Dallas Mavericks: Utah

3-pointer: No time to wallow in Lakers loss

April, 16, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The second question asked of Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle following Sunday's 112-108 overtime loss against a Lakers team playing without Kobe Bryant went something like this:

Does it sting a little more to have lost to the Lakers with Kobe sitting on the bench in a suit?

Carlisle took a second before answering and then said: "Next question."

The Mavs know they let a great opportunity get away. Not only did they fail to pick up another needed road win, they could not match their longest win streak of four since the All-Star break. In fact, the Lakers have now been responsible for ending four Dallas hot streaks.

A mid-January visit to L.A. snapped a five-game win streak even though Bryant had just 14 points on 7-of-22 shooting. Leading up to the All-Star break, the Mavs had won seven of eight games until the Lakers and newcomer Ramon Sessions sent them into the break with a 96-91 home loss. Then it was a four-game win streak the Lakers busted up just as Dallas started to feel good about itself again following that ugly 2-7 stint out of the All-Star break.

And on Sunday in L.A., the Mavs had their modest three-game win streak snapped despite leading by 10 in the second quarter and 87-81 with 6:51 to play.

"I mean it’s disappointing because we were in control and we had a chance to put them away, but we just kept letting them back in the game," Shawn Marion said. "We were up by 10. Once you get them up by 10, you’re supposed to go ahead and stick it to them. They went on a 7-0 run right back on us. I think it was a close game here on out. It happens. The thing is right now we could sit here and harp on the game, it is what it is, but we’re trying to stack W's."

That quest continues tonight at Utah, a team desperate to win to stay on the fringe of the playoff race. With that said, here's three more things to consider:

1. Can Kidd go two?: Jason Kidd played 33 minutes at Golden State in his second game back from a strained groin and sat out Friday's game at Portland. Against the Lakers on Sunday, he played a season-high 39 hard minutes, finishing with 13 points (5-7 FGs, 3-4 3FGs), seven assists, three rebounds and one turnover. His previous high was 35 minutes, which he's hit just three times. Now, Kidd must come back in back-to-back nights in another must-have ballgame.

"We'll see how I feel," Kidd said. "Right now I feel good, so I would hope that I get to play tomorrow."

2. Road woes mount: After consecutive road wins against depleted teams, the Mavs dropped to 13-17 on the road and 0-8 on the road against teams that currently own a .600-or-better winning percentage this season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Dallas is one of seven teams in the league that do not have a road win against .600-or-better teams, joining Washington (0-4), Philadelphia (0-5), Detroit (0-6), Toronto (0-6), Charlotte (0-8) and New Orleans (0-9).

3. Jason Terry sizzling from deep: He didn't get the potential game-tying bucket to go in the final moments of overtime, but Terry was pretty good with the long ball against the Lakers, knocking down 5-of-6 from 3-point range, the first time he's reached that threshold since Jan. 4 against Phoenix. In his last six games, Terry has buried 19-of-39 (48.7 percent) from beyond the arc, and that includes off 2-of-8 Friday at Portland.

Minute Men: Jason Kidd shelved; Dirk goes deep

January, 12, 2012

Our weekly look at how coach Rick Carlisle is managing the minutes of Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd during this 66-game schedule:

Obviously, Jason Kidd's lower back injury has taken him out of the lineup all week and perhaps surprisingly, the Dallas Mavericks have put together three consecutive wins without their 38-year-old floor general. Delonte West has filled in nicely -- he might want to find the 7-foot blond guy a bit more often -- switching from starting shooting guard to the point.

Kidd has not had a great start with numbers (including 30.8 percent field-goal shooting) far below his standards across the board. Across with Kidd, it's his intangibles that are so highly counted on by this veteran team than his stat line.

Dirk Nowitzki, meanwhile, added another game-winning bucket to his ledger Wednesday night at Boston with a strong drive and finish for a three-point play with 5.1 seconds to left. He struggled for the better part of the game after going 9-of-10 in Detroit, which followed a 5-of-22 stretch in the previous two games. Such is life in the post-lockout NBA.

It's simply going to take time for players to get in shape and find a consistent rhythm. Dirk included.

Here's a look at how Carlisle is handling his two most important players through the first seven games.

Season averages: 28.1 mpg, 4.9 ppg, 4.7 apg, 3.8 rpg
The breakdown: Since last week's report, Kidd played 11:32 of the first quarter at the San Antonio Spurs and then headed to the locker room holding his lower back. He later described the injury as back spasms, caused when big man DeJuan Blair leaned on Kidd as the two battled for rebound position. Kidd attended Monday's White House ceremony and then returned to Dallas to resume treatments. He will be re-evaluated today. The hope was that he would be ready for Friday's game against Milwaukee, the first of a home back-to-back, but that could be pushing things. His availability will be determined closer to game time.

Season averages: 31.6 mpg, 18.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.7 apg
The breakdown: Dirk's scoring (including 19.0 percent from 3-point range) and rebounds continue to be well below his career marks, but coach Rick Carlisle said he's not worried, pointing out that his playing time is also well below normal levels. That's due to several reasons that include Carlisle being mindful of his minutes with so games lumped together, Dirk still working his way into shape and the fact that four of the first 11 games have been blowouts, limiting him to just a few minutes or no minutes in those fourth quarters. Finally on Tuesday he was on the right side of a rout at Detroit and it kept his minutes down to 28, helping him to go 38 in Boston, one minute shy of his season-high in that stunning road loss at Oklahoma City. Even with the 38 minutes, Dirk averaged just 30.0 minutes in the four games played in the past seven days.

What's ahead: We'll just have to wait and see if Kidd's back has bounced back enough for the home back-to-back or if it is a better idea for him to take the weekend off and get ready for two big games in Los Angeles -- Monday against the Lakers and Wednesday against the remodeled Clippers. Dirk, coming off a very manageable week minutes-wise, should be in fine shape for this stretch of five games in seven nights that starts Friday and ends next Thursday at a suddenly resurgent Utah team that features former Mavs Devin Harris and Josh Howard.



Monta Ellis
19.3 4.2 1.9 33.9
ReboundsT. Chandler 11.4
AssistsR. Rondo 6.4
StealsM. Ellis 1.9
BlocksT. Chandler 1.3