Tuesday Morning Mavs Donuts
DONUT 1: TRYING JUST HARD ENOUGH ...
I've long said that losing on purpose is more than just about "bad karma,'' a factor cited by none other than Rick Carlisle; it also invites a cancerous presence into your locker room. Hey, the Kings have Tyreke and the Wizards have Wall and the Cavs have Kyrie ... all as a result of having been terrible enough to get a premium pick in a recent draft ...
And the Kings, Wizards and Cavs all stink. Still. Heck, the Cavs were recently reduced to combining emotional forces with the Mavs in the NBA Finals, just to have something to feel decent about.
Once you're a loser ... well, you're a loser. It takes a complete deprogramming and retraining to cure that cancer.
DONUT 2: HOW THAT APPLIES TO THE MAVS ...
So what if the Dallas Mavericks try to over-manipulate the system? What if they lose with intent? (As opposed to what happened in Chicago, where they gave "winning effort'' in a controlled, preseason-like manner?
"You're basically asking the question: are we going to tank games potentially to try and get a certain opponent or avoid a certain opponent?''' Rick Carlisle says. "The whole thing about 'wishing for this team' or 'not wishing for that team,' that's dicey. Last year, it would have been hard to come up with a harder first-round matchup at the three position than Portland. And it turned out to be one of the best things for us."
Dallas' floor leader is in the same camp.
"You've got to play someone, so we'll take whoever it is,'' Jason Kidd says. "So for us it's just a matter of finishing off the season the right way and whoever we play ... or whatever seed we have, that's what we've got to do." -
DONUT 3: RODDY B ('B' STANDS FOR 'BUTKUS') ...
I'm not sure where Roddy B's work in Chicago moves him. Into the rotation because of what he did after his left ring finger got caught in the waistband of a driving Ronnie Brewer, becoming grotesquely dislocated? Or out of the rotation because of what he before the injury, when he appeared lost and not at all on the way to a 16/6/5 night.
Before the accident, Roddy was 1-of-6 for two points with a pair of turnovers. He appeared almost completely disconnected from the game unraveling around him. Bob Ortegel and I watched together and Coach O seemed a bit stunned by all the things Roddy B was doing wrong.
And the timing was terrible. Before the Mavs final home game Friday night, Carlisle talked of wanting to see a top performance by Roddy against playoff-level competition like Chicago -- and how such a performance might trigger Beaubois' elevation into the rotation.
Does it count that Roddy was not out long, missing just a total of 4:12 of gametime to get his ring finger popped back into place and taped to his middle digit? As we said over the weekend, this doesn't suddenly make him Jack Youngblood and Ronnie Lott and Jake LaMotta and Willis Reed all rolled into one. But after the injury, Roddy B scored 14 points, hit six of his nine shots and did not have another turnover. He scored 10 of his 16 in the fourth quarter of a still-contested game and totaled six rebounds, five assists and a steal for the night.
As it was all unfolding, some of the DB.com guys and some of the ESPNDallas guys jousted a bit on Twitter about Roddy B's toughness or lack thereof. The media team-vs.-media team gang fight (us as the "Mavs Homers and Gomers,'' them as the "Keyboard Eastwoods'') looked something like this:
But we think Roddy B proved a point. And we'll veer away from Butkus/Lott/Youngblood talk and turn this into a Herschel Walker parallel: If you handed off to Herschel often enough, you were going to be rewarded. Eventually he was going to break off an 80-yard TD run.
That's Roddy B. Endure the mistakes and you reap the rewards.
Anyway, Brolan, Dugat, Locker, MacMahon and Roddy B, too: Fellas, I'm proud of you. You kept your heads on a swivel. And that's what you've got to do when you fidn yourself in a vicious cockfight.
DONUT 4: OK, ONE MORE THING ON RODDY B ...
Dirk told his joke about having to "put him down'' ("Old Yeller''-style) because Roddy was doing so much yelping. (ou can hear his wail in the above video.) But when the Mavs got serious about evaluating the guy who has been here three years but still gets treated like a rookie ... well, they didn't treat him quite like a rookie.
Listen to the fellas ...
"I thought it was great to see Beaubois get a dislocated finger popped out and then get it taped up and he was ready to go again,'' Rick says. "Not only did he hold up to the physicality of the game, he went out with a significant injury and bounced back and came back in. He hasn't always been able to do that. I pointed that out at halftime that it was great that he bounced back and again after the game to the whole team. And I thought, after a slow start, just did a great job after that. A lot of good stuff. Really pleased with him."
From Marion: "To see him come back out there and play, a lot of guys would just cash it in. Some good things are rubbing off on him. To see him come back out and play, I loved it, I respect that.''
From Dirk Nowitzki: "I'm proud of how he responded.''
From Delonte: "He showed some toughness coming back from an injury and hit some big shots for us."
Does that settle the Media Gang War? They poked fun at his yelping and they still make him carry their luggage but ... at least this time they didn't have to peel him off the floor with a spatula, as Rick says used to be the case.
"I don't know if I'm tough or nothing, but sometimes you feel like you can play, sometimes it's tougher,'' Roddy B says. "I felt like I could play. That's why I stayed in the game.''
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DONUT 7: THE FINISHING FIVE ...
My friends at Hardwood Paroxysm help us with the case in favor of Vince as a member of the Mavs' Finishing Five (and BWright, too):
In 12 minutes in the 4th quarter the past four games, Kidd-Terry-Carter-Dirk-Wright have a 179.6 offensive efficiency. Additionally, Kidd-Terry-Carter-Dirk-Wright in the past four games in the fourth have averaged 3.3 points per minute.
We've got a "Coach Em Up'' feature coming later today that breaks down film of how Vince is getting to the rim -- it's a Premium must-read! Stay tuned!
DONUT 8: WEIRD NUMBER ...
"Dirty data,'' Cuban calls it, and maybe this is that, a result of this condensed season: Dallas played 22 back-to-backs this year. In the first of those games, the Mavs were a dismal 7-15. And on the second night of the b2b's? Dallas -- in theory old and tired and all -- was 13-9.
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DONUT 11: THE WORD FROM JERSEY ...
For what it's worth, here's the latest from Mavs summer target D-Will himself, talking over the weekend about the end of this awful season in New Jersey:
*On the thought he's putting into being a free agent July 1:
"It's a big decision," Williams said. "So I want to put as much time and thought into it as I can. I'll probably get with my agent (Jeff Schwartz) and see what he thinks. He's been through this process a thousand times with a thousand guys, so I'm going to rely on him."
*On why he's going to spend spring in East Rutherford when the season ends this week. For the love of the Nets?
"It's definitely convenience," Williams said. "My kids are still in school until the end of June, so I'm going to be around here until I leave for the Olympics."
On the importance of family (and ultimately, where he wants to raise his four children and live permanently):
"You can be as mad as you want (at a losing season)," Williams said, "but when I come home and I've got my kids around, it changes my mood instantly. But it has been tough."
Last night, by the way, in the Nets' farewell game in Jersey, players had the opportunity to address the crowd. Brook Lopez did so. Deron Williams did not.
DONUT 12: THE FINAL WORD (ALSO FROM NEW JERSEY) ...
"Good riddance.'' -- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, on the Nets ending their 35-year stay in his state to depart next season for Brooklyn.