DONUT 1: The Stunner
The Dallas Mavericks stunned the NBA world with a 118-108 win in Wednesday night’s much-anticipated first home showdown with their newly-minted chief nemesis, the Los Angeles Clippers. Playing without Chandler Parsons in their second game of a 4-in-5 night stretch, Dallas built a 14-point lead at 84-70 in the third quarter before the Clippers ultimately tied the game up at 94-94. In what was widely expected to be an easy win for the Clippers, the Mavs flipped the script on their new rivals behind 56 combined points from Wes Matthews and Dirk Nowitzki on 20-of-27 shooting … and showed Mavs’ fans what they can be when they finally click offensively.
“It was great,” Nowitzki said. “It was a lot of hype in the air, as expected, and it was a fun game against a great, deep team. It was just going back and forth. And then there in the fourth, it was almost a playoff atmosphere. It was fun to be a part of, for sure.”
It was great. And can be again. Unless ... this all happened in a vacuum of sorts.
DONUT 2: The scourge of Deandre
As expected, DeAndre Jordan was met with a resounding chorus of boos whenever he touched the ball on Wednesday night whether it was in pre-game warmups or during the actual game. It’s clear a lot of Mavs fans were saving their energy for this very game … and for that very reason (which, in and of itself, is slightly disturbing). Four months after The Indecision, the Mavs are in the same position they were on that fateful July night; searching for ways to win with whomever is on the floor.
While we are learning new lessons about these Mavs, we've re-learned the lesson about DFW fans: This is not a "vicious'' crowd. The hooting of DeAndre was sincere, but it was also fun. And innocent, in comparison to the beer-bottle-throwing reactions of some fan bases.
Did it impact Jordan, though?
"I thought it was going to be a lot worse, honestly," he said. "But it was cool. ... They’re obviously going to boo and heckle a little bit, but I thought it was going to be a lot worse.''
If DeAndre is trying to suggest that the scene didn't crawl inside his head a little bit ... He's lying. Again.
DONUT 3: Channeling Popovich
In the midst of its only four-games-in-five-nights stretch, Rick Carlisle channeled his cohort down south by holding out a key figure in Chandler Parsons as the Mavs seek to stay fresh during a trying time in their schedule. Parsons had expressed frustration recently with his minutes limit due to the recovery process involved with his surgically repaired knee, but he got a nice view from the seats on Tuesday night, dressed in The Joker-purple … and did not participate in the booing.
Until after the game, when he said: "(Jordan)'s not a priority to us, and by the looks of their team, he's not to them, either."
DONUT 4: Skyline Jerseys
Amid all the hubbub of booing DeAndre Jordan profusely was the debut of the Mavs new skyline-themed jerseys … with an outline of Big D across the front. The design was a fan submission and the Mavs wore it well … in stark contrast with the Clippers' new red design with an unreadable logo that they broke out on Wednesday night.
We here at DB.com approve of the new duds … and hope to see them again soon. ... though we wish the NBA mandated that one team wear dark uniforms and the other light uniforms.
DONUT 5: The rise of Simba
Given the Mavs' injury situation and Parsons’ minutes limit, there’s been opportunity of late for the Mavs’ much-touted rookie, Justin Anderson, to get some run at the 3 spot. He put in valuable minutes in the first half as Dallas fought back from an early hole … and showed off the range that the Mavs hope he can continue to improve upon. While it’s clear he still looks like a puppy let out of a cage sometimes … Simba continues to improve when given the opportunity.
And how about that block in the closing seconds?
Coach Rick Carlisle suggested the rookie is about to climb the rotation ladder. We're in favor.
DONUT 6: Warrior Wes
Instead of DeAndre, the Mavs’ biggest offseason acquisition was the former Portland shooting guard, torn Achilles and all. While he is putting to rest more doubters each day about his health, he is also consistently proving to be a guy who can be the heart and soul of the Mavs in the future. His seven-point burst to start the game, almost exclusively on post-ups, got the crowd into it early in lieu of the boo-fest whenever Jordan touched the ball. Matthews’ impact, whether he’s scoring, shooting arrows or what have you, is becoming more evident with each game. He put in his best effort of the young season so far on Wednesday night with 25 points and stellar defense on Chris Paul.
Now, Wes' work followed up a Tuesday night loss at New Orleans in which he was most certainly not at his best. But the ups and downs are OK in large part because he's already a leader and a rallying point for this team. Witness his post-Tuesday texting with Dirk about "stepping up'' for the Clippers game, witness Dirk noting that he's called an "iron man'' for a reason, and witness the way Matthews accepts the plaudits with grace.
“We played well, and we needed that,'' Wes said. :That’s not easy to do against a team like that, coming off a back-to-back. After playing the way that we did in New Orleans, we humbled ourselves.''
DONUT 7: Quoteboard
DONUT 8: Guards posting up
An underrated part of Deron Williams’ and Wesley Matthews’ games is their ability to post other guards up because of their size (Matthews is 6’5, 240 and D-Will is 6’3, 210). Matthews had his aforementioned slew of post-ups in the first half to start the game off and added a few more in the third quarter against the much-smaller Chris Paul (he was guarded by Lance Stephenson in the first quarter). Williams also scored on several post-ups against Paul in the third quarter.
It’ll be interesting to see how this particular aspect of the two guards’ games fits into Dallas’ offense going forward. ... but the ability to muscle a little bit on offense is slightly reminiscent of some of the things J-Kidd once did here. And "SmallBall'' doesn't have to be all that small.
DONUT 9: JVG and The LCD
From Fish, regarding ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy attempting to draw some odd parallel with Mavs fans who don't like DeAndre and Cowboys fans who allow themselves to root for their football team even as it employs Greg Hardy:
All of this was much too much for Jeff Van Gundy, in town with ESPN to telecast the game to a nation that absolutely wanted to see Dirk and DeAndre and Doc and Cuban all yelling at one another ...
And Van Gundy amatuerishly whacked his network-sized stick against the hornet's nest by opening the show by pondering how the same DFW fans who boo DeAndre Jordan can live with themselves cheering the Cowboys' Greg Hardy.
This is a remarkably juvenile attempt at trolling, and yet it took hold on Twitter (where you can find Fish here and Galatzan here) with the poor LCD fans enthusiastically raising their metaphoric pitchfolks.
DONUT 10: Stay in Touch!
Come find DB.com on Facebook and on DB.com Boards ... check out the news archives for anything you've missed ... and come hang out with the neighborhood for Mavs on TV (and college football, and Stars and Cowboys and the NFL) at The Maverick Bar!
DONUT 11: Vintage Dirk
At 37 years of age, Dirk can still throw in some ice-water-in-his-veins performances … and he has a knack for saving them for Dallas’ biggest games.
With 6:08 left in the third quarter, Dirk hit his second 3 directly in the face of DeAndre Jordan to bring his point total to 21 (on 8-of-9 shooting) and gave the Mavs an eight-point lead at the time to lead all scorers. It only got better from there. His banked-in 3 pointer with 1:05 left gave Dallas a 113-108 lead … and gave him 31 points.
As Coop points out, "since starting the game 1-7 in New Orleans, Dirk has hit 17-20 from floor. And he's not shooting layups or dunking.''
As we say often here at DB.com, enjoy these while you still can. This treat will not last forever. Let yourself be spoiled by it, but don't take it for granted.
DONUT 12: The Final Word
To the aforementioned issue of a "vacuum'': We worry that asking the Mavs to reach this level of intensity and performance on a regular basis is asking too much because of what fueled the intensity and the performance. In other words, it's easy to get cranked up for a nationally-televised game against a "hated'' foe ... but can you do it again Friday at home against the Lakers (in a 7 p.m. start) and can you do it on the second night of another back-to-back Saturday at Houston (plenty hate-worthiness there, too)?
Or ... does this accomplishment and move to 4-4 mean Dallas is veteran enough, savvy enough and talented enough to win in a pressure cooker?
Aw, maybe we should just enjoy and not overanalyze and just enjoy, right down to the Mavs' Twitter account closing tweet, which is snarky without even having been written by Fish.