DONUT 1 - THE TOP STORY, ‘THE TERRY BOMB': The NBA highlights package only tells part of the story, of course ...
Before the game clock had begun to tick down, the top story was once again the decision to keep Jason Kidd on the bench in chase of further rest. With 9:53 to play in the second quarter, focus quickly shifted to Jason Terry.
Moments after a pass from JJ Barea arrived slightly behind Terry, resulting in a turnover and a layup for Eric Gordon, Carlisle called timeout with his team down 39-25. In an instant, the top story shifted its gaze from stated team priorities to the Jet.
Terry could be seen aggressively getting in the face of JJ Barea, and would eventually be thrown out of the team huddle by Carlisle, leading to Mark Cuban playing peacemaker and restraining the Jet.
Terry would not see the court again, and was slow to join the rest of his teammates at the beginning of the second half.
After the game, countless questions were directed at what took place with Terry, and mostly only dead ends were found as they led to either silence or a change of subject.
"It's an internal matter and it's going to remain an internal matter." Carlisle said of the incident.
His players fell in line and comments were few and far between, and without depth.
Carlisle opened his post-game press conference with a statement on Terry:
"It is an internal matter. This is an emotional game, and it's a very compelling game, because in our league, guys don't wear baseball hats, and fans aren't seated 30 yards from the field, guys aren't wearing helmets or facemasks. Emotions run high and things happen. I'm going to leave it at that. He's an important guy to our team. I was considering giving him a nice night off going forward, but I think tonight will be his night off."
DONUT 2 – A VETERAN'S ‘NIGHT OFF': So no more "rest'' for Jet. Moments later, Carlisle would confirm that the decision to give Terry his "night off" was made at the moment of the "incident."
Terry played a total of 7:54 and did not score, missing his lone field-goal attempt.
Said Jet: "It's nothing at all, just supporting my teammates in a great game,'' Terry said afterwards in a FS Southwest visit, having hardly broken a sweat. "(Carlisle) said, ‘Get some rest, get back there on Sunday.''
DONUT 3 – INSPIRATION OUR BUTTS: So Jet's outburst was a fire-up wake-up call for his teammates? They really turned it on following his implosion? Baloney. Let's not grasp at positive straws here. There are too many times when Dallas doesn't look like it has a plan at all. But we do know that Carlisle has a specific plan for Jet to keep a lid on his angry passion.
And we also know that Jet sort of laughs off the dictum from the coach. On Friday, when we were discussing the tech in the Denver game (and Rick's objection to it), Jet said, "Hey, it worked for me. Made me feel good. Got my point across.''
There is nothing inspiring about any of this.
Worth noting: Jet is dealing with the passing of his aunt. He deserves some emotional elbow room. But as we often say, emotion can be properly channeled. And that didn't happen here.
DONUT 4 – FREE COREY B?!: If not for the "incident" with Jason Terry, Corey Brewer would have been the biggest name on the marquee.
"(Brewer) was incredible tonight," Tyson Chandler said, and pretty much summed up the feelings of all who witnessed the performance of the newest Mav.
For the second time in his brief Dallas career, Brewer got the start, this time at shooting guard and paid immediate dividends, scoring the Mavs first six points and 10 of the 19 Dallas would total in the quarter.
Brewer's relentless energy … honestly, we've never noticed a player go into all-out-sprint mode more often than Corey against the Clippers, even in the final 20 seconds of a decided game, when he raced to tip a ball away from Blake Griffin on a breakaway … changed the game. You can see it in the stats, but it resonated deeper than that.
His hustle bled beyond the boxscore and manifested itself in every aspect of what the Mavs were trying to accomplish. He tipped balls, he made steals, he nailed shots, and he provided the vigor this team has lacked at times. This was a game Brewer's presence dominated.
You may dismiss some of the praise you'll find for Brewer as hyperbole, and perhaps there will be some, but it's hard to oversell just how well he performed.
"It's been a good turn around for me." Brewer said. "I haven't been active for awhile, but coach gave me a chance and I just tried doing whatever I can to help the team."
Quite a turn around, indeed, from nearing the point of ghost status, to 33 points over two nights.
DONUT 5 – RODDY B'S BLOWN SHOT: With the diminishing returns from Roddy Beaubois, who has struggled mightily to carry the point guard position in Jason Kidd's absence, Brewer may have just ignited a fan-grown controversy over who deserves minutes … perhaps even who deserves to start at shooting guard.
Or, if you prefer a response to understatement than hyperbole, we have this from Rick Carlisle:
"He's making a strong case for being active …"
Brewer finished with 20 points, besting his previous high in scoring as a Mav by the half, six rebounds, including five at the offensive end, four steals and one block.
Roddy B, meanwhile, again looked overmatched as the starting 1.
DONUT 6 – SO DO YOU START BREWER?: Slow down there, son. If you start Brewer at the 2, your offensive weaponry is diminished. So maybe you have to start Peja (allowed to do nothing here until the fourth quarter, when he bombarded LAC with all of his 10 points) at the 3. And then you've got Marion feeling rag-dolled again …
We continue to insist that these are NOT always "good problems to have.''
DONUT 7 - DO THEY WANT NO. 3 OR NOT?: "We want to win, but we don't have to," Mark Cuban said before the game.
With meaningful playoff seeding seemingly decided, in respects to Dallas, in the wake of the loss last week to the Lakers, we've now heard both owner and coach label the team's highest priorities for the remaining regular-season games, and "winning" topped neither list.
The two seed is essentially out of reach, though not mathematically entering Friday night's game (Dallas entered two losses behind the Lakers with four to play, and the LA loss Friday sliced that down to one game), and with Dallas viewing little difference between the third and fourth slots … those priorities are to find rest where needed and get healthy.
Of course, to heck with worrying about No. 4. Maybe they should start eying the No. 2 seed …
By their own words, and the goals they have shared, the Mavericks have no fear for their possible first-round opponents, nor have they expressed any preference. Read into it what you will, but we find no qualms with these agenda.
But, taking that into account, one is left to wonder why Dirk Nowitzki played almost 38 minutes and remained in the game down the stretch.
Perhaps they didn't have to win, but once the win inched close enough to cage, they decided not to risk its escape?
DONUT 8 – FIRST-QUARTER DOLDRUMS: For the first quarter, Dallas played like a team well aware of the above priorities … playing like they wouldn't mind a win, but weren't willing to fully exert themselves in pursuit of it.
For the period hit only 6-of-22 shots (27.3 percent), handed out as many turnovers (4) as assists, got down by as many as 16 points, and were almost completely absent outside of Corey Brewer and Tyson Chandler.
To state it calmly, things were ugly.
DONUT 9 – BUT THEN CAME A THREE-QUARTER BLOWOUT: After the first quarter, Dallas began to find their footing at both ends of the floor.
The defense began to perform as a unit, which in turn began to create easy offense. After being outscored 35-19 in the opening quarter, Dallas would outscore the Clippers by 27 the rest of the way, 88-61.
DONUT 10 – JJB AS THE ‘CALMING POINT GUARD': In their three previous meetings, all Dallas wins, JJ Barea averaged 17.3 points per game against the Clippers this season, including his second (25 points) and third (22 points) highest outputs of the year.
He wouldn't quite match those totals, but Barea acted as the calming hand at the point guard position … though his six turnovers may tempt other ideas.
Barea finished with 15 points, five assists, four rebounds (three of which came at the offensive end) and one steal.
DONUT 11 – SUNS IN SUNDAY NIGHT: DB.com will have Fish on the FS Southwest "Mavs Live'' pregame show on TV, which starts at 6. And very soon, for sale in the Fan Shops at the AAC and elsewhere, DB.com T-shirts! Not only TAKE THAT WIT CHEW! But also REUNION ROWDIES! Or, you can get yours right now in the DB.com Store!
DONUT 12 – THE FINAL WORD, MORE JJB CALM: "Nothing really happened . . . (Jason Terry) is my boy, my favorite teammate since I got here . . . Heat of the moment, nothing big." -Jose Juan Barea