Tuesday Morning Mavs Donuts
DONUT 1: Mavs at Bobcats ...
The Dallas Mavericks cannot afford to approach tonight's game in Charlotte as if this is the same Bobcats team that has fallen to them in 17 of the 18 all-time meetings between the clubs.
"I don't think Coach will let us get happy," Dirk Nowitzki said. "We had a nice little film session and prepared like we've lost 10 in a row, to be quite honest. I said all along we're not good enough to coast."
The Bobcats are 22-29 and are riding the hot hand of Al Jefferson. Jefferson averages 20 points and 10.6 rebounds per, has scored 20 or more points in 13 of his past 14 games, and joins Kevin Durant as the only guy this year to have posted 30 points and 10 rebounds in three straight games.
And all-time, Jefferson averages 17.4 points and 9.8 rebounds vs. the Mavs -- maybe reminder enough that these aren't the same old Bobcats, who with their playoff-hunting 22 wins have already exceeded last year's total.
There's lots of talk of what's triggered Dallas' six-out-of-seven winning streak. Devin's return? A high-volume team meeting? Monta-as-Warrior? Sam getting off the seesaw? The Wright/Vince tandem? An offense that the Bobcats say is "top-three'' in the NBA? Dirk's ridiculously high efficiency?
It's all of those things, of course. Tonight offers a test of how much all those things are now cemented in to Dallas' psyche -- along with, as Dirk says, their inability to win while coasting.
DONUT 2: Olympics news ...
My personal breaking news out of the Winter Olympics:
Because none of the Sochi food is edible, it makes no difference that none of the Sochi toilets are usable.
DONUT 3: Deep Eval of MontaBall ...
Just a magnificent piece of work by our Michael Dugat here and he delves deep into the numbers to compare Monta Ellis' work with Dirk against other "Robins''' work with him ... and then goes steps beyond by including other NBA duos -- from Lillard/Aldridge to Wade/LeBron and more -- in this one-of-a-kind project.
It's Deep Analysis Of 'MontaBall': How Ellis Ranks With Other Dirk Mates - And Other NBA Duos ... and I'm proud to present it to you as yet another example of how The 75-Member Staff that brings you Mavs coverage is the best in the business.
And of course then you monitor the reaction of Carlisle when he speaks of Monta's grit in playing through a hamstring injury to help in Boston ... and compares the guy to "Spider-Man'' ... it's an important additional angle to the thought of Monta-as-sidekick and we've got that detailed here in our "Amazing Spider-Mav'' story.
DONUT 4: Wizards want your PGs? ...
The Wizards' search for point-guard help has them knocking on the stable door of the Mavs, where Calderon, Harris, Larkin and Mekel mean Dallas has … well, a stable-full. The two teams have discussed ideas, an NBA source tells DB.com. We've got insights into those talks and a big-picture take on what they mean.
Exclusive insight on Mavs trade talks ... It's another great reason to Go Mavs and Go Premium!
DONUT 5: How they beat the Jazz ...
"I feel like we've improved, and that we're on a good path,'' Carlisle said following Friday's 103-81 drubbing of the Jazz. "We just have to stick with it.''
The Mavs have done that, and that night did so much more. We've got it all covered with The 75-Member Staff at the AAC as you can read here.
DONUT 6: How they beat the Celtics ...
Well, Spider-Mav helped.
But Dirk's continued efficiency (Bird-like, if you will) and a bench that showed up just in time were also key. We've got the Boston breakdown here.
DONUT 7: Legends, tonight, too ...
I'll be up in Frisco tonight and Wednesday night covering P.J. Hairston and the Texas Legends on Channel 47 starting at 7, so when you are channel-surfing, surf on over!
Or better, join me in Frisco and hang out with the Mavs' D-League affiliate in person! Get your tickets for the whole family here!
Oh, and note that Gal Mekel's rehab from Jan. 17 knee surgery is progressing nicely enough that the Mavs are talking about an eventually assignment to Frisco.
"He's making steady progress," Carlisle said of the rookie point guard from Israel. "I would say he's ahead of schedule based on what the expectations were with the 'scope.
"He's one of these guys that's going to be ahead of the curve no matter what, just because that's how he does things, so we'll see,'' Rick said. "I think after the Break we'll probably be talking about him practicing and maybe going and getting some time down there."
DONUT 8: Naming rights ...
You don't have to like the fact that the Mavs' building is "American Airlines'' and the Cowboys' building is "AT&T'' and the Rangers' building is now "Globe Life Park.''
But you should understand that selling off that space, in theory, anyway, helps your team pay for point guards, quarterbacks and pitchers.
In the NBA, the non-naming-rights buildings are all but gone. Madison Square Garden still is what it is. The Palace of Auburn Hills is as well. What about New Orleans' building? It is to be renamed "Smoothie King Center'' and while that's not the most dignified moniker, it does pay the bills.
DONUT 9: Speaking of dignity ...
The baseball stadium in Arlington is now "Globe Life Park.'' And what's not to like?
Again, it pays for pitching. It's a McKinney-based firm so you aren't being owned by China or someplace. And calling it "The Globe'' for short is slick, economical and yes, dignified.
The last edifice to be known as "The Globe'' was Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. "Shakespeare in the Park''! "Comedy of Errors''! It fits on good days and bad.
The Globe it is, I say ... though I distinctly remember making the same proclamation about the Mavs' new building being nicknamed "The Hangar.''
DONUT 10: Smart vs. Orr ...
Marcus Smart lost his cool, crossed a boundary, let his negative emotions (and maybe a pair of imaginative rabbit ears) drive him.
That's always a mistake for an athlete on stage. Yes, Oklahoma State's point guard might've cost himself money by responding to taunts from Texas Tech "superfan'' Jeff Orr. More immediately, Smart's decision to enter the stands to shove his tormentor doesn't help his team and therefore I'm opposed to it. (It's a great guideline for me on all these occasions of individualism.)
But there's a societal issue here, too. What are we accomplishing by physically confronting the gutless adult who hoots with perceived immunity from the stands, protected by his ticket, as if the athlete is a performer in an imaginary cage?
If the fan is a racist, is shoving him going to cause him to reconsider? (Likely, the action will have the opposite impact). If all Orr did was yell, "Piece of crap!'' and you find that insulting, how does confrontation change anything?
For the record, even though I've heard the audio, I am dubious about the "piece-of-crap'' claim being the entirety of the offense. That seems awfully innocuous to cause a 19-year-old young man to spring from the floor and into the audience in search of the offending yeller. Hey, maybe Orr was barking that while someone else yelled something worse. Or maybe Smart heard wrong. Or maybe there's a blurred middle ground.
Nevertheless, again, Smart crossed that imaginary line.
At the same time, I cannot fathom the motivation of the 50- or 60-year-old man who habitually attends sporting events and gets his jollies from taunting the participants (as is clearly the case with Orr). It's reminiscent of motorists who are constantly leaning on their horns. What are y'all really accomplishing their besides expression of your personal angst?
Twenty years from now, I'm going to ask Bill Simmons if I can direct the "30-For-30'' that reunites Smart and Orr. But for now, I'm going to ponder which participant I find more embarrassing.
If Smart is my son? I'm displeased.
If Orr is my dad? I'm worried about my gene pool.
This and a skillion other basketball issues (and word issues and most of all, Mavs issues) are kicked around here on DB.com Boards, is in its 14th season and membership is free, fun ... oh, and sometimes frustrating! But mostly free and fun!
Need to sign up for a free membership? Do so and next thing you know you might win Dirk-autographed merchandise!
DONUT 11: Dia dos Namorados! ....
Our friends at Estilo Gaúcho are original partners in support of the Texas Legends and in celebration of the excellence of their incredible and original restaurant, they've become partners with DallasBasketball.com, too.
This is a family-owned local business offering a memorable dining experience featuring the cultural traditions of Southern Brazil. It's been named not only the premier Brazilian steakhouse in DFW but also one of the finest restaurants in the Dallas area of any kind. For lunch or dinner, David and Alex and their staff of Gaúchos make every occasion a special occasion. ... That includes Valentine's Day ... or "Dia dos Namorados'' as we like to call it!
Please visit Estilo Gaúcho this week and make your Valentine's Day reservation ... and tell 'em The Fish sent you!
DONUT 12: The Final Word ....
'We're a team looking to move up,' Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said last week before the visits from the Jazz and Celtics. "We're looking to move up in the standings. We're not looking to just hang on to the eighth spot. Who wants to be in the eighth spot if you've got a chance to move up to seventh, sixth, fifth or fourth?''
The Mavs were daring to look ahead ... and by gosh now they sit bunched with Golden State and Phoenix, percentage points separating them from sixth. And if they want to stay "moving up,'' handling February is critical as we establish in this piece on Dallas' schedule challenges in the coming weeks.
As hot as Dallas is, the reality of this b-2-b is getting the one in Charlotte is critical (because getting the second one seems so unlikely). So for one night, the Mavs needn't "look up.'' Just look straight ahead at a Bobcats team that can be put in its place tonight.