The Mavs get back to work today with a morning shootaround and then, of course, tonight's 7:30 visit…
Friday Donuts: Meet The Defensive Mavericks?
DONUT 1: Defense, finally? ...
The Dallas Mavericks are 15-10 and in their last seven games have allowed just 96.6 points per.
There's a 5-2 record to go along with that ... and maybe a hint of evidence that this group can play a little bit on the defense end, too.
"In the month of December we've been better defensively, and our goal is to stay on that track," coach Rick Carlisle said. "We've spent the majority of our practice time on defense. We know how important it is, and we're just going to be vigilant about it.''
DONUT 2: The vigilance vs. Memphis ...
That 105-91 victory Wednesday over the Grizzlies (documented in every detail here in Your All-Access Pass) featured the accomplishment of holding their Southwest Division foe to just 39.8-percent shooting. The Mavs are 4-0 when they hold opponents under 40 percent ... and they are 10-2 when holding opponents below 100 points.
So, it can be done.
Want more? The Mavs are 11-3 this season when holding their opponent under a field-goal percentage of 45.0 … including 6-0 when keeping opponents under 42.5.
And another: Dallas is 11-2 when holding their opponent under 50 points at the half.
DONUT 3: Tonight, Toronto ...
Tonight it will have to be done against a visiting Raptors team (pregame starts at 7 on Fox Sports Southwest) that Carlisle said "is a plus team, in terms of what they get compared to the opponent, and so going to get the ball when it's in the air is key."
What Rick is talking about there is rebounding. That's not specific to "defense'' and is continues to be an issue Dallas works to overcome.
"It's not something that you can take days off from,'' Rick said. "You can't take days off from the mental edge aspect of it, and we know that. We're going to have to continue to work at it, and you know, our rebounding is going to have to be better this game than it was (against Memphis).''
DONUT 4: Blemishes to blur ...
Dallas is just 24th in the NBA rebounding after losing the battle of the boards to the Grizzlies, 43-42. In fact, there are some notable rebounding blemishes from that game that haven't yet been Clearasil'ed away.
*Memphis grabbed 22 offensive rebounds, the most Dallas has allowed this season. That only happened twice all of last season.
Since the 1999-2000 season, the Mavs have allowed 22-or-more offensive rebounds 24 times (including Wednesday) … interestingly, they are now 19-5 in those games.
*The 21 second-chance points scored by the Grizzlies is the third most allowed by the Mavs this season, most at home, surpassed only in a loss at Minnesota (26) and a win at Portland (25).
So yes. More vigilance, please.
DONUT 5: The important Monta Moment ...
Sports Illustrated's story on Don Nelson in which he playfully refers to Monta Ellis as a "little selfish bastard'' was covered in this space two days ago and is being discussed here on DB.com.
You have to understand the context. Which Monta -- who played for Nellie at Golden State -- does.
That's why he was able to laugh off questions about it in the Wednesday postgame locker room, saying, "He's going to say what he's going to say; I'll take it or leave it. People have been saying things about me my whole career."
Ellis isn't disagreeing with Nellie's assessment of the young Monta. And none of Monta's behavior from those days ever escaped the notice of the Mavs, who signed him this summer with full knowledge of Nellie's thoughts on the player. (Dallas has a familial connection to The Big Hawaiian, you know.)
So this has quickly become an old story to us, and we turn to turning over new rocks.
For instance: On Wednesday, Monta badly missed a pull-up 3-pointer. Our man Michael Dugat on Twitter immediately made the observation that Ellis is actually a fair shooter behind the arc … except when he does so off the dribble.
And then M-Dug does what he does, and reports: Per SportsVU tracking data on NBA.com, Ellis entered Wednesday's game hitting 37.9 percent on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers ... compared to 11.8 percent on pull-up 3-pointers.
Pull-up 3-pointers at 11.8 percent? Monta and the Mavs would be wise to toss the SI aside and get to fixing this.
DONUT 6: Jae trending up ...
Jae Crowder is getting props inside Mavs HQ for showing hints that he might someday be Trix-like.
Carlisle has asked the second-year forward Crowder to be a banger and a perimeter guy on offense. And on defense, Jae has drawn the assignment of point guards, shooting guards, small forwards and power forwards.
"We've put him on point guards in a lot of games recently,'' Carlisle. "We put him on Curry, we put him on Bayless ... That dimension is big for us. ... "Having two guys, him and Marion that can do it, it's an important thing for us when we don't have a team full of defenders.''
I don't think of Crowder-as-Trix-Jr. as an accomplishment; I think of it as a goal. I bet Rick truly views it the same way, mentioning the two guys in the same breath as a public hint to Crowder not of where he is, but of where he can be.
DONUT 7: Casey's return ...
Old friend Dwane Casey makes a return to the AAC tonight, site of his greatest NBA accomplishment, where he served as a key assistant on the Mavericks' 2011 title team.
Casey used that success to vault to another chance in charge of a team. He's the Raptors' head coach ... and as is befitting with the theme of the day, he has Toronto (10th in the NBA in fewest points allowed at 98.6 per game) playing defense.
"He's had a massive impact on their defense,'' Rick said. "When he went there they were one of the worst defensive teams in the league, and they've made the greatest gains defensively over that period of time of any team in the league.
"It was a total culture change, a needed culture change. They've done it.''
Kind of like the culture change in Portland, where the other top assistant from the 2011, Terry Stotts, is in charge.
Two good reasons why you want to serve as an assistant coach to Rick Carlisle.
DONUT 8: Another kid ...
The Mavs believe Jae is coming along. How does this year's top rookie, Shane Larkin, view his development? A Video Visit:
DONUT 9: Oh, those steaks and burgers!
Thanks to Dee and the incredible staff at Dee Lincoln Steak and Burger Bar for our incredible Mavs pregame dinners ... the legendary DFW restaurateur has done it again.
Dee Lincoln Steak and Burger Bar is becoming THE "upscale casual'' place to dine before you attend events in Dallas ... And the gang from DB.com looks forward to seeing you there this weekend!
DONUT 10: Meanwhile, in China ...
Because Donuts are world-wide:
Delonte West is playing in China for Fujiang Xunxing. He is averaging 24.3 points 5.2 assists and 5.2 rebounds per on 58-percent shooting.
Dominique Jones is playing in China for the Liaoning Jaguars. He is averaging 30.4 points, 6.7 assists on 5.9 rebounds on 56.7-percent shooting.
DONUT 11: When Wright's right ...
Earlier this week, we pointed out the wildly positive way in which Brandan Wright's presence makes Vince Carter more productive.
Now how about a straight-up look at how B-Wright makes Dallas more productive?
Per Basketball-Reference, prior to Wednesday night: during his time in Dallas, when Wright has played over 15 minutes, the Mavs are 40-27, a winning percentage of 59.7 (equivalent to a 49-win season).
When he's played over 20 minutes, the Mavs are 29-17, a 63.0 winning percentage (equivalent to a 51.6-win season)
When Wright had played 15 minutes or fewer, the Mavs were 22-25, a 46.8 winning percentage (equivalent to a 38-win season). When he had played 20-or-fewer minutes the Mavs were 33-35 and winning percentage of 48.5 (the equivalent to a 39.8-win season).
It's a bit of an oversimplification -- ignoring influences such as Carlisle's tendency to put certain players (think Roddy Beaubois and Wright) in situations that are better suited for their success, essentially attempting to hide their weaknesses (a practice that can be frustrating, but is difficult to argue against, often forcing a chicken-vs-the-egg argument) -- though factually correct:
The Mavs have played better when Wright has gotten more minutes.
Wednesday night in the blowout of the Grizz, Wright played just over 13 minutes, totaling four points (all at the free-throw line), two rebounds and three blocks as he made his presence known at the defensive end.
B-Wright's Video Visit in the winning locker room:
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
The Rockets' deadline was dopey and they aren't getting what they "demanded'' in trade for Asik? I'll be darned. Our David Lord wrote that two days ago. And yes. this development keeps the door ajar for the Mavs to eventually poke their noses in there.
DONUT 13: The Finest Dentists in North Texas! ...
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