The face of the Dallas Mavericks is Dirk, of course. Or Cuban, if you watch "Shark Tank.''
But can we take a moment to recognize part of the backbone, a former "rag-doll,'' the bejeweled prince of "Be Ready''?
No, calling Shawn Marion a "Swiss Army Knife'' isn't as cool as going with "The Matrix.'' But
"Swiss'' or "Trix,'' the results are the same.
Right at the top of your memory bank, you can see him slow Kevin Durant, interrupt the flow of LeBron James, force Kobe Bryant from a hot to a cold streak, frustrate Kevin Garnett, render harmless Ricky Rubio and hang all over LaMarcus Aldridge.
From 4's to 3's ... from centers to point guards ... Rick Carlisle says "Be Ready'' and 'Trix is ready for all of it.
Oh, and when Dirk is out, make some 3's and make those teardrops and do it all without a lot of plays being called for you, will you, 'Trix?
Oh, and one more thing: You broke a finger and screwed up a knee and we're sorry about that, but rub some dirt on it, will you, 'Trix?
Who does Marion guard tonight with LAC in town? It's part of the intrigue. And whatever his assignment, he'll be about as well-equipped to complete it as any player in the NBA.
So, no, Shawn Marion is not the poster guy for the Mavs. But maybe he's the tape that keeps the poster up on the wall.
a) If you look at the West standings, you see that virtually every game represents another at-bat for a potential Murderer's Row candidate ... and Dallas just got done dismissing a trio of them in Denver, Minny and Portland.
OK, maybe it's not a "Murderer's Row.'' But it's a "Maimer's Row.''
b) We are nevertheless taking this notion seriously enough that we are sending DB.com reporter Chuck Perry on the road with the Mavs this weekend! ... That's right, big games and big expense report for Dr. Chuck, who will help us with the Knicks and the Sixers and yes, he'll be visiting with old Mavs friends Tyson Chandler and Jeremy Lin, too.
Oh, and if you need tickets to the game? MavCowTickets will give you the most personal care in the business!
DONUT 5: NBA scout Kyle Leath's look at the Clippers Offense:
• They're a transition team that will take early jumpshots off the break. Paul is the catalyst and their athleticism allows them to run the floor well. Defenders must pick people up, or ...
• Early Offense - Foye and Butler will spot up, Griffin gets to block for early post and they will clear out for Paul to work from wing. Like to run Hi/Lo post looks with Griffin at Hi Post. Drag with mid pick/roll with Griffin and Paul/Williams.
• Will run a lot of halfcourt offense out of a 1-4 set. Several options with wing entry and UCLA cut from PG. And when the play breaks down, as it did on the final play against Philly the other night, Paul - even while being guarded by the much bigger defensive ace Iggy -- finds a way ...
• Very effective at weak side cuts/flash when ball is entered to low post.
• Versus zone they will run a three-guard look with Griffin at Hi Post and Jordan low. Will sometimes run weakside guard through to corner to overload a side. Like most teams, not as good at ball movement vs. Zones. As well as Dallas plays zone, could be a factor.
• Special Situations – They are another team that looks to score of BLOBS/SLOBS instead of just get the ball in. On SLOBS, look for them to get the ball reversed to Griffin on the block.
• Jordan/Griffin very active and athletic on offensive boards. The last time these teams played, Dallas won in part because Griffin -- who is deadly at the rim -- was awful in mid-range. Dallas needs to keep him at mid-range.
DONUT 6: NBA scout Kyle Leath's look at the Clippers Defense:
• They play man-to-man with good shot blockers at rim. They get and win a lot of hustle plays.
• Will show and recover effectively on Mid pick/rolls.
• Hit at the ball hard – Must be strong on drives, they will get their hands down and try get hands on ball.
• They are a little slow in weak-side defense. Weak-side flashes, especially low to high when ball on wing, can give them some trouble. Post can get caught behind on reversal.
DONUT 7: A Clippers Stat Check:
• Clippers are 5th in Team Scoring at 98.7/gm
• Clippers are 29th in FT% at 67.8%
• Paul is 3rd in Assist at 9.1/gm and 3rd in Steals at 2.4/gm
DONUT 8: Follow the Mavs-Clippers game on Twitter with Fish and the Mavs Twitterverse!
By the way ... if you are following me on Twitter and retweeting the fact that I'm giving away a signed Panini trading card courtesy of Dirk himself ... you might just win it!
DONUT 9: So all's quiet on the trade front? ...
Do not be deceived.
As DB.com cap expert David Lord points out, the notion that it's "surprisingly quiet'' is not at all "surprising.'' And it's not indication at all that it's going to remain "quiet.''
The Mavs aren't actively in trade talks now? Fine. That is used it as supporting evidence that they won't be at the deadline, either. Not fine.
Nobody covers the Mavs front-office thinking and moves like DB.com, and we're here to tell you the top reason the phones aren't ringing now: Players who signed before this season can't be traded until March 1.
In a normal season, that key date is December 15. And in the normal season, DB.com is breaking trade-related stories right around (you guessed it!) December 15.
When will Mavs news really start to break regarding trade gossip this year? When will DB.com reintroduce our wildly popular Trade Rumor Traffic feature?
March 1, of course.
DONUT 10: If you like this level of insight into the World Champion Dallas Mavericks ...
In fact, right now, go check out our Sneak Peek of our All-Access Pass coverage of the Mavs' double-OT win over Portland. ... You'll be impressed!
DONUT 11: Scout Kyle Leath on How to Beat the Clippers:
• DEFENSE – Get back in transition and make them play in the half court. Continue the trend of great team defense. Play some zone and negate their athleticism.
• REBOUND – They are an active offensive rebounding team, so rebounding needs to be of special focus. And it's not just Griffin who will be forceful with the putback ...
• FOCUS – Dallas must stay locked in mentally in the second half. The Clippers are another explosive team that can score and get back in games. Even with the three-game win streak, the Mavs are mired in a disturbing trend of letting teams back in games.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
Dirk Nowitzki, joking about Jet's desire to participate in the NBA's All-Star Weekend 3-Point Shootout, says there is a way for Terry to bolster his candidacy.