Category Archives: Dallas Mavericks, Sports, News

Dallas Mavericks, Sports, News

3-pointer: Dirk Nowitzki gets All-Star break

DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki is due for some midseason rest and relaxation.

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Dirk Nowitzki Bob Donnan/USA TODAY SportsDirk Nowitzki will finally get a break during the All-Star weekend.It feels a little odd for Nowitzki not to be headed to the All-Star weekend. There wasn’t one during his lockout-compressed rookie season, and Nowitzki has been part of the last 13 – as a 3-point shootout participant in two before his 11-year All-Star streak.

Nowitzki didn’t merit that honor during this injury-marred season, so he’ll head to a beach instead.

“My whole career, that’s the only thing I know is going to the All-Star game, so this is something different,” Nowitzki said after the Mavs’ rout of the Kings. “I’m sure I’m going to enjoy it, as well.

“I always said the last couple of years I’m fine either way. I love to represent the Mavericks down there, and if that’s not the case I’m going to have some fun somewhere else.”

Nowitzki will lift weights and get some cardio work in during his vacation, but he doesn’t plan to touch a basketball until the Mavs practice Monday afternoon.

Nowitzki heads into the break in a nice little groove. He followed up his 24-point, seven-rebound performance in Monday’s loss to Atlanta with a 17-point, eight-rebound, six-assist, three-steal night. Nowitzki is 14-of-23 from the floor in the last two games.

“I’ve felt better,” Nowitzki said. “I’ve said it all the time – I’ve got to keep working. It was ugly there for a while. My stamina, I feel like my legs are getting better and better. I feel good.”

A few more notes from the Mavs’ blowout over the Kings:

1. Collison keeps it up: Darren Collison claims he hadn’t heard about the Mavericks’ reported interest in Milwaukee point guard Brandon Jennings.

Collison insists he doesn’t care about things such as trade rumors that are out of his control.

“I can’t predict the future, so I can’t really comment on what trade rumors are out there,” Collison said. “All I can do is just play my game.”

Collison played his game awfully well Wednesday night, dropping 18 points and nine dimes in the Mavs’ rout of the Sacramento Kings. Collison established the fast tempo coach Rick Carlisle wanted and was extremely efficient, hitting 7-of-12 shots from the floor and committing only two turnovers.

“He’s an improved player and he’s improving game by game,” Carlisle said.

The Mavs might be hesitant to commit to Collison as a long-term solution, but the fact of the matter is that he’s been a solid starter ever since Derek Fisher decided to return to his rocking chair.

In 24 games since regaining his starting job, Collison has averaged 14.2 points, 6.0 assists, 1.4 steals and only 2.0 turnovers per game. He’s been an alarmingly accurate shooter during that span, hitting 51.4 percent of his shots from the floor, 50.0 percent of his 3-point attempts and 95.6 percent of his free throws.

“I just think coach is doing a good job just letting me play,” said Collison, who averaged 14.5 points and 8.5 assists during the Mavs’ 3-1 homestand. “I’m just going out there and playing my game.”

2. Courting Cousins: There is a mutual admiration between the Dallas decision-makers and Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.

Carlisle has raved about Cousins’ game several times, and the Mavs’ front office has made its feelings about the talented 6-foot-11, 270-pound 22-year-old known by trying to convince the Kings to trade him.

What’s Cousins think about the Mavs?

“I think it’s a well-run organization, definitely one of the top organizations in the league,” Cousins said after scoring 17 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in a losing effort.

Cousins, who is scheduled to be a restricted free agent after the 2013-14 season, clearly isn’t thrilled with his current team. He has butted heads with coach Keith Smart and said Wednesday that “a realistic goal is to win more than 25 games.”

3. Sad Sacramento: The worst defensive team in the NBA brings out the best in the Mavs’ offense.

Three of the Mavs’ four highest-scoring games of the season came against the Kings. Their 123 points Wednesday were the most this season other than a 126-point outburst against Charlotte in the third game of the season. The Mavs had 119 and 117 in their previous two wins over the Kings.

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Mavs interested in Eric Gordon as summer fallback option?

The odds of the New Orleans Hornets trading shooting guard Eric Gordon before the Feb. 21 deadline are slim.

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GordonDerick E. Hingle/US PresswireWould Eric Gordon be worth the price as a summer fallback option? The Mavs better be sure.The odds of the Mavs trading for Gordon before the deadline are much closer to none.

However, ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports in an Insider column that the Mavs, Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors are among the teams that have inquired about Gordon. In the cases of the Mavs and Rockets – a couple of teams that will have enough cap space to enter the Dwight Howard summer sweepstakes – the inquiries are likely about exploring a potential offseason fallback option.

The Dallas front office must do its due diligence on all potential stars who could be available, but Mark Cuban has made it clear that he considers overpaying a player with a massive contract one of the biggest mistakes the Mavs could make under the new collective bargaining agreement.

Gordon, who reluctantly returned to New Orleans last summer after the Hornets matched an offer sheet he signed with the Phoenix Suns, is due $44.7 million over the next three seasons. That’s a ton of cash for an undersized, oft-injured shooting guard.

Is Gordon worth that kind of money when the Mavs could probably re-sign O.J. Mayo for significantly less?

Maybe the Mavs are infatuated with the upside of the 24-year-old Gordon, who averaged 22.3 points on 45 percent shooting for the Los Angeles Clippers a couple of seasons ago, and believe he’d thrive playing with Dirk Nowitzki in coach Rick Carlisle’s system.

To trade for Gordon, regardless of what it’d take to get him from the Hornets, the Mavs better be completely confident that he’s capable of being the face of the franchise during Dirk’s golden years.

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Vince Carter lets it fly, passes Larry Bird

DALLAS – Vince Carter punctuated his historic hot streak with a bewildered smile and shoulder shrug, a la Michael Jordan in the 1992 NBA Finals.

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Vince CarterAP Photo/Tony GutierrezVince Carter scored 26 points to pass Larry Bird in career scoring during the Mavs’ dominating victory Wednesday against the Kings. Carter’s 21,796 points puts him at No. 29 on the all-time list.
“I don’t recall doing it,” Carter said.

Well, the dude was unconscious at the time.

The shrug came moments after Carter swished a deep 3-pointer on the Mavs’ final possession of the third quarter, a shot that bumped Hall of Famer Larry Bird down a spot to 30th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. It capped a spectacular scoring spree for Carter, who had 17 of his 26 points in the frame to make sure the Mavs entered the All-Star break with a blowout win over the sorry Sacramento Kings.

“I was wishing the quarter wouldn’t end,” Carter said.

The Mavs’ sixth man sat out the first five-plus minutes of the quarter. His first bucket after halftime came on a tip-in at the 5:28 mark. Then the 36-year-old best known for his aerial highlights got in a ridiculous groove from 3-point range.

Carter was 5-of-7 from long range in the quarter, a hot streak that killed a Kings run that trimmed the Mavs’ lead to seven. He hit another one the next possession. And then he really got rolling in the final 68 seconds.

The Mavs closed the quarter with a 9-0 run — all on Carter 3s.

“You feelin’ it like that, let it fly,” Shawn Marion said.

“It was fun. He got hot there and we needed it,” Dirk Nowitzki said.

“A groove like that as far as shooting? It’s been a while,” said Carter, who was 9-of-15 from the field and 6-of-9 from 3-point range for the game, which he finished with 21,796 career points.

PODCAST The Mavs are reportedly interested in Milwaukee point guard Brandon Jennings. It’s not a perfect trade scenario, but it has many positives. Ben and Skin say this could help Dallas land a “big fish.”

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It’s not as if Carter’s big night came out of nowhere. He has provided consistent scoring punch off the pine this season, averaging 13.0 points, and has had five 20-plus-point performance since New Year’s Day.

Coach Rick Carlisle raves about all the things Carter does for the Mavs other than score. He’s an underrated defender who leads the team in charges drawn, an unselfish, effective passer and a locker-room leader who embraces coming off the bench despite being an eight-time All-Star.

But Carter will go down in history as one of the best scorers in the history of the game. And he’s far from a has-been just hanging on in the NBA. He’s one of the league’s most explosive sixth men, still capable of taking over for stretches.

“He’s been a great player in this league and he still has the ability to have stretches where he can be that kind of great player in terms of his high impact with streaks of shot-making, some of the playmaking things that he’s able to do,” Carlisle said. “It’d be hard to tell you how important he is to our team. It’s so important.

“He’s still a special player.”

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Buzz: With trade rumors swirling, be careful believing Mark Cuban

DALLAS – Mark Cuban makes one guarantee about any potential moves the Mavericks make before the trade deadline.

“If you read about it,” Cuban said, “it ain’t happening.”

Of course, that comes from the man who once advised a reporter to “put the crack pipe down” in response to an inquiry about a package the Mavs might send to New Jersey for Jason Kidd. That blockbuster deal went down days later and looked a lot like the reporter’s proposal.

There was also a lot of pre-trade buzz the last time the Mavs pulled off an All-Star weekend blockbuster, shipping Josh Howard and spare parts to Washington for Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson.

One good rule to follow around this time of year is to take anything said on the record by an NBA decision-maker with a few big grains of salt.

“That’s probably true,” Cuban said. “You’re a very handsome man.”

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Sources: Mavs interested in Bucks PG Brandon Jennings

Could Brandon Jennings fulfill his potential in Dallas? The Mavericks are apparently intrigued by the possibility.

Sources tell’s Marc Stein that the Mavs have a “level of interest” in Jennings if the Milwaukee Bucks make the restricted free agent-to-be point guard available before the Feb. 21 trade deadline.

Jennings, 23, is averaging 18.5 points and 6.1 assists in his fourth NBA season. He arguably fits Mark Cuban’s description given for potential trade targets: a young talent who would immediately be a top-three player on the Mavs’ roster with the potential to develop into an All-Star.

“I’ll analogize it to Steve Nash,” Cuban said Monday, speaking in generalities about the type of player the Mavs would target. “Whatever we saw in Nash and [Michael] Finley with Donnie [Nelson] back then, same type of thing. There’s been lots of players we picked up over time that weren’t All-Stars that turned into cornerstones. We’d take those.

“They don’t have to be proven. They’d have to be someone we think it’s just a question of time or system or coaching or whatever.”

Darren Collison has put up decent numbers for Dallas this season, averaging 12.8 points and 5.4 assists while shooting 48.2 percent from the floor, but it’s been evident that the Mavs don’t see him as their point guard of the future. After all, they demoted him to start Derek Fisher during the 37-year-old’s nine-game stint with the Mavs and had 37-year-old Mike James close a few games when he was fresh out of the D-League.

Jennings, however, comes with a couple of red flags. Like Collison, his size (6-foot-1, 169 pounds) often puts him at a significant disadvantage defensively. Jennings is also a volume scorer who shoots a poor percentage, hitting less than 40 percent of his shots from the floor this season and throughout his career.

The Bucks would likely want to dump power forward Drew Gooden in a deal, but that’d be a steep price for the Mavs to pay for a player who has fallen out of Milwaukee’s rotation. Gooden, who played 46 games for the Mavs in 2009-10 before being included in a blockbuster deal with the Washington Wizards, is due $6.7 million in each of the next two seasons.

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Did Vince Carter commit beard violation?

PODCAST Has the time come for the Mavericks to take the ball out of O.J. Mayo’s hands at the end of games? Coop and Nate discuss.

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DALLAS – The rules regarding the Mavericks’ beard pact are a bit fuzzy, so to speak.

Shaving the neck is definitely allowed. What about the cheekbones? That will determine whether sixth man Vince Carter has violated the pact of not shaving until the Mavs hit .500 again.

Carter’s beard is bushy, but it’s been lined up on the neck and cheekbones and his mustache has been well trimmed. According to his interpretation of the unwritten rules, Carter is still in compliance.

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Vince CarterJerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsVince Carter is still growing his beard, but he’s keeping it neatly trimmed.“I can’t have it in my eyes, bro. Sorry,” Carter said. “Have you seen Chris Kaman? I can’t do that, man. I didn’t make the rules. That’s the thing. I don’t know where all the rules came from. O.J. (Mayo) was like, ‘We can’t cut the beard.’ The beard is the beard.”

At this point, Carter used his fingers for visual aids in his defense, running them along the cheekbones and neckline.

“This is the beard,” Carter said. “Line it up, man.”

Kaman, who still hasn’t returned to practice after suffering a concussion on Feb. 28, apparently hasn’t manicured his facial hair in any way, shape or form since several Mavs agreed to let their beards grow until they get back to the break-even point. That level of commitment is a bit much as far as Carter is concerned.

“Then you look like a man who lives in the forest, brother,” Carter said. “No thank you.”

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