Are The Mavs 'Pointing Fingers'?
DONUT 1: "Mavs Point Fingers'' ...
That -- "Mavs Point Fingers'' -- is the thread title of a post created by the always thoughtful "mavsluvr'' on DB.com Boards. (You can follow the thread here). Maybe "Mavs Point Fingers'' needs to be followed by a question mark, as these quotes are arguably random and unattached.
Or, one can gather these random quotes, glue them together, and create a theme that stimulates concern about the Dallas Mavericks' "accountability'' and "finger-pointing'' and, as we might gently points out, the possibility that this year's pupils aren't paying close enough attention to the professor.
"Seems like some players are tuning Rick out,'' mavsluvr writes. ... and after we go through the cobbling of the quotes, that's a conclusion we need to assess.
But first, some nuggets from Rick on Monday before the 7-7 Mavs boarded the plane for tonight's visit to Philly (which, by the way, we've got on FoxSports Southwest tonight with Bob Ortegel and yours truly hosting the pregame and postgame show, all starting at 5:30).
"You get what you demand and you encourage what you tolerate,'' said Carlisle, noting that he recently read that slogan somewhere. (The internet?!) "The things we do, we do hard. And if we don't do them hard, we keep doing them. It's got to be a situation where demands are met.''
DONUT 2: The Wright Idea ...
B-Wright: "I have no idea why I'm not playing more. I think I've done everything Coach wanted me to do.''
B-Wright is no rabblerouser. He's not rebelling. The question is whether he's in denial about what he is and isn't. "Be Ready'' obviously bothers him, but in terms of rebounding numbers and muscular physicality, well, Wright has a difficult time Being Ready, it seems.
The encouraging news here: Wright is a bright and earnest man, a bright and earnest worker. If he "has no idea,'' I trust he will eventually get one.
And while he gets that, it'd be nice if he'd get six or seven rebounds, too.
DONUT 3: Texas tough ...
Carlisle: "We need to be a lot tougher. When you're a smaller team, you have to be willing to take some hits. You've got to be willing to say, 'You're going to have to come through me to get to the basket.' You have to be willing to make a stand. We have only a couple of guys who are willing to do that.''
Quoting mavsluvr: "Ouch. Calling his team soft again. Contract-year players can't afford to get hurt very badly, or for very long. Does that have something to do with so many of them not being willing to risk injury to prevent a play?''
That sort of thing -- indeed, all of the concerns listed here -- are part-and-parcel with the short-term aspects and risks of "Plan Powder.''
DONUT 4: Evolution of The Kaveman ...
Kaman: "I feel like I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. That's on me and that's not on anybody else. I'm not knocking anybody. I'm talking about myself. I need to get going and figure that out."
This quote morphs quickly from Alibi Ike to finger-pointing at self. I wish it would've morphed faster.
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DONUT 6: Dirk as a crutch ...
Carlisle: "Listen, that's all bull----. We know ( Dirk Nowitzki)'s not going to be back for a while. When we were 4-1 it wasn't a problem and we're not going to make it a problem. We've got enough here to win games provided that everyone does their job.''
On the surface, this seemed like Rick chiding the media for making Dirk a press-conference topic. But upon further review ... is he chiding everybody?
DONUT 7: The kid talks down to the vets? ...
Crowder: "(The starters) didn't come out playing with effort.''
That appears in print to be more harsh than the rookie intended. He wasn't a private lambasting his captains, he really wasn't. It was simple basketball analysis, and it was true ... Though maybe as a rookie, Jae should opt to keep his truths to others to himself for now.
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DONUT 10: Trix isn't for kids ...
Marion: "The only thing you can control out there is your effort out there on the floor. You just have to play hard and make things happen. That's the biggest thing with a young team we have here. We have a tendency to let the offense dictate everything for us. When you understand the game, there's other things you can do on the floor to make yourself better and make the teammates better when you're not scoring the ball. That's when we're going to get better as a team and learn this game of basketball."
This is a simple matter of basketball nurture overcoming sporting nature. Watch a QB when he gets hit as his pass is incomplete. Watch how slow he is to pick himself up off the turf.
Now watch the same QB respond to the same sort of hit -- only this time, he knows his pass is complete for a big gain.
Does he wallow on the ground? Does he grab his helmet in head-pain? Does he lounge in waiting on a teammate to pull him to his feet?
He does not. He celebrates. The score gives him energy. And this is what Marion is saying his young mates succumb to: Their defensive effort is being electrified by what they've done on offense. And therefore, if shots are missed? No defensive electricity.
DONUT 11: Glass jaws? ...
Mayo: "We weren't playing with enough effort. They threw some hard punches, and we just never recovered.''
This is OJ assessing the Lakers game, and it brings up a question: Are we talking about -- and maybe overreacting to -- one blowout loss to a title contender? And is the lack of "effort'' (if that is indeed the right characterization) a result of consistently not "punching back''?
DONUT 12: "Want-to'' beats "Can-do'' ...
Brand: "(Our defensive effort) is up and down …Tonight, it was disgusting. It's disappointing for our fans and what kind of game that was. We know how bad they wanted this game. We should've wanted it as bad as they wanted it.''
Surely this is a veteran delivering an empty platitude to an audience hungry for insight. The Mavs "didn't want it'' on Saturday? At home? Against the Lakers? Is that possible?
DONUT 13: The Final Word ...
It is fitting if you want to blame Carlisle for these struggles, in the sense that he's willing to accept the blame as a self-proclaimed "leader of the team.''
"That's how I've got to approach this as the leader of the team,'' Rick said. "And our guys have got to understand that anything less than a full-capacity effort is not going to cut it with the way we're structured right now."
I don't believe anyone has "tuned out'' that message. I think it needs to be listened to more intently. And given Rick's willingness and skill in absorbing blame, laying blame at teaching a way out of earning blame all at the same time, I have a feeling it will be spoken more intently, too.