Tag Archives: Sports News

Dirk expected to play vs. Suns; Brand probable

Dirk Nowitzki is expected to play Wednesday night against the Suns despite a left foot/ankle injury that sidelined him for the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win in Portland.

Coach Rick Carlisle told reporters that Nowitzki, who worked on the side during Tuesday’s practice, participated in the morning shootaround.

Elton Brand could also return against the Suns after missing the last three games due to a sore right calf.

“Elton’s doing better,” Carlisle said. “We’ll see how he’s doing tonight. He’ll talk to doc a little bit before the game. I think there’s a good chance he’ll suit up and be available, but I don’t know that for sure yet.”

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4695562/dirk-expected-to-play-vs-suns-brand-probable

Here come the Suns; time to say bye to beards

Omar, get your clippers ready. You ought to be busy Wednesday night.

The third time better be the charm for the Mavericks’ bearded bunch earning the right to shave by getting back to .500. After all, all the Mavs need to do is win at home against the West’s worst team.

Dallas has had tough draws the previous two times over the past couple of weeks that it has had a chance to get its record to the break-even point again and reach for the razors. The Mavs got blown out on both occasions.

The Indiana Pacers barked a bunch about all the talk about beards and the barber providing them bulletin-board material for their 25-point rout March 28 at the American Airlines Center. However, as Dirk Nowitzki noted, the Pacers won convincingly because they’re much better than the Mavs, not due to a healthy dose of motivational fodder. There’s a reason the Pacers are the East’s third seed.

The Los Angeles Lakers have more talent than the Mavs, but there’s no doubt Dallas laid an egg last week when it had a chance to reach .500 and really make the fight for the West’s final playoff seed interesting. That 20-point loss left the Mavs clinging to mathematical playoff hope, but really playing for pride.

They’ve played with enough pride to put themselves in position to hit .500 in the 78th game of the season.

And here come the Phoenix Suns.

On the butt end of a back-to-back.

After the Mavs will have had two days off.

NBA wins don’t come much easier than this. Call that disrespectful if you want, but the Suns have lost nine in a row and 13 of 14 entering their Tuesday night game in Houston. They have the West’s worst record by four full games.

Realistically, all that stands between the Mavs and shaving is showing up Wednesday night wanting to win.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4695546/here-come-the-suns-time-to-say-bye-to-beards

Dirk sits out practice, ‘hopeful’ to play vs. Suns

Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki did not practice Tuesday due to the foot/ankle injury he suffered in Sunday’s win over Portland.

Nowitzki suffered the injury during the second quarter Sunday and sat out the entire fourth quarter after feeling pain and stiffness.

“He did a little bit of stuff on the side today,” coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. “He’s doing better. We don’t consider this a serious thing. We’re hopeful that he’s going to play tomorrow.”

Nowitzki said Sunday that he will “definitely” play Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns, when the Mavs have a chance to reach .500 for the first time since Dec. 14.

Elton Brand, who missed the last three games due to a sore right calf, practiced Tuesday and could play against the Suns.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4695551/dirk-sits-out-practice-hopeful-to-play-vs-suns

Rapid Reaction: Mavericks 96, Blazers 91

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The Dallas Mavericks built a massive lead after pouncing on Portland and survived a late run by the Trail Blazers.

Dallas scored the first nine points of the game and led by 26 at one point — 20 in the fourth quarter. But the Blazers, fueled by a 17-2 run, managed to give themselves a chance to send the game into overtime on their final possession.

Portland point guard Damian Lillard instead missed a driving layup, and Shawn Marion sealed the win and capped a 20-point performance with a fast-break layup on the other end as time expired.

Mavs center Chris Kaman had his best performance of a frustrating season, recording his third double-double in a Dallas uniform with a season-high 26 points and 11 rebounds. Kaman was singlehandedly outscoring the Blazers, 14-11, when he checked out of the game with 3:29 remaining in the first quarter.

The Mavs’ offense turned into a mess in the fourth quarter, scoring only 15 points while Dirk Nowitzki (six points, 2-7 FG) watched from the bench, apparently due to an injury suffered earlier in the game.

Blazers rookie guard Will Barton, whose role increased due to starter Wesley Matthews leaving the game with an ankle injury in the second quarter, keyed the comeback by catching fire. Barton scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter.

But this wasn’t a repeat of the Mavs’ Game 4 meltdown in the Rose Garden during the 2011 first round. Or, for that matter, the 21-point blown lead in a loss the last time the Mavs played in Portland. Dallas escaped with the win this time, extending the Blazers’ losing streak to eight games.

What it means: Those .500 beards are in jeopardy again. The Mavs (38-39) pulled back to within one game of the break-even point, finishing the four-game road trip with a 2-2 split despite dropping the first two games. The Mavs remain mathematically alive in the race for the West’s eighth seed, although the Utah Jazz’s road win Sunday over the Golden State Warriors stung. Dallas is 2 games behind the Jazz and two games behind the Los Angeles Lakers, but both of those teams own tie-breakers over the Mavs. The Mavs’ tragic numbers (combined losses and Lakers/Jazz wins) are two with the Jazz and three with the Lakers.

Play of the game: O.J. Mayo saved the ball from under the Blazers’ basket by firing a full-court pass to Darren Collison, who made a leaping catch and turned in midair to feed Shawn Marion for a layup. That bucket stretched the Mavs’ lead to 22 midway through the second quarter.

Stat of the night: Kaman’s 26 points were the most by a Mavs center since March 9, 2000. Shawn Bradley had 26 points in a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves that night.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4695526/rapid-reaction-mavericks-96-trail-blazers-91

3-pointer: Kaman’s Portland performance could pay off

That might have been a money game for Chris Kaman.

Kaman opted to sign a one-year, $8 million deal with the Mavericks last summer instead of taking a similar offer from the Trail Blazers. Considering how he’s bounced between the starting lineup and the end of the bench, it’s hard to believe that Kaman will return to Dallas next season. Portland could be interested again in signing him, however.

Kaman certainly made a strong case Sunday night that he can help the Blazers, who will again have a hole to fill at center with J.J. Hickson entering free agency.

Not to damn his 26-point, 11-rebound, two-block outing with faint praise, but this was arguably the best performance by Kaman during this frustrating season.

Kaman’s season-high point total matching the highest scoring game by a Mavs center during the Dirk Nowitzki era. He also recorded his third double-double of the season – and first since Jan. 2 – despite playing only 25 minutes.

“Kaman was great from the beginning of the game,” coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. “He hit his first shot, was really active on defense, rebounded like crazy and just gave us a terrific all-around game.”

This season, however, has been far from great for the 10-year veteran 7-footer. Billed as the best offensive big man the Mavs have had to pair with Nowitzki, his former teammate on the German Olympic team, Kaman expected to be the full-time starter when he decided to come to Dallas. However, in large part due to his defensive struggles, Kaman has been demoted to part of a starting center committee, playing less than 10 minutes in eight games last month.

Carlisle went back to Kaman as the starter for this road trip, and the former All-Star responded by averaging 14.8 points and 8.8 rebounds while shooting 57.1 percent from the floor in 22.8 minutes per game.

Kaman has been honest about his frustrations, mentioning several times that he feels pressure as he prepares to be a free agent again. But he’s remained professional about his situation and proved during this trip that he stayed ready to play even while riding the pine.

“They’re paying me money to play basketball,” Kaman said on the Mavs’ television broadcast. “That’s my job. … I’m here to do a job and be a professional, and that’s what I try to do.”

Kaman might be on Portland’s payroll next season. His performance Sunday night at the Rose Garden probably reminded the Blazers’ brass why they were interested in the big man last summer.

A few more notes from the Mavs’ win that salvaged a split on the road trip:

1. Trix’s trip: Shawn Marion accomplished something on this trip he hadn’t done since March 2011: He scored 20-plus points in two straight games.

Marion starred in the Mavs’ two wins to end the trip. He lit up the Kings for 25 points and 12 rebounds and followed that with a 20-point, seven-rebound performance in Portland. Marion was 20-of-31 from the floor in those two games.

“Marion’s on a roll here,” Carlisle said. “He’s scoring, rebounding and making plays. He did a terrific job again tonight.”

2. Dirk’s difficulties: This was a tough trip for Dirk Nowitzki, who was as hot as he’d been all season when the Mavs left for their week away, having just torched the Bulls for a season-high 35 points on 14-of-17 shooting to carry the Mavs to a miraculous comeback win.

Nowitzki averaged only 11.5 points on 40.9 percent shooting on the four-game trip. His production in the fourth quarters on this trip was particularly terrible: a total of one point, coming on a free throw well after the Mavs’ fate had been decided in their blowout loss to the Lakers.

Nowitzki didn’t play in the fourth quarter Sunday due to a foot/ankle injury, which he suffered earlier in the game and the Mavs consider minor.

3. Within a whisker of .500: For the third time in the last two weeks, the Mavs will have a chance to get back to .500 and earn the right to finally shave.

But Vince Carter, one of the originators of the .500 beard pact, isn’t in any mood to discuss facial hair before the Mavs face the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

“Just win the next game,” Carter said. “That’s all I care about. If it entails having an even record, fine. I’m not going to talk about it. Just win the next game.”

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4695540/3-pointer-kamans-portland-performance-could-pay-off

Dirk Nowitzki (foot) sits out fourth quarter

Dirk Nowitzki did not play in the fourth quarter of the Mavericks’ win over Portland due to a foot injury.

“At this point, it’s not considered serious,” coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. “But you don’t mess around with something like that.”

Nowitzki scored only six points – his fewest since his third game of the season – on 2-of-7 shooting in 24 minutes. He suffered the injury during the second quarter but played in the third quarter before the decision was made to sit him for the remainder of the game.

Carlisle, who did not know specifics about the injury, said the Mavs hoped that Nowitzki would be able to play Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns.

“I’ll be fine,” Nowitzki told reporters. “I’ll definitely play Wednesday.”

Nowitzki has missed 29 games due to injury this season, by far the most of his 15-year career. He sat out the first 27 games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery in his right knee and missed two games in January due to a strained adductor muscle suffered in the Mavs’ previous trip to Portland.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4695535/dirk-nowitzki-foot-sits-out-fourth-quarter