Afternoon Drive: Why Are Mavs Trash-Talking?

Jason Terry and DeShawn Stevenson are on the wrong side of the NBA Finals so far. But in terms of headline-grabbing remarks made at Monday's Mavs practice, they are suddenly the LeBron-and-Wade of the Interview Podium. Jet is denigrating Miami's defense and D-Steve is poking fun at Miami's theatrics and which team is down 1-2 in the series again?

JET DENIGRATES MIAMI DEFENSE: I'm not sure what NBA Finals tapes Jason Terry has been watching. But Jet, speaking after Monday's team workout at the AAC, doesn't seem to think the Heat has much to do with his struggles.

"Portland, by far, has the best D (that Dallas has faced)," Terry said.


To say such a thing is not only boneheaded and inapproriate; it's also wrong. Terry's individual challenge in the last two games has come from LeBron James, who has turned Jet into a 38-percent shooter in this series and one who was 0-of-4 in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 88-86 Game 3 loss to Miami. Terry was 0-of-3 in the fourth quarter of a Game 1 loss.

"Let's see if he can defend me like that for seven games," said Terry, pinning yet another incendiary quote onto the bulletin board of a team that, led by LeBron, seems quite open to being inspired by such a statement.

The first joke ready to pop in Miami: "What seven games?''

The first issue to be analyzed by Dallas coaches: Is Dirk right when he says Terry must score even with LeBron on him?

A JET THEORY: Is Jet trying to purposely put a chip on his shoulder? Maybe.

But wouldnt be easier to shoot with unencumbered shoulders?

D-STEVE'S TURN: Not to be outdone, Stevenson was asked about giving hard fouls to the and responded with some lines about Miami's "acting'' ability.

"You touch them and they make it so dramatic, you might get a Flagrant-2,'' D-Steve said. "Lots of guys are scared to take that hard foul or do things like that, because they're so magnified, with everything around them."

You'll recall D-Steve looming over Udonis Haslem last night in the first half, making fun of the Heat player for getting away with a rebounding flop.

Now, listen (and watch). I enjoy Stevenson's personality. We've had some good times together discussing Brown Band-Aids and neck piercings. ...

So here's the difference between D-Steve's trash talk and Jet's: Miami will wink knowingly at what Stevenson said. Miami might be inspired by what Jet said.

A SHOOTING EXAMINATION: We're going to do this player-by-player in Tuesday Morning Mavs Donuts, but for now, let's just look at Dallas' shooting as a group:

The Mavericks area 47.5-percent-shooting team that is now in this series shooting 42 percent. The Mavericks are a 100-points-scoring team that is now in this series scoring 88 points. (For the record, Jet, y'all averages five more than that vs. Portland.

While Jet attempts to stir it up, let's let Dirk settle it down.

"Our ability to spread the floor and shoot is a big reason why we made it to the Finals," Nowitzki said. "But ... they're so long and athletic on the perimeter that they're able to swarm me and my post-ups, and when we swing, they're still athletic and quick enough to get to our shooters on the weakside and run them off, or at least contest them. ... You have to give them credit.''

Miami does indeed deserve credit. (Whether Jet gets that or not.) But Dirk thinks there are ways to solve this.

"We just looked at the film,'' he said after practice. "We had some opportunities. And if we get those opportunities, we got to make the most out of it."

AT THE PODIUM: All the fellas do their pressers, including the Miami leaders and Rick and Kidd and Dirk:

Kidd, suggesting that all Dallas turnovers be turnovers thrown into the 12th row. Funny.

QUOTEBOARD: "We just have to find our rhythm. We haven't played a full game of Mavericks basketball." -- Tyson Chandler.

BIG WOOD'S STATUS: Brendan Haywood remains "day-to-day'' with his hip problem. questionable for Game 4 due to hip.

How would "day-to-day'' be if today was the day?

"That's a good question,'' said Big Wood, who participated in some work today and will apparently undergo an MRI as well. "I don't know."

The day is Tuesday. But Big Wood's answer isn't very reassuring.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said Haywood would "probably again be a game-time decision."


MAVSELLANEOUS: Some of the media is getting a bit excited up over the fact that Caron Butler was seen participating in the Monday workout. They can de-excite themselves. Nothing out of the ordinary is going on. ... Miami's quality rises to the top: The Heat haven't lost two in a row since March 8 ...CBS is among those reporting that assistant Dwane Casey is expected to meet with the Warriors after the Finals about their head coaching vacancy. ... Dirk's opinion: "We've got to find a way to get Jet some freedom. And he's gotta make shots." My opinion: If it's LeBron on Jet in the halfcourt, you gotta go someplace else.

THE FINAL WORD: From the geniuses inside the AAC ... and onto the big screen:

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