Dallas Mavericks: Rodrigue Beaubois

Is Roddy Beaubois ready for prime time?

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
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Rodrigue Beaubois remains somewhat of a riddle as the guard with Globetrotter-like flair from the little island of Guadeloupe nears the end of his third NBA regular season.

Is he a point guard or a shooting guard or both? Can he be more of a competitor than an entertainer? Does he merit a significant role once the Mavs’ roster is fully healthy?

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ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Tim MacMahon joins GAC to discuss what went wrong for the Mavs in their loss to the Lakers and if booing Lamar Odom was the right thing for Mavs' fans to do.

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And the biggest question right now about Roddy B.: Can the Mavs really count on the kid in prime time?

The answer to that question at the end of Beaubois’ injury-interrupted sophomore season was absolutely not, which is why the Mavs’ vets successfully lobbied for DeShawn Stevenson to replace him in the starting lineup for the regular-season finale and postseason. The Mavs are still in the process of figuring out whether Beaubois is really big-game ready after another year of seasoning.

His splendid performances in wins over a pair of playoff teams -- the Spurs and Nuggets -- during the last week were certainly encouraging. Was Beaubois’ off night in the loss to the Lakers just a hiccup or him reverting to form against high-caliber competition?

“These are all great opportunities for him to get better,” coach Rick Carlisle said after Wednesday night’s loss to L.A., when Beaubois had six points on 3-of-12 shooting and struggled defensively when matched up with Kobe Bryant or Ramon Sessions. “This has been one of the more difficult teams for him to play against if you look at his history, but I will remind everybody that the last two games were against pretty damn good teams, too, and he played terrific.

[+] EnlargeRodrigue Beaubois
Jerome Miron/US PresswireRodrigue Beaubois scored 16 points with eight rebounds in last week's win over the Spurs.
“We’ve got to stay the course with him. To be fair, we’ve got to look at larger blocks of time and we’ve got to have discretion about when we get the microscope out.”

It’s notable that this was the first time Beaubois got off the bench against the Lakers this season. He sat during the Mavs’ first two losses to Kobe and Co. this season, as Carlisle called those “veteran’s games.”

As Carlisle mentioned, Beaubois has never had much success against the Lakers. He had a couple of particularly painful-to-watch performances in losses to the Lakers during the brief experiment with Beaubois as a starter last season.

Is that because of matchups -- good luck finding many guards who feast against Kobe -- or because the figurative lights are too bright for Beaubois?

“It just wasn’t a good night for me,” Beaubois said. “It was tough for me to find a rhythm and the shot wasn’t going in. That doesn’t help, but I have to find a way to help the team even when my shot doesn’t go in. Tonight, that wasn’t the case. I have to do a better job of that.

“It happens, but I have to be ready for the next one.”

The next one happens to be against the Spurs, the one elite West foe that Beaubois has given fits.

Beaubois only non-garbage time playoff experience came out of desperation when the Mavs dug a big hole in a win-or-the-end Game 6 against the Spurs in the 2010 first round. He got the Mavs back in the game with 16 points in 21 minutes before Carlisle made the controversial decision to go with ice-cold Jason Terry as the Mavs fizzled down the stretch.

Two of Beaubois’ best games this season came against the Spurs. As the fill-in starting point guard, Beaubois had 14 points and seven assists in a Jan. 29 overtime win, when fellow Frenchman Tony Parker was 2-of-11 from the floor and watched the entire fourth quarter and OT from the bench with the rest of the Spurs’ starters. Beaubois had 16 points and a career-high-tying eight rebounds in last week’s win over the Spurs.

“I don’t think he looks at any game like prime time,” Jason Kidd said. “I think he just wants to get better at his craft and we all want to help him get better. It’s not about prime time. It’s just a matter of being good and being consistent. That’s what we all fight to try to do.”

That might be true, but Beaubois has more to prove than any other holdover from last season’s Mavericks' roster. With the Mavs two games into a 10-game stretch against playoff competition, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to do it.
DALLAS -- It’s not hard to envision Rodrigue Beaubois as a major part of the Mavericks’ long-term future on nights like these.

Are nights like these just a tease?

[+] EnlargeRodrigue Beaubois
Danny Bollinger/NBAE/Getty ImagesRodrigue Beaubois lit up the Wizards for 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting in 28 minutes.
Beaubois was brilliant in the Mavs’ 107-98 win Tuesday over the lottery-bound Washington Wizards. He lit it up offensively, scoring 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting in 28 minutes, and consistently competed on the defensive end.

Coach Rick Carlisle, who doesn’t exactly shy away from calling the kid out, had only one minor nitpick of Beaubois’ performance. Carlisle wished Beaubois had shot the ball more, pointing out that he passed up a couple of open shots.

“From start to finish, you look at offense, defense, decision-making, it’s one of his best games here,” Carlisle said. “He did a great job. There’s some real growth there.”

Is it really evidence of growth or just another flash of brilliance against a bad team?

Beaubois, who was considered a rising star until a fractured foot and shattered psyche ruined his sophomore season a year ago, has had a handful of phenomenal performances this season. It’s tough to top the 22-point, seven-assist, six-rebound, four-block show he had in a Jan. 27 win over Utah. He had efficient 25- and 18-point performances earlier this month.

But Beaubois has rarely been a positive factor against playoff-caliber competition. And he hasn’t had any real stretches of sustained success.

“That’s my problem,” said Beaubois, who had six rebounds, four assists, two steals, a block and no turnovers against the Wizards. “Not my problem, but that’s the challenge. I’ve been going up and down. I just need to be focused about that and make sure that I bring my energy and bring what the team is waiting for from me every night.”

Beaubois is the Mavs’ most dynamic athlete. There isn’t anybody else on the roster with his ability to create off the dribble.

But it drives Carlisle crazy when Beaubois performs like a Harlem Globetrotter, dancing with his dribble instead of going hard at the defender. It drives Carlisle crazy when Beaubois gets sloppy with the ball or doesn’t focus defensively.

Carlisle has stressed to Beaubois that the Mavs need him to be a competitor, not an entertainer. And Carlisle has good company emphasizing that message.

“We’d love for him to compete every night like that on both ends of the floor and get after it defensively and offensively just attack,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “Not just settle for that jumper, but get in the lane. … Just be in attack mode. If he does that, he’s so talented, he’s going to fall into some good stuff.”

If he does that, the Mavs’ backcourt will be awfully crowded when Delonte West gets healthy. That’s the kind of problem the Mavs don’t mind dealing with.

If he does that, Beaubois will have a bright future instead of being remembered as a talented tease.

Stock report: Shawn Marion rises again

February, 17, 2012
2/17/12
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Our weekly look at which Mavs stock has risen and fallen most:

Streaking
STOCK UP
Shawn Marion -- The Matrix averaged 13.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists in four games over the last week, posting a pair of double-doubles.

But Marion’s biggest impact was made on the defensive end of the floor. The small forward’s versatility allowed coach Rick Carlisle to continue starting Vince Carter when Jason Kidd returned from a strained right calf.
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Shawn Marion has been impressive on the defensive end. He is clearly the Mavs' MVP to this point; could he also be the NBA Defensive Player of the Year?

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Marion hasn’t just accepted the responsibility of guarding good point guards; he has excelled at it.

Marion’s length, physical presence and tenaciousness have bothered Ricky Rubio, Chris Paul and Ty Lawson, who all had subpar performances in losses to the Mavericks.



Slumping
STOCK DOWN
Rodrigue Beaubois -- The third-year guard hasn’t played in the four games since Kidd’s return, sitting on the bench for three games before leaving the team after his father’s sudden death Wednesday.

It isn’t certain when Beaubois will return, but the Mavs will need him to contribute when he comes back because of Delonte West’s extended absence due to a fractured right ring finger. It’s important that Beaubois plays with aggression.

The Mavs can live with his mistakes if he’s trying to make things happen. It isn’t acceptable for Beaubois to be timid.

Fountain of Youth: Hopeful for a trio of big men

February, 15, 2012
2/15/12
11:00
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Our weekly look at the Mavericks' young players.

President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson recently spoke of three young big men the organization is excited about during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Ben & Skin Show.

All three were acquired in the past few months. The first of the three signed, Brandan Wright, is currently showing the most promise. A career power forward, the 24-year-old North Carolina product is adjusting to playing the center position and is pushing the struggling Ian Mahinmi for minutes behind Brendan Haywood. In his fourth season and finally healthy, Wright's minutes remain sporadic, but he's become a favorite of coach Rick Carlisle's because of the energy and enthusiasm he brings. He's become a fan favorite because of his propensity to throw down roof-scrapping two-handed dunks.

Sean Williams, whose contract was fully guaranteed last week, is in true developmental mode. He was assigned to D-League affiliate Texas Legends in Frisco early on and with virtually no opportunity to crack the Mavs' rotation he's remained there. The former Mansfield High star had his share of troubles when at Boston College and in his previous NBA stint, but Williams, 25, seems determined to do what it takes to stick. He's started 16 of 17 games for the Legends and is averaging 16.0 points on 54.4 percent shooting and 8.6 rebounds in 28.4 minutes. He leads in blocks with 41.

And then there's the man with the contingent of Chinese press that surrounds his locker whether he plays or not. And lately the soft-shooting, 7-foot Yi Jianlian, 24, hasn't seen much action. Since logging 37 minutes in consecutive games on Jan. 25 and 27, he's played a total of 19 minutes in the last nine games and three minutes in the last five.

As for the team's main youngster in the backcourt, Rodrigue Beaubois' season and career remain a roller coaster. Hopes were raised once again for a sustained breakthrough from the soft-spoken 23-year-old early in Jason Kidd's latest injury absence. But, his performances waned and with Kidd back in the lineup, Beaubois has not gotten off the bench in three consecutive games.

What can he do to get back in?

Carlisle had a familiar answer to that question the other night: Just be ready.

Cuban: Rodrigue Beaubois in long-term plans

February, 13, 2012
2/13/12
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DALLAS – Two years ago, Mark Cuban declared Rodrigue Beaubois “pretty much untouchable” in the trade market.

Now, it’s relatively notable for Cuban to say that Beaubois, who hasn’t gotten off the bench in the two games since Jason Kidd returned from a strained right calf, remains part of the Mavs’ long-term plans.

“That’s the way we see it now. Absolutely,” Cuban said.

It wouldn’t be stunning if that view changed over the summer, when the Mavs could try to create as much salary cap space as possible to pursue Dwight Howard and Deron Williams. It certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility that the Mavs could part with Beaubois, who is due $2.23 million next season, in a salary dump similar to the deal that sent Corey Brewer and Rudy Fernandez to Denver.

At this point, Beaubois has no choice but to be patient. There isn’t room in the rotation right now with Kidd and Delonte West at point guard and Vince Carter and Jason Terry at shooting guard.

Beaubois, who has been primarily a point guard this year, showed flashes of brilliance in the six-plus games Kidd sat out with a strained right calf. His 22-point, seven-assist, six-rebound, four-block performance after Kidd went down against the Jazz was the most statistically impressive outing by a Mavs point guard this season.

But Beaubois struggled miserably during the Mavs’ three-game losing streak, playing tentatively and ineffectively. As far as he knows, that’s why he hasn’t played at all the last two games.

“Nobody told me anything, so the only thing I can do and I can guess is that I wasn’t playing good,” Beaubois said. “I just have to work on my game, do everything I can to get better. That’s the only thing I can do.”

Beaubois’ development isn’t a priority during games for a deep team determined to defend its championship.

“That’s what practice is for,” Cuban said. “That’s why you come in and work on your game. If you want a deep team, that’s part of the price, but he’s part of our long-term plans, so there’s no rush. He’ll get plenty of minutes.”

When and for which team?

3-pointer: Lamar Odom gets call-out from coach

February, 12, 2012
2/12/12
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DALLAS -- Lamar Odom's performances as a Dallas Maverick have been so underwhelming this season that on those nights when he shows a pulse, plays with a purpose and contributes to a victory, it gets bear-hug treatment from coach Rick Carlisle.

So when Odom played 23 minutes Saturday night with confidence, attacked and knocked down shots, contributing 10 points, five rebounds and no turnovers (and truth be told he was robbed of at least a pair of assists) in the wild 97-94 double overtime victory against Portland, Carlisle ranked the performance among the forward's best.

"I thought Lamar Odom played one of his best games of the year tonight," Carlisle said. "He had great energy, he was attacking, he was into the game. Dirk had some struggles early in the third, we went to Lamar, he made a couple big plays, hit a 3, it was stuff that kept us going during a tough spot."

At the 7:11 mark of third quarter, Nowitzki fouled Gerald Wallace for and-1, didn't like the call, made his feelings about it known and got hit with a technical. He sat down for the next five-plus minutes with Portland scraping and scrambling to try to get back in the game.

Odom immediately drained a 3-pointer and Vince Carter followed with his own to balloon the lead back to 14. Odom hit another 3 with 8:51 to go that increased a shrinking six-point lead to nine. Moments earlier he put a spin move on Nicolas Batum and put it in off the glass.

"I think right now it's important for me to play well and give the big fella a little bit of a break without us falling off too much. And when I say the big fella, I mean Dirk," Odom said. "He deserves a rest and deserves to be able to come out of the game and for the team not too fall off too much."

Odom finished 4-of-5 from the field and 3-of-3 in the second half when the Mavs needed it most.

"My body is getting back to where it needs to be," Odom said. "I feel a lot more comfortable and confident making moves. And not just making a move, but coming up out of the move, making a move or two and getting out of it and being explosive, being able to share the ball and make the right basketball play.

"Now, If I could hit a free throw then I'll be able to finish these games."

Odom, 0-of-2 at the line and shooting a woeful 57.5 percent on the season, might not be closing out games anyway. He won't be bumping Dirk Nowitzki out of the lineup, and Shawn Marion, who grabbed five of his team-high 12 rebounds in the second overtime, certainly won't go quietly.

But it's one step at a time, and on Saturday night Odom took another one.

Here's three more things to consider after the Mavs won their third in a row to move back to a season-high six games over .500:

1. Big Brendan Haywood: LaMarcus Aldridge showed why he's an All-Star with his 33-point, 12-rebound effort Saturday night. He made 14-of-26 shots and split his rebounds evenly at both ends. But, give the Mavs' 7-foot center credit, too. Dallas uses its centers to guard Aldridge, a power forward, because the Blazers don't have an offensive threat at the 5. That's a big job for Haywood, who must cover a lot of ground against the far more agile Aldridge, whose bread-and -butter is a beautiful mid-range fall-away. Haywood made his younger opponent work for his points and Aldridge had to double-pump in mid-air just to get his first overtime game-tying attempt up, and it bounced around the rim before dropping. Hawyood logged 38 minutes, nine more than his previous season high, leaving Ian Mahinmi and new fan favorite Brandan Wright mostly to watch from the sideline. Haywood finished with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting and 10 rebounds, his sixth double-figure rebound game of the season.

2. Turnovers are weird: The Mavs were fortunate to escape Minnesota having committed 18 turnovers (mostly because the Timberwolves coughed it up a remarkable 28 times). So Dallas was even more fortunate to get away with 23 turnovers Saturday night against Portland. The return of Jason Kidd was supposed to help cut down turnovers, so 41 in the last two games is certainly a cause for concern. The Mavs were turnover-free after one quarter and then committed eight in each the second and third quarters. The Blazers converted the 23 turnovers into only 23 points. Carlisle noted his concern by saying, "We're doing some things that are just uncharacteristically weird out there with the ball, and it's not like us.''

3. Free Roddy B?: Well, the return of Jason Kidd has sent Rodrigue Beaubois back to the end of the bench -- the deep, deep end. In Kidd's two games back, Beaubois has not played a second, has not needed to remove his sweats. He had the nice bounce-back game at Denver, scoring 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting one game after it appeared his confidence was totally shot (again) at Cleveland. It's so hard to figure what Beaubois' future holds. With Delonte West playing well, the minutes are going to be limited and maybe reserved for garbage time or strategically placed during extremely busy portions of the schedule. As of now the latest Free Roddy B revival was a short-lived one.
This was the kind of moment when the Mavs need Jason Kidd the most.

Things had gone haywire for the visitors at the Target Center. The Timberwolves had gone on a 19-5 run to slash the Mavs’ lead to three points with a little more than 10 minutes remaining in the game.

Re-enter Kidd, who made his return Friday night after missing the previous six games with a strained right calf.

Kidd calmly hit a 3-pointer on his first possession after checking back into the game. He had four assists over the next three-plus minutes, finding Jason Terry for a midrange jumper, Dirk Nowitzki for a layup, Terry for a 3 and Nowitzki for a 3.

Suddenly, the Mavs’ lead had swollen back to 13. Ballgame.

“He got us home,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Kidd. “It’s great to have him back.”

Kidd had eight points, 10 assists, eight turnovers, five rebounds and two steals in his first game since Jan. 27. His most important stat: The Mavs were plus-23 in his 27 minutes during the 104-97 win.

A few more notes from the Mavs’ victory in Minnesota:

1. Dominance doesn’t satisfy Dirk: The big German’s groove continued with a season-high 33-point performance, an impressive display of offensive efficiency. Nowitzki, whose season scoring average has risen more than two points over the last four games, hit 11 of 19 shots from the floor and four of seven from 3-point range. “I’m still mad that I missed three free throws,” he said, noting his 7-of-10 night from the line.

2. JET makes buckets count: Terry has so much swagger he never believes he’s slumping. Not even after missing 18 of 22 shots on a road trip. Terry broke out of that funk with three buckets -- a midrange jumper, a floater and a 3-pointer -- in a span of 2:10 during the Mavs put-'em-away run. Terry finished the game with 16 points on 7-of-21 shooting. “His start was a bit of a struggle, but he hung in there,” Carlisle said.

3. Boys of summer ’10: It was quite an interesting night for the guards from the Mavs’ last summer league squad. Rodrigue Beaubois didn’t get off the Mavs’ bench, watching Kidd and Delonte West split the playing time at point guard in Kidd’s return. Dominique Jones was inactive for the Mavs. And Jeremy Lin scored 38 points and dished out seven assists to lead the Knicks to a win over the Lakers.


DENVER -- Maybe this German dude has a few days left as a go-to guy after all.

It could be coincidence or perhaps it was just a matter of time, but Dirk Nowitzki has suddenly looked like himself ever since Charles Barkley declared that the best player in Mavs’ history was no longer capable of being "The Man."

Nowitzki has scored 79 points on 61.5 percent shooting in the last three games. He had 25 points on 11-of-20 shooting and nine rebounds in Wednesday’s win over the Denver Nuggets, putting up what’s pretty much been a typical performance for him over the last decade.

“All-Star performance, didn’t you think?” coach Rick Carlisle said, poking fun at the possibility that Nowitzki’s slow start could prevent him from extending his streak of All-Star selections to 11 when reserves are announced Thursday night.

Nowitzki really doesn’t care whether or not he makes the All-Star game. (Actually, he’d probably prefer to stay home and take a break during that long weekend.) His concern is only about whether he’ll be capable of leading a contender.

Any doubt that crept into Dirk’s mind during his slump has been eliminated.

“Feel good, feel good,” Nowitzki said. “You know, I’m just more confident in everything -- in the movement, in the shot, just all-around game.

“It was a long road, definitely. I was fighting an uphill battle over the first third of the season, but I feel good now. I have confidence in the leg strength again. I can make moves, I can spin, all of that stuff I need to do to get my shot off. Before that, that wasn’t the case.”

Some other notes from the win over the Nuggets:

1. Grounded Jet? Jason Terry’s road woes continued with a 1-of-9 shooting night, but Carlisle’s concern was about Terry’s health. Terry didn’t play the final five-plus minutes because of a sore hip flexor. “He’s got to get some treatment tomorrow and we’ve got to get him ready for Friday and Saturday,” Carlisle said. “It’s something that’s been bothering him the last couple of days, so that’s something we’ll have to monitor closely.” Terry certainly isn’t sounding any alarms, however. “No, no, no, no, not at all,” Terry said. “I’m good. It was just tight. Nothing to worry about at all.”

2. Wright on again: For the second consecutive game, high-flying, high-energy Brandan Wright made a big impact off the bench. Wright, who is sharing the backup big man role with Ian Mahinmi after earning more minutes, scored 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting, grabbed four rebounds and blocked a shot in 16 minutes against the Nuggets. He scored six of his points while playing the final 10:51. “We don’t run plays for him,” Carlisle said, “but he has a knack for being in the right place at the right time.”

3. Roddy B. breaks slump: Rodrigue Beaubois' play was a problem during the Mavs’ three-game losing streak. He scored a total of 13 points on 5-of-23 shooting during the skid, prompting Carlisle to challenge him to play more aggressively. Beaubois responded by scoring 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the first half against the Nuggets. Beaubois didn’t score in the second half, but his performance was still a positive. “Roddy’s first half was really key to our win,” Carlisle said. “Second half, he hit some rough spots, but that’s part of learning. That’s part of learning that position. He’s got to take it all in like a sponge, correct the stuff that needs to be corrected and build on the good stuff.”

No Kidding: Mavs PGs must be in attack mode

February, 8, 2012
2/08/12
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DENVER -- There was no update on Jason Kidd’s status after the Mavs' shootaround, so as expected the point guard duties will again be filled by Delonte West and Rodrigue Beaubois.

As much as the Mavs miss Kidd’s ability to orchestrate their offense, West and Beaubois can’t get caught up in trying to imitate the future Hall of Famer. They have to play their game, which begins with trying to put the ball in the basket.

Beaubois, in particular, got away from that in Saturday’s loss to the Cavaliers. He attempted only two shots in 20 scoreless minutes, looking like a guard who was trying not to make mistakes instead of one who was looking to make plays.

“Roddy wasn’t aggressive clearly and I got on his ass about it after the game and we’ve looked at film since,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said after Wednesday’s shootaround at the Pepsi Center. “Both of those guys are scoring point guards. They’ve got to always be aggressive to look to score. Otherwise, a big part of their game is missed by our team.”

Carlisle, who points out that offensive execution ranks behind rebounding and perimeter defense on his list of immediate concerns, has emphasized over the last few days that he wants the Mavs to always have an attacking mindset. That has to start with the point guards.

“It starts when we get possession,” Carlisle said. “We need to push the ball quick to try for great opportunities for our team. If we don’t have them, it preserves time on the clock for us to work the ball and keep playing. I always want our point guards to try to probe the paint and get to the rim when they can, but they’ve got to do it under control. They understand that.”

Whether they can follow the philosophy against Ty Lawson in high altitude is another matter.

Fountain of Youth: Intrigue on two fronts

February, 8, 2012
2/08/12
11:00
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Our weekly look at the Mavericks' young players:

And suddenly there's intrigue at backup center.

The full-game benching of Ian Mahinmi came as a surprise Saturday at Cleveland. So did the fact that Brandan Wright logged 29 minutes and 18 consecutively when he re-entered the game midway through the third quarter. Wright has certainly come to understand the Rick Carlisle mantra of "Be Ready." Against Oklahoma City, Wright played 25 minutes, then got just four minutes two nights later against Indiana.

In his two high-minute games in the last three, Wright produced 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting and nine rebounds (eight coming Saturday at Cleveland).

"He’s just been active and productive," Carlisle said. "A combination of those two things is a real positive. Activity, energy, he’s a positive vibe-type kid and he’s getting better. He’s working really hard on his game. A lot of good things."

Those are all things Carlisle has said about Mahinmi in the opening third of the season.

But, the 6-foot-11 Frenchman, who was actually splitting minutes evenly with starting center Brendan Haywood, has dipped recently. Since going for 17 points and nine rebounds on Jan. 23, he's managed just 28 points and 31 rebounds in the last 6 games (4.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg).

So it will certainly be interesting to see which way Carlisle goes in tonight's game at the Denver Nuggets and Nene.

On a second front, Rodrigue Beaubois' recent slump has come at bad time with Jason Kidd still nursing a strained right calf and, more importantly, Beaubois trying to prove he's a valuable rotation piece to this puzzle. Beaubois was removed from the starting lineup at Cleveland after four consecutive starts at point guard and five overall. After playing 32 or more minutes in three of four games, he's logged just 20 and 21 in the last two games and he's mired in a 5-of-23 shooting slump in the last three games.

Does Carlisle stick with Delonte West as the starting point guard tonight with Kidd likely out for a sixth consecutive game? Either way, Beaubois figures to be on the court at some point. The question becomes will Beaubois earn do enough to stay on the floor in a game Dallas desperately needs?

It all leaves intrigue on two fronts.

W2W4: Mavs' road doesn't get easier in Denver

February, 8, 2012
2/08/12
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DENVER – There are a lot easier places to snap a losing streak than the Pepsi Center.

The Nuggets are an NBA-best 140-36 (.795) on their high-altitude home court since the beginning of the 2007-08 season. They’ve won six of the last eight meetings against the Mavs in Denver.

Plus, the Nuggets have established themselves as a superstar-less threat in the Western Conference. The first four-game losing streak of the Dallas’ season is a distinct possibility, especially if the Mavs can’t figure out how to avoid repeating their recent post-halftime horror shows.

Then again, this is as good a time as any to face the Nuggets, who will be missing scoring leader Danilo Gallinari for about a month due to a severe left ankle sprain and have a few other rotation players nursing injuries. Denver has lost five of its last six games, including three in a row at home.

Records: Nuggets 15-10, Mavs 14-11

When: 8:00

Where: Pepsi Center

TV: FSSW

Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM; 1270 AM (Spanish)

What to watch: The Mavs will try to get out of a nasty offensive rut – averaging only 87.0 points during their three-game losing streak – against the NBA’s highest-scoring team. They better hope that Dirk Nowitzki’s sudden groove continues and that the guys who stepped up while the Mavs’ MVP was struggling can get going again.

Key matchup: Ty Lawson vs. Delonte West/Rodrigue Beaubois
Lawson, who has emerged as one of the West’s best young guards, presents a whole different set of problems for the Mavs’ combo guards, who are struggling to fill Jason Kidd's shoes. The lightning-quick Lawson is averaging 15.5 points and 6.4 assists, and he’s the primary reason the Nuggets average an NBA-best 21.2 fast break points per night. He’ll have the ball in his hands even more often with Gallinari sidelined. Lawon had 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting in the Nuggets day-after-Christmas rout in Dallas. West and Beaubois had enough on their plate anyway, struggling with the burden of orchestrating the Mavs’ out-of-sync offense while Kidd recovers from a strained right calf.

Injuries: Mavs – G Jason Kidd (right calf strain) is doubtful. Nuggets – F Danilo Gallinari (ankle) is out; C/PF Nene (heel) is questionable; C Timofey Mozgov (ankle) is out; SF Corey Brewer (personal reasons) is doubtful; SG Arron Afflalo (ankle) is probable; SG/SF Rudy Fernandez (back) is probable.

Up next: Mavs at Minnesota Timberwolves, 7 p.m., Friday.

Will rookie Rodrigue Beaubois ever re-emerge?

February, 7, 2012
2/07/12
8:30
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DALLAS -- The Free Roddy B movement of two seasons ago was based on two things -- the kid's tantalizing quickness and mesmerizing marksmanship.

Rodrigue Beaubois finished that 2009-10 campaign as the only rookie in league history to shoot 50 percent from the field (51.8), 40 percent from 3-point range (40.9) and 80 percent from the free throw line (80.8). He played in 56 games and averaged 12.5 minutes, a large enough sample size to imagine what could be.

Nights such as that one at Golden State when he drained 9-of-11 beyond the arc and 15-of-22 overall for 40 points only reinforced the possibilities.

Then came the broken left foot that summer, and, well, the wait continues to see if that Roddy B will emerge again. We knew the injury had tapered Beaubois' quickness and confidence to penetrate. But his shot has also failed to develop.

Three strong games last week replacing Jason Kidd at point guard quickly raised the excitement level again until three duds (5-of-23 from the floor) just as quickly lowered it.

Wednesday's game at Denver will be Beaubois' 52nd since returning from the fractured foot almost one year ago and nearly matches the 56 games of his rookie season.

In his last 51 games, Beaubois is shooting 41.1 percent (159-of-387) from the field and 30.3 percent from 3-point range.

This season, coming off a second surgery over the summer to his foot and with ample time to heal and rehab due to the lockout, his numbers have disappointingly continued to drop -- 39.6 percent shooting overall, 30.6 percent on 3s and just 7.0 points a game in 17.9 minutes.

According to NBA.com Advanced Stats, Beaubois this season is shooting no better than 38 percent from every area on the floor except the restricted area, the portion of the key inside the lower semi-circle, or point-blank range. He's connecting on 65 percent of those shots, which make up 24.4 percent of his total attempts.

However, he's made just 9-of-28 shots (32 percent) in the paint, where 28.7 percent of his shots come. And he's shooting 32 percent (15-of-47) on mid-range jumpers, which includes anywhere outside the paint and inside the arc.

Nearly 30 percent of Beaubois' shot attempts come from behind the arc with 24.4 percent taken above the break, meaning behind the actual arc spanning wing to wing, and he's made just 30 percent of those (12-of-40).

His eFG percentage, which adjusts for the value of a 3-point field goal relative to a 2-point field goal, is 44.2, the worst among Dallas' five primary guards outside of the injured and slump-ridden Kidd.

Vince Carter has a team-best eFG percentage of 52.9, followed by Jason Terry at 52.5 and Delonte West at 47.9 (Kidd is 39.1).

Against Indiana on Friday, one game after going 3-of-13 from the field, Beaubois floated two airballs from the paint and was 2-of-8. The next night, coach Rick Carlisle removed Beaubois from the starting lineup. In 20 minutes off the bench in the ugly loss at Cleveland, he put up two shots and missed both.

No doubt Beaubois has been under pressure in taking over the point. He admits he's still far more comfortable playing shooting guard.

Unfortunately, his shooting is failing to mask his other shortcomings at a time when his team truly needs the dynamic player of two seasons ago.

Jason Kidd's return Wednesday in doubt?

February, 6, 2012
2/06/12
2:26
PM CT
DALLAS -- Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd did not practice Monday, leaving a possible return at Denver on Wednesday in doubt.

Kidd has missed five games with a strained right calf. The Mavs have lost the last three and have become increasingly inefficient on offense with 52 total turnovers while averaging just 87 points.

As much as the Mavs miss Kidd's direction on offense, Jason Terry said it's at the other end that Dallas might miss their veteran point guard most.

"Offensively, he's the guy that the ball's going to be in his hands and if he turns it over, no problem," Terry said. "Defensively, he's our head. He's what Tyson [Chandler] was for us last year as far as communicating and gets guys in the right position on the defensive end."

As for a timetable for Kidd's return, it remains up in the air. On Friday, Kidd said he was feeling better and would be re-evaluated at some point this week, he just didn't know if it would be before or after the Denver game. Dallas plays at Minnesota on Friday and at home Saturday against Portland.

Rodrigue Beaubois had started the first four games in place of Kidd, but he was moved to the bench in Saturday's loss at Cleveland in favor of Delonte West.

Coach Rick Carlisle certainly didn't clarify on the next time Kidd will don a uniform.

"His status is 'We'll let you know,'" Carlisle said.

Kidd has played in just 16 of 25 games due to injury. He missed four games in January with back spasms.

Turnovers show need for Jason Kidd's cool

February, 6, 2012
2/06/12
10:26
AM CT
If Jason Kidd does return Wednesday night against the Denver Nuggets, his first order of business will be to calm things down. The Dallas Mavericks remain among the top 10 least turnover-prone teams in the NBA, but just barely, and the last three games have accounted for the worst three-game stretch of the season in the turnover category.

Count 'em: 52.

Shawn Marion doesn't call Kidd the head of the snake for nothing. Although the 38-year-old is having a difficult season and has had his share of head-scratching turnovers, no one on this team can get the offense in its sets and direct the ball where it needs to go better than Kidd. That has been glaringly apparent during this three-game losing skid in which Dallas has averaged 87.0 points, 41.5 percent shooting and 17.3 turnovers.

After two wins against the Spurs and Suns in which the Mavs had a combined 19 turnovers, they've committed 15, 16 and a season-worst 21 in the last three games, all losses. Rodrigue Beaubois' exciting start to his stint replacing Kidd has steadily spiraled downward to the point that coach Rick Carlisle bumped Beaubois back to the bench Saturday night in Cleveland where he had no points, five assists and two turnovers.

Beaubois has only committed five turnovers in the five games without Kidd, but the offense has been inefficient. After the home loss to Indiana, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry openly yearned for Kidd's return. Carlisle said the team misses their floor general after the demoralizing loss to the Cavaliers.

Kidd's 2.06 turnover average actually ranks as one of the lowest in the league among point guards. But, more than holding onto the rock, the Mavs need Kidd, averaging just 4.1 points and 5.1 assists, back in charge of the offense.

3-pointer: Mavs miserable in third quarters

February, 5, 2012
2/05/12
9:00
AM CT
Whatever the Mavs are doing at halftime isn’t working.

They’ve been absolutely awful in third quarters during this three-game losing streak.

“We talked about having bad efforts coming out of halftime,” Dirk Nowitzki said after Saturday’s loss to the Cavaliers, “and this was another perfect example of it.”

How bad has it been? The Mavs have had more turnovers than field goals in the third quarter of each loss during the skid.

They were 3-of-19 from the floor with four turnovers in the third Wednesday night against the Thunder, when the Mavs were outscored 22-14.

They were 5-of-17 from the floor with six turnovers in the third Friday against the Pacers, when the Mavs were outscored 24-16.

They were 6-of-19 from the floor with seven turnovers in the third Saturday against the Cavs, when the Mavs were outscored 27-13.

Add it all up, and the Mavs have 14 buckets and 17 turnovers in the last three third quarters. They’ve shot .255 from the floor in those frames. And they’ve been outscored by 30 points.

1. Wright stuff: Backup big man Ian Mahinmi didn’t play in a game for the first time this season, watching from the bench while coach Rick Carlisle opted to give Brandan Wright extended minutes. Wright took advantage of the opportunity, scoring 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting, grabbing eight rebounds and blocking four shots in 29 minutes. “Wright has produced virtually every time we put him in a game,” Carlisle said. “He’s doing a terrific job.” Mahinmi, who was coming off a two-point, two-rebound performance against the Pacers, has tailed off recently.

2. Roddy B. benched: Rodrigue Beaubois came off the bench for the first time since Jason Kidd suffered a strained right calf. Delonte West started at point guard, losing for the first time in that role as a Maverick. Beaubois impressed during his first three games as the primary point guard, but he’s been in a nasty shooting funk since then and has looked timid the last two nights. He’s 5-of-23 from the floor in the last two games and attempted only two shots in his scoreless outing against the Cavs.

3. Dirk keeps climbing: Nowitzki’s 24 points give him 23,154 for his career, pushing him past Lakers great Elgin Baylor for 22nd in NBA history. Next up: Adrian Dantley with 23,177 points. Nowitzki is also likely to pass Robert Parish (23,334) and Charles Barkley (23,757) this season. Boston’s Kevin Garnett is between Parish and Barkley but has a 459-point cushion on Nowitzki.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9