DONUT 1: No doghouses here ...
As I have written numerous times, Rick Carlisle hates the suggestion that he "handles people.''
"You 'handle horses,''' The Dallas Mavericks coach will tell me. "You don't handle people. You work with people.''
It was with that same tone that he engaged in "Doghouse Talk'' over the weekend. In noting how B-Wright, for instance, can disappear from the rotation one night (and then start over Kaman against the Lakers on Saturday), the coach strongly disagreed that such a move is evidence of a doghouse.
“I don’t know what you mean by a doghouse,” Rick said. “But if there’s evidence that I have a doghouse, I have yet to see it.”
Here's what I can promise you: He hates the term "doghouse'' for the same reason he hates the idea of "handling'' people like horses: He finds the imagery demeaning to players.
What he has for B-Wright or for Roddy B or for any number of players who under-perform is what he calls a "bench.'' No simile needed. No imagery needed. It's a place where people sit. It's a bench.
Or, at least it used to be, before Cuban rolled in the large, comfy seats his players now sit in.
DONUT 2: Death threats and shoelaces ...
Mark Cuban says the Lakers fans on Twitter "talk more trash, give you more s---- and make more threats than I think any other fan base on Twitter."
This was in relation to death threats being made on the social network towards NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Cuban said such behavior is not uncommon from what I call "Keyboard Eastwoods,'' tough guys with tough words while hiding behind the shielded protection of their computers.
"There's more Twitter courage in Southern California than probably in any other part of the world,'' Cuban said. "I could say Kobe ties his shoelaces wrong, and I'll probably get death threats on Twitter."
DONUT 3: Catching up on Mavs-Lakers ...
Getting you caught up: Our First Impressions of the Lakers-Mavs game, focusing on LA's changes ... and our Donut-by-Donut dissection of the 115-89 loss here.
DONUT 4: Blowing off the bull ....
You have to possess a more-than-basic knowledge of the way a sports team works to understand why Carlisle is blowing off Dirk Nowitzki questions right now.
Luckily for both of us, you are a DB.com reader. So you almost certainly possess a more-than-basic knowledge of the way a sports team works.
“When we were 4-1 it wasn't a problem,’’ Carlisle said, “and we're not going to make it a problem. … That's all bull----."
That's not being dismissive of Dirk's importance or disrespectful of Dirk's greatness. It's a simple rule of running a team, very common in football but also applicable here: Out of sight, out of mind. If he can't be an issue for you on the court, there is no reason to allow him to be an issue for you in the press conference.
DONUT 5: Go say hello at Studio Movie Grill! ...
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DONUT 6: "Be Ready'' ...
One night, Jae Crowder plays 21 minutes. The next night he's DNP. Then he's a starter. Then he's an afterthought.
Carlisle said his utilization of Jae isn't "anything premeditated or anything like that. It was just how that particular game happened to go.’’
Crowder came off the bench again Saturday but this time was freed to be an impact guy. His 15 points were among the few bright spots.
“I can’t sit here and say it’s not tough, but at the same time I kind of expected it being a rookie and I tried to prepare myself as much as possible,’’ Crowder said of dealing with Rick's "Be Ready'' mantra. “But it’s hard to prepare for it because you’ve never been through it. ... I’m going through it. I’ve got a lot of good vets around me and they keep me up and keep me looking forward to the next game.’’
It helps Carlisle to know that Crowder, by nature, buys into what the coach is selling.
“He’s always going to be ready -- I think we all realize that at this point,’’ Carlisle said. “And because our lineup situation is so fluid due to game-to-game matchups, how guys are playing, particular needs that we may have with our lineups, everybody just has to be ready.''
See? "Be Ready.''
DONUT 7: DC at the movies ...
Darren Collison is a film study guy. That's to his credit.
But when he sees what we see? Well, he was just 1-of-10 from the floor against the Lakers and had just two points, four assists and four turnovers in 24 minutes.
Two thumbs down.
Is DC pressing a bit, especially because there is that Kidd shadow looming?
"It shouldn't be about that when you have a guy that's trying to fill the shoes of a legend," Carlisle said. "All we ask our guys to do is do their best within the rules on this team and make sure that they're giving us a full capacity effort when they're out there.''
I think Collison is giving effort. I think the effort extends into the film room. But there are missing pieces. Missing on defense. Missing on shot-making. Missing on simple entry passes. And maybe missing because of the Ghost of Kidd?
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DONUT 9: Who needs tickets? ...
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DONUT 10: Keeping OJ ...
The positive numbers are piling up.
OJ Mayo came into Saturday night's game against the Lakers ranked seventh in the NBA at 22.2 points per game (eighth if you count Kevin Love, who's averaged 29 in just two games). We're aware of the 3-point barrage he'd hurled upon the league, having made 42, three more than the Chicago Bulls had made as a team, while reaching that total with an amazing 56.8 3-point percentage. He didn't make a 3 vs. LA and scored just 13 on 5-of-15 shooting. But that doesn't erase some impressive stats we dug up over the weekend:
Going into Saturday night, Mayo ranked first in the league in points per possession on isolation and spot-up offensive plays. The sample size remains extremely limited, with a long season still waiting to unfurl before us, but take a second to breathe that in. Handing the ball to Mayo to go one-on-one with his defender, to this point, has been more effective than handing the ball to LeBron James, Kevin Durant or any other name you can think of.
The raw numbers (coming into Saturday night, per Synergy):
Mayo had 31 "isolation" attempts, which converts to 12.4 percent of offensive plays involving him, and is scoring 1.26 points per possession.
In these 31 attempts, he's hit 57.1 percent of his shots, including 55.6 percent (5-of-9) behind the arc.
A total of 65 times, Mayo has found himself in a spot-up situation, or 26 percent of his offensive plays, and is scoring 1.6 points per possession while hitting an incredible 60.7 percent of his field-goal attempts ... and 67.6 percent from 3-point land (25-of-37).
No, these numbers won't be maintained, but ...
It's not too early to start the contemplation of how to deal with him for the future ... D-Lord and I are working on that ... stay tuned!
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DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
Near the end of Saturday's loss to the Lakers, a group of "LA fans'' (young DFW residents in crisp new purple-and-gold gear smelling suspiciously like bandwagonners) began a chant of “Let's Go Lakers!''
“It was embarrassing before the 'Let's Go Lakers' chants,'' Elton Brand said. “We were down 30 points to a team we beat with Steve Nash playing, and this is a different coach. ... I thought it was embarrassing well before that. Hopefully that's etched in our memory and we will be able to play them harder next time.''
Of course, Elton is thinking big-picture there. But there is a small-picture embarrassment, too. Brand -- who gets credit as a stand-up guy -- was once again invisible.