Mavs Donuts: Homecoming To Trade Talks
To understand the Mavericks' mentality you have to have an appreciation for the road they’ve traveled over the last month-plus.
Tonight's 7:30 tip at the AAC against the Blazers will be their 20th straight game in a different building as they start a long awaited three-game homestand before the All-Star Break. They’ve played four more road games than any other team in their division and the most in the Western Conference (29). While it might feel like our pet’s heads are falling off just realize that they have accrued almost an identical winning percentage as the Los Angeles Clippers in spite of all these challenges.
Heading into Sacramento on the tail end of a back-to-back and approaching their seventh game in 10 days leaves no margin for “style points.” ... Just win and move on. But the Mavericks didn’t just win. They took some of what they learned in a notable loss in Oakland and carried it into Sacramento as they snuffed out the faint-hearted Kings 101-78 -- a team that had routinely done a number on the Mavericks early in games forcing them to play catch-up.
It’s about time we accented an article with the one constant this season, the incredible Tyson Chandler. It’s not that long ago that we were worrying about whether or not Samuel Dalembert would wake up on time and be allowed to participate in certain games. Tyson? We're not sure if Tyson even sleeps. We assume he stays up all night icing his hands from all the punishment he bestows upon rims and backboards around the country. TY is playing his best when most of the team has been in a mid-season funk. He’s had to be superhuman because nearly everything that could fail the Mavericks has done so over the last month.
Here, Tyson rocked the angry bear DeMarcus Cousins to sleep, making him lose interest in the basketball game that was going on in front of him while TY dropped 16 points and 16 rebounds for his 22nd double-double of the season. Yes, Boogie did end the night with 23 points and 11 boards but if you watched the contest it was hard to decipher who was the All-Star center and who was not.
Over his last four games, Tyson is averaging 15.8 points, 13 boards, 2.3 assists, 1 block, 81.3 percent shooting, 84.6 percent free-throwing and a nifty +8.8 in that all-important plus/minus column.
We started to see all the trace evidence of a team sleepwalking through a game early in the second quarter and suddenly the Mavericks realized that they nearly beat the best team in the NBA the night before and exploded for 42 points in a quarter against one of the league’s best defenses. So ...
The Mavericks ended the second quarter on a 25-8 run sparked by the backcourt combo of JJ Barea and Monta Ellis. At the six-minute mark, Barea assisted on three straight buckets and we guess Monta got jealous. He hit three straight triples in the final three minutes of the second quarter and ended the frame with 11 points and three assists without missing a shot. This was a must for our Confidence Meter.
Monta looked hesitant early in the game, passing up his signature elbow jumper several times and balking at taking a wide-open three during one possession. It did lead to five first-half assists, which was nice to see, but we were more concerned with the tough guy losing his edge. That obviously hasn’t happened as he and Barea put the game out of reach before the half.
Barea has averaged 11.7 points and six assists with only one turnover per contest since he’s been starting for Rondo. That'll do nicely while Dallas' medical people continue to monitor Rondo's nasty facial situation.
Speaking of which: Rondo will miss the next three games as he recovers from the two facial fractures.
We've got the best info in the business on what's involved in this process for Rondo and the Mavs here on DB.com.
Back to our Monta thoughts ...
If you assume this is going to make us back off from our “Monta-to-the-bench” idea from this week then you are incorrect. Nothing has changed for us except Monta playing well in a spot that he would normally be playing whether he were on the bench or not. It doesn’t change the fact that he and Barea don’t mesh well the majority of the time and both require a large amount of dribbles to get their intended result. Even after Thursday’s explosion in the second quarter by the duo, Barea has still only assisted on five Monta buckets ... barely edging out Jae Crowder on the season totals.
The transverse of that is Monta only assisting on three of Barea’s made buckets on the year which is one more than Raymond Felton, somehow.
I would have been intrigued to see what kind of effort Monta would have been able to muster if the Kings would have pressed back and forced the Mavericks starters to play into the fourth quarter. He’d been disastrous in the two previous instances. If he wasn’t eclipsing the 30-minute mark prior to the fourth quarter and being forced to play all 12 minutes of most third quarters, what would later-in-the-season fourth-quarter Monta look like?
The schedule and the exhaustion takes a toll on everyone. This idea of starting Aminu and adjusting Monta -- understanding all the issues surrounding it, as Coop joined us in discussing on Twitter at FishSports and at MachineSports -- is just one way to hedge against it.
After the Dallas Mavericks tonight ... or maybe during it! ... After the Texas Legends game tonight (Fish with the telecast on Texas47) ... come join us at The Maverick Bar for sports on the 200-inch screen and live music!
We still don’t have an explanation for why Charlie V feels it’s his birthright to launch any attempt he can get his hands on. We know it’s assumed that he’s a lethal streaky shooter ... Dirk's respect for his "flamethrower'' is very real. We also understand Carlisle's point regarding how much his teammates root for him.
We're just wondering when we’re going to see the "lethal'' part. Once a month isn’t enough for us to justify his green light. We try to deal in numbers and facts. Not folklore. The facts say that in his last four games he’s shooting 28.9 percent overall and 21.7 percent from three but still taking nearly six threes a night.
Empty possessions are our nemesis. They should be the Mavs', too.
DB.com's favorite time of year -- when we do some of our best work and when DB.com readers do some of their best reading -- is as we near the trade deadline, which is Feb. 19 this year ... and then all the fallout from before and after it.
And here we go.
On Friday morning, we brought you the Premium story of a coming connection between the Mavs and Amare Stoudemire.
Mark Cuban's original reading of the new 2011 CBA caused him to predict a 'nuclear winter' that would see big-name, big-money players becoming available. The Mavs could never say the name 'Stoudemire' as an example then. But now? DB.com has the scoop on what the Mavs will say if Stoudemire gets a Knicks buyout.
Meanwhile, even as Dallas continues to be hopeful of securing an un-retiring Jermaine O'Neal - on a timetable determined by his health and fitness - the exploration continues all the way to Andray Blatche, with the big numbers in China but the knuckleheaded rep in the NBA. DB.com has the exclusive Blatche-Mavs story here.
And one more "breaking'' story, though this required a shootdown from our sources. As we report here, SI.com wrote this in a way that has some very 'soft corners' on it:
Player to keep an eye on before the trade deadline: Minnesota’s Kevin Martin. Martin is owed $14 million over the next two seasons but could be a valuable asset to a team looking for scoring punch off the bench. Dallas, Washington among the possibilities.
A source tells DallasBasketball.com that any attempt to connect the Mavs to a trade for Minnesota's 2-guard is "bogus.'' We didn't chase the details/reasoning much beyond that. But our David Lord can add that Martin's contract might end up being more restrictive regarding Dallas' cap plans than his talent (and what it would take to acquire it) merits. D-Lord notes that in his view this is the case even if Martin's "cost'' in trade is virtually nothing.
So cross that rumor off as "bogus.''
Dirk will be back in action tonight, but he will be rested and hopefully so will his mates. Bt get this: Even when the Mavs are on the second night of a back-to-back, they are 8-4. And on second nights of back-to-backs when Nowitzki's rested, they are 3-1.
Seems like a sound formula to manage minutes while still managing to be 34-18 and in fifth in the West. One game our of fourth. A spot presently held by Portland. The team you play at home, tonight.
LaMarcus Aldridge likes Dallas. He likes playing against his hometown club, too. LA has averaged 26.6 points in the last three meetings against the Mavericks, shooting 55 percent, with double-doubles in nine of the last 11 meetings.
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