DONUT 1: Bloodied and bruised ...
The Dallas Mavericks have lost four out of five. Part of the skid includes the injury absence of point guard Jose Calderon, who the team says has a bruise on his right ankle that will be tested today at practice.
The Mavs also may have bruises on their psyche. That will be tested today at practice, too.
“We’re going to learn about our team right now,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "Lose four out of five, have a tough loss (Friday) and then another tough one (Saturday)... it’s going to test the togetherness and the collective will.''
Calderon's absence is compounded by Devin Harris not being available (probably until late December). Brandan Wright will attempt to come back this week, and that can help stem the tide, which has included not only the injuries but also a series of back-to-backs that has left 10-8 Dallas without much practice time in this early season.
“There is challenging stuff going on, but you’ve just got to rise about it,'' Rick said. "That’s the bottom line. The schedule is what it is, and we’re at a point now where we’re paying a price for our health situation. If you want to blame it on the frequency of games, you can, but we’ve got to play better.”
DB.com will be at practice today -- Carlisle said it will be a defense-first workout -- and we'll update you on Calderon, the challenges and the psyche throughout the day.
DONUT 2: Friday: Mavs at Hawks ...
The Mavs had forged a 17-point lead and then spit the bit late, coughing up 12 second-half turnovers, shooting just 3-of-19 in the fourth quarter, and then, finally, designing a play for Vince Carter to shoot the failed game-winner from 22 feet in the final two seconds. ... which clanked off the backboard well to the right of the rim.
"We were looking to get Vince the ball and get him a good shot," Carlisle said of the final play, part of our coverage of the game here.
"Vince In The Clutch'' is a hot topic among Mavs followers today. Today after practice we'll focus on the issue and with the help of our man Mark Followill, analyze the numbers and Carter's role.
DONUT 3: Saturday: Wolves at Mavs ...
The Mavs lost Saturday to the visiting T'Wolves, forcing Dallas to face the realization that this team is officially entering a rough patch.
"We didn't do this and we didn't do that,'' Dirk said.
We've got all the this and that regarding Minnesota 112, Dallas 106: Analysis, notes, quotes and video here.
DONUT 4: Cyber Monday! ...
I'm going to complain via social media about the commercialization of Cyber Monday just as soon as I figure out whether I want to do it using my $600 iPhone, my $900 iPad or my $1800 laptop.
DONUT 5: March to the line ...
I'm not a whistle-blaming guy. But it is notable that on Saturday, Minnesota was called for just nine fouls while Dallas was called for 26 against.
It is hard to keep pace when you are going to the line 11 times and an opponent is doing so 30 times.
Another statistical oddity from the Minny game: It marks only the second time the Mavs have lost a game when Dirk has made 10-or-more field goals while shooting 75 percent or better.
The Mavs' record in those circumstances is 13-2, essentially meaning, "As Dirk goes, so goes Dallas.'' But even as The Uberman is 10-of-13 for 23 points, if he only steps to the line twice and his teammates only step to the line a total of nine other times?
That's no longer an "oddity.'' That's a formula for losing.
DONUT 6: The JayVee Squads ...
Is one weekend loss worse than the other?
I contend that the loss to the T-Wolves might be the result of the T-Wolves being better than you are. By the time we get to season's end, playoff seeding might bear that out.
But the loss at Atlanta? That's a mediocre team, going through a cold streak, participating in a bad conference.
Going into the weekend, only two teams in the entire East had a winning record (while only two teams in all of the West had poor records). Meanwhile, East was losing 72 percent of its games to West. So to have all the answers Dallas seemed to have that night ... and then to collapse in such an epic way ...
Well, let's allow Dirk to describe it:
"It’s as bad a loss as it gets in this league,” he said.
DONUT 7: Chris Bosh truths ...
The important part of the bogus nature of ESPN's report regarding the Mavs and Chris Bosh isn't what you think it is.
ESPN is saying the DFW native is Dallas' No. 1 target in summer-of-2014 free agency. And every time the subject of this report is broached, a Mavs fans brings up to me how little they like Bosh's game, or how he lacks assertiveness, or how he might not fit with Dirk.
We set the Mavs-Bosh record straight here, and when you read it, you'll understand what the true issues are.
DONUT 8: The smartest money guys in DFW ...
We're not what you would call "wealthy.'' We just have, like you, desire to create a more financial future for my family. Let us please introduce you to Woody Levinson and Bill Saplicki at LS Wealth Strategies! Because they're Mavs season-ticket types, we like 'em. But because they've taken such a keen interest in using their skills to help our family handle our finances, our investments and our future, we love 'em! Give them a click or a call at LS Wealth Strategies! and tell them The Fish sent you!
DONUT 9: The Ledo Shuffle ...
At about 5 p.m. Saturday, the Mavs made the decision to send Ricky Ledo on assignment to Frisco.
The Legends had a home game scheduled to tip at 7 p.m. So Ledo didn't have time to learn much about coach Eddie Najera's sets and the Legends didn't have enough time to print "LEDO'' on the back of the Mavs rookie's jersey.
And yet the kid was the Player of the Game in the Legends' 111-106 win over Tulsa, totaling 19 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals and helping Texas overcome an early 24-point deficit.
We asked Ledo for this thoughts on the game, and the assignment, right afterwards.
"Well, I'm disappointed that I missed those two free throws,'' Ledo said. "But being here (in Frisco) ... you know, I haven't played a lot of games since high school. So just getting a chance to play in a game, that's part of my job, to do this to get better.''
Ledo -- who was the 43rd pick in the NBA Draft after having not played in college -- had appeared in six games with the Mavs, averaging 1.2 points in 2.6 minutes. So actually participating in a game will help him get better.
Having now watched him play a full game in person, I'm impressed with his demeanor in the game. But I'm even more impressed with his demeanor afterwards. No pouting, no moping, and a focus on the one thing he did wrong instead of the dozens of things he did right?
This is an encouraging sign regarding the mental makeup of Ricky Ledo.
DONUT 10: Ellis at the point? ...
Combine Monta Ellis' overall production with Jose Calderon's ankle injury and you naturally wonder: Why couldn't Monta serve as the Mavs' full-time point guard? Could Ellis play more point guard even if Jose is healthy? Has he played much at the point this year and what are the statistical results? We put the concept through the Mavnalysis test. ...
Read "Can Monta Ellis Be A Full-Time Point Guard?'' for the full look.
DONUT 11: The consistency of the message ...
Listen to Dirk: "We've got to stick together as a team. When you lose, you can always start pointing fingers. It's early. It's going to be a long, long season.''
Listen to Marion: "“We have to keep helping each other. It’s going to be some ups and downs throughout the season. We just have to make sure that we stay together and keep helping each other to get through it.”
This is leadership in voice, to pair with what we already know about Nowitzki and Marion and their leadership in action. It is so worth noting that their words echo one another. There is no conflict in the room, there is no dissent in the room, there is simply the two present-day Mavs with NBA championship rings sending a message to their teammates (and to all of Mavs Nation, really)
It's Leadership In Stereo and it is something important to grab onto right about now.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
We've lost a dear friend, DB.com "godmother'' Pat Reeves, who passed away this weekend after a long, wonderful life full of doing for others.
Ms. Reeves -- known to thousands of Mavs fans as "Flame'' -- was such a special person. Pat possessed the unique ability to touch the hearts of people who felt they knew her thanks to her warm leadership on DB.com Boards. Countless Mavs fans from across the globe -- people in Germany, in the Philippines, men and women in the U.S. military, those of us in North Texas whom she personally befriended and "godmothered'' who have for the last 14 years come together here -- will always see here as a beacon of faith and of friendship and of passion for the Mavs ... and so much more.
Rest in peace, Flame.