DONUT 1: The Playoff Chase
We've started the week off right with a Mavs Playoff Chase analysis you can read here on DB.com.
The bad news: Of all the playoff contenders in the West, nobody stumbled into the All-Star Break quite like the Mavs did, as they closed at 4-6.
The good news: The next two games on the schedule as 29-26 Dallas comes off the break and launches into its final 27 games are against Orlando and ...., a pair of on-paper opportunities to springboard back in the right, playoff-bound direction.
DONUT 2: Too Much Of A Good Thing?
Final score, Wes 196, East 173, and the TV ratings suggest you liked Sunday night's All-Star Game. Or maybe you just liked saying goodbye to Kobe.
Viewership for this year’s event was at its highest level in three years, with 7.6 million viewers on average, up, six percent over a year ago. That ridiculous final score -- not really representative of actual basketball in many ways -- isn't my asthetic cup of tea. But to draw that sort of audience on Valentine's Day and opposite the "Walking Dead'' premiere? That's a reflection of the popularity of the sport, even if the drama of the Black Mamba skews the numbers a bit.
DONUT 3: All-Star Mavs
Dirk got his rest. Dwight Powell got his spotlight. And Jeremy Evans got out his sketchpad.
We've got a review of All-Star Weekend here, from a Mavs perspective, and yes, Jeremy Evans, I am ready to propose to you a Draw-Off. LET'S DO IT IN INK, SIR!
Also, a trio of Texas Legends played in the D-League All-Star Game, and the Legends will be back home for games on Friday and Saturday (I'll have the TV call with R.J. Choppy on Channel 47.) Catch up with the D-League goods here.
DONUT 4: The Goal: Clippers?
A year ago, DB.com (and privately, the Mavs, too) wrote of how the Rockets would be Dallas' best bet for a first-round playoff matchup. Some took offense to that, and Houston ended up blowing the Mavs out of the gym (maybe in part to Parsons having a bad knee and Rondo having a missing spine.)
But ... here we go again: Maybe this year's best bet for a first-round playoff matchup for Dallas is ... the Los Angeles Clippers.
No offense intended. No bulletin-board material provided ... Well, yet. Because we're working on the specifics of such a matchup.
DONUT 5: Stay in Touch!
We're on the beat 24/7, as you can see by hanging out with us on DB.com Boards (membership is free!), or here on Facebook, or on Twitter, where you can get me at @FishSports. And if you wish to become a Mavs Premium member? Please look into the 7-day free membership and then the 10-cents-a-day deal ... it's just a dime to you but it pays for my gas money to the AAC!
DONUT 6: Quotable
"I like the team. In fact, I love the team. - Rick Carlisle, on his Mavs entering the break.
DONUT 7: Our Friendly Sponsors
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DONUT 8: Parsons Key - Now And Later
Chandler Parsons went into the break playing some of "the best basketball of my life,'' he says, and he's right. This has become a fine fit under Rick Carlisle as the coach needs a "Grind-and-Flow'' guy who works both ends of the floor (see Jonny Auping's fine analysis here) ... and now the only remaining issue is the "financial fit.''
We've got the exclusive breakdown of the Parsons Summer of 2016 options, which include him using the tools to get himself a raise to a contract that starts at $21.1 million. Mavs Premium ... best-in-business stuff here.
DONUT 9: More Parsons Fun
Great minds think alike ... but so do delusional minds, so when ESPN Insider offers up a Melo-for-Parsons trade, we can't help but think back to Oct. 1, when we first did the same thing. Here, our thinking at the time ... With an update and a reminder (that I assume ESPN is also offering "inside'') that this is purely fun, fantasy stuff ...
DONUT 10: Trade Deadline
We really do think Dwight Howard's name will be thrown around in a serious way at the Feb. 28 deadline approaches. (Boston? Miami?) But we have it on the very best authority that as of the weekend, Dallas hadn't even made a Dwight-related phone call. If you are looking for Mavs transaction action, you should look here. ... and if you want Dallas' views on Andrea Bargnani, a possible buyout guy in Brooklyn, DB.com has that exclusive nugget here.
DONUT 11: Kobe's Story
Kobe Bryant charmed the All-Star masses with tales of his attempts to lure Dirk out of Big D and into LA. Bean's argument is that they are cut from the same cloth, "loyal'' and stuff. (I don't see it, but history will say it is so because both men stayed with one team their entire careers, so they must be "the same.'' Oh well.)
Here's the link to the story ... but I must tell you, I didn't waste much time on it because I already know how the story ends. I didn't waste time, but Kobe did waste a dime. To me, this is like Al Capone trying to corrupt Eliot Ness and "The Untouchables.''
DONUT 12: The Final Word
"He's still as tough to game-plan for as anybody. He's a terrific competitor and arguably the best pure shooter we've seen. He worked himself into position where he was impossible to defend. And he's still pretty much the same." - San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich on Dirk.