Dallas Mavericks: Ray Allen

Finals Frontier: Efficiency in the corners is key

June, 12, 2013
With the NBA Finals in full swing, the Mavericks are watching two familiar foes -- the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat -- battle it out for the chance to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Both teams have key components that established them as championship contenders. Let's point out those components and how the Mavericks can learn from them.

One of the most efficient shots on the floor is the corner 3-pointer. One thing that both Miami and San Antonio have in common is that they’re both strong in terms of offense and defense from that spot.

[+] EnlargeDirk Nowitzki
AP Photo/Lynne SladkyDirk Nowitzki and the Mavs haven't been as efficient shooting and defending the corner 3-pointer since their title season.
For Miami, they were first in the league during the regular season with 309 corner 3s made. The Heat's biggest weapons were Shane Battier and Ray Allen. Battier actually led the entire league with 88 corner 3s, while Allen ranked eighth with 63. Miami maximized this strength and made sure other teams couldn’t capitalize on it as they ranked second in defending corner 3s based on percentage.

Miami ranked first in corner 3s and San Antonio wasn't far behind, ranking third with 261 makes. The Spurs had two players who ranked in the top 20. Danny Green was second with 73 corner 3s made and Kawhi Leonard had 52, ranking 18th in the league. San Antonio allowed only 156 corner 3s in the league, the seventh-fewest in the league.

Looking at Dallas, the Mavs ranked 21st in the league in corner 3s made with only 141. O.J. Mayo made the most with 26 and ranked 65th in the league. The Mavs only had two other players in the top 100 -- rookie Jae Crowder ranked 78th and Darren Collison ranked 89th. The Mavs allowed the fifth-most corner 3s in the league. They also ranked as the 10th-worst team in defending corner 3s based on percentage. Those numbers show that Dallas didn’t utilize or defend that critical zone.

Looking back at the Mavs’ 2011 championship team, there is a radical shift in the numbers between then and now. Back in 2010-11, Dallas was fifth in the league with 211 corner 3s.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle gives his take on the NBA Finals, talks about the Nets decision to hire Jason Kidd, the advice hed give Kidd about being a head coach in the NBA and more.

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The eventual champions had two players who ranked in the top 25. DeShawn Stevenson was 21st with 45 corner 3s, while Jason Terry had 44, ranking 24th in the league. Surprisingly, Brian Cardinal ranked 67th. Dirk Nowitzki ranked 96th and Jason Kidd was 99th in the league.

Like the teams in this year’s NBA Finals, the Mavs held their own defending the corner 3 during their championship run. The Mavs allowed only 158 corner 3s that season, the eighth-fewest in the league. They also ranked ninth in defending corner 3s based on percentage.

Dallas has one of the best weapons the league has to offer as a shooter in Nowitzki. They need people on the corner that can be just as dangerous of a weapon.

Bryan Gutierrez currently covers the Dallas Mavericks for The Two Man Game, an ESPN affiliate blog on the TrueHoop Network. Gutierrez, who has covered the Mavs since 2010, studied journalism and psychology at Texas Tech University.

Finals Frontier: Mavs need quality depth

June, 11, 2013
With the NBA Finals in full swing, the Mavericks are watching two familiar foes -- the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat -- battle it out for the chance to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Both teams have key components that established them as championship contenders. Let's point out those components and how the Mavericks can learn from them.

Both Miami and San Antonio have depth at their disposal. On top of that, their depth is versatile. Whether it is Kawhi Leonard, Ray Allen, Matt Bonner or Shane Battier, each team has multiple options who are solid at multiple facets of the game.

ESPN senior NBA analyst Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the NBA Finals and latest Mavericks news.

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Each team’s respective big three carry the load, but the role players can step up in big situations. If LeBron James has to be relied upon to bring more offense, Miami has someone in Battier who can take on a larger defensive responsibility and still be viewed as a threat from beyond the arc. San Antonio’s Boris Diaw can bring versatility as a big man if the Spurs have to adjust to a shrinking lineup Miami might throw at them.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle isn’t very fond of judging players by the old, by-the-book way of thinking. “He’s a basketball player” is a phrase that often comes out of the coach’s mouth. The game is shifting away from defined labels for players based on position. Carlisle, as well as the two coaches involved in the NBA Finals, have recognized this and often try to find the best lineups that can be placed out on the floor, regardless of the traditional positions.

[+] EnlargeDallas Mavericks
Marc Serota/Getty ImagesThe Mavs have to choose wisely with their open roster spots if they want to make a return Frinals trip.
Neither Miami nor San Antonio rely on a dominant big man down on the block. Both teams faced challenges in their respective conference finals against clubs that had menacing big men. If either team lost, that might have shifted the balance in the future in regards to teams trying to gear more towards a traditional big man down on the low post. With San Antonio and Miami in the Finals, “small ball” prevails.

Now, Dallas has to try to find the right pieces that can bring true depth. The pieces they had this season didn’t amount to much, as they were depleted at the point guard and center positions. They have a relatively clean slate to work with. You have Dirk Nowitzki as the focal point and Shawn Marion and Vince Carter as the veterans. Those two could easily be moved in the offseason, but they also work perfectly in what the Mavs would need to do if they’re building a roster based on depth and versatility.

The championship team of 2011 provides an additional example of how the depth can be advantageous. The Mavs had players such as DeShawn Stevenson and Brian Cardinal who could provide tough defense and perimeter shooting. While Tyson Chandler was seen as the major big man, Brendan Haywood was a solid rim protector who could hold his own in the rebounding department. Like the Heat and the Spurs, the Mavs’ title squad had enough depth to withstand whatever challenges came their way.

Depth has delivered success to Miami and San Antonio. It clearly delivered to Dallas back in 2011. With a roster full of holes, the front office must choose wisely with their open spots.

Bryan Gutierrez currently covers the Dallas Mavericks for The Two Man Game, an ESPN affiliate blog on the TrueHoop Network. Gutierrez, who has covered the Mavs since 2010, studied journalism and psychology at Texas Tech University.

O.J. Mayo lighting it up from 3-point land

November, 19, 2012
O.J. Mayo continues to give the Mavericks something to cling to offensively as they await Dirk Nowitzki's return from knee surgery.

With 36 3-pointers in his first 11 games with Dallas, Mayo is averaging 3.3 triples per game. It’s a significant number because Ray Allen and two former Mavericks -- Dennis Scott and George McCloud -- are the only players in NBA history to sustain that sort of frequency over an entire season.

The reality, of course, is that Mayo has to cool off eventually. He’s shooting a sizzling 59 percent on 3s -- 36 for 61 -- compared to just .427 (41-for-96) inside the 3-point arc. The chances of him hanging at the Allen/Scott/McCloud level have to be remote.

Still ...

Entering Monday night’s game against Golden State, Mayo’s per-game average of 21.3 points ranks second in the league behind only Houston’s James Harden (26.0 ppg) among players who changed teams during the offseason.

According to the precise data from the Elias Sports Bureau, Allen averaged his three-plus 3s per game in 2001-02 (229 3s in 69 games) and 2005-06 (269 3s in 78 games). McCloud did it while with the Mavericks in 1995-96 (257 3s in 79 games) and Scott did it that same season while in Orlando (267 3s in 82 games).

Jason Terry's on the runway as an era ends

July, 3, 2012

Eight eventful seasons, two NBA Finals appearances and one bold championship run that culminated with an in-your-face barrage against LeBron James will forever solidify Jason Terry as a Dallas Mavericks legend.

Jason Terry appears to be headed to the Boston Celtics unless the Mavericks match the offer. Coop and Nate weigh in.

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And if he's to win a second title, Terry will have to go through James again, but this time in another Eastern Conference showdown between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics.

Terry's productive and always entertaining run with the Mavs is over. He is close to agreeing to a three-year deal with the Celtics for the full midlevel exception starting at $5 million next season, according to a source close to the situation. He vowed to give the Mavs a chance to match, but sources say they are unlikely to do so, being more concerned with clearing cap space. Dallas remains on edge as it waits for Deron Williams to decide between a homecoming or re-signing with the Brooklyn Nets.

A second source said that Terry made his decision to join the Celtics with no knowledge of Williams' plans. If Williams were to agree to join the Mavs with Terry still on the market, it would have been highly unlikely that Dallas would have re-signed him. Either way Williams goes now, Terry appears headed for the parquet.

Terry will turn 35 in September and will leave behind one Geritol gang in Dallas for another in Boston, headed by the re-upped Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who -- ironically -- for years was debated as the pick the Mavs should have made in the 1998 draft instead of trading for Dirk Nowitzki.

Terry, the 2009 Sixth Man of the Year and fourth on the NBA's all-time 3-pointers made list, gives Boston a legitimate offensive weapon off the bench as the Mavs lose one of the most charismatic, outspoken and beloved players to ever suit up in Dallas.

He could join the all-time 3-point leader, Ray Allen. The Celtics remain interested in re-signing, but Allen has scheduled visits with several teams.

For Nowitzki, free agency has again turned personal. Eight years ago, Nash, his best friend, walked out the door for Phoenix. Now, the only other remaining player from the 2006 Finals collapse and the heartache that followed is about to leave.

"Jet and myself and this franchise, we’ve been through a lot together, some great downs, but also obviously one of the greatest ups ever in our careers and lives with winning the championship and he was a big part of that," Nowitzki said Saturday as free agency began. "I never thought either me or him would wear another uniform in our careers, but if it comes down to it, we all understand it’s a business and if it comes to it, then it’s going to be tough, but we've got to move on.

"Shoot, I lost Steve who was one of my closest friends ever, not only in basketball, and I lost him six or seven years ago and life went on, and we still found a way to win a championship. If that’s what happens with Jet, we’ve got to find a way to move on and wish him luck."

While contracts can't be signed until July 11, it certainly appears it has happened.

If not Deron Williams, then who?

May, 7, 2012

DALLAS – When the Mavs opted not to offer Tyson Chandler and Co. long-term deals, this summer’s free-agency crop was expected to be headlined by a few superstars.


Which free agent is most important for the Mavericks to retain?


Discuss (Total votes: 9,443)

The landscape quickly changed when Chris Paul exercised his player option for next season after being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. It changed for the worse again when Dwight Howard surprisingly committed not to opt out of the final season of his contract with the Orlando Magic just before the trade deadline.

That leaves Deron Williams as the lone big fish. What happens if the Mavs don’t convince The Colony native to come home?

“You’ve got to have your A, B, C, D and E and so on, but you also understand that this is a global plate tectonic,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “Things are moving and situations are fluid. You go into it with eyes wide open and hopefully you can come out of it with what you want.”

The Mavs want a player who can create offense on his own, a necessity to take pressure off of Dirk Nowitzki.

Mavs GM Donnie Nelson gives us an inside look at the team's summer plans as the franchise has financial flexibility for the first time in over a decade.

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A reunion with Steve Nash is a possibility. The Mavs declined to pay what it took to keep him in Dallas eight seasons ago because of concerns about durability, but he’s coming off a season in which he led the Western Conference in assists (10.7 per game) and shot a career-best 53.2 percent from the floor.

Everyone knows the chemistry with old pal Nowitzki would click. However, the Mavs would probably take a major step back defensively by adding a 38-year-old point guard who has always been considered a liability on that end of the floor.

Houston’s Goran Dragic, who made himself a ton of money as the fill-in starter for Kyle Lowry in the second half of the season, is a much younger option. Dragic, 26, Nash’s former backup, averaged 18.0 points and 8.4 assists while shooting 49.0 percent from the floor in 28 games as a starter this season.

Some other proven shot creators in the market: New Orleans’ Eric Gordon (restricted), Memphis’ O.J. Mayo (restricted), Minnesota’s Michael Beasley (restricted and off-court issues) and Boston’s Ray Allen (turns 37 in July).

The market for big men, which will be a big need if the Mavs use the amnesty clause on Brendan Haywood, is headlined by Indiana’s Roy Hibbert (restricted), Denver’s JaVale McGee (restricted), Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez (restricted), New Orleans’ Chris Kaman, Houston’s Marcus Camby, Philadelphia’s Spencer Hawes and Chicago’s Omer Asik. The Mavs might also explore taking a minimum-salary flyer on Greg Oden in hopes of resuscitating the former No. 1 overall pick’s career after it has been derailed by knee injuries.

“There’s a lot of good players out there,” Nelson said. “Whether it’s A, B, C, D, E, F, or keep the powder dry, which is always an option. Just because we have it doesn’t mean we have to spend it.”

Is putting a subpar supporting cast around Nowitzki for another year of the twilight of his prime really an option? Isn’t there a sense of urgency to maximize the chances of winning another championship while the best player in franchise history is still a superstar?

“Listen, how many years have we made it in the playoffs in a row?” Nelson said. “We don’t plan on putting out anything less than a championship-caliber team. That’s me and Mark’s history and that’s our commitment to our fans and this city.”

They’ve got their work cut out for them this summer, especially if they swing and miss on Williams.

Cold shooting in Chicago for Dirk Nowitzki

April, 21, 2012
CHICAGO -- Dirk Nowitzki is famous for shooting the lights out in some of the league's most famous arenas. He takes target practice at Madison Square Garden, destroys the Boston Celtics in Beantown and has scored more points at Staples Center than any other visitor.

Chicago's United Center is a different story. Nowitzki and the Mavs make their lone visit against the Bulls tonight, a game the 7-footer is fully expected to play in despite Dallas having clinched a playoff berth.

Nowitzki might not play his full allotment of minutes, but he will be looking to raise his shooting percentage in the Windy City. According the Elias Sports Bureau, Nowitzki has a .415 career field-goal percentage at the United Center, his lowest career field-goal percentage in any arena in which he has at least 100 attempts.

Other tidbits from Elias heading into tonight's nationally televised game on ESPN:

* Nowitzki has scored 24,095 points during the regular season, all with the Mavs. Only four players in NBA history scored 24,000 points while playing their whole career with one team: Kobe Bryant (29,458 with Lakers), John Havlicek (26,395 with Celtics), Reggie Miller (25,279 with Pacers) and Jerry West (25,192 with Lakers).

* Jason Kidd is not expected to play tonight, which leaves him with one final opportunity on Thursday at Atlanta to extend his streak of recording at least one triple-double to 18 consecutive seasons. He holds the NBA record of 17 seasons in a row. Kidd has had at least two triple-doubles in every season he has been in the NBA. He nearly got it done on April 12 at Golden State, but finished one point shy with nine points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

* Jason Terry has made at least one 3-point field goal in 78.7 percent of the regular-season games he has appeared in during his career (804 of 1,021). Only four players in NBA history have made a 3-pointer in a higher percentage of their games than Terry (minimum: 500 games): Ray Allen (89.0), Peja Stojakovic (85.2), Reggie Miller (80.1) and Chauncey Billups (79.2). (The NBA instituted the 3-point line in 1979-80.)

* The Mavs are 10-6 against Eastern Conference teams this season. With two games to go, they are assured of finishing with a winning record over the other conference for a 12th consecutive season. Only one other team has posted a winning record against teams from the opposite conference in each season since 2000-01: San Antonio.

* The Mavs have posted a 10-6 (.625) record at the United Center since the Bulls began playing their home games there in 1994. That is tied with the Clippers (go figure) for the second-highest winning percentage among visiting teams, behind the Thunder (11-6, .647).

* Bulls 3-point specialist Kyle Korver is shooting only .344 from the field in the second half of games this season. Only three players in the league have a lower second-half field-goal percentage than Korver (minimum: 150 FGA): Toney Douglas (.313), Stephen Jackson (.330) and Lamar Odom (.335).

After 3: Mavs 70, Celtics 53

February, 20, 2012
DALLAS -- This is really just unfair. The Celtics have lost two more players, Jermaine O'Neal and Chris Wilcox, to injury as the Mavs continued to ramp up the lead.

Dirk Nowitzki has a game-high 26 points and 11 rebounds in 25 minutes. Shawn Marion, who ended the quarter with a sweet reverse tip-in, has 11 points, as does Jason Terry.

The Celtics are being led by Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, both of whom have 15 points. Boston has not scored more than 19 points in any quarter.

At the half: Mavs 44, Celtics 34

February, 20, 2012
DALLAS -- Jason Kidd stole Ray Allen's pass into the paint midway through the quarter to give Kidd his 2,515th career steal, pushing him past Michael Jordan to become No. 2 on the NBA's all-time steals list.

The theft led to a Dirk Nowitzki jumper that was part of 10 consecutive points scored by the big German. He finished the half with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Sounds like all fun and games, but as poorly as the massively undermanned Celtics are playing, Dallas might think it should be leading by more than 10. Boston, playing without starters Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett, plus reserve forward Brandon Bass, are shooting 40.5 percent. The Mavs aren't doing much better at 40.9 percent, which means no one besides Dirk is doing much on the offensive end.

OK, Jason Terry is 3-of-4 with two 3s for eight points.

But, to the point, Dirk is 8-of-18 from the floor and the rest of the team is 10-of-26 for 23 points.

Paul Pierce leads Boston with 11 points. Allen and Texas-ex Avery Bradley have eight points each.

The Mavericks had their six-game winning streak snapped in a Sunday matinee at Madison Square Garden. The Boston Celtics arrived in Dallas with much bigger problems.

Chuck Cooperstein recaps the Mavericks' weekend, including their trip to NY against Jeremy Lin.

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The Celtics have been contenders ever since they pulled off deals to acquire Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, but Boston looks more like a lottery team right now.

Actually, the lack of depth in the Eastern Conference essentially assures the .500 Celtics a playoff berth, but it’ll be a brief postseason in Boston unless things get much better. The Celtics have lost five of their last six games, including two double-digit losses to the 11-22 Detroit Pistons and one to the 9-23 Toronto Raptors.

The Mavs, the NBA’s oldest team, are a surprising 7-3 in the butt end of back-to-back games this season. That record should improve Monday night, despite the familiar, respected name of the foe.

Records: Mavs (20-12); Celtics (15-15)

When: 7 p.m.

Where: American Airlines Center


Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM; 1270 AM (Spanish)

What to watch: Will the Dallas defense bounce back after one of its worst performances of the season? Boston, even with Rajon Rondo and three 20,000-plus-point career scorers, have been a poor offensive team this season. They rank 26th in the NBA in scoring at 89.5 points per game. The Celtics are 2-13 in games in which they fail to score at least 90 points. Rondo could present problems for Shawn Marion and the Mavs, whose remarkable run of defending quality point guards came to a halt with Jeremy Lin’s 28-point, 14-assist performance Sunday in Madison Square Garden. However, there’s a chance that the NBA office could lock down Rondo, who might face a suspension after being ejected for tossing a ball at a referee during the Celtics’ Sunday loss to the Pistons.

Key matchup: Dirk Nowitzki vs. Boston power forwards: Nowitzki has traditionally torched the Celtics no matter who Boston uses to defend him. He has a career average of 27.0 points per game against the Celtics, his highest against any team. Boston might have to start third-stringer Chris Wilcox, as Kevin Garnett is dealing with personal issues that caused him to miss Sunday’s loss in Detroit and Brandon Bass has a sore left knee. Nowitzki, who blew by Garnett for a game-winning and-1 layup in the Mavs’ victory in Boston earlier this season, enters the game in a pretty good groove even by his Hall of Fame standards. He has 58 points on 19-of-31 shooting in the last six quarters.

Injuries: Mavs – G Delonte West (fractured right ring finger) is out; G Rodrigue Beaubois (personal reasons) is out. Celtics – PF Brandon Bass (knee) is questionable; PF Kevin Garnett (personal reasons) is questionable.

Up next: Los Angeles Lakers at Mavs, 8:30 p.m., Wednesday
You'll be hard-pressed to find a game this season that includes so many of the league's all-time scorers on one floor. In tonight's game between the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics, features five of the top seven active scorers in the NBA – Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Vince Carter.

Here's a look at where they rank among active players and their career points:

1. Kobe Bryant - 28,192

2. Kevin Garnett - 23,426

3. Dirk Nowitzki - 22,981

4. Ray Allen - 22,429

5. Tim Duncan - 21,781

6. Paul Pierce - 21,486

7. Vince Carter - 20,611

Peja Stojakovic aiding Mavs' 3-for-all

May, 9, 2011
DALLAS -- Mavericks president Donnie Nelson's motto is you can never have too many shooters, so he went out and signed Peja Stojakovic, who had barely played because of a knee injury, and frankly no one knew if he could.

He can.

"Peja has worked his butt off," Nelson said. "To come from the injury that he did, no one knew if he had it anymore. It's the all-American success story, only [by a] Serbian."

The Mavs know they can't expect Stojakovic to score 20 points a game, but he's done it twice now in the playoffs, while emerging as the Mavs' third-leading scorer (10.8 ppg). His 21 points helped to get a key win in Game 2 against the Portland Trail Blazers for a 2-0 lead and he matched that in Sunday's Game 4 to sweep out the Los Angeles Lakers in a blowout.

Stojakovic dropped all six of his 3-point attempts for 21 points in the rout, which would have been the big story if not for Jason Terry knocking down 9-of-10 from 3-point range for 32 points.

It leads to the overriding story of the Mavs' potent 3-point shooting. During the regular season they ranked 12th in the league in 3-point field-goal percentage (36.5 percent). Not bad, but not great either considering three of the top eight all-time 3-point shooters are on the roster. In the postseason, only the Boston Celtics, with Ray Allen, the league's all-time 3-point leader, are sinking them with more accuracy (48.7 percent).

After making 20-of-32 in Sunday's Game 4, the Mavs are hitting 41.9 percent of their shots from downtown.

"The 3-point shot is a big part of the game now," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "It's been a big part of the success that we've been able to have."

Each of the Mavs' 3-point shooters has raised his percentage in the playoffs. Dirk Nowitzki hasn't taken the most 3s, but he's hitting them at a team-high 60 percent (12-of-20). Terry is at 50 percent (22-of-44). Stojakovic is shooting it at 46.2 percent (24-of-52). Jason Kidd has slipped recently, but is still at a respectable 35.5 percent (22-of-62).

Consider these crazy numbers: Kidd made a career playoff-high six 3s in Game 1 against Portland; Stojakovic tied his career playoff-high with five 3s in Game 2 against Portland and set a new high with six against L.A.; Terry made five in Game 3 against Portland and a career playoff-best nine against L.A.; Nowitzki made four in Game 3 against L.A., one shy of his career playoff best.

Against the Lakers, the Mavs shot 46.2 percent (49-of-106) from 3-point range. Stojakovic said much credit goes to Nowitzki.

"He drew so much attention that every time he was touching the ball they [were on him]," Stojakovic said. "So it was on us to move the ball and create open shots."

Mavs cornering market on prolific marksmen

February, 7, 2011
When Peja Stojakovic finally makes his expected debut Monday night against Cleveland -- and, yes, I do expect him to start -- Dallas will officially have two of the five most prolific 3-point shooters in NBA history in the lineup.

Jason Kidd is No. 3 all-time in 3-point makes with 1,746 entering Monday’s play. Stojakovic is fifth with 1,718. Boston's Ray Allen, meanwhile, needs just four 3s more to pass Reggie Miller’' 2,560 career triples to seize the all-time league lead.

There was little hint during Kidd’s first seven seasons that he’d be part of this conversation, given that he sunk only 507 3s in that span -- 1.03 per game -- at a success rate of 32.3 percent. But Kidd's move to New Jersey in 2001 and subsequent work with shooting guru Bob Thate has resulted in 1,239 triples over the past 10 seasons, good for an average of 1.66 per game on 36.1 percent shooting from long range.

Allen's average of 2.39 3-pointers per game is the highest in NBA history; Miller averaged just 1.84 3s per game. The only other active players to average two or more 3s per game are Stojakovic (2.21), Orlando's Gilbert Arenas (2.04) and Golden State's Stephen Curry (2.02).

Larry Bird held the NBA career record for 3-pointers from March 1986 to April 1989, when Mavs alumnus Ellis supplanted him as the all-time leader. TNT's Miller has owned sole possession of the record for more than 12 years since passing Ellis on April 13, 1998.

Crazy sequence leads to Kidd's winner

February, 5, 2011
BOSTON -- When Dirk Nowitzki hurried a pass to Jason Kidd at the top of the arc with the Mavericks trailing the Celtics by one and the clock ticking down, Kidd had one thought flash through his mind.

"I had one [a 3-point shot] I missed from Jet [Jason Terry] earlier [in the fourth quarter] and that one I thought I just rushed it," Kidd said. "So, if I had another opporuntity, just take your time, you’re not a shooter so they’re going to give you the shot."

Always self-depricating when it comes to his jump-shooting even though he ranks third all-time in 3-pointers made, Kidd wasn't the first or second option on the play drawn up during a timeout with 15.3 seconds left in the game and Dallas trailing 97-96.

The play was designed to go Terry, who would come off a "triple-down screen" and take the shot.

"[Celtics coach] Doc Rivers looked at me. I looked at him and he kind of shook his and said, 'It’s coming to you,' and I said, 'You know it’s coming,' " Terry said. "They swithed out on me, and Dirk was open."

Terry had no room to operate when he got the ball so he sent a pass into Nowitzki, who was posted up against Kevin Garnett in the paint. The pass was low and hard to handle. It squirted in front of Nowitzki, who was able to get a decent enough grip on it.

"I was about to throw something up at the basket," Nowitizki said.

Instead he pushed it out to Kidd, who was all alone at the top of the arc. Celtics guard Ray Allen came charging at Kidd, who gave a pump fake and Allen sailed by him.

"I had thoughts of maybe I’d throw up the ball and maybe jump into Ray," Kidd said, meaning he hoped he could draw a foul. "But he took a wide angle so I couldn’t get to him. So the next thing was to make sure I was behind the 3-point line and let it go."

Kidd shuffled his feet to behind the arc and released. There was no doubt about it.

"I’m glad I kicked it out," Nowitzki said. "He made a heck of a shot. A 3-pointer out of a pump fake is probably one of the toughest shots in basketball, but he made it look easy. He’s been making tough shots his whole career, and that was definitely a big shot."

The bucket gave the Mavs a 99-97 lead with 2.5 seconds to play. The Celtics tried to tie it with an alley-oop inbounding from the sideline, but Rajon Rondo's pass sailed over Garnett's head. Nowitzki added two free throws and the Mavs walked away with the 101-97 victory.

"Dirk was nice enough to trust his teammates down the stretch to make a play," Kidd said. "I got lucky and it went in."

Rapid reaction: Pacers 102, Mavs 89

January, 12, 2011
How it happened: Dallas Maverickscoach Rick Carlisle was right. The Indiana Pacers were happy to see his struggling, shorthanded team.

Carlisle tried to mix things up by starting little-used center Alexis Ajinca at power forward and returning Jason Terry to the bench. It worked to the extent that Terry led the team in scoring with 18 points, but he didn't have a great shooting night, making 9-of-20 from the field and missing his only two 3-point attempts.

Otherwise it was another slow offensive night as Dirk Nowitzki missed his eighth consecutive game with a sprained right knee. The Mavs shot just 41.3 percent from the floor -- although they were strong from 3-point range at 9-of-22. Terry led five Mavs in double figures, but none had more than 13 points. Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd both had 13, Shawn Marion finished with 12 and DeShawn Stevenson had 10.

Newly signed Sasha Pavlovic saw his first game action and recorded two points, an assist, a steal and two blocks in 16 minutes.

The Pacers shot just 44.6 percent and weren't good behind the arc, making just 8-of-33, but Brandon Rush scored 20 and Danny Granger and Darren Collison had 17 points each.

For the third consecutive game, the Mavs got off to a fast start offensively and led 26-25 after one quarter and were tied 52-52 at the half. And, in what is becoming a trend, Dallas had little going in the second half, scoring 17 points in the third quarter, the difference in the game, and 37 in the second half.

Kidd's 3-pointer made it 93-87, but the Mavs couldn't get any closer. Indiana kept rebooting down the stretch, funneling seemingly every loose rebound for extra possessions, and it was easy to see the frustration building among the Mavs. The Pacers outrebounded the Mavs, 46-41.

What it means: The Mavs suffered their second three-game losing streak without Dirk Nowitzki and fell to 2-6 without him. It doesn't get any easier as the four-game road trip heads to San Antonio on Friday night for the season's third matchup of the season. It is possible that Nowitzki could make his return, but it certainly is not a given.

Stat of the night: Jason Kidd entered Wednesday's game with 1,718 career 3-pointers, tied for fourth all-time with Peja Stojakovich and just one behind Dale Ellis. Kidd made of 4 of 7 from 3-point land against the Pacers to move into third place all alone on the all-time list. Now with 1,722, Kidd will have to hit a whole heck of a lot of 3s if he's going to catch Ray Allen at No. 2. Entering Wednesday's games, Allen had made 2,522. Reggie Miller will hold the 3-point title for a little longer. He made 2,560 in his career.

Tyson Chandler gives Big D imposing Big 3

December, 19, 2010
DALLAS -- The most dominant Big 3 in recent seasons, to no surprise, belongs to the Boston Celtics. Since Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce in Beantown, the trio has led Boston to a championship and a second NBA Finals appearance in three seasons.

They continue to be an unwavering force, ranking as the league's top three-man combination so far this season. On their heels is the most ballyhooed Big 3 assembled since the Boston bunch. Riding a 12-game win streak, the Miami Heat's trio of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh now rank as the NBA's second-best threesome.

[+] EnlargeTyson Chandler
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesTyson Chandler averages only 8.6 points, but his work on the other end of the floor gives the Mavericks an impressive Big 3.
Rankings are best measured on plus-minus rating, meaning how many points the trios outscore or are outscored by their opponents when on the floor together. According to ESPN Stats and Information, The Celtics' Big 3 is a plus-229. Miami's, after Saturday's fourth-quarter comeback at Washington, is a plus-217. They're a plus-150 during the win streak, and Saturday's nailbiter pushed another Big 3 into third place.

Any guesses which trio that is?

They belong to the Dallas Mavericks, starting with Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd. Who's the third member of the NBA's third-best Big 3?

Center Tyson Chandler. Nowitzki, Kidd and Chandler are plus-210, well ahead of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers (173).

Chandler averages only 8.6 points, but it's the job he's done at the other end of the floor that's made a significant impact.

To that end, Nowitzki paid Chandler yet another high compliment after Sunday's practice, just before the Mavs were set to fly to Miami for a rematch with the streaking Heat on Monday night.

"It’s almost like when K.G. went to Boston," Nowitzki said of Chandler's arrival. "I don’t think Ray or Paul Pierce were great defenders before K.G. got there, but K.G., with his energy, his defense and his mentality and his high-octane self, he kind of changed the whole momentum on the defense. I think that’s what Tyson did here just with his overall willingness to defend. He talks out there, always a loud communicator, pushing everybody in the right spots. I think that’s what Tyson brings to our team."



Dirk Nowitzki
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9