Tag Archives: Dallas Mavericks

Dahntay Jones assists during dunk contest

A member of the Mavericks ended up participating in All-Star Weekend after all.

For some reason, Dahntay Jones was recruited out of the crowd to throw a sitting lob pass to Utah’s Jeremy Evans in the finals of the dunk contest. Evans jumped over Jones and threw down the dunk on the first try, a rare feat in this year’s contest.

There is no obvious connection between Jones and Evans, a rarely used third-year forward out of Western Kentucky. Perhaps Evans wanted to take advantage of the passing skills of Jones, who is averaging 0.6 assists per game this season, just down from his career average of 0.9.

Raptors rookie swingman Terrence Ross paid tribute to Mavs sixth man and former dunk champ Vince Carter by wearing Carter’s No. 15 Toronto jersey during his first dunk in the finals. Ross dethroned Evans, the defending champion.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694388/dahntay-jones-reps-mavs-at-all-star-weekend

Mavs face uphill climb to reach playoffs

DALLAS — For more than a decade, Dallas Mavericks fans could take a couple of things to the bank.

Dirk Nowitzki would be an All-Star, and the Mavs would make the playoffs.

Ranking The Mavericks’ Roster

ESPN Dallas calls timeout to rank the Mavs’ roster at the All-Star break. Rankings Photo Gallery   Evaluating Mavs »
Mavericks Blog »   ESPN Dallas »

Well, Nowitzki will spend his All-Star weekend relaxing on a beach. Realistically, it looks like his schedule in late April will be wide open, too.

Dirk can deal with his streak of 11 straight All-Star selections being snapped. It will be much tougher for him to stomach a run of a dozen consecutive playoff berths ending if the Mavs fail to pull off a miraculous rally in the final 30 games of the season.

“It is a long time, obviously,” Nowitzki said. “It’d be really disappointing to see it end, obviously. Only missed it my first two years and then always had fun. Obviously, playoffs is where I want to be.

“It starts getting warm out and that’s my time of the year. Every game is big. The adjustments, all that stuff, the atmosphere — it’s fun to be in the playoffs. It’d be tough to see that end, so we’re going to keep on pushing.”

Never mind the numbers that indicate it’s close to impossible for the Mavs to make a playoff push.

The Mavs are well aware that they sit in 11th place in the Western Conference standings, 4 games out of the final playoff seed. If they’ve crunched the numbers, they know they need to go 18-12 just to get back to .500 and shave off their beards, much less leapfrog the Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets to punch their postseason ticket.

Read more about the Mavs at the break here.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694367/mavs-face-uphill-climb-to-reach-playoffs

Howard still not ready to commit to Lakers

video

HOUSTON — Different All-Star city, same mixed messages from Dwight Howard regarding his future.

[+] Enlarge
Dwight HowardJack Arent/NBAE via Getty ImagesDwight Howard was a popular subject at All-Star media availability Friday with most reporters wanting to know what his future plans are.For a second straight season, Howard’s commitment to his team has come under intense scrutiny during All-Star Weekend. And much like in last year’s midseason showcase in Orlando, Fla., when he was still with the Magic, Howard shuffled between conflicting statements and left no indication whether he wanted to remain with the Lakers.

Howard confirmed Friday he has received assurances from Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak that he wouldn’t be dealt by next week’s trade deadline despite his unwillingness to commit to an extension or a new contract after the season.

Asked during Friday’s All-Star media session if he’d be shocked if the Lakers traded him in the coming days, Howard said: “Well, they told me they weren’t going to trade me. So, yeah, I would be surprised.”

Howard spent much of his 30-minute session with reporters trying to deflect questions about his future. But ultimately, he said he wouldn’t be pressured by anyone into making a decision about his future before the end of the season.

“The only thing that matters is the present, and right now,” Howard said. “There’s no need to talk about what’s going to happen at the end of the season. No reason to go back and forth about it. I just feel like at the end of the year, I should have my opportunity to make my own decision. I shouldn’t be criticized for waiting for the end of the year.”

Without some kind of indication from Howard, the Lakers could risk losing the league’s best center in free agency this summer without getting key assets in return. Orlando faced the same dilemma this time last season, but ultimately got Howard to waive an early termination contract clause that would have allowed him to enter free agency last summer.

But Howard’s relationship with the Magic hit another snag during the season’s stretch run and he opted for season-ending back surgery. After the season, Orlando fired coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith, then traded Howard to the Lakers with a year left on his deal.

The Lakers, who have struggled through injuries and style clashes on the court, are now facing the same uncertainty. But just as Howard suggested he didn’t want to talk about his future, he then said he didn’t believe it was fair for teammates, front-office staff, media or fans to criticize his decision to hold off on any commitment until July.

“It’s not [difficult] for me,” Howard said. “Everybody else wants me to talk about the future. But for me, the only thing I’m concerned with right now is to have fun at All-Star Weekend, and continue to train so I can come back and have a pretty good second half. I’m not going to deal with it. I had to deal with it all last year. I’m not going to do it again. There’s no need to talk about it. I want to have fun.”

Very little about playing for the Lakers has been fun, Howard said. Considering he entered the season recovering from back surgery, the early-season coaching change from Mike Brown to Mike D’Antoni, the struggles to adjust to a new playing style, the torn shoulder labrum he’s playing through right now and the losses, it has been a challenge.

The numbers reflect that burden. Howard is averaging 16.3 points, the fewest since his third season in the league. He leads the league in rebounding, but the 11.8 boards are his fewest since his rookie season. Howard is also fouling, on average, at the highest rate of his career.

“I didn’t expect it to go this sour,” Howard said with the Lakers at 25-29 and four games out of the final playoff spot in the West. “There’s always room for improvement. We had to battle a lot of things this year. A lot of injuries, guys being new here. We’ve had to deal with a lot.”

Still, Howard said he’s convinced the Lakers can go on a run in the second half of the season to get into the playoffs.

“I’m not going to get up here and tell you, ‘No, we’re not,'” Howard said. “I still have faith in my team. We have to figure out a way to do it, and do it fast.”

But Howard stopped short of suggesting that a strong finish from the Lakers would factor into his decision to stay or leave. He laughed when a reporter from Dallas reminded him that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban really wants him. Howard also dodged questions from New York-area reporters who asked if he was still interested in Brooklyn.

There was also a moment when Howard denied that he ever said he was uncertain about his future. Moments later, he reiterated he hasn’t reached a decision either way.

“Our job is to come out and play hard every night, and we have to live in the moment,” Howard said. “Nobody can control what happens at the end of the year.”

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694376/despite-vow-from-lakers-howard-still-not-ready-to-commit

Despite vow from Lakers, Howard still not ready to commit

video

HOUSTON — Different All-Star city, same mixed messages from Dwight Howard regarding his future.

[+] Enlarge
Dwight HowardJack Arent/NBAE via Getty ImagesDwight Howard was a popular subject at All-Star media availability Friday with most reporters wanting to know what his future plans are.For a second straight season, Howard’s commitment to his team has come under intense scrutiny during All-Star Weekend. And much like in last year’s midseason showcase in Orlando, Fla., when he was still with the Magic, Howard shuffled between conflicting statements and left no indication whether he wanted to remain with the Lakers.

Howard confirmed Friday he has received assurances from Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak that he wouldn’t be dealt by next week’s trade deadline despite his unwillingness to commit to an extension or a new contract after the season.

Asked during Friday’s All-Star media session if he’d be shocked if the Lakers traded him in the coming days, Howard said: “Well, they told me they weren’t going to trade me. So, yeah, I would be surprised.”

Howard spent much of his 30-minute session with reporters trying to deflect questions about his future. But ultimately, he said he wouldn’t be pressured by anyone into making a decision about his future before the end of the season.

“The only thing that matters is the present, and right now,” Howard said. “There’s no need to talk about what’s going to happen at the end of the season. No reason to go back and forth about it. I just feel like at the end of the year, I should have my opportunity to make my own decision. I shouldn’t be criticized for waiting for the end of the year.”

Without some kind of indication from Howard, the Lakers could risk losing the league’s best center in free agency this summer without getting key assets in return. Orlando faced the same dilemma this time last season, but ultimately got Howard to waive an early termination contract clause that would have allowed him to enter free agency last summer.

But Howard’s relationship with the Magic hit another snag during the season’s stretch run and he opted for season-ending back surgery. After the season, Orlando fired coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith, then traded Howard to the Lakers with a year left on his deal.

The Lakers, who have struggled through injuries and style clashes on the court, are now facing the same uncertainty. But just as Howard suggested he didn’t want to talk about his future, he then said he didn’t believe it was fair for teammates, front-office staff, media or fans to criticize his decision to hold off on any commitment until July.

“It’s not [difficult] for me,” Howard said. “Everybody else wants me to talk about the future. But for me, the only thing I’m concerned with right now is to have fun at All-Star Weekend, and continue to train so I can come back and have a pretty good second half. I’m not going to deal with it. I had to deal with it all last year. I’m not going to do it again. There’s no need to talk about it. I want to have fun.”

Very little about playing for the Lakers has been fun, Howard said. Considering he entered the season recovering from back surgery, the early-season coaching change from Mike Brown to Mike D’Antoni, the struggles to adjust to a new playing style, the torn shoulder labrum he’s playing through right now and the losses, it has been a challenge.

The numbers reflect that burden. Howard is averaging 16.3 points, the fewest since his third season in the league. He leads the league in rebounding, but the 11.8 boards are his fewest since his rookie season. Howard is also fouling, on average, at the highest rate of his career.

“I didn’t expect it to go this sour,” Howard said with the Lakers at 25-29 and four games out of the final playoff spot in the West. “There’s always room for improvement. We had to battle a lot of things this year. A lot of injuries, guys being new here. We’ve had to deal with a lot.”

Still, Howard said he’s convinced the Lakers can go on a run in the second half of the season to get into the playoffs.

“I’m not going to get up here and tell you, ‘No, we’re not,'” Howard said. “I still have faith in my team. We have to figure out a way to do it, and do it fast.”

But Howard stopped short of suggesting that a strong finish from the Lakers would factor into his decision to stay or leave. He laughed when a reporter from Dallas reminded him that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban really wants him. Howard also dodged questions from New York-area reporters who asked if he was still interested in Brooklyn.

There was also a moment when Howard denied that he ever said he was uncertain about his future. Moments later, he reiterated he hasn’t reached a decision either way.

“Our job is to come out and play hard every night, and we have to live in the moment,” Howard said. “Nobody can control what happens at the end of the year.”

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694376/despite-vow-from-lakers-howard-still-not-ready-to-commit

Michael Jordan puts Dirk Nowitzki in rare air

One nugget from the phenomenal Michael Jordan feature written by ESPN’s Wright Thompson will be especially interesting to Mavericks fans.

It’s Jordan’s short list of current stars who could be nearly as successful in his era: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan … and Dirk Nowitzki.

Not that any more evidence was necessary to consider Dirk one of the legends in NBA history, but that’s one heck of a reference.

Remember when Dirk was considered soft? It was a silly stereotype for a long time, and that was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt when he put the Mavs on his shoulders for a championship run.

The soft label seems especially ridiculous after reading such respect for Dirk coming from the most ruthless competitor in NBA history.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694373/michael-jordan-puts-dirk-nowitzki-in-rare-air

Rapid Reaction: Mavs 123, Kings 100

video

How it happened: Eight-time All-Star Vince Carter had a turn-back-the-clock kind of performance to lead the Mavericks to a blowout over the Kings.

Carter lit it up for 26 points in 24 minutes, making 9-of-15 shots from the field and 6-of-9 from 3-point range. The 36-year-old sixth man caught fire in the third quarter, when he torched Sacramento for 17 points, hitting five 3-pointers.

The 3-pointer Carter hit on the Mavs’ final possession of the third quarter — a shot he celebrated with a Jordan-esque shrug of his shoulder — bumped Larry Bird down a spot on the all-time scoring list. Carter ranks 29th with 21,796 career points.

Carter’s brilliance against the NBA’s worst defensive team highlighted one of the Mavs’ best offensive performances of the season. They’ve scored more points in a game only once, a 126-99 win over the Charlotte Bobcats in the third game of the season.

Point guard Darren Collison had an outstanding outing, scoring 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting and dishing out nine assists with only two turnovers. Dirk Nowitzki had an efficient, all-around night, putting up 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting, eight rebounds and six assists.

What it means: The Mavs won three of four games on their homestand heading into the All-Star break to improve to 23-29. They extended their home winning streak against the Kings to 18 games and have won 14 of 15 overall against Sacramento.

Play of the game: O.J. Mayo‘s two-hand slam finished a fast break in which the ball never touched the floor. Shawn Marion got a steal under the basket and fired a bullet outlet pass to Collison at halfcourt on the right side of the floor. Collison immediately found Mayo streaking down the middle of the lane for the dunk that stretched Dallas’ lead to seven midway through the second quarter.

Stat of the night: The Mavs are 11-2 against teams playing the second night of a back-to-back at the American Airlines Center this season.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694337/rapid-reaction-mavs-123-kings-100