DONUT 1: DANCING IN THE EYE OF THE STORM: For a brief moment, all (no, "most" … we'll get into LO that ailed the Dallas Mavericks slid away in a 107-98 victory over the outmatched Wizards behind the excellence of Dirk Nowitzki, Roddy Beaubois and Jason Terry.
Dancing in the eye of the storm, the respite of a scheduled two-game calm, Dallas took advantage of the chance to play the Wizards and await the opportunity to do the same Thursday night when the owner's of the league's worst record, the Charlotte Bobcats, come to town.
DONUT 2: TIME SLOWS DOWN: Dirk has been open in his criticisms of the compacted schedule, whether through sarcasm or direct replies; it's not hard to decipher his feelings on the subject.
While most are quick to dismiss anything that veers too closely to sounding like an excuse, it serves no purpose to ignore the reality that this lockout-born schedule is less than ideal to players with a few years behind them, with regimented approaches, with the blessing to have become accustomed to viewing the regular season as an amping up process for the playoffs … all traits of Dirk, not to mention more than a handful of his teammates.
It doesn't forgive some of the basketball we've seen, and doesn't explain it all away, but to deny it has an impact is voluntarily reading on through prolonged blinks … skipping chunks of words at time.
DONUT 3: A TURN FOR THE UBERMAN: With two days of rest, Dirk was simply Dirk. In only 28 minutes he scored 27 points by hitting 10-of-14 field goals, including 8-of-9 for 20 points in the first half.
The level of difficulty quickly trends up after the Charlotte game, but Dallas also gains the advantage conceived within the disadvantage faced in having played the most games in the Western Conference thus far … they play the least over the duration.
The standings care not for excuses, hardships, or what teams view as "fair" … soon enough we'll learn how this team is viewed through such a prism.
DONUT 4: Stay in touch with Fish and the Mavs on DB.com Boards and on Facebook and at FishSports on Twitter! And follow Michael Dugat on Twitter as well!
DONUT 5: RODDY BEAUBOIS: One simple fact sums up how well Roddy Beaubois played. With 4:38 to play in the third quarter, Roddy replaced Jason Kidd at the point guard position … and Roddy earned the right to Rick Carlisle's trust, allowing Kidd to not reenter the game, sitting the rest of the third and entire fourth quarter.
In return, Roddy was second to only Jason Terry's 11 points in the fourth, and actually led the Mavs in rebounds (4), assists (2) and tied for the lead in free-throw attempts (2) for the period. Oh, and he guided the Mavs in to the nine-point win.
Throughout the night, Beaubois played with an energy almost foreign to the entirety of the roster over the recent past. Mix this level of hustle with his elite athleticism and you get what was shown here: a player capable of creating on offense, finding the elusive easy baskets, making an impact on defense, and earning the right to stay on the court … granting the added benefit of extra rest for Kidd.
Roddy B finished with 19 points (his third highest total of the season), six rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. He filled the boxscore and stretched his presence through every facet of the game.
When he's aggressive, controlled and making strong decisions (other than failing to be aware of the clock when catching a pass in the corner in the final seconds of the third quarter, undertaking a move that time would not permit … though he did make the shot), Beaubois changes this team, giving them an infusion of speed and pure athleticism they otherwise lack.
"From start to finish, you look at offense, defense, decision making, it's one of his best game's he's had," coach Rick Carlisle said. "Really significant because down the stretch I wanted to keep Kidd out if possible. … He did a great job, so there's some real growth there."
Dallas needs to hear more of this from Rick. And to see more of this from Roddy B.
DONUT 6: MAVS DB.COM WATCHING PARTY time for a DB.com Mavs Get-Together: This time featuring the watching of a game at the hated Spurs, a live bad, and DB.com Mavs swag ... all at Red Rock Bar & Grill at Frankfort and Midway in Dallas on Friday, March 23! Come take a look at the fun we'll have!
Show up a little bit early before the 7 p.m. pregame show on Fox Sports Southwest. Know that we've staged these babies at a variety of sites around the Metroplex ... This time it's Red Rock's turn ... And if you are not fully familiar with the way we roll, check out the scene and see if you recognize some faces ...
Our DB.com Get-Togethers generally look something like this:
The screen you will be watching Fish and Ortegel and Harp and Followill and the Mavs on is the biggest TV in Texas ... 200 inches of Mavs glory!
We'll give away Mavs-approved DB.com swag, our host Barry (a devoted Mavs fan himself) at Red Rock Bar & Grill will mix up some specials for DB.com readers, you'll meet some of your real friends and some of your fake internet friends, too, and when the game is done, we've arranged for DFW's No. 1 party band, Randon Axis, to perform into the night!
It's the Mavs DB.com Get-Together! Find Red Rock on Facebook, pop onto the DB.com Mavs Events Page, Save The Date and we'll see y'all on on March 23 at Red Rock!
DONUT 7: THE FRIENDLY SKIES: This season, Jason Terry loves the AAC, loves the home crowd. Once again, he reminded us of this by scoring 24 points, including leading the Mavs with 11 in the final quarter.
With the schedule about to get much tougher, Dallas will need to see more of this Jason Terry, to find his wings spread wide and gliding down the court, if the recent darkness marring this season is to be shed. With Terry on, the offense functions at a different level … changing how teams must approach the Mavs, how they are able to defend everyone else on the court.
When his shots are falling, space opens up and the entire weight that provides ultimate difference between a win and a loss does not fall solely on Dirk Nowitzki … the burden is lessened, is shared, and made easier on all.
DONUT 8: THE AFTERTHOUGHT: The people who run the AAC are not fools. When Lamar Odom does anything they are quick to show Khloe Kardashian on the big screens … artificially upping the crowd's response, even if the roar takes on a slightly feminine voice.
Unfortunately, outside of one nice drive and finish in the fourth quarter, earning an and-1 (and all three of the points he would score against the Wizards), Odom hasn't given much reason for cheer via his contribution on the court.
After initial returns from a still under-explained absence surrounding the All-Star break appeared to show positive results, Odom has once more fallen off the map as a contributor. Against the Wizards, his time on the court often came in quick bursts.
Our reading of this: it felt like Carlisle was trying to assert some accountability, yanking Odom when he resorted to coasting, missing defensive rotations, or being completely passive on offense. In other words, becoming an afterthought to the game at hand. When he lacked, he sat, but the chances for redemption kept coming … though several late minutes were likely only given due to Dirk committing his fifth foul.
DONUT 9: AND THE GHOST: In his 39th game wearing a Dallas uniform, Odom finished with an inconsequential three points, hit 1-of-6 shots, grabbed three rebounds and a steal in 18:38 of action … rendering himself a ghost, an afterthought forgotten and lost. For further statistical representation of his impact: the Mavs won by nine points, Odom had a plus/minus of minus-13 (easily the worst on the team). This means Dallas outscored Washington by 22 points when Odom was on the bench. Obviously, this is influenced heavily by often playing with Dirk on the bench, but remains notable.
Since returning after his absence, Odom has averaged 6.1 points (scoring four points or less in four of his seven games), 32.7 field-goal percentage, 23.1 3-point percentage, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists.
Odom may someday reclaim his game, but it's feeling more and more like that resurrection will not come in Dallas. He gets credit for being a stand-up guy with the media, but ...
DONUT 10: THE RETURN: Brendan Haywood and Brandan Wright both returned to action Tuesday night. Haywood stepped back into the starting center role, playing 24:41, scoring six points and eight rebounds.
Wright would only play five minutes, but reminded us all of why we missed him with an impressive block at the rim … and making us wonder how long before he may claim the role as the primary backup for the power forward position, assuming continued health to Haywood and Ian Mahinmi, knocking Odom from the rotation.
We understand this won't happen. Should Odom remain on the roster, he possesses enough skill to demand that he be given every opportunity to succeed as he can greatly improve the quality of the team if he ever "gets it." The prospect of that alone will ensure that he gets first crack … until he doesn't.
DONUT 11: GO MAVS! GO PREMIUM! Please try our Premium Mavs coverage! You get All-Access to what the Mavs are doing upstairs, down in the basement, in the locker room and on the court – and it's free to come inside for a 7-day tryout. Now more than ever, there's every reason to give it a go! Poke around the site ... we've got the NBA trade deadline covered from every amazing angle! Thanks for your support of the site at less than a dime-a-day! Go Mavs and Go Premium!
DONUT 12: MARION IS STILL GREAT: Shawn Marion spoke politely about the Wiz shot-making.
"I don't want to take anything away from Washington – they've got some talented players,'' he said. "They hit some crazy shots. They were hitting contested shots with people's hands in their faces.''
Ah, but the real shot-making and breath-tanking came from Trix. He had a pair of highlight-reel dunks, including being the recipient of an alley-oop from Jason Kidd on the end of a play that resembled the once-famed "Roddy-Oop."
Marion continued to make his claim to any defensive honor you want to toss his way, but also grabbed his season high of 13 rebounds to go with 10 points, four assists and a steal.
DONUT 13: THE FINAL WORD: We noted that the Wizards were playing on the second night of a back-to-back, and should note that they have allowed opponents to score over 100 points in all but two of their past 20 games, making the situation ripe for Dallas to find their offense. And, they did.
Dallas hit over 50-percent of their field-goal attempts for the first time since Jan. 30 against the Suns (improving to 6-0 when shooting at or above 50 percent), including an incredible 82.4 percent in the second quarter.
Regardless of the opponent, Dallas needed a win. Who stood at the other end of the court was inconsequential. Only the outcome mattered. The only way to begin to correct a season that feels to have gone astray is to win … and do so a game at a time.
Against the Wizards, Dallas did just that. Maybe because there is a blossoming return to normalcy.
"Practice was definitely good,'' said Jet of the Monday rarity. "Coming off of a day off we had a travel day and then we practiced Monday which was good. It had guys ready, we were alert. You were able to get that actual game plan in rather than just going to the breakfast meeting and watching film and then to the game. Now we're on the court preparing and just back into your normal routine. When you get a normal routine, then it makes it a lot easier."
Charlotte comes Thursday, not as a team with the worst record in the NBA (which they are), but as merely another game that must find its way into the win column. So ... practice. Be alert. Stay in the routine.