As grim or as bright as any tomorrow can look in the playoffs, it remains the realm where anything…
Thursday Mavs Donuts: Full Day At The AAC
DONUT 1: Mavs Odds & Trends ...
As the Dallas Mavericks ready for Thursday's visit from the Spurs (7:30 tip at the AAC), we prepare in our own particular manner:
With buzzing calculators and sharpened pencils. ... on some Mavs Odds & Trends:
Looking before and after the All-Star Break, while posting an improved winning percentage after the break the Mavs have actually out-shot their opponents by a lesser margin (looking at total field-goal percentage), though not by a drastic (or even significant) amount.
However, they've seen a jump in differential in a few other areas that may help explain the rise in winning percentage.
Per NBA.com, we have the Mavs differentials in several categories, with where those differentials rank league-wide before and after the Break:
Our Michael Dugat offers up the meaning of it all in this Premium study.
DONUT 2: Hitting 53 …
Dallas is now 13-0 when hitting at least 53 percent of its shots.
Sounds great. But will the Mavs hit 53 percent of their shots tonight against the Spurs? Can they be counted on to do that four times in a seven-game series against the Thunder or the Clippers or whomever?
It's a trend. But it's a toughie to get the trend to continue.
DONUT 3: Spurs at Mavs preview …
The Spurs are arguably basketball's best team and down the stretch can continue resting people if coach Gregg Popovich wishes. ... and the Mavs might wish he choose tonight to do just that, given the fact Dallas is 0-3 against San Antonio this year (average margin of defeat 12.3 points) and has lost seven straight to the Spurs overall.
Tony Parker (back) will not play. Manu Ginobili is ailing. And yet the Spurs usually find a way, even at the AAC, where they've won three straight.
The Mavs can counter with some numbers from their recent 4-0 roadie, including a defense that allowed just an average of 94 points and an offense that fueled good first-quarter starts, Dallas averaging 32 points per in those opening periods.
Dallas is 48-31 with the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, one half-game ahead of No. 8 Phoenix (47-31) and one-and-a half-games up on Memphis (46-32). Dallas is one game behind No. 6 Golden State (48-29).
DONUT 4: Parker's hurt …
We know that Tony Parker is a no-go for tonight. How serious might his injury be? DB.com training expert Jeff Stotts is the best in the business and fills you in here: "Understanding Tony Parker's Facet Sprain and Estimating His Postseason Status.''
DONUT 5: The Devin Factor …
Put this in your Minutes Pipe and smoke it: When Devin Harris has at least six assists, Dallas is 10-2. When Devin Harris hits at least half his shots, the Mavs are 9-4.
The moral of the story of these numbers? Add Devin to the list -- often highlighted in this space by the work of Dalembert and Vince -- of "Cross-Your-Fingers'' supplemental Mavs performers.
DONUT 6: The Pacers' slide …
Indy is a talented team bidding for a top seed and a title ...
And star players are asking coach Frank Vogel if they can sit out some of the games down the stretch?
There is a story inside that locker room that isn't being told. Indy is on the verge of a collapse since the trade of Danny Granger. Is Turner a chemistry problem? Did all the kids turn selfish? Is somebody sending naked selfies to somebody else's wife, girlfriend, sister, mom?
My guess: The issue isn't going to be solved by stars sitting out games the Pacers -- if they were operating normally -- would be going all-out to win.
DONUT 7: D-Lord on 'The 50-40-90 Club' …
What are Dirk's chances of re-joining "The 50-40-90 Club,'' in which he is already just one of six members?
Our David Lord offers the detailed Dirk breakdown here.
DONUT 8: When you're hot, you're hot …
When the Mavs offense gets hot, it can carry them.
According to M-Dug's numbers-crunching, the Mavs are now 22-1 when having a field-goal percentage at least five points above what they allow, they are also 26-4 when posting the same advantage behind the arc (posting a 3-point percentage at least five points above their opponent's).
DONUT 9: The 'Amazing' Night …
Dirk surpasses Oscar and the Mavs are amazingly efficient in Utah. We've got complete coverage of that game, featuring Dirk's top-10 milestone effort, here.
DONUT 10: Stat O' The Day …
Going into midweek, Mavericks backup big Brandan Wright has the best field-goal percentage in the NBA on shots in the restricted area at 79.1 percent.
The two guys behind him? LeBron (at 78.8 percent) and Durant (at 77.5 percent).
DONUT 11: Quoteboard...
"He's an original. He is a generational player. Now most teams start a stretch 4. He's changed the game in so many ways. The kind of humility and dignity he does it with, it leaves you standing there in awe." -- Rick on Dirk.
DONUT 12: The Final Word …
Dirk Nowitzki told reporters in Salt Lake City that his infamous quote -- "Utah is a bad city" -- was received with a contextual problem.
He claims that he was trying to explain why the Mavs didn't stay in Utah between Games 1 and 2 of that playoff series 14 years ago and that he meant, basically, that Utah was a hostile environment. So the Mavs went home between the two games.
"We come back here for Game 2 and there was like one camera guy, and he asked me, ‘So why did you guys not stay in Utah?' " Nowitzki said. "I said, ‘Well, Utah is a bad city,' meaning it's the playoffs and we shouldn't spend too much time there, it's hostile. I meant going home sleeping in my own bed is never bad.
"I come back here and they blew the whole thing up. They were talking about it on the TV that night already. I mean, they were trying to call my hotel room. It was awesome. Then, like I said, I came out with 90 minutes on the clock and they were already booing. Every time I touched the ball to shoot during warm-ups, they were booing. So that was a good ol' time."
It did turn out to be a good ol' time that year.
And now, maybe forever more thanks to this week's visit, Dirk in the "bad city of Utah'' can be remembered positively.
By us, if not the hostile natives.