Dallas Mavericks: Rasheed Wallace
*With 15 points in the 102-84 win, Vince Carter passed David Robinson (20,790 points) for 33rd place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
*Dallas scored the first five points in the win and never relinquished that lead. It’s the third time already this season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, that the Mavericks never trailed or were even tied. The Mavs had only one such game during the 2010-11 regular season and only one during its postseason run to the championship (Game 3’s 93-87 victory over Oklahoma City in the West finals.)
*The Mavericks have held their last nine opponents under 100 points and rank No. 5 in the league in scoring defense at 91.3 points per game allowed. Even without Tyson Chandler, Dallas ranks fourth in the league in defensive efficiency, allowing just 96.2 points per 100 possessions.
*Going back to Monday night, Dirk Nowitzki’s 11 points in the fourth quarter marked the first time all season he scored in double digits in the final period. Dirk did that 12 times last season. Yet over the past seven games, Nowitzki has averaged 23.7 points on 50.8-percent shooting, compared to 16.2 points per game on 43.0-percent shooting in the Mavs’ first 19 games.
*With one more block, Nowitzki will have 1,000 for his career, making him just the third player in league history to rack up 1,000 career 3-pointers and 1,000 career swats, joining Clifford Robinson and Rasheed Wallace. Jason Kidd, meanwhile, is five steals away from tying Michael Jordan for second place on the NBA’s all-time thefts list (2,14) behind John Stockton (3,265). At 38 days and 331 years old, Kidd is the fourth-oldest active player in the league behind Portland’s Kurt Thomas (39 years, 136 days old), Phoenix’s Grant Hill (39-135) and Miami’s Juwan Howard (39-10).
You won't hear any regret now -- from Mavs fans or the Mavs themselves -- after Dallas managed to acquire two front-line players (Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood) and some additional depth (DeShawn Stevenson) in the trade they did end up swinging with Washington.
Iguodala's defensive potential is considerable. Ditto for his versatility. There's also little doubt he'd get better looks from the perimeter than he's ever seen playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki, just as Jason Kidd has discovered.
Yet the question persists whether he shoots the ball well enough at his position to justify that contract, especially since the Mavs have at times been punished in recent years for their lack of floor-spreading options outside of Nowitzki beyond Jason Terry and the ever-improving Kidd. The Sixers have been imploring Iguodala for years to attack the rim more, but he: (A) continues to hoist; and (B) insists his overall game has been hampered by a worsening case of plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
Seventy-one players have attempted at least 200 triples this season ... but Iguodala is one of just five such players shooting less than 30 percent from 3. Those five:
Rasheed Wallace (Boston) 27.8 percent
Baron Davis (Los Angeles Clippers) 28.4 percent
Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia) 28.5 percent
Dwyane Wade (Miami) 29.3 percent
Mike Dunleavy (Indiana) 29.7 percent
Wallace gets a chance to back up his words Saturday night, when the Boston Celtics visit American Airlines Center.
Wallace already paid for popping off after the Mavs' 99-90 win in Boston. The NBA fined him $35,000 for the following comments:
"You know, they don’t like no tough defense on [Nowitzki] so of course I get a whole lot of [expletive] calls, but that’s how the story goes,” he said. “I ain’t worried about it. We’ll see them again. Honestly, I can’t remember which one the fourth foul was, there were so many bogus [calls]. I ain’t worried about it. Like I said, we’ll see them again. We go down there in about a month or so. There will be retribution."
Nowitzki, who shrugged off the comments at the time, didn't make himself available for comment after the Mavs' practice Friday. Teammate Jason Terry and coach Rick Carlisle weren't concerned in the least about Wallace's ref critique or retribution vow.
"Anytime you’re playing against a star player, hey, the referees are going to call it tight," Terry said. "You can’t put your hands on guys like Dirk, Kobe, Durant."
Added Carlisle: "The referees are going to call it the way it is. And if they don’t, they get in trouble with the league office."
Whether the refs were right or wrong, it was Wallace who got in hot water with the league office after the last Mavs-Celtics meeting. If anything, his words then might make this officiating crew a bit quicker with the whistle when he's defending Dirk or complaining about calls.
MLK Day matchup of two struggling division leaders
The Celts are a healthy 27-11, but it’s somewhat deceiving. They are 8-1 against the tepid competition in the Atlantic Division and have struggled in their last 10 games, winning only four and losing their last two home games to Chicago and Atlanta.
Injuries are the primary culprit. Kevin Garnett has missed time recently with a hyper-extended knee but isn’t expected back until Friday. Rasheed Wallace has missed the last three games with a foot sprain, but is expected back for tonight’s tip. Paul Pierce banged his previously hurt knee in practice yesterday. Doc Rivers must be praying he’s OK. Brian Scalabrine has started the last three games. Seriously.
The Mavericks had some huge individual milestones in the last week as The Big German passed the 20,000 mark in points and Jason Kidd entered the top five in NBA history in three-pointers made. They’re both chasing Ray Allen.
Dirk enters Monday’s game 231 points behind Allen, who is also 804 3-pointers up on Kidd. Dirk will eventually catch Allen and leave him in the dust. If he stays healthy, Allen will pass Reggie Miller as the all-time downtown champ sometime late next season (he needs 198 more to pass Miller’s 2,560).
Did I mention that the Mavs were reeling? Out East?
And sometimes they play basketball, too
The Mavs play The Wiz on Wednesday night, but it’s hard to find any news on what’s been going on with these guys lately.
What are you supposed to write here? Even the most casual of hoops fan is completely aware of what a toxic situation exists in Washington right now. These dudes have won eight games since Dec. 1.
Gilbert Arenas’ legal situation is less murky than his future playing status, and he won’t get sentenced until March 26. That’s so inconsiderate considering the mid-February trade deadline.
Here’s hoping Arenas doesn’t have to spend any significant time behind bars (if any at all), and he and Washington can come to some sort of a sensible buyout that allows him to go somewhere else and start over while minimizing the utter devastation his contract has imposed on the Wiz’s roster flexibility.
Surely Washington will be big players at the trade deadline regardless of Arenas’ uncertain status. Their play can most kindly be described as “uninterested,” and they’re surrounded by worse vibes than a leasing office at one of Donald Sterling’s properties. They have plenty of expiring contracts and two very desirable players in Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, even if Jamison’s contract is pretty dicey (about 28.5 million for the two seasons following this one).
So when you watch a Washington game it’s kind of like one big audition to “get off the island.” And these guys rolled the Mavs on opening night at AAC. Did I mention Brian Scalabrine started the last three games for the Celtics? I’m serious. About all this.
Basketball is a team game, kids
Remember what a ridiculous circus the whole Allen Iverson retirement charade was? I watch a lot of NBATV -- a definitive sign that I don’t have much going for me -- and everyday there was somebody else in AI’s circle on the league’s network carrying on about what a tragedy it was that Allen Iverson was forced into retirement.
John Thompson was indignant, Eric Snow was stoically displeased, Cheryl Miller was crying without tears and, of course, Rick Kamla was there through it all to assure everyone that he truly loved AI. Yet I couldn’t figure out who was behind this outlandish plot seeing as he was on a roster and active just weeks before this awful tragedy.
Thankfully, Philly had absolutely nothing going on and a disintegrating fan base so that they could provide safe harbor for a man, who despite being a completely unrestricted free agent just months earlier, couldn’t find a team with a role to suit his liking. Society owed Iverson a starting role and whatever minutes he desired and had Philly not stepped up and delivered, civilization might have completely unraveled. It didn’t matter that he had a role and a paycheck in Memphis -- that spot was a complete injustice and an affront to the spirit of the sport.
The 76ers are 6-8 in the 14 games that Iverson has played with them, which is way better than the 7-18 they’ve tallied without him (and all the other dudes who were hurt early in the season). Iverson was an amazing individual player who goes hard and is still very talented.
But if you remove the names of everyone involved and just look at the situation for what it is without bias, this whole scenario is about an aging player who has no interest in being part of a team unless that team wants to acquiesce to what it is he wants. And if a team does revolve around him, it will be, best-case scenario, mediocre and out of the playoff picture. What is there to like about that?
By the way, a Memphis team that everyone wrote off as a horrible mess is 19-10 since they waived Iverson. Not that it’s related. I just enjoy pointing out random asides.
I like Andre Iguodala. I like Thad Young -- reminds me of a heyday '80s scoring forward. I like Lou Williams’ name -- sounds like he’d be a heyday '80s scoring forward.
This is another bad team the Mavs struggled to barely beat at home earlier in the season. What age is too young to be a Steely Dan fan?
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.