Composure and Charmin: Before we get to Monday's 9:30 p.m. at LA tip to begin Mavs-Lakers in Round 2, you will remember the last time Dallas played at LA. Jet shoved Steve Blake. A melee or two ensued. Weird people came out of the audience and make their near-court presence felt. Jet then went on a radio show to name-call Matt Barnes, insisting that Barnes' locker-room moniker is "The Charminator.''
Oh, and in a game that was to determine which team would be the No. 2 seed in the West, Dallas lost by 28.
Any lessons learned there, fellas?
"You can't go crazy,'' Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said.
"We've got to keep our composure, especially at their place,'' Dirk said during his Saturday meeting with the media at the AAC.
Barnes has noted that the way to beat Dallas is to "punk 'em,'' a gameplan he claims to have helped develop as a member of the 2007 Warriors.
But Portland tried to accomplish that same thing last series. The Mavs responded to "punking'' attempts by going on scoring runs and by playing legal, physical shut-down defense.
"We've got to stick together,'' Dirk said. "We can't lose our composure like we did the last (time in LA) in the regular season." Beaubois vs. Brewer? There is only so much room on the roster. Roddy B has a chance to be active. Corey Brewer has a chance to be active.
Both of them worked on Saturday as if they want the job.
Corey, you're up first:
(Monte Mathis, you got handles!)
"It'll be between (Roddy B) and Brewer as to who's active, most likely,'' said coach Rick Carlisle after a Brewer session that included ball-handing work and wind sprints in tandem with Dirk Nowitzki.
By the way, you see this alot with the newcomers: Find The UberMan. Pick his brain. Copy his basketball lifeplan.
What might Roddy B's role be?
"If he plays,'' Rick said, "it'll be a situational thing, most likely, to start with. And then we'll kind of go from there. But the important thing is he got 20-some
starts under his belt. That was a positive thing. The injury set him back a little bit. But he's getting healthier now ...''
Yes. It looks like it. Check out the DB.com video:
You see special assistant Tim Grugrich spending extra time, giving detailed instruction, drilling the kid who just started playing the game in his late-teens.
He may not be ready for the Lakers. But it won't be because of his foot. And it won't be for a lack of effort, on his part and the staff's part.
Where's J-Kidd?: "J-Kidd's trying to sneak away!" Dirk joked as his point guard buddy slipped out the sidedoor, away from the practice court, almost unnoticed.
Kidd will do his media session on Sunday before the team leaves for LA. Don't worry; we'll corral him.
Mavsellaneous: Do the Mavs have any matchup edges vs. LA, Dirk? "That's a good question,'' he said. "We'll see." ... Dominique Jones had a good enough practice that assistant coach Darrell Armstrong rang the alarm bell to alert all within listening distance. "Hey, when the only guy in the NBA from South Florida does it, we got to announce it,'' said D.A. But DoJo corrected him, and later noted to me that South Florida is also represented by Solomon Jones ... Can Dallas win the battle of the first seat on the bench? Phil JackZen is now 48-0 in series when his team wins the first game. And at the back end? Since, 2008 LA is 12-1 in games in which they can eliminate their opponent. ... Shawn Marion practiced with a bandage over his eye to cover a small gash, remmant of his "I'm-a-warrior'' Game 6 in Portland.
TY at the FT: Tyson Chandler wasn't getting great results at the free-throw line in practice, drawing attention from the team's shot doctor, long-time FT specialist Gary Boren.
What's up, TY?
Lotta stuff going on in there, eh? The TY pushups (penalizing himself for FT misses), of course. But "Jingle Bells!'' and Roddy B in the background and ... hey, it's worth a second look, Premium reader!
Move that front line!: What is this, football?
"We've got to be able to move that front line,'' Dirk said. "That's not a secret," Dirk said. "If you just pound it on the strong side, they're very good, they're very long. Artest at the 3 is very long. Kobe at the 2 is very long and obviously their front line (is). So we've got to be able to move them some."
I'm not sure how you "move them.'' But "penetration,'' I get.
Physical. Aggressive. Coach-speak. Coach Carlisle touched on a few subjects, including the fact that this series is one that may require Dirk to play at a high level on both ends of the court.
"(Dirk and Pau) are highly skilled," Rick said. "They're both All-Stars and both of them are at the top of their game. It's a great matchup."
It's obviously one to watch, but Dirk did get some practice guarding a skilled big man last series in LaMarcus Aldridge. It is a concern since it creates the possibility of Dirk getting into foul trouble, but it's a small one. Dirk has done this before and knows when to pick his spots. (That is, avoids issuing early challenges defensively in order to stay on the floor late.)
Having said all of that: Dallas' bigs don't have the same skins on the wall that LA's group has -- "skins'' being titles.
From Phil JackZen:
"Dallas does have matchup size. "They are big, and Nowitzki is a 7-footer and so is their center, Tyson Chandler. Obviously, Haywood is a 7-footer. So they have size. But these guys (on the Lakers) have proven their dominance by their size. This is the reason why we are champions."
Back to Coach Carlisle:
Here's the LA bigs number that bites Dallas: The Mavs, it seems like, single-handedly turned the kid into a star. Byrum's season average this year of 16.7 points per game against Dallas is his highest average against any NBA team.
The final word: "It's about time." - Dirk on the 11-year planning period for this organization in anticipation of opposing Kobe and the Lakers in the playoffs.
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