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April 12, 3:00 PM ET
Mavs with Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan
  (3:00 PM)

How's it going, folks? Well, these are strange times indeed. If you have a handle on which Mavs team will show in the first round please let me know. I'm basically throwing my arms and waiting to see what happens. They are not playing well. We know that. They is plenty of talent on this team, but something isn't clicking. Will they get out of the first round and get a chance against the Lakers in the second round? Let's talk about it.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:00 PM)

Apologize for the poor grammar in the opening statement. I will try to improve..now on to your questions.

Jason (Dallas)

Do you think Donnie Nelson is a good GM? Also is this Jason Terry's last season in Big D?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:03 PM)

Jason, that's a complicated question because Mark Cuban is a very involved owner when it comes to personnel. For instance, it was Cuban driving the trade for Jason Kidd. Cuban and Donnie have continually spent a lot of money, and not always good money. They payroll has consistently been among the tops in the league, usually No. 2 behind the Knicks. While all that spending has produced a lot of regular-season wins, we all know it hasn't paid off when it counts. The big payroll has meant a lot of long and expensive contracts that are hard to trade and they've been handcuffed to make big free agent splashes.

Adrian (Australia)

Hey Jeff I was just wondering what your take would be on the effectiveness of Peja in the playoffs- a fine example of a double sword? Can the Mavs afford his abilty to open up floor space whilst being a defensive liabitity? Lastly is Dirk still better than LaMarcus seeing as LaMarcus has had the wood over Dirk these past couple of meetings? Thanks for the oppotunity!

Jeff Caplan
  (3:05 PM)

Adrian, this is another one of those X-factor things. I just don't know. In recent games, Peja hasn't played all that much. Carlisle said that Peja not entering the Phx game until the fourth quarter -- when he scored 12 points -- was just a flow of game thing. He didn't play much last night either. with Peja it's tough to tell how healthy he is. The guy can come in at any time and hit a barrage of 3s and I think that's what he's going to be, kind of a spot guy to get some offense.

Dallas (Dallas)

So keeping roddy instead of getting Stephen Jackson was smart huh? Not even a little because we would have the perfect lineup with Sjax at the 2 Matrix/Peja at the 3 and Dirk4 and Chandler5. Well to late now maybe it was a cap saving move but hope chandler likes the town and we the team is at next year.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:07 PM)

Dallas in Dallas...interesting...look, we can debate the Roddy thing til we're all blue in the face, but there's several factors at work here. First, the Mavs believe in the kid and want to keep him. After all, they've hyped him up as Kidd's heir apparent and still are. Second, trading for SJax, which might not have needed to include Roddy, would have meant two more years of SJax salary. In the past that might have been no big deal for Cuban. But, times have changed. The CBA is expiring and know one knows what the salary cap -- likely a hard cap -- will look like. Plus, if you bring in additional salary, it could be harder to sign Tyson Chandler, who is going to be in high demand after this season.

Ihab (Murphy)

How likely is it that Caron Butler makes his return for the playoffs and if he does return, how big of a difference do you see him making in the later rounds against teams like the Lakers, the Thunder, or the Spurs?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:09 PM)

Ihab, Caron is on the floor these days when the Mavs practice. He isn't practice but he's out there putting up shots, but he's still rehabbing behind the scenes. I'm no doctor and I'm not going to sit here and tell you there's no way he makes it back for say the second round, but if he does, I would consider it a minor miracle. I just don't see it, but again, Caron has been as positive as anyone i've ever seen rehabbing a blown-out knee, so more power to him. The Mavs could use him, but they need a playoff-ready Caron.

Scott (Dallas)

With our future in the backcourt of great concern, does Nick Calathes factor into that picture next year? He is more of a natural PG than Roddy B, and offers some backcourt height (at 6'5") that we desperately need. His size at the 1 also could allow him to switch with Roddy on defense, so as to avoid size matchup issues guarding 2 guards.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:10 PM)

Scott, not that I am aware of.

Mike (Irving)

I think Marion low post game is going to be key to our success. He can post up with the best of them, they will have to bring help everytime and Dirk should find the exact spot to knock down a open jumping of the marion kick out. I hope marion is on in these playoffs. As well as TERRY

Jeff Caplan
  (3:11 PM)

Mike, Shawn Marion has been huge. He's scoring again like his Phoenix days, which he said he always could if he got the shot attempts. If he wasn't doing the things he is I would be very afraid for the Mavs, more than I am right now...and by the way, I do think the Mavs win in the first round. I just think they find a way.

dc (lewisville)

can we admit the roddy expiriment is over? at this time, he provides nothing to this team, awful defense, bad decision making, turnovers and dumb fouls, on top of that he isnt scoring, why not plug stevenson back in and roll that way?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:13 PM)

DC, well I think it is over this season. I feel pretty badly for the kid. I think he's been put in a bad situation and unfortunately he hasn't handled it well. He's a walking foul and when he's not fouling he's turning it over. Worse, he's not even driving to the hole like we all expected. That was the missing ingredient the Mavs so dearly needed and they're just not getting it. Consider that he's taken 30 free throws in 27 games. Not good.

casanova (carrollton)

looking to this offseason, we still have a glaring hole at two guard, and t mac has come back strong, wouldnt he be a strong fit at the two assuming we resign butler and chandler?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:14 PM)

T-Mac as in Tracy McGrady? That's just what the Mavs need, a high-mileage, oft-injured two guard that has none of the explosiveness that made him a dominant player. No thanks.

lamont (the colony)

when is donnie going to start taking some heat for some of the moves he has made? or lack their of so to speak, stephen jackson could have plugged a big hole at 2/3 spot

Jeff Caplan
  (3:14 PM)

Lamont...I think Mark Cuban is the one who signs the checks and gives the go-ahead. For all I know, and I don't know this, Donnie might have wanted to make a move on S. Jackson a couple of years ago.

Franklin (Houston)

I understand the limitations of Haywood in playing against up-tempo teams, but unless we expect Chandler to handle all of the playoffs, I'm more than a little worried. What matchups do we expect to utilize Brendan and is Rick Carlisle comfortable with putting Ian in a playoff game, or are we going to live and die with TC?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:16 PM)

Franklin, I'm more in your camp. I don't really get this thing where just because a team is up-tempo or smaller that Haywood can't play. In retrospect, I think Carlisle would have liked to have had Haywood avaialable (he was inactive). At one point, I think early in the 3rd, Chandler had 3 fouls and Mahinmi had 2, and the Rockets were killing the Mavs on the boards, and especially so on the offensive glass, it was like 17-6 for the game.

Mriedel (Texas)

Will Roddy B still be starting in the playoffs? Shouldn't we start Stevenson for defense and spread the floor on offense?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:18 PM)

I would expect Roddy to be the starting shooting guard in the playoffs. Carlisle has been consistent in his commitment. Really, the other options, unless you start Jet, are not good. DeShawn did an admirable job early in the season, but he has not been very good for a couple of months, although he would give you a little more size and defensive edge, and let's be real, if Roddy is only going to score 6 points a game, DeShawn might be able to do that too.

kyle syracuse ny [via mobile]

How much concern for injury should the Mavs have heading into the playoffs?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:18 PM)

Kyle, I think the Mavs are relatively healthy for the start of the playoffs. Hard to tell with Peja. Chandler seems fine, Marion seems fine, Dirk again said he feels good and is ready for the playoffs.

Jaime (Mexico)

Hi Jeff, well almost ready for playoffs I have liked the energy Dallas has brought lately except yesterday off course Nowitzki has looked more aggressive he has been mixing shots to drives to the paint plus post plays that is going to be key in playlets plus defense, that by the way that was what save them for a sure loose, Nowitzki needs to continue making defense for success. Thank you and we'll be ready for " where magic happens"

Jeff Caplan
  (3:21 PM)

Jaime, always appreciate your input from down south. I wouldn't get too excited about the energy you saw in the second half against the Clippers and Suns, two lottery bound teams. The Suns hadn't practiced in a week going into that game because they've been out of the playoffs. Last night looked more like the team that's been playing for some time now, disjointed and confoundingly irresponsible with the basketball. the Mavs believe their defense has been pretty good of late, and maybe it has, but the offense has got to come around.

mike (hamburg)

should brewer start or at least get 15 minutes? i feel we need his energy, scrappieness and athleticism. who would be the odd man out?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:22 PM)

Mike, when Brewer's gotten time, he's done pretty well. Then the last couple of games he's played 10 and 9 minutes and his shot has regressed. Maybe he needs the extra time to get in gear or maybe he's playing fearful that if he screws up he'll be taken out. I don't know. But, the Mavs got him for his length and energy and players have raved about him when he plays in stretches. So, that's up to Carlisle, but right now, it doesn't look like Brewer will be getting 15 or more minutes a game.

Nick (Austin)

Is it just me, or have the Mavs almost completely gone away from the zone defense that they played so effectively during the first part of the season? Maybe I haven't been paying enough attention, but if they have in fact gone away from it, why would they do such a thing?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:23 PM)

Nick,It's not just you. They don't play the zone like they used to. They've gone away from it because in the long run the zone just won't work for long stretches in the NBA. Teams are too good, players are too good. It's a gimmick in the NBA and that's all it can be, a change of pace kind of thing. If the Mavs are going to go deep in the playoffs, they'll have be a good man to man team.

Steve (Arlington)

What changes will the Mavs organization make in the off season if they are booted in the first round?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:25 PM)

Steve, could be a lot of things. I mean Jason Terry will be going into his final year. If he has a third straight poor playoff showing, perhaps they try to trade him. Jason Kidd? Would Miami or NY love to have him? There could be a lot of changes. One change that won't happen is Dirk. He'll be here and the Mavs will try like crazy to hold onto Tyson Chandler. And, of course, Brendan Haywood will likely be sticking around. Not sure who is going to take that contract. But, look they haven't lost yet.

Wilmer (Puerto Rico)

To be honest, lets bring the Blazers in round 1 and the Lakers in round 2, home or away. I think for this team to get respect, they need to beat those teams. To me, albeit their deficiencies, this team is capable of winning a title. They need their coaching staff to press their buttons and dont let them fall to those non chalant games, were we shoot everything from three no matter what. My question is not aboout the players, Does this coaching staff is ready for the playoffs, and committed to do things different than years past?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:26 PM)

Wilmer, the good life in Puerto Rico must make you an enternal optimist. If the Blazers win tonight, they'll lock into the No. 6 seed. And if the Lakers win at home against the Spurs tonight, most likely the Mavs will get No. 3 and play the Blazers, a tough matchup but again one that I feel the Mavs will ultimately prevail.

Ty (DFW)

Why are the Mavericks not playing like they want the 2 seed? I don't care how good our road record is, I don't think there is any chance the Mavs can beat LA in a game 7 in LA. Plus I really don't want to play Denver in the first round.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:27 PM)

I would want the No. 2 seed. But, even weeks ago, they didn't seem all that concerned about it. Before last night's game, Carlisle called it "an important game." They didn't act like it. Denver in the first round is a long shot, but they are kind of beat up right now.

kevn (lewisville)

If you were gm in offseason assuming no lockout ---what type of player would you go after if you can sign chandler. How and who would you like to see the mavs pursue big names or easy but not coming here to dallas. what player do the mavs have a realistic shot to get this offseason that can play guard and privde something we have not had in 5 a scorer that other teams fear

Jeff Caplan
  (3:28 PM)

There will be a lockout and the Mavs need a shooting guard with size and scoring ability. Of course, the Mavs already have a starting shooting guard.

jason (New London, Tx)

will corey brewer and deshawn see more time in the playoffs to save minuets for dirk and shawn, should brewer see more time on a taller 2guard like against denver and portland?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:30 PM)

DeShawn, doubtful. I'm not ready to say that Corey won't have a role, but it appears it won't be a sizable one. Like you say, perhaps matchup based, but we'll see. It is quite possible that in the excitement of signing a young, 6-9 small forward that he was overvalued or overhyped as something he's not.

Nick (Dallas)

Should the Mavs at least consider tanking for the 4th seed? I know the Nuggets are playing incredibly well, but teams like theirs that relies on depth rarely have success in a postseason driven by star power. And while the Spurs aren't the most ideal 2nd round opponent, they have to be a more enticing match-up than the Lakers, right?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:31 PM)

Should they? I don't think so. Things could fall to where the Mavs can name their opponent depending on tomorrow's result with the Hornets, so we'll see. George Karl knows who he wants.

Mike (Big D)

If you were a betting man, who would you place money on being Dallas' second leading scorer in the postseason?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:32 PM)

That's a tough question. Some nights it is going to be Jet, some nights it is going to be Shawn Marion. If those two guys don't do some alternating with 18-22 point games, I don't think the Mavs will go very far. The crux of the Caron injury is that he was becoming the No. 2 scorer and Terry could have been a pressure-free No. 3 scorer. Now he has all the pressure in the world to knock down shots and put up points.

CG (Texas)

Do you think other teams will put a Pf on Marion ibn post if they keep getting beat in the paint by him. His shot how he turn around and goes strait over the defender is going to be key to me in playoffs. He can open the 3point line up for Terry, Dirk, Kidd, Peja, Roddy, Barrea but better then that he can get points in paint.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:33 PM)

Just depends who is on the floor. Marion starts at SF, but when Dirk goes out Marion moves to PF.

Mario (Dallas,Tx)

Lakers vs. Mavs second round 2011 playoffs. If your the Mavs what's your starting line up? Without Butler.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:35 PM)

Good question. I don't know if Roddy can start because it is just too big of a mismatch. You can't play him on Kobe, which means he has to take Fisher, Kidd can only guard Kobe sporadically, meaning Marion takes Kobe and that puts Kidd on the physically stronger and taller Ron Artest. If you start DeShawn, you at least put a bulldog type on Kobe.

Freddy (Los Angeles)

Why are the Mavs always seemingly on upset alarm once the playoff start?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:35 PM)

Freddy, great question. I don't know. Fans here are just waiting for a first-round collapse with the way they've been playing the last month.

Philip (San Diego)

who is the key to Mavs in playoffs? I think we know what to expect from Dirk but Marion and Jet are the key

Jeff Caplan
  (3:36 PM)

Philip, I really believe that Jet is the key. If he is not scoring, the Mavs don't have a chance. Teams are going to load up on Dirk and someone's got to hit shots. That's Terry's job.

Jason (Chicago)

Hey Jeff. It seems like you cannot find a writer/commentator/team anywhere who sees the mavs as any sort of threat. Don't you think the mavs perform at their best in the playoffs when expectations are so low... like they are now?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:38 PM)

Hey, Charles Barkley was calling them the best team in Texas. Expectations are never low. I guess you could say they are now because they've been playing poorly and everyone sees a bad first round coming. Before this recent stretch, they looked like a contender, but they have shown nothing to suggest they can contend. Really, the Lakers showing vulnerability is more positive for a Mavs run than the way the Mavs are actually playing.

Aaron (Texas)

What do you think of Bill Simmons's assessment that the 2nd best player on the Mavs (Jason Kidd) wouldn't even be the 5th best player on the Lakers, Bulls, Celtics, or Blazers?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:39 PM)

He's right, that's if Jason Kidd is the Mavs' second-best player. He's not. Right now the second-best player is Shawn Marion and in the playoffs the second-best player needs to be Jason Terry.

Zack (DFW)

If the Lakers lose tonight, Mavs should go all out tom and get the 2 seed. however, if the lakers win (and they prob will), don't you think mavs sud rest up? i mean, we've got some old guys/knees on this team. lets take the celtics approch and rest the knees of dirk, kidd, chandler and let the young fellas get some valuable game experience.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:40 PM)

Zach, if Lakers win tonight, I would think that Kidd doesn't play Wednesday. If the Lakers lose and the No. 2 seed is there for the taking, Dirk said they will go all out for it. Of course, if all out resembles anything close to what we saw last night, well...

kevin (lewisville)

do the mavs get out of the first round --my answer is no and yours is?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:41 PM)

I'm going to stick with yes.

TC (Dallas)

Are you as frustrated with Carlisle as I am? His lack of faith in Roddy last year and now his overcommitment to him this year, along with his inability to motivate a group of veterans really irks me. Am I just crazy?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:42 PM)

Why does Carlisle have to motivate a group of veterans, all of whom have never won a ring. That's crazy. These guys should be plenty motivated. What coach are they going to respect? Do you have to bring in Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, I mean really.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:44 PM)

OK, folks, that is it for the questions. Next week at this time we will likely have one playoff game under our belts. It should be a home win for the Mavs and if it's not the panic buttons will be pushed to the floor. We'll see what happens. It should be interesting. Remember, for all your Mavs coverage go to espndallas.com. You won't find more complete and updated coverage throughout the day on our blog anywhere. Take the challenge. And, oh yeah, we won't charge you to read our stuff. Take care everyone!