All-Access: Mavs-Kings Video, Notes & Gossip
FOREWARD: As you read this, the game between the Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings on Saturday night is long over, and the Kings are busy continuing not to score on the Mavs. In the time it took to say "welcome back" to Jason Kidd, who had missed the previous four games with a lower back issue, the game was all but over.
The Kings scored 11 points in the first quarter, the least the Mavs had allowed this season in that period, and followed that up by adding only 12 in the second quarter, the least the Mavs had allowed in that quarter. Do you sense a trend developing?
The NBA record for futility in a first half is 19. The Mavs previous best was holding an opponent to 24 in the first half. By holding the Kings to 23 Dallas set a new franchise record, and declared the game over before it had begun.
The NBA highlights package:
HE'S BACK: Jason Kidd returned to action after missing four games and quickly looked like he hadn't missed a beat as the Mavs leapt from the gate to take a 10-2 lead. Delonte West did all that could be asked of him in Kidd's absence, including leading Dallas to a 4-0 record, but it was good to see the team's floor general back in charge at both ends.
Carlisle stated the goal for Kidd's minutes was somewhere in the mid-20's, he would end up a little north of that goal with 29, and looked good. More than that, he looked rested.
Not rusty. Rested.
With the constriction of the schedule, we may come to view Kidd being forced to sit out for a few games as a blessing. Not only did he return looking spry, it gave West, Roddy and company a chance to better assert their positions within the offense.
Kidd finished with five points, making the only two shots he attempted (including his first 2-pointer of the season), six assists, three rebounds and six steals ... yes, six steals ... and a block.
On a side note, thanks to his six steals Kidd is only two away from becoming only the third player in NBA history to total 2,500 in his career. He's also only 16 from passing Michael Jordan for second on the NBA's all-time list.
THE DAILY VINCE CARTER PRAISE SECTION: It's happening so often we may as well give it a name. Prior to the game, Mark Cuban praised the energy Vince was bringing on defense, feeling it was an overlooked facet of his game. By the end of the game, we were all praising what Carter left on the court.
With the return of Kidd, Carter moved back to the bench and didn't miss a step. For the second night in a row he scored his season-high 16 points, needing only eight shots to do so against the Kings. He added six rebounds, an assist and a steal and continued proving to be a major part of this team. Oh, and the dunk:
Gone are the jokes over his ineffectiveness. In their place runs a trail of compliments growing repetitive in their frequency. Oh, and the dunks.
THINGS WE HAVE TO RE-ANNOUNCE: We know YOU are paying attention. But for those lagging behind:
We reported at about 7 p.m. Saturday that the Mavs were planning on sending DoJo down to Frisco. Now that everybody else is starting to report it, must we re-report it, or did you get it the first time?
Same thing with the Ring Ceremony announcement, as the Mavs have chosen Wednesday, January 25 (against Minny) to make the presentation. We reported that on Friday. Must we re-report that, too?
THE JET IS CRUISING THE FRIENDLY SKIES WITH COMPANY: Jason Terry led all scorers with 21 points, needing only 13 shots to get there and is quietly having a companion added to his flights with the second unit.
First, Jet on Jet:
"I'm trying to lead by example because we have a lot of young guys on the bench and I need to play at a high level so they can also come up and play at that level,'' Terry said. "It's all about being consistent every night and again doing your job.
"My job is to bring energy off the bench and put up a lot of shots, and hopefully they'll go in.''
The effect may have been exaggerated by the form of the game against the Kings, but Lamar Odom is quietly beginning to take additional steps forward with his game. It's not to the level we hope for, or believe is possible ... even likely ... but it is baby steps in the right direction.
"The only way I can truly help this team is to move on,'' said Odom.
So by God, do it, man!
Odom led the Mavs in plus/minus with a plus-32. Though that's hardly a reliable stat, particularly in a one-game setting, it at least hints to the fact that the bench is putting additional pressure on the opponent from the moment Terry and Odom step on the court.
Odom finished with nine points, seven rebounds, two assists and a block in only 22 minutes. (And some gorgeously clever passes.)
Stretch that to the minutes he's accustomed to and you're likely staring at a double-double.
Terry has looked as confident as ever from the floor. His field-goal percentage may seem to contradict his confidence, as he entered this game with his second lowest as a Mav (44.1 - though it was up to 45.5 by the end of the game), but this is buried beneath the fact that he is hitting his 3-point tries with career highs in efficiency, burying 45.1-percent of his tries behind the arc, including 2-of-4 against the Kings. Prior to the game, his PER was also up to 18.2, higher than it's been since the 2008-09 season.
Mark Cuban pointed out that per-game averages, along with about every other statistical measure, can be trashed as meaningless during this lockout-shortened season.
"Average numbers this year are meaningless and worthless,'' the owner said bluntly.
But it's still nice to see numbers backing up what we feel we're seeing from Terry.
As a pair, Odom and Terry contributed 30 of the Mavs 68 bench points, compared to only 20 from the entire Kings bench. If Odom and Terry are going to outscore the entire opposing teams bench with regularity ... we predict good things.
P.S.: We've learned to deal with Jet's boastful media visits. It's part of the fun. We suppose we will learn to deal with Lamar's moping media visits, too. Apparently today the World Wide Leader is touting an "exclusive'' regarding Lamar's having considered taking a year off because of the shroud of death that covered him over the summer.
The fact is, this is at least the third time Lamar has spoken "exclusively'' on this story. The first one was published during the summer in the LA Times.
We're starting to think LO is using us for attention … or maybe for free-of-charge therapy.
STRIPPERS!: So one of the gossip-rag websites says Odom, Marion and West spent the evening before The White Visit at a D.C. strip club.
Our reaction: Did Odom, Marion and West do this together, as a team?
THE CELEBRATION OF YI JIANLIAN: The quickness with which Yi has been accepted by the AAC faithful has been something to behold. He'd made exactly one field goal in his Mavericks' career before the first "YEEEEE" chant spread across the arena. He'd not completed his first home game of play before the crowd seemed to swell in anticipation anytime the ball even began to head in his general direction.
Against the Kings, thanks in part to the Mavs early domination, Yi entered the game with7:33 to play in the third. These minutes came at center, as Carlisle had stated most would, and once again the reaction from those in attendance was immediate. There were the chants, and then the explosion when a beautifully orchestrated fast break led to a big two-handed dunk from Yi.
In only 3:16 played in the third quarter, Yi put up four points and three rebounds, including two on the offensive end. It remains extremely early in the process, but not a bad showing.
He checked back into the game with 8:45 to play in the game, and the Mavs up 80-51 and would finish with five points and seven rebounds.
MAVSELLANEOUS: The 23 points allowed in the first half set a new franchise record low. (Sacto's 23 points in that first half is so abysmal that it's lower than the franchise's previous mark of 25, recorded when the Kings were located in Rochester, N.Y. and known as the Royals.) The 60 points allowed for the game set a new franchise record low. The 22 field-goals allowed set a new franchise record low. The Kings converted only 25.6 percent of their shot attempts, setting a new Mavs franchise record low. Yeah, it was that kind of game ... Sacramento hit 25.6 percent of their shots, and it took a "hot" streak of 35-percent shooting in the second half to get it that high ... In the first half, the Kinds made only eight of their 46 shots attempts, good for 17.4 percent ... Roddy Beaubois was once again quietly effective with six points on 3-of-5 shooting, three rebounds, one assist and one steal. ... Dirk Nowitzki scored 14 points in 20 minutes and barely worked up a sweat and we are ecstatic about that. ... Kings get a win in Dallas tonight. If you count DeMarcus Cousins allegedly berating a cameraman in the locker room. ... So, firing Paul Westphal wasn't exactly the cure-all, eh? ... really, when Dallas ran its second unit onto the floor -- Ian, Vince, Odom, Jet and the electric Roddy B -- well, it was superior to any combination Sacto could've ever assembled, even with gifted kids Tyreke Evans (1-of-8 shooting) and DeMarcus Cousins (4-of-12 for 12 points).
THE FINAL WORD: Once more we're caught in the cliche of the Mavs simply doing what they're supposed to do when playing at home against an inferior team. As we stressed Friday night, that isn't something to be overlooked. Doing what you're supposed to when you're a good team means you are playing well, and invites a playoff berth.
Dallas entered their fourth game in five nights, just as the Kings did. Yet, it wasn't the youthful Kings who found their legs fresh beneath them. Instead, thanks in large part to "doing what they're supposed to do" last night, the Mavs appeared fresher and more prepared for the fight.
Over the last ten game Dallas has held opponents to 84.2 points per game and allowed them to convert only 40.2 percent of their field-goal attempts. While doing this their record is 8-2 and it's hard to deny the feeling that things are moving in the right direction.
We're doing better things defensively and we were good defensively in the first half,'' Carlisle said. "(The Kings) had some struggles -- their shot-making wasn't great -- but I thought we had something to do with that. We're placing our major emphasis on energy, defense and rebounding. The guys are responding.''
This team has yet to play to their potential, but as long as they continue to collect the wins as they grow into what they'll become, it's hard to be too upset.
Monday will bring a great challenge as Lamar Odom faces his former team for the first time and the Mavs play their fifth game in seven nights ... but, as Carlisle always likes to preach, it will also present another opportunity.
"We haven't even been close to playing good basketball,'' Cuban said. "Not even close."
Well ... OK. Monday, then, would be a good time to start. To get close.