Dallas Mavericks: Mavericks

Mavs drop first in Vegas summer stinker

July, 18, 2012
7/18/12
9:51
PM CT
The Mavericks' summer squad lost for first the time in three games in Las Vegas, going down to the Hawks, 67-61. Considering Dominique Jones scored 32 points in the opener and the team averaged 86.5 points in the first two games, this one was an offensive stinker.

Jones got off to a 3-of-12 start from the floor and finished 5-of-16 for 12 points. He had five assists and five rebounds, but also five turnovers.

Rookie forward Jae Crowder continued his strong play at both ends of the floor with 20 points, eight rebounds -- four on the offensive end -- four steals and a blocked shot with just one turnover in 34 minutes. Rookie center Bernard James finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the summer.

No one else finished with more than seven points. Mavs first-round pick Jared Cunningham still has yet to suit up due to a hamstring injury sustained during pre-draft workouts.

The Mavs have two more games on the summer slate. Their next one starts at 9:30 p.m. Friday against No. 10 pick Austin Rivers and the Hornets, a game that will be shown on NBA TV. No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis is not playing for New Orleans in Vegas. His agenda includes playing with the U.S. Olympic team.

For a box score and full schedule click here.

With Steve Nash out, will Jason Kidd waver?

July, 4, 2012
7/04/12
10:49
PM CT
Deron Williams was close to choosing Dallas but is staying in Brooklyn. Steve Nash is on his way to L.A. to play with Kobe Bryant. As the Mavericks scramble to make up ground well down the list of their offseason alphabet planner, will Jason Kidd add to a mounting nightmarish offseason by fleeing to the New York Knicks?

It is positively a legitimate question now that the Knicks' hopes of trading for Nash are dashed. Earlier Wednesday, Kidd said his priority was to work out a deal to stick with Dirk Nowitzki and the reshuffling Mavs. But that was when signs pointed heavily to Nash landing in New York.

But with Nash stunningly going Hollywood (and here's the real kicker: The Lakers slide Nash into the trade exception created when they traded Lamar Odom to the Mavs), the Knicks will absolutely match any offer made to restricted free agent and Mavs target Jeremy Lin (they were expected to, even with Nash in play) and push hard to bring in the 39-year-old Kidd.

Here's what Kidd must weigh: Re-sign with Dallas and a roster that now only includes Dirk, Shawn Marion, Brendan Haywood and spare parts Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones from the 2011 title team, or finish out his career at Madison Square Garden setting up Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, and mentoring Lin, a fellow Bay Area native.

It's not clear if the Mavs are offering Kidd more than one year, but the Knicks most certainly will.

Kidd's vision of teaming up with friend Deron Williams next season was dashed with Williams' five-year commitment Tuesday to the Nets. Meanwhile, Kidd is hoping to have a deal wrapped up with the Mavs in a day or two. He was not available Wednesday night to respond to the rapidly shifting landscape and the potential ripple effect.

While Western Conference teams around the Mavs get stronger, Dallas has yet to add a single player in free agency and declined to match the Boston Celtics' three-year, $15 million offer to Jason Terry.

Meanwhile, the next point guard of interest around the league, Goran Dragic, is being hotly pursued by the Suns, and reports have the Charlotte Bobcats ready to make an offer.

If Kidd opted to leave Dallas for New York, where he could set up shop at his recently purchased house in the Hamptons, the Mavs would be staring at a point guard position made up combo guards Beaubois, Jones and last week's draft pick, Jared Cunningham. Delonte West remains an option to re-sign.

As the Knicks are sure to ramp up their efforts to land Kidd, so too will Dallas, which simply can't afford to lose him now if simply from a morale factor that threatens to leave Nowitzki looking around and wondering what just happened.

If he isn't already.

Rick Carlisle: I see us very active in all 3 areas

May, 15, 2012
5/15/12
6:20
PM CT


IRVING, Texas -- During his Game 4 news conference following the first-round sweep to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle raised some already curious eyebrows when he started talking about his time with the club in the past tense.

For a man without a contract, was he using calculated language? Was Carlisle planting the seeds for his departure?

PODCAST
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle dishes on his new four-year deal, how the team plans to attack free agency, his input on the decision-making process and much more.

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Well, the coach with the new four-year contract as of Tuesday said he wasn't trying to send hints through his verb tense.

"I was reflecting just simply based on my first contract. There was nothing meant by it," Carlisle said after spending an hour on the airwaves with ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Galloway & Company. "One thing I’ve learned through all this is owners are special people and they’re all different, they all have a different way of operating their business. The way it all happened was fine."

And now comes the hard work in what promises to be an intriguing offseason. The Mavs are entering an unprecedented summer under Cuban. For the first time in his ownership, Dallas will have cap space and plans to be aggressive. Obviously, Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams tops the list when free agency starts on July 1.

Carlisle said next on his agenda is gathering his coaching staff and painstakingly combing through the 29 other rosters and studying every possible potential free agent and desirable players through trades, plus draft prospects with the Mavs set to pick 17th.

"I see us being very active in all three areas -- the draft, free agency and trades," Carlisle said. "And it’s going to be a long summer because we’re going to be involved in everything. And so it’s one of the reasons I’m excited because I think there are going to be some terrific opportunities out there. We’ve got to get the team younger, we’ve got to get the team better."

In other words, stay tuned.

Shawn Marion has surgery, discusses future

May, 15, 2012
5/15/12
9:56
AM CT
Mavericks forward Shawn Marion, who finished eighth in Defensive Player of the Year voting, went under the knife Friday and, for all you pre-Med MFFLs, shared the experience online via Mobli and then posted to his Twitter account (@matrix31).

He underwent a minor procedure to have a lipoma, a common benign fatty tissue, removed from the back of his shoulder. Marion didn't actually record the outpatient surgery, although he says he wishes he could have. He did provide a photo of the removed fatty tissue in a jar and a groggy, post-op Mobli.com video from the car on his way home explaining what just went down.

(Be warned, the mostly harmless video needs two bleeps for inappropriate language).

Marion arrived back in Dallas on Monday night, he tweeted, but don't expect Marion, who turned 34 on May 7, to sit still for long this offseason. His plans include his usual globetrotting as a man always on the move.

"I'm going to do it all, I enjoy my life, so I'm going do to what the hell I want to do," Marion said in his humorous showboat style during the team's exit interviews. "Its just that simple."

There's no telling yet if Marion will be a man on the move this summer from a professional standpoint, too. Marion has two years remaining on his contract. He could ultimately be included in a potential sign-and-trade deal as Dallas seeks to get younger, and he is one of two candidates along with Brendan Haywood that the Mavs can amnesty.

Or the Mavs can bring back their top perimeter defender and a core veteran leader.

"I can't sit here and tell you what they're going to do, what they decide not to do," Marion said. "It's up to those guys upstairs (Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson) to make it happen."

Countdown: No. 14 Brian Cardinal

May, 15, 2012
5/15/12
12:03
AM CT
Second in a 15-part series ranking the Mavericks' 2011-12 roster in importance of bringing back next season.

Look, these rankings might seem easy to put together, but it takes hours of hair-splitting internal debate. So believe me when I say there's a certain starting center that flirted with this early position in the Countdown until reality set in that big-bodied centers are just too hard to find (not that Dallas won't decide to amnesty this certain starting center anyway) to toss one, as disappointing as he might have been, into the trash bin at No. 14.

Such is the case even when talking about a hustle guy like The Custodian, the quintessential locker-room guy, a guy the coach knows is always ready, the guy who will always make the smart play and come through in a pinch and always, always works his tail off.

That described Brian Cardinal a year ago during the Mavs' championship run. This year? Eh, not so much, minus the work-his-tail-off part.

At 35, if Cardinal can't be counted on to get in the game and knock down a corner 3-pointer to go along with a jarring drawn charge, then he becomes expendable. Therefore, and it is with a touch of sadness, Cardinal's two-year stop in Dallas, as entertaining and as joyous (mostly) as it was, has come to a close.

At No. 14 in the Countdown is ...

BRIAN CARDINAL
Pos: PF
Ht/Wt: 6-8, 240
Experience: 12 years
Age: 35 (May 2, 1977)
2011-12 stats: 1.0 ppg (20.4 3FG%), 0.8 rpg
Contract status: Free agent
2011-12 salary: $854,389
2012-13 salary: TBD

[+] EnlargeBrian Cardinal
Jerome Miron/US PresswireBrian Cardinal didn't see much playing time this season even after the departure of Lamar Odom.
His story: Consider this about Cardinal: During last season's playoff run, he knocked down 3-of-4 shots from beyond the arc. He made 10 overall this season, which is especially tough to swallow considering the 3-ball accounted for 89.1 percent of his total shot attempts. Cardinal dropped 42-of-87 (48.3 percent) from beyond the arc in 56 games during the 2010-11 season. The addition of Lamar Odom obviously pushed Cardinal deeper on the bench, but even after Odom's dismissal in early April, Cardinal didn't see much time. Cardinal will draw a charge or make a steal, but he's got to be able to spread the floor while he's on it.

His outlook: During the Mavs' exit interviews, Cardinal made it clear that he wants to play at least one more season. It's highly doubtful that it will be in Dallas, but surely there's a team out there that can use a steady veteran presence for spot minutes. Who knows, maybe the Mavs will have a last roster vacancy as free agency toils into August and beyond and they'll bring him back on another veteran's minimum deal. Remember, when Cardinal first arrived at training camp in 2010, he was on a make-good contract with Steve Novak. Cardinal made good, Novak did not.

The Countdown
No. 15 Lamar Odom
No. 14 Brian Cardinal
No. 13 Coming Wednesday

Mavs can scratch Greg Oden off wish list

May, 9, 2012
5/09/12
2:03
PM CT
You don't have to be a billionaire owner of a basketball team to know it would make perfect sense to take stab at signing injury-ravaged center Greg Oden this offseason.

The 7-foot free agent would come cheap and even after three microfracture surgeries on two knees in his four seasons since the Portland Trail Blazers made him the No. 1 pick ahead of Kevin Durant in the 2007 draft, Oden is only 24 years old.

The Blazers released Oden in March and he did not sign with another team, by his choice, according to a piece written by Mark Titus on Grantland.com . Titus, a former AAU and Ohio State teammate of Oden's, sat down with the former one-and-done Buckeyes star and reveals in the article that Oden plans to train in Columbus, Ohio, during the 2012-13 season with the hope of strengthening his legs to the point where he can resume his short-circuited career in the 2013-14 season.

The Mavericks could be in serious need of a center next season. Brendan Haywood remains under contract for three years, but even he knows that Dallas could amnesty him to create cap space if it can land Deron Williams in free agency. Backup center Ian Mahinmi is a free agent.

Oden would have been interesting player to bring in. However, it appears that will have to wait another year, just like a pursuit of Dwight Howard.

Pregame buzz: Rick Carlisle to free agency?

May, 5, 2012
5/05/12
6:17
PM CT
DALLAS -- With the prospect of the Mavericks playing their final game of the 2011-12 season, coach Rick Carlisle is coming to the end of his four-year contract.

It figured to be a slam dunk that Carlisle would sign an extension after last season's championship, much like the five-year extension that owner Mark Cuban granted to Avery Johnson after leading the franchise to its first NBA Finals appearance in 2006.

The extension has never come and outside of president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, who has continually said that Carlisle isn't going anywhere, just bringing up the concept of a new deal has been considered taboo.

Carlisle has declined to talk about it all season. Same with Cuban. And that continued Saturday evening prior to the do-or-die Game 4 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"I don’t talk about free-agent coaches or otherwise," Cuban said while pounding away on his step machine. "Been that way for 11 or 12 years."

The Miami Heat awarded Erik Spoelstra with a new deal early this season.

So what would have been the harm of locking up Carlisle already? Owners couldn't negotiate, let alone communicate, with players during the lockout, but there was no gag order in place keeping ownership from negotiating with coaches.

"Want to have a long discussion about business?" Cuban said. "It’s my approach to business. It's worked out really, really well for me and I just want to be consistent."

Will Rick Carlisle sit Brendan Haywood tonight?

May, 5, 2012
5/05/12
10:30
AM CT
DALLAS -- Mavericks backup center Ian Mahinmi has been the most productive center Dallas has put on the floor against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and that isn't saying much.

Mahinmi has averaged 6.3 and 4.3 rebounds in 18.7 minutes. In Games 2 and 3, he started the second half over disappointing big man Brendan Haywood.

Will coach Rick Carlisle opt to go with the more agile and active Mahinmi as the starter in tonight's do-or-die Game 4 at American Airlines Center? Haywood's minutes have dwindled in the series from 19 to 10 to seven in Game 3. He's averaged three points and three boards.

Carlisle stuck to his guns and wouldn't discuss his plans for tonight.

"I’m not going to talk about lineups this morning," Carlisle said after the Mavs' morning shootaround. "That’s my policy, stay consistent with it. It’s been three years, 11 months and 22 days, or whatever, but you know, it’s not about tweaking this or that, it’s about playing better, playing a better overall game and that’s what we’re going to do."

Brendan Haywood brings big bag of nothing

May, 4, 2012
5/04/12
10:02
AM CT
DALLAS -- The Mavericks' center position has hit rock bottom with Brendan Haywood serving as the anchor.

Haywood was benched for the start of the second half of Thursday's Game 3 blowout loss just as he was for Game 2. His minutes have dwindled from 19 in Game 1 to 10 in Game 2 to seven in Game 3, his lowest total of the season outside a game at Oklahoma City that he left in the first minute with an injury.

On Thursday, Haywood started strong with an offensive rebound and a putback, but that was it. He finished his seven minutes with three points and two rebounds. In the three games he's averaged 3.0 points on 27.3 percent shooting (3-of-11 from the floor) and 3.0 rebounds.

"Look, it’s tough, it’s tough," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "He’s an important guy to us and I’m not saying we’re bailing on him or anything like that. We’re going to look at the film and see what’s what. He did some good things early in the game, but we dug a hole and we needed a different kind of player in there. Look, he’ll be ready to play on Saturday as well."

Haywood had no interest in talking about his brief stint after the game. He dressed and quickly left the locker room.

The 7-footer has been a huge disappointment as Tyson Chandler's replacement in the starting lineup. His minutes dwindled in the final month of the season and he certainly has not earned back minutes. Ian Mahinmi logged 16 minutes in Game 3 with Brandan Wright playing eight more minutes of ineffective basketball.

The bigger question with Haywood is what the Mavs will do with him after the season. He still has three guaranteed season remaining at about $28 million. The Mavs have the option to amnesty him this summer and then seek a replacement.

Rapid Reaction: Thunder 95, Mavs 79

May, 3, 2012
5/03/12
11:17
PM CT


DALLAS -- How it happened: Oklahoma City built a 15-point lead in the first and second quarters, and the Mavericks could never keep a run going long enough to make it a game. The defending champions are truly up against it, down 3-0.

To avoid a humiliating sweep after an embarrassing, wire-to-wire Game 3 loss on their home floor, the defending champs must win Game 4 in Dallas on Saturday night.

The Mavs had two promising runs that got snuffed, one late in the second quarter to cut the deficit to seven and one early in the third that chopped it to five, 50-45. But a red-hot Kevin Durant (31 points on 11-of-15 shooting, 8-of-10 in the first half) and his running buddy Russell Westbrook (20 points on 8-of-19, 5-of-8 in the second half) kicked it back in gear to go up 60-48 with 7:21 left in the third quarter, and then it was quickly 66-50.

And then 83-58, and it was lights out.

Durant, after shooting just 34.1 percent in the first two games, was magnificent from the jump. On the Mavs' side, superstar Dirk Nowitzki never seemed engaged. He was 4-of-8 from the floor in the first half and finished 6-of-15 for 17 points. He even missed three free throws. Jason Terry was terrible, 1-of-6 in the first half, and he finished with just 11 points.

Dallas shot an abysmal 34.2 percent for the game.

The bottom line to it all, as much as the Mavs and their fans wanted to believe otherwise, is that this stripped-down version of the title team lacks essential parts to properly function. Gone: the fiery leadership, rebounding and defense of Tyson Chandler; the penetration of J.J. Barea; and the fierceness of DeShawn Stevenson.

These Mavs really are too old and too slow to keep up with the Thunder's remarkable foursome of Durant, Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and James Harden, all of whom have yet to turn 24. And to think this is the team most fans wanted over the Los Angeles Lakers. It probably didn't matter.

Things got off to a chaotic start in the first quarter with the Mavs believing they were on the wrong side of the whistle more than once. Nowitzki got nailed with a technical four minutes into the game, and then an absolutely irate Rick Carlisle got his own and was fortunate not to get ejected.

Durant and the Thunder came out throwing haymakers, and jumped out to a 28-13 lead. The Mavs closed the gap to 32-26 with a 13-4 run to close the quarter. But Dallas scored just 15 points in the second quarter and 16 in the third.

What it means: No team has come back from a 3-0 series deficit. If Dallas is going to avoid becoming the first defending champion since the 2007 Miami Heat to bow out in the first round, the Mavs will have to overcome decades of NBA postseason history. Miami, one season removed from rallying past the Mavs in the NBA Finals, was swept by the Chicago Bulls.

Bold play of the game: Early in the third quarter, the Mavs were desperately trying to keep a run alive, having pushed to within 50-45, but OKC was back up 54-45. Delonte West drove the lane, looking to score and maybe an and-1, but his shot was swatted away by Ibaka for his third and final block of the game. Westbrook pulled up for a jumper at the other end, and it was 56-45 with 8:51 to go.

Stat of the game: Since the Mavs beat the Thunder 4-1 in the Western Conference finals last season, they are 1-6 against OKC.

Pregame buzz: How will officiating turn?

May, 3, 2012
5/03/12
7:42
PM CT
DALLAS -- After Game 1, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle wanted the hugging and tugging and grabbing on Dirk Nowitzki whistled. The Game 2 officiating crew responded by calling 54 fouls on the two teams that resulted in 72 combined free attempts and a game that elapsed two hours and 45 minutes.

Game 2 got chippy early with Kendrick Perkins and Nowitzki trading paint in the first quarter, and then the whistles blew and blew and blew. Twenty-three free throws were shot in the third quarter alone. Afterward, Carlisle said the BS stuff had to stop.

So how will the Game 3 crew of Greg Willard, Marc Davis and David Jones call it?

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said he has no idea.

"You never know for sure, you never know for sure," Carlisle said during his pregame news conference. "In the nuances of officiating, I wouldn't even presume to begin to want to get into understanding all the little things that go into that. That's the hardest job going. And believe me, I want no part of that. But the competitiveness of the game, the physical level of the game is going to affect the number of times the whistle's blown. That's pretty much common sense."

Can Brandan Wright bring an energy boost?

May, 3, 2012
5/03/12
3:00
PM CT


DALLAS -- The Mavericks three-headed monster at center, which seems a far-fetched term in relation to production, needs a jolt.

PODCAST
Senior NBA writer Marc Stein shares his thoughts on Game 3 between the Mavs and Thunder. Who needs to step up for the Mavs to win other than Dirk or Jet?

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The combination of starting center Brendan Haywood, Ian Mahinmi and Brandan Wright have combined in the first two games to average 11.0 points on 42.2 percent shooting, and 9.5 rebounds. All by himself, Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins has put up 6.5 points on 50 percent shooting, 7.0 rebounds and some extracurricular muscle along the way.

Backup center Ian Mahinmi has led the Mavs at 20 minutes a game, averaging 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds. Haywood has averaged just 14.5 minutes, 3.0 points and 2.5 rebounds. Wright has shown his postseason greenness in just 6.5 minutes.

"Our centers combined were very productive during the regular season and it was a real positive factor for us," coach Rick Carlisle said. "They've done good things in these first two games, but we want those guys to be active. We need them to generate extra possessions for us when they can and we need them to have a physical presence. They're very clear on what we're asking of them."

The veteran Haywood must become more of a presence, but perhaps the most disappointing aspect is that the 6-foot-10 Wright has shrunk under the bright lights of the playoffs. In 12 total minutes played he has two turnovers, which is one more than his scoring total (he came nowhere close to scoring on his two shot attempts) and one fewer than his total rebounds.

During the season, Wright provided great energy boosts with his activity, yet in this series he hasn't come close to completing one of his patented two-handed jams. Wright didn't want to see a series against the Lakers because his playing time would be close to eliminated against Andrew Bynum. Wright figured to have an opportunity to shine against the Thunder's bigs.

It just hasn't been the case yet.

"It's two games and it's two road games and it's his first two playoff games," Carlisle said. "We're home tonight and we've got to turn some things around on a lot of different levels and he's going to have to be ready tonight."

Brian Cardinal throws 2 cents, not weight (yet)

May, 3, 2012
5/03/12
2:00
PM CT
DALLAS -- In a series that turned chippy early in Game 2 with Oklahoma City Thunder's scowling big man Kendrick Perkins taking on the responsibility as ringleader, do the Dallas Mavericks need their own heavy to throw some weight around?

PODCAST
Derek Harper explains what the Mavs need to do in order to climb out of their 2-0 series hole against the Thunder.

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If they do, who other than Brian Cardinal should be called upon?

"Obviously, I’ll be ready when my number’s called, if it’s called. Who knows?" Cardinal said prior to the Mavs' morning shootaround. "The guys out there on the court know how to play, know what’s going on. They see the chippiness."

Perkins and Dirk Nowitzki scuffled in the first quarter of Game 2 in Oklahoma City with each drawing technical fouls. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle rushed onto the court with some choice words for Perkins. That it wasn't another Dallas player already on the floor sticking up for their 7-foot superstar shows some of what's missing without Tyson Chandler and DeShawn Stevenson on the roster.

Cardinal has barely stepped foot on the floor in this series, briefly entering for a possession in Game 1. His attributes don't necessarily fit this style of series, unless the chippiness escalates to a level that the Mavs must answer force with force.

"I think it’s just a matter of trying to impact the game in a legal way and the way that we can do that is by picking people up, by playing more physical, by making people catch the ball farther out," Cardinal said. "It’s by making things difficult and uneasy and not allowing pe0ple to settle in. That comes with us playing a little bit more physical. It’s us playing harder and so I think I’m expecting all those things to come to fruition tonight. Does that mean I’m going to get in? Who knows? The guys that have been out there playing have been playing great. Am I necessarily the X-factor? Who knows?"

The 270-pound Perkins certainly isn't afraid to make himself Public Enemy No. 1 around here. The Beaumont native made that known in the opening minutes of last season's Western Conference finals when he tried to pick a fight with Chandler. He's bringing the rough stuff on Nowitzki this time and the Mavs certainly don't expect Perkins to soften up with the series shifting to Dallas for tonight's critical Game 3.

"Great teams need a multitude of players of different caliber," Cardinal said. "You need your superstar, you need your tough guy, you need your glue guy, you need a variety of players and certain people relish that, certain people understand their role and embrace it and that’s what Perk is. You can go on down the list of teams, Artest, all these guys, they got guys that don’t care if they get a tech, don’t care if the other team doesn’t like them. It’s about winning, it’s about putting yourself and putting your team in the best possible position and we’ll see what happens tonight."

Do the Mavs have that type of guy on this roster?

"Tyson set a tone for us, D-Steve, guys that had a chip on their shoulder," Cardinal said of last season's unit. "I think we have guys this year that have a chip on their shoulder and we need to play more physical, we need to play harder, we need to play better."

Whether Cardinal gets a shot to put a little Mavs muscle into the series is yet to be seen.

Young Thunder not concerned by close calls

May, 3, 2012
5/03/12
10:41
AM CT
DALLAS -- The young and athletically gifted Oklahoma City Thunder lead the old-and-slow Dallas Mavericks 2-zip in this best-of-7 series, but it's not as if these baby ballers have stomped their Nikes on the throats of the Geritol gang.

PODCAST
Derek Harper explains what the Mavs need to do in order to climb out of their 2-0 series hole against the Thunder.

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"At this level and this time of the year, age, I think, it is also a plus. Experience is definitely something that counts," said Thunder shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha, a virtual old-timer on this squad at age 28. "But at the same time we want to pick the pace up and keep running, getting some stops and getting some easy baskets."

As the series shifts to the American Airlines Center for tonight's Game 3, the Mavs will seek a bit of karma-turning luck. In Game 1, Kevin Durant hit a 15-foot, off-balance shot over Shawn Marion to win it with 1.4 seconds to go. In Game 2, the Mavs rallied from a 16-point hole in the second quarter, but couldn't complete the comeback when Dirk Nowitzki's baseline jumper bounced around the rim and off.

The No. 2 seed Thunder could easily have found themselves in a hole as they hit the road, but coach Scott Brooks said he's not concerned that that his team, whose four best players are under the age of 24, wasn't more dominant on its home floor and in front of one of the loudest crowds in the league.

"We don't look at them as old guys. We're looking at them as a very good team, the defending champions," Brooks said. "I don't know how many guys they have from their championship team, but I know they've got their top four or five guys -- you have Dirk (Nowitzki), you have Jason (Kidd), (Jason) Terry, Shawn Marion, (Brendan) Haywood -- and that's a good basketball team. I don't look at them as a seventh seed, I look at them as the defending champs that are going to continue to fight.

"Every game has been down to the last couple of minutes and I expect that to happen the rest of the series."

Mavs' shooting struggles are nothing new

May, 1, 2012
5/01/12
1:00
PM CT
OKLAHOMA CITY -- At some point admissions just have to be made. And after two poor shooting games to start the playoffs, there's no getting around the fact that the Mavericks are just a mediocre shooting team.

PODCAST
Matt Mosley puts the Mavs season to rest and takes some unnecessary shots at Jason Kidd.

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Have been all season. Nothing has changed.

Dallas ranked 19th in the league in field-goal percentage during the regular season at 44.3 percent, the lowest shooting percentage among the Western Conference playoff teams. The Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers were the only playoff teams with a lower percentage.

In this first-round series, shooting percentages have held to regular-season form. The Oklahoma City Thunder, which ranked third in the NBA in shooting percentage at 47.1 percent, are shooting 46.6 in the two games, despite Kevin Durant struggling at 15-of-44. The Mavs are at 42.7 percent -- and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc after Monday's 5-of-23 brick-fest.

"We had some great looks that normally go down for us," Jason Kidd said.

That's been the refrain all season. But it simply hasn't happened.

Still, the Mavs are so close to having this series tied, if not up 2-0. Chalk up the 0-2 hole to horrible fourth-quarter shooting and late-game execution. In Game 1, Dallas was 7-of-19 (36.8 percent) from the floor in the final quarter. Dirk Nowitzki's bucket at the 2:31 mark for a 94-87 lead would be their last.

In Game 2, Vince Carter's bank shot with 2:18 left for a 97-96 lead would again be Dallas' last of the quarter with the exception of Jason Terry's uncontested layup with 20 seconds left and the Thunder protecting a three-point lead.

In both games, the Mavs are 14-of-40 (35 percent) in the fourth quarter with six turnovers.

And that's simply not going to cut it.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Monta Ellis
PTS AST STL MIN
20.7 4.6 1.7 34.0
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 11.9
AssistsR. Rondo 8.4
StealsR. Rondo 1.8
BlocksT. Chandler 1.4