Dallas Mavericks: Jamal Crawford

Mavs mailbag: Is fifth seed within reach?

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18
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MavsAP Photo/Jim CowsertWith Portland struggling and LaMarcus Aldridge hurt, can the Mavericks climb to the No. 5 seed?

The Mavericks have won five of six, so the sunshine is pumping in the mailbag. On to the questions ...

With Portland struggling and LaMarcus Aldridge hurt, can the Mavs get as high as the 5th seed? -- @ParkerAllen41 on Twitter

Well, I gave up on the Mavs’ chances to get the sixth seed after they got blown out by Golden State last week, so maybe I’m the wrong guy to ask. Looking at the standings now, you can’t count out the Mavs moving up a spot or two. They’re only a game behind the Warriors, who are the Mavs’ final foe in this marathon homestand, and two and a half games behind Portland.

However, even with Aldridge’s return from a lower back contusion still at least a game or two away, I’d be stunned if the Mavs catch the Trail Blazers. The schedule is pretty kind the rest of the way for the Blazers, who play eight sub-.500 teams in the final 15 games.

Golden State plays eight sub-.500 foes in their final 14 games, so they’ve got a friendly schedule down the stretch, too.

My crystal ball still has the Mavs fighting with the Memphis Grizzlies for the seventh seed.

If the Mavs somehow advance in the playoffs and cause a few upsets along the way, how much of an impact will that have on their offseason decision making? Let's say they were to reach the conference finals. -- Jake (Philadelphia)

Man, this is a mighty optimistic mailbag. No, I don’t think a nice playoff run would change the Mavs’ offseason thought process much, if at all. No matter what, the Mavs will have a lot of cap space and will aggressively attempt to upgrade the roster.

SportsNation

What seed will the Mavs be in the playoffs?

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    34%
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    40%
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Discuss (Total votes: 6,730)

Dirk Nowitzki has committed to re-sign and take a “significant pay cut” from his $22.7 million salary. The goal is to give him the best possible chance of competing for another championship during his golden years. I don’t see the Mavs’ front office fooling itself into thinking the roster doesn’t need major tinkering because an old team made a surprising playoff run.

One thing a playoff run might affect is Devin Harris’ market value. He’ll be a free agent again this summer, and the Mavs obviously have interest in him returning. The question is how much they’re willing to pay. The three-year, $9-plus-million deal they agreed to before discovering he needed toe surgery sounds awfully good right now, at least to the Mavs. If Harris performs in the playoffs like he has lately, he might be able to get more money.

(Read full post)

Can Carter build Sixth Man of Year case?

February, 26, 2014
Feb 26
11:20
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DALLAS -- Want a sleeper candidate for Sixth Man of the Year? Take a look at the Dallas Mavericks’ old man.

If 37-year-old Vince Carter’s February foreshadows the rest of his regular season, the 1998-99 Rookie of the Year and eight-time All-Star should be considered for the award that recognizes the league’s most impactful reserve.

After all, the race is wide open if the Clippers’ Jamal Crawford ends up ineligible for the award because he plays more games as a starter than he does coming off the bench.

[+] EnlargeVince Carter
John Rhodes/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty ImageVince Carter followed a season-high, 23-point outing Monday in New York with a 17-point effort against the Pelicans on Wednesday.
The next leading bench scorers -- the Lakers’ Nick Young, Utah’s Alec Burks, Cleveland’s Dion Waiters and Detroit’s Rodney Stuckey -- are putting up numbers on poor teams.

Despite Carter’s slow start to the season, a case can be made that his name be included on a list of candidates, along with Phoenix’s Markieff Morris, Oklahoma City’s Reggie Jackson, Chicago’s Taj Gibson, Houston's Jeremy Lin and San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili.

His case will be stronger if the Mavs, who stand in sixth place in the Western Conference at the moment, keep winning.

“I’ll leave it to you guys to push that for me,” Carter said, chatting with a few reporters after scoring 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting in 22 minutes during Wednesday’s 108-89 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. That all came on the heels of his season-high 23-point performance in Monday's win against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

Carter has got a deal, as long as he holds up his end of the bargain.

He has to keep producing and contributing to the Mavs’ success like he has this month, when Carter has averaged 12.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists during an 11-3 run by Dallas.

The Mavs have outscored opponents by an average of 8.7 points per game with Carter on the floor during that stretch. That gives Carter, who has flourished since a healthy Brandan Wright and Devin Harris were added to the Mavs’ bench, a plus-minus that’s the best on the team by almost two points per night during the team’s hot streak.

“Vince has been looking great,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “Really just coming in being instant offense, like he was last year, when he was probably our best player all season. Just having great rhythm.

“He’s been playing well, and you know we need him to score. He’s a playmaker for us, not only a shot-maker. We want him to run screen-and-rolls. We post him. He makes plays for other out of the pick-and-rolls, gets other guys open. We rely on him a lot, and he knows that. He’s been great.”

Can “Old Man, Occasionally Amazing” sustain that level of play?

“I can handle that,” said Carter, who replaced Jason Terry as the Mavs’ sixth man and embraced the role before last season. “I can do that. No problem, I can do that. I feel comfortable.

“When I get in the game, I know what’s expected of me, and I think more than anything, our chemistry is what’s elevating everyone’s game. It can happen.”

If Carter keeps rolling, he might have a Sixth Man of the Year case. And the Mavs will have a playoff berth.
ESPNDallas.com will compare the Mavericks and Clippers in five facets -- other than money -- that could play a role in Chris Paul's free agency decision in a one-per-day series: owners/front office, coaches, co-stars, supporting casts and franchise tradition. We'll focus on Dwight Howard next week.

Here’s where the Mavs have to make a heck of a sales pitch.

PODCAST
Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Mavericks news, Dirk Nowitzki and much more.

Listen Listen
It wouldn’t be difficult for the Mavs to create enough cap space to give Chris Paul a max deal while keeping Shawn Marion and Vince Carter. That might give the Mavs a chance to be competitive next season, but the opportunity to play with a couple of savvy veterans with expiring contracts isn’t going to convince Paul to leave Los Angeles.

To have any hope, the Mavs must make Paul believe in their ability to build a legitimate contender around him next summer. And that’s where the dollars difference between Dirk Nowitzki and Blake Griffin might matter.

Nowitzki is on record as saying he’ll take a “significant pay cut” when he re-signs with Dallas next year, which guarantees that the Mavs can be major players again in the 2014 free agency market. Griffin’s five-year max deal kicks in next season, starting with a $13.7 million salary that increases by a little more than $1 million each year.

Worry about the semantics of what “significant” means if you wish, but Nowitzki has made it clear that his salary won’t get in the way of the Mavs making major upgrades after his current contract expires. The Clippers won’t have nearly as much flexibility with two max players plus center DeAndre Jordan due to make $21.4 million over the next two seasons.

PODCAST
ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett discuss the upcoming NBA draft and possible moves the Mavericks could make.

Listen Listen
It’s not enough to get Paul to envision the personnel possibilities in Dallas. The Mavs brass has to get CP3 excited about them. It’s a virtual lock that Dallas will be a preferred destination if Paul is running the point and the Mavs have ample cap space.

Hey, did you know CP3 and LeBron James (who can opt out of his contract next summer) are great buddies? Too far-fetched? OK, how about DeMarcus Cousins coming to Dallas as a restricted free agent?

The Clippers have a couple of complementary talents in addition to Griffin already locked up. You can argue that Jordan is overpaid, but he’s a young big man with freakish athleticism. Jamal Crawford, who has three years remaining on his midlevel deal, is a perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate.

The Clippers also have a couple of assets that could be extremely attractive in the trade market this season: restricted free agent-to-be point guard Eric Bledsoe, who is stuck as Paul’s backup but good enough to start for a lot of teams; and the $8 million expiring contract of Caron Butler.

The Clippers’ supporting cast looks better on paper. The Mavs leave a lot more room for the imagination.

EDGE: Clippers, unless Mark Cuban manages to convince CP3 otherwise.

Buy or Bye: O.J. Mayo

April, 28, 2013
4/28/13
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ESPNDallas.com will estimate the market value for each of the Mavericks' eight free agents and examine their worth to the Mavs in a once-per-day series.

O.J. Mayo


SportsNation

Should the Mavericks buy into or say goodbye to O.J. Mayo?

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    39%

Discuss (Total votes: 2,804)

After opting out of the second year of his contract, O.J. Mayo declared that he hoped to sign a long-term deal to stay in Dallas.

Coach Rick Carlisle, who had vented his frustration with Mayo just a few days earlier, made it clear that he’d welcome the shooting guard back.

“I like O.J. a lot,” Carlisle said. “I think he fits into what we’re doing. Like everything else in this world, this is probably going to come down to money.”

In relative terms, there wasn’t much of a market for Mayo last summer, when the former third overall pick hit free agency after struggling as a sixth man during his final two seasons in Memphis. He took a little less money to come to the Mavs, hoping that a year of work with Carlisle would boost his value.

We’ll see this summer whether that happened after a hot-and-cold season for Mayo that ended with an icy stretch.

The Mavs won’t break the bank to keep Mayo. They consider him capable of starting for a contender, but they don’t view him as a cornerstone player.

If Dallas doesn’t keep Mayo, the Mavs will have to address a major hole in the lineup. He led the Mavs in points, was second in scoring and second in assists.

But the free agent market will be flooded with starting-caliber shooting guards. Reasonably priced alternatives could include Monta Ellis, J.J. Redick, Kevin Martin, Tyreke Evans, Randy Foye, Tony Allen and Nick Young. (Not listed due to price/probability of staying with their current contenders: J.R. Smith, Manu Ginobili and Andre Iguodala.)

2012-13 stats: Averaged 15.3 points, 4.4 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 2.6 turnovers in 35.5 minutes per game. Shot 44.9 percent from the floor and 40.7 percent from 3-point range.

Age: 25

Comps:

DeMar DeRozan – Averaged 18.1 points, 2.5 assists, 3.9 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 1.8 turnovers in 36.7 minutes per game. Shot 44.5 percent from the floor and 28.3 percent from 3-point range. Signed four-year, $38 million deal in 2012.

Jamal Crawford – Averaged 16.5 points, 2.5 assists, 1.7 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.9 turnovers in 29.3 minutes per game. Shot 43.8 percent from the floor and 37.6 percent from 3-point range. Signed four-year, $21.4 million deal in 2012.

Eric Gordon – Averaged 17.0 points, 3.3 assists, 1.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 2.8 turnovers in 30.1 minutes per game. Shot 40.2 percent from the floor and 32.4 percent from 3-point range. Signed four-year, $58 million deal in 2012.

Joe Johnson – Averaged 16.3 points, 3.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 1.7 turnovers in 36.7 minutes per game. Shot 42.3 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from 3-point range. Signed six-year, $123.7 million deal in 2010.

Arron Afflalo – Averaged 16.5 points, 3.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 0.6 steals and 2.2 turnovers in 36.0 minutes per game. Shot 43.9 percent from the floor and 30.0 percent from 3-point range. Signed five-year, $38 million deal in 2011.

Wesley Matthews – Averaged 14.8 points, 2.5 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.6 turnovers in 34.8 minutes per game. Shot 43.6 percent from the floor and 39.8 percent from 3-point range. Signed five-year, $26.8 million deal in 2010.

Estimated contract: How many millions did Mayo cost himself by struggling down the stretch? At the All-Star break, it appeared that Mayo might get a four-year deal in the $40 million range. Now, $25 million over four years sounds more likely. The Mavs might not want to go above the midlevel exception (four years, $21.4 million).

Vince Carter has earned eight All-Star appearances, the Rookie of the Year award and an Olympic gold medal during a career that has made a strong case for the Hall of Fame.

Carter’s boss would like to nominate him for another honor.

[+] EnlargeCarter
AP Photo/Duane BurlesonVince Carter's complete all-around game probably won't net much love from voters for the Sixth Man of the Year, but he's getting plenty from Mark Cuban. "He's basically been our best player."
“If we had a better record, he'd be a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, if not the leading candidate,” Mark Cuban said recently. “He's basically been our best player.”

This is the first time in Carter’s 15-year career that he’s been featured in a reserve role, although he came off the bench occasionally last season. Carter has embraced being a sixth man, a role that makes it easier for coach Rick Carlisle to manage the 36-year-old’s minutes but puts Carter in position to make a major impact.

“I told coach from the beginning of the year that I was willing to do whatever and take on any role,” said Carter, who knew the Mavs would need scoring off the bench when former Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry left for Boston. “Obviously, I’m definitely comfortable in this role. It’s a comfortable role because it’s who I am. I like to make plays and put the ball in the basket and find open guys.”

Carter, who has moved past Hal Greer, Larry Bird and Gary Payton this season to climb to 28th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, can still fill it up. He’s averaging 13.1 points in 25.3 minutes per game. The Mavs are 7-2 when Carter scores at least 20 points, including his 22-point outing in Sunday’s win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Carter is also arguably the most complete player among the Sixth Man of the Year candidates. He’s a smart, unselfish facilitator (2.1 assists per game), solid rebounder (4.0 per game) and an extremely underrated defender. (The Mavs allow 7.5 fewer points per 100 possessions with Carter on the floor than when he sits, according to 82games.com.)

The Mavs’ 29-33 record isn’t a reflection of Carter’s performance. In fact, his plus-minus of plus-151 ranks as the best on the team by 100 points.

Alas, there are too many quality sixth men from contenders for Carter to get serious consideration for the award. The Clippers’ Jamal Crawford, who leads bench players with 17.2 points per game, is considered the favorite in a field that also features the Knicks’ J.R. Smith, Thunder’s Kevin Martin, Warriors’ Jarrett Jack, Jazz’s Gordon Hayward and Spurs’ Manu Ginobili. Add the Hornets’ Ryan Anderson if you want to include a sixth man putting up stellar numbers on a losing squad.

Carter will be an afterthought in the Sixth Man of the Year voting. However, his professionalism and production are greatly appreciated by the Mavs, beginning with the man who signs the checks.

Rapid Reaction: Clippers 112, Mavericks 90

December, 6, 2012
12/06/12
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How it happened: Chris Paul, Chris Paul and some more Chris Paul.

The point guard, who Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle dubbed "probably the best in the game" in his pregame interview, had 14 points, 13 assists and five steals. He exerted his will from start to finish and harassed the Mavs' backcourt all night.

But Paul had a lot of help, too.

Blake Griffin, fresh off a 30-point, 11-rebound performance in Utah, chipped in with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Jamal Crawford added 20 points off the bench, including a four-point play off an O.J. Mayo foul.

Speaking of Mayo, the Mavericks' leading scorer came back down to earth Wednesday, scoring only 11 points on 4-for-12 shooting. The Clippers paid specific attention to him any time he touched the ball, which resulted in seven assists, tying his season-high.

With Mayo struggling, the Mavs looked elsewhere for offensive production and found it in Vince Carter (16 points off the bench), Derek Fisher (15 points), Chris Kaman (14 points) and Shawn Marion (14 points).

In a perturbing road trend, the Mavericks turned the ball over 22 times, resulting in 26 points off of turnovers for the Clippers. Even worse, 18 of those turnovers came off Clipper steals, a clear sign that the Mavericks were not making smart decisions offensively.

The Clippers took control in the second quarter, when they outscored the Mavericks 29-15 over the final 8:14 and turned the contest into a blowout. L.A. also outrebounded the Mavs 49-41 and held Dallas to just 40.5 percent shooting from the field.

What it means: The Mavericks, who have lost five of their last seven games, drop to 8-10 on the season and a disappointing 2-7 on the road. What's worse is that five of those seven road losses have been by double-digits. They will look to bounce back in Phoenix on Thursday.

Play of the game: Crawford's four-point play with 3:15 remaining in the second quarter. The basket, which was preceded by consecutive 3-pointers by Caron Butler and Crawford, gave the Clippers an 18-point lead and established permanent control. Crawford is the all-time leader in four-point plays with 34 throughout his 13-year career.

Stat of the night: "Paint points," as Carlisle referred to them prior to tipoff. The Clippers outscored the Mavericks 62-30 in the paint and it wasn't even that close. Wednesday's loss showed the limitations of the Mavericks' front line against more athletic opposition.

Sizing up the competition: L.A. Clippers

August, 22, 2012
8/22/12
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Third in a series looking at the five teams ahead of the Dallas Mavericks in our early 2012-13 Western Conference rankings and how the revamped Mavs match up.

No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers
There is not a more beleaguered coach in the league than Vinny Del Negro. During a particularly trying spell last season in which the Clippers went 7-12 bridging February and March, some pundit on a daily basis was calling for Del Negro's head on a platter, and it even seemed as though the players were fed up, too. But then something happened. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Co., won six in a row to right the ship, and they closed out the final 19 regular-season games with a 14-5 record. They produced one of the most remarkable comebacks in playoff history in Game 1 on the Memphis Grizzlies' floor and then won there again in Game 7 despite Paul and Griffin being badly banged up. Sure, the Clips were easy pickings for the rolling San Antonio Spurs in the second round, but Del Negro -- for better or worse -- kept his job. The Clippers, who won 40 games for the first time since 2006-07 despite playing just 66 games and at least that many for just the sixth time in Clippers franchise history, look to have the pieces in place to build upon that this season.

[+] EnlargeClippers
Kirby Lee/US PresswireThe Clippers hope Blake Griffin is healthy and can expand his offensive game, which would make him and Chris Paul an even more formidable combo.
Last season's results (Clippers won, 2-1)
@Clippers 91, Mavs 89
@Mavs 96, Clippers 92
Clippers 94, @Mavs 75

This season's games
Dec. 5: @Clippers
Jan. 9: @Clippers
March 26: vs. Clippers

What's changed?
First off, the Clippers hope the knee injury Griffin sustained in July working out with Team USA is a non-issue when training camp opens (as well as Paul's surgically repaired thumb). It might also serve as another signal for Griffin to find less violent ways to play the game and score the basketball. The All-Star power forward is widely criticized for possessing little offensive prowess outside of catching lobs and punishing defenders on his way to a posterizing dunk. Even so, Griffin has averaged a double-double in each of his first two seasons, averaging at least 20 points in both. He averaged 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds last season, so if he does develop a true low-post game, the 6-foot-10, 251-pounder will be downright scary if not indefensible. The Clippers believe they've enhanced their roster, starting with the return of veteran guard Chauncey Billups, who missed 46 games last season with an Achilles injury. Grant Hill is one of several new additions. The 39-year-old was brought on board for his heady defense and his steady head. They also signed sharpshooter Jamal Crawford to replace Randy Foye and Mo Williams. The wild card acquisition was taking Lamar Odom off the Mavs' hands. The Clips will pay Odom his full $8.2 million and they hope to get a rejuvenated effort out of one of the league's most versatile forwards.

How the Mavs match up
No one can seriously claim they match up well with CP3, but as with the Nuggets' Ty Lawson and the Spurs' Tony Parker, Dallas can now at least shadow Paul with the youth and quickness of Darren Collison, as well as O.J. Mayo. L.A.'s backcourt could be dynamic with Paul fresh off winning the gold medal, Billups returning, Eric Bledsoe healthy again and Crawford popping 3s off the bench. The front court will also be a load. Mavs center Chris Kaman will likely be assigned to Griffin, just as Brendan Haywood was last season, allowing Dirk Nowitzki to handle the mostly negligible offensive threat of Clips center DeAndre Jordan. Sturdy defender Elton Brand will be a welcome addition to take turns on Griffin as well as Odom, whom Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson has predicted a big season for in his return to his cherished L.A. And then there's still the toughness of Caron Butler, who played in the postseason with a broken wrist, and the declining but still dangerous mid-range game of old man Hill. At least Shawn Marion knows he won't have to tackle Paul this time around. All-in-all, the Mavs possess more speed and athleticism on the perimeter to play with the Clips, but this looks to be a very difficult matchup, particularly in a seven-game playoff series.

Previous entries
No. 5: Denver Nuggets
No. 4 San Antonio Spurs
DALLAS -- The game within the game tonight features two guys capable of instant offense off the bench and who have little bit of a turf battle at stake, too.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Jamal Crawford won the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award two seasons ago. Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry won it the year before. Both enter tonight's game as their teams' second-leading scorers. Both are from nearby areas of Seattle and attended rival high schools.

Terry, 34, is three years older than Crawford, but don't think that doesn't mean the rivalry isn't any less intense.

"Last year we were on the court and I was like, 'Jet, you're not getting Sixth Man this year, you've started too many games,'" Crawford said. "He was at the free throw line, he didn't even look up and he said, 'Nope, I ain't starting no more,' and he didn't start another single game."

(Last season's Sixth Man winner, Lamar Odom, is also in the house tonight, although his chances of a repeat are rather low.)

Crawford signed with Portland this season after winning the Sixth Man award with the Atlanta Hawks. He's coming off a 31-point game in Friday's win at New Orleans and is averaging 14.6 points a game. Terry is averaging 14.8 points a game.

"Jet was one of the first guys from my area to make it in the NBA," Crawford said. "So he's definitely one of the pioneers from our area because it was Mike Dickerson, Doug Christie, Jet, that was kind of our era that we could relate, too. It's always fun to be around him."

As Mavs seek 3-game streak, did you know ...

January, 11, 2012
1/11/12
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As we all know, the Elias Sports Bureau comes up with some amazing stats and information that makes you wonder, how'd they find that?

Here's a few tidbits as the Dallas Mavericks look for a three-game winning streak to move above .500 for the first time this season when they play at the Boston Celtics tonight (7 p.m., ESPN):

* The Mavs made their first eight shots from the field Tuesday night against the Pistons. It was the longest such streak to begin a game for any NBA team this season and was the first time that Dallas started a game 8-for-8 or better from the floor since March 15, 2011 at Portland, when the Mavs made their first 11 shots, but lost the game, 104–101.

* Dirk Nowitzki has more assists on 3-point field goals this season (16) than he has on two-pointers (10). Nowitzki’s total of 3-point assists is a team high (next-most: Jason Terry, 13).

* Jason Terry’s 14.1 PPG scoring average in 344 career games off the bench is the highest among active players who have played at least 300 games as a non-starter. The next-highest career scoring averages off the bench for active players belong to Leandro Barbosa (12.0 PPG), Jamal Crawford (12.0), Corey Maggette (12.0) and Jerry Stackhouse (11.8).

* North Carolina has produced 12 current NBA players, but the Mavericks are the only team with as many as three former Tar Heels: Vince Carter, Brendan Haywood and Brandan Wright.

* The Celtics have been credited with assists on a league-high 66 percent of their field goals this season and the Mavs have the second-highest percentage in the league (64 percent). The league average for assisted field goals this season is 57 percent.

* Mickael Pietrus could make his Celtics debut tonight. Pietrus would be the fourth French-born player in Celtics history, joining Dominique Wilkins, Jerome Moiso and Michael Stewart. The Mavs have two players with French roots, center Ian Mahinmi and guard Rodrigue Beaubois.

* Rick Carlisle is 13–11 in games coached against Doc Rivers. Their coaching rivalry dates back to November 2001, when Carlisle was with Detroit and Rivers coached Orlando. Rivers was hired as the Celtics head coach on April 29, 2004. The only NBA head coach with a longer tenure in his current job than Rivers is Gregg Popovich (hired December 10, 1996). Despite Rivers’ long tenure with Boston, he is younger than 16 current NBA head coaches.

* And finally, the Celtics are 1–5 in home games against defending NBA champions over the last six seasons. Boston’s lone home win over a defending champion over that span (2005–06 through 2010–11) was against San Antonio on February 10, 2008.

Jason Terry takes 2nd in Sixth Man voting

April, 19, 2011
4/19/11
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DALLAS -- Jason Terry vowed to reclaim the Sixth Man of the Year award this season. He came close, but finished second for the second consecutive season, this time to Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom.

Odom is the first player in Lakers history to win the award, which has been presented since 1983. He finished sixth in the voting in 2010. Atlanta's Jamal Crawford won it last season with Terry finishing runner-up after taking the award in 2009.

Odom received 96 of 117 first-place votes from the media panel, easily outdistancing Terry, who finished with 244 total points to Odom's 513. Philadelphia's Thaddeus Young was third with 76 points, and Boston's Glen Davis finished fourth with 75.

Terry's focus now is getting his game going in the playoffs. He's coming off two-subpar postseasons and had just 10 points on 2-of-5 shooting in Game 1 vs. the Portland Trail Blazers.

Jason Terry backs hot play with bold words

February, 14, 2011
2/14/11
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DALLAS -- Jason Terry entered this season vowing to re-claim the Sixth Man of the Year Award that Jamal Crawford took away last season. After a sizzling February so far, Terry thinks he's positioned himself in front.

"I put a stranglehold back on that Sixth Man title," Terry said after Monday's practice, "and hopefully pretty soon people will start talking about how [I'm] the best sixth man in the business again. Look what I’ve been able to do in the month of February. Pretty consistent."

Terry, along with J.J. Barea, have led a huge charge by the Mavericks' bench. Terry is averaging 18.1 points on 47.4 percent shooting (45-of-95) in February. He's hit 10-of-26 (38.4 percent) from 3-point range, although a big 6-of-8 night at Denver Nuggets helped bolster that number.

But there's no denying that Terry has stepped up his scoring. He slumped after a strong stretch earlier in the season marked by torried shooting in the fourth quarter. Excluding Saturday's cool-down in Houston (2-of-7, seven points) that snapped a season-high of four consecutive games with 20 points or more, Terry's as hot as he's been all season.

Behind Terry, Barea and Shawn Marion, the Mavs' bench is crushing their opponents. The bench scored 72 points at Denver, a league high this season and, according to hoopsstats.com, the Mavs' bench leads the league in point-differential.

"As a whole our bench, we’re not getting talked about a lot, but pretty soon people will start noticing," Terry said. "We’re second to none. We’re the best bench in basketball. You look at what J.J.’s been able to do with his penetration, the impact that Trix [Marion] makes on both ends of the floor and then my ability to score baskets at will off the bench, I don’t see any other team doing that."

As for Barea's impact, really since Jan. 1 when he's become a highly confident scorer, Terry kept the bold comments rolling. Asked when Barea will start to get more respect, Terry answered: "After we get to the [NBA] Finals this year and win it all and then they’ll realize what all he means to this team."

Terry finishes second in Sixth Man voting

April, 27, 2010
4/27/10
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Jason Terry relinquished his 2008-09 Sixth Man of the Year award on Tuesday to Jamal Crawford of the Atlanta Hawks.

Crawford received 110 first-place votes to run away with the voting. Terry finished second with six first-place votes. It was not the greatest season for Terry, who averaged 16.6 points, three points below last season's average when he won the award. Terry's shooting percentage dropped from 46.3 percent to 43.8 percent.

Crawford, in his 10th season and first with the Hawks, averaged 18.0 points and 3.0 assists during the regular season.

Here's how the top six finished:

Player, Team (Total points)
Jamal Crawford, Atl (580)
Jason Terry, Dal (220)
Anderson Varejao, Cle (126)
Manu Ginobili, SA (75)
JR Smith, Den (33)
Lamar Odom, LAL (25)

Dallas has NBA's best duo down the stretch

April, 1, 2010
4/01/10
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Critics of the Mavs’ point to margin of victory as evidence that this team isn’t as good as its record indicates.

Surely, there must be a lot of luck involved for a team that is 18-5 in games decided by five or fewer points. Never mind that the Mavs had an almost identical record in such games last season.

Perhaps the Mavs’ success in close contests also has something to do with the fact that they have the most productive pair of fourth-quarter scorers in the NBA.

Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry combined to average 12.8 points per fourth quarter/overtime entering Wednesday, according to numbers crunched by ESPN Research. That figure is a notch higher after Dirk dropped 19 by himself as the Mavs rallied from a double-digit deficit down the stretch in Memphis.

One theory I’ve heard is that the fourth quarter stats are padded for Dirk and Jet because the Mavs struggle to put teams away, so Dallas doesn’t get much garbage time. But that doesn’t hold water when you look at the other pairs who rank among the top five in fourth quarter scoring: Denver’s Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, Cleveland’s LeBron James and Mo Williams, Atlanta’s Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

All those pairs play for playoff teams on pace to win at least 50 games. And the Thunder (12-12), a baby-faced bunch, is the only team among the five who doesn’t have a winning record in games decided by five or fewer points.

The hunch here is that the Mavs will continue to rack up wins in tight games as long as they have a duo that fills it up in the fourth quarter as well as any other in the NBA. They are indeed lucky to have two proven, premier clutch scorers.

The Come Up: Round 2 vs. the Lakers (and Cowboys)

January, 11, 2010
1/11/10
8:49
AM CT
Monday means “The Come Up” -- and for the second consecutive week, the Mavs head into a Monday coming off of a head-hanging loss. Wednesday provides an opportunity for redemption, Friday night brings the new Ice to town and Sunday starts a cold road trip with the Mavs playing opposite the playoff Cowboys -- again. And it go a ‘lil summin’ like this:

I want revenge ...

A week ago, the Lakeshow rolled the Mavs to the tune of 131-96 in what was a painful-to-watch performance on both ends of the floor for Dallas. And believe it or not, it’s LA who’s been struggling since last Sunday.

The Lakers have the best record in the league (29-8), but they head into Tuesday night’s game against the Spurs having lost three road games in a row. Pau Gasol hasn’t played since he strained his left hammy in the first quarter against the Mavs last Sunday.

But the biggest reason the Lakers are stumbling has to do with Kobe Bryant's broken right index finger. Because he’s Kobe, he won’t miss any time as he grinds through games attempting different splint approaches in an attempt to play through. And because he’s Kobe, the Lakers will grind through nights of high-volume bricking.

In Sunday’s night blowout of the Bucks, Kobe was 4-21 from the floor. And that’s right on par with his recent shooting trend. In his last four games, Kobe is 37–111 -- or what calculators like to call 33 percent. He’s still averaging right at 25 a night during that span, but the efficiency obviously isn’t there.

One dude who has had it together is big Andrew Bynum, who is coming off his third straight double-double.

So you have hurt Kobe, probably inactive Gasol and the road-troubled Lakers coming to town on the second night of a back-to-back. If you can’t get your revenge with those parameters, it may be time for a pulse check.

A new I-35 rival?

Last Friday, Dallas handled their hated rival to the South -- San Antone. This Friday night, the Mavericks host the young guns from the North in what I’m thinking will be Dallas’ pesky new rival for the next few years.

I realize that the Oklahoma City Thunder plays in a different division, and that somewhat complicates that idea, but don’t be surprised if Friday night’s game is a preview of a first-round playoff series.

The last time we scribbled about the Thunder in The Come Up, we noted the offensive brilliance of Kevin Durant. But we also took note of their new attention to defense that had been perhaps the biggest reason for the Thunder's ascension to playoff-worthy basketball.

So what happened in that first meeting?

Dallas held Durant to 12 points on 4-18 shooting while hitting half its own shots in running away in the fourth quarter of a 100-86 victory. Since then? Durant had one stretch of seven straight games where he hung 30 or more on whoever got in his way. At the tender age of 21, Durant is one of the most effortless scorers in the NBA and will no doubt end the season in the top five.

The Thunder (20-16) have won seven of their last nine heading into Monday's home game against the Knicks. Their arrow is pointing up in a big, big way.

Opposite the Cowboys again?

You know the story. Anything happening in The Dub opposite a Dallas Cowboys playoff game is a tough proposition. And for the second consecutive weekend, the Mavs face a tough proposition.

Sunday road games tipping during lunch should be banned. But Sunday road games tipping half an hour before kickoff of a Cowboy playoff game is downright cruel.

The Raptors have actually come to life in their last 10, winning eight and pulling themselves back into the Eastern Conference playoff conversation at 19-19.

You’ll remember early November when Toronto came to town and allowed the Mavs to score 129 in what was a laughable defensive “effort.” Not that these guys are suddenly playing Fratello-ball, but it should be noted that, during their recent run, the Raps have held five of their 10 opponents to under 100 points.

But it’s not as if anybody is noticing. Most stories about Toronto these days have to do with where Chris Bosh will sign this summer or if he’ll actually be traded by the deadline in February. As most know, CB4 is part of the much ballyhooed 2010 free agent class.

Interesting side note, former Mav great and current ESPN hoops analyst Jamal Mashburn had Bosh on his All-Underrated team Sunday night at halftime of the Portland-Cleveland broadcast. Bosh is a max contract dude who rolls out 24 and 11 a night on 52 percent shooting and is a member of Team USA. Also making appearances on Mash's All-Underrated team were Meryl Streep, Mexican food and petroleum.

Can’t believe the Cowboys didn’t get a nod. There’s your week.

The Come Up: Previewing the week ahead

November, 30, 2009
11/30/09
8:18
AM CT
It's Monday, and that means it's time for “The Come Up” -- we look ahead at how the week lays out for the Dallas Mavericks.

Will Erick Dampier get the clearance to put the mystery illness behind him and take the floor? When will the mystery of Josh Howard’s ankle pain be solved? Three sub-.500 squads followed by one of the beasts of the East on this week’s schedule -- and it go a ‘lil summin’ like this …

Is The Answer the answer?

On Monday night, the Mavericks will host a Sixers team mired in a mountain of controversy, injuries and losing. The controversy, of course, is about whether or not the Sixers should bring Allen Iverson back into the fold. One report that surfaced last week had Sixers coach Eddie Jordan flying out to meet with A.I. immediately following tonight's game against Dallas.

Elton Brand
Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty ImagesElton Brand
The reason the A.I. question is being posed is because the Sixers have been slowed early by injuries. Marreese Speights was off to a great offensive start before a partial MCL tear in his left knee sidelined him until sometime in early 2010. Lou Williams was good for 17 a night on 50 percent shooting before a broken grill put him on the shelf for eight weeks. Early reports are that Elton Brand will return tonight after missing three games with a sore hammy.

As you may have suspected, the injuries have been followed by the losing. At 5-12, Philly is one of the worst teams in the East and roll into town for the second night of a back-to-back after San Antonio dropped them for their sixth consecutive loss last night. Andre Iguodala stuffs the stat sheet every night (last night he delivered 21/8/7 with 5 steals and 3 blocks) but there’s just not enough help right now.

Then again, if things were going well would anyone have even remotely entertained the idea of The Answer? Exactly.

Historic night

Remember last year when the Mavs went to Jersey in December and Devin Harris dropped 41 and 13 as The Nets rolled by 24? It’ll be a pretty different vibe this year.

On Wednesday night, the Nets will be playing to avoid the worst start by any team in league history at 0-18. And the Mavs will be playing to not be that team -- you know, the one that lost to the Nets.

How bad are they? Heading into last night’s loss to the Lakers, the Nets were averaging an NBA-low 85.6 points and shooting an also league-worst 40.3 percent from the field.

The good news is that Brook Lopez is really emerging as a nice inside presence going for 18 and 9 a night with 2.5 blocks for good measure. I also think Chris Douglas-Roberts and Terrence Williams have nice futures in the NBA. It just must seem so far off in the distant, distant future for those two dudes.

Both teams will put enormous pressure on themselves not to lose -- way more than normal. If the Mavs drop this one, it’ll make the Golden State loss last week seem respectable by comparison.

Friday night BBQ

Rudy Gay
Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty ImagesRudy Gay
The Mavs head to Memphis for the first time this season Friday night. They have no excuse to look past the Grizz towards Saturday night’s game against Hotlanta considering they dropped both of their roadies at Memphis last year.

Memphis is actually a pretty salty offensive team with scoring machines Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph dropping a combined 40 a night. The problem is that both of those dudes hate playing defense like it was going to keep them from feeding their families. But that’s a team-wide issue as well. Grizz opponents shoot a shade under 50 percent from the field, a shade under 40 percent from behind the arc, and score a shade under 107 a night.

Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo are outstanding young players. Mike Conley is still an enormous question mark and actually seems to be trending down. And surely I’m not the only one amused by the Grizz parting ways with A.I. only to replace him with Jamaal Tinsley. Now that’s leadership. Good luck kids.

One of the elite?

Dallas and Atlanta came into this season in similar positions -- teams that were regarded as good but a tick or two below the so-called best teams in their conference. And while it’s early, both teams have spent some time in first place in their respective conferences so far.

The Hawks are absolutely loaded with dudes who can stick the ball in the basket. Their only major difference at the top of their regular rotation of guys is that Jamal Crawford has replaced Flip Murray as designated bench scorer and he is second on the team in that department to Joe Johnson’s 21.7 with 16.8 of his own.

They are extremely long and athletic along their frontline with Marvin Williams, Josh Smith and Al Horford -- which affords them the opportunity to competently “switch” screen situations on defense.

Assuming Josh isn’t back by Saturday, Carlisle might lean towards giving Quinton Ross the start ahead of Rodrigue Beaubois so that Dallas can have the extra length in defending Johnson. Both teams will be on the second nights of a back-to-backs and both teams will be eager to throw down the gauntlet against a quality opponent. Get ready for a little Uptown Saturday Night action -– this is easily the best game of the week.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9