Mavs Weekend Donuts: Stage Is Set
Dirk Nowitzki has over the course of his 17-year career had better games than the one he experienced Friday night against the Lakers. In a 102-98 victory, Nowitzki shot just 5-of-14 for 14 points while battling a stomach illness.
But he hasn’t had many games with more historic significance. Nowitzki moved into eighth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list passing Elvin Hayes. The moment came in the third quarter and fittingly it was the result of a mid-range jumper. The Uberman finished the game with 27,322 points for his career. In November he passed Hakeem Olajuwon. December was Hayes. In all likelihood January will be Moses Malone -- knocking down those Rockets! -- and seventh on the all-time list.
“It’s hard to describe what we’re seeing in real time,” coach Rick Carlisle said in praise of said the Dallas Mavericks icon. “He’s making it look sort of easy. The amount of work that’s gone into him getting to this point in his career is something that none of us will ever really be able to fathom.”
The American Airlines Center crowd responded to the historic moment with a standing ovation at the timeout following the milestone. No one would expect anything less from Mavericks fans, but there was one man whose standing applause was worth a little extra attention. Kobe Bryant, who is No. 3 on that very same list, stood up from the bench to show his support of Nowitzki.
Bryant and the Lakers haven’t exactly been chummy with the Mavericks over the years, but The Black Mamba has made no secret of the respect that he has for Nowitzki and the way he approaches the game.
That doesn't mean we can't poke fun at Kobe; in this space we've deemed him our "Most Love-To-Hate'' player in the NBA. So yes, when he responds to an AAC heckler in rabbit-ears fashion ...
We note that Kobe is simply showing the fans how few of his teammates actually like playing with him.
But Dirk and Kobe are in the same fraternity, enough so that Nowitzki can approach Bryant and joke that he's aimin' to catch him on the list. Glad somebody around here can take a joke!
The Mavs didn't get Josh Smith. Houston did. To make room, Houston waived center Tarik Black. Amid much speculation, DB.com cleared up a couple of days ago Dallas' disinterest in Black; the Mavs don't think he's skilled enough to be better here than Greg Smith. So the search continues, with Jermaine O'Neal's unretirement the focal point, and a clear believe that the addition needs to be superior to Smith. That's why you shouldn't expect a flurry of tryouts and 10-day experiments; the bar is set.
Meanwhile, as DB.com was first to report on Saturday morning, Dallas assigned Dwight Powell and Ricky Ledo to the Legends for Texas' Saturday night game in Frisco.
More than in past years, there have been quite a few off-shooting nights for Nowitzki’s very high standards. This is nothing to necessarily panic over. It simply means that calculated moments of rest are all the more important to make sure he is fresh five months down the line.
Nowitzki did not play the final five minutes of a close game against the Lakers. He was taken out of the game for his normal rest, but never inserted back into the lineup as Villanueva heated up from three.
The faith that Carlisle had to leave his franchise player on the bench is not necessarily indicative of the strong play of Villanueva — though that certainly helped — but more of a faith in the finishing abilities of Parsons, Rondo, Ellis and Chandler. Sticking with Villanueva or Richard Jefferson to finish the game shows a luxury of having four playmakers all playing at a high level.
With an inferior supporting cast, you would surely see Nowitzki finishing a game like Friday’s and the offense would run completely through him. It might seem like a good supporting cast should manifest itself through great stats or winning streaks, but what’s really clear, despite any certain struggles, is that the pressure really is off Nowitzki more than it has been in years, if not ever.
We review Rajon Rondo's best game yet in a Dallas uniform here in Power Points. ...
The free-throwing isn't there and the daring-him-to-shoot still is. But again we remind: This isn't a bowl of mac-and-cheese you put into the microwave, or an ATM that spits out instant gratification. We think DFW fans are smart enough to get this, to absorb the blows of frustration along with the understanding of the rewards that come when the Triangle of Trust is proven right, as it so often is when it comes to Asset Management.
In this democracy, you get a vote. But only following wins. Vote here for Player of the Game ... "The Dirkie''!
Here's McKinneyDentist.com ... with us since 1995! Give "the finest dentists in the land'' a click and a call!
Thanks to Red Rock Bar & Grill, our north Dallas hangout for live music and sports!
Meet LS Wealth Strategies, with Woody and Bill helping to guide my family and available to do the same for you!
Thanks to Estilo Gaucho, authentic Brazilian cuisine, family-owned and operated and just named one of the top 100 steakhouses in America!
And Dee Lincoln's, the famous DFW restauranteur now with a new location near Park and Preston!
One more thing ... Did I mention we're opening a bar?
"At this position, it's what you want as a point guard. You want the challenge. I look forward every night to play against the best." - Rondo on ... well, see below.
Your Mavs Apple Moving DFW "Move Of The Day''? Playing Charlie V. Heck, keeping Charlie V on the roster is one of the Moves of the First-Third of the Mavs season.
Charlie Villanueva almost didn’t make this Mavericks team. That would have been a problem.
Trading away Brandan Wright left Dallas alarmingly thin in their frontcourt. As we've written in this space, this will be an issue as long as the roster stands as currently constructed. (They've got to get JO off that Southlake couch!)
For now, minutes for Villanueva seem inevitable and fortunately he is delivering on the opportunity. Considering the limited—sometimes-nonexistent—effectiveness of Greg Smith, Villanueva will get plenty of minutes backing up Nowitzki and spot minutes here and there at backup center.
Against the Lakers he scored 13 points off of 5-9 shooting to go along with three rebounds and four blocked shots in just under 21 minutes. At one point in the fourth quarter he scored 10 straight points. The opportunity at playing time is an obvious factor in his emergence, but don’t undervalue how Rondo factors into the equation. A great passing point guard getting used to his teammates can always rely on a great spot up shooter and Rondo has been able to find Villanueva in situations that Jameer Nelson, and even Monta, could never execute.
Did we say "great shooter''? Parsons says Charlie V "might be the best shooter on the roster." And at the very least, Villanueva has earned from Rick Carlisle the highest praise the man can give: "He's a pro,'' Rick said.
Oh, speaking of pros: Call Apple Moving DFW, the very best in the business, when you need a mover. all 'em. And tell 'em DB.com sent you!
The Oklahoma City Thunder were demolished by injuries early in the season and as a result found themselves near the bottom of the standings for a brief time. In a historically crowded Western Conference, that would be a death knell to most teams. But the Thunder have two of the best players in the NBA and are gunning for their spot amongst the best teams in the West.
Sunday night in a 6:30 tip the Thunder will have a chance to pull to .500 and inch closer to the playoff picture. It’s unclear whether Kevin Durant will suit up against Dallas as he recovers from an ankle injury, but the Thunder are a handful without him.
This season, Dallas has struggled keeping quick, athletic guards from getting into the paint and carving up the Mavericks’ defense. There are a lot of guards who can expose a defense like that, but the damage that Westbrook could inflict on such incompetence is on a nightmare level. The addition of Rondo’s active defense is an upgrade in this regard for the Mavericks in the long term, but when it comes to defending Westbrook, Rondo, we fear, will help the same way a spoon might help draining a swimming pool. Unlike the Lakers – and many of the teams the Mavericks have defeated this season—the Thunder will eventually be right alongside Dallas in the standings soon enough. The importance of each head-to-head matchup goes well beyond a potential playoff preview. ... and this isn't just Rondo vs. Westbrook. Because ultimately, that won't be enough.
Sunday’s game will be Rick Carlisle’s 1000th career game. Only 25 coaches have coached more games in the NBA and only two active coaches — Greg Popovich and Doc Rivers — are ahead of him on that list.
It is a remarkable feat and a showcase of Carlisle’s effectiveness as a strategist and a developer of talent. He is unique in that he is often overlooked in conversations about the best coaches in the NBA, yet is universally respected in NBA circles.
It’s hard to find a profession that is more routinely scrutinized and second-guessed than NBA coach. Ask any water cooler break room, sports bar, or Twitter feed owner and you’ll get an earful about the deficiencies of most NBA coaches. It’s hard to find anyone who will stand on a soapbox and argue against Carlisle as a great NBA coach. We don’t think that’s why he has lasted 1000 games and counting; it’s just one of the results of it.
"I'm honored to play with a guy like Dirk. ... To see Dirk put in the hard work on days off is fun to be around.'' -- Rajon Rondo.
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