Kobe's down - and Dallas is down just 2.5 games ... DeAndre's dunk, complete with casket ... Vince for Sixth Man of the Year? ... Mavs at Spurs tonight, and yes, it's OK to be happy that other teams have injuries ... No Trix, though ... Thursday Morning Mavs Donuts!
DONUT 1: Rolling Down The Dirty-Ass River ...
The Dallas Mavericks are now just 2.5 games behind the eighth-place Lakers (more on that below) but tonight's test is as stiff a test as this bunch ever faces: At San Antonio, where the Spurs almost never lose.
The 49-16 Spurs have won 22 of 24 at home, and while they've struggled against mediocre teams and don't have the injured Tony Parker available, they have won four straight against their in-state rivals.
“We know time is short and urgency is high, and we’re going to let it all hang out,'' Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "We’re going to throw the kitchen sink at everybody, and we’re going to hit every arena with guns blazing.”
That will be necessary in tonight's nationally televised game: The Spurs have won this season's three meetings by an average of 23 points.
DONUT 2: Meanwhile, for Friday ...
Yes, yes, we're taking these games one at a time. But just as it's worth noting that Tony Parker is unavailable to the Spurs for tonight, I thought I'd pass on that Cleveland standout Kyrie Irving is a no-go for the Cavs-at-Mavs game on Friday.
The Mavs need all sorts of crazy breaks right about now. Injuries to opponents constitute breaks.
DONUT 3: And ... a crazy break they get! ...
It is bad form to root for opponent's injuries.
But can we agree it's OK to react to them with a fist pump from your living room?
In Atlanta last night, Kobe sustained a severely sprained left ankle that will keep him out "indefinitely," according to the Lakers -- who lost the game, leaving open Dallas' crack at contention.
Bryant thinks old friend Dahntay Jones undercut him while Kobe was shooting a potential game-tying jumper with 3.9 seconds left. Jones says he'd do no such thing -- and when you watch, you see maybe Kobe's leg kick initiated some of the contact.
"Tape doesn't lie," Jones said on Twitter. "[Bryant's] ankle was turned on the floor after the leg kick out that knocked him off-balance. I would never try to hurt the man."
It's probably not accurate for Jones to say "never.'' Jones was assessed a flagrant foul for tripping Bryant while with Denver in the 2009 Western Conference Finals.
Kobe is vowing payback. "I can't get my mind past the fact that I've got to wait a year to get revenge,'' he said.
And if you're a Mavs fan, you can't get your mind off the fact that while Dahntay did little for the Mavs while he was here, he made a contribution to the cause of sorts last night, maybe impacting the Race For Eighth.
DONUT 4: DeAndre's dunk ...
It's still the buzz of the NBA, and defender Brandon Knight is still being (unfairly) abused for volunteering to get ... well, abused.
Even with the casket and the rest ... Knight did the right thing, right?
DONUT 5: No Trix ...
That calf problem is lingering ... and Shawn Marion will miss a fourth straight game while doctors re-examine him.
No Marion in San Antonio means more Jae Crowder -- and more "Be Ready'' preaching from the coach.
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DONUT 7: How 'In The Groove' is Vince? ...
As we note in our recap of the Mavs' fourth straight win, Vince Carter is "in the groove,'' to use his words. But it's not just the 23 points he scored in Milkwaukee; it's the 22 straight games in which he's put up pretty stellar numbers.
Since Jan. 18, Carter has played 22 games. Including his outburst against the Bucks, during that time he's averaging 15.9 points, 48.5 percent from the field, 50.4 percent from the arc, four rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 steals.
And so "in the groove'' that it doesn't matter which hand he shoots with.
DONUT 8: Want more Mavs? ...
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DONUT 9: Kaman quandry ...
We are well beyond trying to unravel the intricacies that must be involved in the Chris Kaman/Rick Carlisle dynamic. The acquisition of Kaman considering the structure of his deal -- one year and $8 million -- may be neither a bargin nor a bust. But Kaman's contributions are ... odd.
In Milwaukee, he started. That was destined to be meaningful, right? Part of a matchup plan to give Dallas some advantage?
But the start was finished after a total of two minutes. Kaman took two shots, missed them both, and that was that.
In Eddie Sefko's collection of postgame quotes, the fellas attempt to make sense of it.
From Kaman: “It’s obvious disappointing that he feels that way, that I shouldn’t even be playing. But we’ve been playing well. And I’m happy (for the team). But from a personal standpoint, it’s frustrating because you got a guy who’s played in this league for 10 years and I’m a pretty solid basketball player.
“For me to not even be able to get into a game is pretty disappointing. But it is what it is. He’s going to make his decisions. They’re paying him big bucks to be in charge of the Mavericks. And that’s his decision.”
From Carlisle: “Starting Kaman was a mistake on my part because of the quickness of their big guys. I decided to give it a shot because he’s been doing some good things. But the quick pull on that, it just wasn’t his type of game. That’s on me. He’s a valuable player for us, but this was not the type of game to throw him out there at the beginning.”
We can assume there is a simple story here -- a simple miscalculation -- but again, this dynamic is so odd ... and, as long as the Mavs are experiencing overall success, oddly acceptable, I guess.
DONUT 10: Thanks, Red Rock! ...
It's St. Patrick's Day weekend and the place to party is Red Rock Bar & Grill! They've got your Mava games on the 200-inch screen as well ... The guys at Red Rock help make DB.com what it is ... thanks, guys!
DONUT 11: The goods on Chris Wright ...
The call-up of D-League point guard Chris Wright may or may not make an impact on the Mavs' playoff push. But at the very least, the move is poised to help Wright make history. He’s signed a 10-day contract and should he enter a game for the Mavericks it seems he’ll be the first American to play professional sports in the United States while battling Multiple Sclerosis.
"Chris is an inspiration to anyone affected with MS, and to all of us in general,'' Mavs GM Donnie Nelson tells me. "He's overcome all these odds and now he's ready to compete at the highest level.''
Mark Cuban checked into DallasBasketball.com to add this: "I saw it as a positive. If Chris has the determination and mental toughness to fight through MS, combined with his pg skills, he has a chance to be a player in the nba for a long time."
Our full story on Chris Wright is here.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
"I know our record isn’t that great, but (Vince Carter) is probably in the talk for Sixth Man of the Year. That’s how good he’s been for us.” - Dirk.