Mavs Suns Mexico Donuts: 'It'll Be A Close Game.' (Arrgh.)

Mavs vs. Suns In Mexico Donuts: 'It'll Be A Close Game,' Says Rick, To Which I Respond: 'Arrgh.'


The NBA returns to Mexico City tonight as the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns duel for ... well, who is less crummy than whom.


For the moment, though, let's allow coach Rick Carlisle to kick off the festivities with some ambassadorship.

“We’re very much looking forward to this experience,”  Carlisle says. “The people are delightful. The arena is beautiful.''



This is the 25th anniversary of NBA games being played in Mexico City. The Mavericks were involved in the first go-round, with the Houston Rockets, for a preseason game back in 1992.

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So the atmosphere for the 9 p.m. (FSSW) tip will be festive. And the game, featuring the teams with the two worst records in the Western Conference, the 12-26 Suns and the 11-27 Mavericks?

"I think,'' Rick says," this will be a close game.”





We at take a great deal of pride in providing nalysis so deep that, if done right, we can tell you what's going to happen before it happens. Case in point: The DeMarcus Cousins "supermax'' plan in Sacramento, which our must-read interpretation of the new CBA helped us tell hopeful Mavs fans what was going to occur way back on Nov. 11.


David Lord's work here is brilliant in every sense, especially this one: Click that link and read that story and you'll have the essence of a blueprint for how the Mavs (and every other team, really) will have to build. And it won't be via big-fish free agency ... which might be a relief to MFFL who have long-observed that Dallas never could build via big-fish free agency, anyway.




As always, management listens to Dirk. Even assuages Dirk. But if you "give time'' to Bogut and Deron, it means you don't trade them by the Feb. 23 deadline. It means that Dirk's motto of "Let 'Er Rip!'' is a path to nowhere in terms of what is best for the franchise. It means a much slower post 2016-17 march back to relevance ... and a march that might not include Dirk, anyway.
Here's the rock and hard place, the catch-22 place, that Dirk's pride puts you in:
If you continue to allow Assistant GM Dirk to call shots as to the direction of the franchise, and you therefore absolutely refuse to even consider the embrace of just one more half-season of Organic-Tanking pain, you stay bad ... and Nowitzki is tempted to retire sooner than he might otherwise, because "bad'' isn't "fun.''
If, on the other hand, you decide that Dirk's powerful voice be silenced here, that he's going to have to endure some down times in order to accelerate more good times ... Nowitzki might be temped to retire sooner than he might otherwise, because ... well, again, "bad'' isn't "fun.''




Is there any question that Andrew Bogut is a team-first guy? Not to me, there isn't.
Yet ...
It's a tough trick: Be competitive while admitting you're not ... competitive? 
DONUT 5: Locked On Mavs Podcast - This Bad?

After gifting the Suns and T-Wolves their 12th wins of the season in the last week maybe the Mavs are the worst team in the West when fully healthy.




Let's discuss.


Former NBA forward Lamar Odom -- one of the symbols of everything that is wrong with the post-title Mavs, a person who is ill physically, mentally and emotionally -- wants to coach in the NBA.

“Lamar would be great,” said Lakers coach Luke Walton as the result of a TMZ story. “Anyone who knows Lamar, when he’s right, he is one of the most likeable people they’ve been around. He has a great knowledge of the game and has a great way of communicating with people.”




I mean, if we're talking about offering help to someone in the form of a job in order to save his life, God bless that. But Luke's answer includes an important disclaimer about the troubled Odom we've come to know: "When he's right.'' 


And he's not. So .. No.

That is, the D-League -- infinitely more "real'' than anything Lamar Odom has been for years.
Mavs rookies AJ Hammons and Nico Brussino joined Pierre Jackson down on the farm on Wednesday night and the Texas Legends moved to 11-9 by recorded a season-high 18 three-pointers in overwhelming the Iowa Energy, 130-123. 


Jackson and Manny Harris are currently 1st and 2nd in league scoring. Jackson led all scorers with 32 points (18 from outside), set a season-high for the team with 13 assists, and added six boards. Harris led the team in rebounds (8) and tallied 27 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals.

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And then there was Mavericks assignee Brussino. He went 6-of-8 from three with that effortless shot to finish with 25 points, and also had three rebounds and three assists.  If you squint just a little bit you can imagine him making those same shots, maybe Peja-like, at the next level as a catch-and-shoot guy.

Hammons came off the bench -- because he was tardy to work, not a good look -- and was good for a game-high five blocks while also adding 13 points and eight rebounds. AJ also fouled out, but this wasn't a lethargic foul-out; his last two whistles came late in the game and were the result of him aggressively denying easy dunks to drivers.


The original plan didn't call for Pierre Jackson to end up back in Frisco. To juggle the dates and the dollars, he was to be released from his two-year deal and then re-signed by Dallas to a 10-day deal. That's likely still coming -- though I'm told that in addition to Dallas, the Cavaliers have been sniffing around the idea of a 10-day for the Baylor product, too. But during this "down time'' (because NBA teams have to wait a week to 10-day the guys they just released, making Pierre's magic day Jan. 14) why not work up a sweat in Frisco?
Pierre will do that again in a home game on Friday. Hammons and Nico are also expected to play for the Legends on Friday. There's another home game on Saturday and we'll keep you posted as to the roster plans there.
From our David Lord, on Rick Carlisle's challenges:
There are a LOT of considerations this season.
*You want minutes for Dirk because he's Dirk (that's undoubtedly going to the top of the list).
*Then you have showcase minutes for veterans to be traded, like Bogut and D-Will and maybe Harris and Matthews as well, though Mark Cuban is denying the Wes trade idea, as he explains in this exclusive.
*Then you have a slew of youngsters who ALL need more minutes to develop. This conversation can be about Justin Anderson ... but about much more than that, too.
*And finally you have to consider what it takes to have a decent roster that allows players to play in an environment with a chance of success. For example, a scrub PG who is constantly shooting and turning the ball over would make the minutes experimenting with him meaningless for everyone else.
(Fish sidebar: I would add the "Organic Tanking''-related issues to this list. But D-Lord continues ...)
That's why Rick gets paid the big bucks, to figure it all out. Certainly none of us can say he's getting it right all the time, but as we debate it all on Boards (with your FREE membership) I can say I suspect the criticisms we come up with are often far too simplistic and miss huge issues that are part of the equation and being factored in.
We certainly don't have to trust blindly the people who are in charge of all these "considerations.'' But we need to keep an open mind to how wide-ranging their considerations might be.

“You never know who’s watching; you never know what kid is going to have a spark in his brain that’s going to push him to try and make it to our league one day. I feel like that’s why the Dirk (Nowitzkis) and Tony Parkers and Pau Gasols and Marc Gasols and all the other foreign players we have, I think it all came from the Barcelona trip back in the (1992) Olympics. A lot of kids watched that, and all of a sudden, years later we had a flood of Europeans. It’s an opportunity for us to showcase.” -- Tyson Chandler of the Suns on the importance of the NBA playing internationally.

Well, there is the matter of what depths Dallas might plunge to here. And you'll excuse my cynicism when I note that recently, despite Dallas' struggles, the Mavs were at least better the Phoenix, having topped the Suns four straight times ... until last week's debacle.
Maybe this game is won on the perimeter. The Mavs and Suns rank last and second to last, respectively, in defending the 3-pointer.
Or maybe this game is won on conditioning. If the high altitude of Denver is an NBA story (and it is, with The Mile High City touting its being 5,200 feet above sea level), then it's a story tonight, as Mexico City sits at 7,200 feet above sea level.
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“I’ve never played a game at this altitude,'' Rick says. "Denver is the highest ... And it’s a big factor there, so it will be an even bigger fact here. We’ll have to substitute a little quicker, use many players and try to get to the fourth quarter with some energy.”

"Hopefully we’ll get a little streak going. We haven’t really played well lately, but I’m excited to be here and promote our game in this nice stadium and nice city. Hopefully we’re going to have some fun.” - Dirk Nowitzki, with more ambassadorship. 

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