DONUT 1: Nowitzki's no-news night ...
Dirk Nowitzki sat again as he missed the Dallas Mavericks' second home preseason game, a 100-94 loss to the Suns, with a swollen knee. Despite the regularly-tossed-around idea that no news is good news, that's not necessarily the case with Dirk here. With a wait-and-see injury like the one Nowitzki has, sitting around without answers can be the peak of frustration. The only possible news that can come from this situation is that Dirk will play ... continue therapy ... and simply hope the swelling in his knee stays down or that he will opt for surgery and miss significant time.
Owner Mark Cuban, for one, is at least feigning calm.
Nope, not at all,'' Cuban told reporters when asked about being concerned. "He'll be fine. He's gone through (injuries) before. We saw it last year and dealt with it. We'll deal with it again."
Right now, no news isn't good news; no news is somewhat-decent-while-we-nibble-our-nails news.
DONUT 2: Things Just Aren't The Same ...
For an almost-half-decade window during the 2000's, the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks were a premier rivalry in the NBA. Those classic shootouts and heart stopping playoff matchups featured Dirk, Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, and Josh Howard, among quite a few others. Granted last night was just a preseason meeting, but the starting lineups weren't QUITE the same as those memorable games from 2005 to 2007.
In all, the only big name from those days that even saw the court was Shawn Marion ... except he's on the other team this time around. No Dirk, no Nash, no Jet, no Devin Harris. Goran Dragic is still around, though. And so is the uptempo pace.
So there's that.
DONUT 3: Sparks From The Other Power Forward ...
With Dirk out again, Elton Brand got his third consecutive start at power forward and provided an early spark with 11 points in the first quarter. Brand finished with that scoring total on 5-of-10 shooting and threw in five rebounds and three assists while filling some very big German shoes.
Assuming Dirk is able to tough it out with this precarious knee situation, Brand's scoring bursts will be a perfect complement from the depth of the frontcourt. Surrounding Dirk with scorers was clearly a priority this offseason and Brand seems capable of pulling his weight with some Dirk-like work in the pick-and-pop. The scoring faded here eventually, but in a real game? You can see it'll be there.
DONUT 4: Vinny The Microwave ...
One day after O.J. Mayo compared himself to a microwave, Vinsanity put on the same sort of show.
DONUT 5: Go say hello at Studio Movie Grill! ...
The good folks at Studio Movie Grill are ready to show Mavs fans a good time! Go check 'em out and stay tuned for some fun projects DB.com is working on in coordination with Studio Movie Grill!
DONUT 6: The Family Barbecue ...
Delonte West playfully referred to his coach as "Uncle Ricky'' and compared his one-day suspension to a dispute as a "family barbecue.'' Rick Carlisle playfully referred to West as a player with a personality so "different'' that while most NBA players "run on gas, Delonte runs on diesel.'' And the coach also poked back at nosy media wishing to know the details of the incident that led to the player's punishment for Monday's conduct detrimental to the team. The coach cited a song called "King of Anything'': "It's a song about people who should mind their own ------- business,'' Carlisle said.
So we've got Uncle Ricky, barbecue, gas pumps and a Sara Bareilles song. Oh, and a FishToon:
Can we get back to Dallas Mavericks basketball now?
"Uncle Ricky handled the situation, you know what I mean?" West said Wednesday morning as the team prepared for a preseason evening visit from the Suns. "We went and had a talk, and we came right back to the barbecue."
West, who deals with bipolar disorder, joined his coach in declining to detail the specifics of the behavioral issue. And while all of us "Kings of Anything'' wish to know more (and will continue to explore), it's admirable in a sense that Uncle Ricky – who goofily referred to reporters as "all my nephews'' -- wishes to keep this in the family.
"We want to keep things in house," West said. "The things that came out really had nothing to do with basketball. We got to the bottom of it and got some communication between those who were involved."
Carlisle and GM Donnie Nelson were involved in a Tuesday meeting with West to settle the situation.
"There was an outstanding issue, and we needed to talk about it," Carlisle said. "He needed to refocus, and he's in the process of doing that. It's going to be work. It's going to be daily work for him to do that, and I've got to help him and our organization is going to help him, too.''
West insists that he doesn't have problems with his role or playing time.
"I'm happy to be here," West said. "I'm a Dallas Maverick. Whatever role they have for me this year, I'm going to accept it with open arms.''
Delonte played 18 minutes and scored seven points, with four assists but three turnovers, the same total that plagued Collison and Mayo.
DONUT 7: Crowder Crowding The Forward Spot ...
There was a telling moment about rookie Jae Crowder in the second quarter.
The engine Crowder plays with is well-documented, as is his apparent increased shooting range. Still, the main thing rookies need to gain in order to see consistent minutes as a young player is their coach's trust, which is obviously not very easily done. Crowder continued building his case for that trust in the second quarter by showing the basketball IQ to swing the ball with an extra pass to spring Dahntay Jones for a wide open three. Crowder had a good look when he received the ball, but swung it to Jones for an even better look, a skill even the most seasoned NBA player can have trouble with.
Short and simple, Crowder has come to the Mavs really looking like he knows what to do without allowing the level of play appear over his head. He's got an NBA body and, so far, an NBA mindset.
His positive approach is a small thing that seems easy, but will go a long way to helping Crowder get in the mix as an NBA freshman.
DONUT 8: The New Look Three-Guard Lineup ...
MFFLs may have gotten used to the Kidd-Jet-Barea three-PG lineup over recent years, but those days are long gone. That version of the 3-PG Attack may be resting in peace, but the concept remains alive and well.
Early in the third quarter Coach Carlisle toyed with the idea of Darren Collison and Dominique Jones at the guard spots, with OJ Mayo playing "small forward." Marion and Chris Kaman rounded out the lineup at the 4 and 5 positions.
It seems very unlikely that the Collison-Jones-Mayo combo will see the light of day in the regular season, but it's interesting to note that Carlisle still has a variation of that scheme in his back pocket.
DONUT 9: Thanks, Esparza's! ...
The gang at Esparza's in Grapevine loves that it's Mavs season and the Mavs love Esparza's, too! Let me put it this way: You never know who you'll see out on Esparza's famous front porch! Thanks for your sponsorship, Esparza's!
DONUT 10: The best way to catch up on the weekend in Mavs news ...
Did you miss something? Click into DB.com Mavs Archives and get caught up!
DONUT 11: No Go For DoJo ...
After another offseason of that ‘potential' word floating around regarding Mavs guard Dominique Jones, he just doesn't seem to be able to consistently find a spot on this team. DoJo can get to the rim as he always has, but finishing once he gets there is still an issue.
A big one for a young guard who is trying to prove something.
In addition to having problems at the basket, Jones' decision-making still leaves quite a bit to be desired. Too many times he seems to be caught up in the air with nowhere to go, leading to a turnover or a missed shot. With the Mavs investing so much in Mayo and rookie Jared Cunningham in Jones' position, it's time for him to step up.
But if not now, when? And where?
DONUT 12: The Rookie Revue ...
The aforementioned Crowder put up 10 points and six rebounds in 26 minutes, but the best thing to be said for him is that he's looked like an NBA player up to this point. That's high praise for a kid like him considering so many in the NBA struggle with maintaining that title on a regular basis. Cunningham had two points in 15 minutes and center Bernard James was held to one point in just six minutes of playing time.
DONUT 13: The Final Word ...
In the end, the Mavericks fell to the Suns 100-94 despite a spirited comeback attempt from many of the young Mavs at the end of the game. A loss is a loss, but there were some decent performances and some positives to take from the game, though.
"Our team defense was poor," Rick Carlisle made sure to state first-thing in his postgame press conference.
Oh…well. Okay, then.