DONUT 1: "We Believe,'' says Mavs owner Mark Cuban -- about the only words he's uttered to the media in two weeks -- and isn't that as resonant a theme as there is for these Dallas Mavericks?
After all ... beyond the guys in that locker room, who believed that this club, given its postseason history of near-achievement, would beat LA? Would sweep the Lakers in four? Would end it all in front of 21,000 blue-clad Reunion Rowdies by an outraqeous score of 122-86?
DONUT 2: With your permission, I will beat this drum until Dallas beats the Thunder or the Grizzlies, until Dallas beats the Hawks or the Bulls or the Celtics or the Heat.
Let the other team do the whining.
This is a new lesson learned around here, a grad-school project earning an A+ for Mark Cuban and his people.
Add up the player ejections in Dallas games this postseason. Add up the foolish behavior. Add up the stupid quotes. Add up the NBA fines.
Add up the perps: Phil Jackson and Nate McMillan. Ron Artest and Matt Barnes and Lamar Kardashian and The Cowardly Bynum. Nic Batum and Brandon Roy and Chris Johnson.
Once upon a time, Dirk admitted that he's urged Mark Cuban to settle down just a bit over in that corner of the court of his. I've always supported Cuban's passion and his cause, but clearly the NBA higher-ups didn't share my bias.
And suddenly, the option to pick a side regarding Tony Cubes' behavior (and whatever trickle-down effect it has on his players) has been removed.
Phil JackZen's last important act in the NBA goes down as him getting fined $35,000 for griping about the bullying Mavs(!) Cause-and-effect: Increasingly, thoughts that Dallas is a collection of whiners fade.
Add up the perps. Add up the violations. Add up the whines. The score so far this postseason, Mavs "0,'' Opponents "a lot.''
Maybe not coincidentally, Mavs "2 series won,'' Opponents "0.''
DONUT 3: "So-and-so got outcoached'' is awfully trite. But in the case of Mavs-Lakers, I am left wondering whether Rick Carlisle's button-pushing was answered stubbornly by Phil JackZen, who never found a way to get Kobe to the rim, never found a defender who could bother (or even come outside) on Dirk, never got Pau Gasol's tail from 'tween his legs, never took advantage of the Bynum edge over Big Wood that should've been, and worst of all, never found a way to speed his defensive rotation to close on wide-open perimeter marksmen.
Adjustments? The only adjustments the Lakers made involved JJ Barea. They tried to adjust his nose, his back, his chin, his neck ...
DONUT 4: John Trollinger, turning his attention to something he knows about (simple calculations, as opposed to their applications) notes that in Phil Jackson's final 17 games, his record was 6-11.
It's a 20-year coaching career and 11 championships and it's not going to be ruined by one awful series and a handful of violent knuckleheads.
Let the record show that Dallas' destruction of the dynasty was so complete that Phil Jackson completely lost control of his knuckleheads. And that late in the game, it was Derek Fisher who ran the timeout huddle, JackZen choosing to remain aboard his highchair, separating himself from the fray.
There was, Phil said, "A lot of strain on a basketball club from all angles — personalities, spiritually, emotionally. It was a challenge bigger than we could beat."
And the Mavs -- for so many years taunted and teased by LA's domination of them -- get the credit for BEING the challenge bigger than they could beat.
As Ron Artest notes: "The Lakers fans have had their hearts broke. And all those people who aren't Lakers fans are now laughing at the Lakers fans."
DONUT 5: Go Mavs ... and Go Premium!
What do you get for about a dime-a-day? Here, take a sneak peek or three:
What do our All-Access Practice Sessions look like? They look like this one, in which DB.com gets exclusive footage of Roddy B practicing and exclusive (and hilarious) footage of DeShawn Stevenson betting his team that he will impress them with his vertical leap ability.
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DONUT 6: We'll turn our full attention to the Mavs as the day and week goes on (coming up: "Matrix at the Movies'' reviews "Limitless.'') But as a public service to the NBA, we thought we'd point out that Andrew Bynum's dangerous assault on JJ Barea is not a first offense.
Here's The Cowardly Bynum taking on a defenseless JJB:
Earlier this year, The Cowardly Bynum uses the same elbow/forearm to take on a defenseless Michael Beasley:
And before that, The Cowardly Bynum does it to Gerald Wallace, causing serious injury:
Nice work by 'lokeykyl' and the gang on DB.com Boards!
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!
Get on the DB com Boards! And get outfitted, too, and get a DB.com Mavs t-shirt like "THE UBERMAN!'' (Often imitated, never duplicated!)
What I'm saying is ... Get the whole Mavs DB.com experience!
DONUT 7: Did you see Dirk after Lamar Kardashian assaulted him? He walked away to gain control of himself. Did you see Dirk after The Cowardly Bynum's assassination attempt on JJB? Dirk walked into the fray and uttered some VERY profane words in Germanglish.
Matt Barnes'"blueprint'' is typed out on Charmin. The Mavs possess a retaliatory style that centers on beating you by 30-plus.
But Nowitzki didn't back down. He stepped up. Indeed, he asserted himself in a metaphorical way when he "goaltended'' a non-shot, the play that triggered Kardashian's tantrum. In the fourth quarter, Odom was at the free-throw line. Before the ref allowed him permission to shoot a second try, Odom decided to sneak in a practice FT.
You can't do that. The officials were powerless to stop it, though (short of giving Kardashian a delay warning). So Nowitzki stopped it by angrily elevating to swat away the practice shot before it got to the rim.
"Not in my house'' was The UberMan's message ... spoken in Germanglish, of course.
DONUT 8: Will Phil really retire?
"I don't know how long you can go to Montana and meditate or smoke peyote or whatever it is he does,'' Dallas coach Rick Carlisle says, funnin' his old colleague. "I don't know. He's going to get bored. I mean that in an endearing way.''
DONUT 9: This is a bonding time for Mavs fans and a great place to do that ... Mavs Social Media!
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? Click that rectangle!
DONUT 10: I don't think the "We Believers'' need an apology from those of us who picked LA in this series; unlike with Portland, there were logical X-and-O reasons, and even some psychological reasons, to do so.
Those didn't exist in the Portland series. They existed here.
But folks who made media hay by touting this team as the "Same Ol' Mavs'' because they actually lost a playoff game or two this postseason -- overall record, yeah, the two losses to go with the six wins -- might want to cough up a mea culpa.
The similarities between this team and the one that dropped an egg in 2007? Heck, not even Dirk counts as a similarity now that he's overcome the bugaboo regarding a smaller defender who gets up in his grill and bugs him.
No, this Rick Carlisle team isn't that team -- at least not until Avery shows up and insists that Devean George be inserted into the starting lineup to replace the first-team center.
DONUT 11: The Mavericks really never gave Kobe much of a chance to go into hero-mode.
Meanwhile, over the course of the series, Dallas gave almost everybody on its roster that sort of opportunity.
Sunday's top candidate? Jason Terry, of course, who tied the playoff record for 3-pointers made in a playoff game by hitting 9-of-10 attempts. Terry's nine 3-pointers are four more than the entire Lakers team converted. Peja and Terry combined to drain 15-of-16 3-pointers in Game 4. Los Angeles made 15-of-76 (19.7 percent) for the entire series.
Jason finished with 32 points (the first time he's topped the 30-point mark in a playoff game since Game 5 of the Finals in 2006) on an incredibly efficient 11-of-14 attempts overall, including that 9-of-10 behind the arc.
"Breathtaking,'' Carlisle said of Jet.
In the last two games, Terry has averaged 27.5 points by hitting 75 percent of his shots … and notably upping that percentage to 78.6 from 3-point land.
Jet is on the record as saying he's inspired in this postseason to earn the right to finish his career as a Mav. Donnie Nelson has responded the only way possible by saying, "Yeah, sure, Jet for Life!'' (He didn't really say that. I'm paraphrasing.)
But these are issues for another day. Will Jet do this again next series? And next year? Same with Tyson Chandler's impending freedom ... what should his contract be next season? Will there even be a next season?
This is exactly the wrong time for management to truly concern itself with these matters. Jet's compensation at this moment, TY's compensation at this moment, is that they are allowed to celebrate hero-mode.
If the other West series, OKC-vs.-Grizz, goes seven, we're probably looking at a WCF that doesn't begin until May 17. (No matter what, the WCF won't start until Sunday at the earliest.)
"I think it's huge because we've got some older guys that can use some rest and get our bodies right,'' Tyson Chandler says.
"The challenge now,'' says coach Rick Carlisle, "is we've got to manage this period of time; I don't see a problem with that."
Who among us sees a problem? After all ... "We Believe.''