Dallas Mavericks: Brook Lopez

DALLAS – The Mavericks have lost only two games during Dirk Nowitzki’s career when he has shot at least 80 percent from the floor with more than one attempt.

The Mavs are 14-2 in such games. The exceptions just happen to be their last two losses.

Nowitzki was 8-of-10 from the floor in Wednesday’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets, when he scored 16 points. He was also 8-of-10 in Sunday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, when he scored 23 points.

This leads to a logical question: With Nowitzki locked in, why the heck isn’t he getting more than 10 looks in a game?

“They don’t leave me much anymore,” Nowitzki said, referring to opposing defenders hugging up on him at virtually all times. “It’s up to other guys to make plays. It’s as simple as that.

“I can’t wrestle every time to get the ball. You can’t do that for 48 minutes. I’ve got to pick my spots, take open shots when it’s there. I think we’ve been running pick-and-roll pretty well. Because guys are not really leaving me much, guys are pretty much walking in the lane, getting stuff out of that. I’m going to keep picking my spots and be aggressive when I need it.”

While Nowitzki doesn’t see it as a problem, it’s still unsettling to see 37-year-old journeyman guard Mike James get more shots than the 18th leading scorer in NBA history. That happened in both of the Mavs’ last two losses.

However, with the Mavs’ offense becoming less and less reliant on the longtime staple of Dirk isolation plays, that will probably happen again a few more times in the final 14 games.

“If you really watch the game, he’s touching it,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s just teams work to take his shots away. That’s why balance is so important to us. That’s why we don’t want to get in a situation where we’re just pounding it to him every single time. That takes a big toll on him.

“That’s why we work toward movement and balance and tempo. When we have to go to him, we go to him.”

A few more notes from the loss to start the Mavs’ critical six-game homestand:

1. Lopez lights it up: Deron Williams has made it known that he loves shooting the ball at the American Airlines Center. Brooklyn big man Brook Lopez can surely relate.

Lopez scored a season-high 38 points Wednesday night, matching his scoring total from last year’s visit to Dallas. He was 15-of-22 from the floor, with all but three of his buckets coming in the paint.

Chris (Kaman) did a good job guarding him in the post, but then there were residual things,” Carlisle said. “There were penetrations, there were breakdowns, there were other things that led to him being able to get into openings and cracks. Some of the stuff is just that we’ve got to be more solid individually within our system. Hey, tough night.”

2. Dreadful D: Allowing 113 points per game isn’t the kind of trend the Mavs want to continue.

“The irony is this is the same number of points we gave up the other night in Atlanta, but we scored 127, so it all seemed like it was OK,” Carlisle said. “But this is an ongoing challenge for us being able to keep teams at or under 100. We’ve got to keep going and keep working at it.”

The Nets shot 50.6 percent from the floor and scored 52 points in the paint.

“Our defense just wasn’t good enough,” Nowitzki said.

3. One-man rebounding machine: Another frequent problem for the Mavs popped up against the Nets. They got dominated on the glass, getting outrebounded by a 45-34 margin.

Brooklyn power forward Reggie Evans did a lot of the damage, grabbing 22 rebounds. He had eight rebounds in the second quarter, matching the Mavs’ team total for the frame.

Rapid Reaction: Nets 113, Mavericks 96

March, 20, 2013
How it happened: Deron Williams, the point guard who decided this summer that he’d rather move to Brooklyn than play for the Mavericks, dominated the second half during the Nets’ annual trip to Dallas.

Brooklyn big man Brook Lopez dominated the entire game.

The 7-foot Lopez lit up the Mavs for a season-high 38 points and 11 rebounds, making 15 of 22 shots from the floor. Williams shrugged off a sluggish start to pour in 26 of his 31 points in the second half.

Williams was 13-of-25 from the floor, including a dagger 3-pointer with a little more than two minutes remaining, despite missing 5 of 7 attempts in the first half. He also dished out six assists.

Williams and Lopez took over the third quarter, when the Nets broke a halftime tie and took the lead for good. Lopez had 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting in the frame; Williams scored 13 on 5-of-7 shooting.

Meanwhile, Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki didn’t even attempt a shot from the floor during the third quarter. He finished with a team-high 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting.

The Mavs, who made 50.6 percent of their field goal attempts, didn’t have a problem scoring points. They simply couldn’t stop the Nets, especially once The Colony native Williams got cooking.

What it means: The Mavs started a critical six-game homestand on a sour note. The loss dropped Dallas (32-36) to 3½ games behind the eighth-place Los Angeles Lakers in the West standings with only 14 games remaining on the Mavs’ schedule. The Nets (40-28) remain in fourth place in the East, a game behind the crosstown rival New York Knicks.

Play of the game: An in-the-zone Williams swished a fadeaway jumper from the right corner to stretch the Nets’ lead to nine midway through the third quarter. Williams, who claimed Wednesday morning that this was “just another game” to him, couldn’t resist turning around and cracking a grin toward the Mavs’ bench while trotting up the floor.

Stat of the night: With his fourth rebound, Nowitzki became the 10th man in NBA history with at least 24,000 points and 9,000 rebounds. He joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, Moses Malone, Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kevin Garnett and Patrick Ewing in that exclusive club.

Brendan Haywood high on Joe Johnson trade

July, 3, 2012
Dallas Mavericks center Brendan Haywood is watching the Deron Williams saga as closely as anyone. After all, his future is at stake, too.

Mavs center Brendan Haywood gives his own percentage chance on Deron Williams coming to Dallas.

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If Williams agrees to sign with the Mavs, Haywood very well could be released via the amnesty clause to clear cap space. Haywood, on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's "Ben & Skin Show," said he's a big fan of the deal the Brooklyn Nets pulled off Monday to acquire Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks, saying it will definitely give Williams something to think about.

"When I saw the deal I thought he would definitely have to consider staying just because Joe is that talented," Haywood said. "If you look at that team as constructed right now if they get D-Will back; if you give me D-Will, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, a big man at (power forward) and Brook Lopez at (center); people forget Brook Lopez averaged 20 points per game, he’s very valuable and he was hurt last year. That team right there, to me, is already the second-best team in the East, right behind Miami with (Chicago Bulls point guard) Derrick Rose recovering from that knee injury."

The 7-foot Haywood certainly has a future in broadcasting if not with the Mavs. He's still under contract for three more seasons at around $27 million, and if the Mavs do use the amnesty clause on him, the team will be on the hook for his full salary, but it will not count against the cap. Haywood is well aware of the D-Will ramifications.

"I follow it (free agency) very closely," Haywood said. "For me, I have to see who goes where to see if I’m even in Dallas next year. Guys like myself, Shawn Marion, we have to follow it closely because we have no idea if we’re going to be here or not."

Regardless of the Johnson acquisition, Haywood said not to discount the fact that the Nets can pay Williams about $25 million more than the Mavs. Even though Williams could potentially make up that money with a second max contract in Dallas, Haywood said players tend to look at the guaranteed money on the table at the moment.

"Most guys look at the money that’s guaranteed, where they can get the most money at," he said. "So, if they do the state income tax and it comes out where Dallas ends up almost the same thing, then maybe he comes to Dallas. But I don’t think the state income tax is going to save him $25 mil. So at the of the day, most guys look for where it’s the most guaranteed money because that’s the only thing you know for sure."

And then, of course, there's the ongoing Dwight Howard situation, and at least the slim possibility that the Nets could still acquire him in a trade with the Orlando Magic. Brendan, are you paying attention to the Dwightmare?

"I watch the Dwight Howard As-The-World-Turns saga every day to see what’s going to happen today: 'I’m coming, I’m staying, I want to go, I want to stay,' " Haywood said, mocking the Magic big man. "No one knows what’s going to happen up there. It’s something different every day."

Who mans middle for Mavs next season?

June, 4, 2012
Let’s take a glass-half-full view of the Mavs’ offseason. That means we’ll assume that they’ll succeed in recruiting Deron Williams to come home but won’t be able to persuade the Orlando Magic to take an inferior package to ship Dwight Howard to Dallas.


Which of these centers should the Mavs target in free agency?


Discuss (Total votes: 4,998)

If the amnesty clause is used on Brendan Haywood to create cap space as expected, how would the Mavs fill their huge hole in the middle?

They could just re-sign free agent Ian Mahinmi and pair him with Brandan Wright, but it’s hard to see the Mavs emerging as a legitimate contender without more of a presence at center. There are plenty of options in the free agent market.

A look at the most attractive available big men:

Roy Hibbert (restricted): The 7-foot-2, 260-pound Hibbert has great size and good skills. He’s only 25, so there is still room to grow in his game after he averaged 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks this season. He’d be by far the best low-post threat ever to be paired with Dirk Nowitzki. But the Pacers have the right to match any offer he gets, a ton of cap space and executive of the year Larry Bird calling the shots. If the Mavs get Hibbert, it probably means they’ve significantly overpaid another big man.

Kevin Garnett: The 36-year-old KG sure looks like he has a lot left in the tank during these playoffs. His regular-season minutes must be managed, but Garnett is still a major defensive force and good scorer and rebounder. He’ll take a pay cut after making $21 million this season and almost $300 million in his career, but Garnett won’t come cheap. It’s hard to see the Celtics letting him go when they have a chance to contend.

[+] EnlargeOmer Asik
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesOmer Asik, 24, is a dominant defender and a good rebounder, averaging 5.3 rebounds and a block in only 14.7 minutes per game this season. However, he definely needs to improve on offense.
Omer Asik (restricted): Asik, the Turkish product who turns 26 on July 4, is a dominant defender, a 7-footer who can protect the rim and disrupt pick-and-rolls. He’s a very good rebounder. And he’s an awful offensive player with hands that make Haywood’s look good in comparison. Could that change with the Mavs coaching staff dedicating time to work with him? He’s also a restricted free agent, but the Bulls are already in luxury tax land and might not match a decent offer for Joakim Noah’s backup.

Marcus Camby: He’s 38 years old and doesn’t offer much offensively any more, but Camby could be an affordable stopgap solution. He’s still a defensive presence in the paint, averaging 9.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 22.9 minutes per game last season. Camby becoming a Maverick would probably mean that neither side was satisfied with what they found in the free agency market.

JaVale McGee (restricted): He tends to be comically boneheaded, but he’s a freakish athlete for a 7-footer and is talented enough to put up a 21-point, 14-rebound performance in a playoff win over the Lakers. He’s one of the league’s best shot blockers and finishers, but his basketball IQ hovers around his jersey number. He’s also only 24 years old, with the potential to be really, really good if a coaching staff can ever get through to him. Then again, he also has the potential to make an owner regret signing his paychecks every couple of weeks for the next four years.

Chris Kaman: Dirk’s German Olympic teammate would be the best offensive center in Mavs history, although his .446 shooting percentage for the Hornets last season isn’t exactly appealing. He’s a good post defender and shot blocker. He’s also injury prone, having missed major chunks of four of the last five seasons. How can the Mavs feel comfortable making a major investment in a 30-year-old with that medical record?

Brook Lopez (restricted): He’s a skilled, high-scoring young 7-footer who wouldn’t be a good fit with Dirk. The Mavs can’t afford to have a slow, subpar-rebounding, poor-defending big man on the floor with Dirk, especially if that center is expensive. Lopez missed all but five games last season, but he managed to score 38 points in a win over the Mavs.

Spencer Hawes: He’s a 24-year-old former lottery pick who has had some bright moments as the Sixers’ starting center the last two seasons, although he was injured for much of this year. But his game isn’t a good fit with Dirk’s. He’s a finesse big man who lives on long jumpers and too often doesn’t carry his weight defensively.

Robin Lopez (restricted): He’s 24 years old, stands 7 feet tall and has some experience. He’s a pretty good shot blocker and pick-and-roll finisher, but he’s slow-footed, an amazingly awful passer and a poor rebounder. He’s not a starting-caliber center.

Greg Oden: Oden might not play at all next season. Heck, he might never play again after knee injuries made the big man picked before Kevin Durant a bust in Portland. But the Mavs’ medical staff, which helped everyone forget about Tyson’s Chandler’s injury history, could give Oden his best chance at having a respectable NBA career. It’s worth a minimum-salary flyer to find out if Oden can get and stay healthy enough to become the dominant defensive presence he was expected to be.

Erick Dampier: Just checking to see if you’re still paying attention.

Mavs out of luck if Dwight Howard traded soon?

May, 22, 2012
If Dwight Howard is dead set on leaving the Magic's small (market) world ASAP, as reports suggest, and Orlando grants his wish, it's hard to find the happily-ever-after ending for the Dallas Mavericks.

Is the Dwight Howard to the Mavs dream alive? Dwight still wants out of Orlando and it could open the door for the Mavs to put a proposal together.

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That's the picture Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi painted Tuesday morning during an appearance on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning." If you thought D12 got what he wanted with Monday's news of coach Stan Van Gundy's firing and the franchise parting with general manager Otis Smith, it might come as a surprise then that Bianchi suggested that Howard could be traded before the June 28 draft.

Bianchi believes the Magic will first ask Howard for a long-term commitment. If the game's top (and seemingly profoundly confused) center says no thanks, then Bianchi thinks the Magic will act quickly to move him out to spare the club and its fan base another derailing, drama-filled season.

If Orlando again begins to solicit trade offers for its statuesque big man coming off back surgery just a month ago -- while also likely looking to unload the egregious Hedo Turkoglu contract (two years, $23.6 million) -- what's the Mavs' best offer?

Think the Magic jump at Brendan Haywood, Lamar Odom's partially guaranteed contract, Shawn Marion, Brandan Wright, Rodrigue Beaubois and whoever else the Mavs might want to throw in?

Not likely (and it's here where speculation can run wild that re-signing Tyson Chandler might have made the Mavs a more prominent player in a potential deal).

Howard has been adamant that he wants to play for the Brooklyn Nets. That's presumably because of his desire (or is it adidas' desire?) to play in a large market where his superstardom can really shine, and his arrival would almost certainly convince All-Star point guard and free-agent-to-be Deron Williams to sign long-term in the borough. If the Nets get a top-three pick in the draft lottery May 30, they'll keep their protected pick from the Gerald Wallace deadline deal, a golden nugget to toss into a package to Orlando.

The Nets, with restricted free-agent center Brook Lopez, and the Los Angeles Lakers, with center Andrew Bynum or power forward Pau Gasol as prime bait, are the top contenders to deal for Dwight now.

The Mavs simply are not.

Dallas' best hope would be that the Magic are desperate to trade Howard out of the Eastern Conference and can't work out a deal with the Lakers. The worst-case scenario, obviously, would be for Orlando to deal him to Brooklyn, effectively (presumably) taking the Mavs out of the running for D-Will and leaving Mark Cuban and Dirk Nowitzki staring into an uneasy future.

If not Deron Williams, then who?

May, 7, 2012

DALLAS – When the Mavs opted not to offer Tyson Chandler and Co. long-term deals, this summer’s free-agency crop was expected to be headlined by a few superstars.


Which free agent is most important for the Mavericks to retain?


Discuss (Total votes: 9,443)

The landscape quickly changed when Chris Paul exercised his player option for next season after being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. It changed for the worse again when Dwight Howard surprisingly committed not to opt out of the final season of his contract with the Orlando Magic just before the trade deadline.

That leaves Deron Williams as the lone big fish. What happens if the Mavs don’t convince The Colony native to come home?

“You’ve got to have your A, B, C, D and E and so on, but you also understand that this is a global plate tectonic,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “Things are moving and situations are fluid. You go into it with eyes wide open and hopefully you can come out of it with what you want.”

The Mavs want a player who can create offense on his own, a necessity to take pressure off of Dirk Nowitzki.

Mavs GM Donnie Nelson gives us an inside look at the team's summer plans as the franchise has financial flexibility for the first time in over a decade.

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A reunion with Steve Nash is a possibility. The Mavs declined to pay what it took to keep him in Dallas eight seasons ago because of concerns about durability, but he’s coming off a season in which he led the Western Conference in assists (10.7 per game) and shot a career-best 53.2 percent from the floor.

Everyone knows the chemistry with old pal Nowitzki would click. However, the Mavs would probably take a major step back defensively by adding a 38-year-old point guard who has always been considered a liability on that end of the floor.

Houston’s Goran Dragic, who made himself a ton of money as the fill-in starter for Kyle Lowry in the second half of the season, is a much younger option. Dragic, 26, Nash’s former backup, averaged 18.0 points and 8.4 assists while shooting 49.0 percent from the floor in 28 games as a starter this season.

Some other proven shot creators in the market: New Orleans’ Eric Gordon (restricted), Memphis’ O.J. Mayo (restricted), Minnesota’s Michael Beasley (restricted and off-court issues) and Boston’s Ray Allen (turns 37 in July).

The market for big men, which will be a big need if the Mavs use the amnesty clause on Brendan Haywood, is headlined by Indiana’s Roy Hibbert (restricted), Denver’s JaVale McGee (restricted), Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez (restricted), New Orleans’ Chris Kaman, Houston’s Marcus Camby, Philadelphia’s Spencer Hawes and Chicago’s Omer Asik. The Mavs might also explore taking a minimum-salary flyer on Greg Oden in hopes of resuscitating the former No. 1 overall pick’s career after it has been derailed by knee injuries.

“There’s a lot of good players out there,” Nelson said. “Whether it’s A, B, C, D, E, F, or keep the powder dry, which is always an option. Just because we have it doesn’t mean we have to spend it.”

Is putting a subpar supporting cast around Nowitzki for another year of the twilight of his prime really an option? Isn’t there a sense of urgency to maximize the chances of winning another championship while the best player in franchise history is still a superstar?

“Listen, how many years have we made it in the playoffs in a row?” Nelson said. “We don’t plan on putting out anything less than a championship-caliber team. That’s me and Mark’s history and that’s our commitment to our fans and this city.”

They’ve got their work cut out for them this summer, especially if they swing and miss on Williams.
NEW ORLEANS -- Maybe Dirk Nowitzki was contagious. Brendan Haywood is also dealing with a sore back.

It isn't an issue that is expected to sideline Haywood against the Hornets, but the Mavs will monitor him.

"At this point, it looks like he's ready to go," coach Rick Carlisle said.

The Mavs have had trouble defending big men during their three-game losing streak. The Lakers' Andrew Bynum (19 points, 14 rebounds), the Nets' Brook Lopez (38 points, six rebounds) and the Grizzlies' Marc Gasol (22 points, 11 rebounds) all had big games.

The Hornets' Chris Kaman isn't having a good season, but he's one of the league's better scoring big men and certainly capable of continuing that trend, especially if Haywood's back acts up tonight.

3-pointer: Centers doing heavy damage

March, 1, 2012
Recap | Box score | Shot chart | Photos

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Mavericks center Brendan Haywood notched consecutive double-figure scoring games for the first time in a couple seasons. He had 10 points Wednesday, and not just on put-backs and dunks. His fallaway jumper is becoming quite a weapon for him.

As nice as it is to see Haywood helping out with the scoring load beyond his 5.7-point season average -- he has 28 points in the past two games -- there is another side to the coin.

The problem is at the other end. Haywood has faced three excellent centers, including two All-Stars in the last three games: the Los Angeles Lakers' Andrew Bynum, the New Jersey Nets' Brook Lopez and in Wednesday's 96-85 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Marc Gasol. The three combined for 79 points and 31 rebounds.

Gasol had an All-Star performance with 22 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots. He helped Memphis score 62 points in the paint -- 64.6 percent of their total output. The 62 points is a season-high for a Mavs opponent. Only twice have they given up 50 or more with Cleveland scoring 54 most recently on Feb. 4, which also happened to be the last time Dallas lost three consecutive games.

Of course, all that damage does not solely fall on Haywood. It's on the Mavs' team defense, which misses Delonte West's feisty perimeter defense and on Wednesday, Dirk Nowitzki's 7-foot frame was misssed.

"We struggled to keep them from putting the ball in the basket," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "It was a combination of things — second shots, drives, fast-break situations. It’s not simply that they just pounded it in. It was a tough night."

Here's three more things to consider coming off Wednesday's defeat:

1. Jason Terry can't locate 3-ball: Terry had a team-high 18 points Wednesday night, but six came in the final five minutes with Memphis ahead by 11 points. Still, Terry was aggressive in the game, driving and trying to create, and he came away with a team-high five assists. But, Terry's known for the long ball and right now he's just not connecting. He was 2-of-8 against Memphis and 1-of-6 in the second half when Dallas went ice cold.

Terry isn't taking lightly the fact that he's 6-of-21 from 3-point range during Dallas' three-game skid.

"Right now, it's just not going down and I've got to find it," Terry said. "That's my job. I worked too hard for it not to go down."

2. Dirk's odd free throw slump: Just about no matter who you are, a 14-of-21 (66.7 percent) stretch at the free throw line is nothing to write home about. But, for Dirk Nowitzki it's nearly unheard of. But, after he went 1-of-2 at the line in his limited minutes Wednesday night before leaving with lower back tightness, those are Nowitzki's numbers in the last three games. He was 7-of-11 in Tuesday's loss to New Jersey and he was actually 7-of-12 with three consecutive misses after a Nets lane violation provided a third attempt (only two officially count). Nowitzki was shooting free throws at 90-percent clip for much of the season. He's now down to 85.5 percent.

3. Disappearing Carter: Vince Carter has proven to be an impact scorer early in games sort of the way Josh Howard did years ago as well as Caron Butler last season before he injured his knee. Lately, Carter has not been involved in the offense, at least in terms of taking shots. In the last two games, 12 of his 13 shot attempts came in the first half with 10 coming in the first quarter.

3-pointer: Out of break, shooting still MIA

February, 29, 2012

DALLAS -- The Mavericks nearly pulled out a win against a bad team by shooting 36.0 percent and with Brendan Haywood (season-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting and 4-of-5 at the free throw line) as their most efficient scorer. The key word is "almost."

The Mavs didn't win and that combo will rarely earn a 'W' as Dallas dropped a 93-92 decision to the New Jersey Nets in their disappointing return from the All-Star break.

"We were off, couldn’t make a shot; it was ugly, they really jumped on us and had a big lead," said Dirk Nowitzki, who was 7-of-19 from the floor and deferred to Jason Kidd three times in the final 48.9 seconds. "That’s obviously not what you want coming out of the break at home. We were sloppy -- ballhandling, shooting, everything was sloppy. And down the stretch, that’s our strength, executing, getting the ball where it needs to go, just a rough night."

Harsh, but true.

Starting a stretch of nine games in 12 nights in which the frequency of games seemed to be more challenging than the majority of teams on the schedule, this was a tough way to kick things off. New Jersey won for just the 11th time in 36 games.

Dallas shot 40 percent or worse for the eighth time in 35 games and fell to 1-7 in those games. With 1:23 left in the third quarter, Rodrigue Beaubois' pretty tear drop gave Dallas a 74-71 lead as the Mavs wiped out a 13-point deficit in the quarter. Remarkably, it would be Dallas' last basket until Haywood's hook with 3:25 left in the game to pull the Mavs to within 89-83.

Fourteen consecutive shots over nearly 11 minutes clanked away. After a mini hot streak, including Kidd's lone 3-pointer for the lead, 92-91, with 48.9 to go, he missed his last two attempts -- finishing 1-of-7 from downtown -- on possessions that turned into unhinged scrambles.

"Look, we didn't shoot well," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said in an understatement. "The focus is at the end of the game, but I thought our beginning of the game was poor. We weren't engaged defensively; we allowed them to shoot 52 percent and get a five-point lead...It's the full 48 minutes. We did a great job coming back at the end, but it's hard to get into a situation where there's zero margin for error."

The other day Kidd said it's going to be hard for the Mavs to be a team that shoots a high percentage consistently because of the energy exerted at the other end to become a top-five defensive team. Tuesday proved that even when the defense is not engaged as Carlisle said -- Brook Lopez scored 38 points on 28 shots for goodness sake -- Dallas isn't a good shooting team.

This is a trend that has not made many appearances in Dallas over the last decade and change. Yet, after 35 games, this is more than a trend. No matter who has been in or out of the lineup, the Mavs have been about a 43-percent shooting team. After Tuesday's 32-of-89 performance, they sit at 43.6 percent and 32.5 percent from 3-point range.

"We might be a little better, but playing 66 games in 67 days, I don’t think the shooting percentage is going to be great," Nowitzki said. "Look around the league, it’s the worst 3-point percentage since the last lockout and I don’t think there’s anything you can do about it."

Shooting percentages are down, but the Mavs rank 18th in the league in overall shooting and 19th from 3. So, plenty of teams are doing it better.

"You got to keep fighting and keep stepping into it," Nowitzki said, "and try to win it over defense and rebounding and ultimately down the stretch knock down some big shots."

That didn't happen and so on a night when Dallas' defense picked up in the second half, limiting Deron Williams to two points and the Nets as a whole to 14 points in the fourth quarter and 37 in the final two quarters, the Mavs still lost.

Three more points to ponder heading into tonight's game at the Memphis Grizzlies

1. Tables turned in Memphis: Once upon a time the Mavs dominated the Griz, winning 18 of 19. No more. Memphis has won six of the last 10 meetings and four of six at Fedex Forum. And they'll have the advantage tonight playing their first game coming off the All-Star break.

2. Jet moves up all-time list: Jason Terry passed fomer Mav Dale Ellis and is now No. 6 on the NBA's all-time 3-point list. He has 1,720. However, he would have liked to drop more than two of his six attempts in the loss.

3. Another 1,000 milestone for Dirk: Nowitzki's 14th season is turning out to be the season of the 1,000 milestone. This season he's already hit 1,000 career games, 1,000 3-point baskets and 1,000 blocks. Next up tonight is 1,000 career starts. Nowitzki has started 999 of his 1,024 games.

Mavs do part to boost Brook Lopez's trade value

February, 29, 2012
DALLAS – What a Dwightmare.

This might have been the worst possible way, barring injury, that the Mavs could start this seven-city, nine-game, 12-night journey. At the risk of greatly exaggerating a regular-season game, this loss to the lottery-bound Nets could have major ramifications on the future of the Mavs’ franchise.

That’s assuming Orlando general manager Otis Smith checked out the game on League Pass while the Magic had a night off.

The Mavs let big man Brook Lopez, the potential centerpiece in a package that could send Dwight Howard to the Nets, showcase what a skilled 7-footer he is. Lopez, playing just his third game of the season, lit the Mavs up for 38 points on 17-of-28 shooting from the floor.

Lopez scored on all sorts of shots in the paint -- drives, post-ups, finishes off defensive breakdowns -- and even displayed 20-foot range.

The Nets are the primary threat to deal for Howard before the March 15 deadline, and that’s the one deal the Mavs really don’t want to see go down.

Mavs owner Mark Cuban isn’t about to lay out his offseason intentions, but it’s pretty clear than Plan A is convincing Howard and Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams to take a little less than max offers to join Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas.

Who wouldn’t want to pair the best big man in the NBA and a top-five point guard as they’re just entering their primes? The Nets would sure love to make that happen before they move to Brooklyn.

Plan B for the Mavs: Sign Howard. Plan C: Sign Williams.

All of those are off the table if Howard lands in New Jersey next month, and the possibility of that happening had to increase a little bit with Lopez looking like Hakeem Olajuwon against the Mavs.

DALLAS – If you’re looking to blame somebody for the Mavs’ failure on the final two possessions, pin it on coach Rick Carlisle.

But the majority of Tuesday night’s 93-92 loss to the New Jersey Nets is on the Mavericks’ players.

The Mavs rallied from a 10-point deficit midway with five minutes remaining to put themselves in position to pull out a victory in a game they really had no business winning. The Mavs got two chances to win it after the Nets regained the lead with 42.4 seconds remaining, but both possessions ended with bricked 3-point attempts by Jason Kidd.

“It didn’t work out, so that’s on me,” Carlisle said when asked about the final possession of the game. “In fact, the last two plays of the game -- those are on me. I take full responsibility for those.”

After Brook Lopez’s free throws, the Mavs tried to operate the offense through Kidd on the post despite the fact that Nets All-Star Deron Williams is a strong, physical defender for a point guard. That possession turned into a scramble that ended with Kidd jacking up a contested 3 as the shot clock ticked down.

On the last possession, the Mavs went to a play that used to be Avery Johnson’s favorite, getting Dirk Nowitzki the rock above the elbow and letting him go to work. Nowitzki kicked it to the corner to Kidd when the double-team came as he dribbled, and Kidd ended up putting the ball on the floor before throwing up a 3 with DeShawn Stevenson all over him at the buzzer.

The ball didn’t even draw iron.

“I should have shot the first ball that he gave me,” said Kidd, who was 1-of-7 from the floor with his lone bucket a 3 that briefly gave the Mavs the lead in the final minute. “I had a wide-open look. And then D-Steve got his hands on the pump-fake.”

Added Nowitzki, who finished with 24 points but was 7-of-19 from the floor, including 1-of-6 in the fourth quarter: “Me having the ball in the high post, I don’t think that’s a bad play. We’ve seen that a million times. The one before that was probably a little questionable.”

Jason Terry certainly wasn’t thrilled with the plays called down the stretch, but that’s because he’s a competitor who wants the ball in his hands with the game on the line. Yes, even on a night when Terry was 4-of-14 from the floor and 1-of-5 in the fourth quarter.

“I don’t know if it’s lack of execution or play-calling or whatever you want to call it, but we didn’t get the shot we wanted,” Terry said. “That’s why we lost.”

Actually, you can make a strong argument that the Mavs lost because they let a bad team build a double-digit lead. The Mavs stunk it up on both ends for most of the night against the 11-25 Nets.

And it’s sort of a stretch for Carlisle to take all the blame for the final two possessions, although it’s in character for him. Maybe his best move in his tenure as the Mavs’ coach was taking the blame for the Game 4 collapse in the first round of last postseason, when he fell on the sword for failing to adjust defensively as Brandon Roy carried the Trail Blazers to a comeback from 23 points down.

We all remember how the Mavs rallied after that moment of misery.

Carlisle considers it his duty to call himself out in this sort of situation, even though he had two future Hall of Fame players on the floor that failed to execute. It gives him the credibility to call out his players when necessary.

“If I’m going to get on their ass about not being into the game early, then I’ve got to be willing to take the heat when the two plays at the end of the game don’t work out,” Carlisle said. “It’s accountability; that’s how it works.”

Rapid Reaction: Nets 93, Mavericks 92

February, 28, 2012
Recap | Box score | Shot chart | Photos

How it happened: The Dallas Mavericks couldn’t finish the job in crunch time to steal a win that they didn’t deserve.

Dallas struggled for most of the night to get a stop against one of the NBA’s worst offensive teams. The Mavs couldn’t buy a bucket for most of the fourth quarter, misfiring on their first 13 shots of the final frame.

That’s a pretty good recipe for the defending NBA champions losing to a lottery team.

The Mavs made it interesting in the final five minutes, going on a 13-2 run to take the lead on a Jason Kidd 3-pointer with 48 seconds remaining. But the Nets regained the lead the next possession on a pair of free throws by big man Brook Lopez and held on for the win.

Kidd missed the Mavs’ final two shots, including a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer that didn’t even draw iron.

All-Star point guard Deron Williams registered 12 points and 12 assists, but he missed his last 10 shots and was hardly the Mavs’ biggest problem. Lopez lit the Mavs up for 38 points on 17-of-28 shooting.

What it means: Barring injury, this was the worst possible way the Mavs could begin a grueling seven-city, nine-game, 12-night stretch. They not only lost to the lottery-bound Nets, but it was a showcase performance for Lopez. That might increase the odds of the Nets pulling off a blockbuster deal to land Dwight Howard before the trade deadline, spoiling the Mavs’ summer plans to try to land Howard and/or Williams in free agency.

Bold Play of the Game: Gerald Green, the former slam dunk champion who had a few cups of coffee with the Mavs, showed off his best attribute in his return to the NBA on a 10-day contract. Green got up so high on a transition lob from Sundiata Gaines in the third quarter that he almost hit his head on the rim as he slammed the ball with two hands.

Stat of the night: The Mavericks had not lost at home to the Nets since March 2, 2000.

After 3: Nets 79, Mavs 76

February, 28, 2012
DALLAS -- An ugly final 1:05 to the period ended an otherwise solid showing by the Mavs as they dug out of a 13-point hole to lead 74-71.

Then an and-1 by Brook Lopez (30 points), a couple turnovers and deep 3 by Anthony Morrow put the Nets back in front with 12 minutes to play.

Dirk Nowitzki and Brendan Haywood combined for 15 of the Mavs' 31 points in the quarter. Jason Terry hit a 3 for 10 points.

Defense is going to have to win it for Dallas. The Nets are shooting 49.2 percent with the Mavs at 39.2 percent despite the high-scoring quarter.

At the half: Nets 56, Mavs 45

February, 28, 2012
DALLAS -- The Mavericks might want to splash some water on the face at halftime. The New Jersey Nets are feeling good and this could be trouble.

Two huge issues plagued Dallas in the second quarter. First, with Deron Williams taking nearly the first six minutes of the period off, the Nets expanded their five-point first-quarter lead to six. Then, Brook Lopez went off for 13 consecutive points and 15 in the quarter to give him a season-high 21 in the game. He's 10-of-15 from the floor and absolutely killing Brendan Haywood.

That vaunted Dallas defense is being shredded by these 10-win Nets, who are shooting 50 percent from the floor despite just 5-of-16 shooting from beyond the arc. The Nets have 24 points in the paint. Williams has 10 points and eight assists. Anthony Morrow, who hit a buzzer-beating jumper to end the half has eight points as does Kris Humphries.

Dirk Nowitzki leads Dallas with 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting. He missed three consecutive free throws in the period, missing two, then getting an extra attempt on a lane violation, but he missed that one, too.

Haywood, while getting skewered defensively, has nine points and six rebounds. Jason Terry is 2-of-7 for five points.

Dallas' eight first-half turnovers have resulted in 13 Nets points and get this, the Nets have 21 fastbreak points to the Mavs' 5.

Tyson Chandler trade and Dwight Howard

December, 10, 2011
It appears the Dallas Mavericks will be able to salvage a potentially valuable trade exception from Tyson Chandler's free-agent defection to the New York Knicks. ESPN.com's Marc Stein is reporting that the Mavs and Knicks do appear to have worked out a sign-and-trade.

For the Mavs, it means instead of walking away empty-handed, they'll take a sizable trade exception since Chandler's first-year salary with the Knicks will be more than $12 million. The Mavs, obviously, can use the trade exception for a future deal. Stein is reporting the deal Dallas will try to make is with Sacramento Kings for center Samuel Dalembert.

So, before anyone starts thinking that the trade exception is the ticket to nabbing Dwight Howard, slam on the breaks. Howard's agent apparently has been granted permission by the Orlando Magic to talk to three teams: the New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and the Mavs. That's a nice start and it certainly puts Dallas ahead of 27 other teams that would love to have the game's premiere big man.

However, the Lakers, even if the Chris Paul trade ultimately lands the superstar point guard in L.A., still have center Andrew Bynum to dangle. The Nets, who are putting together a sizable offer for Denver Nuggets center Nene, have young center Brook Lopez, who averaged 20 points a game last season. The Mavs have the older and less productive Brendan Haywood to offer as a center replacement.



Dirk Nowitzki
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9