Dallas Mavericks: Cleveland Cavaliers

The LeBron domino's impact on Dallas

July, 11, 2014
7/11/14
11:50
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LeBron JamesAP Images/Mark DuncanLeBron James will return to wearing his original No. 23 for the Cavaliers in 2014-15.
The biggest NBA domino has fallen with LeBron James’ lowercase decision to return to Cleveland.

That’s exactly what the Dallas Mavericks expected to happen when they made their decision to sign Houston Rockets restricted free agent Chandler Parsons to a three-year, $46 million offer sheet. The ripples of James’ departure from Miami are expected to cause Chris Bosh to head to Houston.

The Rockets have offered Bosh a max contract of $88 million over four years, but it’s impossible for Houston to sign him to that deal unless they let Parsons leave or pull off an extremely complicated sign-and-trade deal. That’s even if the Rockets get rid of every single player on the roster other than Dwight Howard and James Harden before the 11 p.m. CT deadline Sunday night to match the Mavs’ offer to Parsons.

Houston simply does not have the cap space to squeeze a max deal for Bosh along with the max deals for Howard and Harden with Parsons’ $2.9 million cap hold on the books.

Could the Rockets convince Bosh to sign for slightly less than the max? Sure, that’s possible, but Houston general manager Daryl Morey would still need to make several salary-dump deals to be in position to sign Bosh and keep Parsons.

And Rockets owner Leslie Alexander would have to agree to step into luxury-tax territory with four eight-figure salaries in the starting lineup and the rest of the roster to fill out.

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: Mavericks 124, Cavs 107

February, 3, 2014
2/03/14
10:02
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DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks cruised to a 124-107 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

How it happened: The Mavs pretty much did whatever they wanted offensively against an Eastern Conference also-ran.

Dallas shot 55 percent from the floor and had six players score in double figures.

Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting in only 29 minutes, but that’s no big deal for the 12-time All-Star. Nor is it surprising to see Monta Ellis contribute 22 points and seven assists, although his 8-of-12 shooting is particularly impressive.

The most noteworthy performances of the night came from a pair of Mavs role players who signed lower-level contracts this summer.

Center Samuel Dalembert finished two points shy of his season high, scoring 18 on 7-of-8 shooting. He also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots, outplaying Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao.

Guard Devin Harris gave the Mavs a season-high 16 points and four assists in 18 minutes. It’s the kind of impact performance the Mavs were hoping Harris could deliver while he spent the first half of the season recovering from toe surgery.

Kyrie Irving scored 27 points to lead seven Cleveland players in double figures, but the Cavs didn’t get nearly enough defensive stops to keep up with the Mavs.

What it means: The Mavs are alone in eighth place in the Western Conference standings, for a couple of days at least. Dallas (28-21) has a one-game lead on the Memphis Grizzlies, who lost on the road to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Mavs play seven of their next nine games on the road, beginning with Wednesday’s visit to Memphis. The Cavs dropped to 16-32.

Play of the game: Ellis fought through a screen, stole a pass intended for Irving and took off on a one-man fast break that he finished with a double-pump finger roll in traffic. The bucket stretched the Mavs’ lead to six with 6:36 remaining in the third quarter. The fast break and finish were worthy of the highlight reel, but the grit displayed while fighting through the screen will earn Ellis praise in the Mavs’ film room.

Stat of the night: The Mavs are 14-1 in home games they lead entering the fourth quarter this season.

Mavs' Marion out vs. Cavs

February, 3, 2014
2/03/14
11:05
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DALLAS -- Mavericks forward Shawn Marion said he would "probably not" play Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

UPDATE: Coach Rick Carlisle confirmed about an hour before tipoff that Marion is out.

Marion's sore shoulder is feeling better after sitting out Friday night's win over the Sacramento Kings and taking anti-inflammatory medicine, but he's proceeding with caution.

"I just don't want to get out there and it comes immediately back," said Marion, who is averaging 11.1 points and 6.9 rebounds this season. "We're just going to take it slow."

Marion originally bruised the shoulder and his ribs when he crashed to the court during the Mavs' Jan. 7 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. He missed the next four games and played in pain for a couple of weeks before the Mavs decided he should rest the shoulder again.

Dallas is 6-1 when Jae Crowder starts at small forward this season, although coach Rick Carlisle doesn't read much into the Mavs' success with such a small sample size.

"He's done well when he's filled in as a starter this year," Carlisle said of Crowder. "That wasn't the case last year, so that's good. But I'd rather have all our guys available and start Marion and have Crowder off the bench."

Buckle up when Mavs build a big lead

January, 20, 2014
1/20/14
3:59
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When the Mavericks build a big lead, it might as well be accompanied with music that foreshadows something frightening happening in a horror movie.

It’s almost a certainty that there will be scream-inducing twists and turns. It’s just a matter of whether the Mavs will survive.

The Mavs made it out of Cleveland alive Monday, managing to pull out a 102-97 win over the Cavaliers after leading by as many as 24 points.

Jose Calderon
AP Photo/Tony DejakThings always seem to get interesting after the Mavericks build a big lead.
Dallas didn’t add to its disturbingly long list of big leads blown in losses this season, just barely. The Mavs have lost games in which they led by 17, 17, 18 and 19 points, so it wasn’t stunning that a 24-point lead turned into a one-possession game in the final seconds.

“It’s the NBA. It’s supposed to get hairy,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. “I’d love us to hit every shot and get every stop, but you’re on the road [and] teams battle back if they get behind. We did a good job of holding them off. It got to two and we had to get a couple of stops and score.

“Look, we got it done. That’s what it’s about. We’ll keep working to get better.”

The Mavs seem to get more than their fair share of wins in this fashion.

They nearly let a double-digit lead evaporate in the final few minutes of their previous win. The Mavs led by 10 with 2:42 remaining and had to hold their breath when Phoenix’s P.J. Tucker had a wide-open look in the corner on the final possession of Dallas’ 110-107 win.

They led by 11 at home against the New Orleans Pelicans and got some good fortune on the final possession to avoid overtime, with the NBA admitting the next day that the refs were wrong to swallow their whistles when Monta Ellis hacked Austin Rivers on a 3-point attempt.

A 21-point lead in Minnesota a few weeks ago was also a whistle away from going into overtime. The NBA also made a day-after “oops” statement about Kevin Love not getting a final-second call in the Mavs’ 100-98 win.

“That’s what the Dallas Mavericks have done lately," point guard Jose Calderon said. "Hopefully we can learn from that. We have seen this whole year that this league is getting closer and closer talent-wise. If you have a lead, you have to work at it. It doesn’t matter who you play, everybody is going to be right there.”

That’s just the way of life for the Mavs, a team that depends heavily on jump shooting and has major defensive deficiencies.

Things tend to get especially hairy for the Mavs, whose inability to protect leads might cause some premature balding for their fan base. At least their customers can't complain about a lack of entertainment.

Rapid Reaction: Mavs 102, Cavs 97

January, 20, 2014
1/20/14
2:40
PM CT
The Mavericks escaped Cleveland with a 102-97 win Monday afternoon.

How it happened: The Mavs almost blew their biggest lead yet this season, having to sweat down the stretch despite being up by as many as 24 points.

Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving got the Cavs back in the game during the third quarter, when he scored 16 of his game-high 26 points. The Cavs went on a 16-2 run in the fourth quarter and got as close as two points with 3:23 remaining.

But the Cavs never could get all the way over the hump.

Mavs guard Monta Ellis scored nine of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter, but he missed a pair of free throws with 2.8 seconds remaining to leave the door cracked open for the Cavs. The Mavs’ victory wasn’t secured until Cleveland was called for a five-second violation with Brandan Wright harassing inbounds passer Jarrett Jack and Ellis made two free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining.

Ellis was one of six Mavs to score in double figures, joined by Shawn Marion (18 points), Dirk Nowitzki (17), DeJuan Blair (13), Jose Calderon (11) and Wright (10).

Dallas, which lost center Samuel Dalembert due to a strained left shoulder early in the third quarter, survived despite being dominated physically in the fourth quarter. Cleveland outscored the Mavs by a 31-23 margin and had a 22-7 rebounding edge in the final frame.

What it means: The Mavs sit alone in seventh place of the Western Conference again, a half-game ahead of the Phoenix Suns with a 25-18 record. Dallas is 11-11 on the road after beating the Cavs, who fell to 15-26 overall.

Play of the day: After catching an outlet pass near midcourt, Shane Larkin took one dribble and lofted a lob pass to Wright, who soared over Irving to finish with a ferocious two-hand slam. That highlight-reel fast break occurred right after the Cavs had cut the Mavs’ lead to 10 in the third quarter.

Stat of the night: The Mavs had a 33-8 advantage in bench scoring. Cleveland entered the game ranked fourth in the NBA in reserve scoring with 38 points per game.
Andrew Bynum has a two-year, $24 million offer on the table from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Can the Mavericks trump that?

First of all, it’s about as flimsy of a $24 million deal as you’ll ever see in the NBA. The second season is a team option. The first season is incentive-laden, protecting the Cavs if Bynum spends a second consecutive season as a millionaire spectator due to his bad knees.

Nevertheless, at the moment, the Mavs can’t come close to offering $12 million per season, no matter how much of it is guaranteed. They can, however, make the case that it’s in Bynum’s best long-term interests to spend this season in Dallas.

How much is world-class medical care worth to an injury-prone NBA center? Ask Tyson Chandler, who arrived in Dallas as damaged goods and left as an NBA champion with a four-year, $55.4 million contract. That's pretty good cash for a big man who flunked a physical to void a trade that would have sent him to Oklahoma City.

The Mavs, who are meeting with Bynum today, proudly consider their medical staff to be the best in the NBA. The Phoenix Suns are certainly in that conversation, but Dallas’ staff led Team USA athletic trainer Casey Smith is certainly among the league’s elite.

If Bynum wants to make as much cash as possible this season, he probably won’t end up in Dallas. The Mavs have approximately $8.2 million of salary-cap space right now, a figure that can get six-figure boosts if they waive players with nonguaranteed contracts (Josh Akognon and Bernard James) or renounce the Early Bird rights of Brandan Wright, whom the Mavs would prefer to return in a backup role.

The only way for the Mavs to match the dollar figures offered by Cleveland is to create more cap space by dealing Shawn Marion or Vince Carter to a team with cap space. That’d be filling one big hole while creating another.

If Bynum wants to maximize his chance to sign a big contract in the future, he’d be wise to consider the Mavs even if they don’t come with the highest bid.
Don’t expect the Dallas Mavericks to make a decision about dealing the 13th overall pick until they’re on the clock during Thursday night’s NBA draft.

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The Mavs have done plenty of prep work, aggressively shopping the pick around the league for weeks. They discussed all sorts of scenarios, including swapping the late lottery pick for a future first-rounder, trading down in this draft and even trading up, the latter being by far the least likely scenario.

The plan is to put off committing to anything until just before they make the pick, whether it’s for another team or with the intent to actually keep the player. The Mavs want to see what kind of offers they might get at the last minute.

Among the teams with whom the Mavs have had trade discussions: the Atlanta Hawks, who own the 17th and 18th overall picks; and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who own the 19th, 31st and 33rd picks in addition to No. 1.

The Mavs have made no secret of their interest in moving their first lottery pick since 2000 to avoid the cap hold of $1.655 million. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’d accept a deal they deem to be below market value.

The Mavs’ options include drafting an international player who they could stash overseas for at least another season to eliminate the cap hold this summer. German point guard Dennis Schroeder and Greek small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo are the two most intriguing overseas options for the Mavs, although one or both could be available if Dallas traded down. Russian shooting guard Sergey Karasev is a potential target for teams trying to acquire the 13th overall pick.

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Chuck Cooperstein joins the show to talk about the Dallas Mavericks and how he thinks the NBA draft will turn out.

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The Mavs could also pick a player they are absolutely confident they could trade in July if their Dwight Howard recruiting pitch is successful and they need to create the additional cap space required to sign the All-Star center.

If they fail to land Howard in that case, the Mavs would at least have a rookie who is a ready-made rotation player, if not a starter. The leading candidates in that scenario: Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams, UCLA swingman Shabazz Muhammad and Gonzaga center/forward Kelly Olynyk.

One certainty about the Mavs’ draft-night wheeling and dealing, according to team sources: Shawn Marion will not be moved.

Marion has been the subject of trade rumors, specifically involving Cleveland, but Mavs sources continue to insist they are not engaging in discussions about dealing Marion at this time. Because Marion’s contract includes an early termination option with a June 29 deadline, he would have to approve any trade involving him before that date.

Sources: Cavaliers interested in Marion

June, 24, 2013
6/24/13
10:43
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There is undeniably trade interest in Shawn Marion as sources close to the process say that the Cleveland Cavaliers, for starters, indeed covet the Dallas Mavericks forward in a draft-day deal.

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Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett live from Miami to look back at the best NBA Finals we've seen in a long time and discuss the latest on the Mavericks' dream to land Chris Paul and Dwight Howard.

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Yet sources insisted to ESPNDallas.com that the Mavericks -- as of Monday -- are not looking to move Marion. And if that changes this week in connection with Thursday's draft, Dallas must go directly to Marion and ask him to opt into the final season of contract, which does give the 35-year-old some measure of input into his fate.

"Not a single discussion," owner Mark Cuban told ESPNDallas.com last week.

Marion must decide by Friday -- one day after the draft -- if he wants to opt in for next season at $9.32 million or become a free agent July 1. Marion and the Mavs would have to send a letter to the league before July 1 if a decision is made in conjunction with a trade-week trade.

To this point, though, sources say Dallas has not discussed any potential trades with Marion despite various media reports in recent days about the Mavericks shedding Marion's contract.

The reality is that the Mavericks' only incentive to trade Marion this week is if they're certain they need extra salary-cap space immediately because they know they've got a legit shot at signing Dwight Howard away from the Los Angeles Lakers. And Dallas is unlikely to get a real handle on its Dwight chances until after July 1, when it's believed Mark Cuban and Co. will be on the short list of teams granted a face-to-face audience with Howard to make a recruiting pitch.

Chris Paul is the Mavs' other dream target, but the Clippers' hiring of Doc Rivers has essentially clinched that Paul will re-sign with L.A. on a five-year max deal at the first opportunity.

One more note on Marion: If Dallas does decide to move the versatile forward, he has a 15-percent trade kicker in his contract worth $1,397,519. That amount would have to be paid by the team that acquires Marion because his currenct contract was signed before the NBA's new labor agreement went into effect in December 2011. The team that trades the player is responsible for paying the trade kicker in the new collective bargaining agreement if the contract was signed from December 2011 forward.

3-pointer: Brandan Wright on a roll

March, 16, 2013
3/16/13
9:00
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DALLAS – Brandan Wright doesn’t have to worry about whether he’ll get off the bench anymore.

Heck, Wright has been so impressive recently that coach Rick Carlisle is concerned about managing his minutes to keep from wearing down the high-flying center/forward.

“He’s had a terrific run here,” Carlisle said after Wright played a major role in the Mavericks’ win Friday night over the Cavaliers. “The thing with him is I’ve just got to make sure we’re playing him in the right spurts of minutes, he doesn’t get too gassed.”

Wright’s run just happens to coincide with the Mavs getting hot. Over the last six games, five of which the Mavs have won, Wright has averaged 11.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 26 minutes per game. He’s shooting a sky-high 68.8 percent from the floor during that span.

Efficiency hasn’t been an issue for Wright since he arrived in Dallas with a two-year, minimum-salary deal before last season. Earning Carlisle’s trust has been.

The 6-foot-10, 210-pound Wright leads the Mavs by far with a 21.4 PER, a stats formula that measures efficiency, but his struggles rebounding and defending physical players have resulted in him bouncing in and out of the rotation. Wright has worked his way back in on a regular basis and has responded with arguably the best run of his NBA career.

“Anybody can get in a nice groove when they play a lot of minutes in a row and kind of know when they’re going back in and that they’re going to get opportunities,” Wright said. “That’s a big-time comfort level. It can get tough being on the other side of the stick, because I’ve been there before.

“I’m just happy that we’re winning games right now. I’m taking it day by day and game by game, just playing my minutes the best I can.”

A few more notes from the Mavs’ win over the Cavs:

1. Return of Rodman: Dirk Nowitzki has suddenly become a rebounding machine. He has 11 rebounds in the last three games, the first time he’s posted double-digit board totals in three straight games this season.

Nowitzki got off to a bizarre start against the Cavs, grabbing six rebounds but failing to score in the first quarter. His first bucket came on a putback at the 10:51 mark of the second quarter.

“In the first half, I felt like (Dennis) Rodman,” cracked Nowitzki, who ended up with 13 points and 11 rebounds. “Couldn’t make a shot, just out there chasing rebounds.”

2. Crowder comes up big: Rookie Jae Crowder grabbed a personal-best eight rebounds in Tuesday’s win over Milwaukee, then blew that total away against the Cavaliers. Crowder snatched a game-high 14 boards Friday night.

“At halftime, Trix came up to me and said, ‘You’ve got to bring something else,’” Crowder said, referring to injured forward Shawn Marion. “Whatever that meant, I took it that I’ve got to bring something. I guess rebounding was one of the things I really focused on.”

Crowder is filling Marion’s role as the starting small forward who plays stretches at power forward when Nowitzki rests. Crowder played a lot of power forward against the Cavs, with Carlisle opting to play a smaller, quicker lineup. At 6-foot-6, Crowder is at a distinct size disadvantage as a power forward.

“It’s something I have to be aware of every possession,” Crowder said. “I’m taking on the challenge right now.”

3. Night to remember for rookie: Chris Wright, the D-League call-up who signed a 10-day deal Wednesday, made his NBA debut in the last 41 seconds. He got his first NBA bucket on a driving layup with 9.4 seconds left.

After the buzzer, Darren Collison grabbed the ball and passed it to Wright, making sure the rookie would have a keepsake.

“I’ll give it to my mom so I don’t lose it,” Wright said, “and just get back in the gym tomorrow.”

Rapid Reaction: Mavericks 96, Cavaliers 86

March, 15, 2013
3/15/13
9:51
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How it happened: Rodrigue Beaubois got rolling.

Yes, Roddy B., the former phenom who has spent most of this season riding the bench.

Beaubois, who made a significant impact for the second time in three games, was the primary force when the Mavericks took over the game early in the fourth quarter. He had seven points and an assist during the 15-2 run that gave the Mavs the lead for good.

Beaubois finished with 18 points, one shy of his season high, and five assists. The fourth-year guard was 6-of-10 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range.

Beaubois wasn’t the only bench player who had a big game. Center/forward Brandan Wright, who has carved out a regular role recently, scored 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. Point guard Darren Collison contributed 13 points and three assists.

Dirk Nowitzki (13 points, 11 rebounds) had a double-double for the third straight game, but he was only 6-of-16 from the floor.

What it means: The Mavs beat a bad Cleveland team -- which was missing All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving -- to avoid falling further behind in the fight for one of the West’s last playoff spots. The seventh-place Houston Rockets and eighth-place Los Angeles Lakers both won on Friday night, so the Mavs remained three games out of the playoff picture. Dallas (31-34) won for the fifth time in six games.

Play of the game: Collison pushed the ball down the floor in transition, drew the defender in the lane and dished to Wright. Wright’s two-hand slam stretched the Mavs’ lead to five points with 9:48 remaining.

Stat of the night: It had been more than a season since Beaubois led the Mavs in scoring. The last time he was Dallas’ outright leading scorer was March 12, 2012, when he had 25 points in a loss to the New Orleans Hornets.

Rapid Reaction: Mavericks 103, Cavaliers 95

November, 17, 2012
11/17/12
8:58
PM CT

How it happened: The Mavericks showed enough poise when it mattered most. Sure, it was against the 2-7 Cavaliers, but this was progress for a team that has had problems closing.

After Cleveland tied it up with a little more than five minutes remaining, the Mavs responded with a 9-0 run. That spurt, which featured a bucket and two assists by point guard Darren Collison (14 points, eight assists), proved to be the difference in the game.

Not that this win was a thing of beauty by any stretch of the imagination. The Mavs committed 22 turnovers and didn’t put the Cavs, who were led by Kyrie Irving's 26 points, away until the final minute.

Of course, the Mavs aren’t exactly in a position to be giving style points to wins these days. They had lost four of five games before this victory.

O.J. Mayo led the Mavs in scoring with another efficient shooting performance. He finished with 19 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range.

The Mavs got big boosts by a couple of bench players. Little-used Dominique Jones, who got the backup point guard minutes instead of Rodrigue Beaubois, answered the bell with 10 points and five assists in 18 minutes. Power forward Troy Murphy hit three 3s in the second half.

Small forward Shawn Marion registered his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Center Chris Kaman contributed 15 points, eight rebounds and six blocks.

What it means: The Mavs snapped a four-game road losing streak. They have a 6-5 record as they return to Dallas for a three-game homestand.

Play of the game: Credit Mavs coach Rick Carlisle for a well-designed play at the critical point of the game. The Mavs had a couple of mental meltdowns -- a blown boxout and sloppy turnover -- that allowed two quick Cavaliers buckets to tie the score with 5:08 remaining, prompting Carlisle to call a timeout. He called a play that resulted in Collison driving the lane and kicking to Kaman for a wide-open baseline jumper that gave the Mavs the lead for good.

Stat of the night: Murphy made three 3-pointers in the second half, matching his total in his first eight games with the Mavericks. Murphy was 3-of-6 from 3-point range Saturday night after coming into the game with a 3-of-16 clip this season. Each of his 3s against the Cavaliers gave the Mavs the lead.

W2W4: Can Mavs cure road woes in Cleveland?

November, 17, 2012
11/17/12
2:10
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The Mavs have been miserable on the road. If that doesn’t change in Cleveland, they’ll come home under .500.

Dallas’ lone road win came over the Los Angeles Lakers in the season opener at the Staples Center. They’ve lost four in a row away from the American Airlines Center since then. There were double-digit margins of defeat in three of those games, including Friday night’s 20-point blowout by the Pacers.

“We’re just not doing what we should be doing right now,” Shawn Marion said. “And everybody is guilty, including me.”

Records: Mavs (5-5); Cavaliers (2-6)

When: 6:30 p.m.

Where: Quicken Loans Arena

TV: FSSW

Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1270 AM (Spanish)

What to watch: How much energy will the Mavs have during the butt end of a back-to-back? That’s especially important for Dallas’ thirtysomething frontcourt duo of Elton Brand and Chris Kaman. If they’re sluggish, Cleveland center Anderson Varejao will take advantage. He’s averaging 15.9 points and 13.7 rebounds and is coming off a 35-point, 18-board performance in a loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

Key matchup: Darren Collison vs. Kyrie Irving – This will be Collison’s toughest matchup so far this season. Irving, the Rookie of the Year last season, is quickly rising to level of the league’s elite point guards. He’s averaging 24.3 points and 6.5 assists per game. The Mavs go as Collison goes, and that hasn’t been good recently. He’s shooting only 38.6 percent from the floor during this stretch of four losses in the last five games.

Injuries: Mavs -- PF Dirk Nowitzki (knee) is out. Cavaliers -- F Luke Harangody (knee) is out.

Up next: vs. Golden State Warriors, 7:30 p.m. Monday

Week ahead: Opponents missing stars vs. Mavs

November, 11, 2012
11/11/12
10:00
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A quick look at the Mavericks' four foes this week:

Minnesota Timberwolves (7:30 p.m., Monday, American Airlines Center): The Timberwolves are off to a surprising 4-2 start despite the absences of their two marquee players, point guard Ricky Rubio and power forward Kevin Love. Center Nikola Pekovic leads Minnesota with 14.5 points per game, but the Wolves are winning with defense. Minnesota is allowing 89.5 points per game, the fifth-lowest in the league. Ex-Mavericks guard J.J. Barea is questionable with a sprained foot.

Washington Wizards (7:30 p.m., Wednesday, American Airlines Center): The winless Wizards play in Charlotte the night before their game against the Mavs. Washington had been a bad team with John Wall, and they’re significantly worse without their injured former No. 1 overall pick. Rookie lottery pick Bradley Beal leads the Wizards with 13.0 points per game, but he’s shooting less than 40 percent from the floor. Washington ranks last in the league in scoring (88.0 points per game) and 25th in field goal percentage (41.4).

Indiana Pacers (6 p.m., Friday, Conseco Fieldhouse): The 3-4 Pacers are trying to survive without star small forward Danny Granger. They’re struggling to score, averaging only 90.4 points per game, led by power forward David West’s 16.8. Center Roy Hibbert is off to an especially slow start, averaging only 8.7 points and shooting 38.4 percent from the floor. This will be Mavs point guard Darren Collison’s return to Indiana, which considered him expendable after giving George Hill the starting point guard job late last season. Hill is averaging 15.1 points and 5.1 assists per game.

Cleveland Cavaliers (6:30 p.m., Saturday, Quicken Loans Arena): Kyrie Irving, last season’s Rookie of the Year, is the best player the Mavs will see this week. It won’t be long before his name comes up in conversations about the league’s elite point guards. He’s averaging 23.3 points and 6.5 assists per game. Anderson Varejao (14.0 ppg, 14.0 rpg) could have a big game against the rebounding-challenged Mavs. The Cavs are one of the NBA’s worst defensive team, ranking 27th in the league with 103 points allowed per game.
DALLAS -- The Kelenna Azubuike era didn't last long. The Mavericks have included the small forward in the deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Mavs traded the No. 17 pick, Tyler Zeller, and Azubuike to the Cavs for the Nos. 24, 33 and 34 picks. Dallas acquired Oregon State guard Jared Cunningham with the first-round pick and Florida State power forward Bernard James and Marquette forward Jae Crowder.

By including Azubuike, the Mavs cleared roughly $1 million in cap space. They also cleared some $400,000 by sliding from the No. 17 to No. 24.

Those moves could be extremely valuable if the Mavs are able to land Deron Williams in free agency, who will command a max contract and require the Mavs to clear salary to fit him in.

Reaction: Mavs pick Bernard James, Jae Crowder

June, 28, 2012
6/28/12
9:57
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DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks selected Bernard James (center, Florida State) and Jae Crowder (forward, Marquette) with the 33rd and 34th picks that they received from the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of the Tyler Zeller trade.

James is a 27-year-old senior who served in the U.S. Air Force in the Middle East from 2003-2008. The crowd at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey chanted "U-S-A" when the James was announced as the 33rd pick.

James, 6'10", 240, ranks second in Florida State history with a .627 field goal percentage and third in school history with 164 blocks. He was All-ACC Honorable Mention and ACC All-Defensive Team as a senior. He ranked first on his team in rebounds (8.1 rpg), blocks (2.3 bpg) and second in points (10.8 ppg).

Crowder is a 6'6", 235 senior. He was named Big East Player of the Year, was a finalist for the John Wooden Award and was AP Second-Team All-American. He ranked first on his team in rebounds (8.4 rpg) and steals (2.5 spg) and was second in scoring (17.5 ppg). He scored in double figures in 31 of 35 games, with a career-hig 29 points and 12 rebounds against Connecticut.

ESPN.com's Chad Ford ranked Crowder 47th in his Top 100 draft prospects and James 71st. Read Crowder's analysis here and James' here (insider).

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19.1 4.2 1.9 33.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 11.4
AssistsR. Rondo 6.3
StealsM. Ellis 1.9
BlocksT. Chandler 1.2