Category Archives: Dallas Mavericks, Sports, News

Dallas Mavericks, Sports, News

Calm, confident Dennis Smith Jr. stars in first NBA win

1:12 AM ET

DALLAS — Dennis Smith Jr. didn’t even crack a smile.

Smith waved his arms, motioning for the crowd to cheer, while on his way to the bench during a timeout after drilling a cold-blooded 3-pointer to give the Dallas Mavericks a 13-point lead with 4:31 remaining. But he remained stone-faced, certainly not looking like a teenager who had the first win of his NBA career in reach, aside from the thin whiskers in his attempt at a mustache.

It’s not as if Smith was surprised by the moment or anything else about his efficient 19-point, five-assist, one-turnover performance in the Mavs’ 103-94 victory Wednesday night over the previously unbeaten Memphis Grizzlies.

“I do expect it,” Smith said, wearing his purple-and-pink “The Princess and the Frog” backpack. “I’m just playing basketball. I’ve been doing it since I was 6. It’s the highest level now, but I’ve worked to be on this level. I deserve this opportunity, and now I’ve got to own that and earn my keep.”

That mentality brings a smile to the face of a certain graybeard who still remembers what it was like to be a wide-eyed rookie.

“He’s a confident young man,” said Dirk Nowitzki, who admittedly was not during his first NBA season two decades ago. “He knows that he’s good. He knows the sky is the limit. As long as you’re confident and you’re humble about it — which he’s shown, he’s shown that he’s ready to work and listen — I think he’s going to be great.”

Smith, the No. 9 overall pick the Mavs hope develops into the next face of the franchise, has the kind of athleticism that causes crowds to gasp. There aren’t too many point guards who can blow by a defender in the halfcourt and finish with a two-handed dunk, as Smith did during the second quarter.

But the poise and patience Smith, who was 8-of-12 from the floor in the win, shows as a 19-year-old rookie are attributes that are almost as rare. He makes the extra pass when appropriate — such as when he passed up a decent look to hit Wesley Matthews for a wide-open corner 3 to push Dallas’ lead back to double digits midway through the fourth quarter. Smith doesn’t feel the need to hunt for shots or force the action. He attempted only four field goals in the first half and then pounced when he found seams in the third quarter, when Smith scored nine points on 4-of-4 shooting.

“He’s got a very mature game,” Grizzlies coach David Fizdale said.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has a reputation for being tough on point guards, but he hasn’t hesitated to put responsibilities on Smith’s plate. He’s not worried about the rookie being overwhelmed. Smith earns trust by consistently making smart decisions.

“He’s a pretty calm person by nature,” Carlisle said. “He’s very confident. He processes things and has a good sense of just how long five or six seconds is at the end of the clock. He understands that the defense will break down in a split second and he’s got the quickness to get by people. Some of the things he’s doing to generate baskets, fouls or shots for guys is a dimension we’ve never had on this team.”

Smith’s explosiveness will get him SportsCenter time. His savvy is what earns the respect of the league’s premier point guards.

“Super-athletic guard that knows how to play the game,” said Golden State’s Stephen Curry, who has known the fellow North Carolina native since Smith was in high school. “I think that’s the most underrated aspect of his game, just the way he sees the floor, the way he tries to get his teammates involved. And he can shoot it. A lot of people fall in love with the way he can high-fly and play above the rim at times, just his explosiveness, but the thing that’s going to help him be a long-lasting pro and probably an All-Star one day in this league is his ability to play that five-man basketball and get other guys involved and use his strengths to open up looks for other teammates.”

Curry offered that scouting report before the Warriors blew out the Mavs on Monday night. Smith experienced some growing pains in that game, finishing with 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting and only one assist. His confidence clearly wasn’t shaken, however, as evidenced by his bounce-back performance against another of the West’s best point guards.

“I love his game,” Memphis’ Mike Conley said. “He plays with a great pace, very patient. He’s going to be something special in the league. They’ve got a good one.”

Article source: http://www.espn.com/blog/dallas-mavericks/post/_/id/4706766/calm-confident-dennis-smith-jr-stars-in-first-win

Green denies Smith Jr. dunk: ‘Ain’t happening’

9:24 AM ET

DALLAS — Draymond Green delivered a loud message to high-flying Mavericks rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr.: You will never dunk on me.

Green barked words to that effect when Smith attempted to dunk on the reigning Defensive Player of the Year late in the third quarter of the Golden State Warriors’ 133-103 win Monday night. Smith settled for a trip to the free throw line after a hard foul from Green.

“Yeah, that s— ain’t happening,” Green said after the game. “This ain’t summer league, bro. Not just gonna dunk on nobody. Better luck next time.

“Never. That ain’t happening. Come on, dude.”

Smith, a lottery pick who possesses a 48-inch vertical leap and a lot of confidence, drove the baseline before trying to soar over Green for a slam. Smith briefly exchanged words with Green before going to the free throw line.

Smith considered Green’s trash talk nonsensical.

“I don’t know what he was talking about,” said Smith, who had a rough night, recording 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting and only one assist in his second career game. “He can’t say nothing. He fouled me. It doesn’t even make sense.

“I was just laughing at him. He’s rambling on about nothing. It ain’t like he blocked it. He’s just rambling, and I laughed at him.”

Smith said he didn’t know if Green was trying to intimidate him or give him some sort of rookie initiation. But Smith wasn’t about to wilt when Green verbally confronted him.

“I’m not doing it just to let people know I’m not backing down,” said Smith, who missed the previous two games with swelling in his left knee. “I’m just not backing down from nobody. That’s just how I am. All that extra stuff, I don’t really dabble with all that. That’s about it. I just handle myself accordingly.”

Smith praised Green as a player but scoffed when told of Green’s declaration that the Mavs rookie would never dunk on him.

“He can’t jump with me,” Smith said.

Article source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/21133340/draymond-green-golden-state-warriors-denies-dallas-mavericks-guard-dennis-smith-jr-dunk

Curry helps comfort D. Harris’ grieving nephew

2:25 AM ET

DALLAS — Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry attempted to encourage and inspire Mavericks guard Devin Harris‘ nephew in the wake of the death of the boy’s father last week.

Curry talked with Harris and his nephew, 9-year-old Brayden, in the midcourt tunnel at the American Airlines Center before Monday’s game against the Mavericks. Bruce Harris, Devin’s 38-year-old brother, died Thursday afternoon due to injuries suffered in a car accident early that morning.

Mavs’ Harris on leave after brother’s death

Mavericks guard Devin Harris has been granted a leave of absence after his brother was killed in a car crash Thursday afternoon.

“It’s obviously hard to find the right words to say in that situation because it’s such a tough blow to the family,” said Curry, who hugged Brayden as they talked. “At that age, I can’t imagine what he’s going through, but the best thing I could say is just to lean on his family to give him that strength in this tough time. Nobody could tell [him] how to feel to allow himself to get through this the best that he can, but with his family at his side and leaning on them for strength and for love, hopefully they’ll be there for him. That’s the best I can tell.”

The meeting was set up by Curry’s brother, Seth, a Mavericks guard, and Warriors guard Shaun Livingston, a longtime friend of Harris’. Stephen Curry, Brayden’s favorite player, also autographed several items for the boy.

Harris, 34, has not played since his brother’s death and remains on indefinite leave from the Mavs. On Monday, he made his first trip to the American Airlines Center since Thursday’s accident in part to help try to get his nephew’s mind off the tragedy. Harris watched the Mavs-Warriors game with his nephew in the stands.

“I lost my brother tragically and it’s been a tough week,” Harris told reporters in the Mavs’ locker room before the game, his nephew at his side. “The family is taking it pretty hard, as you would expect them to. Probably the toughest thing I’ve had to deal with, dealing with myself, trying to explain it to his kids, my kids. It’s just been tough.”

Article source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/21133407/golden-state-warriors-stephen-curry-helps-comfort-grieving-nephew-mavericks-guard-devin-harris

Mavs’ Harris on leave after brother’s death

7:17 AM ET

DALLAS — Guard Devin Harris will take an indefinite leave from the Dallas Mavericks after the tragic death of his brother, Bruce.

“I was with him yesterday and just encouraged him that when he’s ready, to come on back,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I don’t know when that will be. He can take as long as he needs.”

A Dallas police statement said 38-year-old Bruce Harris died Thursday afternoon from injuries suffered in a crash. Police say Harris and another man were in a disabled vehicle when a car driven by a 23-year-old man slammed into it from behind. The car with Bruce Harris inside caught fire.

Devin Harris didn’t practice on Thursday and wasn’t with the team for the Mavericks’ 93-88 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Friday.

Mavericks teammate J.J. Barea visited with Harris’ family on Thursday. Barea and Harris have been teammates since 2006.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Article source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/21094631/dallas-mavericks-guard-devin-harris-takes-leave-absence-following-death-brother

Mavs rookie Smith (knee) out through Saturday

1:37 AM ET

DALLAS — Dennis Smith Jr. will miss at least two games due to swelling in the left knee that the Dallas Mavericks’ prized rookie point guard had surgically repaired two years ago.

Smith was a late scratch before Friday’s loss to the Sacramento Kings and will not travel with the Mavericks for Saturday’s road game against the Houston Rockets.

Smith tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in August 2015, the summer before his senior year of high school. He experienced swelling in the knee after a shootaround Friday — Carlisle said that has been an issue in recent weeks — and the decision was made to not start him less than an hour before the game.

“He’s had a little bit of minor swelling throughout training camp,” Carlisle said. “It’s just one of the symptoms of having an ACL [surgery in the past]. Doc checked him out, and we think he’s going to be fine.”

Smith, 19, the No. 9 pick in the draft who has inspired optimism in Dallas that he can be the franchise’s next cornerstone player, had 16 points and 10 assists in the season opener to become the youngest player in NBA history to record a points-assists double-double in his debut.

Article source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/21094702/dennis-smith-jr-dallas-mavericks-late-scratch-knee-effusion

Mavs rookie Smith late scratch with knee issue

11:11 PM ET

DALLAS — Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. was a late scratch for Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings due to left knee effusion, a buildup of fluid in the knee.

Smith also will not play in Saturday’s road game against the Houston Rockets. Coach Rick Carlisle says the Mavs hope Smith can play Monday against the Golden State Warriors.

Smith tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in August 2015, the summer before his senior year of high school. He experienced swelling in the knee after shootaround Friday, and the decision was made to not start him less than an hour before the game.

Carlisle made no mention of Smith’s injury during his pregame news conference when he was asked about the matchup of Smith against Kings rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox.

Smith, 19, the No. 9 pick in the draft who has inspired optimism in Dallas that he can be the franchise’s next cornerstone player, had 16 points and 10 assists in the season opener to become the youngest player in NBA history to record a points-assists double-double in his debut.

Article source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/21094702/dennis-smith-jr-dallas-mavericks-late-scratch-knee-effusion