Knicks expect Melo to miss game

November, 26, 2014
Nov 26
12:10
PM CT

DALLAS -- New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony has been all but ruled out of Wednesday's game against the Mavericks due to painful back spasms.

Knicks coach Derek Fisher said that he is "leaning toward" starting J.R. Smith in place of Anthony.

Fisher said Wednesday morning that Anthony was "making some progress, but not enough, I think, to be in a game, so it will be day to day."

Anthony left Monday's loss to the Houston Rockets late in the first half with back spasms and did not return. Teammates said Anthony was in severe pain after the game.

"He could barely talk, he said very few words," Smith said. "You could tell the pain he was in."

Anthony visited a doctor in Houston to obtain pain medication that wasn't available in the arena before flying with the Knicks to Dallas. He has not participated in practices or shootarounds, instead opting to receive treatment at the team hotel.

"He's not in a lot of comfort, so [he's] really just trying to rest up and get himself better. We'll be out here tonight and we'll see if we can get a game without him," Fisher said.

This is the second injury for Anthony thus far this season. He revealed last week that he is playing with discomfort in his left knee that first surfaced during the second game of the season

Anthony is leading the Knicks in scoring with 23.2 points per game. Their next-highest scorer is Amar'e Stoudemire (11.7 points per game).


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Mavs benefit from Knicks-Chandler woes

November, 26, 2014
Nov 26
8:00
AM CT
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DALLAS -- The collision with Charlotte point guard Kemba Walker that caused Tyson Chandler so much physical pain and emotional agony could be considered a blessing in disguise for the big man.

The X-rays that early November 2013 night showed a small nondisplaced fracture in Chandler's right fibula. It took a little longer to determine, but it turned out that the New York Knicks' playoff hopes were essentially shattered when Chandler went down. And the frustration of a failed season led to cracks in Chandler's relationship with the franchise.

[+] EnlargeTyson Chandler
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsTyson Chandler's defensive intensity fills a big need on the high-scoring Mavericks.
That collision ended up being the first step in Chandler's return to the Dallas Mavericks, who face the Knicks on Wednesday at the American Airlines Center. If New York's season hadn't turned into such a disaster, the Knicks wouldn't have deemed Chandler to be so expendable over the summer, when new team president Phil Jackson cited a desire to change the chemistry of the franchise as the primary motivating factor for shipping Chandler to Dallas in a six-player deal.

Chandler doesn't want to test injury karma, so he won't go so far as to say he benefited from his broken leg. But the dirty-work hero of Dallas' 2011 title run couldn't be happier that the path led back to a home he never wanted to leave in the first place and a franchise where he fits so well on and off the floor.

"I look at life as like everything happens for a reason," Chandler told ESPNDallas.com after recently handing out Thanksgiving dinners to single-parent families in need at the Vogel Alcove in south Dallas. "There's no mistakes made. At the time, [the injury] was devastating clearly, but I feel like everything happens for a reason."

No mistakes made? Well, plenty of Mavs fans would argue otherwise, pointing to owner Mark Cuban's calculated risk to value salary-cap space over keeping Chandler and other core members of that title team after the 2011 lockout.

The plan didn't work out how the Mavs' front office hoped. Dallas failed to land one of its targeted big fish in free agency, swinging and missing on Deron Williams (kind of a check swing, actually) and Dwight Howard and never even getting a chance to throw a pitch to Chris Paul.

The debate will always rage in Dallas about whether that team full of high-mileage veterans would have had a legitimate chance to repeat in a lockout-condensed season. But there should be no doubt that the Mavs are better off this season because of that decision.

If Chandler's contract was on the books in the summer of 2013, the Mavs wouldn't have had cap room for Monta Ellis. Dallas can't claim that Ellis was a Plan A target, but the Mavs are certainly glad they got him, as he immediately clicked as a pick-and-pop partner with Dirk Nowitzki last year and now leads the 10-5 Mavs in scoring.

What he brings to us with his enthusiasm, with his wanting to be held accountable, holding his teammates accountable, general overall energy -- there aren't many guys that bring that on a consistent basis the way he does. He's hugely important to us on the floor, in the locker room, you name it.

-- Mavs coach Rick Carlisle on Tyson Chandler
With Ellis and Nowitzki as co-stars, the Mavs made the playoffs last season after a one-year absence, pushing the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs to seven games in the first round. Their hopes are much higher this season thanks in large part to the presence of a springy center who meshes with the Mavs just as phenomenally well as he did during his first, too-brief stint in Dallas.

"What he brings to us with his enthusiasm, with his wanting to be held accountable, holding his teammates accountable, general overall energy -- there aren't many guys that bring that on a consistent basis the way he does," coach Rick Carlisle said. "He's hugely important to us on the floor, in the locker room, you name it."

On the floor, the 32-year-old Chandler has answered any lingering questions about his health as emphatically as he throws down alley-oops, of which there have been plenty. He's averaging 10.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game and ranks third in the NBA in field-goal percentage (69.7).

The fiery, 7-foot-1 Chandler provides Dallas the interior defensive presence this offense-intensive roster so desperately needs. He's arguably as valuable on the offensive end. His pick-setting and rebounding create increased and improved looks for the Mavs' scorers, and Chandler's ability to catch and finish high above the rim puts opposing defenses in a bind with Nowitzki's shooting and Ellis' penetration requiring so much attention.

In short, he fills a long list of holes the Mavs had during his three seasons in New York, when their Howard hopes turned into the harsh reality of a revolving door at center, with Brendan Haywood, Chris Kaman and Samuel Dalembert taking turns as the primary starters.

No wonder the Mavs are still searching for their first playoff series win since sipping Champagne in South Beach, huh?

In the locker room, Chandler stepped right back into the role of spiritual leader he had on the championship team. He typically addresses the team before each game, at halftime and often after the game.

If a Dallas player has done something wrong, Chandler will tell him about it if he determines it necessary, a no-bull approach embraced by the Mavs. He expects his teammates to hold him to the same standard of accountability.

[+] EnlargeKnicks
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiPhil Jackson wanted to change the Knicks' chemistry so he traded Tyson Chandler to Dallas after a 37-45 finish last season.
"His communication is next to no other than I've ever seen in my 17 years," Nowitzki said. "When he makes a mistake, he wants to hear it. He wants to communicate about it and get better and put it behind him. He's been amazing."

That opinion apparently isn't shared in the Knicks' locker room. Jackson's chemistry jabs were followed up by star Carmelo Anthony and other Knicks making comments about the lack of finger pointing in New York this season, which could be perceived as passive-aggressive pokes at Chandler.

How can Chandler be considered a great leader by one team and an outcast by another?

"It made perfect sense," said Cuban, who hopes to keep Chandler when his contract expires this summer. "If there's organizational issues or whatever was happening, then somebody who's trying to rally the guys, if the guys aren't buying it, it's going to be disruptive. Everybody's got to buy it for it to work."

Or, as Chandler put it: "I think people can take it differently and make it what they want to make it. It also depends on where your mind is. If everybody is locked in and they want to win and they know I'm in it 100 percent and they're in it 100 percent, nobody's sensitive. But if there's other agendas, it's going to make things sensitive."

Chandler might still be a bit of a sensitive subject for the Knicks. But a quick glance at the standings -- the 10-5 Mavs fighting for playoff position in the loaded West, the 4-11 Knicks destined to play for pingpong balls in the weak East -- suggests that Chandler probably wasn't the problem in New York last season.

The Knicks' eagerness to get rid of Chandler was a great break for the Mavs.

Welcome to Dallas, Lob City 2.0

November, 26, 2014
Nov 26
7:45
AM CT

Step aside, Los Angeles Clippers. Lob City has found a new home.

Ever since Chris Paul landed in Los Angeles, the Clippers have been a lob machine, blowing away the competition in alley-oop dunk totals. In Paul's first season with high-fliers Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the team completed 107 alley-oops, 23 more than any other squad. The nickname was justified.

And it stuck with good reason. They led the league again in lobs during the lockout-shortened season in 2012-13. And last season, they set the unofficial record with 169 alley-oop dunks, according to data pulled from NBA StatsCube. The Rockets placed second with 110. No one was really close.

But that's all changed. After a three-year reign, Lob City is no longer found in Hollywood, but instead in the heart of Texas. The Dallas Mavericks are dunking all over everybody en route to the NBA's most efficient offense in recent history.

Team-First Teams Succeeding

November, 25, 2014
Nov 25
12:19
PM CT


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David Thorpe notices that the teams atop the Hollinger Power Rankings are similar in that they pass the ball to the open man.

Tyson Chandler: Knicks 'in past'

November, 25, 2014
Nov 25
9:19
AM CT
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DALLAS -- Center Tyson Chandler felt like a scapegoat "at times" for the New York Knicks' failures last season.

The Knicks entered the season with high expectations coming off a trip to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs but ended with a 37-45 record and the firing of coach Mike Woodson. Chandler was dealt to the Dallas Mavericks in a six-player deal in June when new Knicks president Phil Jackson cited a desire to change the chemistry of the franchise. Those comments offended the big man, who prides himself on professionalism and leadership.

Chandler missed 20 games early last season because of a nondisplaced fracture of his right fibula, with the Knicks falling to 10 games under .500 in his absence. With a pained grin on his face, he said he believed he occasionally received too much blame for the Knicks' disappointing performance last season.

"At times, at times, at times," Chandler told ESPNDallas.com. "But I feel like New York made me a lot stronger, a lot stronger of a person going through trials and tribulations there. But that's life."

Chandler will face the Knicks on Wednesday night for the first time since the trade to Dallas. Chandler, considered a leader in the Mavericks' locker room and a negative influence in the Knicks', thinks the difference is his teammates' tolerance for his attempts to hold them accountable.

"I think people can take it differently and make it what they want to make it," Chandler said when asked whether his leadership attempts were lost in translation in New York. "It also depends on where your mind is. If everybody is locked in and they want to win and they know I'm in it 100 percent and they're in it 100 percent, nobody's sensitive. But if there's other agendas, it's going to make things sensitive."

Knicks players, including star Carmelo Anthony


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No defending 'embarrassing loss' to Pacers

November, 24, 2014
Nov 24
11:35
PM CT
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DALLAS -- One of the worst offensive teams in the NBA limped into the American Airlines Center and lit up the Dallas Mavericks.

These aren't the Indiana Pacers that advanced to the Eastern Conference finals last season. Far from it, considering none of the five starters from that team suited up for Indiana on Monday night.

These bunch of journeymen came to Dallas ranked 28th in the NBA in scoring, not having cracked triple digits since a season-opening victory over the still-winless Philadelphia 76ers. But these Pacers handed the Mavs a humiliating 111-100 home loss.

[+] EnlargeMavericks Defense
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsDonald Sloan torched the Mavericks for 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting.
"There's no way around it -- this is an embarrassing loss," Mavs small forward Chandler Parsons said. "There is no excuse for this. We have to come out and play harder."

Well, embarrassing is one way to put it after a team that considers itself a Western Conference contender gets punked on its home court by the injury-riddled Pacers' leftovers.

"A horrible loss. Horrific. Awful," power forward Dirk Nowitzki said after the 10-5 Mavs' second straight loss. "I can't find any more words."

The Mavs couldn't find a way to keep the Pacers, who improved to 6-8, from scoring at will. Dallas didn't win a single quarter despite shooting 50 percent from the floor in a game coach Rick Carlisle referred to as a "physical demolition."

Dallas' failure to score from the floor for more than half of the fourth quarter killed any comeback hopes, but not many words were muttered about the Mavs' offense in the locker room after this mess. The focus was firmly on the defensive disaster, on all the warts exposed in this embarrassment.

"We just have to put up more resistance," Carlisle said. "That's where it's at defensively, and our guys know that."

Frankly, this can't be considered too stunning, even with the all the Pacers' offensive problems. The Mavs feature the NBA's most efficient offense, but this roster has a lot of flaws defensively.

Look at the Mavs' starting lineup. It features a pair of guards who are puny by NBA standards and a 36-year-old power forward who wasn't exactly considered a lockdown defender even during his younger days.

Add a laissez faire attitude to that mix and it really gets ugly.

"I said it before the season: This team is going to be challenged defensive-wise and rebounding-wise," Nowitzki said. "If we don't bring it every night, we're going to get lit up.

"We were just a step slow. When you start the game off slow and let guys get their confidence, then all of a sudden, they're throwing in shots that they probably wouldn't make if you play from the beginning. You know, it's another reminder that we're not good enough to coast against anybody."

If Dallas maximizes its potential, the Mavs might be decent defensively. If they don't, the Mavs will be miserable on that end of the floor, an exciting team that has no real title hopes.

"We've got to get better," said center Tyson Chandler, the only Dallas starter who has a reputation as an above-average defender. "We've got to correct that if we want to accomplish anything this season."

All due respect to Pacers guard Donald Sloan, a Dallas native, but something has gone seriously wrong when that dude goes off for 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting. And when seven Pacers score in double figures when their best scorers are in street clothes. And when the Pacers, who were shooting 32 percent from 3-point range, hit half of their 26 attempts from long distance.

"Teams are shooting too high of a percentage against us, and it's not just because teams just make shots against us," Chandler said. "It's because we allow teams to make shots against us. We can't have guys coming in here with all the confidence in the world having career nights. We've got to put a stop to it."

The Mavs couldn't put a stop to a nosebleed Monday night, much less the Pacers.

NBA Top Plays

November, 24, 2014
Nov 24
11:29
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video

Brandan Wright's huge dunk over Luis Scola is the top play from the NBA.

Pacers Outwork Mavs

November, 24, 2014
Nov 24
10:38
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After a 111-100 loss to the Pacers, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said his team did not play physical enough.

Donald Sloan scores 29 as Pacers surprise Mavericks

November, 24, 2014
Nov 24
10:26
PM CT
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DALLAS -- Donald Sloan scored 29 points and seven Indiana Pacers scored in double figures in a 111-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday.

The Pacers led the entire second half, and set a season high in points and equaled their season high in field-goal percentage (48.1).

Indiana got a double-double from Luis Scola, who scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Solomon Hill and Rodney Stuckey each scored 12 points, while Chris Copeland and Damjan Rudez each had 11, and Ian Mahinmi added 10.

Mahinmi made his first start of the season with center Roy Hibbert sidelined with a sprained ankle.

The Mavericks, who have lost two straight, were led by Monta Ellis with 24 points.

Dirk Nowitzki added 22 points and team-high 11 rebounds. Chandler Parsons scored 16 and Devin Harris 13.


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Pacers 111, Mavs 100: Dreadful D by Dallas

November, 24, 2014
Nov 24
10:05
PM CT
DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks had a scoring drought of more than five minutes in the fourth quarter, killing their comeback hopes after a poor defensive performance against the Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers, who entered the night ranked 28th in the NBA in scoring with 90.9 points per game, had not hit triple digits since a 103-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in the season opener.

Player of the game: Pacers point guard Donald Sloan, who starred at nearby Seagoville High, had a heck of a homecoming. Sloan scored 29 points on 10-of-13 shooting and had five assists.

Trend of the night: The Mavs have lost two straight games to teams missing All-Star centers. Dallas followed up its loss to Houston without Dwight Howard by losing to Indiana without Roy Hibbert, who sat out due to a sprained ankle. It's the first time this season that the Mavs lost consecutive games.

Stat of the night: The Mavs got outscored by 17 points in Dirk Nowitzki's 33 minutes despite him scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

Raymond Felton a healthy scratch

November, 24, 2014
Nov 24
7:33
PM CT

DALLAS -- The wait continues for guard Raymond Felton to make his debut for the Dallas Mavericks.

Felton was inactive in Monday night's 111-100 loss to the Indiana Pacers, the first game he was eligible to play this season after recovering from a high right ankle sprain and serving a four-game suspension stemming from gun charges in New York last season.

Felton, who was acquired along with center Tyson Chandler in a six-player trade with the New York Knicks over the summer, is the odd man out for now in the Mavs' crowded backcourt.

Jameer Nelson and Monta Ellis have started every game for the 10-5 Mavs. Devin Harris and J.J. Barea have served as dual spark plugs off the bench.

"We've got a good situation," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said before Monday's game. "There are a lot of teams right now that would die to have one or two of our point guards. We've got one or two extra, which is a great position to be in."

Felton, who has averaged 13.1 points and 6.5 assists per game in nine NBA seasons, has been almost solely a starter throughout his career but is willing to adapt to a different role in Dallas. He isn't certain, however, how he might fit in the Mavs' rotation.


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How does Raymond Felton fit with Mavs?

November, 24, 2014
Nov 24
12:15
PM CT
DALLAS -- Raymond Felton is finally ready to make his debut for the Dallas Mavericks.

The veteran has recovered from a high-ankle sprain suffered Oct. 10. Felton has served his four-game suspension stemming from his guilty plea to gun charges, a part of his nightmare campaign with the New York Knicks last season.

Now Felton, who looked forward to a fresh start after arriving in Dallas with center Tyson Chandler in a June trade, can finally focus on basketball again.

“It’s been a long time,” said Felton, who is available for Monday night's home game against the Indiana Pacers. “I’ve put everything behind me and now it’s time to get back on the court and start business now.”

However, it’s hard to say exactly when Felton will actually get back on the court. Or how Felton will fit in a crowded backcourt rotation.

Four veteran guards have played significant roles during Dallas’ 10-4 start. Monta Ellis leads the Mavs in scoring at 19.6 points per game and is tied for the team lead in assists (4.6), getting the vast majority of the minutes at shooting guard. Jameer Nelson, who is averaging 7.4 points and 4.6 assists, has started every game at point guard. Devin Harris (8.7 points, 4.4 assists) and J.J. Barea (8.4 points, 4.4 assists) have been dual spark plugs off the bench.

“We’ll just have to see,” coach Rick Carlisle said on Felton’s role. “There’s nothing definite at this point in time.

“We got a lot of point guards. We got to give them all a lot of love. It’s really a great situation for us. You look around the league, Indiana’s got two point guards out. We’re very fortunate. Are there enough minutes for all of them? No. But they’re all professionals and they’re all going to stay ready. I feel it’s a very good position to be in.”

Felton, who can play either guard position, has averages of 13.1 points and 6.5 assists per game in nine NBA seasons. He has started all but 55 of his 667 career appearances but understands he’ll have to adapt to a different role in Dallas.

At this point, Felton isn’t certain what that role will be. He hasn’t had any discussions with Carlisle about it.

“That’s not my decision to make,” Felton said. “I’ve worked hard through training camp and I’ve worked hard ever since I’ve been injured, so the biggest thing is whatever Coach and this staff needs me to do, that’s what I’ll do.”

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Monta Ellis
PTS AST STL MIN
19.8 4.7 1.1 32.4
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 10.3
AssistsM. Ellis 4.7
StealsD. Harris 1.2
BlocksB. Wright 1.5