Category Archives: Dallas Mavericks, Sports, News

Dallas Mavericks, Sports, News

Vince Carter shows why Mark Cuban wants to keep him

DALLAS — All due respect to Dirk Nowitzki, but he’s not the Mavericks veteran owner Mark Cuban is most sympathetic toward after the team failed to qualify for the playoffs.

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Vince CarterMatthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsVince Carter had a commanding performance Friday against the Nuggets. It’s that type of effort that has Mavs owner Mark Cuban convinced he’ll remain with the team after his contract expires.

Cuban feels worse for Vince Carter, who signed a three-year deal worth a little more than $9 million with the then-defending champions because he desperately wanted a chance to compete for a championship near the end of his potential Hall of Fame career. The 36-year-old Carter has been a tremendous bargain for the Mavs, although he’ll enter the last season of his contract with a grand total of zero playoff wins in Dallas.

“Vince is a warrior,” Cuban said before Friday’s game. “All these things I’ve heard in the past about him being soft and not playing hard, f— that. That dude comes out to deliver every f—ing night.”

Case in point: Carter’s spectacular outing in Dallas’ 108-105 overtime win over the Denver Nuggets. In the Mavs’ first game after being eliminated from playoff contention, Carter put up 22 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, two blocked shots and a steal in 34 max-effort minutes.

It was a performance that epitomized the pride and professionalism that Carter, an eight-time All-Star who had a bad rap for being a bit of a prima donna before signing with the Mavs, has consistently displayed during his time in Dallas.

It’s the kind of performance that has Cuban convinced that Carter, whose .500 beard has several gray strands, is a keeper even after his contract expires next summer.

“He’s just a first-class guy who busts his ass every f—ing game,” Cuban said. “You never look at Vince and say he’s taking a play off. He’s taking charges. … You guys talk about doing it for Dirk; doing it for Vince is just as important.

“He just wants to compete and win, period, end of story. All the s— I heard from the past, I don’t know where that came from. I’m proud that he’s on the Mavericks. The guy lays it out every time. I can’t put it any other way. He’s one of those guys I want to retire here.”

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Carter, who is averaging 13.3 points per game and playing outstanding defense in his first season as a sixth man, broke into a big smile after being informed of Cuban’s comments, particularly the part about signing him to another contract.

“That’s why he’s my guy,” Carter said, laughing. “That’s why he’s my guy. I worked my butt off this summer for a lot of reasons, just to prove that I’m still capable at this tender age, and I think he appreciates that. He’s a fiery guy, very passionate about the game, as we all know. That’s what he looks for.

“Just coming in and seeing what he’s all about, he’s a great owner to work for, just for the simple fact that he just wants to win. That’s kind of how I approach the game. I just want to win. For the people who don’t know me or didn’t know me before, I think now they’re starting to understand.

“Yeah, I can put the ball in the basket or whatever, but I just want to win and see my team succeed. It’s just great that it’s appreciated by the top dog.”

When he came to Dallas, fresh off playing for three teams in three seasons, Carter had a lot to prove. He wanted to show he still had a lot of game at his advanced age, and he wanted to eliminate any doubt that winning was his top priority.

Carter promised to do whatever the Mavs needed him to do to help them win, regardless of position or role. He’s done that, accepting the sixth-man job and playing the majority of his minutes at small forward.

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He promised to play as hard as possible every minute he was on the floor. He’s done that, as evidenced by his leading the team in charges drawn by a wide margin.

“I’ve prided myself on being one of the older guys that wanted to play every game possible and go harder than everybody out there,” Carter said. “They do go hard, but for me, I just want to compete at the same level as the younger guys and set the example. We want that to be the way of life around here.”

Carter has more than held up his end of the bargain for the past two seasons, disappointing as they’ve been from a team standpoint.

As far as Cuban is concerned, Carter has a bright future around here.

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Number crunching: Dirk Nowitzki nearing 25K


NBA, Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Denver Nuggets, JaVale McGee

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3-pointer: Shawn Marion questions Mavs’ effort

DALLAS – It’s not unusual for Shawn Marion to use colorful language in the locker room, even when he’s in a good mood.

But you know the Matrix is mad when he drops the dreaded E word. And Marion mentioned effort, or a lack thereof, repeatedly after the Mavs managed to let the Suns snap a 10-game losing streak with an 11-point win Wednesday night.

PODCAST Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons Durrett to discuss the Mavericks’ 12-year playoff streak coming to an end.

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“You can’t control the ball going in the hoop, but you can control your effort,” Marion said. “I think when you’re not able to go out there and give it your all, give it 110 percent, then something’s wrong. Maybe you need to sit down, you know?

“At the same time, there’s no reason we should have lost this game tonight. Being a professional athlete, dealing with the ups and downs we’ve had this season, you’ve got to look at yourself and ask, ‘Are you giving it your all? Are you doing what’s in your control to go out there and compete and leave it on the floor?’ …

“Effort is the only thing you can control. You can’t control the ball going in or if you can a turnover here or there or whatever or vice versa, but you can control your effort. That didn’t happen tonight.”

Marion didn’t single out any particular Mavs, saying they were all at fault.

A few more notes from what might have been the Mavs’ most embarrassing loss of the season:

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1. Dirk won’t sit: The Mavs are officially eliminated from playoff contention, but Dirk Nowitzki has no plans to call it a season.

Nowitzki said he has no intention to sit out any of the Mavs’ final four games.

“I’m going to finish the season like everybody else and try to win the next game,” Nowitzki said. “Try to get at least to .500. We’d love to finish with a positive record. That means something and we’re going to fight for it.”

Nowitzki, who sat out the fourth quarter Sunday after aggravating bone spurs in his ankle, said he felt “fine” after taking a little longer than usual to get loose early in the game.

2. Hairy situation: The Mavs grew tired of .500 beard talk two weeks ago, when they failed to reach the break-even point, getting blown out by the Indiana Pacers.

It’s a subject they certainly don’t want to discuss at this point. They’re now 0-for-3 when they have a chance to reach .500 since sprouting those beards.

“Everything is just being overblown,” said Vince Carter, one of six Mavs who are part of the pact. “All the beard, this, that – let’s just take care of business, just win the game. When that time comes, we’ll take care of it. If not, it is what it is. Right now, it’s just all about winning. That’s what it has to be.”

3. Death by Dragic: The Mavs didn’t make a serious attempt to sign Goran Dragic this summer before he agreed to a four-year, $30 million deal with the Suns. Whether he would have been a long-term solution in Dallas is debatable, but he definitely dominated the Mavs’ stopgap point guards Wednesday.

The 26-year-old Dragic had 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting and 13 assists.

“Dragic was the best player on the floor,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “He shredded us really from the start of the game to the end.”

Darren Collison, the 25-year-old the Mavs traded for this summer, had three points on 1-of-6 shooting and three assists in 19 minutes off the bench. Mike James, the 37-year-old D-League callup-turned-starter, had nine points and three assists in 27 minutes.

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Dirk Nowitzki: ‘I don’t want to mail it in’

DALLAS – We’ll have to wait a week to hear Dirk Nowitzki put the Mavericks’ 12-year playoff streak in perspective and discuss his emotions after that remarkable run ended.

PODCAST Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons Durrett to discuss the Mavericks’ 12-year playoff streak coming to an end.

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“I’ll be reflective after the season’s over,” Nowitzki said after Thursday’s practice, about 12 hours after the Los Angeles Lakers’ late win in Portland officially eliminated the Mavs from playoff contention. “We’ve still got four games and I don’t want to mail it in.

“I want to play hard and hopefully win some. I think a winning season would be nice for this tough, up-and-down season, so that’s what we’re going for.”

The 38-40 Mavs must win out to accomplish the goal of having their 13th consecutive winning season. As far as Nowitzki is concerned, that makes Friday night’s home date against the playoff-bound Denver Nuggets a big game.

“That’s really all I’m focused on now,” said Nowitzki, the only constant on the Mavs’ roster throughout the playoff streak. “When we do the exit interviews, I’ll do plenty of reflecting, trust me. Until then, I think we’ll talk about the next opponent and see what’s going on here and see if we can make this a winning season somehow.”

That’s the mentality that coach Rick Carlisle is demanding from the Mavs.

“We still want to get back to .500,” Carlisle said. “We want to have a chance to go above .500. If the playoffs are off the table, they’re off the table. We’ve still got to do everything possible to finish this thing out with pride and dignity. We obviously took a step back last night, so how we bounce back tomorrow is important.”

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Mavs (razor) burned by Suns, put out of misery by Lakers

DALLAS — If the Dallas Mavericks reach for their razors now, their wrists might be in serious danger.

This was supposed to be the night the Mavs finally shaved those ridiculously bushy .500 beards that represent how much a proud franchise’s standards have been lowered during this miserable season.

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NowitzkiBrandon Wade/Getty Images“There’s been a lot of terrible losses in our season,” Dirk Nowitzki said after the Mavs lost Wednesday to the cellar-dwellar Suns. “This is one we had to have.”

Instead, it ended up being the night that the Mavs buried their dozen-year playoff streak.

Technically, the Los Angeles Lakers shoveled the last dirt on the Mavs’ withered playoff hopes by winning in Portland late Wednesday night. But the Mavs have nobody but themselves to blame for being eliminated with a week remaining in the regular season.

Never mind for now what happened in the first 77 games of this frustrating season. Forget about the wouldas and couldas, such as owner Mark Cuban’s pregame suggestion that the Mavs might be a fifth or sixth seed if only Dirk Nowitzki didn’t miss a career-high 29 games this season.

The Mavs couldn’t beat the stinkin’ Suns!

Let that sink in for a moment. The Mavs let a terrible team that had lost 10 straight games, including one the previous night in Houston, punk them on their home court.

“There’s been a lot of terrible losses in our season,” Nowitzki said after the 102-91 spanking by the Suns. “This is one we had to have.”

This is one that appeared pretty much impossible for the Mavs not to win. After all, their foe was a fatigued team with the Western Conference’s worst record by far.

Nevertheless, coach Rick Carlisle declared Wednesday morning that anyone around these parts taking any games for granted is a “f—— idiot.”

So how the heck did the sorry Suns beat the Mavs by double digits?

“I guess we underestimated them and they came in here and got a win,” said Shawn Marion, who joins Nowitzki as the lone players left from the 2011 title team on the Mavs’ active roster.

Added Vince Carter: “I think we just took their record, their streak for granted, if you ask me. We just can’t do that.”

For more than a decade, Mavs fans could take a playoff berth for granted. They definitely can’t do that anymore, not as the front office prepares for another major offseason overhaul after the first full season of the Mark Cuban era that will end before the first round.

The Mavs knew it’d take a miracle to make the playoffs once they lost to the Lakers in Los Angeles last week. As Nowitzki said, it’s not like the Mavs’ hopes were crushed Wednesday night.

They were just humiliated in front of a home crowd announced as a sellout. (Hey, at least the sellout streak continues! It’s at 470 games and counting, the longest active sellout streak in pro sports after the Boston Red Sox didn’t fill Fenway Park on Wednesday for the first time since 2003.)

This was the third time over the last two weeks that the Mavs had a chance to finally reach .500. Call it the Curse of Omar the Barber if you want, but the Mavs have been blown out each time.

The Pacers won by 25, the Lakers by 20 and the Suns by 11. An eternal optimist might consider that progress, but it’s pretty pathetic.

“I view these one game at a time,” Carlisle said. “I’ve been around this too long and been humbled too many times to be looking ahead or be thinking in terms of the mountain of getting to .500. That’s not what anybody’s about around here.

“This was about winning one game and then getting ready for the next game. We had a disappointing night.”

It’s yet another disappointing night in a dreadful season by the standards of a franchise accustomed to 50-win campaigns.

“Had another great opportunity tonight to do something special,” said Mike James, the journeyman midseason addition who has been the Mavs’ starting point guard for the past month. “We’ve just got to fall off the horse, regroup and get back on it.”

If that horse is the Mavs’ season, its death certificate was signed late Wednesday night.

Of course, the Mavs might not even be able to beat a dead horse. Heck, they couldn’t even beat the sorry Suns, which is such a sad way to see a spectacular streak die.

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Dirk expected to play vs. Suns; Brand probable

Dirk Nowitzki is expected to play Wednesday night against the Suns despite a left foot/ankle injury that sidelined him for the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win in Portland.

Coach Rick Carlisle told reporters that Nowitzki, who worked on the side during Tuesday’s practice, participated in the morning shootaround.

Elton Brand could also return against the Suns after missing the last three games due to a sore right calf.

“Elton’s doing better,” Carlisle said. “We’ll see how he’s doing tonight. He’ll talk to doc a little bit before the game. I think there’s a good chance he’ll suit up and be available, but I don’t know that for sure yet.”

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