Tag Archives: Dallas Mavericks

Deron Williams to Mark Cuban, Mavs: Don’t go there

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Deron Williams wanted no part of rehashing the offseason, when he chose to stay in Brooklyn over heading back home to Dallas.

“There’s no reason to even go down that lane. That’s behind me. I’m part of the Brooklyn Nets,” Williams said Thursday. “There’s no reason to even revisit that.”

Williams will face the Mavericks for the first time this season when the Nets host Dallas on Friday night at Barclays Center.

“It’s just another game,” Williams said.

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Dirk Nowitzki and Deron WilliamsGlenn James/NBAE/Getty ImagesDirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams as teammates? It would’ve been intriguing, but it didn’t happen.Williams, 28, met with both teams during free agency. Given that he is from Dallas, it was a difficult decision. Ultimately, he decided to re-sign with the Nets for five years and $98 million.

Williams said the team’s acquisition of Joe Johnson swayed him to pick Brooklyn. When Williams met with the Mavericks, owner Mark Cuban wasn’t at the meeting because he was filming an episode of the reality television show “Shark Tank.”

“A lot of the questions that me and my agent had for them really didn’t get answered that day — you know, pertaining to the future,” Williams said in October. “And I think if (Cuban) was there, he would have been able to answer those questions a little bit better. Maybe would have helped me.”

Cuban then fired back: “I’m a big D-Will fan, but I’m kind of surprised that he would throw his front office under the bus like that by saying that I would make a difference. I would have expected him to say — like I’d expect one of our guys to say — ‘Hey I’m so thrilled with the front office and the moves we made and our team that it wouldn’t have mattered what he did.’

“He’s a superstar point guard, but my goal is to build a team. … I’m flattered that he thought my presence would have made more of a difference than what the Nets’ management did.”

Williams said he hasn’t spoken with Cuban since.

“It wasn’t really a back-and-forth thing, anyway,” Williams said Thursday.

Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, who joined the Nets in December 2011 as an assistant coach, said he was worried about the possibility that the franchise point guard might leave.

“Until he re-signed, I was concerned,” Carlesimo said. “Clearly, being from Dallas and Dallas having a pretty good roster — they just won a championship a couple years ago — I thought it was a viable option. My opinion was he was always going to stay just because he seemed very, very comfortable here. And his relationship with Avery Johnson and Billy King was such that I was confident he was going to stay here. But was I worried? Yes, I was worried.”

As has been well-documented, this season hasn’t been easy for Williams, who has battled injuries, fatigue, confidence problems and becoming acclimated with an offensive system that isn’t best-suited for his game. In 55 games, he’s averaging 17.3 points, 7.7 assists and 2.9 turnovers and shooting 41.7 percent from the field.

An All-Star from 2010 to ’12, Williams wasn’t selected to participate this season.

“I know I belong out there regardless of watching (the All-Star Game on TV) or not,” Williams said. “It’s just the fact that this year I wasn’t having an All-Star year, so I wasn’t in the game. I’ll look to get back there next year, play better, hopefully be healthy.”

Since the All-Star break, Williams — who has already had three sets of cortisone shots in both ankles — is averaging 22.8 points, 8.4 assists and 3.6 turnovers while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 51.5 percent from 3-point range. He says he’d like to cut down on his turnovers, but otherwise feels good about his game.

The Mavericks currently find themselves five games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Nets, meanwhile, are on track to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.

Looks like D-Will made the right choice — if this season is any indication, anyway.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694711/deron-williams-to-mark-cuban-mavs-dont-go-there

Add Memphis meltdown to Mavs’ lows

MEMPHIS — If you’ve got the stomach for it, go ahead and pick the ghastly stat that best sums up the Dallas Mavericks’ Memphis meltdown.

Here are a few options after the Mavs turned a massive lead into a 90-84 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies:

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Darren Collison, Marc GasolJoe Murphy/NBAE/Getty ImagesAre Darren Collison and the Mavs seeing their season and the team’s streak of 12 years of postseason play slip away. It certainly seemed that way Wednesday in Memphis.• The 25-point blown lead was the fourth largest in franchise history.

• The Grizzlies went on a 36-4 run that bridged the second and third quarters, with the Mavs committing nine turnovers in a span of a little more than 12 minutes. Memphis scored 24 consecutive points during that stretch.

• The Mavs had more turnovers (seven) than points (five) in the third quarter. The five points were the fewest ever scored in a quarter by a Memphis opponent and matched the fewest scored in a quarter by an NBA team this season.

Man, it doesn’t get much worse than this, huh?

Well, that’s debatable in this debacle of a season for Dallas.

“Oh, god, there are so many low points,” Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki said, fidgeting with a bushy beard that he won’t shave any time soon. “I don’t even know if this is the lowest.”

Oh, you could argue the case for any of the many times the Mavs were on the wrong end of a blowout. Or maybe you’d pick out one of the several times the Mavs managed to find a way to give away a game in the final moments.

But let’s focus on the mess that’s fresh after the Mavs fell apart Wednesday night at FedExForum.

Desperate for a win after a couple of soul-crushing close home losses over the previous few days, the Mavs couldn’t have played much better than they did in the first half. Dallas simply dominated the West’s best defensive team, lighting up the Grizzlies for 38 points while making 15-of-20 shots from the floor, building a 19-point lead.

That lead swelled to 25 midway through the second quarter, as the Mavs seemed to be cruising to a stunning road rout over a playoff-bound Memphis squad that had won its previous seven games. Then, suddenly, the Grizzlies cranked up the defense and the Mavs’ morphed into a D-League offense.

“I think they wanted it a little more than us,” said Mavs sixth man Vince Carter, offering an inexcusable explanation considering the West standings. “We got comfortable in the last five minutes of the first half.”

Disaster struck after Memphis big man Marc Gasol’s and-1 layup with 2:13 remaining in the first half. The Mavs committed turnovers on five of the next six possessions, allowing the Grizzlies to cut the deficit to a manageable 13 points at the break.

Then the horror show started:

The Mavs didn’t score in the third quarter until O.J. Mayo made a free throw at the 3:51 mark. They didn’t get a bucket until Mike James made a transition layup with 3:07 remaining.

By that point, the Grizzlies had ripped away the lead for good.

Warning: The following stats from the third quarter are rated PG. The Mavs were 2-of-17 from the floor, 0-of-4 from 3-point range and 1-of-4 from the free throw line. They had seven turnovers. They were outrebounded by a 19-8 margin.

They were humiliated.

“They turned it up a notch and we didn’t,” forward Shawn Marion said. “They came out aggressive and punked our asses.”

Added coach Rick Carlisle: “It’s another tough lesson in a season full of tough lessons.”

The Mavs gutted up and fought back in the fourth quarter, trimming the lead to two at one point, but they never got back over the hump. Teams that give up 36-4 runs don’t win very often.

When the buzzer sounded, the Mavs had lost their third straight game. They fell to 25-32, light years from the playoffs and seven games under the .500 mark they need to reach before they’ll allow themselves to shave again.

“Yeah,” Nowitzki said after being held to 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting, “it feels like more than that, to be honest with you.”

As bad as blowing a 25-point lead was, it felt worse. And it might not even be the low point in this miserable season for the Mavs.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694695/aadd-memphis-meltdown-to-mavs-lows

Chris Kaman returns to starting lineup

MEMPHIS — No wonder Chris Kaman has “zero idea” what his role is.

One night after being a DNP-CD, Kaman is in the starting lineup. It’s his first start since Jan. 20.

Kaman was demoted for two games before suffering a concussion that sidelined him for 10 games. He played eight quality minutes in his return Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers but never got off the bench for Tuesday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Bernard James, who had been starting at center, is healthy and available to come off the bench.

The starting lineup of Kaman, Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison is 5-4.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694681/chris-kaman-returns-to-starting-lineup

Dirk Nowitzki: ‘I’ve got to be perfect’

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DALLAS — Only fools are talking about Father Time after watching Dirk Nowitzki’s dominant performances over the past few days.

The face of the Mavericks’ franchise is finally performing like a Hall of Famer again. And it’s still not enough for this flawed team to feel like it has a legitimate shot to make the playoffs.

For much of this season, there was hope in the locker room that the Mavs could get on a roll if Dirk could just get right. Well, that’s apparently wrong.

Just look at the past two games. The Mavs failed to finish off the Los Angeles Lakers despite Dirk’s 30 points and 13 rebounds Sunday. The Mavs folded down the stretch again Tuesday against the Milwaukee Bucks, falling despite Nowitzki’s 21-point, 20-rebound night.

“We all know that stats don’t really mean anything in a loss,” Nowitzki said after his first 20-20 game in a decade. “I’ve got to find a way to pull this one out to make this game count.”

PODCAST Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons Durrett to talk about the possibility of Brandon Jennings joining the Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki’s future, a potential backup plan if the Mavs don’t land Dwight Howard and how the organization feels about Derek Fisher.

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O.J. Mayo summed up the rest of the Mavs’ viewpoint: “Dirk is doing his job. Obviously, we’ve got to give him some help.”

Coach Rick Carlisle and veteran Elton Brand, whose grown-man game of 12 points and 14 rebounds was likewise wasted, also talked about needing other players to take pressure off Nowitzki by knocking down clutch shots and making plays down the stretch.

Nowitzki, however, wasn’t looking to point fingers after the Mavs fell six games below .500 with their second consecutive soul-crushing loss in continuing their season-long trend of finding ways to lose close games. He accepts that he must be spectacular for the Mavs to have any sort of success with this patchwork supporting cast.

After missing 27 games and playing miserably for weeks following his return from a right knee scope, Nowitzki has worked his way back to being a superstar who wants the ball down the stretch and the burden that goes along with it. Never mind the 21 points and 20 rebounds he put up against the Bucks. His focus was on the two turnovers and two missed shots he had during the Mavs’ surrender of a five-point lead in the final 3:12.

“Honestly, I wasn’t very good today at the end,” Nowitzki said. “I expect better. I’ve got to be better. The last two or three minutes is usually where I hang my hat on. For us to win that game, I’ve got to be perfect, and I wasn’t down the stretch.”

After the loss to the Lakers, Nowitzki made a similar comment about needing to be perfect with the game on the line. Forget about his two buckets in the final minute of that showdown with fellow future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant. He pointed out that he missed a critical free throw after an and-1 drive.

In this case, give some credit to Bucks coach Jim Boylan and defensive player of the year candidate Larry Sanders. After Dirk dominated power forward Ersan Ilyasova most of the night, Milwaukee switched the freakishly athletic 6-foot-11 Sanders on him for the final few minutes.

That disrupted Dirk’s rhythm and had him second-guessing himself as he got dressed after the game, especially about the two drives that resulted in critical turnovers.

“Sanders used his length,” Nowitzki said. “I should have shot it a couple of more times. The two that I drove, I should have quick-shot it. I wish I could take the last couple of minutes back.”

Frankly, the Mavs wish they could have this miserable season back. Not even a spectacular version of Nowitzki can save it. He put it best: Near-perfection will be needed from Nowitzki for the Mavs to pull off a miracle of a push into the playoffs.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694645/dirk-nowitzki-ive-got-to-be-perfect

Sarcasm drips as Mark Cuban discusses Derek Fisher

DALLAS – Sweat wasn’t the only thing dripping from Mark Cuban during his customary pregame workout on the stairstepper Tuesday night.

The sarcasm poured when the subject turned to Derek Fisher signing with the Thunder a little more than two months after requesting his release from the Mavericks for family reasons.

Cuban, who said there was “no side deal” regarding family issues when Fisher signed with the Mavs, sarcastically claimed he understood Fisher’s decision to resume his career with a contender.

“His kids are older,” Cuban said. “It’s easier to fly in and out of Oklahoma City than Dallas. I understand that. It’s a decision a parent has to make. Every parent has difficult decisions to make.”

Moments later, Cuban added: “A lot can happen in 65 days.”

This marks the second consecutive season that a former Laker quit on the Mavs. Unlike Lamar Odom, Fisher at least had the decency to stop cashing paychecks signed by Cuban.

Asked if he planned to stay away from ex-Lakers, Cuban said, “In protection of my (Twitter) timeline, I’m not going to say anything.”

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694631/sarcasm-drips-as-mark-cuban-discusses-derek-fisher

Chris Kaman on his role: ‘I have zero idea’

DALLAS – Chris Kaman, the man the Mavs gave an $8 million salary to be the starting center, is healthy again.

So how does Kaman fit into the Mavs’ rotation?

PODCAST After battling it out against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, Dirk Nowitzki said he doesn’t like the idea of consecutive seasons where the Mavericks have to scratch and claw for the No. 8 seed and also addressed his future. Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss.

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“I have zero idea,” Kaman said after playing eight quality minutes in Sunday’s loss to the Lakers, his return after missing 10 games due to a concussion.

That’s not a complaint from Kaman. It’s just an honest answer.

His role could change on a game-to-game basis. It’s up to Kaman, who played two-on-two after Sunday’s game, to be ready.

“There’s no set formula,” coach Rick Carlisle said before Sunday’s game.

This much is certain: Kaman isn’t the starter. He lost that job before suffering the concussion during the Mavs’ Jan. 28 practice, coming off the bench and playing what had been season lows of 12 and 11 minutes in the previous two games.

Carlisle wants to stick with rookie Bernard James as a low-minute, high-energy starter, although the Lakers game seemed a little too big for the second-round rookie, who got bullied by Dwight Howard for the first 3:06 and sat on the bench the rest of the afternoon. Elton Brand, the Mavs’ best all-around big man despite being generously listed at 6-foot-9, gets the bulk of the center minutes.

That leaves Kaman, the 7-footer labeled the best offensive big man in Mavs’ history when he signed his one-year deal, and 6-foot-10 pogo stick Brandan Wright with uncertain roles.

Kaman understands the reasoning for the center rotation changing so much. He gets that he’s struggled defensively for much of the season, and he sees that starting James makes it easier for the Mavs to get Dirk Nowitzki going earlier, with Kaman or Brand not on the floor to get shots.

That doesn’t make it easy for a 10-year veteran who is accustomed to starting and will be a free agent again this summer.

“It’s tough,” said Kaman, who is averaging 12.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game this season. “I’m not going to lie to anybody, there’s pressure. When you’re in a one-year situation, if people don’t tell you there’s pressure, they’re lying to you. It’s not easy. We’re human, just like everybody else. And we’re trying to go out there and play perfect basketball. Obviously, that’s not how it goes, ever. So for us, candidly, it’s not easy.

“When your playing time goes down, you’re questioning all the stuff in your head. The best thing to do is to not think about it and keep working out, keep working hard and get in there and try to play hard. I can’t control how much I get played or don’t get played. That’s out of my hands.”

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4694604/chris-kaman-on-his-role-i-have-zero-idea