Mavs Donuts: Hour-To-Hour, Whistle-To-Whistle
MAVS Donuts today presented by the gang at Red Rock Bar & Grill, our North Dallas hangout for sports and live music.
Let's meet at Red Rock this week to watch the Mavs and March Madness!
Remember last year, during the Mavs' stretch run, coach Rick Carlisle talked about every game being "a Super Bowl''?
There are only so many bullets for a coach to fire in an NBA season -- "bullets'' meaning major-event pep-talk'y tantrums meant to inspire a team. Do it too often, it starting ringing with emptiness. Nellie is the guy who came up with the number "six'' and I think Carlisle probably adheres to that.
I believe Rick fired one of those bullets at halftime in Phoenix ... and it still didn't work well enough, as we chronicle here. I believe that "10 mini-Super Bowls'' cannot be the inspirational bullet fired for this year's stretch run, because that bullet is already out of the chamber from a season ago. So, how about this:
"Every team for the next week-and-a-half is just really good and playing for something important,'' Carlisle said. "We’ve got to go day-to-day, hour-to-hour, whistle-to-whistle and keep doing it together. That’s the only way.”
That's not a "bullet,'' exactly. Nor it is a tantrum. But it's a mantra and it's a fact and a big part of what this highly talented team needs to do in the final 10 games is ... live by the mantra.
TMZ has the story of Richard Jefferson spending $700 for a $25 cap to give to Chandler Parsons while the fellas were hanging out in a bar.
There's your team-chemistry solver, right there. Somebody go buy Monta Ellis and Rajon Rondo a cheetah-print ballcap!
We keep pushing for Monta to be allowed to "take over.'' Of course, there are only so many sets of "keys to the car.'' Rondo needs that control ... but. Nowitzki should be a centerpiece, but in Phoenix, Dirk barely touched the ball in the fourth quarter. So there's that "but.'' Hey, shouldn't CP be a "go-through'' closer? But ... And what about Monta?
As we review the win over the Spurs we note that Dallas reverted to this formula "Let Monta take over the third quarter.''
In his 16 November games, Monta’s third quarters were looking like magic, shooting 52.4 percent from the field and 40 percent from three while scoring 7.3 points per frame. The Mavericks drifted away from this formula ... but the third-quarter savagery returned Tuesday with 13 points on 6-of 9-shooting and three assists. When all was done, Monta had 38 points on 16-of-27 shooting with 23 second-half points.
Dallas needs to find a way for there to be "enough balls to go around.'' It should be a "good problem to have'' ... But it can be a little problematic if Monta shoots poorly, feels mis-used, or turns dour during periods of struggle.
Our Mike Marshall does the homework here on Dallas as a team that, as he puts it, "doesn’t do the whole points-in-the-paint thing.'' The Mavs are 20th in the NBA in this category, with an average of 41.3 points per.
But maybe it's in there, somewhere. The Mavs scored half of their total points (52 of 101) from inside, hit 26 of 45 shots taken from the paint and were a nifty +14 from what the Spurs produced in the paint.
Is that repeatable Friday when Dallas plays at San Antonio in a 7:30 start? (Oh, by the way, I'll be part of the "MAVS Live'' pregame show at 7 on FOX Sports Southwest.)
Dallas is 45-27, in seventh, a half-game out of San Antonio's sixth-place slot. It seems imperative for the Mavs to climb, especially when you consider that No. 7 in the West probably gives you a matchup with the No. 2 Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs, while No. 6 gives you Houston ... and with no disrespect to the Rockets, Beverly is hurt and Dwight is wobbly and Rondo might just be able to guard Harden and Rick is highly unlikely to be outcoached by his old pal McHale.
Heck, maybe the chance to avoid Memphis and the opportunity available against Houston might be a more powerful inspiration than all the bullets, mantras and cheetah-print hats in the world.
Kevin Hart is now recognized as one of the funniest guys in show biz. But early in his career, as he was trying to make his mark with a tryout for "Saturday Night Live,'' he made a terribly odd career choice.
Ah, the ol' "Avery Johnson imitation.'' Universally funny! Works every time!
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Mavs Nation pokes fun at Raymond Felton, for a variety of reasons. But when Dallas acquired him as a throw-in in the TY trade, team officials talked about how it would take a deep bench made up of guys like Felton to get them through the 82-game season. And here he is, pitching in in the comeback try at Phoenix and providing a spark in the win over the Spurs in which he was a +10 in eight minutes.
"The whole (comeback on Tuesday) started when Felton went in the game,'' Rick said. "He started picking up full-court and applying pressure. It started a chain reaction; we just picked up our energy and we carried it forward. That’s what you have to do.''
“He’s been a massive factor around here for close to 20 years. The great thing about him is it’s not all about the scoring or all about the shooting. He has a presence and he’s a winner to the highest extreme. He finds ways to help our team win games. 10,000 rebounds – that’s a lot.” - Carlisle on On Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks contributions.
It's all inspirational enough for you to want to "Shut Up And Dance With Dirk.''
Mike Marshall started this. Tim MacMahon is now all over it. Eddie Sefko, Marc Stein, David Lord and yours truly have, over the course of the last two weeks, investigated it, reflected on it, reported it.
We all get to have our opinions of the Mavs' locker-room situation based on our own general senses of the league and its teams and our general senses of how workplace conflicts play out. But one thing goes forever unchanged, and I hope we've made this extremely clear throughout our coverage of Rondo and Monta and CP and all the rest of the moves and the moods:
The answer to the question of "where the Mavs go from here?'' is all about what they do in the playoffs. That is the goal, that will be the collection of defining moments, that will be where reputations are made and new contracts are earned, and maybe, just maybe, ruffled feathers are smoothed.
We are all in a hurry to express our views on our premature judgements. But this team deserves the right to be judged only after Judgement Day. And Judgement Day simply isn't here yet.
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“We just can’t rely on guys scoring; we just can’t rely on making shots. We have to get the 50/50 balls and we struggled with that early in the game and that’s why we got down so much. We have to make the hustle plays, we have to take charges, get offensive rebounds and do all of those little things. We’ve got to get stops and get out in transition. ... We’ve got to do that throughout these last 10 games and we have to really do that again Friday night in San Antonio because it’s going to be another dog fight.” - Chandler Parsons.
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