Coop, Followill & Fish Dish On Mavs Schedule
PRE-DONUT: Here at DallasBasketball.com, it's a tradition to get a game-by-game evaluation of the Dallas Mavericks schedule from experts like Mark Followill and Chuck Cooperstein. This morning, we'll let Kevin Brolan help lead the orchestra ...
DONUT 1: The Mavericks are looking at 30 nationally televised games this year (10 games on TNT, 7 on NBA TV, 10 on ESPN, and 3 on ABC).
Notes Coop: "After seven TNT games last year (including a late add when the Knicks came aboard following the Carmelo Anthony trade), the Mavericks will have the maximum 10 appearances this year. Normally, a TNT game means no local TV, but TNT can only do that seven times, so you'll still get Mark Followill and company for at least three of those games (which ones still to be determined).
DONUT 2: Opening Night! 7 p.m. on 11/1/11 - Chicago Bulls at Mavs - Led by the youngest MVP the league has ever seen in 22-year old Derrick Rose, the Bulls had the best record in the league last year before bowing out to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals and will obviously be a formidable first test for Dallas. But opening night will be all about the Mavs raising their banner and getting their championship rings. The defending champs (that feels pretty good to say) will enjoy one last celebration of the season that was in front of what will certainly be the rowdiest opening-night crowd in Mavs history. They better focus in on the task at hand after the ceremony and celebration, though, because Chicago will be looking for redemption all year long after their dream season ended with a thud last summer.
From Coop: The NBA schedule release is a nice respite from the bad news of the last few weeks, and even for a short time gives us summer time hope that we will witness a banner raising on Opening Night, November 1 with the Chicago Bulls and Derrick Rose providing the opposition in the American Airlines Center. Now, here's hoping that if the game is played, that the Mavericks perform a little better than when the Bulls last provided the opposition for a banner-raising opponent. Or do you not remember Chicago's 108-66 win in Miami in October of 2006?
DONUT 3: By the way: As Followill notes, "The Mavs will raise a banner and give out the rings or whatever.'' And around here, we also give out swag: DB.com Summer Swag!
In the last two weeks we've reached into the DallasBasketball.com Prize Closet and handed out a $25 Golfsmith giftcard and a signed Dirk Nowitzki trading card. (Congrats, Hai! Congrats, Joel!)
This week's DB.com prize: 'The UberMan' t-shirt from the DB.com Store! All you've got to do to be entered is be a Premium Subscriber and send us an email (with your shirt size) at fish@DallasBasketball.com. Misty Mav will draw a winner's name on Friday. ... Good luck!
DONUT 4: 7:30 p.m. on 11/4/11- Mavs @ San Antonio Spurs - The first of four yearly meeting with the Spurs always seems to spark the first real emotion of the year and mark the true beginning of the season, but this one will be a tad different. There's a new twist in the rivalry that has always seemed to feature one team with a ring versus another team without one, as the Mavs will be the defending champions this time. The Spurs won't be impressed and the Mavs will be chomping at the bit to assert domination.
Long story short, tune in for the always classic hate-fest.
Long story with more detail, from Coop: It's a bit of a surprise (at least to me) that the NBA doesn't think very much of the Mavs rivalry with the Spurs, even through they have been the two most consistently successful teams the last decade. None of the games with San Antonio are slated for national TV, and three of them are in the normal NBA scheduling windows of Friday and Sundays (from January to the end of the season).
Another Coop note, about Blue Mondays: "In a perfect world, all teams would prefer playing on weekends at home. Of course, that's an impossibility, but if you have to play during the week, the one night you, as a franchise would rather not play is Monday. and yet, the Mavericks will play seven of their 41 home games on Monday night, including a November 28 playoff rematch with Portland, a December 12 game with Denver, and a President's Night game on February 20 vs Boston.''
DONUT 5: 6 p.m. on 11/5/11- OKC Thunder at Mavs - The Mavericks finish off a relatively difficult three-game stretch to start the year with the increasingly threatening Oklahoma City Thunder. Though early in the year, the Thunder get to test their path of consistent improvement against the champs. A couple elements to watch for with the OKC young guns are the progress of their stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, and the assimilation of a healthy (and handsome!) Kendrick Perkins into their system. After last year's high-stakes playoff series, the OKC-Dallas meetings are headed for a nice rivalry, assuming the Thunder stay the course.
DONUT 6: 8:30 p.n. on 12/15/11- LA Lakers at Mavs - The Lakers return to the scene of their "Death by Air" demise during Game 4 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals, when the Mavs finished them off in one of the most decisive closeout games in NBA playoff history. Mike Brown replaces Phil Jackson on the bench and there's no doubt Kobe Bryant will want to cause some damage so he can do the Kobe face. Things to watch: a) Can Lamar Odom not get ejected? b) Can Andrew Bynum keep his clothes on? c) Will Pau Gasol leave his destroyed-by-Dirk confidence in LA?
DONUT 7: 1:30 p.m. on Christmas Day- Miami Heat at Mavs - Winning an NBA championship comes with certain things: Heaping praise, banners, rings, raises, parties … and holiday games. The Mavs flew under the radar on the Christmas schedule in recent years, but those days are long gone. Even though there's not much drama in the regular season rivalry between these teams since the Mavs haven't lost to the Heat since 2004, this year the Heat will be in town seeking some holiday revenge on the team that wrestled away the 2011 championship and humiliated them in the process.
Says K-Bro: "Word around town is that the whole DB.com crew will be there and Fish Claus will be dressed in a full Santa costume. ... probably more than a few glasses deep into the eggnog.
Says Coop: "A championship certainly brings about more attention. For the past two seasons, the Mavericks have not had a single regular-season appearance on ABC. This season they'll have three including a first ever Christmas Day game at home vs Miami. It's the first Christmas Day game for the Mavericks anywhere since a 111-103 win at Sacramento in 2003.''
DONUT 8: 8:30 p.m. on 12/29/11- Mavs @ OKC Thunder - Flawed logic or not, many Thunder fans don't necessarily feel the right team won the Western Conference Finals and their team gets a chance to strengthen that argument at home on national television. Emotions will be high since the Mavs gave a crushing knockout punch to OKC with a historic 15-point comeback in under five minutes the last time these two met in the building. We may have to arrange for K-Bro to make the trip for this one to reunite with his Twitter bestie, Westy.
DONUT 9: Want MORE Mavs? Sign on up! It's about a dime-a-day for the very best in Mavs coverage from DB.com. And yes, we keep it rolling all summer long ... You won't get 'em covered like you get 'em covered here! Go Mavs and Go Premium!
DONUT 10: 8 p.m. on 1/7/12 - Minnesota Timberwolves at Mavs - Remember this date if Don Nelson somehow becomes head coach for the T-Wolves. If not, then we've already forgotten that we wrote this.
More likely to matter: A week later ... 9:30 p.m. on 1/16/12 - Mavs @ LA Lakers - Lakers fans booed their team and legendary coach off the floor after Game 2 of the Western Semis against the Mavericks, thinking they would see them again even though they headed to Dallas down 0-2 in the series.
Now they get their first in-person glance at how their new-look Lakers stand up against the defending champions. Again, we'd like to point out that Lakers fans booed Phil Jackson out of the gym after coaching his last-ever home game.
Basketball Fan IQ (BBFIQ) at its finest.
A Coop note about this trip: In January, the Mavericks will have three-and-a-half days in LA as part of a four-game-road trip. The last two years, the Mavericks have had a back-to-back with the Lakers and Clippers. This year, there's a b2b, but there's a day off between the games, so that will be a nice break from the travel.
DONUT 11: 12 noon on 2/19/12 - Mavs @ New York Knicks - New York is the Mecca of basketball. Madison Square Garden is the most historic arena in sports. Nothing beats playing the Knicks in New York. The Knicks are such a legendary franchise. Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire are true winners in this league.
These are all things we're supposed to say, right?
Something else interesting about February and the Super Bowl, from Coop:
On February 4 the Mavs play in Cleveland. Their next game isn't until the 7th in Indiana. Normally, the Mavericks would head to Indianapolis right after their Cleveland game, but there's the matter of a little football game being played in Indianapolis the next day. That's right, the Mavs are hung up in the midst of Super Bowl madness. Their doesn't figure to be a hotel room available until at least Tuesday, so will they watch the Super Bowl in Cleveland, or maybe even travel home and then travel back to Indiana on Monday?
DONUT 12: 6 p.m. on 3/23/12 - Mavs @ Charlotte Bobcats - Just kidding.
Really ... 7 p.m. on 3/29/12 Mavs @ Miami Heat - In the second regular season rematch of the 2011 Finals, we can guarantee you that it will be "White Button-Down Shirt Night" in Miami. The regular season will be winding down at this point and teams will be looking for the always unimportant "statement" game. LeBron will probably thrive in it, since it's still regular season.
(Come on, we had to take one shot. Not the classy Coop or Followill. "We'' meaning K-Bro and Fish.)
DONUT 13: West Coastin. ... 9:30 p.m. on 4/13/12 - Mavs @ Portland Trailblazers - You know how every year the Mavs would lose in the playoffs, you'd circle the date that the team who knocked them out came to town? That happens TO the Mavs against four teams this year and you can fully expect the Rose Garden to be a madhouse. They may not say it publicly (or they might), but you can bet the Mavs are happy about only making one regular season trip to the Great Northwest this year.
And ... 2:30 p.m. on 4/15/12 - Mavs @ LA Lakers - In the third-to-last game of the year for the Mavs, they head back to LA for one more regular-season meeting. As of now, there's every reason to expect both teams to be fighting for a high playoff seed, so tension will be high as always. Let's not forget, it was a late-season meeting against the Lakers last year that forced the Mavs to draw a line in the sand and decide where they wanted the season to go.
The Mavs lost that game by 28 and got into a few fights … but dramatic none the less.
One more West Coast note, from Coop: "Might there be bus travel in the Mavs future? The Mavericks are in Oakland on March 10 and then in Sacramento 85 miles away the next night.''
And there you have it. For Followill's full breakdown, go here ... For the actual schedule and the DB.com Boards discussion, go here. ... And for the start of the Mavs' regular season, we're hoping to go to the AAC on Nov. 1, as presently scheduled.
Or, as Coop says it best:
"As that noted philosopher Dick Motta was always fond of saying, 41 at home 41 on the road. We can only hope that this year Motta is correct on that count.''
Follow these boys on Twitter: Fish, K-Bro, Coop and Followill!