Dallas Mavericks: Eddy Curry
|Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle talks about coaching a group of fresh faces, the addition of Troy Murhpy, injury concerns and more.
They waived Curry after two games because they needed to create an open roster spot for Murphy. With Chris Kaman likely making his Dallas debut Saturday and Dirk Nowitzki sidelined at least another two weeks, the Mavs determined that a power forward with perimeter shooting range and rebounding ability was a better fit for the roster than a traditional center.
With Chris Kaman soon to return from a calf injury, sources said, Dallas decided that it needed more of a stretch power forward like Murphy as cover for Dirk Nowitzki than another back-to-the-basket player.
Curry, whom the Mavs claimed off waivers the day before the preseason finale, had nine points and four rebounds during the Dallas' 1-1 season-opening road trip. He played a significant role in the Mavs' win over the Lakers, scoring seven points and grabbing four rebounds in 17 minutes.
The Mavs have agreed to a one-year deal with Murphy, pending him passing a physical.
All he has to do is bang against All-NBA big man Dwight Howard.
It was widely anticipated that Eddy Curry would start the opener less than a week after the Mavs claimed him off of waivers. However, coach Rick Carlisle opted to bring Curry off the bench.
Elton Brand will start alongside Wright. It's likely that Brand will defend Howard for significant stretches.
All-NBA Dwight Howard vs. almost-out-of-the-NBA Eddy Curry.
“I can’t wait, man,” said Curry, who was thrust into the Mavericks’ starting lineup after being claimed on waivers last week. “I probably won’t even sleep this afternoon. I’m just going to try to calm down as much as possible and treat this like a normal game, a normal situation, even though it’s not.”
It’s been a long time since Curry, the fourth overall pick in the 2001 draft, has been in the spotlight like this. He’s played a grand total of 24 games over the last four seasons due to weight problems and other issues.
Now Curry, filling in for oft-injured Chris Kaman, is the opposing big man in Howard’s Lakers debut
One of Curry’s goals in the opener in L.A. is to avoid being added to Howard’s lengthy highlight reel.
“The biggest thing for me is staying between him and the basket,” said Curry, who admits that he’s never been known as a great defender. “He’s going to make some shots early. If he makes a lot of them, good for him, it’s going to be a good night (for Howard).
“But I’d rather that than dunks over the top, because that’s the stuff that gets the whole team going and whole crowd going, and it’s a little bit demoralizing as a defensive team.”
Coach Rick Carlisle, who refers to Howard as a “monster,” said the Mavs plan to attack Howard offensively any way they can. Yes, the Mavs are well aware that Howard is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, but they want to make him work as hard as possible on both ends of the floor, especially with an achy back.
One of the ways to make Howard work is to get Curry, who has a career average of 13 points per game on 54.5 percent shooting, the ball on the block.
“He’s a great defender, one of the best in the league,” Curry said. “But if you can get him moving around a little bit, working on defense, you have a better chance. If he’s out there and able to catch his breath on defense, it’s going to be a long night.”
At least, that’s how Tuesday night’s season opener at the Staples Center is expected to go down.
Steve Nash) and the NBA’s best big man (Dwight Howard) joining championship cornerstones Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.
The remodeled Mavs, minus face of the franchise Dirk Nowitzki and former All-Star big man Chris Kaman, just happen to the LA’s opening opponent.
“They’ve got at least three Hall of Famers in their starting lineup and maybe more with the career Gasol has had,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Look, they’ve got a great roster. They’ve got a lot of size. They’ve got a lot of credentials. We’ve got a group that’s unproven, if I’m going to be honest.
“This is a great opportunity for us. That’s the way I look at it. So we’re going to go in there with guns blazing and throw the kitchen sink at them.”
Records: Mavs (0-0); Lakers (0-0)
When: 9:30 p.m.
Where: Staples Center
Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: The Mavs’ most aggravating on-court issue during the preseason was probably rebounding. That could be a major problem against the Lakers with Howard, Gasol and Metta World Peace forming one of the biggest, most physical frontlines in the league. The Eddy Curry-Howard matchup is about as big a mismatch as could be on paper.
Key matchup: Darren Collison vs. Steve Nash – The Mavs need Collison to take a significant step after being a solid starter in Indiana. His quickness could give the 38-year-old Nash, who has never been known for his defense, fits. Of course, if Collison blows by Nash, he’ll have to deal with the three-time Defensive Player of the Year protecting the paint. And Collison will certainly have his hands full defending Nash, although Nash was somewhat tentative while trying to get to know his new teammates during the Lakers’ winless preseason.
Injuries: Mavs – PF Dirk Nowitzki (knee) and C Chris Kaman (strained right calf) are out; G Jared Cunningham (thumb) is questionable. Lakers – Kobe Bryant (foot) is questionable.
Up next: at Utah Jazz, 8 p.m. Wednesday
The Mavs need to trim their roster from 16 to 15 players by the leaguewide deadline of 4 p.m. Finding a taker for Jones would buy them more time to resolve the future of the suspended West, but sources told ESPN.com that – with no takers emerging for Jones – parting with West remains the most probable move to create a spot for Eddy Curry.
With projected starter Chris Kaman still dealing with a strained right calf and Brandan Wright (ankle) also hobbling, Curry is unexpectedly in line to start at center for Dallas in Tuesday night’s season opener in L.A. against the mighty Lakers even though he just joined the team Thursday when Dallas claimed Curry off waivers from San Antonio.
The Mavs, by all indications, have no plans to exercise the team option for the final season of Jones’ rookie contract before Wednesday’s midnight deadline, which will make the 24-year-old an unrestricted free agent next summer.
It is painfully obvious that Jones, who has averaged 2.5 points and 1.2 assists in 51 career games, doesn’t fit into the Mavs’ picture this season, either. Jones did not play in the preseason finale due to a coach’s decision when Rick Carlisle was trying out various combinations to determine who he can deploy as the backup point guard with West out.
“I guess you can say it’s a difficult situation on the outside looking in,” Jones said Friday night. “But no worries. I know I’m going to be OK with basketball, because I know I can play.”
Expect them to have a short stay in Dallas. They might be headed up the tollway to Frisco, where the D-League Texas Legends are located.
The Mavs' roster, which currently has 18 players, has to be trimmed to 15 by Monday. They're likely to keep center Eddy Curry as the 15th man, but that would require a resolution that officially removes suspended guard Delonte West from the team.
Don’t think so? Just look at the roster of the losing Charlotte Bobcats, where bad Dallas big man contracts go to die. Curry at least performed well enough to make Mavs fans forget about Brendan Haywood and DeSagana Diop.
OK, in reality, Curry probably earned the right to stick on the Mavs’ roster with his effort in the 99-82 victory to wrap up the preseason. His 11-point, seven-rebound, three-block, 25-minute outing was pretty impressive considering that he just joined the Mavs in the morning after they made a waiver claim on him.
“I feel like I can help,” Curry said. “As long as I stay healthy and do my part when called upon, I feel like I can be very productive for this team.”
The Mavs need all the help in the middle they can get at this point, as evidenced by Curry slipping right into the starting lineup.
Starter Chris Kaman’s status for the start of the regular season is in doubt due to a strained right calf. Brandan Wright and Elton Brand can give the Mavs minutes at center, but they’re both undersized.
One thing Curry has never been called is undersized. The 7-foot former fourth overall pick is in career-resuscitation mode in large part because he got too big, tipping the scales at well over 300 pounds.
Curry, who spent training camp with the San Antonio Spurs after riding the bench for the NBA champion Miami Heat last season, arrived in Dallas in relatively good shape. He can provide the Mavs with a low-post threat, although Curry needs a few-day crash course on what the Mavs ask of their centers on the defensive end.
Coach Rick Carlisle, who likes Curry’s hands and touch around the basket, mentioned that the big man particularly has to learn how the Mavs want their centers to be aggressive while defending the pick-and-roll.
That’s a point Carlisle made when he pulled Curry out of the game for a possession in the second half, giving him a quick tutorial on the sideline before sending Curry back to the scorers’ table to check in again.
Nevertheless, the 29-year-old Curry seemed to have done enough to stick around for a center-starved team.
“We’ve got a couple more days to analyze that situation,” Carlisle said. “We’ll do that. He’s an intriguing prospect. He’s not that old. ...
“He’s obviously in good shape and he can get in better shape. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. It was good to see him out there. I thought he did some very positive things."
Curry, who played only 24 games over the previous four seasons, admitted that he’s “never been considered a great defender anyway.” He said he’s willing to put in the work, though, and thinks he earned the opportunity to do it in Dallas.
“I’m still learning everybody’s name around here,” Curry said, “so I think every day it will get better.”
Dallas jumped out to a 16-4 lead and never relinquished the lead despite the Mavs missing three of their best frontline players: Dirk Nowitzki (knee), Chris Kaman (calf) and Elton Brand (rest).
The Bobcats pulled within three with less than four minutes to go, but the Mavs responded with a 14-0 run.
Shawn Marion, who stayed home to rest during the Mavs’ trip to Wichita this week, starred in the sloppy preseason finale. Marion scored 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked three shots in 34 minutes.
Center Eddy Curry, who was claimed off waivers Thursday, was solid in his one-game audition to earn a spot on the Mavs’ roster. The beefy 7-footer scored 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked three shots in 25 minutes.
Shooting guard O.J. Mayo stuffed the box score with 13 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and one block, but he shot just 4-of-15 from the floor.
What it means: The Bobcats have a chance to be historically bad. Not that that’s breaking news. The good news for the Mavs is that they’ll play Charlotte twice during the stretch that Nowitzki will be sidelined while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.
The worst news to come out of the win was second-round pick Jae Crowder, the bright spot of the Mavs' preseason, heading to the locker room with less than a minute to play. Crowder grabbed his right hamstring after a dunk and left the game immediately.
Play of the game: Darren Collison quieted the Bobcats’ rally with a thunderous dunk. Charlotte had scored six straight points, trimming the Mavs’ lead to six, when Collison raced past everyone, took an outlet pass from Mayo and soared for a tomahawk slam. Gerald Henderson jumped with Collison, but that just got the Bobcats swingman in the poster.
Stat of the night: Curry’s last 11-plus-point performance in a regular-season game occurred on March 7, 2008.
With the Mavs’ frontcourt depleted by injuries, Curry will start Friday night against the Charlotte Bobcats, a day after Dallas claimed the veteran big man off of waivers.
Curry’s roster spot isn’t guaranteed, but there’s a chance that he could start for the Mavs in Tuesday night’s season opener against Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers.
“That’s a very real possibility,” said Curry, who was waived by the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday. “I’m going to do everything I can to make it happen.”
Centers Chris Kaman (strained right calf) and Brandan Wright (ankle) will not play against the Bobcats. Kaman’s status for the season opener is questionable due to an injury that has sidelined him since last week, and the Mavs know they’ll be without 7-foot power forward Dirk Nowitzki for at least the first two weeks of the season as he recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery.
Curry, 29, the fourth overall pick of the 2001 draft, has career averages of 13.0 points and 5.2 rebounds. However, Curry has played in only 24 games over the last four seasons, as weight problems and other off-court issues have derailed his career.
Read the rest here.
DALLAS -- Finally, the banner comes up and the 2011-12 season goes off.
If it wasn't a strange enough offseason, followed by a frenzied free agency period and a rushed training camp, the rare occurrence of the two NBA Finals teams meeting in the season opener -- and on Christmas Day to boot -- is upon us.
The Dallas Mavericks that take the American Airlines Center floor at 1:13 p.m. for the raising of the championship banner won't be the same one that won the championship some six months ago in Miami. Still, the title defense must go on, and it begins today on national television against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat, the team the Mavs sent home in six exciting games.
When: 1:30 p.m.
Where: American Airlines Center
Radio: 103.3 FM ESPN/1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: Of course the raising of the championship banner ceremony takes place at 1:13 p.m. That will tie a bow on the 2010-11 Mavericks and officially launch the new-look 2011-12 Mavs. And that starts with finding out the starting lineup. Look for Vince Carter to take over at shooting guard and Shawn Marion to start at small forward with Lamar Odom coming off the bench. If you're expecting a clean, crisp performance, you probably picked the wrong game to watch. It will be interesting to see how well the Mavs mesh right out of the gate considering the loss and addition of key players and the short period of practice time and just two preseason games in which did not play its full roster in either game. Miami should be as in sync as any team because of the continuity carried over from last season, but each team will deal with conditioning issues playing in their first real game since June 12.
Key matchup: Shawn Marion vs. LeBron James
Never mind how Vince Carter plans to stick with Dwyane Wade. We'll stick with the other wing matchup. In the NBA Finals, the 6-foot-7 Marion did a marvelous job making James work for everything on the offensive end. James' supreme ability to attack the basket was choked off and he became predominantly a jump shooter, an outcome that greatly benefited Dallas. Marion also had the help of bulldog defender DeShawn Stevenson to take spells on James, plus a precision zone defense. Stevenson now plays for the New Jersey Nets and how often Dallas can turn to the zone without Tyson Chandler manning the middle and new players that must learn the intricacies of the zone will be interesting to watch. So today's game should feature one highly motivated James against Marion, who might not have nearly as much help as he did during the Finals.
Injuries: Heat - C Eddy Curry (hip pointer) is out; F Shane Battier (quad strain) is questionable. Mavs - none
Up next: Denver Nuggets at Mavs, 7:30 p.m., Monday
DALLAS -- On Thursday, just three days before the Dallas Mavericks are to begin their title defense against the Miami Heat, coach Rick Carlisle said the secret to any early success for his retooled team on the fly starts with simplicity.
He also said the hope is that defense can carry the team through the opening weeks when the offense might look ragged because of the lack of time for the newcomers to learn the plays and the tendencies of their teammates. That's interesting because so much of the Mavs' success last year was credited to precision team defense that included a smothering zone employed at strategic points, including late in close games.
"My hope is our defense will be ahead of our offense, and in that way I think it helps our overall situation," Carlisle said. "We’ve got two more days [of practice] and we can still gain ground, and that’s what our goal’s going to be."
Sunday's opener will start with the raising of the 2010-11 championship banner. From there, the day gets much tougher against a Heat team that remained intact and added Shane Battier and Eddy Curry.
Jason Terry said the roster, the short training camp ... none of it matters when the ball goes up at 1:30 p.m.
"Our advantage is that we do know our roles, we do know what guys need to do for us to be successful out there and I think coach has made that evident," Terry said. "I think going forward, guys just have to come out and do it, there’s just no other way. And there’s no other way to do it than in live action at a high level. You can’t get any higher than on Christmas Day against the Miami Heat."
Let's get to three key areas to watch:
1. Who starts and how deep does Carlisle go?
A logical starting lineup would see Jason Kidd and Vince Carter in the backcourt, Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki at the forward positions and Brendan Haywood at center. The only deviation that makes much sense would be to start Lamar Odom at small forward in front of Marion, but Odom, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, is accustomed to coming off the bench and could be the first off the pine to give Nowitzki a breather. Delonte West will back up Kidd, and Terry will be first off the bench at shooting guard. After that it could get interesting. How quickly does Carlisle turn to Rodrigue Beaubois, and does he play it safe by pairing him with Kidd? Does Dominique Jones get any playing time at the point against an excellent defensive team? And what about the center rotation? Haywood has hardly been impressive during the two preseason games, but there's no other option as the starter. Does Ian Mahinmi get first crack or has Brandan Wright, who had a nice showing in his lone preseason appearance Tuesday, bumped himself into a second-string role?
2. With DeShawn Stevenson now playing for the New Jersey Nets, who will help Marion guard LeBron James?
There's no doubt that Stevenson gave James fits in the NBA Finals. So much so that Carlisle actually took Stevenson out of the starting lineup at shooting guard and had him back up Marion at small forward to check James. Stevenson also helped Kidd defend Dwyane Wade, a responsibility that will now seemingly fall on Kidd and Carter, which for the nearly 35-year-old Carter could be a mismatch. But back to LeBron -- the Mavs just don't have another rugged defender to go toe-to-toe with him and that could be a major problem.
3. Which of the Mavs' newcomers is positioned to have the biggest impact?
Lamar Odom. In his first preseason game, with little working knowledge of the Mavs' offensive system, he put up 14 points and seven rebounds. In Tuesday's second game, Odom had just eight points and three rebounds, yet said he actually felt more comfortable. Because of the shooters Dallas can put on the court at any time, Odom's ability to put it on the floor and hit the 3-pointer should see him as a focal point of the offense. Most interesting should be when the 6-foot-10 Odom and 7-foot Nowitzki are on the floor together, a pairing that should create some matchup problems for the Heat.
After Tuesday's preseason loss at Oklahoma City, Nowitzki, who was just 2-of-10 from the field in his first NBA action since Game 6 of the NBA Finals last June, said he's slowly regaining his wind.
"It’s definitely better than what it was two weeks ago when we started camp," Nowitzki said. "I actually wasn’t joking about the amnesty thing two weeks ago. That’s how bad I looked. It’s been some hard work the last two weeks, but I’m still obviously not 100 percent."
Jason Kidd had joked early with Nowitzki earlier in camp that he was so out of shape that that the team was thinking about using the amnesty provision to waive him.
If Nowitzki, arguably the hardest worker on the team, if not the league, is sucking air, what's the condition of the rest of a team that will have a projected starting lineup that averages 34 years old with its top two reserves being 32 and 34?
"We’re making strides and we’ve got to keep working on it," coach Rick Carlisle said. "That’s another one of the differences in the this particular season is that the conditioning thing is not like coming out of a one-month training camp. We’re going to have to be mindful of it and keep working on it."
The other concern entering Sunday's season opener against the Miami Heat is that the Mavs have re-tooled on the fly with six players leaving and five coming in and have had only a condensed training camp to mesh. They have not even seen their starting lineup or any semblance of a real rotation in game action, while the Heat are unchanged other than the additions of Shane Battier and Eddy Curry.
"They’re in a good position because they have virtually their entire team back and they’ve added a couple of guys that are probably going to help them," Carlisle said. "There’ll be some teams in that boat, which is a good place to be, but I don’t know of a game this year that’s going to be an easy game, so there’s no point in kidding ourselves into thinking that any of these are going to be easy, and Christmas Day will be no different."
"For us, the biggest thing is that we’re playing with a great amount of persistence and a great amount of efficiency. That’s going to be the key for us early in the year."
Jason Terry, who along with Delonte West returned to practice Thursday after missing Tuesday's second preseason game with an illness, said none of that will matter when the season tips off at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the American Airlines Center.
"We’re tough. Our core guys are intact and we know how to play," Terry said. "The guys that have been here the longest have set the standard for the new guys and the new guys have fit in fairly well. But, again, not having a lot of time on the court, that’s not going to be an excuse. We’re going to come out and play hard and play Maverick basketball."
In other news:
* Guards Drew Neitzel and Jerome Randle have already been added to the D-League Texas Legends' roster. The Mavs waived both players Thursday. The D-League team retains their rights.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.