Dallas Mavericks: Troy Murphy
“Our adjustments are really more about how we’re going to play without (Troy) Murphy,” Carlisle said.
The Mavs waived Murphy, the veteran power forward who signed a partially guaranteed deal in early November, to make room on the roster for Fisher. Once Dirk Nowitzki returns, which will hopefully be in mid-December, the Mavs won’t have had a need for Murphy.
“I just want any potential suitors for Troy (to know) it wasn’t his performance,” owner Mark Cuban said. “He did everything we asked him to do.”
In the meantime, however, the Mavs don’t have a true power forward with perimeter shooting skills. Murphy didn’t shoot the ball well during his brief Dallas tenure (36.1 percent from the floor and 31.4 percent from 3-point range), but his presence had a positive impact on the “geometry” of the Mavs’ offense, Carlisle said.
“Without him, we can get to a stretch-four lineup, but it will be a much smaller lineup,” Carlisle said. “We have to tweak some things.”
Jae Crowder started Saturday night at power forward. Vince Carter could also see some playing time at the position.
The 32-year-old Murphy, who signed with the Mavs in early November, averaged 4.6 points and 3.5 rebounds in 14 games during his Dallas tenure. He shot 36.1 percent from the floor and 31.4 percent from 3-point range.
Murphy, who started last week’s win over the New York Knicks, had bumped Brandan Wright from coach Rick Carlisle’s rotation. Wright has not played in four of the Mavs’ last eight games, including their two losses on the recently completed road trip.
Fisher, 38, is expected to sign with the Mavs on Thursday.
UPDATE: The Mavs made the moves official at 2:36 p.m., announcing the signing of Fisher and waiving of Murphy.
"Right now, he's our starting point guard," Carlisle said then.
That isn't the case tonight in Philadelphia.
Dominique Jones replaced Collison in the starting lineup. Collison is averaging 12.9 points and 6.3 assists per game, but he's been wildly inconsistent offensively and has been poor defensively.
Jones, who opened the season as the Mavs' third-string point guard, is a much more rugged defender than Collison. The Mavs need a physical point guard to counter Sixers star Jrue Holliday, who is 6-foot-4, 205 pounds.
Rookie Jae Crowder will start at power forward instead of Elton Brand or Troy Murphy. The Sixers use a small starting lineup with Thaddeus Young at power forward.
Murphy, 32, started Wednesday in place of Elton Brand. It was the first time Brand hadn't started this season. Murphy played 18 minutes in the first half before exiting with the illness. He was 0-for-3 shooting with five rebounds and had no points.
Murphy is averaging 5.3 points per game and 4.1 rebounds per game so far this season. He has seen his minutes steadily increase and is now averaging 19.4 per game.
A team spokesman said at halftime that Murphy would not be available the remainder of the game against the Knicks.
Murphy had no points on 0-of-3 shooting and grabbed five rebounds in 18 minutes during the first half.
Elton Brand, who had started all 11 games he previously played in for the Mavs, had four points, six rebounds and two steals in 11 minutes off the bench in the first half. Brand played those minutes at center, not power forward.
Brand had started all 11 games he has played for the Mavericks, although he's averaging career lows of 6.2 points and 5.8 rebounds.
The switch represents the continuation of a trend of Murphy getting more minutes at Brand's expense.
Murphy has played 43 minutes in the last two games, compared to 25 minutes for Brand. Murphy has rediscovered his perimeter shooting touch, with all 21 of his points in those two games coming on 3-pointers. He has hit seven of his last 12 3-point attempts after a 3-of-16 start to his Dallas tenure.
"Murphy’s doing what we got him to do," coach Rick Carlisle said after shootaround. "That is to rebound and stretch the floor for us, and he’s probably been our best all-around big defender when you factor in pick-and-roll defense, rebounding, being in the right position, all that kind of stuff. He’s a valuable guy."
The lineup change doesn't help address the Mavs' need for more rebounding. Brand averages 9.3 rebounds per 36 minutes, compared to 7.3 for Murphy.
How it happened: The Mavericks showed enough poise when it mattered most. Sure, it was against the 2-7 Cavaliers, but this was progress for a team that has had problems closing.
After Cleveland tied it up with a little more than five minutes remaining, the Mavs responded with a 9-0 run. That spurt, which featured a bucket and two assists by point guard Darren Collison (14 points, eight assists), proved to be the difference in the game.
Not that this win was a thing of beauty by any stretch of the imagination. The Mavs committed 22 turnovers and didn’t put the Cavs, who were led by Kyrie Irving's 26 points, away until the final minute.
Of course, the Mavs aren’t exactly in a position to be giving style points to wins these days. They had lost four of five games before this victory.
O.J. Mayo led the Mavs in scoring with another efficient shooting performance. He finished with 19 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range.
The Mavs got big boosts by a couple of bench players. Little-used Dominique Jones, who got the backup point guard minutes instead of Rodrigue Beaubois, answered the bell with 10 points and five assists in 18 minutes. Power forward Troy Murphy hit three 3s in the second half.
Small forward Shawn Marion registered his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Center Chris Kaman contributed 15 points, eight rebounds and six blocks.
What it means: The Mavs snapped a four-game road losing streak. They have a 6-5 record as they return to Dallas for a three-game homestand.
Play of the game: Credit Mavs coach Rick Carlisle for a well-designed play at the critical point of the game. The Mavs had a couple of mental meltdowns -- a blown boxout and sloppy turnover -- that allowed two quick Cavaliers buckets to tie the score with 5:08 remaining, prompting Carlisle to call a timeout. He called a play that resulted in Collison driving the lane and kicking to Kaman for a wide-open baseline jumper that gave the Mavs the lead for good.
Stat of the night: Murphy made three 3-pointers in the second half, matching his total in his first eight games with the Mavericks. Murphy was 3-of-6 from 3-point range Saturday night after coming into the game with a 3-of-16 clip this season. Each of his 3s against the Cavaliers gave the Mavs the lead.
|Mavs F Elton Brand talks about his role with the team, O.J. Mayo's hot start, how things will change when Dirk returns and more.
Unlike his former AAU teammate Lamar Odom last year, Brand reported to Dallas in good shape and actually gives a flip. So Brand has got to get going at some point, right?
“I feel like it’s a matter of time,” Brand said after his four-point, four-rebound outing in Monday’s loss to the Timberwolves. “All puns intended, I think it’s also a matter of time.”
As in, playing time. Brand logged a grand total of 17 minutes against Minnesota, not one second of which came in the fourth quarter.
“You know, 17 minutes, I can’t do too much,” Brand said. “I’m not a firecracker, you know what I mean? I’m definitely here supporting my teammates and whoever gets the minutes. I just hope we can do the best.”
As diplomatically as possible, Brand acknowledges that he’s frustrated that he isn’t getting the chance to finish games. That’s a first for a man who has averaged 18.2 points and 9.4 rebounds in his career.
It’s one thing to watch from the bench when Dirk Nowitzki is doing work during crunch time, but that's obviously not the case now. Coach Rick Carlisle has opted for Troy Murphy over Brand down the stretch in the last two losses.
Brand is shooting the ball poorly (.386), but that’s 100 points better than Murphy’s clip so far for the Mavs.
“Coach is trying to win ballgames,” Brand said. “Whatever he sees fit. There’s no need to communicate. I’m running sprints with the guys who played less than 20 minutes and doing everything to make sure that when my number is called, I’ll be ready.
“It’s an adjustment from the standpoint of just kind of (being used to) getting the benefit of the doubt to close a game or two. If you don’t, then all right, kind of move on when you get that chance. But like I said, I’m not trying to rock any boats. Whatever it is, I’m here to play hard and practice hard and be a good teammate.”
Carlisle made a general comment about taking a “good, long look” at the rotation after Monday’s loss. That might not necessarily be to Brand’s liking.
Asked specifically about Brand’s struggles, Carlisle said, “He’s been great in terms of his approach. It’s a long season. He’ll get there.”
It would seem that the Mavs really need Brand now, while Nowitzki is forced to watch.
A few more notes from Monday’s loss:
1. Slow starts: The Mavs scored 30-plus points in each first quarter during their three-game winning streak. Their first-quarter point totals during the current three-game losing streak: 23, 21, 17.
The early going against the Timberwolves was especially bad. The Mavs trailed by 10 by the time guard O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison got a break.
“We’ve got to get off to better starts,” said Mayo, who was 2-of-8 from the floor in the first quarter and finished with 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting. “That’s the second game in a row that we’re depending on our bench to give us a little energy and effort out there. Our starters have got to take responsibility to come out with a little more energy and effort.”
Added Collison, who scored 13 of his team-high 21 points during a futile fourth-quarter rally: “We have to hit first. We have to come out aggressive early and hopefully we can sustain.”
2. What’s wrong with the offense?: The Mavs shot a season-low .407 from the floor in Friday’s loss to the Knicks. Bad got worse with a .405 night in Saturday’s loss to the Bobcats. And they set yet another new low with a .363 stinker against the Timberwolves.
So how does Carlisle plan to fix the Mavs’ suddenly sputtering offense? By getting his team to play better defense and hit the boards.
“We’re giving up too much dribble penetration and we’re not rebounding,” Carlisle said. “That’s the thing that’s killing us. If we can just get stops and rebound, our offense will pick up.”
3. Sarge silver lining: Maybe it’s fitting that former Air Force Staff Sergeant Bernard James, the 27-year-old rookie, was the Mavs’ biggest bright spot on Veterans Day.
The man known as “Sarge” provided a spark off the bench. James played 10 high-energy minutes, scoring six points and grabbing four rebounds.
|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.
|Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle talks about coaching a group of fresh faces, the addition of Troy Murhpy, injury concerns and more.
The 32-year-old Murphy has a heck of a track record in both departments. Just not recently.
The 6-foot-11, 245-pound Murphy has averaged double-digit rebounds in five of his 11 NBA seasons. However, he averaged only 3.2 rebounds per game the last two seasons as a lightly used reserve for the then-New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. He averaged a career-low 7.2 rebounds per 36 minutes for LA last season.
Murphy is a career 39 percent shooter from 3-point range, which is actually a tick better than Dirk Nowitzki. Murphy had by far the worst shooting year of his career in 2010-11, hitting only 15.2 percent of his 3-point attempts for the Nets and Celtics, although he bounced back from long range with the Lakers (41.8 percent).
Carlisle is quick to point out that Murphy was a double-double guy not long ago, averaging 14.6 points and 10.2 rebounds for the Pacers in 2009-10. Murphy shouldn’t have a problem picking up the Mavs’ system, having played for Carlisle in 2006-07 and lead Mavs assistant Jim O’Brien the next three seasons.
“We know him personally,” Carlisle said. “He’s a good, solid guy and he wants to be here. We’ll get him integrated as quickly as possible and go from there.”
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.
DALLAS -- How it happened: Ramon Sessions found his groove and it was more than Jason Terry and the Mavs could handle. While the predicted fury from Andrew Bynum never really materialized thanks to constant double-teaming, and Kobe Bryant had his first big game against Dallas -- adding a spectacular highlight-reel, gravity-defying reverse layup -- it was the newcomer Sessions who changed the game in the first half and put the shorthanded Mavs on their heels.
Sessions' line: 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and 2 of 3 from deep, seven assists, four rebounds, a blocked shot and one turnover -- in the first half.
And the Lakers ended the half up 13, 57-44.
Sessions didn't play nearly the entire third quarter and then, with 11:03 left in the game and the Mavs within eight for the first time in a long time, he drilled a top-of-the-arc 3 for an 83-72 lead. With Sessions settling things down, the Lakers went up 94-78 with 6:45 to go and Dallas never challenged from there.
The Mavs' four-game showing of rare offensive cohesion that led to four consecutive games of 100-plus points went down the drain as the Lakers, swept by Dallas in last year's second round, have won the first three of four meetings this season. The final game is back in L.A. on April 15.
The Mavs will hope to be whole by then. In this one they were not, not by a long shot. Center Brendan Haywood missed his third consecutive game with a bruised right knee. His absence didn't set off any Bynum offensive fireworks, as the Lakers' big man surprisingly had only nine points, although Haywood might have helped close a rebounding gap that favored L.A. 46-29.
The bigger loss was small forward Shawn Marion, who also missed his third consecutive game with a sore left knee. Marion is the Mavs' Kobe stopper, having limited the league's leading scorer to 14.5 points in the two prior games. Bryant, using his height to rise over Jason Kidd and later Vince Carter, finished with 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting. Pau Gasol had 27 points on magnificent 13-of-16 shooting, making the Mavs pay for their double-team on Bynum.
Sessions finished with 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting, including 3 of 4 from beyond the arc, and nine assists. The Mavs should have feisty Delonte West (fractured right ring finger) back to stick on Sessions in mid-April.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 26 points and 10 rebounds, but he wasn't sharp with his jumper, starting 4-of-10 and finishing 10-of-24. Terry, with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting, was the only other Mavs player to score in double digits. One game after Dallas set a season-high with 33 assists against Denver, the Mavs managed just 15 against the stingier Lakers.
How'd Lamar Odom do against his former team, you ask? Odom looked as lost, finishing with a single point. He missed the three shots he attempted and picked up an assist and a rebound along the way in 24 minutes.
The Mavs shot 52.2 percent in the first quarter and led 29-27. But their lead, as big as eight, was short-lived as the Lakers' bench came alive in the second quarter, led by Sessions, Matt Barnes and Troy Murphy.
Bryant played the entire first quarter and by the time he re-entered the game with 6:04 to go, the Lakers had a 38-34 lead. Sessions hit his second 3-pointer with 3:09 left to cap a 24-6 run a 51-38 lead.
The Lakers ended the game shooting 58.4 percent, while the Mavs dropped to 42.7 percent.
Call the Lakers the streak-stoppers. It was L.A. in February that they stopped Dallas' six-game winning streak heading into the All-Star break. Now they ended a four-game streak as Dallas dropped to 5-8 out of the break.
What it means: The Mavs' four-game win streak is history as they fell to 27-21 and dropped a game to the Spurs in the standings, falling five games back in the division race and 2 1/2 games behind the Lakers in the conference standings. Now it's on to another rugged back-to-back against the revenge-seeking Spurs (Friday) and the scrappy Houston Rockets (Saturday), who have recent wins at Oklahoma City and at home Tuesday over the Lakers.
Bold play of the game: Posting up Kidd and calling for the ball, Kobe didn't get it from Metta World Peace dribbling up top. Instead World Peace swung it to Gasol, who saw Bryant spin past Kidd toward the baseline. Gasol sent a lob that Bryant caught on the right side of the basket as Kidd made body contact. Somehow Bryant kept his balance in midair and converted a flick-of-the-wrist reverse layup off the glass. After a Mavs timeout, he made the free throw for a 69-55 lead, the Lakers' largest margin of the game just minutes after Dallas had got within seven points.
Stat of the game: The Lakers rank 28th in the league in 3-point shooting (30.8 percent), but they buried 9 of 18 with Sessions and Barnes each draining three.
Tuesday - Warriors, Come Out To Play
Wow, talk about low-hanging fruit. The mood emanating from The Bay Dubs feels downright Post-Apocalyptic. From the outside, it appears that nobody wants to be there. Those on the inside are probably wishing they were afforded the luxury of being a speculating outsider. I imagine the vibe on the bench during a timeout feels something like this.
The Warriors traded Stephen Jackson, their best and most disgruntled player, for Raja Bell – who immediately opted for surgery. He was going to have the surgery anyway, but I’m saying... They’ve been decimated by unhappiness and injuries. Andris Biedrins and Ronny Turiaf have both been on the shelf and Kelenna Azubuike, one of their few great values on a roster loaded with over-priced dudes who all do the same stuff, is likely out for the season.
So far this year has been an unmitigated disaster for The Warriors; which leads me to wonder if anyone uses “unmitigated” without following it with “disaster”. By my calculations Golden State has exactly one quality win – last Friday night’s home victory over Portland. In that game Monta Ellis, the current most vocal malcontent on the roster, played all 48 and dropped 34 to go with eight assists and six steals. He’s fun to watch no matter how unfun his current situation is. I stand by “unfun” as a real word. However, I wouldn’t stand by this team unless you were hoping to get struck by lightning.
Wednesday – Is NASA open on Thanksgiving?
When the Mavericks last played the Rockets two weeks ago they were lifeless for the first 18 minutes and looked like they were going to get run in their own gym by a high energy team playing with no fear. Thirty game minutes later the Mavericks had annihilated the Rockets to the tune of 121-103 in one of the few games this season that they actually got their shots to drop (55%).
If The Mavericks don’t get the blood flowing from the jump on the second night of a back-to-back the day before a holiday they will get drilled. Houston is above .500 because of energy, effort and heart – not high-profile scorers. They spread the floor and go for broke. Trevor Ariza is going for 18 a night, but he’s shooting a poor percentage at a shade under 39%. If rookie Roddy Beaubois is still in the starting line-up Wednesday night, he’ll no doubt draw the assignment of trying to keep lightning-quick Aaron Brooks out of the paint. Have fun with that, rook.
Friday - First one to 100 wins
The Pacers have one of the League’s truly great players in Danny Granger – unfortunately for him nobody is paying attention and he doesn’t have much support. Mikey Dunleavy has yet to play this year and Troy Murphy is just working his way back. So that means the Pacers’ second leading scorer is defensive-minded free-agent signee Dahntay Jones who at 17 a night is 12 over last year’s average of 5 - also his career scoring average.
The Pacers shoot around the same as their opponents from the field and from the line, have the exact same number of turnovers per game at 16 and average the exact same total of points per game as who they’re playing at 99.8. They are the epitome of middle of the road, playing ordinary basketball with mostly innocuous dudes (for NBA standards at least). I do like Roy Hibbert’s future and I’m also wowed by rookie Psycho Hansbrough’s massive social network of people who couldn't possibly allow a pet dog to go missing.
Uptown Saturday Night: LeBron-style
Great early season test on the road as both teams will be playing the second night of a back-to-back (The Cavs play at Charlotte the night before). Put me in the seemingly dwindling camp of people who thinks this is the best team in the east. I don’t get the “Cleveland will suffer because Shaq bogs down the offense” argument since his half-a-game minutes per night replaces one-man offensive clinic Ben Wallace’s half-a-game minutes per night. They were able to score with Ben on the floor and when it’s all said and done they’ll be able to score with the far superior offensive player on the floor as well.
Cleveland did lack movement in the first few games of the season when they looked out of sorts, but second-year rip-the-rim-off jumping jack J.J. Hickson was inserted into the starting lineup and his ability to finish at the rim has made it more difficult for opposing bigs to lose sight of their man on their way to mugging LeBron. On draft night in 2008 I declared that 19th pick Hickson was going to be the perfect fit for The Cavs and that he’d be the steal of the draft. I also said Russell Westbrook was a reach at No. 4, since he was the second best point on his college team, but let’s not worry about that so much right now.
This Cleveland team will be dominant because they got deeper and bigger and they have the best player in the world not named Kobe. This game is the crown jewel of the week ahead and hopefully Dallas has worked back toward health and regained that elusive shooting touch by the time Saturday rolls around.
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.
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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.
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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.