Donuts: Mavs 'Make Work Out Of Sex' In Win
DONUT 1: FOREWARD The Dallas Mavericks once again were guilty of "making work out of sex," said Rick Carlisle said, using one his favorite lines borrowed from old NBA coach Bill Fitch.
And yeah, I guess when you take a 20-point lead into the fourth quarter at Portland on Friday, you'd like to cruise your way to the finish line instead of holding on for a 97-94 victory. (Same thing at Golden State the previous night, a tight win after what once was a 19-point lead.
"It's making work out of sex.''
But ... did you expect the Mavs to retain a 24-point lead throughout? To win on the road by 20 against a team that seems to habitually take Dallas to OT? To dominate for 48 minutes on the second night of a b2b?
Is that how you think the NBA works? Is that how you think the Mavs have succeeded in the Dirk Era?
The Mavs aren't good enough to beat mediocre-to-poor teams by 20. They just aren't. You know what the point spread was on Friday's game? It was three points.
The Mavs won by three points.
DONUT 2: TRIX AND TREATS Shawn Marion springboarded his way to 17 points and 14 rebounds.
In the last eight games, Marion is averaging 11.6 points, 10.6 rebouns, 53.8 FG%, 0.9 blocks, 1.4 steals and 2.6 assists.
Is that "trailing off sharply,'' as John Hollinger says is the case with Marion's game? In fact, the league -- and people like Hollinger, who are charged with understanding how to use numbers to make judgments but only combined with what we all see and know -- should be thoroughly embarrassed that Shawn Marion has no Defensive Player of the Year or even NBA All-Defensive Team trophies to his credit.
And it should be rectified. Now. John Hollinger has the authority to list his top 15 NBA defenders and to have his selections -- which astoundingly do not include Trix -- taken seriously.
The question isn't really about whether Marion deserves to be taken seriously as a defender or as a performer. Based on this list, the question is whether John Hollinger deserves to be taken seriously as a critic and as an analyst.
DONUT 3: CARLISLE HAS STONES It would've been easier, safer, to assign every possible weapon to securing a win in Portland and then, maybe, if the club is tired, concede to a possible loss in LA on Sunday.
Rick Carlisle didn't go easy or safe.
He chose to sit Jason Kidd -- "a prescheduled rest,'' the coach claimed with a straight face, insisting it had nothing to do with the quality of the foe in Portland -- and that undoubtedly contributed to some late-game sloppiness.
But maybe it also contributed to increased confidence for the guys who took his place -- most notably Delonte West, who was outstanding as a shooter and (most of the game) as a playmaker. Delonte totaled a 21-points, seven-assist, six-rebound, three-steal line.
"He's a money player,'' Carlisle said of West.
From Kidd on his Minutes Limits: "It's four in five nights. I feel great. I felt great after the game last night, got some shooting in the morning, and if we hadn't already decided to rest on this one, I probably would have asked Casey to play. Casey and Coach want to make sure we keep it down on the minutes ... A game like this for Roddy and D-West is to get them more minutes. The deeper we are, the better chance we have to compete come playoff time."
DONUT 4: TINKERING TIME? It's been speculated that the departure of LO forces/allows Rick Carlisle to engage in some who's-who tinkering with his lineups and rotations.
Those speculators have obviously not visited with Rick Carlisle himself.
Rick has said it at least twice already this weekend:
One example: "They're basketball guys. They know where things are at. We've been talking about playoff mode for two-and-a-half weeks. It's a must.
Another example: "We're aware of the situation. We've been talking about being in this mode the last two weeks. We know where things are at."
One translation of what Rick is saying: No, this isn't "tinkering time.'' They know what they are doing.
That doesn't mean there won't be guys who in the next two weeks jump into the spotlight in ways we don't predict (Corey, Cardinal and Barea all did so last postseason). It means there won't be guys who surprise their coach.
That'll be pleasant the day Kelenna Azubuike pops into a game. But Rick won't play him to tinker. A coach doesn't like surprises.
Where "Be Ready'' pays off most isn't with tinkering. It's with reacting to injury. Dallas now has to deal with that, at some level, with Roddy B, who got hurt in Portland.
"I hurt my calf in the first half,'' Beaubois said. "I thought it was going to be okay, so I kept playing. But in the second half when I got in, it was a little bit too much. I couldn't play hard enough so I had to come back and check it out ... We'll wait and see [about playing on Sunday]. Tomorrow, I'll have more information.''
DONUT 5: THE BIRDS We are easily amused.
DONUT 6: WRIGHTEOUS DUDE Now, the aforementioned "surprise'' take doesn't mean Brandan Wright hasn't exceeded beyond the club's initial expectations when he was snagged off the scrap heap in training camp.
On Friday at GS, Wright finished with 16 points (6-of-8 field goals) nine rebounds, two blocks and a steal.
How many times in a game this year did predecessor Lamar Odom go for 16/9?
On Saturday at Portland, Wright finished with 13 points and eight rebounds. Brandan Wright in last five games is averaging 13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 63.0 FG%, two blocks and one steal.
How many times in a game this year did LO go for 13/6?
If you wish to continue to be angry at Lamar Odom for his stint as a Mav, here's a new reason: As BWright turns out to be a revelation, it seems that all Odom's presence here served to do was bottleneck the kid and clog his way into the rotation.
DONUT 7: WHO DESERVES THE DIRKIE? It's the Player of the Game Award ... and you vote!
DONUT 8: 'JUDGMENT ERRORS' Carlisle notes that while the Mavs are "the No. 1 defensive team in the West, it's our offense that sometimes holds us back.''
"I liked our intensity and our effort the majority of the night, but we made so many judgment errors (on offense) that we can't make going forward," Carlisle said. "That's an adjustment that we have to make."
Yeah, in the fourth quarter, Dallas gets outscored by 17 and fumbles away eight turnovers. Fellas?
Marion: "That little, small lineup gave mismatch problems for us. They took advantage of it and that's how they got back into the game. They were just out there squirming around and getting their hands on live balls."
Dirk: "Just a bad finish, a couple of rough turnovers. I mean, we had the game basically under control. They made a couple of runs, but I thought we withstood those runs pretty good until all the way at the end. A couple of high school turnovers there -- I turned it over like three times in a row, some bad lob passes with like 20 seconds on the clock and just some bad decision-making going on. It's kind of frustrating, 'cause we played a heck of a game. We competed, we played hard, but that end left a little sour taste in our mouths."
DONUT 9: UBERMANLY How'd JJ Hickson do at guarding The UberMan (who went 8-14 and scored 24)?
"I had never drawn that assignment before,'' said Hickson, jumping up in the Blazers' rotation because LaMarcus is done for the year due to a need for hip surgery. "I have to lock in and know who I'm guarding. I wasn't guarding a traditional 4. It kind of caught me by surprise at times, with me lagging off and him stopping at the three-point line. He had a great game."
Indeed, while Dirk Nowitzki was part of the late-game sloppiness that allowed Portland a 12-0 run, Portland was again a salve for his game. ... and maybe we've seen the end of a mini-slump in which for the previous three games Dirk was shooting 35 percent.
DONUT 10: MAVSELLANEOUS Right now the Mavs are alone in sixth place. Houston, Denver and Utah all lost ... Dallas helped itself by jumping to a 9-0 lead ... "Down 24 points to the defending champs, extremely proud and extremely pleased of the game-winning effort our guys showed out there,'' said Portland coach Coach Kaleb Canales. "I think the Mavericks won the game. I don't think we gave them the game." ... Marion recorded his third double-double in four games and his fourth straight double-digit rebounding game. ... Love the angry two-handed Delonte Dunks but inasmuch as he keeps aggravating his busted-ass right hand, maybe he could just throw down lefty, eh? ... Michael Dugat and BJ Stahl contributed to this report.
DONUT 11: YOUR NBA HIGHLIGHT PACKAGE Delightful!
DONUT 12: THE FINAL WORD "Right now, you just have to pile up W's. I don't care how you get them." -- Shawn Marion.