Dallas Mavericks: Carmelo Anthony
1. Dirk Nowitzki readily called his buzzer-beater to beat the Knicks “probably the ugliest game-winner I ever shot.” What’s your favorite Dirk clutch bucket?
Taylor: Dirk has had so many clutch buckets in his career, but the one that sticks out to me has to be the driving layup in Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals. That's because when he had Chris Bosh on him at the free throw line it showed us how much his game had evolved even though he'd been great for such a long time. Remember when Bruce Bowen of the Spurs used to body Dirk and force him to shoot jumpers. Well, Bosh bodied him and Nowitzki drove by him, used a stutter step to create some space and laid it in for the go-ahead bucket that tied the series at 1-1 as Mavs rallied from double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter.
MacMahon: It comes down to a couple of lefty finishes for me. Dirk’s Game 2 drive in Miami bumped his Game 7 OT-forcing and-1 against the Spurs in the 2006 West semifinals to second place. Just think about that moment in Miami. It capped a 15-point fourth-quarter comeback against the hated Heat, a team few believed the Mavs really had a chance to beat, making it clear that those Finals were going to be one heck of a series. It also exorcised demons from the ’06 Finals collapse on that court and forced a lot of folks to completely reconsider their opinions on the supposedly soft Euro who couldn’t carry a team to a title. And that bucket was a thing of beauty – blowing by Bosh after a little hesitation coming out of a spin move at the elbow and finishing with a graceful finger roll, hushing an stunned crowd wearing all white.
2. What can the Mavs do to convince you that they should be considered a threat in the Western Conference?
Devin Harris returned to the lineup. Dallas has 10 games left against those top seven teams (including two matchups apiece against the Thunder, Spurs, Clippers and Warriors). A winning record in those 10 games would do go a long way in convincing many that they can be a legitimate threat. If they have a record well below .500 in those 10 games, their playoff footing will become incredibly shaky.
Taylor: Nothing. OK, if they played some real defense for four quarters for a couple of weeks in a row then I'd believe. But they can't. Or they won't. Again, there is no one who will want to deal with Nowitzki, Rick Carlisle or their fantastic offense, but when the postseason becomes a bump and grind, the Mavs will have some big problems.
MacMahon: Keep winning in March. They’ve feasted on a soft schedule in February, which is swell. The going gets much tougher next month. They’ve got road games in the first two and a half weeks against the San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder and host the Portland Trail Blazers and Indiana Pacers during that span. Win three or more of those games – and at least be competitive against potential first-round foes San Antonio and OKC – and the Mavs will earn respect as a team nobody wants to see in the playoffs.
3. If the opportunity presents itself, should the Mavs try to sign Carmelo Anthony to a max deal?
Taylor: I'm not a big Carmelo fan because he pounds the ball and I don't think he makes dudes around him better. That said, the game is about stars and Carlisle has such a positive effect on players that he might be able to convince Carmelo to change his game and get everyone else involved. One of the beauties of the Mavs over the years is that the move the ball and play beautiful offense.
MacMahon: I’ve been riding the fence on this one for a couple of reasons: The flaws in Melo’s me-first game and the price tag. All max deals aren’t equal. Because of his current salary, teams other than the Knicks can offer Anthony a four-year, $95.9 million deal, which is more than the Mavs could offer the big fish who didn’t take their bait. The Knicks can offer $129.1 million over five years, which is why I think this will end up being a moot discussion. But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume Melo will want to escape New York after this disastrous season for the Knicks. He wouldn’t be a perfect fit for the Mavs by any means, and it’d take either some fairly significant roster tinkering or Nowitzki accepting a ridiculously below-market-value contract to make room under the Mavs’ cap for a Melo max deal, but I’d swallow hard and do it. It might be the Mavs’ last chance to make Dirk a co-star while he’s still an All-Star, and Carlisle has shown with Ellis that he can maximize a flawed player’s strengths while masking his weaknesses as much as possible. And, really, do the Mavs have a better plan to compete for a title during Dirk’s golden years?
So, of course, we should fast forward and discuss summer possibilities.
This edition of the Mavs have actually given us plenty to talk about, but one particular question about this year's free agency scene fascinates me, so we'll start with that.
Do you think Carmelo Anthony would ever consider Dallas instead of LA or staying in NY? -- @MaziRabiee on Twitter
I'm skeptical, to say the least. It's well known that his wife, the beautiful and apparently talented La La, wants to be in one of the biggest media markets. And as much as Melo says it's all about winning for him now, I'll believe that he'll leave more than $30 million on the table when I see it.
Per ESPN salary cap expert Larry Coon, the Knicks can offer Melo a max deal of $129.1 million over five years. Other teams can offer him $95.9 million over four years.
The Mavs would love to land a legitimate superstar to pair with Dirk Nowitzki, but a strong argument could be made that Melo doesn't make sense for Dallas at that price. The Mavs would have to do some significant roster trimming to free up that much cap space, unless Dirk took a historically unprecedented pay cut.
If the Mavs did sign Melo to a max deal, they'd be handcuffed as far as building a roster around him because he'd eat up so much of the cap. I'm not sure that'd be a wise path to take with a player who has proven to be a great scorer but not a great winner.
A decade into his career, Melo has been out of the first round only twice. Would pairing him with the golden-years version of Dirk really make the Mavs contenders? Of course, the other way to look at it is, do the Mavs have a better plan to try to maximize the final few seasons of Dirk's career?
And it's probably all a moot point anyway, due to all that money Melo would give up by leaving his beloved Big Apple.
And it doesn’t get any easier Monday night when they take to the floor against Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, who ranks second in the NBA in scoring (27.9 PPG).
“Right now, he and LeBron James and Kevin Durant are the three hardest guys to guard in the game,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “We played against James five days ago and he had a huge game. And this is just as difficult. Carmelo is on a roll like, he’s averaging [34.6] points in his last five games. I mean, it’s a really difficult task.”
In his past three games, Anthony has posted point totals of 42, 44 and 35.
The good news? His supporting cast has struggled for much of the season, which is why New York has a 21-35 record.
Playing in the Mecca: Dirk Nowitzki has averaged 27.2 points in 13 career games at Madison Square Garden.
“I want you to name a building Dirk hasn't played great in,” Carlisle quipped. “I think that would be my response. He’s been at it a lot of years, and I think guys like Dirk, Jason Kidd always had great success here, Vince [Carter] has been in here a lot. People respect that this is in many ways kind of the basketball epicenter of the world. I mean, New York City is big when it comes to basketball, and the fans here are into it, they appreciate it, and this is a special place to play.”
No doghouse: Despite being a DNP-coach’s decision Saturday, Carlisle said Jae Crowder is not in the doghouse.
“There are no doghouses around here,” Carlisle said. “You gotta be ready because your number could be called at any time.”
But as the Mavs prepare to fight for eighth place in the Western Conference, the remodeling of the roster remains at the front of the MFFL minds.
So let’s dig into some rumors and speculation ...
What do you make of the Evan Turner trade rumors? -- Mac (Chicago)
There’s no question that the Sixers are shopping Turner, a former No. 2 overall pick who is averaging 17.9 points in the final season of his rookie contract. They want future assets. That makes it extremely unlikely that the Mavs would be a fit.
Shane Larkin is the most attractive young asset on the Mavs’ roster, and his trade value hasn’t exactly soared this season. Plus, the Sixers have two promising young point guards on the roster in Rookie of the Year frontrunner Michael Carter-Williams and 21-year-old backup Tony Wroten.
Never say never, but for the Mavs to get in the mix for Turner, it’d probably take finding a third team that was motivated to trim payroll.
He will be a RFA, but does Gordon Hayward make sense for the Mavs to pursue in free agency? What would kind of money would he command? -- @JonathanBlick on Twitter
Hayward reportedly wanted a four-year, $50 million deal from the Jazz before the late October deadline for rookie contract extensions. So, as far as his camp is concerned, that’s where the negotiations would start.
The fact that he’s a restricted free agent obviously complicates matters. The Jazz will have a ton of salary cap space this summer, so whether they exercise their right to match won’t be influenced by the fear of the luxury tax. So it might not be feasible for the Mavs to sign him.
As far as a potential fit in Dallas, Hayward would be a huge upgrade offensively at small forward. However, he certainly wouldn’t help the Mavs take steps toward restoring their defensive respectability. Given that the Mavs would have to overpay to have a shot, I think their focus in free agency should be on other targets.
The Dallas front office remains determined to acquire an in-his-prime superstar to pair with Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavs’ brass is confident that will happen while the big German is still an elite player.
How can the Mavs pull off such an optimistic plan at this point? Heck if they know. Not right now, at least.
“Superstars win in this league,” said Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, although he’s pleased with the performance of summer consolation prizes such as Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon. “That’s not lost on us. ... This summer, I can’t sit here and tell you a hard-and-fast game plan, because we won’t know until we hit the battlefield, so to speak.”
That’s primarily because nobody knows whether this will be a bumper crop of free agency or if there will be slim pickings when it comes to superstars on the market this summer.
The Mavs will be positioned to offer a max contract again this summer, when Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Vince Carter come off the books, with Nowitzki vowing to re-sign at a significantly reduced salary. The question is whether there will be anybody worth offering a max deal.
Several marquee players have the right to opt out of their contracts, a list that includes LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony, among others. If the stars don’t test the market -- or simply decide to re-sign with their current teams, as Nowitzki has vowed to do in Dallas -- then Luol Deng could be the biggest name available among unrestricted free agents.
No disrespect to Deng, a two-time All-Star small forward whose ability to score and defend would make him a good fit in Dallas at a reasonable price, but adding him to the Mavs wouldn’t make Nowitzki the second-best player on the roster.
Let's get right to the questions.
@JohnnyPablo_ on Twitter: With the aging Shawn Marion and Vince Carter, what do you feel would be the way the Mavs should go once they retire?
First of all, don’t assume that this will be the final season for Marion and/or Carter with the Mavs. Their contracts expire this summer, but Mark Cuban reiterated this week that he’d like both of the old guys to return next season.
The Mavs hope that Jae Crowder, whose plus-minus is much more impressive than his traditional stats, continues to develop and earns an increased role next season.
Of course, the Mavs would be fools not to explore opportunities to upgrade at small forward. Luol Deng would probably be the best fit in free agency, but he won’t come cheap, having reportedly turned down a three-year, $30 million extension offer from the Chicago Bulls before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Danny Granger will be on the market, too, but he’ll be 31 with a frightening injury history. And you can’t completely rule out Carmelo Anthony, although it’s debatable whether giving a 30-year old Melo a supermax contract would be a wise move for a franchise trying to build a contender.
In other words, Marion and/or Carter might be back with the Mavs, but the future of the small forward position in Dallas is wide open.
KG (Baltimore): At what point do we stop calling Vince's year a "slump?" He shoots a team-low among guys with 12+ MPG (39% FG, 34% 3PT), he needs 9.6 attempts to score 11.1 points, and he has the second highest turnover rate. Love Vince, but we can't have that bad of a production from a sixth man, especially when Dirk Nowitzki sits and given that Monta Ellis is not a pure shooter. Is there a plan in the coaches’ mind, a trade, or give somebody else more minutes?
Carter is the Mavs’ sixth man this season. Period. I don’t see that changing under any circumstances other than injury.
If Carter can perform like he did in December on a consistent basis, he’ll be one of the West’s best sixth men. He averaged 11.7 points and 3.9 assists while shooting 44 percent from the floor and 36.2 percent from 3-point range while the Mavs went 8-5 last month. Unfortunately, December has been the exception for Carter this season, but the Mavs have a lot of confidence in him.
Too bad it killed all the good vibes from the Mavs’ best win of the season, which happened in Portland just a couple of nights earlier.
But we’ll be like the rest of the Metroplex and mostly ignore that slip-up in Sacramento. What else is on your Mavs minds?
@BrockLPrice on Twitter: This may be a bit premature, but with the Mavs having max cap space coming up this offseason, who do you see them pursuing?
Let me just make it clear that this is all premature speculation on my part. That removes me from the responsibility of being right, which makes this sort of thing much more fun.
I can’t see Chris Bosh opting out of his deal, and he’s not a fit next to Dirk Nowitzki anyway, plus he’s made it pretty clear that he doesn’t consider playing in his hometown to be a positive. Dwyane Wade isn’t leaving Miami, especially not to make Mark Cuban his new boss.
If none of the stars who are eligible to hit the market are realistic options -- a likely scenario -- there are a couple of second-tier guys who could be really good fits for the Mavs. Chicago’s Luol Deng is a versatile small forward who could be a younger version of Shawn Marion with more scoring punch. Big man Marcin Gortat is just about to wrap up the contract that was originally an offer sheet from the Mavs. Why not make another run at him?
Some restricted free agents worth keeping an eye on, depending on how much their current teams are willing to match, are Detroit’s Greg Monroe, Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe and Utah’s Gordon Hayward.
@electriclight41 on Twitter: Which pipe dream is more likely: Mavs move to the Eastern Conference or NBA gets rid of divisions/conferences?
The NBA getting rid of divisions might happen. I can’t see them ever going so far as to eliminate conferences.
And good luck making a case for the Mavs moving to the East. No, the fact that the Cowboys play in the NFC East doesn’t help the cause here. If, for some reason, the NBA decides to move a team to the East, Memphis and New Orleans would make more sense than the Mavs, according to maps.
@RamiMichail on Twitter: Who do you expect having a greater impact between Brandan Wright and Devin Harris on the team when they return?
They’ll both be rotation players, but I’d bet on Wright having a bigger impact. That’s because he’s a more dynamic player at this point of their careers and there’s more opportunity for minutes.
It’s awfully clear Rick Carlise’s doghouse, formerly occupied by Brendan Haywood and Chris Kaman, is now being inhabited by Samuel Dalembert. If Wright can perform like he did in the final quarter of last season, I could see a Wright/DeJuan Blair center tandem with Dalembert being just a bit player in the big man rotation.
Paul (Houston): Why are the Mavs not giving Wayne Ellington more of a chance? Vince Carter continues to struggle. Jae Crowder is a mediocre shooter at best. Is Crowder's D that much of a strength to take Ellington out of the equation?
Carlisle isn’t going to give up on Carter after one tough month and Crowder has earned the right to be in the rotation. That leaves Ellington on the fringe of the rotation.
Crowder is an inconsistent perimeter shooter, but he does a lot of things well and can defend a few different positions. Most importantly, the Mavs outscore opponents with him on the floor. His per-48-minute plus-minus is plus-9, which is the best of any of the Mavs’ rotation players.
Jason (Dallas) Hey Tim, do Mavs have any interest trading Vince Carter to Oklahoma City for Jeremy Lamb? I believe Mavs should consider this trade because Oklahoma City gives Vince Carter a better chance to win a championship and the Mavs get a young player they can use and get young. What you think about this trade?
Sure, the Mavs should be interested in getting a 21-year-old shooting guard who has shown promise this season and has two seasons remaining on his rookie deal. All they’ve got to give up is a struggling 36-year-old with an expiring contract? Pull the trigger.
Only one problem with this trade: Oklahoma City has to agree to it. Why the heck would the Thunder do that?
We’ll see whether Chris Paul or Dwight Howard bite as they weigh the opportunity in Dallas against other options.
Never mind the dollar details for a moment. The Mavs must sell that their situation is more attractive than staying in Los Angeles – where the Clippers’ front office is working feverishly to upgrade the supporting cast and coaching staff and the Lakers will also have loads of cap space next summer – or joining James Harden in Houston or CP3 and D12 forming a duo in Atlanta.
Here’s the pitch …
“In essence, you get to come in and, it’s you and we have room for two more max free agents (next year),” Mavs owner Mark Cuban said during a Monday appearance on KTCK-AM. “That’s why when I talked about a two-year plan, that’s the concept there.
“So part of our sales pitch is, look, we’re not going to try to fool you and say that you and Dirk (Nowitzki) and Shawn Marion and Vince (Carter) and fill are basically a championship team. Maybe we get on a run, maybe we’re pretty good. But the reality is you’re going to work with us and Dirk to get out there and pick your team.”
Nowitzki’s intention to take a massive pay cut on his next contract is no secret. The big German has essentially hollered from the mountaintops that having a chance to win another championship is much more important than padding his bank account at this point of his Hall of Fame career.
There’s no doubt that Dirk will do what he can to make sure that the Mavs are active shoppers in next summer’s market, when LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Danny Granger and many others could be available along with restricted studs such as Kyrie Irving, Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins. Cuban’s comments are an indication that Nowitzki would be willing to play for the minimum, or close to it, if the Mavs can add multiple stars.
|Mark Cuban joins ESPN Dallas GameDay to discuss the Mavericks' plans, the free-agent market and what possibilities there are for Dallas.
But the Mavs aren’t the favorite for either big fish.
“I can’t lie and say, 'look, this is a slam dunk,'” Cuban said.
Let’s be brutally honest. Neither one is even an acceptable shot out of a typical offensive set. Some consider Paul and Howard halfcourt heaves for the Mavs. I’m optimistic enough to call them 30-footers, with the right for revision depending on news that develops as July 1 approaches.
So it’s on the Mavs to come up with Plan C, D, E and so on. And it’s smart of Cuban to try to create a little PR wiggle room for how this summer is judged.
“If we get one of our big names, that would be successful and get us on a two-year plan,” Cuban said. “(If) we don’t get one of the two big names and we sign two or three guys that make us good this year and allow us to compete for the fifth or sixth playoff spot or better and still keeps our cap room for next year to sign … let’s just say we keep it under $18 million, $19 million and we get a lot better with those three players and we still have cap room for two max-out guys, then we’ll also be successful.”
|Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle looks ahead to Saturday's game against the Lakers, the parity in the league, Vince Carter's play and more.
That, combined with the fact that his jumper felt as good as it had all season, suddenly made Carter feel young again, never mind his sore right hamstring.
“My body didn’t feel good, but my shot felt good,” Carter said. “I was like, ‘Well, I’m going with the shot feeling good and the body will catch up.’”
The eight-time All-Star then turned in a turn-back-the-clock performance by scoring 25 points in the Mavs’ win over the East-leading Knicks.
“In my eyes, he’s still Half Man, Half Amazing,” shooting guard O.J. Mayo said after seeing Carter score 14 points in the fourth quarter alone. “He still has some stuff left in the tank.”
Said Carter with a smile: “Whew, sometimes. As long as they make ice tubs, I’m good.”
A few more notes from the Mavs’ win:
1. Matrix makes a difference: Shawn Marion didn’t make the trip to Madison Square Garden for the Mavs’ Nov. 9 loss due to his knee injury. He made his presence felt in the rematch against the Knicks.
Marion made life difficult for MVP candidate Carmelo Anthony, who lit the Mavs up for 31 points earlier this month. Anthony scored 23 on Wednesday night, but he was 7-of-16 from the floor and had as many turnovers as field goals.
“I’m a competitor,” Marion said. “It’s exciting. I like challenges. That’s what it’s about.”
The game came down to a Melo vs. the Matrix possession.
With the Mavs up one with 24 seconds remaining, the Knicks ran a play anybody in the building could have predicted: an iso for Anthony on the left wing. Marion forced Anthony to take a tightly contested 15-foot pull-up that bounced off the iron.
“I always like Shawn’s odds in those situations where he can play a guy one-on-one,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s the best we’ve got.”
2. Collison gets even: Darren Collison took this game personally, but that had nothing to do with the future Hall of Famer he replaced returning to the American Airlines Center.
Collison wanted to make up for his previous performance against Jason Kidd’s New York Knicks. He had four points and four turnovers while shooting 1-of-8 from the floor in the loss to the Knicks a couple of weeks ago.
“I wasn’t the Darren that I’m capable of being,” Collison said. “I really circled this game on my calendar. I really wanted to get after this game. That’s how I took it personal.”
Collison, who has had his share of struggles since a spectacular start, came up with his best performance since he helped spark the Mavs to a 4-1 start. He scored a season-high 19 points and dished out seven assists.
3. Brand, Crowder come up big off bench: Veteran Elton Brand came off the bench Wednesday for the first time with the Mavs. Rookie Jae Crowder rode the bench Monday for an entire game for the first time in his life.
They both responded to situations they surely weren’t pleased with by playing significant roles in the Mavs’ victory over the Knicks.
Brand had eight rebounds, three assists and two steals, plus four points, in 20 minutes as a reserve center. Crowder matched his career high with 12 points – all in the second half – on 4-of-6 shooting in 21 minutes.
On Brand, Carlisle said: “Elton gave us a huge lift off the bench. He was the man out there.”
On Crowder, Carlisle said: “You’ve just got to be ready. He responded like a pro tonight.”
Brand, who recently expressed concern about his minutes in a diplomatic fashion, had left the locker room by the time Carlisle’s press conference ended.
Crowder, who never got an explanation from Carlisle for the DNP-CD, hopes he proved something to his coach.
“It really showed that I’m a professional,” Crowder said. “I try to take my craft really seriously. Hopefully I got my point across.”
Anthony lit up the Mavs for 31 points in the Knicks’ Nov. 9 win over the Mavs at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks present plenty of concerns, but they start with containing Anthony, the NBA’s fourth-leading scorer at 24.2 points per game.
“Right now, he might be the best player in the game if you look at their record, the stats that he’s putting up and all that kind of stuff,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s going to be an MVP candidate for sure.”
The Mavs didn’t have defensive stopper Shawn Marion for the previous meeting with the Knicks. Rookie Jae Crowder got the start and a rough lesson that night. The Mavs hope Marion’s experience and ability can make a difference.
“We’ve got to guard him better as a team,” Carlisle said. “Our position wasn’t good last game. Our individual position wasn’t what it needed to be. Consequently, our help couldn’t get there.”
Records: Mavs (6-6); Knicks (8-1)
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: American Airlines Center
Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: Will the Mavs get their butts kicked on the boards again? Carlisle has been ranting about rebounding since the preseason. He was especially strong about it after the Warriors had a 62-43 rebounding edge in Golden State’s win over the Mavs on Monday night. The Mavs actually outrebounded the Knicks, 50-43, earlier this month. They’ll probably have to do that again to have a legitimate chance to beat the team with the NBA’s best record.
Key matchup: O.J. Mayo vs. Jason Kidd: The crafty Kidd is likely to at least start the night defending the NBA’s seventh-leading scorer. Mayo got off to a hot start at Madison Square Garden, but he cooled off considerably after getting in early foul trouble, finishing with 23 points on 7-of-16 shooting and committing a season-high eight turnovers. The crafty Kidd caused some of Mayo’s issues that game, including drawing a charge that was Mayo’s third foul early in the second quarter.
Injuries: Mavs – PF Dirk Nowitzki (knee) is out. Knicks – PF Amar’e Stoudemire (knee) and G Iman Shumpert (knee) are out.
Up next: vs. Los Angeles Lakers, 7:30 p.m. Saturday
“T.C.’s a smart guy,” Cuban said while entertaining the Big Apple media horde before Friday night’s game at Madison Square Garden. “I’m sure he’ll have a future as a general manager.”
Chandler got the last word, at least in the Knicks’ win over the Mavericks.
The athletic big man’s putback, and-1 slam pretty much put the exclamation point on the Knicks’ win. After a Carmelo Anthony miss in traffic, Chandler soared above the crowd to snatch the ball and throw it down hard with two hands despite being hacked by Jae Crowder.
Chandler followed that play, which pushed the Knicks’ lead to 10 points midway through the fourth quarter, by pounding his chest and screaming. If Cuban was still booing Chandler and fellow Mavs champion-turned-Knick Jason Kidd, it was drowned out by the deafening roars of the sellout crowd.
“I enjoy his boos,” Chandler told reporters. “I enjoy all those antics and anything else that he wants to do.”
As Mavs fans know, Chandler’s impact can’t just be measured by his line in the box score, although 11 points and nine rebounds aren’t bad. His defensive presence, especially in pick-and-roll situations, had a lot to do with the Mavs’ miserable second half, when Dallas scored 37 points on 35.1 percent shooting and committed 13 turnovers. The Knicks outscored the Mavs by 14 in Chandler’s 30 minutes on the floor.
And then there are the intangibles.
“When he’s healthy, he’s a difference maker,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “He was huge for us in the one year that we had him. He’s really turned this (Knicks) franchise around with his enthusiasm and exuberance, not to mention his abilities on the court. He’s one of the reason they’re a contender.”
Chandler was also a big reason the Mavs left New York with a loss.
A few more notes from the Mavs’ second loss of the season:
1. Missing Matrix: This had to be hard for Shawn Marion to watch from home while he nurses the sprained MCL in his left knee that will sideline him until at least next week.
The Mavs couldn’t stop Anthony, who scored 31 points on 10-of-22 shooting. Anthony has also had some big nights against Marion over the years, but the Matrix got the best of Melo the two times they’ve both been healthy for Mavs-Knicks meetings. Anthony scored a total of only 24 points on 7-of-27 shooting in those two games, both Mavs wins.
Anthony did a lot of his damage against Crowder and Dahntay Jones, both 6-foot-6, with his back to the basket. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Anthony was 5-of-8 from the floor against post-ups, something the 6-foot-7, long-armed Marion would be better equipped to defend.
Crowder, the second-round steal, really looked like a rookie for the first time against the Knicks. He had seven points, five fouls, four turnovers and three rebounds in 30 minutes.
“Having Trix out really hurt us,” Mavs center Chris Kaman said. “He’s a good-sized 3 man. He can guard some of those guys at the 3. It’s unfortunate that he’s injured, but it’s also part of basketball. Hopefully he’ll be able to get back soon.”
2. Carter hurts hip: Vince Carter started limping before his pretty fadeaway even hit the net in the final minute of the third quarter.
“When I did the stepback and I went to push off, I felt just a pull and a pop,” Carter said. “It tightened up instantly. It felt kind of weird.”
Carter, who faded away to avoid a collision with fellow NBA geezer Kidd, left the game during the next dead ball. He returned later and finished with 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting and expects to be available for the butt end of the back-to-back Saturday in Charlotte, although he’s a bit concerned about how his hip will feel when he wakes up.
“I’m planning on playing,” Carter said. “I don’t care what they say. We’re already down some bodies. Gotta go.”
3. Roddy B. returns: Backup guard Rodrigue Beaubois had five points on 2-of-7 shooting, three rebounds, an assist and a steal in his return after a three-game absence due to a sprained ankle.
“We’re glad that he got out on the court and was able to be effective at times and get some of his conditioning back,” Carlisle said. “It’s going to be a process getting him back to 100 percent.”
How it happened: The Mavs cooled off after a first-half shootout between two of the NBA’s highest-scoring teams. The Knicks kept filling it up.
The Mavs went ice cold in the fourth quarter, when they scored only 16 points on 5-of-16 shooting. That included a scoreless span of 4:06, when the Knicks scored eight points to essentially put the game away.
Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points to lead the Knicks, serving as a closer with nine of those points in the final frame.
But the Knicks had a critical spurt after their superstar went to the bench following his fourth foul midway through the third quarter. New York sixth man J.R. Smith had nine of his 22 points during the 11-5 run that stretched the Knicks’ lead to seven.
Shooting guard O.J. Mayo, who has performed like a star while Dirk Nowitzki recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery, continued to shoot the lights out from 3-point range. Mayo had 23 points, making five of 10 3-point attempts, but he was plagued by foul trouble throughout the game.
The Knicks didn't allow Dallas point guard Darren Collison to get going. Collison, who entered the night averaging 16.2 points per game, scored only four and didn't have a field goal until the final minute.
What it means: The undefeated Knicks ended the Mavs’ three-game winning streak. The Mavs were pretty competitive against a playoff-caliber team despite missing Nowitzki and Shawn Marion, but they’re 1-2 on the road entering Saturday’s trip to Charlotte.
Play of the game: Maybe Tyson Chandler’s ferocious, and-1 putback slam brought back fond memories for Mavs fans. It dealt a serious blow to the Mavs’ comeback hopes, stretching the Knicks’ lead to 10 with 6:08 remaining. After Anthony missed a reverse layup in heavy traffic, Chandler rose above the crowd to grab the rebound with two hands and throw it home despite contact from Jae Crowder. Chandler, showing the spirit that made him the emotional leader of the championship Mavs, celebrated by pounding his chest and hollering to the crowd.
Stat of the night: Collison and Mayo combined for 12 turnovers. They didn’t have any in Wednesday’s win over the Toronto Raptors.
DALLAS -- Melo-drama will dominate the New York headlines after the Knicks’ trip to Dallas.
Don’t expect Shawn Marion to get much credit in the Big Apple for his defense on Carmelo Anthony, who scored only six points on 2-of-12 shooting. However, this should be remembered as yet another All-Defense-caliber performance by the 13-year veteran who has never received that honor.
“I try to make it uncomfortable for him,” Marion said. “He’s a very talented player, but when you give him different looks and put him in different positions to make him feel uncomfortable, it helps.
“My team has been helping me, too. It wasn’t just me. It’s always some help, but I try to do my best to make these guys take tough shots and crowd them.”
Dominant defensive performances have been the norm this season for Marion, who the Mavs used to guard everything from point guards to power forwards. An exception was the Mavs’ previous meeting with the Knicks, when Jeremy Lin lit up Marion and Co. for 28 points and 14 assists.
Marion didn’t match up with Lin much in the rematch. The Mavs deemed it more important to take away the Knicks’ most accomplished scorer, which Marion did without much trouble.
A few more notes from the Mavs’ win Tuesday night:
1. Jason Kidd’s big game: Kidd isn’t much of a scorer these days, so it’s notable any time he hits double digits. He scored a season-high 15 points against the Knicks, going 3-of-6 from 3-point range. It was just the third time Kidd scored in double digits this season, with the Mavs winning two of those games. The Mavs were 24-6 when Kidd hit double digits last season.
2. Vince Carter’s struggles continue: Carter has one bucket in the last two games. He just never got involved against the Thunder, attempting only one shot in a scoreless 10 minutes. Carter came out aggressive against the Knicks but was just off, scoring three points on 1-of-8 shooting (1-of-6 from 3-point range) in 23 minutes. Rodrigue Beaubois made up for Carter’s lack of offense Tuesday night by scoring 18 points in 19 minutes off the bench.
3. Same ol’ Lamar Odom: This didn’t appear to be a refreshed, re-energized version of Odom, as was the case in his Saturday night return from a 10-day personal leave. Odom had an awful performance, scoring three points on 1-of-9 shooting and grabbing four rebounds in 23 minutes. His final stint on the floor lasted less than a minute, when he missed a 10-foot jumper and committed a careless turnover midway through the fourth quarter before Dirk Nowitzki quickly checked back in. Odom wasn’t available after the game.
DALLAS – Linsanity gained lot of believers the last time the Knicks faced the Mavericks.
There has only been one point guard to really light up the Mavs since Shawn Marion became the primary defender of that position. That was Lin, who had 28 points and 14 assists to lead the Knicks to a win over the defending champions in a nationally televised Sunday afternoon matinee at Madison Square Garden last month.
Tyson Chandler laughed after the game when he recalled how his former Mavericks teammates told him they had a plan to shut down Lin, the sudden phenom.
“I guess they were dead wrong in the scouting report,” Chandler said.
Or maybe Marion just had dead legs, which he admitted was a major issue the next week.
We also might not see the Lin-Matrix matchup nearly as much this game. Rodrigue Beaubois, who was on a personal leave during the Mavs’ trip to New York, will take his turns guarding his former summer league teammate. And Carmelo Anthony is back for the Knicks, so Marion might spend most of the night defending the perennial All-Star small forward.
“That's my guess,” Lin said of the Melo assignment for Marion. “We’ll just be ready for whatever they throw out at us. I think he’s a great defender. I actually didn’t think he did a bad job. He forced me into a lot of tough shots. I know he got some fouls and a lot of times he was attacking the pick, it wasn’t necessarily him. Whatever they throw at us we have to be ready for.”
The Mavs better be more ready for Lin than they were last month.
Records: Mavs (22-17); Knicks (18-19)
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: American Airlines Center
TV: FSSW/NBA TV
Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM; 1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: The Mavs, losers of five of their last six games, desperately need a win but might not have much gas in their tank after last night’s down-to-the-wire loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Dirk Nowitzki played 38 minutes, Jason Terry 37 and Marion 36. Will they have enough life in their legs to finish strong if this game goes down to the wire? And can the Mavs figure out how to execute down the stretch even if the energy is there? They haven’t been good in clutch situations all season and have been awful lately, a reversal of the trend during their title run.
Key matchup: Mavs bench vs. Knicks bench – Dallas prides itself in being one of the deepest teams in the league, but the Knicks bench destroyed the Mavs bench last month at Madison Square Garden. Steve Novak lit it up for 14 points in 23 minutes. J.R. Smith had 15 points in his Knicks debut. Lamar Odom was especially dreadful for the Mavs, who were outscored by 17 in Odom’s 20 minutes. The Mavs’ bench is shorter than usual because of injuries, but there’s no reason the Knicks' reserves should be a dominant force.
Injuries: Mavs – C Brendan Haywood (sprained left ankle) is questionable; G Delonte West (fractured right ring finger) is out; C/PF Brandan Wright (concussion) is out. Knicks – G/F Bill Walker (elbow) is out.
Up next: Mavs at Phoenix Suns, 9:30 p.m., Thursday
For the fifth and final time, the Dallas Mavericks will have a ring ceremony. This time it will involve one of the biggest pieces from their 2010-11 NBA championship -- Tyson Chandler. Chandler, the starting center on last year's team, will be presented with his ring prior to the Knicks-Mavericks game Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.
The Mavericks held ring ceremonies for the returning players from that title team and individual ones for Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson and Corey Brewer. Peja Stojakovic and J.J. Barea attended the team ceremony.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle will say a few words prior to tip-off and present Chandler is ring.
"It's been a moment I've been waiting for really since we won," Chandler said. "[Been] doing a lot of celebrating and looking forward for the hardware."
Monday was the first time Chandler had been in the AAC since the end of the ticker tape parade through downtown Dallas. The Knicks practiced on the Mavericks' practice court and it brought back some great memories for Chandler.
"Coming back in this gym was an amazing feeling, just remembering the practices we went thought to get to the championship," Chandler said. "It brought back a lot of memories and a lot of motivation again; it couldn’t have happened at a perfect time. It's given me motivation for the second half of the season to definitely get my team over the hump."
After that championship season, Chandler expressed a desire to re-sign with the Mavericks, but owner Mark Cuban elected not to bring him back. So Chandler signed a four-year deal with the Knicks to add to a front line that already had Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire.
Chandler said he's not upset to not be playing for the Mavericks and still stays in contact with several former teammates, including Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion.
"It was confusing at the time," Chandler said of how he left the Mavs for the Knicks. "Once I became a Knick, I let it all go. I never harbor any feelings. I understand this is a business at the end of the day. So you can't get frustrated or angry with somebody for making a business decision that they think ultimately is what’s best for their franchise, whether or not I think it's right or wrong."
Chandler, who is averaging 11.6 points and a team-leading 9.8 rebounds, is playing through a left wrist injury that requires him using a pad to minimize the force to his hand and also has his wrist taped. He's having difficulty grabbing the ball and fumbled a pass tossed to him by point guard Jeremy Lin during Sunday's overtime loss to the Boston Celtics.
He hasn't been a major force this season like he was in Dallas, but he's not second-guessing his decision to sign with the Knicks.
"No, I just understand [the business]," he said. "I know what it takes to win a championship. At this point, I'm not going back to the early days in my career where I sit around and I don’t voice my opinion. I'm going to push my teammates and myself and hopefully at the end of the day it makes us a contender."
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.