DONUT 1: Giving Chase?
There is a bunching at the bottom of the East "contenders'' with Charlotte, Chicago, Indiana and Detroit all right at the same level from six to nine. Do you wish to finish No. 8 and oppose the Cavs in Round 1? I'm still a fan of the "Get Into The Tournament'' philosophy but understand the trepidation.
And in the West? Dallas is part of the same sort of bunching at 6 ... but it's interested to watch as Houston and Utah -- two teams that in different ways are thought to have better rosters than the Mavs -- fail to take ownership of No. 8 in the West. The two teams combined have lost five straight, Houston despite having its "Big 2'' (hard to work well together when each guy thinks he's the Assistant GM and is trying to trade away the other guy) and Utah despite having a young roster than you might rather have than Dallas' not-fully-healthy one.
Tonight for 32-28 Dallas? Another have-not in town in the Magic ... though the Mavs don't need to possess very long memories to contemplate the threat here.
DONUT 2: Magic At Mavs
The Mavericks have won three of four to begin this season-high six-game homestand and therefore remain locked with Portland (another "better-than-Dallas-rosters-because-its-young'' clubs) for sixth in the Western Conference. You'd think the streak would continue against 26-32 Orlando, especially with a defense porous enough to be allowing 113 points per since the All-Star break. But in Dallas' recent meeting in Orlando, the Mavs fell behind by 21 before forcing OT and then bowing out in a 110-104 loss on Feb. 19.
The Magic can score the ball. They just beat Philly, 130-116, in a game in which the Magic had 77 first-half points. Victor Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic (averaging 23.3 points per over his last eight) are among the weapons, as Dallas knows; Vucevic totaled 21 points with 13 rebounds in the aforementioned meeting.
And yes, a Mavs-Magic sidebar is the fact that Orlando is Chandler Parsons' hometown team. And CP has a shot at free agency this summer. And he is a $21.1-mil player in the summer of 2016 and the Mavs always knew this and other coming bidders (including Orlando) knew the same and I'll leave it to DB.com's David Lord to put a punctuation mark on this, here:
DONUT 3: The Dirkburger
Dirk is a Dork.
And I mean that in the nicest way.
His willingness to play along with the promotion of a food item to be sold this month at the AAC is a marketer's dream. Oh, and a chef's dream, too, as he spent a moment on Monday gobbling up the $12 "Dirkburger'' for the benefit of the media (and for the benefit of concession sales).
And does he just eat the burger? No. He wears the chef's costume and issues goofy statements like, "The way I was moving in the second half (on Sunday in the win over Minnesota), you'd think I had one at halftime.''
There's really only one glitch here, and I'm not going to let go of this: The proper name for this 1/3-pound monstrosity should've been "The Würzburger.'' And on the logo, the two dots of the umlaut would be cute little hamburgers.
DONUT 4: Grumpy Old Men
Why do old men do this?
No, Phil, Abdul-Rauf does not pop into my mind when I watch Curry. I don't find one reminiscent of the other. I don't think I'm "seeing'' Abdul-Rauf when I "see" Steph. They are scoring point guards and they both have four limbs and that's really about all that ties the two together. The statistical comparisons do not hold up. Not in any way. And therefore the comparison comes off as a continuation of the grumblings of grumpy old men like Mark Jackson, Oscar Robertson and now Phil Jackzen and Kareem as it relates to "One-Trick Pony'' Dirk.
At its core, this is that "Back In My Day'' thing that your grandfather used to pull on you when you complained about having to walk to school and he'd note that "Back In My Day'' he walked to school, in the snow, uphill, both ways, and had to carry his little sister to school on his shoulders because his parents could only afford shoes for one of them.
Curry -- athletic and bigger than he looks on TV -- would've been a shotmaker in Oscar's day. Dirk -- in his younger days quicker and now still tougher than he appears by reputation -- would've been a shotmaker in Kareem's day.
And Phil sounds like an old coot who the game has passed by, an unfortunate thing for the Knicks, because unlike Kareem and Oscar, Phil is actual still in charge of a team in 2016.
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! ... and to Frisco, where the Texas Legends are vying for a D-League playoff berth. back home.
By the way, RJ Choppy and I will have the Texas Legends telecast on Tuesday, March 8 -- and the whole thing will be seen on ESPNU. Might be a great night to get an affordable ticket, come see us, and get your lovely face on TV!
DONUT 6: Quotable
"I know we have Presidential candidates vowing to 'Make America Great,' but maybe first we should 'Make Presidential Candidates Great.'' - Me.
DONUT 7: Our Friendly Sponsors
We can't do what we do without the support and friendship we get from the good people at LS Wealth Strategies, The Maverick Bar and PM Standley Motorcars. Get to know 'em - click or call or swing in - and you'll benefit from their friendship as well!
Oh, and if you'd like to join me and Jason Standley in a Dallas Stars suite with a handful of your friends on Saturday, March 19, jump onto Twitter with me at @FishSports and get signed up!
DONUT 8: Coach LeBron
This cannot possibly be what it appears to be, right?
There is nothing inherently wrong with LeBron James being the floor leader here, or the overall leader, or even the de-facto coach. I mean, it doesn't matter who does it as long as somebody does it. And it's not some sort of "revolt'' on the part of the superstar over his coach, Tyronn Lue, because ... well, LeBron is the guy who helped Tyronn Lue become the Cavs head coach after LeBron helped David Blatt no longer be the coach.
But it looks -- in this tiny snippet -- as if Lue is letting go of the reins, or that he knows that if he grabs 'em, LeBron will just tug them from his grip.
Maybe LeBron should get credit for not shying away from responsibility. Or maybe Lue is just ... shy.
DONUT 9: Stat O' The Day
The Mavs take off their collective hats to Steph Curry from the arc (and way beyond it). At the same time, the NBA's most successful 3-point-shooting team over the course of February was ... Dallas.
Since Feb. 6, Dallas has averaged league-highs of 13 made 3s and 33.6 attempted 3's. It's come within the framework of Rick Carlisle's "flow'' offense and it's come in large part due to the blossoming of Chandler Parsons, who tells us here he's playing his "best basketball ever'' during this run.
DONUT 10: Slam-Dunk Owners
Here's Clippers owner Steve Ballmer (encouraged by his team's new mascot, which is a condor) slamming it home, suggesting the next logical evolutionary step in NBA ownership/entertainment.
What say you, Mark Cuban? An NBA Owners Trampoline Slam-Dunk Contest?
DONUT 11: A New Court?
The Mavs crowdsourced their uniform design a couple of years ago and we came away with the "Skylines.'' Now Mark Cuban is doing the same thing with an eventual re-design of the court at the AAC. You can get your entry up and runnin' here ...
Or you can just do as this MFFL did and try to catch the owner's attention by re-naming the whole place, "The Cube.'' Nice.
DONUT 12: The Final Word
"We can't fall in love with ourselves." - Carlisle, cautioning his team to not give itself too much credit for wins vs. lotto teams.