Friday Mavs Donuts: 'L.A. Confidential'

The Mavs are alone in seventh in the West after a stunning 113-107 win at the Clippers, and now comes the temptation to peek ahead. At the Lakers tonight. At Sacramento on Sunday. At Utah to close the roadie ... but of course, this is the 'fish trap' that must be avoided. So Mavs Donuts stays focused on 'L.A. Confidential':

DONUT 1: Alone in seventh ...

The Dallas Mavericks are alone. In seventh. And with just six games remaining in the regular season, the temptation is there to eyeball the rest of this road trip against have-nots the Lakers, Kings and Jazz ... and then to calculate round-robin tiebreakers against Game 81 and Game 82 foes Phoenix and Memphis ...

But even after Dallas' impressive 113-107 win at the Clippers on Thursday, there is little justification for eyeballs roving anywhere.
br> "I'm glad we survived," said Dirk. And even as the 45-31 Mavs earn a half-game edge on the Grizzlies and the Suns, that -- introspection regarding game-by-game survival -- is the right place for the eyeballs.


DONUT 2: Mavs 113, Clippers 107 …

As we have seen all year, Dallas is good enough to mount a 10-0 run against the talented and third-seeded Clippers ...

And flawed enough to cough that lead right back up.
All of that occurred in the final quarter on Thursday, the Mavs breaking a tie by storming to that lead, and then having to hang on as in the final two minutes the Clips nipped at their heels, closing to within a bucket.

"I wasn't worried,'' insisted coach Rick Carlisle. "I knew we were alright. ... I just did."

DONUT 3: The raw highlight reel …

You will note, if you fast-forward to the end, Dallas' defensive-minded personnel to close the game. Devin to guard a waterbug, along with Monta. Crowder and Marion (not Vince and Dirk!) at the forwards. And B-Wright rotating around to get a hand in the face of CP3 as he shoots in the clutch.

DONUT 4: Contract talk …

A quick sidebar, if I may.

Talk of Samuel Dalembert's return to this roster in advance of next season is essentially no-brainer stuff. His 2014-15 salary of $3,867,282 is only partially-guaranteed. He's is, at worst, a moderately productive player on a very cheap contract playing a position that is very difficult to fill.

Dallas can spent this summer going all-in on trying to find a player to replace Dalembert as a starter. But unless he sleeps through big portions of next season, he'll enter the summer in Dallas' plans.

Unless that attractive contract, combined with the Mavs' acquisition of a superior player, gets Dalembert traded.

What I'm hinting at is that it is with no disrespect to Dalembert or Vince or anyone else that I urge you to take with a grain of salt management's promises that it "wants'' someone back.


It only "wants them back'' under certain specific circumstances, and you know this if you recall how much the Mavs wanted Tyson Chandler back in 2011 and how much they wanted Mayo and Collison back in 2013.

DONUT 5: Programming note …

I've got TV tonight, the Mavs-at-Lakers pregame show starting at 9 p.m. ... and yes, it is on FOX Sports Southwest.

Another programming note: On Saturday night I'll be in Frisco for the Texas Legends' regular-season finale. You can watch that telecast on Channel 47 or, even better, c'mon up to the game by getting your tickets here.

DONUT 6: Quoteboard …

"It was a big win for us against a very good team, a team we hadn't beaten yet this year and a team that hasn't lost much on their home floor. We're going to keep fighting. There's six games left and there's plenty of challenges for us down the road." - Dirk Nowitzki.

DONUT 7: Thanks to our partners! …

Thanks to our Mavs-lovin' partners at Red Rock Bar & Grill and Estilo Gaucho. Give them a call or a click, please, and tell 'em "Fish'' sent you!

DONUT 8: Hello, Holger …
I visited with Holger Geschwindner on Tuesday before the Mavs-Warriors game at the AAC. He sat alone, amid a bunch of Golden State fans but behind the Dallas bench, fiddling with his popcorn while adorned him his black "Members Only''-style leather jacket.

He says very little. But he's accomplished a lot.

Holger rolled into town on March 25 and spent just a moment with protégé Dirk before that night's game. Since that moment (as calculated by Mark Followill): Dirk's numbers are 26.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, 52.9-percent shooting and 13-of-29 from the arc.

More on the impact of "The Wizard of Wurzburg'' here.

DONUT 9: Live by the sword …

In six of their last seven games, the Mavs have made 10 or more 3-pointers and have shot over 42 percent from the arc. Against the Clippers, Dallas attempted 29 treys and made 14 -- just one shy of their season-high.

Can Dallas extend this positive trend for six more games?

DONUT 10: Who Deserves 'The Dirkie'? …

Our BJ Stahl asks for your votes please, for the Player of the Game -- "The Dirkie'' -- can be registered here. The candidates:
Dirk Nowitzki -- 26 and 11 and footloose and fancy free

Jose Calderon -- 19 points and a touch of cheekiness

Vince Carter -- Vinsanity tacks up 16

Samuel Dalembert -- Big Sammy with 12 and 6

Monta Ellis -- 12 points and 9 dimes

Brandan Wright -- 8 points, 3 boards, a smashed atom

Shawn Marion 7 points and 9 rebounds

Devin Harris -- 6 points and 7 assists

Vote here for "The Dirkie'' and kick it around Boards as well!

DONUT 11: Mavs at Lakers ...

As noted above, I've got TV tonight, the Mavs-at-Lakers pregame show starting at 9 p.m. on FOX Sports Southwest, and then the tip from Staples Center as Dallas takes on the 25-50 Lakers. The Mavs will be trying to sweep the season series from the Lakers for the first time in their 33-year history.

The attempt to do so is off to a good, lopsided start; Dallas has won each of the first two meetings by at least 19 points while shooting a combined 52.7 percent from the field in the two victories.

The Mavs are averaging 114.4 points in their last eight games while LA has given up 118.3 points per game in its last four.

The Lakers have injury problems with Steve Nash, Chris Kaman, Pau Gasol, Xavier Henry, Jordan Farmar and, of course, Kobe Bryant.

Los Angeles is on pace for its worst record since moving west from Minneapolis in 1960 and if you are looking for sympathy, you have come to the wrong place. The Mavs are my favorite NBA team. "Hating The Lakers'' is my second-favorite NBA team.
See you tonight on FOX Sports Southwest!

DONUT 12: The Final Word …

The best home team in the East? The 34-5 Pacers -- with one of those five losses coming at the hands of the visiting Mavs.

The best home team in the West? As Dirk alludes to above, the Clippers were 31-5 at home coming into last night (with eight consecutive wins). That streak is over as well, maybe replaced by the confidence boost this gives the road-warrior'ing Mavs.

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