All-Access: 23,000 Angles On Mavs-Bucks
FOREWARD: Ringing in the ears of some coming into the night were the words of Stephen Jackson, who opened this season by announcing that the Dallas Mavericks "suck." By the end of the night? Dallas fans couldn't help but thank Jackson for having more turnovers than made field goals and doing his part to make sure the Mavs would be well rested for the second night of their back-to-back as Dallas thrashed the Bucks 102-76 Friday night ... their largest margin of victory this season and a five-game home winning streak.
No starter played more than Delonte West's 22:19 minutes as even Dirk Dirk Nowitzki was allowed some well-earned rest.
SEX APPEAL: Does this Mavs roster have it? You be the judge:
REVVING UP AGAIN: "I was trying to give our team a little life at the start," Carter said. "You have to hit first because we've seen teams hit us first and it's effective."
And give "life" is just what he did as he burst from the gate, putting the Bucks instantly on their heals with a pair of vintage dunks and an impressive 11 first-quarter points. By the half Carter had matched his season high in scoring with 14 points on only seven shot attempts.
His scoring would not be needed from that point on as the Mavs continued to pull away, leaving little concern over the fact he finished with only two second-half points ... but still set a new season high with 16 total.
Can most of us now admit Carter have contributed far more to this team than almost anyone expected? He's been a hustle guy. He's been a creator. He's shouldered the offense for brief stints when needed.
Once Kidd returns to health he may no longer be a starter, but he's quickly entrenched himself within the core of this season's roster ... and we're kind of fond of the whole two-handed throttle revving celebration. It fits in nicely beside the Jet. Although, is it slightly ironic that the once high-flying Carter mimics a ground vehicle, while the deadly shooting Terry turns to one that scrapes the sky?
No? Not really? Dumb observation ... probably ... but you can give us this one.
By the way: Notice how Vince uses the phrase "hit first''? Where's he get that? Straight from Carlisle, of course, yet another sign of a vet buying into the program.
ONE-ON-ONE WITH DELONTE Before Delonte has some fairly interesting things to say on-camera, DB.com visited with him one-on-one.
First, the gold from our visit.
We asked him about the chance of Kidd returning for Saturday.
"Prayerfully,'' Delonte said, meaning "hopefully.'' "And when he does, whatever I am is fine by me. When I first came up in the league, I had Doc Rivers and Gary Payton in my ear telling me how to play defense. Now I get to learn from the very best how to do it on offense, with Kidd. I grew up wanting to be him. So I'm on this team and I don't care if I'm a 1 or a 2 or No. 6 or No. 12. I'm playing for the World Champions!''
Now, Delonte with the media at-large:
THE NUMBERS GAME: Get out the calculator:
*Dirk finished with 11 points, placing him at 23,008, third among active players behind Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett.
*Vince Carter scored 11 of his 16 in the first six-and-a-half minutes of the game.
*Dallas has held its last nine foes to 86.7 points per game.
*The Bucks have now lost seven consecutive road games.
*Dallas held the Bucks to 31 second-half points - the lowest total they've held an opponent to any half this season. Previous low was 38.
THE TEACHER AND THE STUDENT: Prior to the game, we had the luxury of witnessing Darrell Armstrong, a coach, working with Roddy Beaubois. Right there with them, doling out wisdom the young Roddy B has no choice but to respect, to hear ... Jason Kidd.
Roddy took passes, made cuts, sank shot after shot and then moved to the free-throw line. Every step of the way, there was Kidd pointing, talking, diagramming in the air ... teaching.
Along with the lessons being dispensed through a pair of teachers came the undeniable reminder, a reality we've all seen on display within the game: Roddy remains a student. He continues to feel his way forward, to adapt to how he can unleash his immense talents within a game he has yet to master.
Then the game arrived ... and Roddy put on his best performance of the young season.
There were the mistakes, a bad pass, a couple of poor defensive possessions, but in its entirety, this was the best we've seen from Beaubois this year.
"I just need to play basketball," Roddy said, "and use everything I know, my mind and obviously I need to use my speed and my athletic abilities. I just need to keep pushing myself"
Regardless of how you feel about him, of how much he may have frustrated you, it's impossible to deny some of the raw skills. His speed reaches levels otherwise unknown on this roster. His quickness and leaping ability are elite. And, he has the ability to ride incredible hot streaks with his shooting (though this also breeds the confidence to take bad shots, or go cold and shoot his team out of a game).
Against the Bucks, all of this was on display. The mistakes were minimal, though present, and the tools all made an appearance.
Before the game, he had Armstrong and Kidd in his ear. As he headed to the bench late in the contest, he got his hand and then butt slapped by Carlisle ... a not-so-subtle appreciation for what he'd put on the court. Rodrigue Beaubois had 15 points and six rebounds and seemed to be lapping the field on the break.
Beaubois was once called "the future'' by the Bucks' Jennings -- and Friday against Jennings, he demonstrated why people believe such a thing. And yeah, we still hold out hope.
HELLO, I LOVE YOU, WON'T YOU TELL ME YOUR NAME: It was his first home appearance since joining the Mavs and the crowd was already in love. He entered for the first time with 6:21 in the fourth quarter, the game long decided. The crowd teetering on blissful indifference ... their bellies full with the victory sure to come.
With 4:27 to play Yi Jianlian put up his first shot attempt as a Dallas Maverick. On the left baseline, from 16 feet away he rose over his defender and swished it. This may sound odd to some, but it easily matched the loudest the crowd had been all night.
From that point on, anytime he touched the ball on offense the crowd united in a "Yiiiiiiiiiiiiii" (sounds like "EEEEEEEEE") chant.
Yi finished with three points and a steal ... and an arena full of fans already smitten with his presence.
Our one-on-one visit with Yi:
"It was fun,'' said Yi. "It is fun to play for a champion.''
A FEW ACCOMPLISHMENTS, ONE WITH HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: With a free throw Dirk becomes the 23rd player to total 23,000 points, to be ranked ... 23rd in all-time scoring. It happened with 7:17 left in the second quarter as he sank the 5,732nd free throw of his career before calmly draining one more to put Mavs up 42-32.
With 32 points the Mavs set a new season high for the first quarter ... With 60 points they set a new high for any half this season ... and Dirk only had four points at the time, having taken only two shots.
In the second half, Dallas held the Bucks to 31 points, the lowest they've held any opponent to in any half this year.
And Dirk was able to keep it on cruise-control all night.
"All the milestones are gonna be great when I look back on my career in 10 or 15 years,'' Dirk said. "Now, I'm trying to keep going and trying to help this team and franchise win as many games as I can."
MAVSELLANEOUS: The only Mavs starter to have less points than Jackson ... Brendan Haywood with two in 15 minutes ... Dallas came into the night by holding opponents to a league-best low of 8.5 second-chance-points per game. Milwaukee surpassed this average with nine in the first half, but could follow that up with only two after the intermission, including zero in the fourth quarter ... Jason Terry had 17 points including a trio of 3's ... This was the first time since 12/1/10 (against the Timberwolves) that Marion hit two 3-pointers in the same game. You have to go back to 2/21/08 for the time before that. Meaning: this was only the second time in about four years that Marion has hit at least two 3-pointers in a single game. ... Carlisle invented a new phrase to describe Dirk: "Staggeringly awesome.''
ONE-ON-ONE WITH DONNIE ON YI AND ODOM AND DELONTE: Donnie helps us learn languages, learn Yi and learn Odom and learn Delonte:
DALLAS SUCKS TO ME': You know, it's such a stupid statement ...
But it's how Jackson involved himself at all in this game, by flapping his gums a few weeks ago and then by doing it again during the game, his empty taunts directed at Dirk.
Jackson's Mavs-related calling card is his participation with Golden State in the 2007 playoffs, when his eighth-seeded Warriors upset the No. 1-seeded Mavericks. To hear Jackson talk about who "sucks,'' you'd think he had a thick resume of success against Dallas.
In fact, Friday in Dallas marked the 24th time the outspoken Jackson has opposed the Mavs, and with his Bucks' 102-76 loss, his personal record against the Mavericks is 8-16.
Which … well … sucks.
Still, he talks.
"(Jackson) is a competitor and he lets you know about it,'' said Dirk. "Yeah, we had a little conversation (during the game), but he was talking to everybody out there. … We were talking about (championship) rings, talking about all sorts of stuff, life in general.''
But in this game? Jackson was innocuous, with seven points (including 1-of-5 from the arc), five rebounds and five turnovers. The Mavs don't "hate'' Jackson and really, there are numbers that suggest they might like to see him coming.
While Jackson's involvement in that 2007 playoff upset is his career peak, it seems to also be a career aberration. He hasn't been on a team that's beaten Dallas since March 13, 2009, when he was still with the Warriors. That was four years ago and three teams ago and his record against the Mavs since that time is now … 0-6.
QUOTABLE: From Rick Carlisle:
"The thing I thought we did best was respect the opponent. We approached the game with tenacity because playing back-to-back is an opportunity. You've got a chance to play two in two nights with two potential wins. The better we can do and keep the minutes down gives us a better chance (to win again the next night)."
THE FINAL WORD: Dallas won every quarter by at least five points, and though Milwaukee swung back a few times, the Mavs stood strong and never allowed this to become a contest against a team that has yet to win a game on the road this season (now 0-7). This is what they are supposed to do, and because of this some may slight them their due. But, doing what you're supposed to do is a huge part of a successful season and often a direct route for good teams to find their road winding into the playoffs.
So, we won't lessen their accomplishment for simply doing what they are supposed to do ... though we have noticed that for a team deemed dead after the first two games of the season, the Mavs are now 7-2 in their last nine, even as one of their team leaders sits on the bench.
It's a long season, and if the Mavs continue to do what they're "supposed" to do as defending champions, it will get even longer. ... in a good way.
As The UberMan said, "When we establish ourselves defensively and get even better, I think the sky is the limit."
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