Dallas Mavericks: Denver Nuggets

DALLAS -- Get the short leashes ready, Rick Carlisle.

After a loss that was a defensive debacle in Denver earlier this month, Carlisle declared that he made a drastic mistake by not pulling his starters after it was apparent that they weren’t ready to play in the early minutes. He shouldn’t hesitate to have a quick hook with the Nuggets in town Friday night.

This isn’t just an attitude issue. It’s about athleticism.

No matter how focused and intense Jose Calderon is, he’s going to have a hard time matching up with speedy Denver point guard Ty Lawson. Even if Samuel Dalembert shows up wide awake and ready to roll, a fast-paced game doesn’t play to his strengths.

If Dallas can’t dictate the tempo, the Mavs might as well rely heavily on a couple of reserves who were born to run. This seems like a game that makes sense for Devin Harris and Brandan Wright to get the majority of the minutes at their positions.

“That’s the type of game I’ve been playing my whole career -- high school, college, first four years in the league,” Wright said. “I’m used to that type of track meet -- up and down, a lot of slashing, above-the-rim type of things.”

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Mavs' slow start stuck in Carlisle's craw

March, 20, 2014
3/20/14
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DALLAS – The Mavericks probably didn’t need a reminder about the danger of stumbling to a slow start before the Denver Nuggets came to town.

They got one anyway, courtesy of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Timberwolves torched the Mavs for 37 points on 16-of-24 shooting in the first quarter Wednesday night, doing much of the damage in transition. Bad got worse early in the second quarter, with the Mavs staring at a 22-point deficit by the time they were done digging.

“I’m not sure if we were quite ready to play,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “They were kind of into us and we weren’t quite ready. We were caught on our heels.”

It looked a lot like the Mavs' visit to Denver earlier this month, when the Nuggets lit it up for 41 points in the first quarter en route to building a 19-point lead.

The Mavs managed to rally against the Timberwolves to send the game into overtime before suffering a painful loss. The Mavs blew a five-point lead in overtime and Nowitzki missed a potential game-winner at the buzzer, but it was the sorry start that stuck in coach Rick Carlisle’s craw.

“We’re trying to be a team that can win in the playoffs, not just eek in,” Carlisle said. “Playing a first quarter like that on your home court in a game this meaningful is a bad sign for us right now.

“We’ve got to turn it around and we’ve got another team coming in here Friday that’s been murder for us because of the matchups. It’s going to be the same kind of game. We’ve got to get ourselves right by Friday.”

The Nuggets, who are 3-0 against Dallas and 28-37 against the rest of the NBA this season, give the older, slower Mavs fits with their athleticism. Speedy point guard Ty Lawson has been an especially tough matchup, averaging 19.7 points and 9.0 assists against the Mavs.

Lawson sat out the Nuggets’ win Wednesday over the Detroit Pistons because of a sinus infection, but backup Aaron Brooks put up 27 points and 17 assists in his spot start. Regardless of Lawson’s status, the Mavs know they can’t afford another slow start against a fast team.

“We have to be ready to put our track shoes on, because they’re going to run,” Shawn Marion said. “They’re going to push it. We have to be ready.”
Preseason projections put the Denver Nuggets in the pack of teams that would be fighting for one of the Western Conference’s final few playoff spots.

Mother Nature, the mythical force Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle often refers to when discussing injuries, had other things on her mind.

The Mavs don’t have time to feel sorry for the Nuggets, who have been hit as hard as any NBA team by the injury bug this season. But the visit to Denver for Wednesday’s game might at least remind the Mavs about how fortunate they’ve been this season.

Dallas’ starters have missed a total of only nine games due to injury or illness, not counting the night Dirk Nowitzki rested in Toronto as part of the Mavs’ preventative-maintenance program for their 35-year-old star. By comparison, projected Denver frontcourt starters Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee combined to play only five games before undergoing season-ending surgeries.

The Mavs’ bench was thinned out by injuries early in the season, with Devin Harris sitting out the first half of the season while rehabbing from summer toe surgery and Brandan Wright missing the first six weeks due to a fracture in his left shoulder. But the Mavs have had a remarkable run of good health since the season started, especially for a team with so many aging veterans.

We’ll pause to let Mavs fans knock on wood.

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Dirk: It's getting tighter behind us

January, 28, 2014
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DALLAS -- It’s not going to be easy to claim a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

That comes as no surprise to the Dallas Mavericks, whose 12-year postseason streak was snapped last season, but it’s been confirmed this month.

The Mavs are in the same spot in the West standings as when they toasted the New Year, sitting in eighth place. But the fit has gotten a bit tighter in the last four weeks.

At the start of the month, none of the teams below the Mavs was at .500 or above. Dallas (18-13 at the time) had a 3.5-game cushion on the ninth-place Minnesota Timberwolves.

Now, three teams below Dallas are .500 or better and within three games of the 26-20 Mavs entering Tuesday night’s action.

"We need some wins,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “We haven’t really put a nice little win streak together to get some separation down there. It’s getting tighter and tighter behind us. We know that. Memphis is really playing well now and Denver obviously, so we need this homestand to really get some momentum again and get some wins together.”

The Memphis Grizzlies, who advanced to the conference finals last season, are one of the league’s hottest teams. Memphis is 9-3 in January and has won five of six games since center Marc Gasol’s return from knee surgery, including a victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder and a home-and-home sweep of the Houston Rockets last week.

Suddenly, the Grizzlies, who had fallen as far as five games below .500, are even with the Mavs in the loss column and only a couple of games back in the standings at 22-20.

The Denver Nuggets are 22-21 -- and have won both of their meetings against the Mavs -- and the Minnesota Timberwolves are 22-22.

“I said it all along that Memphis was going to make a run once Gasol was back,” Nowitzki said. “They’re so good defensively with their length. I just knew they were going to make a run.

“Minnesota seemed a bit inconsistent. They have some great outings and then they lose a couple, just like we did lately. But I said it all along, it’s going to come all the way down to the last couple of games. It always has in the West. I mean, as bad of a season as we had last year, with like a week left in the season, we still had a shot to make the playoffs. Just got to keep on working, keep on improving.”

The Mavs, who are only three games behind the fifth-place Rockets at the moment, are well aware that the objects in their rearview mirror are getting much closer. They also know that staring at the standings won’t help them create any separation.

“There’s some teams getting healthier, some teams just playing better,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “That can’t be our concern. We’ve got to concern ourselves with what we control, which is our game, how we play and whoever our next opponent is. That’s where I’m directing our focus.”

3 Points: Biggest threats to playoff quest?

January, 15, 2014
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Marc Gasol and Dirk NowitzkiJerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsThe return of Marc Gasol makes the Grizzlies a more formidable obstacle for the Mavs getting into the playoffs.
ESPNDallas.com columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor and MavsOutsider.com editor-in-chief Bryan Gutierrez will join me each week to run a three-man weave on a few questions on the minds of Mavs fans.

1. Which teams are the biggest threats to the Mavs' quest to make the playoffs?


Gutierrez: The only team behind Dallas right now that might bring some cause for concern is Memphis. That's due to the fact that Marc Gasol, the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year, returned to action after spraining a left knee ligament less than eight weeks ago. Their defensive tenacity can help them get back in gear, but they may be too far behind in the pack. I'm going to take an indirect route for the answer and say that the Mavericks themselves are the biggest threat to their quest to make the playoffs. They have the ability to score on any given night, but their own shortcomings on defense and in terms of rebound really derail their potential. It's up to them to decide how far they can really go.

Taylor: Denver and Minnesota are the best bets to improve and get better over the course of the season, which makes them the biggest threats to the Mavs. Denver has a new coach in Brian Shaw and it always takes teams time to adjust to a new coach and a new system. It takes time for all the players to find a role and get comfortable in it. The Nuggets are just 11-8 at home, where they have traditionally been outstanding. Once they play better at home, they'll start putting some winning streaks together. Minnesota's biggest problem is it doesn't know how to win. Kevin Love is among the league's best players. If they can continue to get strong performances from Ricky Rubio and Kevin Martin, they will eventually make a push for the playoffs. Rick Adelman is a terrific coach and sooner or later he'll get the most from that team's talent.

MacMahon: The Grizzlies are by far the biggest threat with Gasol back. I figured Memphis as a playoff lock before the season started. The Grizzlies got off to a disappointing start and struggled without their best player, but they are only one game below .500 and completely capable of still getting to 48 or 49 wins. The Nuggets and Timberwolves can't be discounted, but the Nuggets' inconsistency and Timberwolves' stunning inability to win close games (0-11 in games decided by four points or fewer) make them lesser threats.


2. Should the Mavs want Andrew Bynum if he'll take the minimum?


[+] EnlargeAndrew Bynum
AP Photo/Mark DuncanWould Andrew Bynum be worth the risk for the Mavericks?
Gutierrez: Hypothetical or not, Dallas doesn't really need to go after Bynum. Do they need a legitimate big man? The answer is obviously yes, but I don't consider Bynum to be that anymore. Mark Cuban has created a culture and locker room over the last decade-plus that has withstood a lot. The only thing it can't seem to withstand is when former L.A. Lakers have to change colors and become Mavericks. Dallas hasn't had any significant luck, mainly just aggravation, when it comes to bringing in players who used to wear the purple and gold. Fans who remember see Bynum as the "thug" who took a cheap shot on J.J. Barea during the conference semifinals of the 2011 playoffs. For those who haven't really kept up with him this year, the analytics say that Bynum isn't worth the hassle, even at the minimum. He doesn't radically improve the team defensively or in terms of rebounding. The culture has worked with various players, even this year with Monta Ellis, but past results in a specific category suggest that this isn't worth the hassle.

Taylor: I wouldn't want Bynum under any circumstances. He has a loser mentality and there's been no indication he loves the game -- only what it can prove him materially. The Mavs under Cuban, and especially under Carlisle, has been a franchise that plays with maximum effort. Lamar Odom drove Carlisle and Cuban crazy. Bynum would do it faster.

MacMahon: Yes. The Mavs were right -- and I was wrong at the time -- for not making Bynum an offer this summer when it would have taken significant guaranteed money to get him. Bynum obviously wasn't worth that risk. But there would be no risk with a minimum contract. The best-case scenario is that you get a center who can provide scoring punch, rebounding and an interior defensive presence for around 20 minutes per night. If he causes problems, cut him. For me, it comes down to this: Would you rather have Bernard James or Bynum?


3. Should the Mavs be buyers or sellers in the trade market?


Gutierrez: They should be buyers, but I don't really see what they can buy that makes a substantial difference. They have nice assets, but the assets likely won't fix what ails them unless they radically shift the makeup of their roster. Defense is clearly the issue, so they would have to give up key pieces to their offense to fill that void. It doesn't make sense to trade pieces such as Jose Calderon or Monta Ellis because they're new pieces to your core. When you look on the other side, guys such as DeJuan Blair, Vince Carter, Samuel Dalembert and Shawn Marion have contracts that are expendable, but they all provide something of substantial value to the team. It's a precarious spot for the Mavericks. They can't be sellers because they have a solid chance to be a playoff team, but their assets don't provide the foundation to provide a quick shot in the arm as buyers.

Taylor: This depends on what they're getting. If it's a high-end lottery draft pick, then be sellers because they have zero chance to win a title this season. If it's a low first-round pick, then the Mavs might as well try to have the best season they can and ruin someone else's season in the postseason.

MacMahon: They can't be sellers. Not if they want to avoid the wrath of a certain 7-foot German. Cuban is too competitive to do anything to reduce the Mavs' chances to get back in the playoffs anyway. But I don't think it's realistic to expect the Mavs to be buyers, either, unless a team is really motivated to dump salary. The Mavs just don't have the assets to be aggressive in the trade market, especially because they can't trade future first-round picks since they're still being handcuffed by the Odom deal.

Opening Tip: 'This is a coaching loss'

November, 26, 2013
11/26/13
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DALLAS -- A handful of times per season, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle will readily claim blame for a loss.

Sometimes he is legitimately admitting to coaching errors, displaying admirable integrity that is crucial to the team's culture of accountability.

[+] EnlargeRick Carlisle
AP Photo/Brandon WadeRick Carlisle took full responsibility for the Mavs' second loss to the Nuggets in three days.
On other occasions, Carlisle seems to be putting his psychology degree from the University of Virginia to use.

The fall-on-the-sword act after Monday's 110-96 loss to the Denver Nuggets felt like it belonged in the latter category.

"This is a coaching loss," Carlisle said after the Mavs' second defeat by the Nuggets in a three-day span. "I didn't have these guys ready to play. It's clear, so I'll take the blame for this. I just didn't have them ready to play."

It should be noted that the Mavs jumped out to an 11-point lead in the first quarter. That's not quite proof that coaching preparation was the problem.

"It's a 48-minute game and you've got to be ready," Carlisle said. "Sometimes success is a form of adversity. Prosperity is always one of the challenges in pro sports because teams can strike back so quickly. You've got to be able to sustain, and we didn't do it tonight."

The Mavs, who fell to 9-6, had two major problems in Monday's loss. They couldn't slow down Denver's high-octane offense, allowing the Nuggets to shoot 54.7 percent from the floor. And the Mavs' offense sputtered in the fourth quarter, when Dallas scored only 19 points on 42.1 percent shooting.

The effect of coaching on those issues might be up for debate, but the players weren't pointing fingers.

"It’s not on him," sixth man Vince Carter, who scored only eight points on 3-of-13 shooting, said of Carlisle. "We have to respond and play. We have to do our job, as well."

Added guard Monta Ellis: "I say we’re a team. I wouldn’t just put it on coach. ... We slipped. ... It’s a team effort. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board and getting back to our identity.”

Dalembert benched after missing shootaround

November, 25, 2013
11/25/13
11:57
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DALLAS -- Center Samuel Dalembert apologized to coaches and teammates after oversleeping and missing the Mavericks' Monday shootaround, which led to him being benched for the first quarter of Dallas' loss to the Denver Nuggets.

[+] EnlargeSamuel Dalembert
Glenn James/NBAE/Getty ImagesSamuel Dalembert had two points, two blocks, three rebounds and three fouls in 18 minutes off the bench.
DeJuan Blair started in the place of Dalembert, whose reputation for being unreliable is one reason the 12-year veteran is playing for his fifth team in five seasons. Bernard James subbed in for Blair before Dalembert started the second quarter.

"I'm very disappointed in myself," said Dalembert, who had two points, two blocks, three rebounds and three fouls in 18 minutes off the bench. "I don't have an excuse. It shouldn't happen. I'm still trying to get over it. I'm very upset."

"Just saying it frustrates me. It pisses me off. I shouldn't put myself in that situation."

Dalembert has been playing with bruised ribs, but his injury had nothing to do with missing the shootaround. He appeared to be visibly upset while discussing the situation with the media.

When Rick Carlisle was asked whether Dalembert would return to the starting lineup Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors, the coach said, "We'll see."

Dalembert, who signed a two-year, $7.6 million deal this summer with the second season only partially guaranteed, said he feels like he has to earn the right to start again.

"Everybody has to be accountable and do their part," said Dalembert, who is averaging 7.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 23.6 minutes per game this season. "Whatever I have to do to get back to where we're supposed to be, I'm going to have to build [trust] back again. That's what I'm going to have to do and I think it's fair."

Dalembert's teammates seemed willing to consider this a one-time mistake.

"He apologized to the team and that's about it. We all make mistakes," said Dirk Nowitzki, noting he once didn't start after forgetting about a pregame shootaround. "It is what it is. As long as it doesn't happen every other day, you move forward as a team."

Rapid Reaction: Nuggets 110, Mavs 96

November, 25, 2013
11/25/13
10:12
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Here's a quick look at the Dallas Mavericks' 110-96 loss to the Denver Nuggets at the American Airlines Center on Monday night:

How it happened: Denver journeyman guard Nate Robinson got rolling at the wrong time for the Mavs.

Dallas had slashed a deficit that was as large as 15 points to only four with nine minutes remaining in the game. Then the 5-foot-9 Robinson caught fire.

Robinson scored every Denver point during the Nuggets' 11-2 run over the next few minutes, stretching the lead back into double figures. He knocked down a couple of corner 3-pointers, a midrange pull-up jumper and a 3 from the wing.

Robinson finished with 17 points. Denver starting point guard Ty Lawson gave the Mavs fits most of the night, scoring 19 points and dishing out 11 assists. Center J.J. Hickson led the Nuggets with 22 points.

Monta Ellis led the Mavs with 22 points. Dirk Nowitzki got off to a hot start but cooled off considerably after halftime, scoring only five of his 18 points in the second half, when he was 2-of-9 from the floor.

Vince Carter, whom the Mavs count on to be a third scoring threat, had a miserable night with eight points on 3-of-13 shooting.

What it means: After winning four straight games, the Mavs (9-6) were swept by the Nuggets (7-6) in a home-and-home series. That puts Denver in position to claim the series tiebreakers with a split of the remaining meetings, which are both on the March schedule. The Mavs suffered their first home loss of their season after a 7-0 start at the American Airlines Center. That was the team's best home start since winning 10 straight at home to open the 2003-04 season.

Play of the game: It didn't take long for Denver to turn a missed layup into a dunk on the other end. Seconds after Vince Carter failed to finish on a drive, Wilson Chandler slammed home a lob with two hands to stretch the Nuggets' lead to 12 with a little less than five minutes remaining in the first half. The fast break started with Kenneth Faried's rebound and outlet pass. Evan Fournier's alley-oop pass to Chandler traveled about 30 feet in the air.

Stat of the night: Nowitzki's streak of consecutive made free throws was snapped, at 35, in the fourth quarter.

Blair makes first start at center

November, 25, 2013
11/25/13
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DALLAS -- DeJuan Blair is starting at center Monday night for the Dallas Mavericks against the Denver Nuggets.

Blair is making his first start of the season because Samuel Dalembert is dealing with painful bruised ribs.

Dalembert, who has started all but one game this season, is dressed out. However, he is coming off his worst outing of the season in Saturday's loss to the Nuggets, when Dalembert had season lows of three points and three rebounds in 22 minutes before being asked to be removed from the game.

The 6-foot-7, 270-pound Blair is averaging 8.4 points and 7.0 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game off the bench.

Mavs run out of gas vs. Nuggets

November, 23, 2013
11/23/13
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After trailing by as many as 14 in the third quarter and five with five minutes to go in the game, Dirk Nowitzki hit a fadeaway jumper to record his eighth and ninth points of the fourth quarter to give the Dallas Mavericks a 100-98 lead with 2:02 remaining. That would be the last made basket of the game for the Mavs in the 102-100 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

The final 2:01 saw Dallas go 0-of-5 from the field with the shots coming from the usual suspects in Nowitzki and Monta Ellis. As a whole, the Mavs simply ran out of gas in the mountains as they went 6-of-20 from the field in the final quarter.

[+] EnlargeDirk Nowitzki
Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY SportsA fadeaway jumper from Dirk Nowitzki gave the Mavs a 100-98 lead with 2:02 remaining, but Dallas would proceed to go 0-for-5 from the field the rest of the way.
“At the end of the game it’s going to be hard to get really clean, wide-open shots,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle told reporters after the game.

That might be the case, but it’s hard not to jump at the multiple opportunities the Mavs had to win the game down the stretch.

Off a Denver miss, Nowitzki missed a turnaround jumper that could have extended the lead to four. Quickly after Randy Foye delivered a 3-point basket to give Denver the lead, Ellis missed a runner that could have given Dallas a 102-101 lead with 53 seconds left. After another Denver miss, Nowitzki then missed a relatively clean look from 19 feet away. As Denver split a pair of free throws, Ellis had the ball rattle off the rim of a driving shot that could have tied the game. Off the inbounds pass, Nowitzki missed a tough turnaround jumper from 22 feet

The scenarios are pretty much everything you would ask for with those two players, minus actually getting a victory.

“Those two guys are go-to guys,” Carlisle continued. “We’re going to live and die with them making plays. We got some pretty decent looks.”

The next-man-up theory that Carlisle usually preaches to his players had to be installed for his coaches as he was ejected in the second quarter due to arguing with the officials due to a lack of calls for Ellis.

“I didn’t ask for explanation. I thought the foul was excessive. I thought he fouled him and he came down on him extra hard. I’m going to stand up for my players,” Carlisle told reporters. “I thought our coaching staff did a great job keeping the guys together in the second half.”

While Carlisle is a guru when it comes to creating plays for his teammates, the team is aware of how to work within the flow offense. That was apparent as the right guys took the shots at the end of the game.

It’s funny what 24 hours can do to a team. There could have been a feeling of a win-loss for the Mavs as they beat Utah but finished the game plodding their feet. There easily could be a feeling of a loss-win for them after the game against the Nuggets as they battled back and clearly had multiple opportunities to steal the game.

Despite a rough start to the game, Dallas showed the tenacity that was present in the game against Houston. Unfortunately for the Mavericks, they didn’t get the same result.

“I thought we hung in and gave ourselves a chance,” Carlisle continued. “I was proud of them.”

They might not have gotten the result they had against Houston, but if they have Nowitzki and Ellis get another five looks at the basket in end-of-game situations, it’s hard to imagine they’re going to come up empty-handed again.

Rapid Reaction: Nuggets 102, Mavs 100

November, 23, 2013
11/23/13
10:52
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Let's take a look at the Dallas Mavericks' 102-100 loss to the Denver Nuggets:

How it happened: Mavs coach Rick Carlisle wasn’t happy with the lack of calls for Monta Ellis’ aggressiveness, and Carlisle was ejected with 5:14 left in the second. He probably also wasn’t happy as his team was lethargic in the opening portion of the game.

Dallas started the game early with a zone defense, and the results weren’t optimal as Denver carved up the Mavericks' tired legs. Outside of Dirk Nowitzki and Ellis, Dallas really didn’t have anything going in terms of consistency on offense early. Vince Carter’s recent shooting drought continued in Denver. Entering the game against the Nuggets, Carter was shooting 11-of-33 from the field. He started the game against Denver shooting 1-of-7 from the field. The Mavs allowed the Nuggets to score 65 points in the first half.

Dallas got into the bonus with 6:30 left in the third quarter, allowing the team to keep within striking distance. Going without a headband in the second half, Carter drilled three much-needed shots for the Mavs. They ended up going through a bad drought after Carter’s outburst, missing their next eight shots. Another big shot from Carter signaled an 11-point quarter, bringing the Mavs to within six going into the fourth quarter.

With the shot-clock running down, Ellis knocked down a huge jumper to give the Mavs a quick 89-88 lead with just more than 7 minutes to go in the game. The teams went on the seesaw, as neither could seize control of the game.

Randy Foye hit a 3-pointer from the wing to give Denver a 101-100 lead with just under a minute to go, and the Nuggets were able to secure the win. Despite the loss, Nowitzki answered the challenge and delivered nine big points in the fourth quarter for Dallas. The Mavs will look to settle the score as they face the Nuggets again in Dallas on Monday night.

What it means: Dallas ultimately paid the price for nearly blowing a 28-point lead to the Utah Jazz the previous night. The nature of a back-to-back and having to play in altitude had this pegged to be a “scheduled loss.” Outside of the big three of Nowitzki, Ellis and Carter, the rest of the Mavs were relative no-shows.

Play of the game: Just before the half, as Dallas got the deficit down to single digits, Denver guard Evan Fournier missed a running jump shot with just a minute left to go. There wasn’t a Mav who wanted to box out, and Kenneth Faried went right down the rim for a monster putback slam. Faried had more offensive rebounds than the entire Dallas squad (4-2) in the first half.

Stat of the night: Denver moved to 49-8 over the past four seasons against teams who came into town on the second night of a back-to-back. Only San Antonio has a better record in the same scenario at 50-6.
Another potential Mavericks target could be off the market soon.

The Denver Nuggets are coming “strong” after guard Monta Ellis, a league source said, adding that the Mavs and three others teams are also showing interest in him.

Ellis, 27, who declined a player option in his contract that would have paid him $11 million to return to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013-14, averaged 19.2 points and 6.0 assists per game last season. He has career averages of 19.4 points and 4.7 assists, splitting time between point guard and shooting guard.

The Mavs are intrigued by Ellis’ explosiveness and ability to penetrate. However, they recognize that Ellis is not a pure point guard and isn’t a perfect fit as a pick-and-pop partner with Dirk Nowitzki due to his poor percentages as a jump shooter.
The Mavericks aren’t in the playoffs for the first time since 2000, so we have to find something to fill the time this spring. Might as well keep up with the players from the Mavs’ title team who are scattered throughout the postseason. We’ll have daily updates as long as Mavs championship alums are still alive in the playoffs.

Corey Brewer: The man who will always be remembered in Dallas for being the surprising spark of the Game 1 comeback against the Lakers had a miserable postseason in a much larger role for the Nuggets.

Brewer went 1-for-8 during his two-point performance in the Nuggets’ series-ending Game 6 loss to the Warriors, dropping his field goal percentage to 30.9 for this postseason.

The Nuggets needed Brewer, who averaged 12.1 points per game off the bench this season, to carry more of the offensive burden after starting small forward Danilo Gallinari’s season-ending knee injury. But Brewer slumped during the playoffs and tried to shoot his way out of it to no avail. He averaged 10.8 points in the series, but he was 21-of-68 from the floor and 9-of-36 from 3-point range.

Golden State star Stephen Curry is the only player to attempt more 3-pointers than Brewer this postseason.
The Mavericks aren’t in the playoffs for the first time since 2000, so we have to find something to fill the time this spring. Might as well keep up with the players from the Mavs’ title team who are scattered throughout the postseason. We’ll have daily updates as long as Mavs championship alums are still alive in the playoffs.

Caron Butler: On a night that Chris Paul desperately needed a scoring sidekick in the starting lineup, Butler had five points on 2-of-5 shooting in 19 minutes. He had two rebounds, no assists and a turnover. His plus-minus (minus-14) was the Clippers' worst in a home loss to the Grizzlies that gave Memphis a 3-2 series lead.

Corey Brewer: The Nuggets stayed alive with a win over the Warriors despite Brewer's off night. He was 1-of-11 from the floor (0-of-5 from 3-point range) during his four-point performance. He did come up with three steals, helping Denver force 17 turnovers.
The Mavericks aren’t in the playoffs for the first time since 2000, so we have to find something to fill the time this spring. Might as well keep up with the players from the Mavs’ title team who are scattered throughout the postseason. We’ll have daily updates as long as Mavs championship alums are still alive in the playoffs.

Jason Kidd: This was classic late-career Kidd. He didn’t post a spectacular line (eight points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals in 35 minutes), but he was a significant force during closing time in the Knicks’ win over Boston.

All three of his steals came in the final five minutes. On the first steal, the 40-year-old Kidd deflected a pass and outhustled 26-year-old Jeff Green by diving for a loose ball to spark a fast break. With 2:20 remaining and New York up five, Kidd diagnosed a play that’s a Celtics staple and helped from the weak side to strip Green under the basket. Kidd’s strip of Kevin Garnett on a mismatched post-up in the final minute essentially sealed the win.

“He beats everyone with his brain,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said at his postgame press conference. “If you think quicker than a guy can move, you’re still quicker. That’s why he’s there first, because he thought what the guy was going to do before he did it. He’s just a valuable player to have on a basketball team.”

Tyson Chandler: The fiery big man was a nonfactor in Game 1 against the Celtics after missing 16 of the Knicks’ final 20 regular-season games due to a neck injury. He had five rebounds and one steal in 20 scoreless minutes, and the Knicks opted to play Kenyon Martin at center instead of Chandler in crunch time.

"I knew I would be rusty. I knew I would be a little winded. I knew at some point my legs would get the best of me," Chandler said, according to ESPNNewYork.com. "I just wanted to be out there with my team."

Chandler said his neck didn’t bother him. He acknowledged that conditioning was a factor.

“I should obviously be much better in Game 2,” he said.

Jason Terry: For the first time in his career, Terry failed to score a point in a playoff game.

JET was 0-of-5 from the floor in 20 minutes. His only contributions to the Celtics were three rebounds and one steal. Meanwhile, Boston’s bench was outscored by a 33-4 margin.

"You don't get too high or down too low," Terry said, according to ESPNBoston.com. "It's a long series. If I bet on myself, I know how this is going to end up. I'm going to keep grinding, do the things necessary to win."

Corey Brewer: Brewer scored 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting in 21 minutes during Denver’s Game 1 win over the Warriors. He didn’t have any rebounds, assists, steals or blocks.

Caron Butler: Butler, who was sidelined by a serious knee injury during the Mavs’ title run, had a terrific Game 1 to help the Clippers blow out the Grizzlies. Butler scored 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting, grabbed seven rebounds and had a block and a steal in 24 minutes.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Monta Ellis
PTS AST STL MIN
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