DONUT 1: Nuggets 110, Mavs 96 ...
To start Monday night, the Dallas Mavericks seemed focused enough. It was the butt end of a home-and-home with the Nuggets. They got theirs on Saturday, you gotta get yours here.
So you jump to a 12-4 lead. You prep for Dirk to overtake another scoring legend. You bank on being able to build on your undefeated record at the AAC.
And then you get outscored 28-15 the rest of the period, reveal that your starting center has a broken alarm clock, and discover that with a 110-96 loss, the Nuggets might just register as a team you simply do not match up favorably with.
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DONUT 2: Some perspective-grabbing ...
So what will Mavs players do with a little time off today? Hand out turkeys to needy Dallas families.
We always say "we shouldn't need perspective.'' But we do. So there it is. Enjoy your turkey.
DONUT 3: The Despondent Dalembert ...
The Mavs dropped to 7-1 at home and 9-6 overall in a loss accented by center Samuel Dalembert's non-start. Why did he not play early as per usual?
“Sam missed shoot around this morning because he overslept,'' coach Rick Carlisle explained. "The two guys that were there got the first two rotations and then he played after that.”
Carlisle has longed emphasized a "Be Ready'' approach to playing for the Mavs. Dalembert seemed embarrassed at having failed there.
"I'm very disappointed in myself,'' said the veteran center. "I don't have an excuse. It shouldn't happen. I'm still trying to get over it. I'm very upset. ... I deserve the (benching) the coach and the organization made for me. I'm 100 percent behind him. I apologize to my teammates."
Rick's thoughts on the game and the odd situation:
“It’s a 48-minute game and you’ve got to be ready,'' Carlisle said. "Sometimes success is a form of adversity. Prosperity is always one of the challenges in pro sports because teams can strike back so quickly. You’ve got to be able to sustain, and we didn't do it.''
Ah, yes. "Be Ready.''
Part of success is showing up to work. Part of sustaining is getting out of bed. Part of this loss is a starting Mav failing to do so.
DONUT 4: No lack of effort, right? ...
We can say that outside the alarm-clock problem, this loss wasn’t a case of a lack of effort.
In the third quarter, the Nuggets hit 70.3 of their shots and only won the quarter by three points. That doesn’t happen unless a team is doing something good, especially as they hit only 39.3 percent of their own attempts.
Now, how to go about solving the problem of allowing an opponent to hit 70.3 percent of their shots, that's the sticky wicket here.
DONUT 5: Quotable ...
"This is a coaching loss,'' Rick Carlisle said. "I didn’t have these guys ready to play. It’s clear. I’ll take the blame for this.''
DONUT 6: Bench flop ...
The Mavs like to boast of their depth, a roster full of enough big-league talent that it can survive even the injury absences of B-Wright and Devin Harris.
In comparision to the opponent, that's often true enough. Prior to Monday night, the Mavs bench had outscored the opponent’s bench by an average of 31.9 to 30.7.
After Monday night? Dallas' bench got crushed, 41-to-21.
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DONUT 8: Odds in your favor ...
According to the calculations of DB.com's Michael Dugat, so far in the NBA this season, when you shoot 46 percent you go 125-43. On Monday, Dallas converted a respectable 46.3 percent of its own shot attempts. Meaning ... they are in the 74.4 percentile. Meaning ... that 46-percent shooter wins 74.4 percent of the time.
Except this time.
DONUT 9: More Jose shots? ...
When a team feels like it has a surplus of offensive weaponry, it's always a challenge to find enough balls to go around.
But I come away from the Denver loss wondering if Jose Calderon's unselfishness took away from his shot-taking.
Jose started assertively, making 3-of-4 shots for 10 points in the first half. But you know, he's got to feed Dirk and he's got to relinquish the ball to Monta -- these are good things, by the way -- and he's got to involve Trix and Vince is considered a "big-three weapon'' (harumph) so he's got to get his and that bench needs to score, so ...
In the second half, Jose takes only two more attempts and finish with 12 points.
DONUT 10: How the Monta pick-and-rolls ...
Yes, I still need to do my research on Monta's ol' handshake ...
But for now: Want a deeper understanding of the foundation piece of the Dallas offense with Monta in charge of the ball? We nail it for you here, complete with the singular reason Ellis should have more Mavs staying power than his predecessor.
DONUT 11: Jose's assessment of Dirk ...
With 3:03 to play in the second quarter, Dirk hit the first of a set of free throws for his 10th point in the game. That moved him a point ahead of KG for sole possession of the 14th spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, with passing Alex English next on the docket.
With 18, Dirk now has 25,361 points for his career and sits nine ahead of Garnett’s 25,352. Now, Garnett is a moving target. But in Brooklyn he's averaging only 6.5 points per game. So The Uberman marches on, with the admiration of teammates.
"He’s great. He’s a professional, 100 percent. 200 percent, whatever you want to say,'' Jose says of Dirk in DB.com's one-on-one visit. "He’s the kind of guy you always want on your team just because of everything. I think he’s one of the I don’t know how many players who will change the defense every night. You know that they have to treat him differently because he’s a different kind of player. He opens up a lot of stuff for us.''
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
Among the many things Dirk "opens up for the Mavs''? Cap space. Unlike Kobe Bryant, who on Monday signed a two-year contract extension worth $50 million that will eat up a great deal of the Lakers' ability to hire someone for him to pass the baton to.
Kobe found someone he could defeat here. No, not an opponent in an NBA Finals -- Jimmy Buss. Meanwhile, The UberMan has already plotted privately with the Mavs to re-up with Dallas next summer for an amount to be determined not by his greed, but by the franchise's need.
“I’m going to play the season out and we can talk about it this summer,'' Dirk said. "I want to have a good season, an injury free season and then Holger (Geschwindner) is going to take his leather coat and go in the bunker suite and we’ll go from there.”
In Cuban's "bunker suite'' inside the AAC, they will then discuss just how much of a "hometown discount'' the franchise will need from Dirk, who makes $22.7 million this season. Dirk is already well aware of some of the cap ramifications of Dallas' situation.
“My contract is coming off, Trix is coming off, Vince,” Nowitzki said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of money under the cap and we can make this team better.”
The rest of us can take swipes at Kobe and LA's seemingly dwindling cap room. Not Dirk.
“I want to go back to the playoffs with this team and we have a real shot at it,” he said. “That’s really what I’m focusing on. I’m not really worried about any extensions. Obviously, it’s good for Kobe. That’s a lot of money for a guy that’s 36 years old. But if one guy has earned it, it’s Kobe.”
It's been often said that "Dirk's no Kobe.'' And it was always meant as an insult. Today and this summer, it is and will be more true than ever, and it's no insult.
Dirk's no Kobe.