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Wrap Up: Dirk, Trix Lead Mavs by Sixers

by Greg Higgins on February 22, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments


The Dallas Mavericks (33-23) did exactly what they needed to do against the Philadelphia 76ers (15-41). After a disappointing fourth quarter against the Miami Heat in which LeBron James dismantled the Mavs, Dallas embarked on a three-game road trip.

How it went down:

Facing the second worst team in the NBA, Dallas needed to assert itself and dominate the 76ers. They also needed to take advantage of the fact Philadelphia only had eight players in uniform to start the game. They did just that as they defeated the 76ers 124-112. Dallas led wire-to-wire during the game and jumped out to a 21-23 lead after the first quarter.

Dirk Nowitzki did his best LeBron impersonation as he scored 14 points in the first quarter on 5-5 shooting, including a couple of three-pointers. The once 22-point lead for the Mavs was sliced down to seven at halftime thanks to Thaddeus Young and his 11 points in the second frame.

Dallas was able to keep the intensity up in the second-half as they pulled away and maintained their lead, even getting it up to as much as 20 in the second half. Perhaps another benefit of the blow-out win was the fact Dirk only played 27 minutes during the game.

Inside the Numbers:

Dallas has now swept the season series with Philly and has won 13 of their last 16 against the 76ers.

The loss was the 10th in a row for Philadelphia.

Dallas had a season-high in turnovers with 25. They did have 39 assists, which is the most in over a decade for the team.

Impact Play of the Game:

After cutting the lead to 77-73 in the third quarter, Dallas went on a 9-0 run to pull away for good on the hometown team.

Step-Up Mav of the Night:  Shawn Marion

Shawn Marion finished the night 11-14 from the field with 22 points for the visiting Mavs.

“They wanted to make it a helter skelter game. We were able to overcome that and keep our composure.”

– Shawn Marion


“We had an amazing start to the game. We were shooting the ball and getting layups, and then they started to trap us a little bit. We didn’t really react well to their run-and-jump defense. I think we had 17 total turnovers in the first half, and that really kept them in the game or got them back into the game. And then we had to kind of grind it out from there. You’ve got to give them credit. They kept competing. When they were down 20, they sped the game up and turned us over. We didn’t really respond well at the end of the first quarter and the whole second quarter.”

– Dirk Nowitzki

On Deck:

The Mavs have a quick turnaround as they play the Detroit Pistons on Saturday. The game can be seen on FSSW locally at 6:30 p.m. CT.

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Mavs Wrap Up: Mavs Overcome Sloppy Start; Larkin Shines In Debut

by Greg Higgins on November 19, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments


After playing a stretch of games in which five of the six games were on the road, the Dallas Mavericks (7-4) finally returned home for three games starting on Tuesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers (5-7). Dallas has been perfect so far at home this season.

How it went down:

Coach Carlisle decided to tinker with his starting line-up for the first time this year and the results weren’t pretty. Jae Crowder started in place of Samuel Dalebert. Crowder finished the game with only two points and had three turnovers for Dallas.

Dallas started the game slow as the 76ers jumped out to an 8-0 lead before Dirk Nowitzki finally got the scoring started for Dallas. For much of the game Dallas was playing catch-up. When they would get the lead down to one or two points, the 76ers would answer with a bucket or two.

It wasn’t until a Shawn Marion dunk with 1:44 left in the third quarter that Dallas would finally take the lead for the first time in the game. Dallas would ride the momentum of the lead and the crowd throughout the final quarter as they defeated Philly 97-94.

Dallas had three players finish with at least 20 points in the game in Marion, Dirk, and Monta Ellis. Ellis and Dirk finished with double-doubles as Dirk had 10 rebounds while Ellis finished with 10 assists. Dallas fans also got to witness the debut of rookie point guard Shane Larkin. Larkin played just under nine minutes in the game and had three points, three assists and three steals. He looked comfortable for the most part as he ran the offense.

A couple of problem areas going forward for Dallas is fast break points and points in the paint. Dallas allowed 31 fast break points to the 76ers while only having 16 of their own. Dallas was also outscored in the paint by a 54-26 margin. These are a few areas that will need to be fixed going forward for Dallas.

Impact Play of the Game:  With just under two minutes to go in the third quarter, Hollis Thompson went up for a layup but Vince Carter blocked the shot. Ellis picked up the loose ball and passed up to Crowder, who immediately gave it up to Marion for the two-handed dunk. This gave Dallas the lead and the momentum they needed to win the game.

Step-Up Mav of the Night: Monta Ellis

Not only did he have 24 points and 10 assists, but Ellis single-handedly kept Dallas in the game during the third quarter as he scored 13 of his 24 points during the frame. Ellis also contributed two blocked shots for Dallas. It’s pretty safe to say, he’s earning every penny Mark Cuban is paying him.


“My teammates look for me to make plays not only for myself but for others and they put me in a great position, so that’s what I tried to do.” – Monta Ellis


“I didn’t like the matchups to start the game, but we didn’t play well and they played harder than us. … The lineup to start the game didn’t work out, but we just had to keep searching. By the time the game was over, we played 11 guys. Everyone that played contributed. This was a survival-type game. We did what we had to do to win.”        – Rick Carlisle

On Deck:

Dallas will host Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night at the AAC. The game can be seen locally on FSSW or nationally on ESPN starting at 8:30. Also, Dirk only needs 17 more points to tie Reggie Miller for 15th place on the all-time scoring list.

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Mavs Game Night: Philadelphia at Dallas

by Damian Jackson on November 18, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments


The Dallas Mavericks (6-4) return home for three straight games after finishing up five of six away from the American Airlines Center where they are 4-0 on the season. In come the Philadelphia 76ers (5-6) who have gone 2-6 after a surprising 3-0 start to the season with strong wins over Miami and Chicago.

The Game at Hand

Dallas looks to make it five straight wins at the AAC tonight and they will try to build off their 108-100 win against Orlando in which they protected the ball very well with only eight turnovers.

The Sixers last defeated the Mavericks on the road back in 2005 and it won’t get any easier tonight as they expect to be without impressive rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams for the fourth consecutive contest.

The Mavericks average 106.4 points per game on the season, but 114.3 points in four games at home. Philadelphia surrenders 119.3 points to opponents in four road games this year.

Three Keys of the Night

1) PROTECT THE BALL: We saw in Orlando just how much better things go when you don’t turn the ball over. Dallas only had eight giveaways which prevented many extra possessions for the opposition. The Sixers are young, active and can play at a high pace so don’t give them unnecessary chances for fast break points on sloppy mistakes. 

2) ATTACK MODE: Philadelphia (23.2 FTA) gets to the free throw line more than Dallas (21.7 FTA), but the Mavs convert at a better rate and need to use that in their advantage tonight. Attack early and often with Monta Ellis who is among the best in the NBA at getting to the rim. The aggression will only open up the perimeter options throughout the game.

3) KEEP DIRK HOT: Dirk’s season has been up and down and back up early on. He’s feeling it right now – last two games Dirk’s averaging 23 points on 58% shooting from the field and 64% from deep. Mavs need to make it a priority to set him up in his spots and Dirk must continue to let ‘em fly!


Matchup of the Night

Spencer Hawes vs Samuel Dalembert & DeJuan Blair. Now while I could go with leading scorers Monta Ellis and Evan Turner, I am intrigued to see which Mavs center will play best against Hawes who has been one of the Sixers’ most important players.

Hawes is doing a little bit of everything with 15.6 points and 10.1 rebounds. Add in 1.6 blocks, 3.1 assists and the fact he’s shooting 47.5% from 3-point range…he’s clearly been amazing.

So which Dallas center will see the most action against Philly’s versatile center? So far this year it’s been a near virtual split in minutes with Dalembert at 22.7 and Blair with 21.7 a game. Blair’s minutes have gone up over the last three games and I believe he’ll play more tonight as well with all stats besides FG% and blocks in the ex-Spurs favor.


“We got that win and now we can build off of it and hopefully during this home stretch we can get a couple of wins.”

– Monta Ellis


“They’ve beaten two or three teams that we’ve lost to, so we’ve got a lot of respect for what they’ve done. They play extremely hard, they generate pace, they’ve got a lot of guys that can shoot it, they’ve got guys that attack the paint, and so we’re going to be in a stance all night and we’ve got to make them come through us. It’s going to be a challenging game.”

– Rick Carlisle

How To Watch:

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

Injury Report:

Dallas Mavericks

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


Philadelphia 76ers

  • Michael Carter-Williams Day-To-Day
  • Nerlens Noel OUT


Sources –, Shootaround Report by Earl K. Sneed (quote)

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Mock Draft: Mavs Fanatic First Round 1.0

by Damian Jackson on June 6, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments


The NBA Draft is three weeks away and player workouts have prospects shifting positions on a daily basis. It’s time that we break out our first edition of the Mock Draft and share our thoughts on who we think will go where based on team need, workout impressions and daily reports.



1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Nerlens Noel, C Kentucky | Ht: 6’11″ Wt: 206

Noel has long been slotted as the top pick in this year’s draft and that hasn’t changed. Expect the Cavs to select the slender defensive center who’s aiming for a December return to the court.



2. Orlando Magic – Ben McLemore, SG Kansas | Ht: 6’5″ Wt: 188

McLemore has a pure jump shot and great size at SG for the NBA. Along with his shooting, Ben is an incredible athlete and many say he’s likely to be an All-Star level player for years. The Magic need that scoring infusion and McLemore can be that guy.



3. Washington Wizards – Otto Porter, SF Georgetown | Ht: 6’9″ Wt: 198

Otto Porter wins the Naismith College Player of the Year award if not for Trey Burke’s very impressive run in the tournament. Porter has an all-around game with intangibles that make him as NBA-ready an anyone in this class. Wizards keep Otto in DC.



4. Charlotte Bobcats – Alex Len, C Maryland | Ht: 7’1″ Wt: 255

Alex Len provides the Bobcats a center they need. With Byron Mullens likely gone it leaves Brendan Haywood. Bismack Biyombo could move to PF while Len offers Charlotte a solid defensive anchor in the middle who isn’t offensively challenged.



5. Phoenix Suns – Victor Oladipo, SG Indiana | Ht: 6’4″ Wt: 213

The Suns need stability. Victor Oladipo helps in that regard, he’s a relentless worker and plays hard on both ends of the floor. Oladipo would infuse energy into the U.S. Airways crowd, a step in the right direction with a new GM and head coach.



6. New Orleans Pelicans – Shabazz Muhammad, SF UCLA | Ht: 6’6″ Wt: 222

ShaMu this high?! The popular pick is Trey Burke, but they do have the 6-foot-6 Greivis Vasquez running point who averaged 9.0 assists in 78 games last season. The Pelicans have a more pressing need at SF and Shabazz could be the right guy.



7. Sacramento Kings – Anthony Bennett, PF UNLV | Ht: 6’8″ Wt: 240

Kings need a PG more, but it’d be tough to pass on Bennett if he were to drop here. says Bennett may have the most star potential in the draft, but is he a tweener? Sneaky skilled for a PF-type, AB would compliment Boogie Cousins well.



8. Detroit Pistons – Trey Burke, PG Michigan | Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 187

It’s no secret the Pistons want a PG. Michael Carter-Williams could be the choice, but with   Wolverine and College Player of the Year Burke available they may go that route. Burke’s heart and competitiveness would be welcomed in Detroit.



9. Minnesota Timberwolves – C.J. McCollum, PG/SG Lehigh | Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 197

McCollum makes perfect sense for the Wolves. A combo guard with advanced scoring ability and versatility. The foot injury no longer an issue, McCollum would step in next to Ricky Rubio and relieve some of Kevin Love’s scoring responsibilities.



10. Portland Trail Blazers – Steven Adams, C Pittsburgh | Ht: 6’11″ Wt: 235

Portland hit a homerun (Damian Lillard) and a ground out (Meyers Leonard) in last year’s lottery. Steven Adams represents a true NBA center with his physical tools, rebounding and defense. Tons of upside and an solid fit next to LaMarcus Aldridge.



11. Philadelphia 76ers – Cody Zeller, PF/C Indiana | Ht: 7’0″ Wt: 230

Some have the Blazers snagging Zeller, but he’ll be more of a PF in the NBA. Either way the Sixers will be satisfied to see Zeller fall to them. Cody showed impressive athleticism at the combine and he’d be able to play the 4/5 in Philly.



12. Oklahoma City Thunder – Mason Plumlee, C Duke | Ht: 7’0″ Wt: 238

OKC could go in several directions with this pick, but smart money says they address the center position. Kendrick Perkins has been disappointing. Plumlee gives the Thunder an explosive big who rebounds very well and finishes with authority above the rim.



13. Dallas Mavericks – Michael Carter-Williams, PG Syracuse | Ht: 6’6″ Wt: 185

The Mavs have their eye set on Carter-Williams. If he makes it to 13, they draft him. His size is special for the position and he owns the best court vision and PG instincts in this class. MCW would be nice addition if Dallas whiffs on Chris Paul.



14. Utah Jazz – Dennis Schröder, PG Germany | Ht: 6’2″ Wt: 165

Utah has strong interest in Schröder to replace free agent Mo Williams. The 19-year-old PG has a lot of Rajon Rondo in his repertoire. Reports say he received a promise from the Boston Celtics, but he may not make it that far.



15. Milwaukee Bucks – Jamaal Franklin, SG San Diego State | Ht: 6’5″ Wt: 191

The Bucks face a lot of uncertainties in their backcourt. If Brandon Jennings stays, Milwaukee could use help on the wing. Franklin fits the bill as an above average rebounder, elite athlete and plays aggressive on offense and defense.



16. Boston Celtics – Gorgui Dieng, C Louisville | Ht: 6’11″ Wt: 230

With Schröder likely gone, the Celtics could switch gears and find a center. Dieng owns NBA center size and is skilled defensively. There are other options, but many scouts are high on Dieng ability to contribute immediately.



17. Atlanta Hawks – Dario Saric, SF Croatia | Ht: 6’10″ Wt: 223

Saric is believed to be the draft’s top international prospect and could go as high as No. 6 to the Pelicans. Naturally this would be quite to steal for the Hawks who will be carefully utilizing their cap space this summer. Saric to withdraw from the draft?



18. Atlanta Hawks - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Georgia | Ht: 6’6″ Wt: 204

The Hawks’ only guards with guaranteed deals are Lou Williams (ACL) and John Jenkins. There’s buzz about Caldwell-Pope and this seems like a good fit for both parties. Hometown kid stays around and Hawks get a legit all-around player.



19. Cleveland Cavaliers - Sergey Karasev, SG/SF Russia | Ht: 6’7″ Wt: 197

According to reports, sounds like Karasev’s already received a promise and word out there says this is the floor for Karasev. The Cavs really like him. He provides Cleveland a player with immense shooting ability and the size to play either wing position.



20. Chicago Bulls – Kelly Olynyk, PF/C Gonzaga | Ht: 7’0″ Wt: 238

A slide of sorts for Olynyk, but he could still crack the lottery. If the Bulls consider amnesty with Carlos Boozer, the Gonzaga product provides Chicago an ample replacement (along w/ Taj Gibson) whose skill set fit an NBA four.



21. Utah Jazz – Rudy Gobert, C France | Ht: 7’2″ Wt: 238

The Jazz could double dip in international waters by going Gobert after Schroder. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are set to leave, so Utah could be enticed to take Gobert as a development behind ripe big men Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors.



22. Brooklyn Nets – Tony Mitchell, PF North Texas | Ht: 6’9″ Wt: 237

Mitchell is scheduled to work out for city rival NY Knicks tomorrow, but the Nets have interest as well. Brooklyn could use a PG unless they trust TyShawn Taylor as Deron Williams’ backup. Mitchell’s stock is on the rise nonetheless.



23. Indiana Pacers – Shane Larkin, PG Miami | Ht: 6’0″ Wt: 171

This would be too sweet for the Pacers. Point guard is an area of need and Larkin falling in their lap is a miracle. Chances of it happening are slim though as he could go as high as 14th or 15th to the Jazz or Bucks.



24. New York Knicks - Jeff Withey, C Kansas | Ht: 7’0″ Wt: 222

Roy Hibbert’s size was too much for Tyson Chandler and the Knicks. Marcus Camby doesn’t play anymore, Kenyon Martin was too small. Withey plugs in as the immediate backup with great basketball knowledge, physical tools and shot-blocking.



25. Los Angeles Clippers – Allen Crabbe, SG California | Ht: 6’6″ Wt: 198

Crabbe is a talented player with a terrific stroke. The Clippers believe Chris Paul isn’t going anywhere and it’s always wise to surround a PG with shooters. Crabbe works well off screens and in transition, perfect wing type for a Paul-run offense.



26. Minnesota Timberwolves – Ricky Ledo, SG Providence | Ht: 6’6″ Wt: 197

Ledo appears to be the mystery and possible best sleeper of the draft. Someone mentioned he had a Kevin Durant-like shot and it’s not far off. He looks like a top-notch scorer and special wing this late in the first round. Minny can use ‘em!



27. Denver Nuggets – Glen Rice Jr., SF Rio Grande Valley (NBDL) | Ht: 6’6″ Wt: 211

Glen Rice Jr. looks to go from the D-League to the NBA by way of draft. The Nuggets who recently severed ties with George Karl will probably lose SG Andre Iguodala to free agency and seek his replacement. Denver will like that Rice Jr. is ready NOW.



28. San Antonio Spurs – Lucas Nogueira, C Brazil | Ht: 6’11″ Wt: 215

With already one Brazlian center on the roster in Tiago Splitter, the Spurs may entertain the idea of selecting Nogueira and stash him away for a year or two. This gives Lucas time to advance his skills and the Spurs to prep a role for him down the road.



29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Tim Hardaway Jr., SG Michigan | Ht: 6’6″ Wt: 200

The Thunder addressed a vital need in the lottery, but could seek a cheaper SG option here rather than retain free agent Kevin Martin. OKC still has Jeremy Lamb as well and could have two younger, more affordable guard competition in camp.



30. Phoenix Suns - Giannis Adetokunbo, SF/PF Greece | Ht: 6’9″ Wt: 196

Adetokunbo this late would be amazing for the Suns, who want to ignite new enthusiasm to it’s fan base. He brings different elements to the game than any Suns forward. Channing Frye remains a health concern and there’s zero faith in Michael Beasley.





Damian Jackson is a partner at Mavs Fanatic. Follow Damian on Twitter @thedfactor and like our site’s page on Facebook.


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The Mavs Wrap Up: I'll Have Extra Mayo With That

by Ryan Wilson on December 19, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

The Mavs returned to Dallas Tuesday night after a heartbreaking road trip in which they dropped all three games, two of them in overtime. They faced the 12-12 Philadelphia 76ers, who were missing starting point guard Jrue Holiday and are struggling to win without him, as this was their 4 straight loss, 3 without Holiday. Dallas was also expected to be without their starting point guard Derek Fisher because of the flu, however Fisher showed some guts and gave it a go, only to strain his knee five minutes into the game. Fisher was able to walk off under his own power, however he would not return. He will be reevaluated on Wednesday. The Mavericks don’t expect the injury to be serious. Fisher had 2 points and an assist in his 5 minutes of play.

So with both teams missing their starting point guard for the majority of the game, Doug Collins as well as Rick Carlisle would have to utilize their bench more than usual, which would fair much better for the Mavs. Jrue Holiday is averaging 18 points a game and 9 assists this season, all-star type numbers. Nick Young would start in his place, who is a natural born shooting guard. Young scored 8 points in 24 minutes with 0 assists and Maalik Wayns who is also handling a lot of the point guard duties with Holiday out, added 3 points in 21 minutes, but did contribute 9 assists.

Evan Turner, who has dramatically improved his game relative to his first two seasons, shoveled most of the load offensively for Philadelphia, with a lot of help from the 8-year veteran Dorell Wright, who lead Philly with 25 points off the bench and went 7-13 from long range after missing badly on his first two attempts. The Mavs turned to their former starting point guard Darren Collison to log serious minutes and lead them to victory. Collison had 12 points and 2 assists in his 31 minutes, and only turned the ball over once. Dominique Jones also contributed with Fisher in the locker room. If your a Mavs fan you have to like the fact you can have both of those guys coming off the bench with young, fresh legs to replace the 38 year old Fisher. Playing 30 plus minutes isn’t new to Collison, and if he can remain aggressive, without turning the ball over, he should see more playing time late in games.

Elton Brand missed the game with a strained right groin and Brandan Wright proved once again that his offensive game is constantly improving and if he can work a little harder on the defensive glass, should be a nice young piece to this team moving forward. B-Wright had 10 points and 6 boards in 17 minutes. Shawn Marion had 14 points and 9 rebounds, 1 rebound shy of his fourth straight double double. More importantly, the Matrix became only the fifth player in NBA history to record 16,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, and 1,500 steals. The other four? Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kevin Garnett, and Charles Barkley. Pretty elite company. The Mavericks were led by their two center pieces Chris Kaman and O.J Mayo, who clearly didn’t want to drop another close game and fall to three games under .500. The duo made key baskets late in the fourth quarter to hold off the 76ers, who fought hard until the buzzer.

Mayo led all scorers with 26 points, and continued to be efficient from three point range going 2-2. He still leads the league in three point percentage. Mayo added 8 assists and 3 rebounds and 3 steals. Kaman reached 20 points for only the fifth time this season. He also grabbed 7 rebounds. Kaman displayed his entire offensive game, knocking down that mid range jumper and also putting it on the floor and taking it to the rim. The Mavs only turned the ball over 11 times and gave up 14 offensive rebounds, two statistical areas you could point to on pretty much every Maverick loss. The offense seemed to flow very nice, even with Fisher out. If Mayo can continue his offensive output and Kaman can take some of the pressure off of Mayo with performances like Tuesday night, look for Dallas to be one of the best offensive teams in the Western Conference when Dirk returns.

The Mavs are now 12-13, 10th place in the West. They face a tough stretch the next couple weeks. Their next game is at home against the champion Miami Heat on Thursday, after that Dallas goes to Memphis, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City, then return home for a game against Denver and San Antonio again.

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Mavs Game Night: Mavs(7-7) @ 76ers(8-6)

by Ryan Wilson on November 27, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

You have to figure the Dallas Mavericks just want to play another game after they got a solid beatdown from the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. It wasn’t pretty from start to finish, but the 115-89 whooping they received can be thrown in the trash as they visit the Philadelphia 76ers tonight. Tonight’s game starts a stretch that will see our Mavs play 8 of the next 10 games on the road.

Mavs’ starting power forward Elton Brand makes his return to the city of brotherly love. The Sixers exercised their amnesty provision on Brand this summer which led Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson to claim the veteran forward for an advantageous $2.1 million. Really hope that EB shows out and has his best game of the season in this one.

With the Mavs sitting at 7-7 the positive way to approach things is to keep saying we’re just fine without our star Dirk Nowitzki. That reasoning runs dry over time because you would like to be better with the subpar competition played early on. With stiffer opponents and plenty of roadies ahead, times may only get harder for Dallas who barring a Kevin Love-like surprise return from Dirk, will likely be without his services until mid-December.

Philadelphia sits only a game and a half behind both the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks in the Atlantic Division. It’s been a relatively up and down year thus far for the Sixers. They’ve yet to see Andrew Bynum play since they acquired him over the summer as he deals with chronic knee issues. On a positive note, point guard Jrue Holiday has made giant strides in his game. Check out his improvements from last season to now:

Dallas obviously has seen O.J. Mayo make comparable strides and the team has desperately needed all that he’s provided. Without Dirk in the lineup, the Mavs are without a proven closer. Sure, Vince Carter has no problem attempting to be the hero, but all of us MavsNation would welcome Juice getting the clutch shots until Big #41 returns.

In the only meeting last year due to an abbreviated season, the Mavericks trailed in Philadelphia at halftime by 14. In what turned out to be quite the grind, the Mavs hammered down defensively holding the Sixers to just 24 second half points en route to an 82-75 win. Dirk led the comeback win in fashion with a dominating 28 points, 24 after the intermission.

The Mavs and Sixers surrender the worst and third worst rebounding totals to opponents which should make for an intriguing battle on the glass tonight. Neither squad has a player to average more than 7.9 rebounds this season. The key for Dallas though remains limiting their opponents offensive rebounds and second chance points. With highly active guys like Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young the Mavs will need to match their effort on both ends.

Philly isn’t going to be an easy place to win if our Mavs continue to pile up unforced turnovers. The sloppy play needs to cease and better execution come forth. The Sixers are feisty and can finish off our mistakes. If the Mavs can work to improve their ball movement and create easy scoring opportunities, they should be in a prime position to leave Philly with a W.

After the guys chow down at Reading Terminal Market today, they tip shortly after 6:00 p.m. CT tonight and the live action will be shown on both Fox Sports Southwest and Comcast Sports Philadelphia.

Bleed Blue!

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Veteran Celtics Must Show Famous Pride

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

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers loves his team’s mental toughness. It’s been on display throughout a hurdle-filled 2011-12 season. Sure, he’d love his team to take the easier route sometimes; he’s just not sure that’s possible.

“I keep saying with our team, we don’t ever do it the easy way. But I don’t know if we could,” Rivers admitted. “Sometimes I just don’t. Not because the mental [aspect], just because we are bent, and there are times that we do break, and more for other reasons than basketball.”

The latest example of upping the season’s degree of difficulty: The Celtics kicked away an 18-point second-half lead during Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night. That tied the series at 2 as it shifts back to Boston for Game 5 on Monday night at TD Garden.

Rivers chastised the Celtics after they “completely lost our discipline,” particularly on the defensive end late in Friday’s loss. But Rivers also knows that adversity has a way of bringing out the best in his team and thinks it will respond well in what’s now a best-of-three series.

“I think they’re upset, they clearly understand what happened,” Rivers said. “But you also understand that just happens. It’s happened every night [in the playoffs]. If you watched both games [Saturday] night, you’re like, ‘Wow.’ It just happens, and you move on.”

The Celtics spent a lot of time Sunday answering questions about Game 4, but captain Paul Pierce may have said it best in terms of putting the game behind them.

“It’s over. Milk is spilled, got to clean up, move on to the next game,” he said. “You can’t let it frustrate you, can’t dwell on the past. It is what it is. The series is 2-2, obviously we have to go back to Philly. But we’ve got to take care of business at home.”

Kevin Garnett also acknowledged the importance of Game 5. “It’s critical,” he said. “Nothing more, nothing less than that. We’re at home, we’ve got to win.”

Pierce said the extra day off between Games 4 and 5 probably worked against Boston this time. It’s only the second time this postseason that the Celtics have received an extra day of rest in a tightly packed schedule, but the players are eager to get back on the court and atone for the lackluster second-half effort in Game 4.

Pierce pointed to the “little things” to clean up, like doing a better job on the glass (Philadelphia out rebounded Boston 52-38), limiting second-chance opportunities (the 76ers had 17 offensive rebounds and 12 second-chance points) and winning the 50/50 game (Philadelphia out hustled and outmuscled the Celtics throughout the second half).

One chess match to watch is how the Celtics counter when the 76ers go small, often using Thaddeus Young at the 4 and rookie Lavoy Allen at the 5. Boston typically has gone small to counter the move, taking Brandon Bass off the floor and running four guards with Garnett. But that backfired Friday.

Rivers said the Celtics have to be careful about making knee-jerk reactions to one bad half.

“Honestly, if we made one mistake, we should have gone back to Bass,” Rivers said. “In the first three games, our small lineup was a better lineup than our big lineup. Statistically, in Game 4, the big lineup was better; the big lineup was what got us the lead. The big lineup at the beginning of the third got off to a good start. And both times when we went small, it hurt us.

“So that’s something as a staff we have to recognize, and it’s a tough call. We’re going to have to make a call each game, it looks like, and there’s no right or wrong to it. It’s going to have to be a gut feeling and I hope when we make it, we make the right one.”

The Celtics haven’t had to make too many tough personnel calls this postseason because they’ve been able to keep their players upright. But Rivers held second-year shooting guard Avery Bradley out of practice Sunday after his left shoulder was dislocated for the third time this postseason on Friday. Bradley toughed out the rest of the game — and is expected to start Game 5 — but his shoulder is a perfect example of the tenuous nature of the Celtics’ season.

“That’s the scariest part about our team,” Rivers said. “I’ve said it for about three months, we are very thin. That’s why games like the other night hurt you more. We don’t have a big margin for error. We don’t even have it when guys are healthy.

“Our [starters] have to play well to give our bench guys a chance to stay on the floor longer, which allows us to get more rest. There’s a minute number every game that I’m concerned by for our starters, and when they get over that we struggle.

“There’s a lot of things going on in a game every night for us that quite honestly a lot of teams don’t have to deal with. But we know that and we understand that.”

Yes, the Celtics know they’ve been forced to navigate the hard path this season. Through it all, they’ve emerged at the other end. And as Game 5 approaches, they’re confident in their chances to do the same yet again.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter,

  • Covered Celtics since 2007
  • Emmy award-winning videographer
  • Joined in 2009

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Iguadola,76ers Send Bulls Packing

by Ryan Wilson on May 11, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

Andre Iguodala hopped on the scorer’s table and played to the crowd as the catchy 76ers’ anthem blared in the arena.

His teammates joined Iguodala and danced along as confetti fluttered around them.

“Number one, Philadelphia. Here they come, team of the year.”

Team of the first round, for sure.

Eight years of going home empty in April is over. The Sixers at last had a reason to go wild.

Iguodala made the go-ahead free throws with 2.2 seconds left, and Philadelphia rallied for a 79-78 victory over the top-seeded Chicago Bulls in Game 6 on Thursday night, advancing to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time since 2003.

The 76ers will face Boston, which beat Atlanta in six games, in the conference semifinals.

“I don’t know how we won this game,” coach Doug Collins said.

Collins and the Sixers hardly cared the series win comes with an asterisk.

The Bulls lost reigning MVP Derrick Rose to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee late in their Game 1 win. Center Joakim Noah missed the past three games with a sprained left ankle.

“I thought we had more than enough to win with,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I’m disappointed in the loss but I’m not disappointed in our team.”

Without their stars, the Bulls found it tough to gut one out against the Sixers.

Omer Asik missed two free throws for the Bulls with 7 seconds left that would have given them a three-point lead. Iguodala grabbed the second miss, sprinted the length of the court, and was fouled by Asik on the driving layup.

The Sixers put their season in the hands of one of the worst fourth-quarter free-throw shooters in the NBA.

Collins was hunched over and his hands clasped with Iguodala at the line.

He made both — and 20,362 fans went absolutely wild.

Iguodala made nine of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter in this series after shooting 45 percent (23 of 51) from the line in the period this season.

Iguodala changed his approach at the line this series. He started thinking what it would be like to teach his son how to shoot free throws.

Dads don’t miss.

“I was like, ‘Son, this is how you shoot free throws,’ ” Iguodala said.

The Sixers are the fifth No. 8 seed to win a first-round series against a No. 1 seed. Memphis eliminated San Antonio last season, while Golden State (2007), New York (1999) and Denver (1994) also pulled off the rare feat.

In his second season, Collins already had led the Sixers to their first winning season in seven years. Now, it’s on to the second round for the first time sinceAllen Iverson was an All-Star.

The Sixers were smiling and mobbed each other as they dashed to the locker room to keep the party going.

The Sixers were 2.2 seconds from playing Game 7 in Chicago.

Now, they will pack their bags for the second round. They went 2-1 against the Celtics this season.

Collins had a catch in his voice at the postgame podium and was joined by his 4-year-old grandson, Cooper. Collins rubbed his head and held back tears talking about faith, family and his guys in the locker room.

“I’m a Sixer for life,” he said.

Iguodala scored 20 points, and Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams each scored 14 for the Sixers who were outrebounded 56-33.

Iguodala snagged the one that mattered.

“We win on a rebound. Something we don’t get all night,” a smiling Collins said.

The Sixers started 20-9 and led the Atlantic Division for the first half of the season until a late fade sent them tumbling toward eighth place.

None of that matters now.

Not even the fact the Bulls were down two stars.

The 50-win Bulls are heading home early a year after they reached the conference finals.

“We were on the ropes and we battled,” forward Carlos Boozer said. “In the end, it came down to the very last second. So, it’s tough. We were right there, given everything, right there. It will be a long summer.”

Luol Deng had 19 points and 17 rebounds for the Bulls. Richard Hamilton scored 19 points and Boozer grabbed 13 rebounds.

The Bulls had the lock-down defensive effort to nearly pull off the win.

The signature series came in the fourth quarter when the Sixers wasted a forced turnover on the other end with a brutal offensive possession.

Spencer Hawes missed a shot, Thaddeus Young missed two straight in the paint, and Hawes missed again against hands-up defense that sent the bench into a frenzy. Noah was the first one up pumping his fist and screaming encouragement for the fantastic defensive effort.

Hawes fired an airball next time down and there was a collective groan from the crowd.

Iguodala made up for a string of Sixers misses with a tying 3 that made it 70-all.

The Sixers tried to get a laugh by showing the Bulls bench on “Kiss Cam.” Noah popped his warmup jacket toward the camera and the crowd booed the oversized “Chicago” on the big screen.

Noah was one of the top offensive rebounders in the league and the Bulls figured on missing his presence in the middle. Led by Deng and Boozer, the Bulls instead went out and controlled the boards, holding a 49-29 edge early in the fourth.

“We have to use this as motivation to move forward,” Thibodeau said.

Game notes
The Sixers scored a measly 26 first-half points in their Game 5 loss. They led Game 6 48-40 at halftime. … The Sixers started 12 of 20 from the field and finished the half at 50 percent. They shot a season-low 32 percent in Game 5 and failed to shoot better than 40 percent in three other games. … The Bulls had a 3-pointer taken off the board right before the first half.



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Bulls Trail Sixers 3-1 In Series

by Ryan Wilson on May 6, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

Spencer Hawes scored 22 points and Jrue Holiday had 20 to help the surprising Philadelphia 76ers beat the Chicago Bulls 89-82 on Sunday and take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series.

Andre Iguodala had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Sixers, who have won the last three games after losing Game 1.

Holiday stretched the lead with consecutive 3-pointers late in the game to put the Sixers one win away from joining the short list of eighth-seeded teams that have won a series against a No. 1 seed.

Game 5 is Tuesday in Chicago.

The top-seeded Bulls played without Derrick Rose (torn ACL) and Joakim Noah(sprained ankle). Rose is out for the season and Noah is day to day for the rest of the series.

In NBA postseason history, the eighth seed has won a first-round series against the No. 1 seed four times, including last season when Memphis eliminated San Antonio. Golden State (2007), New York (1999) and Denver (1994) also pulled off the rare feat.

The Sixers won three straight playoff games for the first time since Allen Iversonfueled their run to the 2001 NBA finals.

Holiday was sensational down the stretch after a rocky first 3 1/2 quarters. He missed his first five 3-point attempts until he nailed one to make it 77-73. He hit another the next time down for a seven-point lead to the delight of a roaring sellout crowd.

The undermanned Bulls kept at it and refused to use playing without their two biggest impact players as an excuse. C.J. Watson, who scored 17 points, hit a step-back jumper to make it a two-point game.

In a whistle-happy game, Holiday went to the line with 51 seconds left and made both for an 84-80 lead.

Suddenly — and shockingly — the Sixers are a win away from taking a playoff series for the first time since 2003.

Carlos Boozer had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls. Taj Gibson chipped in 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Iguodala played through right Achilles’ tendinitis to make so many impact plays for the Sixers.

Without a full roster, the Bulls barked at the refs, talked trash on the court and used every self-motivational tactic they knew to gain an edge on the Sixers.

Noah took charge on the bench as head cheerleader. Wearing a protective walking boot, he clapped, cheered and offered instruction in the timeout huddle. Noah was needed more on the court than as a de facto assistant coach.

Noah was injured midway through the third quarter of Game 3 when he stepped on Andre Iguodala’s foot driving the lane and crashed to the court. Noah instantly grabbed his left ankle in pain. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Noah felt better Sunday.

Boozer actively did his best to keep the Bulls in the game. He played through foul trouble to score 18 points through three quarters (matching his combined total for the first two games) and he fought for some of the tough rebounds Noah would grab.

It wasn’t enough.

Iguodala stopped a Bulls run in the third with a 3 for a 57-56 lead. Bad leg and all, he still soared for a thunderous dunk on the break in the first half for an eight-point lead. One of the worst fourth-quarter foul shooters in the NBA, Iguodala even made both with 26.6 seconds left.

Game 4 lacked the electric atmosphere early that accompanies a postseason game because the 10-mile Broad Street Run was routed in front of the sports complex. The Wells Fargo Center was barely half full by tip and the announced crowd of 20,142 needed time to warm up.

By the time Holiday hit his 3s, the arena was going wild.

His sharp shooting in clutch time came at the right time after a slow start.

Holiday and Evan Turner continue to befuddle coach Doug Collins with their inconsistency. The under-25 starting backcourt followed a solid Game 3 with a combined 3 for 22 for eight points in the first half. Lou Williams, perhaps the league’s top reserve, failed to bail them out with a 1-for-6 effort in the half. Their struggles were a key reason the depleted Bulls kept the score tight even without their two stars.

The Sixers crashed the boards early without Noah in the lineup and had 15 second-chance points in the half to grab a 10-point lead.

Hawes hit the go-ahead 20-footer late in the fourth for the Game 3 winner and he continued his hot hand into Sunday. He had made seven of his first eight shots, including a 3-pointer right before the second quarter buzzer to send the Sixers into halftime with 44-42 lead.

Game notes
Boxer Bernard Hopkins, former NBA great Dolph Schayes, former Sixers great Julius Erving and actor Bill Murray attended the game. … Philadelphia last won a playoff series when it beat New Orleans in 2003. … The Sixers hold a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven series for the first time since the 1984 East semifinals.



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