Dallas Mavericks: Alonzo Mourning

Jeff Van Gundy sounds off on Mark Cuban

December, 13, 2011
ESPN's lead NBA broadcast team of play-by-play man Mike Breen and analyst Jeff Van Gundy will call the Christmas Day season opener at the American Airlines Center where the Dallas Mavericks will raise their championship banner and then take on the team they beat in six games in the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat.

Breen and Van Gundy will then hop on a jet plane and fly to Oakland, Calif., to call the final of five gift-wrapped televised games (on ABC and ESPN) when the Los Angeles Clippers take on the Golden State Warriors.

On Monday, Breen and Van Gundy took part in a media conference call and the former NBA head coach who once, while the head honcho of the rough-and-tumble New York Knicks, clutched for dear life to the lower leg of Alonzo Mourning, a man more than 14 inches taller and 80 pounds heavier, in the middle of a full-on donnybrook, was at his open-mic best.

Van Gundy absolutely destroyed the NBA for interfering in the Chris Paul deal that would have sent the All-Star point guard to the Los Angeles Lakers and brought a nice little haul to the struggling New Orleans Hornets franchise as well. Mike "No Holds Barred" Van Gundy then called the league's rush to start the season on Christmas a Day a pure "money grab" (more on that in a later blog).

When I asked the unequivocal color man for his impression of Mark Cuban, from the owner's stunning vow of silence during last season's championship run to the his philosophical shift in accordance with the new collective bargaining agreement, the rambunctious rambler did not disappoint. Here's his extended take -- and interruption free -- to my one simple question:
I don’t think you could ask for a better owner than Mark Cuban. If you’re a coach or a player and you’re a serious coach and serious player about winning, he’s committed to that process. Now, are there certain instances along the way you would say, 'Hey, I wish the guy would take a backseat?' I’m sure there is if you worked for him. But, you have to take the whole package and his entire package is unquestionable, one of the top owners in all of sports, not just basketball.

I don’t believe, though, that him not speaking last year had anything to do with them winning it all. When they were down 15 in Game 2 [to Miami] to go down 2-0, I don’t think him not talking for a while had anything to do with them coming back. Down 2-1 and going into Game 4, I don’t think that had anything to do with him not speaking along the way.

He did hire the right guy in Rick Carlisle; Rick Carlisle’s been an outstanding coach. They made great personnel decisions, getting [Shawn] Marion and Tyson Chandler, keeping [J.J.] Barea to form that nucleus; and now I give them a lot of credit where they’re under pressure to overspend for their own free agents, to quote, defend their title -- which there really isn’t anything like that, this is not WWE wrestling, although in the last week or two it appears that we’re [the NBA's] inching that way – I would say that I like their basketball courage to stay disciplined financially to try to keep as much cap room open for the free-agent stars that are coming available next year.

Does that mean they’ll get any of them? Absolutely not, but to get Lamar Odom for nothing and to still retain some financial flexibility, I think they’ve done very, very well. I’m very impressed with their discipline in this period of frenzy.

Part II of the Van Gundy interview is coming shortly.

Tyson Chandler gives Mavs advantage

June, 8, 2011
DALLAS -- In the 2006 NBA Finals, the Miami Heat started an aging but still effective Shaquille O'Neal at center with Alonzo Mourning coming off the bench. The Dallas Mavericks rolled out a tag-team center unit of DeSagana Diop and Erick Dampier.

Advantage: Heat.

In 2011, the Heat start 6-9 center Joel Anthony while more traditional, but well past their prime post men, Dampier, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Jamal Magliore can't get on the floor. Dallas starts All-Defensive second-team member Tyson Chandler with currently ailing Brendan Haywood (right hip flexor) as the backup.

Advantage: Mavs.

"He was very good [Tuesday] night. It goes without stating, obviously," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Wednesday about Chandler's 13-point, 16-rebound performance in Dallas' series-evening Game 4 win. "Nine offensive rebounds and putting a lot of pressure, getting to the rim. He's an impact player and he has been for several years when he's been healthy. So we understand that. We have to meet him with force, with effort, and we have to be relentless, because he does offer them relief points in the paint with his aggressiveness."

Here's relief: The 7-1 Chandler has drawn the most fouls during the Finals (25), grabbed the most offensive rebounds (20) and has the most second-chance points (17).

Chandler has drawn three more fouls than Dirk Nowitzki, six more than Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and nine more than LeBron James.

Much of that is because of the obvious size mismatch inside, particularly when the Heat use two big men to double Nowitzki. Chandler is drawing fouls on the boards, but the Mavs have also fed Chandler in the paint with the fourth quarter of Game 4 serving as a prime example. Then there's the defensive side. Chandler has been highly active protecting the rim, limiting penetration and free throws for Wade and James.

"We love Chandler," said Jason Terry, who along with Nowitzki are the only remaining members of the '06 team. "Obviously, what he means to us from the inside as a presence offensively and defensively is huge. Each team has to have that presence. They had it in ’05-’06. We have it now and he’s a big difference-maker."

Now comes the All-Star Game

February, 13, 2010
Saturday night is done.

Well at least the skills competition, three-point shootout and slam dunk contest.

Another night of partying and now it's time Sunday night's All-Star Game.

Before he head to one, we're kind of tired, here is a VIP guest list of who attended Saturday night's action:

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Spencer Haywood, Spike Lee, Darryl Dawkins, Miles Austin, Shaquille O’Neal, Jerry Stackhouse, Dwight Howard, AC Green, Bill Russell, Stacy Augmon, Dominique Wilkins, Nancy Lieberman, Terrell Owens wearing sunglasses, Jay Z wearing sunglasses, Mario Lopez, Paul Simon sitting next too Mary J Blige wearing sunglasses, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Michael Rapaport, Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade, Doug E. Fresh, Alonzo Mourning, Dell Curry, Erykah Badu, Scottie Pippen, Emmitt Smith, Charles Barkley, Jamie Foxx, Ken Hamlin.

And, Dell Curry, Floyd Mayweather, P. Diddie, Carmelo Anthony, Mark Aguirre, Spud Webb, Chris Tucker and
Chris Bosh.



Monta Ellis
19.4 4.4 1.9 33.8
ReboundsT. Chandler 11.7
AssistsR. Rondo 6.0
StealsM. Ellis 1.9
BlocksB. James 1.8