DONUT 1: The motivated Dirk ...
DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki is dissatisfied.
This is a good thing.
"At this point we need some wins,'' Nowitzki said after Sunday's 116-106 victory over the Pistons. (See our complete and unmatched coverage of that game here.) "Even if we win one, we lose another one, so we haven't really put a nice little win streak together to get a little separation down there.''
DONUT 2: "Down there'' where? ...
By "down there,'' Dirk didn't necessarily mean "down there at the bottom of the West playoff contenders,'' but I can take it as a Freudian slip. ... because Dirk is highly aware of what is going on "down there.''
The Memphis Grizzlies, Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves are coming at the 26-20 Mavs (and Suns) in contending for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"It's getting tighter and tighter behind us, we know that,'' Dirk said. "Memphis is really playing well now, and Denver, obviously.''
This four-game homestand started the right way with a win over Detroit. Now come games against Houston (on Wednesday), Sacramento and Cleveland.
"We need this homestand to really get some momentum again and get some wins together,'' Nowitzki said.
Part of this package is some rare rest, too; In addition to home games and home wins, some practice time and pauses between tipoffs might help, too.
DONUT 3: B-Wright study: Time is Money ...
Where does Dallas' Brandan Wright rank among the NBA's 5-Million-Dollar Men? One national site is ripping the Mavs' summer signing of the big man, causing us to analyze what the club is getting for its investment ...
And bringing us to a time-is-money statistical conclusion about B-Wright and the Mavs.
DONUT 4: Devin Rising ...
Our David Lord chimes in to note the elevation of Devin Harris as a crunch-time player for Dallas over the weekend.
On Sunday, Carlisle replaced Ellis in crunch time; the last 5:43 was Harris' time, not Ellis' time on the floor.
We think that's a very noteworthy event, and we think it was hinted at the game before, when Harris entered the game against Brooklyn at about the 6:00 mark -- but had five fouls and fouled out shortly thereafter ... causing us to wonder if an available Devin would have closed that game as well.
This wasn't an issue last Monday in Cleveland (when Devin was used sporadically) or on Wednesday in Toronto (when he did not close). So this is new ... and, if you look at the numbers when Calderon and Monta are teamed together (see charts here), this is well-worth trying.
Which leads us to ...
DONUT 5: 10 Pros and 10 Cons on Starting Devin ...
DB.com's 'Mr. Mak' is an unabashed admirer of Devin Harris. Yet even he sees two sides to the argument over whether it's time for Devin to join the Mavs starting lineup. So we've got a Top-10 List of Pros ... and a Top-10 List of Cons. Devin as a starter? Mr. Mak makes a case ... both ways.
DONUT 6: Thanks, Dee Lincoln! ...
Dee Lincoln's Steak and Burger Bar in The Quadrangle is the top "upscale-casual'' spot in town before Mavs games. Dee, of course, is one of the best-known and best-loved restauranteurs in DFW ... and these burgers are the best as well! Join us this week for a great Mavs pregame dinner at Dee Lincoln's!
DONUT 7: Why do we care about the Nets? ...
While visiting the Big Apple, Mark Cuban was asked if Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov can be doing the best possible job supervising his franchise while living on the other side of the planet.
“Absolutely not,” Cuban said. “That’s why I sit so close. It’s like trying to run a company and not being able to go to the sales meetings, not being able to go to the customer service meetings or the support meeting.”
I've always supported Cuban positioning himself where he does at the games. I've also always supported his figurative positioning, as I have a great deal of faith in his ability to manage that and pretty much any other company.
But I've never figured out why he positions himself close enough to the Nets, or most anybody else, to be critical of the way they are run. The Nets aren't a divisional rival; this isn't an attempt to sell tickets or to stir up headlines. (Prokhorov apparently declined reciprocal comment, so there goes the rivalry and there go the headlines, anyway.) There is no sincere dislike of his fellow owner, I don't think.
In short, I don't care how the Nets operate. And I'm not sure why Tony Cubes cares.
DONUT 8: Old news, but ...
We'll try to put it behind us, really we will.
But last week, what started as a haymaking possibility ended up being a 1-2 road trip against three beatable clubs. The Mavs nearly blew a huge lead against hapless Cleveland on Monday but hung on to win. They had another huge lead at .500 Toronto and, as it their habit, blew it and lost. And on Friday, they gave up 39 points in the second quarter, allowed somebody named "Mirza Teletovic'' to score a career-high 34 points, and found themselves having to strategize riskily and unsuccessfully in the final seconds to lose to rookie coach Jason Kidd's mediocre Nets.
“We expected to go 3-0 this week, plain and simple,” Vince Carter said. “I don’t really care what anybody else really thinks, it’s what we felt like we could accomplish, and we didn’t get the job done.''
Oh, we think the same thing, Vince. Catch up on our analysis of the week in the East here in DB.com Archives.
DONUT 9: Deep Thoughts ...
Grantland's Zach Lowe with some deep Mavs thoughts here. ... and the frosting on the cake, DB.com Boards discussion of them.
DONUT 10: Quoteboard ...
“B-minus. I think we’ve got the capabilities to be a B-plus, A. We’ve just given up too many games. ... But the fact that we’re there and having those leads, we’re doing a lot of good things leading up to that point.” - Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban with his first-half grade for his team.
DONUT 11: Rockets roll in ...
It's Houston at Dallas at the AAC tonight, a house of horrors for the Rockets as they've lost eight straight here. The Rockets will be on the second night of a back-to-back after having downed San Antonio last night, 97-90, and doing it without James Harden (thumb).
Houston is 30-17 overall and 5-2 without Harden; DB.com will keep you posted on his status throughout the day. Meanwhile, as much of a matchup nightmare Dwight and the Rockets can be, Dallas is 2-1 against them this season.
We'll be taping Fox Sports' "Mavs Insider'' on the floor before the game ... c'mon down and say hello and we'll see you tonight at the AAC!
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
Add one important name to the list of people who think Dirk Nowitzki should hear his name called Thursday night when All-Star reserves are announced.
That name? Dirk Nowitzki.
“This year, I’m right up there and we understand there’s always going to be some guys who deserve it and don’t make it; That’s the nature of the game,'' he said. "I'd be happy to go, obviously, and always represent the Mavericks. If not, then I'll find something else to do. ... I did have some fun at the beach last year, too.''
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