This really isn't about Charles Barkley. This IS really about Dirk Nowitzki ... and what time of year this is and what an elite player he is ...
In the 24 games since Barkley's Feb. 2 "Dirk is Done'' pronouncement, Dirk's per-game numbers: 24.4 points, 48.7 FG percentage, 45.7 3PT percentage, 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.3 TOs and 85 FT percentage.
The availability of Trix (knee) is in question, and it's important because he is as much a Kobe Stopper as exists. The Drama Queen is averaging an NBA-leading 28.7 points. But this year, Kobe Bryant is shooting just 11-of-37 (29.7 percent) versus Dallas.
Maybe the Mavs are catching Kobe at the right time, Trix or no Trix. In Bryant's last two games, both LA losses, he's gone 13 of 47 (27.7 percent) from the field. included there is a 15-point/3-of-20 shooting effort in a home loss to Utah.
It'd be nice to have Shawn Marion to stop Kobe. But if Kobe wants to stop Kobe, that's fine, too.
DONUT 3: Mavs DB.com Party Time on Friday Night! ...
It's time for a DB.com Mavs Get-Together: This time featuring the watching of a game at the hated Spurs, a live bad, and DB.com Mavs swag ... all at Red Rock Bar & Grill at Frankfort and Midway in Dallas on Friday! Come take a look at the fun we'll have!
Our DB.com Get-Togethers generally look something like this:
The screen you will be watching the Mavs on is the biggest TV in Texas ... 200 inches of Mavs glory! We'll give away Mavs-approved DB.com swag, including Dirk Nowitzki t-shirts and whatnot. Our host Barry (a devoted Mavs fan himself) at Red Rock Bar & Grill will mix up some specials for DB.com readers!
DONUT 4: Let's get to tonight's late, late show -- an 8:30 p.m. tip at the AAC -- and some of the strategy...
The starting lineups, and NBA scouting info from Kyle Leath ...
F- Metta World Peace
F- Shawn Marion
F- Pau Gasol
F- Dirk Nowitzki
C- Andrew Bynum
C- Ian Mahinmi
G- Kobe Bryant
G- Vince Carter
G- Steve Blake
G- Jason Kidd
DONUT 5: A look at the Lakers Offense ...
• Using a 1-4(UCLA) set now which also gets them into side pick/roll looks as well as staggered pin down screens for Kobe to come off of.
• Gasol like the high post area. He also will trail and shoot jumper in transition as well as pick/pop on mid ball screens.
• Like to get Gasol isolated on block.
• Kobe Bryant dominates the ball and will back man down for post up
• With Bynum they have a potent post game both by sets and offensive rebounding.
• They do not shoot the 3-point shot for a high percentage but they do have a knack for making big ones ... though without Derek Fisher around anymore, as he was in the first Mavs-Lakers meeting (a Lakers' 73-70 win in LA on Jan. 16), that's one less nemesis.
DONUT 6: A look at the Lakers Defense ...
• Very long team that will squeeze the paint and make it tough to get shots inside in the halfcourt.
• Will gamble (Kobe, Barnes) at times on ball reversals and get out of position.
• This is a team that relies on solid halfcourt defense and the stats bear out that they do a good job defending.
• Will show/recover on ball screens and post will let you catch it then defend with their size as an advantage.
DONUT 7: Stat Check ...
• • Lakers are 2nd in Team Rebounding at 45.5 rpg
• Lakers are 3rd in Opp. FG% at 42.5%
• Lakers are 29th in 3pt. FG% at 30.8%
• Mavs bigs struggle to control LA's. Last time out, just before the A-S Break, Andrew Bynum got 19/14 and Gasol 24/9.
• The Mavericks swept LA in the playoffs last year but have lost the last four regular-season meetings against the Lakers and 12 of the last 15 regular-season meetings overall.
• Dallas is 27-20, LA is 28-18.
DONUT 8: In addition to watching the Mavs and Lakers at 8:30 ...
Listen to Fish on with Gavin on The Unofficial Mavs Pregame Show on 105.3 The Fan ... And follow the game on Twitter with the Mavs Twitterverse ... The 75-Member Staff!
DONUT 9: Is it OK to daydream about the Summer of 2012 and about Deron Williams? ...
If you think it's a distraction, do not watch this cutup of every bucket Deron scored in his recent 57-point game:
DONUT 10: If you like this level of insight into the World Champion Dallas Mavericks ...