Category Archives: Dallas Mavericks, Sports, News

Dallas Mavericks, Sports, News

Cuban on Chris Wright: ‘Fact he has MS is irrelevant’

SAN ANTONIO – Chris Wright was being modest when he called himself a “good story.”

Wright’s fight to make the NBA despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a year ago is a great story. That story, however, has nothing to do with the Mavericks’ decision to sign Wright to a 10-day deal.

“Chris obviously is mentally tough,” owner Mark Cuban wrote in an email. “But more importantly he is a good PG. We think he has a shot to be good in the NBA, so we wanted to give him a shot. The fact that he has MS is irrelevant. He can play.”

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Tough tests coming; can Mavs keep momentum going?

SAN ANTONIO – Can we be completely honest?

OK, good. It took great restraint not to roll our eyes when Rick Carlisle went on and on about his enthusiasm for this team the day after the Mavericks got routed by the Rockets in Houston. After all, the Mavs had lost four of five games at that point to fall seven games under .500.

Well, Carlisle’s relentless enthusiasm has been rewarded since then.

“Why wouldn’t it be?” Carlisle said with a wry smile after Wednesday’s practice at a San Antonio recreation center.

The smiles come a lot easier when the Mavs are winning. And that’s all they’ve done since being humiliated in Houston, matching their season-best winning streak with four in a row, including the first three games of this road trip.

The 30-33 Mavs are still long shots to make the playoffs. They’re also well aware that the caliber of competition is about to kick up several notches, with Thursday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs starting a stretch of facing nine .500-plus foes in 10 games.

But there have been bigger miracles in recent NBA history than the Mavs sneaking into the playoffs. The Mavs, a proud group of pros, are excited about the possibilities at this point, an attitude that has been reflected in their recent performances.

“I like the momentum we’ve got going,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “I like the rhythm we’ve got going. We’ve got to keep playing hard and make plays for each other on the offensive end and just let it all hang out and see what happens.”

Added scorching sixth man Vince Carter: “We’re playing for a lot right now. I think we’re playing with a lot of confidence right now, a lot of momentum. Our togetherness is at an all-time high. We just believe. We had a slow start, but this is going to be fun.”

The Mavs’ previous few meetings with the Spurs this season have certainly not been fun. San Antonio has dominated its Interstate 35 (former?) rival, building leads of 46, 25 and 26 points while handily winning all three games.

The Spurs have been bit by the injury bug, with Tony Parker out for several weeks due to a severely sprained ankle and Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard missing Tuesday’s loss to the lowly Timberwolves due to sore knees. But Nowitzki knows better than to expect anything less than the Spurs’ best.

“For some reason against us” Nowitzki said, “they always play their best game.”

The Mavs need to play their best game 13 or 14 times over the next five weeks to have any hope of extending the franchise’s playoff berth to 13 seasons. It’s a challenge they’re enthusiastic about.

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3-pointer: Vince Carter ‘spectacular again’

As soon as Vince Carter ended a Dallas scoring drought of almost four minutes by drilling a 3-pointer, he turned to the Mavericks bench and twirled his right index finger.

The message: Keep the ball coming to him.

The Mavs did just that. And Carter definitely delivered, scoring 13 of Dallas’ final 17 points to carry the Mavs to the 115-108 win over the Bucks.

“I felt in a groove and the basket just seemed extremely big,” Carter told reporters after his 23-point performance. “I felt comfortable with my shot. I was just in the flow of the game.”

Correction: Carter dictated the flow of the game down the stretch. He was 4-of-6 from the floor in the final 5:31, including three 3-pointers and a high-degree-of-difficulty driving lefty layup.

“Vince was spectacular again,” Dirk Nowitzki told reporters. “The shots he made – the 3s, behind the screen, off the dribble, hanging-in-the-air, lefty, wraparound layup – just phenomenal down the stretch. He really took the game over for us and really won it.”

This sort of performance from the 36-year-old sixth man doesn’t come as a surprise. The Mavs count on Carter to put up the kind of numbers that could merit serious Sixth Man of the Year consideration.

Carter has five 20-plus-point performances in the last month. He’s hitting a career-best 41.5 percent of his 3-point attempts this season.

His numbers during the Mavs’ season-best-matching four-game win streak: 17.8 points per game, 23-of-40 from the floor (57.5 percent) and 13-of-19 from long range (68.4 percent).

“It’s just phenomenal,” Nowitzki said. “I think every time he shoots the 3 now, it’s going in. That opens up his drives and he’s still got strong legs and he’s still got some hops and some hang time in there and can make unbelievable plays.”

A few more notes from the Mavs’ win in Milwaukee:

1. Happy homecoming for Crowder: Jae Crowder had a bunch of big games at the Bradley Center while starring for Marquette. He made himself at home in his first NBA visit to Milwaukee, too.

Crowder snapped out of an offensive mini-slump with 14 points, one shy of his NBA high, on 6-of-9 shooting. He grabbed a season-best eight rebounds and played a productive 36 minutes, during which the Mavs outscored the Bucks by 14 points.

“I love this building,” Crowder told reporters. “I’ve played a lot of games here. I felt comfortable here and I felt comfortable with the game plan, and it just worked out for me.”

The love was mutual. The Bradley Center crowd welcomed Crowder back with warm applause when his name was announced with the starting lineup, as he filled in for Shawn Marion for the third consecutive game.

“He’s about all the right things – plays hard, into winning, team guy – so I was really happy for him coming home,” coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. “I told him after the game that I wish we could play all the games here.”

2. On point: Mike James put up season highs in points (13), assists (7) and rebounds (6) as the Mavs improved to 4-0 with him in the starting lineup.

Rodrigue Beaubois made the most of some rare non-garbage playing time, providing a spark when Darren Collison briefly left the game in the second quarter to get his left eye checked. Beaubois had all of his seven points and three assists during that frame, igniting the Mavs’ 15-0 run that gave them the lead for good.

Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings, a soon-to-be restricted free agent who has expressed interest in coming to Dallas, didn’t make much of a case for the Mavs to pay him big money. Jennings was held to four points on 2-of-7 shooting and five assists. He sat out crunch time, as was the case in the Bucks’ Feb. 26 win in Dallas, when Jennings had eight points on 3-of-11 shooting and six assists.

3. Mighty Wright: Brandan Wright’s streak of four consecutive games scoring in double figures was snapped, but he made a major impact on the win over Milwaukee.

Wright played 33 minutes, getting the bulk of the playing time at center after starter Chris Kaman was benched a little more than two minutes into the game. Wright had nine points, eight rebounds, three blocks and a steal. The Mavs were plus-17 with Wright on the floor.

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Rapid Reaction: Mavericks 115, Bucks 108


How it happened: Vince Carter came up big during crunch time, preventing the Mavericks from losing a game they led by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter.

The Bucks, led by Monta Ellis (32 points, nine assists), made a run to trim Dallas’ lead to as few as five points. But Carter caught fire in the final 5:31, scoring 13 of his team-high 23 points in that span.

Carter’s scoring flurry featured three 3-pointers, an acrobatic, driving layup and a couple of clutch free throws. His first bucket of the quarter snapped a Dallas scoring drought that lasted almost four minutes.

Other than Carter, the Mavs’ only field goal in the final 9:22 came on a long 2-point jumper by Jae Crowder, the rookie who had 14 points and a season-high eight rebounds in his return to the Bradley Center, where he starred for Marquette.

The Mavs built their lead by dominating the second quarter, going on a 15-0 run fueled by a surprising spark by Rodrigue Beaubois (seven points, three assists in the frame) at one point.

Dirk Nowitzki had his third double-double of the season, scoring 19 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He had 17 of his points in the first half.

Mike James had his best all-around performance as a Maverick, putting up 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds and holding Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings to four points and five assists.

What it means: The Mavs (30-33) remained three games behind the eighth-place Los Angeles Lakers in the West standings. Dallas has a four-game winning streak for only the second time this season. This is the first time all season that the Mavs have won three consecutive games on the road.

Play of the game: Brandan Wright’s block sparked a fast break that Beaubois finished with a 3-pointer a few seconds before halftime. After Wright rejected Ellis’ floater in the lane, James pushed the ball up the floor and found Beaubois wide open in the corner. Beaubois knocked down the shot to extend the Mavs’ lead to eight points.

Stat of the night: The Mavs are 4-0 since Rick Carlisle inserted James into the starting lineup.

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Does Vince Carter deserve Sixth Man of Year consideration?


Vince Carter has earned eight All-Star appearances, the Rookie of the Year award and an Olympic gold medal during a career that has made a strong case for the Hall of Fame.

Carter’s boss would like to nominate him for another honor.

[+] Enlarge
CarterAP Photo/Duane BurlesonVince Carter’s complete all-around game probably won’t net much love from voters for the Sixth Man of the Year, but he’s getting plenty from Mark Cuban. “He’s basically been our best player.”“If we had a better record, he’d be a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, if not the leading candidate,” Mark Cuban said recently. “He’s basically been our best player.”

This is the first time in Carter’s 15-year career that he’s been featured in a reserve role, although he came off the bench occasionally last season. Carter has embraced being a sixth man, a role that makes it easier for coach Rick Carlisle to manage the 36-year-old’s minutes but puts Carter in position to make a major impact.

“I told coach from the beginning of the year that I was willing to do whatever and take on any role,” said Carter, who knew the Mavs would need scoring off the bench when former Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry left for Boston. “Obviously, I’m definitely comfortable in this role. It’s a comfortable role because it’s who I am. I like to make plays and put the ball in the basket and find open guys.”

Carter, who has moved past Hal Greer, Larry Bird and Gary Payton this season to climb to 28th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, can still fill it up. He’s averaging 13.1 points in 25.3 minutes per game. The Mavs are 7-2 when Carter scores at least 20 points, including his 22-point outing in Sunday’s win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Carter is also arguably the most complete player among the Sixth Man of the Year candidates. He’s a smart, unselfish facilitator (2.1 assists per game), solid rebounder (4.0 per game) and an extremely underrated defender. (The Mavs allow 7.5 fewer points per 100 possessions with Carter on the floor than when he sits, according to

The Mavs’ 29-33 record isn’t a reflection of Carter’s performance. In fact, his plus-minus of plus-151 ranks as the best on the team by 100 points.

Alas, there are too many quality sixth men from contenders for Carter to get serious consideration for the award. The Clippers’ Jamal Crawford, who leads bench players with 17.2 points per game, is considered the favorite in a field that also features the Knicks’ J.R. Smith, Thunder’s Kevin Martin, Warriors’ Jarrett Jack, Jazz’s Gordon Hayward and Spurs’ Manu Ginobili. Add the Hornets’ Ryan Anderson if you want to include a sixth man putting up stellar numbers on a losing squad.

Carter will be an afterthought in the Sixth Man of the Year voting. However, his professionalism and production are greatly appreciated by the Mavs, beginning with the man who signs the checks.

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Sources: Mavs to sign PG Chris Wright

The Dallas Mavericks will fill their freshly-vacated 15th roster spot by calling up Iowa Energy point guard Chris Wright from the D-League, according to sources familiar with the decision.

Sources said Wright will receive a 10-day contract before Tuesday’s game at Milwaukee to fill the opening created by Saturday’s release of 2011 championship alumnus Dominique Jones.

Wright was a McDonald’s All-American in high school and then starred at Georgetown before going unselected in the 2011 NBA draft. He went to training camp with the New Orleans Hornets in October and then joined the Energy after failing to stick.

The 6-foot-1, 210 pounder averaged 15.5 points, 7.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 37.0 minutes per game for Iowa, earning a spot in last month’s D-League All-Star game in Houston.

In March 2012, Wright was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but he has continued to play in the wake of the M.S. findings and was widely considered overdue for an NBA callup based on his development at the point.

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