Rockets in town, and maybe the Mavs learn from the past (and from our fancy chart) ... Dalembert…
Mavs Donuts: Bits & Pieces & History
DONUT 1: Dirk's night ...
It was a historical night in some respects, a nice continuation of what we've already begun to grow accustomed to in this young season in others. The Great One further cemented his place of prominence in the halls of basketball mythology, while the New Ones, at least in Dallas, helped to ensure Dirk Nowitzki's "massive achievement" came in a win.
The Washington Wizards kept hanging around, creeping back each time the Mavericks pushed their lead to 12 or 15, as they did in the third quarter. Behind 10 from Dirk in the third quarter (including taking one more step up the ladder of the immortals) and 10 from Monta Ellis in the fourth, the Mavs start the season 4-0 at home for the first time since 2007-08 with a 105-95 victory Tuesday night.
With 1:38 to play in the third quarter Dirk rose behind the arc and pushed the Mavs lead to nine. The next trip down the court, Gal Mekel drew the defense and kicked back to Dirk, once more lurking from deep he drained 3-pointer number 1,353 (eight from taking the 25th spot on the NBA's all-time 3-pointers made from Dan Majerle) with 59.9 seconds to play in the period.
We are so lucky to be on this ride ... and so not-amused at ESPN's contributions to the evening, which featured the alongside tweet congratulating "Dirk Nowolsllzoslozozoajtk'' or whatever the hell that says.
We're not letting that botch get in the way of our enjoyment of the night. But we're not letting Bristol get away with it unnoticed, either.
If you wish to fully enjoy everything that happened on the court and inside the game ... Go Premium and Go Mavs!
DONUT 2: Dalembert's Early O ...
No one is going to pretend that the Dallas Mavericks signed Samuel Dalembert this offseason because of his scoring ability. Dalembert was brought to Dallas as a sorely needed defensive anchor to protect the rim.
However, Tuesday night Dalembert proved that if you get him the ball in the right spot, he'll put it in the basket. ... at least sometimes. He made his first four shots and scored 11 points in the first quarter. Washington came out blazing in the first quarter and had Dalembert not taken advantage of his teammates' ability to find him in the paint, the Mavericks might have found themselves facing an early deficit that could have altered the game.
Dalembert finished with 15 points and five rebounds and praise from Dirk, who said Sammy has responded positively to Rick's early season ass-chewing and is "fun'' to play with.
DONUT 3: Play Smart, Not Fast ...
Turnovers are never good. But when you are facing the Washington Wizards, they are a set-up for a track-meet disaster.
John Wall is regarded as the fastest point guard in the NBA. The Wizards are young and love to run. With two talented starting guards under the age of 24 and a slasher in Trevor Ariza, taking off in the fast break is always in their best interest.
They don't have the experience or the overall playmaking to execute in the half-court like the Mavericks, but Washington shell-shocked the Mavs early by scoring 15 fast-break points in the first quarter alone.
The Mavericks didn't help themselves out by turning the ball over 16 times. The theme of the game was simple: when Dallas controlled the ball they controlled the game. When they turned the ball over Washington would use their speed to take advantage and go on a run to cut into the deficit.
Washington finished with 28 fast-break points, but the Mavericks mustered enough late game execution to pull away in the fourth quarter.
DONUT 4: Blair Bargain Paying Off...
Nene will make $13 million this season for the Wizards. Marcin Gortat will make just under $8 million.
Dallas signed DeJuan Blair to the veteran's minimum. Tuesday night Blair looked like he belonged in the same class of big men that one might rank Nene and Gortat. Despite coming off the bench, Blair managed to score nine points and pull in 11 rebounds simply by beating the Wizards to the ball.
"Once again he brought energy, a physical presence and the scoring and rebounding," Carlisle said after the game. "We need him to keep doing what he's doing."
That kind of production hasn't been anything new for Blair this season. He's averaging 8.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game coming off the bench.
DONUT 5: Bench Production ...
The Mavericks got more than just a scoring spark off their bench, they got an efficient scoring spark off the bench.
The Mavericks' bench shot a combined 13-27 while scoring 33 points, nearly doubling the bench production of Washington. They also easily out-rebounded the Wizards bench.
The reserves were lead by Vince Carter who scored 16 points off of 6-13 shooting. Tuesday's game put Carter's scoring average back into double figures for the season.
DONUT 6: Using the corner ...
As early as 90 minutes before the game, Wizards assistant coach Sam Cassell was working with Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza and Eric Maynor. What did they work on for over half an hour? Corner threes.
All that practice worked out quite well. Washington is the best team in the league at shooting corner threes and they showed it off Tuesday night by giving the ball to John Wall, letting him get to the middle of the court to suck in the defense and kicking it to the corner.
The sporadic barrage of corner threes kept the Wizards in the game every time it seemed like the Mavs would pull away.
It goes to show that simplicity can pay off in the NBA if you have the right personal. It's not ideal that a player like Ariza scored 27 points against the Mavericks' defense, but that number is a testament to Wall's ability to create a specific type of offense.
By the way: The first two Mavs on the floor, a couple of hours before tipoff? Rookies Ricky Ledo and Gal Mekel, putting in the time with assistant coaches.
DONUT 7: A Tale of Two Montas ...
We're not sure which one was "MontaBall" but the first and second halves could not have been more different for Monta Ellis in terms of production.
In the first two quarters Ellis couldn't find his shot, scoring only six points while going only 2-8 from the field with three turnovers.
In the second half Ellis scored 13 points off 5-8 shooting including a key stretch in the fourth quarter to hold off a final Wizards run.
"We were struggling at that point in time," Carlisle said. "We were in the bonus and we wanted to get the ball in (Ellis') hands … The thing that I was really proud of tonight was that it was a little frustrating early. He was getting in the lane and wasn't getting calls, but he kept defending Beal … and then he was patient and disciplined and then in the fourth when we went to him he got it going."
What else has him going? Ellis is compiling a "bulletin board'' inside his locker stall featuring negative media reports about him. He says it fuels him.
We suppose being "us-against-the-world'' is part of MontaBall as well.
DONUT 8: Stat of the Night ...
John Wall and Bradley Beal: 23 points
Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis: 30 points
There is no question what the strength of the Washington Wizards is: their backcourt. Wall and Beal are extremely talented and athletic players who the Wizards depend on to perform at a high level to win games.
Of course, Calderon and Ellis are crucial parts of the Mavericks' offense, but the team also has the benefit of a proven franchise player in Dirk Nowitzki. The fact that the Mavericks' two guards (two guards often criticized for their defense) can outscore the backcourt of Washington is a very positive sign moving forward.
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DONUT 10: Welcome, Social Club! ...
We welcome to the DB.com family Oak Cliff Social Club, voted Dallas' best "dive bar'' and located in the heart of the Bishop Arts District.
This "place for local people to come without paying tourist prices" is anchored by a 40-foot, oak-backed, Brazilian black granite bar, and a "garage" area featuring couches, TVs, and twin pool tables. Local beers and home-style pizza will do the trick before or after the Mavs game.
Thanks to Oak Cliff Social Club for supporting the Mavs, DB.com and so many positives things happening in the Bishop Arts District!
DONUT 11: Speaking of that Hall of Famer… ...
The moment from Tuesday's game that will stand alone in terms of historical value is something we also want to lock into our brains and never forget. Oh, and we want more of these moments.
"He's going to pass more big names in the weeks and months to come," Carlisle said. "It's a fantastic career that Dirk's had and we're doing everything possible to extend it as long as possible.''
Again, we've got every detail of the evening covered here -- the best insight, analysis, interviews and video available anywhere -- for Mavs Premium Fans. Go Mavs and Go Premium!
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
Dirk wore a black rubber sleeve on his left knee on Tuesday but insisted it's no cause for alarm, but rather simply the result of "six games in nine days.''
"I'll be all right," Nowitzki said. "I'm a piece of work.''
Part of the charm of The Uberman: Even after all these years of speaking essentially perfect English, he mangles the meaning of "a piece of work.'' He means to say he's a "work-in-progress.''
But heck, it's close enough. And truth be told, Dirk Nowitzki also really is a piece of work, too.
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