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Trade Deadline Series: Mavericks Player Value – Dirk Nowitzki

by Albert Luna on February 20, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

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The day has arrived. We are less than 12 hours away from finding out what the Mavericks roster will look like for the remainder of the season. We have given insight on every players’ value, so in keeping with this segment, we must tell you what the trade value holds for Dirk Nowitzki……

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DirkDirk Nowitzki

Salary:

$22,721,381

Age:

35 years 8 months

Season Stats:

21.7 PPG – 6.1 RPG – 2.9 APG

Potential: 

Will always be a starter regardless of the team, always a threat for a 30 point game. Eventually with age will have to be second or third option on offense for a team.

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Trade Value:

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Some things just never change. Nowitzki (on the brink of turning 36 years old) remains the Mavs’ go-to guy, a unique 7-footer whose shooting ability makes him the primary focus for opposing defenses, creating space for his teammates to operate. Monta Ellis has especially benefited from playing with the big German, having one of his better shooting campaigns of his career in his first season with the Mavs. Nowitzki had some questions coming into this season, would health become a lingering issue, would his number be down, was he done being a elite power forward? 1150 points and one all star appearance later those questions have quitted. Dirk is still averaging a respectable 22 points a game to go along with a 50-40-90 shooting percentage (on track to be the oldest player to ever do so). However, with Nowitzki being the best player for the Mavs, that also means the Mavs take shape of their leader.  Nowitzki has never been a above average defensive player and with age, it’s only gotten worse. Nowitzki is repeating history we’re well accustomed to in leading one of the best offensive, but worst defensive teams in the league. His work ethic and professionalism however sets the standard for every other player who steps foot in that locker room, giving the Mavs a good reputation during his tenure.
The Mavs swung and missed on their attempt to make Nowitzki the second-best player on the team this past summer. They never got a chance to make a pitch to Chris Paul, and they weren’t persuasive enough to talk Dwight Howard into joining Nowitzki for his golden years instead of teaming with James Harden as he heads into his prime. This probably sealed Dirk’s fate, he is now destined to be the Mavs’ best player for the remaining years he has in Big D. Dallas settled for reconstructing Nowitzki supporting cast by signing Ellis and Calderon (among others) to let Dirk end his career in a competitive manner. Nowitzki has been on the record with his intention to re-sign with the Mavs next summer at a drastically reduced salary for two or three more seasons. With a style that ages well, he expects to be able to perform at a high level for at least that long.

The Mavs won’t trade Dirk, he simply means too much to the team and the community. Also it’s worth noting that Nowitzki’s contract contains the very rare “no trade clause” that prevents the Mavs from trading Dirk without his discretion.  He will never play for another NBA team. It’s a matter of how long he decides to keep going in Dallas and whether he’ll ever have a legitimate chance to contend for another championship. This trade deadline, it’ll be the other Mavs players the team will look at to deal in order to improve their team. Dirk will always be there and it’s silly to think the Mavs would try to trade the best player in franchise history at this point in his career.

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Days until trade deadline: The deadline is today at 3:00 PM EST. (2:00PM CST). Be sure to follow us on twitter for any Mavs related trades.

Stay tuned!

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Trade Deadline Series: Mavs’ Player Market Value

by Albert Luna on February 10, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

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This series will begin today and run until February 20th (the NBA trade deadline), focusing on each current Mavericks player and their value on the trade market with other teams. We will work our way up from reserves to superstars on the roster. Be sure to check back every day as we countdown towards the trade deadline.

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Players: Bernard James and Ricky Ledo

Will anyone realistically listen if these reserves are on the trading block?

Salaries:

James – $778,782; Ledo – $ 550,000

Age:

James – 29 years 0 months, Ledo - 21 years 5 months

Season Stats:

James: 1.2 PPG | 1.7 RPG | 0.1 APG; Ledo: 1.7 PPG | 0.2 RPG | 0.2 RPG

Potential: 

James - Rebounding, Shot-blocker off the bench for added front court depth. Low maintenance, good locker room guy.

Ledo - Long term project that could eventually be 6th of 7th man off the bench for playoff team.

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Trade Value:

Bernard James is in his second season with the Mavs and has never really found a steady spot in Rick Carlisle’s rotation. James is a great feel good story for the team and the NBA. James enlisted in the Air Force at age 17 and eventually rose to the rank of staff sergeant (hence his popular nickname “Sarge”). After later attending Florida State, James was drafted with the 33rd overall pick in 2012 by the Cavaliers before being traded to the Mavs along with Jae Crowder and Jared Cunningham for Tyler Zeller.

He has established himself as an energy guy and defensive minded shot blocker in Carlisle’s ‘Be Ready’ system. The only problem with that is his size. Listed at 6’10″, Sarge simply doesn’t have the strength to offset the height differential (such as Dejuan Blair) that comes with pounding against NBA giants like Marc Gasol, Dwight Howard and Tim Duncan.

James has played in only 19 games this season with a season-high 22 minutes in a blowout to the Kings in which he put up seven points and six rebounds. At 29 years of age, James doesn’t have the advantage to grow in time. If James was too be moved, it would likely be with another player or too make room for another player.

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The Mavs acquired the 43rd overall pick to get Ricky Ledo, a 6-foot-7 shooting guard they see as a high-potential project. The four-year contract Ledo signed provides evidence of the Mavs’ commitment to developing him. He got $60,000 more than the minimum in his first season, and the Mavs guaranteed the first two years of the deal (almost $1.4 million).

Ledo didn’t play in college at Providence due to the NCAA deeming him ineligible. This year with the Mavs, Ledo has spent a good amount of time with Dallas’ NBA D-League affiliate Texas Legends. In 21 games with the Legends, Ledo is averaging 13.8 points and 5.7 rebounds in 28.5 minutes. Ledo has logged only 27 total minutes with the Mavs this season, scoring 19 points.

According to Basketball-Reference.com, Ledo has an adjusted 17 PPG per 48 min, good for 6th among all rookies. Ledo is a very raw scorer that’s a decent rebounder and has the ceiling to become a Chandler Parsons-type player if he can be developed correctly.  Currently however, Ledo would also likely be part of a bigger multi-player trade if he was to be moved.

Although these players have some trade value, the Mavs will likely keep both Ledo and James unless of course the right deal is to arise or if they were to be part of a bigger trade. Time will tell in the coming week if the Mavs do decide to make moves.

Days until trade deadline10 days

Stay tuned!

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Wrap Up: Mavs Comeback, Nowitzki’s Huge Night Fall Short

by Greg Higgins on January 30, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

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The Dallas Mavericks (26-21) finished their season series with the Houston Rockets (31-17) on Wednesday night. The Mavs, playing the second-game of a four-game home stand, were unable to win the season series as they lost 117-115.

How it went down:

When the season is over, this could be a game that is looked at as the one that got away. This is a game that the Mavericks should have won and you have to know they feel that way. Houston’s leading scorere James Harden was sitting out his second game with a bruised thumb. Houston was playing the second night of a back-to-back and Dwight Howard had a mediocre game according to his standards. Howard only had five rebounds, one block shot and he had four turnovers as well.

For some reason, though, Dallas trailed pretty much the whole game. They were playing catch up for most of the game as Houston kept the offensive pressure up. Houston shot 55.4% from the field, including 42.9% from three-point land.

Dallas was able to stay in the game thanks to the offense of Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter. Dirk poured in 38 points and Vince had 22. The game looked over with 2:44 left. Houston had an 11-point lead 116-105. Dallas closed the gap to two with 22.2 seconds left when Dirk sank two-free throws.

Trailing 117-115, Jose Calderon forced a turnover as Aaron Brooks fumbled the ball out of bounds. With 19.9 seconds left, the Mavs had the ball and a chance to tie the game or even win. Trying to get the ball to Dirk for the final shot, he was double-teamed and so it was Calderon with the three-point try. His attempt came up short. He grabbed the rebound and tried again at the buzzer and it came up just short.

Inside the Numbers:

Dirk became the 13th player in NBA History to surpass the 26,000 plateau.

Dirk is on pace to pass John Havlicek next month for 12th place. There is a chance that he will pass Dominque Wilkins and Oscar Robertson this year as well, which will put him in the top 10 in scoring.

Step-Up Mav of the Night: Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk was the only starter to score in double-figures. He scored 38 and the rest of the starters scored 22 points combined. Dirk also grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds for Dallas.

 

 

 

Quotes:

“The defense was horrible all night. I mean, every time down somebody was in the paint, laying the ball up or in transition, drives or pick-and-roll plays. I mean, if you give up 117 at the house, you’re going to lose.”

– Dirk Nowitzki

 

“We kept fighting. We knew it was some tough plays. We couldn’t get a stop for one part of the fourth quarter, but we kept on fighting till the end. We got the shots at the end and we couldn’t make it, but we shouldn’t put ourselves in that situation. To be able to win this game, I think we made too many mistakes.”

– Jose Calderon

 

“We gave ourselves a chance, which was great, but the first 46 minutes or whatever it was were not good. It’s a lot of the same problem — keeping people in front of us and giving up too many layups. We’ve got to do better.”

 – Rick Carlisle

On Deck:

The Mavs continue their home stand as they host the Sacramento Kings on Friday night. The Kings defeated Dallas in their lone meeting this far. The game airs on FSSW at 7:30 p.m. CT.

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Game Night: Rested Mavs Take On Rockets

by Albert Luna on January 29, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

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The Mavericks hope to reel in their second win of this home stand against James Harden (game-time decision; thumb), D-12 and the Rockets.

The game at hand:

The Mavericks grinded out a 116-106 win over the Pistons on Sunday, ending a two-game losing skid. Dirk Nowitzki was phenomenal, having a game high in points (28) and rebounds (9) in a game in which he went up against the likes of Greg Monroe and Josh Smith.

Now the Mavs have a date with the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night in Dallas. This is game 2 of 4 game home stand. The Mavs are looking to put together a string of consecutive wins for the first time in over two weeks.  This Rockets team will be in its second night of a back-to-back, fresh off of taking down the Spurs last night. This will also be the fourth and last time the two will face off in the regular season, the Mavs are currently 2-1 vs their rivals, including a late November thriller in which Monta Ellis went for 37 points en route to a Dallas victory.

Keys to the game:

1. Continued bench production: Sunday’s game was a step in the right direction for the Mavs bench, particularly Devin Harris. After struggling in his first three games back from a toe injury that kept him out most the season, Harris has shown he’s not done yet , averaging 14 points and about five assists in his last two contests. Vince Carter has also (not so coincidentally) been thriving off of Harris’ improved  play, averaging 16 points on over 50 percent shooting during that span as well.

2) Take care of the ball: For the fourth straight game, the Mavs had yet another contest in which they turned over the ball 15+ times. Simply, that won’t get it done. Monta Ellis had an eight turnover game on Sunday, collecting just three assists in the process. With Ellis getting a lot of ball handling duties, this is big area for improvement. If the main guards can cut back on TO’s, the rest of the team should follow suit.

EllisHardenMatchup of the Night:  James Harden vs. Monta Ellis

In what is probably a matchup of the two most well rounded shooting guards in all of the Western Conference; all eyes will be set on this matchup. Although Monta Ellis has been struggling a little as of late, a strong performance here will certainly force his name back into the discussion of All-Stars for the remaining seven spots in the West.  In the two games Harden has played against the Mavs, he’s averaged 29 points, six assists, and three rebounds while Ellis is averaging 25 points, five assists, and four rebounds in his 3 games against Houston this season.

Harden (thumb) sat out last night’s game against the Spurs. His status for this one is questionable. If the beard can’t go, expect more minutes and production from Jeremy Lin and Francisco Garcia.

 

 

 

Quotes:

“I’ve looked at it pretty close and he’ll make it, I just have a feeling that he will. And if he doesn’t, it’s great because he’ll have (time to) rest. But I do think, if you look at his stats and the production and minutes – if he was playing the minutes some of those guys are playing, he’d be a 25-point scorer. So he’ll make it. I think (Monta) Ellis deserves, too.” – Rick Carlisle on Dirk Nowitzki’s All-Star chances.

 

“I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I’m just building on each game, trying to get better, I try not to have too high expectations, having that much time off. I know what I feel I can do. It’s what my body will allow me to do. The last two games have been good for me.” – Devin Harris on his evaluation of his performance.

When and Where: The game will tip off at 7:30 CST and will air on Fox Sports Southwest

Go Mavs! 

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Wrap Up: Mavs Provide Early Christmas Gift In Win Over Rockets

by Greg Higgins on December 26, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments

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The Dallas Mavericks (16-12) coming off an embarrassing two-game stretch against the Toronto Raptors and Phoenix Suns were hoping to right the ship against the Houston Rockets (18-11) on Monday night. This was the third meeting between the two teams already on the season, with both teams splitting the first two games. Dallas made sure they didn’t drop three games in a row as they defeated the Rockets 111-104.

How it went down: On a night in which Dirk Nowitzki only needed 13 points to tie Alex English on the NBA All-Time Scoring list, Dirk made sure he did more than that. Dirk tied English in the first half and early in the third quarter he took over the No. 13 spot on the scoring list.

Dirk finished the night with 31 as he led the charge for Dallas. The Mavericks were dominated in the paint due mostly to the fact that Dwight Howard had 29 points for Houston. The Rockets outscored Dallas 60-32 in the paint.

Late in the second quarter, Dallas trailed by 11 points to Houston 55-44 and trailed by seven at half time. The Mavs opened up the third quarter on a 15-1 run and never looked back. Dallas outscored Houston 61-47 in the second half.

Inside the Numbers: This is the second time the Mavs have defeated the Rockets after trailing by double-digits in the game.

The Mavs turned 18 Rocket turnovers into 21 points.

Dallas had five players in double-digit scoring, including two players off the bench (Vince Carter and Brandan Wright)

Impact Play of the Game:  From 1:30 left in the half until the 8:08 minute mark of the third quarter, the Mavs outscored Houston 21-3 to take a seven point advantage. On a night where offense took center stage for Dirk, it was a block on Dwight Howard at the half-time buzzer that set the tone for the second half.

Step-Up Mav of the Night: Dirk Nowtizki

When it’s all said and done, Dirk is going to go down as one of the greatest power forwards of all time. Too bad the rest of the world can’t see what the fans in Dallas already know: He’s been great for years.

Quotes:

 ”It was a must-win for us. We had to get back on track to feeling good again after two devastating losses that we figured came because we weren’t playing our basketball within our system. Tonight, we came in with a great game plan and stuck to it.” – Monta Ellis

 

“We tried a bunch of different stuff. We tried showing and coming back. We tried staying on him. We tried running at him. Nothing seemed to work.” - Kevin McHale on stopping Dirk

On Deck:

The Mavs have a couple days off for Christmas before taking the floor again on Thursday night against the hated San Antonio Spurs. The game can be seen on FSSW at 7:30 Central.

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Mavs Wrap Up: Mavs Deliver Texas Size Knockout To Rockets

by Greg Higgins on November 21, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments

Wrap Up

For those of you who went to bed around 11:00 central time because the Dallas Mavericks (8-4) were getting blown out by the Houston Rockets (8-5), you may be kicking yourself today. Dallas capped off an unbelievable comeback as they knocked off their Interstate Rivals.

How it went down: The Mavericks got bombarded in the first quarter of the game against the Rockets as they came out on fire. Four minutes into the game and Houston had 20 points already. Houston would wind up with 40 points in the first quarter and a 40-29 lead.

The second frame was a little more Dallas speed as they outscored Houston 32-28 and only trailed by seven going into the break. After three, Houston led by 14 and the Mavericks looked dead in the water. They had trailed by as much as 18 in the game and seemed to not be able to stop the Rockets from doing anything.

Monta EllisThis is when everything changed. Somehow, the defense picked up and Dallas was converting on the other end of the floor. The final quarter saw Dallas erase the lead completely as Shawn Marion knocked down a three-pointer with about 45 seconds left to go in the game. Dallas took a 121-119 lead at that point and it was their first lead since 4-2 in the first quarter. James Harden was fouled and only made one of his free throws. Dallas would knock down a couple more free throws to secure the 123-120 win over Houston.

The AAC was quite ecstatic at what had just happened. Dallas, even with all the new faces, showed what they can do when the pull together as a team. During the 2011 championship run, Dallas had six fourth quarter comebacks in the playoffs. This is one of those games that could go a long way in deciding this teams’ fate in the future.

Inside the Numbers:

After Houston shot a staggering 64.9% in the first three quarters, Dallas held them to only 26.3% in the final quarter. Dallas outscored them 36-19 in the frame too.

Despite being turned down by Dwight Howard in the offseason, Dallas managed to out-rebound Houston 36-30.

For the second game in a row, Dallas was outscored in the paint by a huge margin (56-36 against Houston), yet Dallas managed to win both games.

Impact Play of the Game:  Trailing by 14 going into the fourth quarter, Dirk Nowitzki opened up the fourth quarter with six straight points to pull them within eight of Houston. Dallas would go on a 14-3 run to open the quarter before eventually overtaking Houston.

Step-Up Mav of the Night: Dirk Nowitzki

Monta Ellis led the team in scoring with 37 but it was Dirk’s fourth quarter run that ignited the team and sparked the comeback. Dirk finished the night with 35 points and he also passed Reggie Miller for 15th place on the NBA all-time scoring list. Dirk trails Kevin Garnett by 42 currently for 14th place.

Quotes:

“They were on pace for a 60-point quarter at the eight-minute mark, and we knew they weren’t going to keep shooting it that way, But we also knew we had to step it up and make them feel us more than they were defensively. Gradually, we were able to do it.” – Rick Carlisle speaking about the first quarter explosion Houston had.

 

“We made some runs there in the third and in the fourth, but it seemed like they had an answer every time. You know, somebody would hit a big three … and it seemed like they had an answer every time. But we stuck together and we talked about it in the huddle and kept fighting. And you know, anything is possible.” – Dirk Nowitzki

On Deck:

Dallas will finish their three-game home stand Friday night against the Utah Jazz. The game can be seen on FSSW starting at 7:30.

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Mavs Game Night: Houston at Dallas

by Ryan Wilson on November 20, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments

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Tonight, the Dallas Mavericks (7-4) look to go 6-0 at the friendly confines of American Airlines Center, and will get their second look at the Houston Rockets (7-4) in the process. The Rockets grabbed a large lead early in their first meeting and took down the Mavericks 113-105. The Mavericks made multiple runs to get back in the ball game, but fell short in the end. This figures to be a full out track meet as both teams can put up points, and give them up as well. The Rockets rank 2nd in the NBA in scoring at 108.8 points, but give up 104.5 points, which ranks 27th. The Mavericks, meanwhile, rank 5th in scoring at 105.7 points and 24th in points allowed at 102.7.

THE GAME AT HAND:

While the Mavericks were sloppy throughout, the duo of Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki proved to much for the rebuilding 76ers squad.

Tonight will be the first night Dwight Howard steps into the American Airlines Center since choosing the Rockets as his next team instead of the Mavericks. Mark Cuban has made multiple remarks saying that Howard made the wrong move, and that the Mavericks are happy they didn’t land him to begin with.

This will be the second of four meetings with Houston this season. This is another measuring stick to see just where the Mavericks stand and how far they can go this season.

THREE KEYS OF THE NIGHT:

1) START FAST: Last time in Houston, the Mavericks fell behind 38-22 after one quarter of play, and it was an uphill battle from then on. The Mavericks made some runs, but Nowitzki would foul out early in the 4th Quarter, which proved to be to much for the Mavericks to handle. Tonight, the Mavericks will need to take that home court advantage and use it to get off to a quick start.

2) PROTECT THE BALL: The Mavericks turned the ball over only 14 times in Houston earlier this month, but they were crucial turnovers, and they came in a time where the Mavericks were battling to get back in the game. The Mavericks turnover woes came back Monday against Philadelphia racking up 20 overall. Against a run and gun team like Houston, the Mavericks will have to take care of the ball and value every possession.

Vince Carter, Omri Casspi3) FIND THAT 3RD SCORER: Through the first 11 games, the Mavericks have been able to count on Nowitzki and Ellis to be their two main scorers. In a game like tonight where points will be needed to win, the Mavericks must be able to lean on a 3rd scorer. Vince Carter or Shawn Marion could end of being that guy, but regardless, someone needs to give the Mavericks that third scoring punch.

MATCHUP OF THE NIGHT

Monta Ellis vs James Harden: This figures to be a heck of battle between two veteran shooting guards. Ellis continues to prove his doubters wrong and has made himself comfortable in Rick Carlisle’s system. Harden, who will most likely have Marion guarding him for a majority of the game, is always a tough cover, whether that means him driving to the rim or shooting from outside. His ability to get to the charity stripe makes him tough to handle throughout the game.

 

 

QUOTES:

Hopefully we have a better night here, and defensively Harden really sliced us up. He had a great game, and what makes him tough is his drives to the basket. But he was shooting threes from two feet behind the line, so he had a great game against us. We’ve got to make sure we contain him a little bit better.” - Dirk Nowitzki

 

“We’ve gone from 29th in the league the first week of the season. We’re up to 13th, and our catastrophic turnovers are keeping us from being in the top 10. Ball security has a lot to do with that, and we’ve got to help our offense work for our defense instead of the other way around.” - Rick Carlisle on turnovers 

HOW TO WATCH:

The game can be seen on FSSW and nationally on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. CT

INJURY REPORT:

Dallas Mavericks

  • Brandan Wright OUT
  • Wayne Ellington Day-To-Day
  • Devin Harris OUT

Sources – Game Preview by Earl K. Sneed (quote)

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Wrap Up: Mavs Can’t Overcome Early Deficit, Fall To Rockets

by Ryan Wilson on November 2, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments

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The Dallas Mavericks (1-1) dropped their first division game last night, as they couldn’t escape a rough 1st Quarter start in Houston. It was an ugly start, but there were some positives to take from this one, because the Mavericks never gave in, and actually outplayed Houston for a majority of the next three quarters.

HOW IT WENT DOWN: The Mavericks couldn’t buy a basket to start the ball game, and the Rockets seemed to have no problem on their end. The Mavericks trailed by as many as 22 in this one, but it was Coach Rick Carlisle’s adjustments that allowed the team to crawl their way back.

After giving up 61 points to their highway rivals, the Mavericks decided to play some zone defense, which took away some penetration from the Rockets and didn’t allow them to capture any momentum. At one point, Dwight Howard got fouled, and missed his two free throws badly. Coach Carlisle then decided to go to the Hack-A-Dwight option, where he would miss 4 more free throws, and the Mavericks would get to within six points.

The Mavericks were right back in the game, but some foul trouble kept Dirk Nowitzki off the floor throughout times in the 3rd and 4th Quarters. Dirk would eventually foul out of this one on a call that should have probably never been made. Carlisle would wave the white flag and look ahead to the Saturday night showdown with the Memphis Grizzlies…or so he thought.

The Mavericks bench consisting mostly of Jae Crowder, Gal Mekel, and Ricky Ledo came up with a very late push, in which Crowder knocked down five 3-pointers. In the end, the Mavericks could never get out of the early hole they dug, and fell to the Rockets 113 -105.

IMPACT PLAY OF THE GAME: The Mavericks trailed by 10 with a little over 6 minutes remaining, and were still very alive. James Harden drove to the basket on a transition attack, and Nowitzki chased him, eventually backing away so he wouldn’t pick up his 6th foul. Harden sold the foul pretty good, and made the lay-up. Nowitzki fouled out, and the Mavericks trailed by 13 after the free-throw.

STEP UP MAV OF THE NIGHT: DeJuan Blair

Blair had his best showing as a Maverick to date last night. He was a beast on the glass, hauling in 10 rebounds, 5 of them on the offensive end. He also was very good around the basket, scoring 11 points. He has very quick and soft hands that allows him to be an asset in tough physical games like these.

QUOTES: 

“I guess I’ve just got to get out of the way. He’s so great at creating contact, so I’ve just got to run to the locker room and let him lay it in.” – DIRK NOWITZKI

 

“We have to play better at the start of the game. Our play in the first quarter put us in such a hole that we could never get back over the hump.” – RICK CARLISLE

ON DECK: The Mavericks will rush back to Dallas to take on the Memphis Grizzlies tonight  at the American Airlines Center. It could be a tired Grizzlies team as they had to fight off the Detroit Pistons last night in Overtime for their first win of the season. Catch all of the coverage on FSSW starting at 7:00. Tip-off is at 7:30.
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Mavs Game Night: Dallas at Houston

by Damian Jackson on November 1, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments

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The Dallas Mavericks (1-0) started off the season with a bang, a 118-109 victory over the visiting Atlanta Hawks. Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki displayed immediate chemistry en route to 56 combined points. Vince Carter dropped in 21 points off the bench.

GAME AT HAND: The competition stiffens when the Mavericks travel instate for an early divisional tussle with the Houston Rockets (1-0). These two teams met for preseason action in Houston – a 100-95 Rockets win – but the intensity will certainly be elevated in this one.

Houston had five players score in double figures, led by James Harden’s 19 points and Dwight Howard’s double-double of 15 points and 17 rebounds.

Dallas has won 24 of the last 31 games since 2006 between the two Texas titans.

THREE KEYS FOR A WIN: 

1. Defend the 3-point line better against a Rockets team loaded with capable shooters from deep. Houston connected on 13 long range shots in the preseason contest. Francisco Garcia made 5-of-10 and Harden added four of his own.

2. Compete on the glass. Howard grabbed a career-high tying 26 rebounds in his Houston debut and had 17 boards in the preseason meeting. The 16 offensive boards surrendered to the Rockets in preseason cannot be repeated. Dallas did win the rebound battle 42-33 in Wednesday’s opener versus the Atlanta Hawks.

3. Battle of the benches – Whichever team’s bench production can trump the others will win this game. The Mavs bench scored 41 points, led by Carter’s 21 and solid work from DeJuan Blair who added nine points and five rebounds in 21 tough minutes.

Garcia and Jeremy Lin combined for 35 bench points for Houston. Casspi added another four.

MATCHUP OF THE NIGHT: Dirk Nowitzki & Sam Dalembert vs. Dwight Howard

The reason I have both Dirk and Sammy D against Dwight in the matchup of the night is because each will have their chance on different ends of the court.

For Dalembert the test comes at the defensive end. Can he manage to battle Dwight, contest in the post and rebound…all while avoiding foul trouble? If Sammy D can stay in the game it will drastically help a Mavs team lacking a reliable backup defensive center with Brandan Wright (shoulder) out.

If Dwight covers Dirk tonight as he did in the preseason, it will be up to the Big German to take advantage. Dwight cannot cover Dirk, one of the hardest matchups in the NBA. It will be interesting to see how much Kevin McHale chooses to play Dwight with Omir Asik in a game that should be rather up tempo.

INJURIES: Dallas - Brandan Wright OUT (Shoulder); Shane Larkin OUT (ankle); Devin Harris OUT (toe) | Houston – Patrick Beverley OUT (sore ribs)

Game action tips at 7:00 p.m. CT and will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest & Comcast Sports Houston.
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Mavs Game Night – Dallas at Houston

by Greg Higgins on October 21, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments

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Call it preseason if you will, but there isn’t a Mavericks fan out there that didn’t circle today’s date when the preseason schedule was announced; especially after the events that unfolded in July. As our own Kay (@TheMavsMistress) tweeted out…

Not only will the Mavericks be playing a divisional foe in the preseason, but they will be facing Dwight Howard. As we all remember Howard turned down the Mavericks, along with a handful of other teams in order to play in Houston.

Dallas (3-2) will be looking on expanding their winning streak in the preseason. They currently have a two-game streak with wins against the Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Bobcats. Houston (3-1) come into the game with a three-game winning streak of their own. After losing to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Rockets have rattled off back-to-back wins against Indiana overseas and they’ve beaten the Orlando Magic as well.

Unlike the fans, the Mavericks have to treat this like another preseason game in which they are trying to get ready for the regular season. Tonight could be the first game in which all five starters are on the floor at the same time. Jose Calderon made his Mavericks debut Saturday against Charlotte but Dirk Nowitzki sat the game out to rest.

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Dirk and Sam Dalembert will have their hands full against the Rockets, though, as they try to contain Dwight Howard and Omer Asik. Of course, this is why Dalembert was brought to the Mavericks – to help defend the rim against the big men of the west, including Howard. Monta Ellis will look to bounce back from his sub-par shooting performance against Charlotte. Ellis finished with only five points as he shot 2-10 from the filed, but did pull in five rebounds and collected five steals.

What will be interesting to see is how the starting five will click together once they are on the court. Hopefully that’ll be something we see tonight in Houston. It may not happen right away, but if you’ll give this group some time to work together it could be something special to watch.

 

 

We will all be watching tonight as it should start happening before our eyes.

Tip at 7:00 p.m. CT – catch the action locally on TXA21 & nationally on NBATV!

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