Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

May 18, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Tim MacMahon

Tim MacMahon
  (4:12 PM)

Sorry I'm late. Got caught up after Thunder media access. Let's get right to it.

Dre (Valley Ranch)

MacMahon can you someone give us all the real deal on Caron. Before the playoffs it was said he was months ahead of schedule. 4 - 6 months is the out time. jun 3 will make 5 months. He is doing everything but contact. There has no setbacks so where is he at right now?

Tim MacMahon
  (4:12 PM)

Caron Butler still hasn't been cleared for contact. It will be surprising if he plays at all during the playoffs. It will be stunning if he plays in this series.

Wilmer (Puerto Rico)

Seeing Barea play since he was in the Puerto Rico Sub 21 team, i have no doubt about his potential, but he's definetly playing at a high level right now. What is the team saying about his performances? And if he keeps this up, he will need a body armor in this series eliminiation game, because somebody, probably Perkins will take a whack at him.

Tim MacMahon
  (4:15 PM)

The Mavs are thrilled with what JJ Barea has been doing. They're challenging him to keep it up. He's the one guy on the roster right now who has confidence and the ability to carve up a defense with penetration. (Roddy Beaubois has a confidence crisis.) I wouldn't worry too much about Kendrick Perkins taking a cheap shot. The punishment against Andrew Bynum sent a pretty strong message.

Joe Gibson (Kansas City, MO.)

The Mavs had better tighten up the defense if they want to win this Thunder series. As much as I love Dirk, I don't see him shooting 80% from the floor and getting 24 free throws every game this series.

Tim MacMahon
  (4:15 PM)

Rick Carlisle basically blew off the first question he was asked today and ripped into the Mavs' D. Rest assured that defense was emphasized during today's practice.

Aneesh (Chicago, IL)

Hi Tim. Obligaory Caron question: do you feel in any way his absence has HELPED the team? This team seems to perform better when they have some adversity and they become the 'underdog' so losing him gave them the obstacle which really seems to motivate a group of "old guys." Further, the way Dirk is playing offense and getting defended, it seems having a weakside shooter like Peja is more effective in certain cases. Now of course defensively not having hurts but....

Tim MacMahon
  (4:17 PM)

Absolutely not. Remember that the Mavs were 24-5 when Butler and Dirk were both healthy. Peja has had some big games in the playoffs, but Butler is a far superior player at this point in their careers. The Mavs could definitely use his toughness and ability to create off the dribble.

Jason (Montana)

Hey Tim. You think the Mavs should play Barea more this series? His confidence appears to grow every game these playoffs and when he's wettin' his 3's, he looks close to unguardable (21 pts. in 16 mins.). Your thoughts?

Tim MacMahon
  (4:19 PM)

Barea is best as a change-of-pace guy. I don't think he'd be as effective if he played a lot of minutes. But he's been fantastic for most of this season and especially in the last five playoff games. I like him in the 20-minute-per-game range.

Forney,Texas [via mobile]

Why do so many in the media always question the tuffness of Dirk, he is always clutch @ the end of the game.

Tim MacMahon
  (4:21 PM)

Why are you asking the member of the media who debated last series that Dirk was a better closer than Kobe?

travis (columbus(tressell country))

Skip bayless gave dirk a 7 out of 10 on his performance last night...not sure which is lower - dirks rating or skips IQ?

Tim MacMahon
  (4:22 PM)

A decent rule of thumb is that if a guy hits 8 of every 10 shots, his rating ought to be at least that high after a 48-point playoff performance.

Seymour (Dallas)

Who would you rather start a team with: Durant or Dirk?

Tim MacMahon
  (4:23 PM)

That's an easy decision due to age. Durant is a decade younger than Dirk, so he's the one you'd want to build a franchise around. We could have a good debate about which guy is the better player right now. Dirk is definitely the more proven closer.

Mike (Rockwall)

Game one gave me more good feelings than bad feelings about the Mavs chances. Dirk had a career night. J.J. and Terry had great ones and the Mavs still couldn't put the Thunder away. Don't even get me started on RW being horrible from the field. What say you?

Tim MacMahon
  (4:24 PM)

I say chill out. The Mavs have won seven straight playoff games for the first time in franchise history. Enjoy the moment.

Shane Nesler (Brentwood TN)

Do you think that the Mavs will live with Westbrook getting 20 points as long as they are an "ineffecient" 20 points per game. Westbrook may say that the Mavs "D" had nothing to do with his struggles, but his season-long performace (or lackthereof) suggest otherwise?

Tim MacMahon
  (4:26 PM)

Yes, they will. The Mavs will gladly accept Westbrook getting more turnovers (4) than field goals (3) or assists (3). Westbrook can shrug it off as a poor shooting night, but the numbers indicate that's a trend for him against the Mavs.

Jack (New York)

Why did dirk put his two fingers to his left wrist at the end of the game? Was that some sort of sign to the other team? I was wondering if any other analysts looked into that? What do you think?

Tim MacMahon
  (4:27 PM)

I believe it's something he does as a way to basically acknowledge some friends, but I'm not 100 percent sure about it.

Daniel (Euless)

I'll give the refs credit, they called it the same on both ends of the court; but 79 free throws shot, isn't that a bit excessive? Are the zebras more likely to swallow their whistles in Game 2?

Tim MacMahon
  (4:28 PM)

I hope so. Basketball games aren't supposed to last three hours. That game lost all flow in the third quarter. Too bad, because Dirk vs. Durant is a treat to watch.

David (Dallas)

Does Dirk not get the recognition because he is humble, quiet and reserved? People don't get how lucky we are to have him. He never ran from the challenge like Lebron and Carmelo

Tim MacMahon
  (4:30 PM)

Jason Kidd said something along those lines today, that Dirk doesn't get his due because he isn't flashy. Kevin Durant is the same way. (Shameless plug: Jeff Caplan is writing a column tonight about the two humble superstars in this series.) The combination of Dirk's talent and loyalty will make him a legend forever in Dallas.

jclay (denton tx.)

Hey Tim enjoy the columns, did you happen to hear Skip Bayless today and his assessment of Dirks performance last night? If so, what did you think about him giving dirks game 1 performance a 7 rating on a 1 to 10 scale? How would you rate Dirks game one performance?

Tim MacMahon
  (4:31 PM)

Didn't hear it, but I am making a First Take appearance in the morning. Perhaps Skip will explain the logic to me then. Pretty sure that's a debate I can dominate.

Lance (Arlington)

Do you think they will ever start more offensive minded players in the next game. Other than Dirk it seems like all our offense comes from the bench.

Tim MacMahon
  (4:33 PM)

The Mavs like to set a physical tone by starting DeShawn Stevenson and Shawn Marion. It also allows them to get favorable matchups when they bring Jason Terry, JJ Barea and Peja Stojakovic off the bench. The lineup isn't going to change after a seven-game playoff winning streak.

Ian (Fort Worth)

Is Carlisle the best coach remaining in the post-season?

Tim MacMahon
  (4:34 PM)

Well, Chicago's Tom Thibodeau was the coach of the year this season. Carlisle does deserve a lot of credit for the job he's done with a team that lost its second-leading scorer and had a player they expected a lot from (Roddy Beaubois) contribute next to nothing.

Billy OKC [via mobile]

Think Durant is rethinking that Randolph is the best PF in the league statement?

Tim MacMahon
  (4:36 PM)

I don't think there's any question that it's Dirk. But it's not like Durant meant any disrespect when he made that comment. He was just being (a little too) complimentary of a player who just had a dominant performance.

Tim MacMahon
  (4:36 PM)

Folks, gotta run. Appreciate all the questions and apologize for not getting to more of them.