Dallas Mavericks: Allen Iverson
Dirk Nowitzki moved ahead of Iverson with a contested 12-foot jumper with 5:38 remaining in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Suns. That bucket gave Nowitzki 24,370 career points.
Nowitzki finished the win over the Suns with 18 points, giving him 24,375 for his career. Patrick Ewing, who had 24,815 points, is next on the list for Nowitzki to surpass.
"I was thinking that Kareem was next, but I've still got a ways to go," Nowitzki said.
Nowitzki insists he hasn't spent much, if any, time thinking about how far up the list he can shoot. His thoughts recently have been consumed with how he can regain his Hall of Fame form after getting off to a slow start by his standards following a 27-game absence while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.
"It’s going to be great once my career is over and I see how many points I scored, but right now, I’m just trying to get myself going more," Nowitzki said. "I feel better and better from game to game, which is great. I feel like I moved a lot better today, I got a little bit more lift on my jump shot. That’s all I’m really worried about now.
"And we’ll see how many points I scored when it’s all said and done."
MLK Day matchup of two struggling division leaders
The Celts are a healthy 27-11, but it’s somewhat deceiving. They are 8-1 against the tepid competition in the Atlantic Division and have struggled in their last 10 games, winning only four and losing their last two home games to Chicago and Atlanta.
Injuries are the primary culprit. Kevin Garnett has missed time recently with a hyper-extended knee but isn’t expected back until Friday. Rasheed Wallace has missed the last three games with a foot sprain, but is expected back for tonight’s tip. Paul Pierce banged his previously hurt knee in practice yesterday. Doc Rivers must be praying he’s OK. Brian Scalabrine has started the last three games. Seriously.
The Mavericks had some huge individual milestones in the last week as The Big German passed the 20,000 mark in points and Jason Kidd entered the top five in NBA history in three-pointers made. They’re both chasing Ray Allen.
Dirk enters Monday’s game 231 points behind Allen, who is also 804 3-pointers up on Kidd. Dirk will eventually catch Allen and leave him in the dust. If he stays healthy, Allen will pass Reggie Miller as the all-time downtown champ sometime late next season (he needs 198 more to pass Miller’s 2,560).
Did I mention that the Mavs were reeling? Out East?
And sometimes they play basketball, too
The Mavs play The Wiz on Wednesday night, but it’s hard to find any news on what’s been going on with these guys lately.
What are you supposed to write here? Even the most casual of hoops fan is completely aware of what a toxic situation exists in Washington right now. These dudes have won eight games since Dec. 1.
Gilbert Arenas’ legal situation is less murky than his future playing status, and he won’t get sentenced until March 26. That’s so inconsiderate considering the mid-February trade deadline.
Here’s hoping Arenas doesn’t have to spend any significant time behind bars (if any at all), and he and Washington can come to some sort of a sensible buyout that allows him to go somewhere else and start over while minimizing the utter devastation his contract has imposed on the Wiz’s roster flexibility.
Surely Washington will be big players at the trade deadline regardless of Arenas’ uncertain status. Their play can most kindly be described as “uninterested,” and they’re surrounded by worse vibes than a leasing office at one of Donald Sterling’s properties. They have plenty of expiring contracts and two very desirable players in Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, even if Jamison’s contract is pretty dicey (about 28.5 million for the two seasons following this one).
So when you watch a Washington game it’s kind of like one big audition to “get off the island.” And these guys rolled the Mavs on opening night at AAC. Did I mention Brian Scalabrine started the last three games for the Celtics? I’m serious. About all this.
Basketball is a team game, kids
Remember what a ridiculous circus the whole Allen Iverson retirement charade was? I watch a lot of NBATV -- a definitive sign that I don’t have much going for me -- and everyday there was somebody else in AI’s circle on the league’s network carrying on about what a tragedy it was that Allen Iverson was forced into retirement.
John Thompson was indignant, Eric Snow was stoically displeased, Cheryl Miller was crying without tears and, of course, Rick Kamla was there through it all to assure everyone that he truly loved AI. Yet I couldn’t figure out who was behind this outlandish plot seeing as he was on a roster and active just weeks before this awful tragedy.
Thankfully, Philly had absolutely nothing going on and a disintegrating fan base so that they could provide safe harbor for a man, who despite being a completely unrestricted free agent just months earlier, couldn’t find a team with a role to suit his liking. Society owed Iverson a starting role and whatever minutes he desired and had Philly not stepped up and delivered, civilization might have completely unraveled. It didn’t matter that he had a role and a paycheck in Memphis -- that spot was a complete injustice and an affront to the spirit of the sport.
The 76ers are 6-8 in the 14 games that Iverson has played with them, which is way better than the 7-18 they’ve tallied without him (and all the other dudes who were hurt early in the season). Iverson was an amazing individual player who goes hard and is still very talented.
But if you remove the names of everyone involved and just look at the situation for what it is without bias, this whole scenario is about an aging player who has no interest in being part of a team unless that team wants to acquiesce to what it is he wants. And if a team does revolve around him, it will be, best-case scenario, mediocre and out of the playoff picture. What is there to like about that?
By the way, a Memphis team that everyone wrote off as a horrible mess is 19-10 since they waived Iverson. Not that it’s related. I just enjoy pointing out random asides.
I like Andre Iguodala. I like Thad Young -- reminds me of a heyday '80s scoring forward. I like Lou Williams’ name -- sounds like he’d be a heyday '80s scoring forward.
This is another bad team the Mavs struggled to barely beat at home earlier in the season. What age is too young to be a Steely Dan fan?
Will Erick Dampier get the clearance to put the mystery illness behind him and take the floor? When will the mystery of Josh Howard’s ankle pain be solved? Three sub-.500 squads followed by one of the beasts of the East on this week’s schedule -- and it go a ‘lil summin’ like this …
Is The Answer the answer?
On Monday night, the Mavericks will host a Sixers team mired in a mountain of controversy, injuries and losing. The controversy, of course, is about whether or not the Sixers should bring Allen Iverson back into the fold. One report that surfaced last week had Sixers coach Eddie Jordan flying out to meet with A.I. immediately following tonight's game against Dallas.
As you may have suspected, the injuries have been followed by the losing. At 5-12, Philly is one of the worst teams in the East and roll into town for the second night of a back-to-back after San Antonio dropped them for their sixth consecutive loss last night. Andre Iguodala stuffs the stat sheet every night (last night he delivered 21/8/7 with 5 steals and 3 blocks) but there’s just not enough help right now.
Then again, if things were going well would anyone have even remotely entertained the idea of The Answer? Exactly.
Remember last year when the Mavs went to Jersey in December and Devin Harris dropped 41 and 13 as The Nets rolled by 24? It’ll be a pretty different vibe this year.
On Wednesday night, the Nets will be playing to avoid the worst start by any team in league history at 0-18. And the Mavs will be playing to not be that team -- you know, the one that lost to the Nets.
How bad are they? Heading into last night’s loss to the Lakers, the Nets were averaging an NBA-low 85.6 points and shooting an also league-worst 40.3 percent from the field.
The good news is that Brook Lopez is really emerging as a nice inside presence going for 18 and 9 a night with 2.5 blocks for good measure. I also think Chris Douglas-Roberts and Terrence Williams have nice futures in the NBA. It just must seem so far off in the distant, distant future for those two dudes.
Both teams will put enormous pressure on themselves not to lose -- way more than normal. If the Mavs drop this one, it’ll make the Golden State loss last week seem respectable by comparison.
Friday night BBQ
Memphis is actually a pretty salty offensive team with scoring machines Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph dropping a combined 40 a night. The problem is that both of those dudes hate playing defense like it was going to keep them from feeding their families. But that’s a team-wide issue as well. Grizz opponents shoot a shade under 50 percent from the field, a shade under 40 percent from behind the arc, and score a shade under 107 a night.
Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo are outstanding young players. Mike Conley is still an enormous question mark and actually seems to be trending down. And surely I’m not the only one amused by the Grizz parting ways with A.I. only to replace him with Jamaal Tinsley. Now that’s leadership. Good luck kids.
One of the elite?
Dallas and Atlanta came into this season in similar positions -- teams that were regarded as good but a tick or two below the so-called best teams in their conference. And while it’s early, both teams have spent some time in first place in their respective conferences so far.
The Hawks are absolutely loaded with dudes who can stick the ball in the basket. Their only major difference at the top of their regular rotation of guys is that Jamal Crawford has replaced Flip Murray as designated bench scorer and he is second on the team in that department to Joe Johnson’s 21.7 with 16.8 of his own.
They are extremely long and athletic along their frontline with Marvin Williams, Josh Smith and Al Horford -- which affords them the opportunity to competently “switch” screen situations on defense.
Assuming Josh isn’t back by Saturday, Carlisle might lean towards giving Quinton Ross the start ahead of Rodrigue Beaubois so that Dallas can have the extra length in defending Johnson. Both teams will be on the second nights of a back-to-backs and both teams will be eager to throw down the gauntlet against a quality opponent. Get ready for a little Uptown Saturday Night action -– this is easily the best game of the week.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.