players ... All the links, notes, quotes, stats, analysis ... one-stop Mavs shopping, as has been the case for 11 years, at DB.com!
Geez, I almost forgot something: Shawn Marion is working with us on a project, too, that will "drop'' (as they kids apparently say) later today. Hang with us! Oh, and go get yourself a Mavs DB.com t-shirt in the DB.com Store!
DONUT 5: Want inside last night's postgame locker room? Want to be in attendance at today's practice? Want every practice and every playoff moment and every piece of important info and analysis, with one-on-one Video Visits with the Mavs players … offered by the 75-Member Staff and it's decade-long coverage of the Mavs? If you want it all, you want Mavs Premium!
What do you get for about a dime-a-day? Here, take a sneak peek or three ...
Take my 7-day free trial ... Go Mavs and Go Premium!
DONUT 6: Speaking of Beaubois: The Roddy B thing kind of fell apart last night.
He didn't start, for the first time in 25 outings. He hurt his foot. Afterwards, Rick hinted that DeShawn might be supplanting him with the first team. And then, in the locker room, veteran Mavs like Dirk and TY issued strong endorsements of DeShawn
I know for a fact there are some in the organization that the development of Roddy B is directly tied to the development of the Mavs as a postseason winner. But at this moment, that development is a boulder being pushed uphill ... on what might be a bad foot.
DONUT 7: I want to share with you a portion of the Premium one-on-one visit I had with Rick last night, in part to demonstrate that he is a different cat when the cameras aren't rolling. The issue: Carlisle's plans for the evening following the win ...
Fish: "So really, what's your usual M.O. here? Put your feet on the desk and watch the Lakers? Get the staff together and start film study? Go home and hug your wife?''
Rick: "Well, my wife's here (at the arena). So I don't have to go home to do that.''
Fish: "So, go watch the game with the staff and have your wife spend a romantic evening watching it with y'all?''
Rick: "Yeah, that's one idea. No, I think we're going to order in some dinner, watch a little basketball and get to work. But you know what we've got there? Options. We've got options.''
Rick's guarded his privacy here (from his personal life to his planned starting lineups) with such a cool intensity that it's painted a picture of him that is belied when you get to visit with him in a more intimate setting, or when you hear from players how much they enjoy working with him individually in a teacher-pupil setup, or when you watch him play with his little daughter.
I understand why DFW talk-show hosts who don't know him even a little bit like to put that 'P' in front of his first name. But I'm telling you, the people who know him ... they get it. And don't take my word for it; this "Be Ready'' policy would drive a lot of teams nuts. This team accepts it, I think, because they accept Rick. The real Rick.
Or heck, maybe I'm just an ol' softie for guys who win 55 or 57 games every year.
DONUT 8: The NBA's tv campaign for the playoffs? A talking ball ...
Hey, I'm a sucker for Dangerfield. Bad imitations of Dangerfield, less so.
DONUT 9: From The Oregonian, reaction from the 48-win Blazers regarding the 57-win Mavericks: "A good matchup for us,' forward Nicolas Batum said.
Dallas native LaMarcus Aldridge is smarter about it.
"Not happy,' Aldridge said. 'It's not like, ‘Oh thank you, we've got Dallas!' They are really, really good. It's going to be a tough task.' "
Wise, Dallas native!
DONUT 10: Hey, if you want to stay in touch with the Mavs at every moment ...
Follow me on Twitter at FishSports! Oh, and get hooked up with other DB.com staffers like Michael Dugat and Kevin Brolan, too! !
And come give the DB.com Dallas Mavericks Facebook page a like, will ya?
One more thing: There is a whole 'nother world, a whole 'nother level, of Mavs fandom on DB.com Boards . . If you haven't been ... you owe yourself a visit and a membership there.
DONUT 11: Great to see that even with all the experience, education and even multiple languages he speaks, Kobe Bryant still is fluent in the language of Homophobia.
On Wednesday, Kobe released an official statement through the team.
"What I said last night should not be taken literally,'' Bryant announced. "My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone."
Smart move. Apology accepted. $100,000 fine assessed. Now go lose to the Hornets.
DONUT 12: DB.com's Professor Carter says, "Why do birds sing? Because they don't listen to talk radio and don't know that we are all doomed.''