Friday, April 6, 2012
Mavs' stars incapable of such a Magic circus
By Jeff Caplan
DALLAS -- There's Lamar Odom's drama and Jason Terry's mouth. And for whatever reasons Rick Carlisle appears headed to the postseason without a contract extension. There have certainly been some interesting days in Dallas this season, but it all pales to the ongoing circus in Orlando -- the Dwightmare as some have dubbed it.
After his Indecision '12, Dwight Howard -- who listed the Mavs among the three teams he preferred to be traded to (when he actually preferred to be traded) -- finally opted to stay in (moments after he opted out) Orlando for another season, but Magic coach Stan Van Gundy told the media Thursday that his star center is angling to have him canned.
The scene truly turned bizarre when Howard sidled up to the Diet Pepsi-swilling SVG as he was surrounded by media moments after Van Gundy dropped the bomb.
Howard, unknowing that SVG had leaked his conspiracy, put his arm around his coach in seemingly a show of support -- and then denied he'd gone to management with a request to fire his coach.
"I guess my perspective is it makes me realize how fortunate we are here to have very stable ownership and great stability with star players like Dirk and Jason Kidd and Jason Terry," Carlisle said. "We haven't gone through things like that. Dirk was a free agent two years ago and he was only interested in being here, and that's what makes him special and makes our situation special. That's what I take from that situation is it just makes me more grateful for what we've had here."
Howard then laid an egg Thursday night as the Magic got trounced at home by the New York Knicks for their fifth consecutive loss. As the final seconds ticked down, a contingent of Knicks fans cheered the visitors' victory and Howard sat on the bench smiling and waving his arms as if urging the Knicks fans to bring it.
The most dominant center in the game today has said he stayed in Orlando to chase a championship this season. Who knows if that team can even keep it together at this point?
And the defending champs, just one game over .500 since Feb. 1, thought they had problems.
"I think everything we've been through the last three to four years, we'll never let it divide us," Terry said. "Yeah, I've said whatever I say in the media, but I'll come back and back it up the next night. And Dirk will say what he says, but it'll fire somebody up. It never breaks us apart and I think that's the difference between us and other teams."
The Mavs have handled internal strife, the limited amount there has been over the years, quickly and mostly seamlessly. One incident that sticks out was the screaming match between Terry and Jose Juan Barea late last season that also saw Terry jaw with Carlisle with the coach banishing Terry from the huddle.
"You've got to give credit to myself, Dirk, J-Kidd, the leaders of this team for not allowing distractions to divide us," Terry said. "You may go through your struggles throughout the season and guys get into it, but it's a family and it's going to happen. But you can never let it divide you. We believe in each other, we believe in the system. Obviously coach Carlisle, what he accomplished last season, he's one of the best.
"When you've got everyone's back and everyone's on the same page, it's a big difference."