Thursday Mavs Donuts: 'Weathering Everything'
DONUT 1: No more 'Globetrotters' ...
In a way, the Dallas Mavericks left themselves no choice but to alter their approach. The changes? A never-before-used starting lineup. Dirk as the go-through guy. And Marion as a finisher. The result? Dallas 112, Houston 108.
"We weathered everything,'' coach Rick Carlisle said later, "and that is a sign of character."
Houston vs. Dallas was a different story on Sunday, when Rick said his team made the Rockets look like the Globetrotters. Here, the Mavs at least looked more prideful than the Washington Generals.
"After what happened in Houston, it was embarrassing, as a man, as a player and as a Dallas Maverick,'' said O.J. Mayo. "We really wanted to come in here and show our fans that we are a much better squad. It was a great game and a lot of fun.''
Our breakdown of the game -- "Altered States'' -- is here.
DONUT 2: Not enough 3-1's ...
With Utah's loss, 27-33 Dallas is now 4.5 behind the eighth-place Jazz. Houston sits in seventh. Dallas, of course, isn't just concerned with catching Utah as it still needs to find a way to leapfrog over the Lakers and Blazers.
When this season is over, one of the many sources of frustration will be the club's belief that it isn't inferior to an assortment of teams that will qualify for the playoffs ahead of it. That includes Houston, against which the Mavs finish the year with a 3-1 record.
"We're 3-1 against the Rockets. If we'd be 3-1 against some of the other teams we'd be in great shape,'' said Dirk Nowitzki.
DONUT 3: 'The Powder And The Glory' ...
It's being lauded by DB.com readers and DFW media members alike. Michael Dugat's essay on the Mavs' present circumstance is a must-read for the serious Mavs fan.
It's The Powder And The Glory - The Statement Of Our Fears: A Mavs Essay.
DONUT 4: Who Deserves 'The Dirkie'? ...
It's the eternal question (following Mavs wins.) "Who Deserves 'The Dirkie'' for the Mavs' victory over Houston? Mavs fans gather here and Rock The Vote!
DONUT 5: The totem pole ...
The single stat that best defines Dallas' determination in getting the ball to the go-through and go-to guys? Of Dallas' 25 points in the fourth quarter, 22 of them were scored by the offensive totem pole of Dirk/Mayo/Vince.
DONUT 6: The NBA highlight reel ...
DONUT 7: Cuban on Rodman on Kim Jong-un ...
To some, Dennis Rodman's visit to North Korea to meet with Kim Jong-un was clowning ... and maybe even dangerous.
But Mavs boss Mark Cuban naturally takes a non-linear approach to the story.
"Actually I think it'll help,'' Cuban said. "When you've got somebody talking about something other than globally nuclear destruction, that's a step in the right direction ... Just like any argument, when you calm it down by switching subjects, that's a good thing.''
DONUT 8: Want more Mavs? ...
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By the way, we take that same focus that we provide on the Mavs here on DB.com and apply it to the Mavs and the Cowboys on 105.3 The Fan. Listen live here for some Fish on Football and for breaking Mavs stuff, too ... throughout today and every day ... and we'll take you inside the teams in every possible way!
DONUT 9: Hard to stop Harden ...
James Harden gets the "superstar'' treatment from the officials to the degree that it is now indisputable:
James Harden is a superstar.
His aggressiveness in driving to the rim is habitually reward by the zebras, as was the case again last night when he scored 28 points -- but was 16-of-16 from the line to get there.
Said Marion, who scored 22 points and moved to 25th all-time in NBA steals in the same game in which he was key in holding Harden to 5-of-17 shooting: "If you take a lot of the free throws out of the game, he had a rough night.''
DONUT 10: Thanks to our sponsors! ...
A tip of the cap of appreciation to Frisco Party Station and Red Rock Bar & Grill! They help make DB.com what it is ... thanks, guys!
DONUT 11: Juice's best ...
Eventually with O.J. Mayo, it'll be about contract negotiations. That is a headache you don't likely wish to endure right now. Instead, you would like to see Juice be a supporting cast member on a really good future Mavs team ... and maybe that can happen.
Immediately, though, what you and the club want to see from O.J. is some level of consistency. ... a steady output mirroring what happened Wednesday, when he played what Rick called "his best game of the season, without question.''
Mayo's line: 13 points, 12 assists, and six rebounds. Not wildly explosive; just wildly efficient. Easy passes (something his PG buddies struggled to accomplish). Early assists (setting a tone). Putting mates in position to succeed (Shawn Marion being a key benefactor).
And zero turnovers.
O.J. is a high-usage offensive player who arrived in Dallas proud of his rep as a ball-handler, passer and decision-maker. Living up to that reputation makes us want to retain his services ... even as these sort of performances likely raise his price tag.
Again, a headache we don't wish to endure right now.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
"Every game for us now is big. We can't afford to lose." -- Dirk Nowitzki.