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Wrap Up: The King Holds Court At American Airlines Center

by Greg Higgins on February 19, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

Wrap Up Mavs Lose

January 12, 2011 is the last time the Dallas Mavericks (32-23) have defeated the Miami Heat (38-14). That, of course, was game 6 of the NBA Finals when the Mavericks won the championship. Miami has rattled off six straight wins against Dallas, including Tuesday night’s 117-106 victory at the American Airlines Center.

How it went down:

There are some games when you just have to give credit to the other team. This is one of those games for the Mavericks. The Heat shot 57.1% from the floor and capitalized on 16 Mavericks’ turnovers to the tune of 24 points. Miami also outscored the Mavs in the paint 56-34.

LBJLeBron James, who seems to hold a personal vendetta against the Mavs after the 2011 Finals, torched Dallas for 42 points. He also grabbed nine boards and had six assists. Chris Anderson also added 18 for the Heat. James and Anderson combined for 24 of the Heat’s 33 points in the fourth quarter.

This isn’t the way the Mavs had hoped to start the second half of the season. Considering the two games sandwiching the All-Star game, though, were against the top two in the Eastern Conference and the Mavs split them is a positive sign. Dallas defeated the Pacers in Indiana last Wednesday night before the break.

Inside the Numbers:

James’ 42 points is a season high for him this year.

Dirk Nowitzki has shot at least 50% from the field in nine of his last 10 games (7-14 against the Heat).

Dallas out rebounded Miami 50-28 and had 21 offensive rebounds. It’s the first time since December 20, 2003 that Dallas grabbed 20 offensive rebounds and lost in regulation.

Impact Play of the Game:  With 7:47 left in the game and Dallas up 95-92, LeBron re-entered the game and led the Heat on a 14-0 run, including eight straight points by James.

Step-Up Mav of the Night:

Dirk Nowtizki

Dirk shot 50% from the floor and everyone else managed to shoot 38%. Dirk also had nine rebounds and seven assists for the Mavs.

Quotes:

“I thought we played extremely hard and our heart was in the right place all night. We just had some untimely misses, some untimely turnovers, and that really hurt us. They are a team that takes advantage of those and they make you pay an exponential price.” – Rick Carlisle

 

“I like how we competed. We played hard and gave ourselves a chance. Just down the stretch we weren’t good enough. LeBron kept making plays, and they stepped up their defense a little bit. We couldn’t score the last four or five minutes, so I guess that separates a good team from a great team.” – Dirk Nowitzki

 

“When we turned it over, [James] was gone. He’s one of the fastest guys in the league in the open court. After his fourth open-court dunk, the basket started to get bigger for him. Then he started pulling up for threes and started hitting some. It just opened the game up.” – Shawn Marion

 

On Deck:

Dallas will face the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night in Philadelphia as they set out on a three-game road trip. The game can be seen on FSSW locally at 6 p.m. CT.

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Game Night: Mavs Begin Stretch Run Against Miami

by Damian Jackson on February 18, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

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Dallas (32-22) aims to continue its recent ride of success when they host the Miami Heat (37-14) Tuesday night. The Mavericks are winners of six out of the last seven, the most recent a 81-73 road victory against the Indiana Pacers.

The Game at Hand:

You won’t find many outside the Mavericks and maybe Heat fan bases that feel the still smoldering rivalry between the two squads. There aren’t any worthy extra curricular story lines here, but rather just two playoff teams that know this game holds great significance.

The Mavericks return home for this single game before heading on the road for another three-game trip. Miami continues its six-game roadie in Dallas tonight before finishing it up in Oklahoma City on Thursday. The Heat have won three of four on the current trip and eight of ten overall.

Miami defeated Dallas 110-104 in South Beach on November 15. LeBron James scored a game-high 39 points and Dwyane Wade added 17 points with eight assists and eight steals. Dirk Nowitzki scored 28 points in the loss, Monta Ellis added 20 points and Vince Carter dropped 21 off the bench.

Keys to the Game:

 

1. Force Miami into Tough Shots: The Mavs’ defensive focus was on point in Indiana six days ago. Can they replicate such a performance? Miami shoots a league-best 50.8 percent from the field. The Mavs chances greatly decrease if they allow the Heat to meet its average. Both teams have identical opponent field goal percentages (.461).

2. Rebound and Prevent Second Chances: This won’t be the easiest task for the Mavericks, but could be a deciding factor tonight. Dallas hauls in only 40.1 rebounds each game, good for third to last in the NBA. On this night they face the worst rebounding team in Miami who average a league-low 36.7 per game. The Mavs need to defensive rebound the hell out of the ball tonight. Box out!

Matchup of the Night:

Dirk Nowitzki vs. LeBron James

How can you go with anyone else? The best player in the NBA today against the greatest international player in league history. Both players with double digit All-Star appearances. Of course, LeBron played extensively on Sunday night, producing 22 points seven rebounds and seven assists in 33 minutes. Dirk on the other hand played a game low eight minutes.

In short, All-Star games fit the LeBron mold more so than that of Dirk. Fans get hype off alley-oops slams and highlight reel dribble moves which aren’t the Big German’s style. Dirk may be a little jealous of some Mavs teammates who had more days off to relax than he did, but all in all excited to be back with his guys ready for a strong playoff push.

Looking forward to a battle between two of the games greatest stars. This is an important game to Dirk and LeBron. Most teams have an average of 30 game left and they all matter to those fighting for playoff positioning.

Quotes:

“We played well (in Indiana) and it was great, but it’s over and we have to look forward now to Miami, who has played extremely well. They’ve won back-to-back games in Phoenix and Golden State, which is very hard to do. And they’re coming off the break, too, so it’s an interesting matchup.”

– Mavs Rick Carlisle

 

“Look, his game is timeless. It really is. He’s a great player.”

Heat coach Eric Spoelstra on Mavs F Dirk Nowitzki

 

“I’ve probably taken it a dozen times this year and shooting over 60 percent. I call it The Dirk.”

– LeBron on his 1-legged fadeaway shot

 

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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Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Mark Humphrey; Quotes provided by Dwain Price & Inside Report with Earl K. Sneed

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Dirty Talk: Nowitzki Checks in with Jim Rome

by Damian Jackson on February 14, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

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The Dallas Mavericks’ franchise player took time this Valentine’s Day to join Jim Rome’s radio show ‘The Jungle’ and dish out his high quality commentary.

Dirk Nowitzki has previously appeared on Rome’s television program, but never his radio show and both were very thrilled to have each other’s company today.

Rome kicked it off asking about Dallas’ ability to win six of seven heading into the All-Star break including the physical, defensive win against the East-best Indiana Pacers.

Dirk: That was a big win for us, because they have a very tough front line; they’re long at every position and we kept battling. We had a tough loss the night before in Charlotte, we talked about how we wanted to be better defensively, we needed to compete harder on both ends of the floor. Any time we feel we defend and rebound well, we give ourselves a chance…if we don’t we’re usually in trouble.

Dallas faced the Pacers prior to the break and will host the Miami Heat on Tuesday after the season hiatus. Rome wants to know whether Dirk and the Mavs approach the two teams as next game on the schedule or statement games.

Dirk: Usually you look at the schedule before the season and you circle some games and those two are definitely on. Miami and Indiana are both great teams in the East, and will probably end up playing in the Conference Finals. Plus, with them being in the East you only play them twice…in Dallas once. Miami comes in next week, the only time, and I know the crowd will be ready. We had a little thing going, we beat them in ’11, they’ve won the last two years, they’re a great team and I know our crowd and fans will be ready…one we have circled on the calendar.

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Jason Terry was a guest on ‘The Jungle’ previously and mentioned he still hates the Heat despite beating them in the Finals. Does Dirk share the same hate for Miami or is it just a Terry thing?

Dirk: That’s a Jason Terry thing, I don’t really hate anybody. I think rivalries or big matchups are great for this league. We played the Spurs almost every year in the playoffs for years back in the day and it was always a fun rivalry. Both teams respected each other, but once the ball went up it was physical, hard playing. Those are great and great for the league, so I don’t necessarily hate much, they’re just fun rivalries.

Rome: You don’t run on that kind of fuel, we know the Jet does. [Gets a chuckle out of Dirk]

As a 12-time All-Star who did not make the team last year, does it mean more to get back there this season?

 

 

Dirk: Yeah, I put a lot of work in. These last two years were disappointing for me starting with the lockout season. All these games; My knee started to act up and last year I thought I’d be fine and then right before the season I ended up needing knee surgery and almost missed 30 games so it’s been a tough two years and I wanted to put a lot of work in to get ready. It’s paid off, been uphill to play at a high level and that’s where I wanted to get back at, helping my team win every night. Missing the playoffs last year and watching from home was tough on me. We had made the playoffs 12 years in a row, it motivated me again and that’s why I’m here. With 30 games left, we hope to finish strong.

 

Dirk recently eclipsed 26,000 points in his career and could possibly crack the NBA’s top 10 all-time scoring list by season’s end. What would that milestone mean to you?

Dirk: That’s insane, really. If you think about when I first got here as a 7-foot guy that weighed barely 200 pounds, didn’t really know if I was gonna make it in this league with all these athletes the way they play. 16 years later knowing the crazy ride we’ve been on; the All-Star games are tough, the championship run in 2011, it’s been an amazing ride. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and if I were to end up in the top 10 in scoring that’s an amazing accomplishment. Those things and accomplishments are great once your career is over and you look back over your entire career at what you’ve done. So far chasing and competing every other night it’s not as important, but in 10 years when you’re showing your kids what you’ve done, all those things are unbelievable.

 

 

When he entered the league, the power forward position was in the mold of guys like Charles Barkley. Dirk defined the stretch-four term used frequently in today’s game. Dirk describes his evolution from his NBA beginning to present day.

Dirk: It was just really tough for me, I wasn’t strong enough. [Laughs some before retelling one of his common early NBA stories] When a ‘four’ or power forwards caught the ball on the block and I was guarding him, I would hear the whole [opposing] team yell, “Go at him! Please go at him! Kill him!” It was always in the back of my mind that I have to get stronger, you don’t have to be a great defender but you have to be a smart defender, team defender and help your team if they need you. So I got stronger, my base, my legs to keep guys out of the post more. Then the rule change from few years ago changed the game to more of a flow and not as much iso and post ups. Fours now need to be able to run, jump, shoot a little bit. Even the fives now need to be able to shoot a little, I think the game has evolved away from the one-on-one pounding into more five-on-five with ball screens and flow.

You get stronger and your game evolves. Others NBA greats like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant start emulating the trademark Dirk one-legged fadeaway. What do you think of having a move so unique other guys are trying to copy it?

Dirk: That made me proud, to know that some of the best in this game are using that move and what’s good about that shot is you can always get it off. You could be stuck somewhere on the wing, no dribble, all you do is create a little separation, step back and you’re able to get your shot off. That’s how I started to shoot it more, because as you get older you don’t want to drive as much and take the pounding. All you do is take one little step back, have decent balance, lean back and get the ball over. Obviously, it helps me that I’m 7-foot, I can still get that shot off over anybody. It’s really helped me still score a lot of points even though I can’t drive as much anymore and I’m glad that some of the best are putting it in their [arsenal] even though it’s not their main weapon, I think it’s a big weapon to have.

Dirk provides insight on his role in all these classic music video parodies the Dallas Mavericks create for him and his teammates. Fun times.

Dirk: I’m not that talented in other things besides basketball, but I love making a fool out of myself, always have. The Mavericks always come up with fun stuff for me to do. I mean the camel commercial [Spoof on Gieco's Ad] when I walk through the office and yell “GAMEDAY!” Stuff like that…the fans in Dallas have really soaked up over the years and people only see me on the court when I’m really fired up, they don’t really know how I am off the court so those kind of things let them know I have fun and am really laid back. All those videos and clips just show that I’m a fun guy, I love to have fun, but I don’t think I have a career in singing once I’m done.

Tennis was and is a part of Dirk’s life. Is he a baseliner or one to charge the net? Prefer serving or playing the volley?

Dirk: I did try to serve and volley a little bit. I used to love Boris Becker growing up in the nineties, he was the man, he was our hero in Germany. I even went to the hair salon and said I want a hair cut like Boris Becker [Rome laughs] so I was a huge fan. I had a big serve for my size, I used my serve well, had a big forehand, my backhand was struggling, but I like to come forward and make the points shorter. If you’re a tall tennis player, the less you have to move the better, the less court in the back you have to cover the better, so it’s better for us to move in and keep the points short.

Rome: “That was a great interview Dirk, you do a great interview Dirk. What a blast, that’s so much fun, such a good interview. Literally, one of the best guys ever.

Dirk is known for his one-of-a-kind fadeaway jumper. It’s time more people found out about his one-of-a-kind personality on and off the basketball court.

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Photos provided by NBA.com; ‘Mavs Music Mix’ by Dallas Mavericks; Quoteboard content collaborated from Jim Rome’s CBS Sports Radio interview with Dirk Nowitzki (02/14/14)

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Mavs Game Night: Dallas vs Miami

by Greg Higgins on November 15, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments

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Anytime the Dallas Mavericks (5-3) travel to South Beach to play the Miami Heat (5-3), you can’t help but think about June 2011 when Dirk and company hoisted the championship trophy.

The Game at Hand

The two-time defending Heat are coming off a game in which they absolutely destroyed the Milwaukee Bucks. The Heat are led by LeBron James with 25.5 points per game and 7.3 assists.Heat Champions Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have the ability to dominate a game at any point in time as well for Miami.

Both teams average 106.8 points per game so expect this to be a high-scoring affair. Since the Mavericks won the Finals in 2011, the Heat have won all four matchups with Dallas by an average of 14.3 points and scoring an average of 110.0 points per game.

 

 

 

Three Keys of the Night

1)      Contain everyone else: You know LeBron is going to get his points. He has 503 consecutive games with double-digit scoring. He has averaged 28 points per game against Dallas in the last four contests so you know he’s going to get his. The Mavs have to limit the play from everyone else. Stop the role players from coming in and scoring 10 points and you put yourself in a position to win the game.

2)      Win the rebounding battle: Dallas is averaging 43.1 rebounds per game to the Heat’s 34. This is an area Dallas has tried to improve on in the past and they need to dominate the glass against a very good offensive team like the Heat. The last thing you want to do is give them second and third chances on the offensive glass.

3)      Rick Carlisle must be the better coach: Last year Erik Spoelstra outcoached Gregg Popovich in the NBA Finals and they won a championship because of it. During the offseason, the GM’s around the league voted Carlisle the second best coach at making in-game adjustments behind Popovich. Tonight, Carlisle has to be the better coach and will need to make adjustments to counteract the offense of the Heat.

Matchup of the Night

Dallas’ Role Players vs. Miami’s Role Players. Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki should probably even out the scoring of LeBron and Dwyane. The game will be won by everyone else. Which bench player can step up and help out the team when they need it?

The Mavericks bench is averaging 35.1 points per game while holding the opponents to 32.1 points. If Dallas can get good minutes and contributions from DeJuan Blair, Gal Mekel, Vince Carter and Jae Crowder, they have a very good chance at ending the losing streak to the Heat.

Quotes:

“We’re getting better each and every game. Our rotations are better. Our individual defense has been better. But just more than anything our help side and our team defense has been better, and it’s fueled our offense.” – Vince Carter

 

“They’re defending champions, so they’re a great team. They’ve got a lot of playmakers, great 3-point shooting and they’re great defensively. They’re solid in every area and they’re dynamic. You’ve got to throw a hard 48 minutes at them, and you’ve got to be real smart and tough.” – Rick Carlisle

How To Watch:

The game can be seen on FSSW at 6:30.

Injury Report:

Dallas Mavericks

  • Brandan Wright PF – Nov 13: Out
  • Wayne Ellington SG – Nov 12: Day-To-Day
  • Devin Harris PG – Nov 12: Out

Miami Heat

  • Udonis Haslem PF – Nov 14: Day-To-Day
  • Ray Allen SG – Nov 14: Day-To-Day

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Mavs Pre-Season 5 Days Away – A Look Back At Josh Howard

by Damian Jackson on October 2, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments

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You can now count the days left with one hand – five days remain until preseason action for the Dallas Mavericks and we continue the countdown with Josh Howard. We know Jason Kidd also wore the #5 in his first Mavs stint, but there’s a sense Kidd will eventually show up as the countdown winds down.

The 1996 NBA draft is likely one of the best in NBA history, but the class of 2003 isn’t far behind. A group that includes LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade will do that and the depth is evident in the fact the Dallas Mavericks selected Josh Howard 29th overall with the final pick in the first round.

Howard was the ACC Player of the Year his senior season at Wake Forest and has his #5 jersey retired by the school.

Josh played his rookie season with tons of energy and used his 23.7 minutes per game to its fullest averaging 8.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and a steal each night. He was rewarded by earning All-Rookie Second Team honors.

Howard’s production and points would improve each of his first five seasons with the Mavs. Just one of eight players from the 2003 draft to make an All-Star game, Howard would get his only selection during the 2006-2007 season in which he averaged 18.9 points and 6.8 rebounds for the 67-win Mavericks.

J-Ho would go on to average 19.9 points and 7 boards the following year in 2007-2008, but this would also be the year in which Howard made some questionable choices off the court.

 

Reports of Howard racing back in his hometown surfaced added to his well-documented radio appearance in which he admitted to smoking weed during the NBA’s offseason in the midst of the playoff series with the New Orleans Hornets. There was the tiff with then head coach Avery Johnson about partying after a playoff loss and of course the video of Howard disrespecting the National Anthem at an Allen Iverson charity event.

After one last productive season in 2008-2009 that saw Howard post 18 points and 5.1 rebounds in 52 games, Howard would start only nine more games for the Mavs before the team sent him to the Washington Wizards with James Singleton, Quinton Ross and Drew Gooden for Brendan Haywood, Caron Butler and DeShawn Stevenson.

Since the trade in 2009, Howard has played in just 76 games for the Wizards, Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves due to suffering a torn ACL twice in that span.

Howard’s best years were wearing the Mavs #5 and it will more than likely remain that way. I’ll always remember Josh being one of my favorite Mavericks in that span and cheering him on to score 30 points or more because it seemed he’d start fast and never eclipse 29.

He finally did score more than 30 points – it was Seats for Soldiers night (December 8, 2007) and he dropped 47 points on the Utah Jazz.

 

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NBA Finals: Storm Brews for MavsNation

by Tony Clayton on June 4, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments

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Like a dark cloud on the horizon, it’s upon us, a Spurs/Heat finals.  Not only did Mavs fans have to suffer through a depressing regular season, but now we’re forced to watch an NBA Finals matchup between the two most hated teams amongst the Mavs fan base.  But we can’t just sit idly by and watch the Finals without a rooting interest can we?  Personally, I cannot.  So who should we root for?  Why?  Are we blasphemers for choosing a particular team?  Is there a right choice?

Let me break it down for you.

I’ll be pulling for the Heat in this year’s Finals.  It hurts to type that, I promise. But as a Mavs fan, it’s a must. Here’s why……..

1) By the Heat winning the title, it will make the Mavs the only team to beat the ‘Big 3’ Miami circus in the 2011 Finals.  It will make that title run even more special than it already is.  Yes, I understand that it will be a beating to have to hear about LeBron James and the “Heatles” every five minutes in this ESPN generation. We will be the only team to take down the Heat before the new CBA dismantles them. Imagine the team that would’ve taken down the 90’s Bulls (hypothetically). Not even the Bulls were built with a checkbook like the Heat were/are. I’m selfish…I want Dallas to be the only team to take down the mighty, modern day NBA, cHeat.

2) Do we really want Spurs fans celebrating a fifth title? Not only will they be celebrating their championship over the Heat, but they’ll also gain more ammunition in any future Mavs/Spurs trash talk. Deservingly so, there will be absolutely ZERO rebuttal we can make for that. We’ll lose every bit of bragging rights we gained from 2011. Is that what you want, Mavs fans?

3) Texas Schmexas. I could care less that the Spurs are a “Texas team.”  It doesn’t make it OK to root for the Spurs because of their geography. If this logic is acceptable, then I can’t wait to see the entire Longhorn fans root for the Aggies this year.

4) Look at it this way. We’re NOT rooting for the Heat; we’re only rooting against the Spurs. Just keep telling yourself that. It will help you sleep at night. A Heat title will not put LeBron in the “Jordan” category if that’s what you’re concerned about. No matter how well they play, LeBron will always have the advantage of other superstars on his team. LeBron lost all of that “Jordan” credibility when he sold out and went to Miami.

It’s important that you all recognize something here. I dislike the Heat as much as you do. I hate that the Pacers laid an egg in Game 7 and put us in this position, I really do. I realize the evil of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade and all they represent to today’s NBA. But this is about basketball, not personalities. The way I see it, win or lose, LeBron will always be talked about and blown up in the media. He’ll always be relevant. If Miami wins then he’ll be the best “ever”, if they lose the talking point will be what LeBron didn’t do.  It’s a lose-lose.

So for the sake of basketball related points, and in the BEST interest of the Mavs; I’ve made my rooting interest decision.  I dislike both teams with a passion.  But my disdain for the Heat is .00000001% less than my disdain for the Spurs.  So by default, go NOT THE SPURS!

MFFL

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The TC Report: Is Lebron The Greatest? Nah.

by Ryan Wilson on December 21, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

I’m sure we can all agree that we were Bulls fans in the 90’s.  Unless you’re a Knicks or Pacers fan, I bet most of us followed the Bulls.  Especially in Dallas due to the fact that our Mavericks were well on their way to becoming the laughing stock of the NBA.  The reason we all liked the Bulls was not just because they were winners, but because they had Michael Jordan.  I also liked them because their uniforms were cool, but whatever.  Our love for Michael Jordan was because of his skill set but also because of his competitiveness.  He hated to lose.  He was a great trash talker and we rarely caught him mucking it up with the competition.  And we SURELY never saw him wish to team up with a fellow competitor to help increase his chances of winning.  After all the money and all the fame, Jordan cared about winning.  That’s it.

This is why Lebron James will never be greater than Jordan.  Even if Lebron shatters every record the greats of the game have ever produced; Even if Lebron wins 7 titles, he’ll never be the G.O.A.T.  He might as well have been tested positive for steroids, because every title he racks up while being a member of the Heat deserves an asterisk.

This isn’t a column just to “hate” on Lebron James.  This isn’t about jealousy and this isn’t about coveting what the Miami Heat has.  My team, the Mavericks, dismantled the Heat with an entire nation behind them in 2011.  Even after the “experts” gave us zero chance.  I’m content with that one.

This column is about how Lebron has tarnished his legacy by joining a super team and admitting that he couldn’t win without help from 2 other superstars and other big named role players.  But the major media is so obsessed with finding the next “Jordan” that they have turned their coverage to Lebron and have been blinded by the fact that he has help from his roster.  There’s nothing wrong “help”.  But the help should come from within the system by drafting or adding role players without having to offer a max contract.  Jordan had Pippen (draft pick by Seattle but traded same day).  But he also had help from other role players that were never “great” until Jordan helped make them “great”.  That’s what the greats do.  Not the other way around.  Wade and Bosh have helped provide more scoring opportunities for Lebron, that’s obvious.  The fact that you can’t leave Ray Allen or Battier open beyond the arc has helped create more one on ones for Lebron.  It’s undoubtedly unfair.  The fact that Lebron made the “decision” to take his “talents” to south beach opened the door for many other free agents to do the same.  It’s opened the door for ownership to implement severe over-spending tactics just to compete with Miami.  It’s a slippery slope of destruction.  This shouldn’t be celebrated, it should be frowned upon.

In fact, it sucks that I can’t enjoy watching a Heat game without becoming disgusted in their success.  I wish we could all sit back and watch Lebron operate on the court and give him full credit and be amazed by his play.  Had he stayed in Cleveland, I’d probably be one of his biggest fans. But I simply can not give the Miami Heat credit for anything that they do.  I call them the Miami Cheat.  I personally don’t understand how or why a player would want to play there.  Yes, it would be the fastest way to a ring; but how rewarding is that?  Winning a ring Dirks way, that’s rewarding.  Winning a title John Elway’s way, that’s ideal.  Winning a championship like Kobe did in 2010, that’s perfect.  Proving doubters wrong and coming through for your team and for your city, that’s how it’s done.  That’s where legends are made.

Some athletes have their legacies tarnished by drugs or legal problems.  For some, their history is never written due to injuries. But Lebron James has had none of those.  He’s stayed clean off the court and represents himself well as a father and a human being.  But he’s tarnished his sports legacy by simply his choosing to take the easy way out.  Maybe he never wanted to be the greatest of all time.  Perhaps it’s the media that’s put that pressure on him.

Or maybe not.

“My momma always told me that you always want to be better than your idol.  My idol was Michael Jordan.  So you want to prepare yourself to be better than him.”

- Lebron James, 2003

Maybe Lebron has a more diverse skill set than Jordan.  Maybe he’ll break every Jordan record there is.  But he’ll never be “better” than Jordan.  Jordan wouldn’t have allowed himself to play for the Celtics with Larry or to play in New York with Ewing.  He wouldn’t have left Chicago to go to LA to keep that dynasty going.  Jordan put winning over EVERYTHING.  But he would never consider joining forces with a rival.

Free agency in sports has become a major issue in the MLB and NBA.  It’s a deadly mix of stupid ownership and bad decision making by players.  They’re all chasing the money or chasing an easy win.  They’re leaving their original teams in the dust without a single tap on the breaks or one look in the rearview mirror.  Millions of fans that idolize these players in smaller markets are left heartbroken and confused.  The disconnect between the fandom and the business of sports has never been greater than what it is right now.  Lebron James is the poster boy for this.  To be the “best”, you have to play well but you also have to represent well.  Loyalty matters; no matter what an agent or GM tells you.  Stats don’t mean anything if you’re not respected by the fans.  Being selfish is not a great quality.  It doesn’t make you the Greatest of all Time.

 

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The Mavs Wrap Up: Burnt in Big D

by Ryan Wilson on December 21, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

I’ll admit it. My love for the Dallas Mavericks took over my body and mind going into last night’s game. No Dirk Nowitzki. No Derek Fisher. No Elton Brand or Brandan Wright either. How did my mind translate this?

“I’m not worried. The Mavs are going to take this game tonight.”

Then the game began. Mayo hit his first jumper, and the basketball gods were smiling down at me. Then they stopped smiling.

Lebron James rattled off 13 points on 6-7 shooting in the 1st Quarter, and the Mavs couldn’t buy a bucket. I mentioned Mayo hitting his 1st jumper of the game. He followed that by shooting 2-13 from then on. Some would say that this was a matter of Mayo struggling against the big boys. That isn’t really the issue. With the Mavericks missing Nowitzki, the Heat used their intense half court defense to shut Mayo down. The absent  Nowitzki lead the Mavericks to have nobody to help spread the floor.

“We’re playing a random game right now because of our personnel situation,” Carlisle said. “It’s not like we’re running a lot of plays for O.J.

If you want to really get an idea for how bad this game was, check this out.

 

STARTERS

+/-

PTS

Shawn Marion, SF

-23

10

Chris Kaman, C

-27

8

Darren Collison, PG

-10

11

Dahntay Jones, SG

-8

12

O.J. Mayo, SG

-24

8

Those are your starters from last nights game. Look at those numbers. The Mavericks would’ve had a better chance last night had they played their bench the whole game. After all, it was their bench that got them to within 3 in the 2nd half, and cut a 36 point lead to a final deficit of 15.

These types of performances are expected from time to time, but now we have the media once again demanding that we look ahead to the off season and our upcoming lottery pick. The Mavericks are 12-14 without Dirk Nowitzki. His return can’t come fast enough, but it is on the horizon. Are we really going to act like the Mavericks are going to continue this kind of play when he is back?

Believe it or not, the Mavericks once again cut it down on the turnovers(9). It was just a very poor shooting night that lead to this outcome. The Mavericks shot 38.5% from the field, and made only 3 of 22 three point attempts. That’s not going to win many games, especially against Lebron James and the defending champions.

What’s Next:

The Mavericks will have to erase their memory following last night’s game, because they don’t have much time between games. The Mavs will now head to Memphis to start a gruesome 5 game stretch that features the following:

@ Memphis – 12/21

@ San Antonio – 12/23

@ Oklahoma City – 12/27

Denver – 12/28

San Antonio – 12/30

We are just hoping that the Big German will be on that floor at some point during it.

As always, GO MAVS!

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Mavericks Blueprint Changing?

by Ryan Wilson on August 24, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

The long-range plan is to keep the powder dry and wait out a superstar. It’s why when Deron Williams chose Brooklyn over Dallas, Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson didn’t get in a bidding war for a player such as Goran Dragic but rather targeted players either on the last year of their current deals or who were open to a one-year contract.

Check out the current roster. Of the five players acquired this summer — excluding the three rookies that give Dallas eight new faces on the 15-man roster — all are on one-year deals. O.J. Mayo‘s reduced-rate contract is technically for two years, but the second year is a player option that he will almost certainly exercise.

One-year deals allow the Mavs to easily create cap space for next summer to chase marquee free agents. But with the 2013 “big fish” free agency class threatening to be a dud with Dwight HowardAndrew Bynum and Chris Paul all with good reason to stay put, could the Mavs’ philosophy be moving away from the rent-a-player approach of these last two offseasons?

After all, how do you sell player jerseys of guys that won’t be around but eight or nine months?

“I’m not a big believer in rent-a-players, not in your top seven or eight guys anyways,” Cuban said during his Tuesday appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s Ben & Skin Show. “I want these guys to stay and develop because they can be a great, young nucleus. The devil you know is always better than the devil you don’t know in basketball, particularly when you have an infrastructure that hopefully can continue to develop these guys. That’s the goal and we still have flexibility then to do sign-and-trades, potentially sign a free agent; just see where it takes us.”

Cuban’s great, young nucleus comment is in reference to 24-year-old guards Darren Collison, penciled-in to start at point guard, and Mayo, who will start at shooting guard. Collison will be a restricted free agent next summer and can entertain offers from other teams with the Mavs being able to match. Mayo, with a strong year, could get the payday he hoped for this summer. Chris Kaman and Elton Brand will be seeking to play their way to multiyear deals as well, either with Dallas or somewhere else.

The Mavs might be the team to give it to one or all of them, but likely only after they are convinced that none of the superstar free agents will be available to any team but their current one, which can offer one more year and millions more than other teams. And they’ll also keep an eye on the bottom line for the summer of 2014, when the Mavs will have no players under contract and could chase multiple potential free agents such as LeBron JamesDwyane WadeKobe BryantChris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony.

“The blueprint is to say, like a Jet (Jason Terry) scenario, or even Josh Howard’s first year, Marquis’ (Daniels) first year, where it’s not apples to apples, it’s like wow; we want these guys to develop into a D.C. and O.J. tandem that can be a foundation for years to come and we keep them together and we improve and we grow with them and have the ability to continue to add players,” Cuban said. “So the optimum scenario is everybody plays great.”

And then perhaps instead of gutting the club to chase a Dwight Howard, the team-building focus turns to re-signing their own and chasing, say, a Josh Smith and cohesion.

Jeff Caplan

ESPNDallas.com

Jeff Caplan joined ESPNDallas.com in December 2009. Jeff covers the Mavericks, Rangers and colleges. He has a wealth of experience in the area, covering multiple beats in his 11-plus years with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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Heat Celebrate In Victory Parade

by Ryan Wilson on June 26, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

The NBA championship trophy was center stage, bathed in white light and sitting on a pedestal. And each Miami Heat player offered it a different greeting.

Mike Miller bowed. Udonis Haslem kissed it three times. Chris Bosh hugged it, and LeBron James strolled past before waving at the crowd.

Dwyane Wade did something different. In a nod to his preferred postgame fashion style throughout the playoffs, he emerged with a pair of faux eyeglasses and slipped the frames onto the neck of the trophy. Heat president Pat Riley, coach Erik Spoelstra and team managing general partner Micky Arison all donned the black spectacles as well at various points during the party.

The glasses were fake. The sentiments were all real.

And with that, two years after Wade, James and Bosh opened their time together with a celebration, they got the party they really wanted on Monday. An estimated 400,000 people filled the streets of Miami for the Heat championship parade, and then 15,000 more got into the arena afterward for a long, loud reception for the NBA’s new kings.

“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had. … This was my dream, right here, to be able to hoist that Larry O’Brien Trophy up, hug it, grab it, never want to let it go,” James said.

During the parade, players and coaches were on double-decker buses with friends and family, most of them taking photos and video of the crowd. Other Heat staff were on flatbed trucks, as confetti fell and horns blared every step of the way. Wade cradled the championship trophy in his arms for much of the ride.

“I appreciate all our fans for sticking with us,” said the now two-time NBA champion Wade, adding, “Best fans in the world.”

And then the party moved inside, with a similar setup to the event that welcomed James and Bosh to Miami to play alongside Wade in July 2010. Music blared for nearly an hour as fans danced for joy, before the arena went dark briefly — and the trophy was sneaked onto the stage.

For nearly 90 minutes afterward, the Heat relived so many aspects of the season, from Haslem’s flagrant foul against Indiana’s Tyler Hansbrough in the Eastern Conference semifinals (“the greatest flagrant foul in team history,” Heat broadcaster Eric Reid told the crowd) to countless highlights from the NBA Finals against Oklahoma City, the Heat left few stones unturned.

Juwan Howard – the first member of Michigan’s Fab Five to win an NBA title — did the Cabbage Patch dance, as teammates broke into absolute hysterics, waving their arms in time with him. Mario Chalmers was asked about why Wade and James yell at him so much on the court, as a montage of some of their more fiery moments played on the giant video screens. And the Miami natives, Haslem and James Jones, got perhaps the loudest ovations of anyone outside of the finals MVP.

“Feels great, man,” said Haslem, who along with Wade is the lone holdover from Miami’s 2006 championship club. “Changing my name from Mr. Miami to Mr. Two-Time. I ain’t Mr. Miami no more. I’m Mr. Two-Time. … It never gets old. But this one is more gratifying because of the way last season ended.”

Spoelstra had a similar sentiment, talking to the crowd about the team’s commitment, especially after Miami lost last season’s finals to Dallas.

“People from the outside, they criticized this group, this team,” Spoelstra said. “They counted this team out. But they never estimated how close this group was as a family. Every single one of these players had to sacrifice something, either money, opportunity, minutes to be a part of this dream. And it was all for a moment like this.”

After the celebrating was done, there was business. Wade reiterated that he would seek medical advice before committing to play with the Olympic team. Bosh — who missed nine playoff games with a strained lower abdominal muscle — said he was “all in, for now” on being part of the London Games. And Miller, who was hobbled by back and foot issues, said on Twitter he planned to meet with Miami neurosurgeon Dr. Barth Green on Tuesday, presumably to get checked out and discuss options.

Miami won the title by defeating Oklahoma City in five games in the NBA Finals. It was the second title for the Heat and the first for James, who nodded and pointed to fans for much of the parade. James came to Miami after seven years in Cleveland, and after he and the Heat fell in the finals a year ago, he’s finally a champion.

“It’s good being around other people who support LeBron,” said Doug Mead of Toledo, Ohio, who came to the parade with his family. “They really don’t like him in Ohio. They celebrate when he loses.”

Everyone was celebrating in Miami on Monday. Arison snapped and tweeted several photos during the parade. Riley shouted “Thank you” to fans over and over, as his wife, Chris, stood to his left and led “Let’s go Heat” chants.

Some fans began lining up for spots along the parade route Sunday night.

“I’ve been a fan since `89. For me personally I feel like I’m part of the Heat family,” said Dexter Pace of West Palm Beach, Fla. “I’ve been through the goods, the bads, the losses, the trades, and now it’s like someone in my family has accomplished something. …. It’s going to mean a lot for the city of Miami, winning the championship.”

As the event ended, Bosh thanked both the fans inside the arena and those outside, saying that without them, nothing would be possible for the Heat.

“It feels right,” Bosh said. “This is how it’s supposed to be … and I would like to do it all the time.”

Associated Press Writer Jennifer Kay contributed.

Follow Tim Reynolds on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ByTimReynolds
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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