Dallas Mavericks: Dwyane Wade

Nowitzki/James/EllisGetty ImagesOn paper, Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki look much more attractive than Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
When you have a chance to hit a grand slam, you’ve got to step in the batter’s box and take your cuts.

The odds of the Dallas Mavericks winning the LeBron James derby aren’t good, but it’d be foolish for a team with ample salary cap space not to make every possible attempt to sign the planet’s best player.

It remains to be seen whether Mark Cuban and the Mavs get an audience with King James before he makes his decision -- or The Decision II. If they do, the Mavs should surely pitch James on the franchise’s championship culture and the fact that Rick Carlisle ranks among the NBA’s elite coaches, as LeBron found out firsthand during the 2011 Finals.

The Mavs can also make the claim that James would be part of a better Big Three if he moved to Dallas instead of staying in Miami.

Go ahead, pick the pair of sidekicks you’d prefer to play with:

DUO 1: A shooting guard who averaged 19.0 points and 4.7 assists while missing 28 games due to health issues and the need for preventative rest, and a perimeter-shooting 6-foot-11 guy who averaged 16.2 points and 6.6 rebounds.

DUO 2: A shooting guard who averaged 19.0 points and 5.7 assists while playing every game, and a perimeter-shooting 7-footer who averaged 21.7 points and 6.2 rebounds.

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Mark Cuban strongly denied a report by The Oregonian that he hired a retired FBI agent to investigate NBA officiating after the Dallas Mavericks’ controversial loss to the Miami Heat in the 2006 NBA Finals.

 

According to The Oregonian, 20-year FBI veteran Warren Flagg said he consulted with Cuban after those Finals, which will always be remembered in Dallas for Dwyane Wade’s parade to the free throw line during the Heat’s four consecutive wins after the Mavs took a 2-0 lead. The newspaper reported in the fifth part of its series on NBA officiating that Flagg said Cuban was considering a lawsuit. The Mavs owner was fined $250,000 for storming onto the floor and shouting at referees after the Mavs’ Game 5 loss.

However, that’s not the story Flagg told during a Tuesday appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s “Fitzsimmons and Friedo.” Flagg, who worked with disgraced referee Tim Donaghy's defense team, said Cuban called him in 2009 to ask what Donaghy wrote in his book that was released later that year.

“I said, ‘Look, Mr. Cuban, this is what I will tell you. You had an issue in 2006; I think you ought to sue the NBA and get your fine back,'" Flagg said Tuesday. "His quote to me was, ‘Flaggman, I can’t kill the golden goose.’

“I laughed. That was the extent of the conversation.”
DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki described his feelings for the Miami Heat this summer as “probably about as close as it gets” to hate for him.

Nowitzki got sweet revenge by clinching the 2011 title in Miami, crossing off the final line on his NBA legend to-do list, but that doesn’t erase the deep wounds from the Mavs’ meltdown against the Heat in the 2006 Finals.

And there’s still ample bitterness between Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade, the MVPs of those Finals. Nowitzki will never forget Wade’s months-after-the-fact ripping of the big German’s leadership after their first Finals meeting, words Wade had to swallow in 2011, when the Mavs handed the Heat what remains their lone playoff series loss since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach.

“We said hi and that’s about it,” Nowitzki said of his interactions with Wade. “We’re not going to go to dinner or anything.”

With all that history, it’d be fun to pump up Tuesday night’s visit from the Heat as the continuation of an intense rivalry. It just wouldn’t be realistic.

Since Nowitzki and crew chugged champagne in Miami, the Heat is undefeated against the Mavs. Maybe Miami gets a little extra inspiration by looking up in the American Airlines Center rafters and seeing the Mavs’ championship banner. The Heat won by an average of 17 points during its trips to Dallas the last two seasons.

And the Heat were the ones chugging champagne at the end of those seasons, while the Mavs haven’t won a playoff game.

“The last two years, they’re champs,” Nowitzki said. “One year we were the eight seed going into the playoffs and got swept, the next year we didn’t make the playoffs. It’s kind of hard to have a rivalry if we’re not even a playoff team.

“Back in ’06, obviously they beat us; ’11 was a great payback. But those two years are long gone. They’re the best team the last two years. We’ll see if we can still compete with them.”

The Mavs headed into the All-Star break with some major momentum. They won six of their last seven games, capping off that run with a road win against the Indiana Pacers, who have emerged as the Heat’s primary rival.

For the Mavs, Tuesday night is about picking up where they left off, possibly taking another step toward getting back into the playoffs. That's Nowitzki's narrow focus. No sense in sweating a rivalry that seems so long ago.

Can Mavs make Monta Ellis efficient again?

July, 15, 2013
7/15/13
10:34
AM CT
“Monta Ellis have it all.”

That came straight out of Monta Ellis’ mouth, delivered as the conclusion of a classic sound bite during an interview with Fox Sports Wisconsin last season, in which he declared that he was on the same level with Dwyane Wade. Well, other than wins and championships.

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.

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It’s grammatically incorrect and hilariously inaccurate.

The grammar can be forgiven. After all, it’s not like Ellis is a millionaire because he got good grades at Lanier High in Jackson, Miss., before jumping straight to the NBA. The problem is that Ellis actually believes what he says, which explains why he’s become the modern-day model for NBA inefficiency.

Monta Ellis definitely does not have it all. If the Mavs can get him to realize that, the three-year deal in the $25 million range might be money well spent.

Step one is to get Ellis to stop taking long, pull-up jumpers. For Ellis, those shots are like sweets for a fat kid. The Mavs can’t let Ellis keep reaching into the cookie jar.

The problem is Ellis launches a lot of those looks and doesn’t make very many. According to ESPN Stats and Information, he shot the lowest percentage on off-the-dribble jumpers in the league last season among players who took at least 250 of them, hitting a paltry 32.3 percent.

On a related note, Ellis also ranked last in the league among qualifiers in 3-point percentage (28.7 percent). Yet Ellis hoisted 328 of them, four per game.

No wonder Ellis shot just 41.6 percent from the floor last season, the second-lowest among players who averaged at least 15 points per game.

Ellis hasn’t always been so inefficient, but it’s a trend that has taken a drastic downturn in the last few seasons. He was actually once an extreme high-efficiency scorer, averaging 20.2 points on 53.1 percent shooting as a 22-year-old in 2007-08, when he attempted less than one 3-pointer per game.

The Mavs need to get Ellis to play to his strengths again, which means making him understand his limitations. Open spot-up 3s are acceptable, but other than that, his shots should come almost solely from attacking the basket off drives and in transition.

The hope from the Dallas front office, which reached for Ellis after all the other impact free agents were off the board and Devin Harris’ dislocated toe was discovered, is that the personnel here is uniquely suited to put Ellis in position to succeed.

Jose Calderon will be the first pass-first point guard to be paired with Ellis during the eight-year veteran’s NBA career. Dirk Nowitzki will be the biggest offensive threat to play with Ellis. And Rick Carlisle is the most creative offensive coach to work with Ellis.

That means that Ellis should be able to get a lot of high-quality looks. The Mavs need Ellis, a career 19.2-point-per-game scorer, to put up numbers, but not as a volume scorer. He should have space to do what he does best, especially when he’s on the floor with three guys who were 40-plus-percent 3-point shooters last season (Calderon, Nowitzki and Vince Carter).

None of that matters if Ellis thinks it’s a good idea to jack up contested 3s and 20-footers off the bounce.

Less is more with Monta Ellis, who can’t have it all if he’s going to help the Mavs win.
Three seasons after LeBron James took his talent to South Beach, the 2011 Dallas Mavericks remain the only team to keep the Miami Heat off the NBA championship throne.

PODCAST
Kurt Rambis joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss if Gregg Popovich deserves to be second-guessed for his Game 6 and Game 7 decisions, LeBron James' performance and what it feel like to be on the winning and losing end of the NBA Finals.

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How quickly they disrespect.

Giddy after their Game 7 win Thursday night, Heat coach Erik Spoelsta and supporting star Dwyane Wade tipped their caps to their Finals foe, claiming the San Antonio Spurs offered a tougher challenge than any playoff foe they’ve faced. Never mind the fact that the Mavs won the 2011 Finals in six games, celebrating on Miami’s home court before hitting Club Liv.

“We have as much respect for them as anybody in this league,” Spoelstra said of the Spurs. “And that was the toughest series we've ever been in.”

That essentially echoed the comment made by Wade during the on-court trophy presentation.

PODCAST
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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James seemed to be alone among the Heat’s central figures in remembering losing to the Mavs. He referenced the offseason work he put in after the Mavs’ defense made him look mortal in those 2011 Finals.

“To be able to put in the work that I've put in since I got out of the cave after that Dallas series and for it to pay off like this, it's the ultimate,” James said after earning the Finals MVP award for the second straight year.

The Heat are now 11-1 in playoff series with James. The Mavs are responsible for the lone blemish on that record after Miami finished off this run with Game 7 wins over the Indiana Pacers and Spurs in the last two rounds.

“As tough as last year was, it seemed like this year was even tougher,” Spoelstra said. “Particularly these last two rounds. We expected that to be tough, and we have the utmost respect for the teams we played.”

That respect apparently doesn’t extend to the only team to eliminate them.
Déjà vu: The Heat’s backs are pinned against the wall as the NBA Finals head from Texas to Miami for Game 6.

Two years ago, the Mavericks put on their best black suits and finished their business, closing out the Heat in AmericanAirlines Arena before opening up a $90,000 bottle of champagne in a Miami Beach nightclub. Mavs fans surely have mixed emotions as the Spurs prepare for their chance to repeat that feat and clinch their fifth NBA title in 15 years.

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As a Mavericks fan, are you rooting for the Spurs or Heat in the NBA Finals?

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This series, pitting the Mavs’ two primary rivals during Dallas’ dozen-year playoff run, represented the worst-case scenario for rooting interests around these parts. Folks here hate the Heat, plain and simple. They begrudgingly respect their Interstate 35 rivals -- the Spurs are a lot harder to hate now that Bruce Bowen is talking for ESPN instead of tripping jump-shooters, huh? -- but they actually have to interact with San Antonio fans and sure don’t want those yahoos to have another title to scream about.

Chief MFFL Mark Cuban has made it clear that he’d prefer for the Spurs to prevail. That’s a small dose of Lone Star State pride and a heaping helping of intense Heat hatred talking.

That deep-seated hatred is understandable for Dallas basketball fans. After all, Dwyane Wade and the Heat not only ripped the Larry O’Brien Trophy out of the Mavs’ hands in 2006, but they did so in especially painful fashion, with the assistance of dozens of whistles that have fueled more conspiracy theories than JFK’s assassination. And Wade had the nerve to rub it in months later, publicly dissing Dirk Nowitzki’s clutch chops and leadership skills.

PODCAST
Chuck Cooperstein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Coop is staying true to his pick that the Spurs will win in six games and says that the Heat's legacy is on the line.

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Oh, and during the title rematch five years later, Wade, a man who holds the NBA record for milking drama out of injuries and ailments, had the nerve to mock Dirk’s cough after the face of the Mavs’ franchise delivered a Finals game-winner despite a three-figure temperature. LeBron James made the PR mistake of playing along with Wade in that instance – less than a year after making the biggest PR miscalculation in modern sports history, breaking up with his hometown by infamously using “The Decision” to tell the world that he intended to take his talents to South Beach to join forces with Wade and Chris Bosh.

That tremendously tone-deaf decision ensured that the Heat would be among the most polarizing teams in NBA history. You either love ‘em or hate ‘em, and that isn’t a difficult decision in Dallas.

I get that … but the Heat winning enhances the historical importance of the Mavs’ first title.

If the Heat fulfill LeBron’s post-signing, pep-rally promise to claim multiple championships, the 2011 Mavs will always be remembered as the team that delayed the dynasty. There’s a decent chance, depending on LeBron’s decision next summer, that the Mavs could be the lone team to eliminate King James’ Miami crew.

That’s a heck of a piece of history. That ought to trump Heat hate, but then again, it’s hard to judge another man’s hatred.

Inside the numbers: San Antonio Spurs at Mavs

January, 25, 2013
1/25/13
9:52
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Five dribbles of info to get you ready for tonight's game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks in the first half of ESPN's Friday night doubleheader:

* The Mavs have won five of their last six games while scoring an average of 110.7 points per game over that span. Dallas had only one six-game span last season in which it scored that freely, averaging 110.8 points in six games from April 10-18, 2012.

* O.J. Mayo's field-goal percentage (.408 last season to .459 in 2012-13), free-throw percentage (.773 to .861), and three-point percentage (.364 to 426) have all increased by at least 50 percentage points. No other player who appeared in at least 50 games last season has improved in each of those categories by such a significant amount from last season to this one (minimum: 50 games played in 2011-12).

*According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Mavs forward Elton Brand has made 67.9 percent of his shots from the floor (36-for-53) in the fourth quarter this season. That’s the second-highest field-goal percentage in the fourth quarter for any player with at least 50 attempts behind only the Knicks’ Tyson Chandler (80.8 percent). The Mavericks, as a team, are ninth in the league at 44.2 percent shooting in fourth quarters. San Antonio ranks No. 1 in the league 48.9 percent in the fourth quarter.

* The Spurs have already beaten the Mavs twice this season by at least 25 points each time. The Bulls (over Cleveland) and the Heat (over Washington) are the only other teams with multiple 25-or-more routs against a single opponent. San Antonio has never, in any season, posted three wins of that magnitude over the same opponent.

* San Antonio's Tony Parker has made 52 percent of his field-goal attempts this season, which is the highest percentage for any player who has started at least 30 games as a guard. The only other guard who has started 30 games this season and converted at least half of his shots from the floor, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, is Miami's Dwyane Wade (51 percent).
DALLAS – Mark Cuban came home from his Caribbean vacation complaining about NBA officiating.

While watching from his Cayman Islands getaway home, Cuban was irate about the officiating late in regulation of the Mavericks’ overtime loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.

“They were lucky I wasn’t there,” Cuban said while doing his normal pregame stairstepper routine Saturday night.

Cuban was particularly perturbed about an out-of-bounds call that went the Heat’s way despite replays appearing to show the ball go off of Miami’s Dwyane Wade. The officials are supposed to use replay to review such situations in the final two minutes if there is any uncertainty, but the crew of James Capers, Mark Ayotte and Eric Lewis didn’t take a second look at the play.

“Let’s just say I thought there was a misapplication of the rules when they didn’t review the out of bounds with 1:45 to go,” Cuban said. “At least from the replay on TV, it looked like Wade hit it.

“I would have thrown the challenge flag on that one.”

Coach Rick Carlisle has mentioned that a couple of debatable calls went against the Mavs down the stretch. (There was a lot of contact between Wade and Dirk Nowitzki on a steal that led to a Miami breakaway basket.) Carlisle declined to elaborate after the game, saying he wasn’t in the “money-spending mood.”

Cuban, whose fine totals from the NBA office have reached seven figures during his 13-year ownership tenure, certainly didn’t go on one of his classic tirades about the quality of officiating in the league. However, Cuban made it clear that he isn’t happy with the refs again.

“I will tell you this: We used to turn plays in all the time,” said Cuban, who did complain to the NBA office about the out-of-bounds play. “We don’t do it anymore. I just turned it in because I was mad, but it’s just not worth the time. You know the definition of insanity.”

Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena was the scene of Cuban’s most infamous ref-related tirade. He got fined a personal-high of $250,000 after the Mavs’ controversial Game 5 loss in the 2006 NBA Finals, when he stormed the floor to scream at the officials after Wade’s parade to the free throw line and made critical postgame comments.

Cuban said he seriously considered selling the franchise after the Mavs lost that series.

“We put out feelers, but it was going to cost me too much money,” Cuban said. “I was really questioning some of the integrity, but I got past it. That was a long time ago, so we’ll let it go.”

As far as Wednesday’s loss goes, that’s still fresh.
DALLAS – There never be a bigger villain to Mavericks fans than Dwyane Wade.

After all, Wade is the man who destroyed their championship dreams (along with his whistle-blowing buddies) in 2006 and disrespected their hero Dirk Nowitzki more than once over the years. Oh, the revenge of beating the Heat in the 2011 Finals was so sweet.

But that’s all water under the bridge, right? Wade at least made nice after the Heat hammered the Dirk-less Mavs on national TV Thursday night, mixing some praise with a little sympathy when asked for his thoughts on the stripped-down Dallas squad.

“First of all, Dirk is the centerpiece of this team,” Wade said. “That obviously makes it hard. I actually think they’ve been doing pretty damn good without having their main guy here, the guy who really understands what it takes to win here in Dallas. They’ve been staying afloat. They’ve got a lot of new pieces as well.

“You understand that certain teams in the league have to rebuild at a certain time. They unfortunately weren’t able to keep their championship team together and they’re just in a rebuilding stage, but they have good pieces.”

A few more notes from the Mavs’ lopsided loss:

1. O.J.’s off night: O.J. Mayo, who has put up All-Star-caliber numbers, didn’t score in double digits for just the second time this season.

The Heat, who made Mayo the focus of their defensive game plan and trapped him as often as possible, held him to eight points on 3-of-14 shooting.

“I just couldn’t get shots to fall, man,” Mayo said. “They contested well and pretty much got in me and made me take some tough ones. Even the open ones I have didn’t fall, but it’ll be all right. You’re going to have games like that.”

2. Big absences: Missing forward/centers Elton Brand (groin) and Brandan Wright (ankle), the rebounding-challenged Mavs predictably got dominated on the glass, with the Heat grabbing 11 more boards than Dallas.

Coach Rick Carlisle isn’t optimistic about Brand or Wright being able to play Friday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, which might have the NBA’s best power forward-center duo in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.

“I hope one or both of them can get back,” Carlisle said. “We’ll see. I don’t know how likely it is one day later. San Antonio (on Sunday) might be a more likely scenario.”

3. The other James: Rookie center Bernard James, who didn’t play in three of the previous four games, was the one real bright spot for the Mavs during a miserable night.

“Sarge” took advantage of the playing time he got due to the Mavs’ frontcourt MASH unit, scoring 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking three shots in 22 minutes.

“He brings energy,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He brings force. He brings rim protection, he goes and gets the ball and he’s better than people think at finishing around the basket.”

Mavs, Heat headed in different directions

December, 21, 2012
12/21/12
1:11
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Shawn Marion
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsShawn Marion was the only healthy remnant on the floor Thursday of the Mavs' 2011 title team that beat LeBron James and the Heat.
DALLAS -- It’s been only 18 months since the Dallas Mavericks defeated the heavily favored Miami Heat to be crowned NBA champions.

“That feels like a decade ago,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Imagine how the Mavs feel, especially after the Heat rolled to a 110-95 rout that was a heck of a lot more lopsided than the final score indicated Thursday night at the American Airlines Center.

It’s ridiculous to call this game a 2011 Finals rematch.

Dallas’ lightning-in-a-bottle title team has been dismantled, leaving forward Shawn Marion as the only healthy Maverick who played a minute in that postseason and the franchise’s dozen-year playoff streak in jeopardy. The Heat, fresh off the 2012 title, look like a team that has a legitimate chance to become the dynasty everyone envisioned during the dance party that doubled as a press conference following The Decision.

Mavs owner Mark Cuban, whose recovery from passing a kidney stone spared him the pain after watching the Mavs’ nationally televised misery from his normal baseline seat, made the business decision to let key members of the franchise’s first championship team leave in free agency.

Read the Daily Dime here.

3-on-3 preview: Miami Heat at Mavericks

December, 20, 2012
12/20/12
11:17
AM CT
The Dallas Mavericks taking down the Miami Heat to win the 2011 NBA championship seems like ages ago, but the lessons of that NBA Finals series still linger. The Miami Heat Index writers break down how it affected both teams and its place in the history of the game.

1. Was the 2011 NBA Finals the most memorable ever?


Tom Haberstroh: Not quite. Most memorable for me was the 1998 Finals with Michael Jordan's final shot against Bryon Russell. Perhaps I was just more impressionable in middle school, but it was such a poetic ending to Jordan's illustrious career. Wait, he played for the Wizards?

Israel Gutierrez: Ever? Like, ever ever? Umm, no. You're not going to remember too many actual in-game moments from that series the way you do John Paxson's game-winner against Phoenix or Michael Jordan's push-off jumper against the Jazz or Jordan's barrage against the Trail Blazers. This is remembered more for the off-the-court rumblings created by LeBron James' inexplicably poor play and Chris Bosh's post-series emotions.

Michael Wallace: No. Not hardly. For me, nothing would top the '91 Finals when the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers met for a transaction in which Magic Johnson personally passed the torch to Michael Jordan. It was also a transition from the most dominant team of the 1980s to the one of the '90s.

2. What was the biggest lesson for the Heat?


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Coop and Nate discuss the Mavs' matchup with the hated Miami Heat tonight at the American Airlines Center.

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Haberstroh: That LeBron wasn't a small forward. That changed everything, not just for the Heat but for the rest of the NBA as well. The ripple effect can be seen now with Carmelo Anthony thriving at the 4 in New York and others (hello, Kevin Durant) looking more comfortable playing a bigger position. LeBron had the size of Karl Malone, but the 2011 Finals showed why he needed to use it to his full advantage.

Gutierrez: That LeBron has to be at the center of what the Heat does. Miami tried to lift LeBron past his slump and win anyway. Succeeding at that would've been the worst scenario for both sides. The Heat wouldn't deem it necessary to rely on LeBron's talents, and LeBron would've probably had a hard time taking ownership of this team the way he has since. As LeBron has said, losing that series is possibly the best thing to happen to this group.

Wallace: That even the best player in the game ironically needed both a severe humbling as well as a major confidence boost to break through on the NBA's grand stage. LeBron James learned many valuable lessons from that defeat to the Mavericks that prepared him for championship triumph the next year against the Thunder.

3. What was the biggest lesson for the Mavs?


Haberstroh: Not that the Mavericks needed confirmation, but that Dirk Nowitzki is a pretty transcendent player. What Nowitzki did in 2011 and James later did in 2012 was reiterate that the "can't win the big one" label is maybe the silliest in sports. With Tyson Chandler anchoring the defense and shooters aplenty, Nowitzki finally had the functional parts to get him over the hump. Yes, Nowitzki evolved as a player too but he wasn't "soft" like many so wanted to believe.

Gutierrez: Just the knowledge that they can indeed be great. For years, that team, with Nowitzki as the main man, was considered too soft and too jump-shot dependent to be champions. After winning that series with stellar execution and ridiculous outside shooting -- not to mention some decent defense from current Knicks Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd -- Nowitzki and Co. know they can win at the highest level with that formula.

Wallace: That revenge can be one of the sweetest joys in sports. Mavs owner Mark Cuban always felt he had the better team in 2006 when Dallas blew a 2-0 series lead and lost four straight to Miami. Five years later, Nowitzki was as unstoppable in the Finals as Dwyane Wade was in 2006 as Dallas avenged that meltdown against Miami.

New Mavs will take it to the rack more

August, 29, 2012
8/29/12
2:41
PM CT
To suggest that the Dallas Mavericks' new backcourt combo of point guard Darren Collison and shooting guard O.J. Mayo will attack the rim with greater frequency than the old guard of Jason Kidd and Jason Terry is like saying Dirk Nowitzki is tall. It's an obvious fact.

In fact, it's almost impossible to attack the rack with less frequency than the Mavs did last season. As a team, they ranked 29th in the league in shots attempted at the rim -- only 21.3 percent of their shot attempts came from point-blank range -- and 28th in shots made at the rim, according to the advanced stats website hoopdata.com.

[+] EnlargeDarren Collison
Steve Mitchell/US PresswireNew Mavs point guard Darren Collison took 2.6 of his 8.7 shots per game at the rim for the Pacers last season.
Kidd, 39, and Terry, who turns 35 next month, were the extreme culprits, combining for 1.7 shots per game at the rim, a ridiculously low number. Kidd averaged an unfathomably low 0.2 shots at the rim for a player who averaged more than 28 minutes a game (only Mike Bibby, Earl Boykins and Blake Ahearn averaged fewer shots at the rim). Anyone who has watched Kidd the last few years knows how reluctant he's become to take it to the paint.

For a bit of reference, Tyreke Evans led all point guards last season with 7.0 attempts at the rim per game. Tony Parker ranked eighth with 4.6 and Deron Williams ranked 12th with 3.9. Among shooting guards, Dwyane Wade ranked first with 6.7, Manu Ginobili ranked 15th with 2.6 and Terry ranked 39th with 1.7.

The Mavs' newcomers aren't exactly Russell Westbrook (6.1) and Monta Ellis (4.8), but they will deliver a rim show seldom seen in Dallas since Devin Harris, known -- and not always affectionately -- as the one-man fast break, left town in 2008.

Collison, who turned 25 a week ago, last season averaged 2.6 of his 8.7 shot attempts at the rim, ranking 27th in the league. That low number for such a quick point guard is partly a byproduct of an Indiana Pacers offense that revolved around center Roy Hibbert. In each of Collison's two seasons with the Pacers, his attempts at the rim dipped from his 3.5 attempts as a rookie with the New Orleans Hornets in 2009-10. The Mavs believe their offense will enable Collison to increase his attack frequency.

Mayo, 24, ranked 18th last season at 2.4 attempts at the rim (11.2 overall shot attempts) while playing 26.8 minutes a game as Memphis' sixth man. His minutes will likely increase, and perhaps greatly, as a starter in Dallas. He, too, played in an offense geared around big men (Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph). The Mavs' are hopeful their scheme, plus playing with Dirk Nowitzki, will give Mayo significant chances to take his man off the dribble and get to the rim.

With Delonte West and Vince Carter coming off the bench and each having averaged 2.3 shot attempts at the rim last season, the Mavs now boast a backcourt that will at least force defenders to be wary of penetration and not just the jumper.

Shawn Marion on role: 'I'm a basketball player'

April, 11, 2012
4/11/12
2:00
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Shawn Marion pulled down a power forward-like 14 rebounds Tuesday night. Down the final stretch, more of those rebounds might actually come from the power forward spot.

Marion, averaging 11.0 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds at small forward, had relinquished his power forward duties from last season because Lamar Odom was here to suck up minutes. It turned out he just sapped energy, and now he's gone.

With Brandan Wright, who coach Rick Carlisle prefers at center, Yi Jianlian and Brian Cardinal as the other options to back up Dirk Nowitzki, Marion is expected to slide over to the 4 more as he did so smoothly last season.

"I told him just now after (Tuesday's) game, we gave him a light night minutes-wise to get ready for this trip and we all know he’s a big difference-maker for us," Carlisle said. "And he doesn’t do it necessarily in a conventional way and that’s one of the things that’s made him a special player for us."

A 6-foot-7, Marion is not a typical power forward, but then again there was nothing typical about a small forward chasing around point guards like Chris Paul. A Defensive Player of the Year candidate, Marion said he doesn't care what position he's asked to play. In the Matrix's world, a position is only a number.

"It’s cool to get some minutes there," Marion said. "I really haven’t been there much this season because how deep we’ve been at the position. I’m a basketball player, so you can put me anywhere out there and I’ll find a way to make it happen."

Marion was obviously one of the more valuable contributors during the championship run because of the defense he played against a variety of offensive weapons, including Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Without Odom, Marion might see his minutes spike as the Mavs begin a four-game road trip over five nights. They face Golden State on Thursday and Portland on Friday before Marion will meet Kobe and the Lakers for a nationally televised game on ABC.

Marion missed the last meeting in Dallas, a 16-point L.A. win in which Kobe went for 30. Bryant had averaged 14.5 points in the first two games against Marion.

He's averaged the third most minutes on the team at 30.7, one of the few from last season's title team whose playing time has gone up from a year ago. Now those minutes might get sliced up a bit more like last season, too.

"Like I said, I’m a basketball player," Marion said. "You put me in there and I get enough minutes at it, enough to get comfortable and know the situations, I’m good to go."
Jason Terry could see himself taking his talents to South Beach next season.

Then again, Terry could envision himself calling any NBA city home next season, as he’s already admitted that he feels like he’s “auditioning for 29 other teams” during the final months of his contract with the Mavericks. However, Terry indicated to Fox Sports Florida before Thursday night’s loss in Miami that the Heat are an especially intriguing potential option.

"Miami is definitely a title contender. For sure," Terry told the website when asked whether he’d be interested in joining the Heat. "[Team president] Pat Riley is a great guy, and what he's done with the organization is tremendous.

"No question, they need a veteran shooter, a guy who can score besides LeBron [James] and [Dwyane Wade] and they know they can count on. I'm a guy that's been in this league 13 years, (averaging) 15 points a night, easy. Off the bench or the starting lineup, it doesn't matter. So I think I'd be an asset to them."

Terry didn’t exactly ace this job interview. Wearing gold shoes to celebrate the title the Mavs clinched in Miami last summer, Terry had his worst shooting performance of the season, missing nine of 10 field goal attempts during a three-point performance.

Terry had his request for a preseason contract extension fall on deaf ears. He is dealing with the reality that his dream of retiring in Dallas isn’t likely to happen.

"My main goal was to come back and retire a Maverick," Terry told the website. "After no extension this past offseason, I figure it may be time for me to move on. But you never know… I would love to (continue) in a Maverick uniform, don't get me wrong. But we'll see what happens. …

“They said they want me back. But you can say all you want, you got to show me. Like Jerry Maguire said, 'Show me the money."'

The Heat won’t have a lot of money to show Terry this summer. Miami has three stars (James, Wade and Chris Bosh) locked up to lucrative, long-term deals, leaving the Heat without any space under the salary cap. The most Miami would have to offer Terry is the mini-midlevel exception of $3 million per season, a huge cut from the $11.2 million salary Terry is making in the final season of his six-year, $57 million contract.

That might present a problem, but Terry said he’ll see what the market dictates and didn’t rule out being involved in a sign-and-trade deal. One thing that wouldn’t be an issue for Terry is joining a franchise that he faced in heated Finals in 2006 and last season.

"Not at all," Terry told Fox Sports Florida. "That jersey has a logo on it. It says, 'NBA.' No matter what team it is, it doesn't matter. So I'll be excited."
MIAMI -- It has been more than three months since the Miami Heat humiliated the Dallas Mavericks on Christmas Day.

Rick Carlisle knows exactly why it happened.

And it had nothing to do with revenge. Or a championship hangover. Or Dwyane Wade and LeBron James playing with more focus.

The Heat blew out the Mavs because Dallas turned the ball over. Time and time and time again.

“We had eight turnovers in the first quarter,” Carlisle said, “and we had three more quick turnovers to start the second half and we were down by 30.”

So to beat Miami on Thursday night, the Mavs can’t exceed their season average of 14.1 turnovers per game, which is tied for eighth in the NBA. Just so you know, the Mavs are 16-8 when they have fewer turnovers than their opponents, and 7-10 when they have more turnovers.

Dallas is 3-8 on the road when it has more turnovers than its opponent. See, this isn’t complicated.

“We have to protect the ball,” Jason Kidd said. “We can’t have turnovers because those guys will turn into beasts. They’ll be running and dunking. They feed off turnovers.”

On Christmas Day, Miami had 25 points off turnovers and scored 31 fastbreak points. That remains the most fastbreak points the Mavs have yielded this season.

The Heat have lost consecutive games by a total of 31 points. Coach Erik Spoelstra said Miami has spent the past two days working on nothing but defense.

“We have to get back to our identity,” Spoelstra said. “The ability to defend with incredible activity and energy is what leads to deflections and stops and fastbreaks. It energizes us.”

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Monta Ellis
PTS AST STL MIN
20.9 4.5 1.7 34.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 11.9
AssistsR. Rondo 9.3
StealsR. Rondo 2.0
BlocksT. Chandler 1.4