Sunday Morning Mavs Donuts
DONUT 1: Rolling Stones ...
Roddy B didn't play at all in Friday's 100-98 win at Orlando. Jason Kidd didn't play at all in the fourth. The Dallas Mavericks PG of Record was Delonte West, playing with his surgically-repaired right hand all wrapped up and playing with the brass ones that ought to remind you of how right I was in believing that given time, good health (and taking his meds) he can do defensive things that parallel the departed DeShawn and offensive things that parallel the departed JJB.
And all for the vet's minimum.
"I think you see how important Delonte West is to us," coach Rick Carlisle said. "For a guy that's been off five or five-and-a-half weeks, to come in and have this kind of performance, this kind of impact at both ends of the floor, to play basically a 15-minute stretch during the game, you don't see that in a week."
Delonte will gently remind anyone who will listen that he was once the starting point guard on a 60-win team in Cleveland, that he is accomplished and professional and that one more thing that is best described by Dirk himself.
"Yeah,'' Dirk said, "he's got some, um ... stones.''
DONUT 2: When's a good time for the Mavs to make their move? ...
The Mavs have 13 games remaining. Their final six foes have a winning percentage of .576. Their next seven foes have a winning percentage of .480, and of course that next-seven-foes streak begins with three home games this week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with the obvious days off in between.
The time to make hay? NOW.
DONUT 3: Got your tickets yet? ...
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DONUT 4: Have You Witnessed The UberMan's Game-Winner In Orlando? ...
Here's your video clip and you will notice, CharleeRedz isn't the only one with "stones.''
The UberMan spent the entire evening talkin' s--- to Ryan Anderson, giving the stink-eye to Hedo and, it appeared after making the incredible One-Legged Euro LeanBack, cussing out an obnoxious Magic fan as well.
Jason Terry was very much involved in the same activity, though his s----talkin' was often directed at his own mates, including Haywood, Delonte and Marion. (All constructive s----talkin', I'm sure.)
Our review of Jason Terry's s----talkin' weekend in Florida, by the way, is good stuff and it's right here.
DONUT 5: A thought about Art ...
I have an appreciation for art and even a talent for it, if I may boast. Or haven't you seen my Mavs logo work on "DrawSomething''?
So I believe my voice needs to be heard on the next piece of artwork that will adorn the AAC. Will somebody start sculpting The UberMan statue already? And Cuban, will you make sure the pose is The One-Legged Euro LeanBack, please?
DONUT 6: If I win this Super-Mega-Lottery ...
My first act will be to give you free Premium Mavs Coverage for Life!
Premium Mavs coverage! This is what we do, every day, with 28 years of experience on the beat! It's pennies a day to 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 no reason not to give it a go! Thanks for your support of the site at less than a dime-a-day! Go Mavs and Go Premium!
So what I'm saying is, even if I don't win the lottery, the best Mavs coverage on the planet only costs you pennies a day you can still afford to Go Premium!
DONUT 7: It's tough all over ...
Win a game and you feel like a champion. (Which the Mavs are, if you need reminding.) Lose a game? Oh, you feel like you're in the abyss, like you're Baby Jessica in that well.
But listen, it's tough all over. As the Mavs win they find themselves elbowing with the Clippers between the 4 and 5 slots. But as the Lakers struggle -- and they do struggle, from the neck up especially -- you are allowed to dream about the No. 3 slot as well.
LAL has it tough, schedule-wise: Entering this weekend, the Lakers were scheduled to play SA three times, OKC once and Mavs once, with five of those toughies coming in the last eight games.
Can the Mavs keep climbing? Are the Lakers ready to crack?
DONUT 8: In addition to watching the Mavs ...
Listen to Fish on with Gavin on The Unofficial Mavs Pregame Show on 105.3 The Fan ... And follow the game on Twitter with the Mavs Twitterverse ... The 75-Member Staff!
DONUT 9: Coach Ortegel with the fireball! ...
My telecast partner Bob Ortegel has a great deal of respect for the dominant talents of Orlando center Dwight Howard. But he is not a fan of the Dwightmare part of Howard's act, which includes holding his organization hostage, pouting on the bench when things don't go his way, and as evidenced Friday, really murdering his team at the free-throw line.
"That,'' said Coach O after Hack-A-Howard was employed by Rick Carlisle, resulting in Dwight's 7-of-16 shooting from the line, "is why I don't think a team Dwight Howard is on will ever win a championship.''
Wow. May I argue the point by saying that if Dwight Howard was on a certain team where he wasn't "in charge'' of everything and was "one of the stars'' instead of The Star and where his franchise made certain that it employed a capable backup center that could play in his stead at game's end (or employed a free-throw coach named Gary Boren) ... that maybe THEN Dwight Howard could win a championship?
DONUT 10: Give me Carlisle ...
There were times in Orlando when the Mavs defense was as sloppy as Stan Van Gundy's wardrobe. (Seriously, brother Stan; why not just go the Full Costanza and wear sweatpants to work?)
But one of the reasons I believe in the Mavs in big games is Rick Carlisle's work to design and implement plays for the right people. That took guts to go with Delonte over Kidd. And it worked. Rick had a tough call to make on Ian over Haywood to close. And it worked. It showed confidence to take the blame for not getting Terry in better positions to succeed the night before. It didn't work ... but admitting the error has value.
The Hack-A-Howard worked, of course, leaving Van Gundy flailing away by complaining that Brendan Haywood punched Dwight.
Of course, compared to Rick, SVG was already flailing. How else to explain his down-the-stretch reliance on Hedo in Friday's game?
Before the game, our NBA scout Kyle Leath wrote that Hedo is Orlando's poorest perimeter defender and that his man needs to beat him. So who did Orlando have guarding Dirk on the game-winner?
Meanwhile, guess which member of the Magic sniper group is in a horrible streak from the arc, shooting 28 percent since Feb. 1 ... and despite basically being a guy who makes one of his four 3-point tries per game, got the play called for him on Orlando's final possession?
Big game? Big decisions? Give me Carlisle, is what I'm saying. He's also got the stones.
DONUT 11: How tough is it? ...
Among West contenders, the Mavs (at .525) and the Suns (at .541) have the hardest down-the-stretch opponents' winning percentage.
But there's a "but.''
Tucked comfortably inside Dallas' challenging schedule comes ... Rest! As of the completion of Friday's game, the Mavs had 13 games remaining, so they've paid that piper, because, for instance, the Spurs & Memphis were scheduled to play 17 more games.
Where is this mini-advantage most prominent? Check the final two games of the Mavs regular season: At Chicago and at Atlanta. Those are bears ... but at Chicago is Saturday, April 21. And at Atlanta is Thursday, April 26. That's not really a "road trip''; Dallas will certainly come home between games, get rest and practice time, and have extra preparation focus available for what will certainly be important playoff-implication games.
Those games will be like playoff games, with rest, planning and experience playing key roles.
"We've got an old team,'' says Dirk Nowitzki. "So, if we don't have experience then nobody out there does."
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
'Thou shalt not be worried about Jet's absence of headband, but rather, the absence inside it.' - William Fakespeare, 1616.