Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Mavericks-Hawks Preview

by Associated Press, from Foxsports.com
STANDINGS: Mavericks - 2nd place, 3{ GB, Southwest Division. Hawks - 5th place, 14{ GB, Southeast Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Mavericks - F Howard, F Nowitzki, C Erick Dampier, G Finley, G Jason Terry. Hawks - F Al Harrington, F Walker, C Jason Collier, G Smith, G Boris Diaw.

TEAM LEADERS: Mavericks - Nowitzki, 26 ppg and 10.5 rpg; Armstrong, 4.1 apg. Hawks - Walker, 20.5 ppg and 9 rpg; Walker and Harrington, 3.3 apg.

SEASON SERIES: Mavericks, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 18; Mavericks, 90-68. At Dallas, the Hawks missed 13 of their first 14 shots as they dropped their fifth straight.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mavericks - 9-3 on the road; Hawks - 2-11 at home.

INJURIES: Mavericks - D.J. Mbenga (hamstring); G Tariq Abdul-Wahad (knee); C Pavel Podkolzin (knee). Hawks - G-F Donta Smith (back); F Chris Crawford (knee)

Mavericks 123, Knicks 94

by Chris Sheridan / Associated Press, from Foxsports.com
Josh Howard had career highs of 26 points and 16 rebounds, and the Dallas Mavericks opened a 39-point halftime lead in a 123-94 demolition of the Knicks on Tuesday night.

"We really came out hard. We really want to set ourselves apart again with the best of the West," Dirk Nowitzki said.

Nowitzki scored 23 points, all in the first half, and Michael Finley added 21 in what was easily the Mavericks' most lopsided victory of the season.

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of Isiah Thomas taking over as team president, the Knicks were loudly booed off the court at the conclusion of the lopsided first half. Thomas watched the carnage unfold from his usual spot near the center-court tunnel, sticking around until the final seconds before chatting afterward with comedian Chris Rock.

The Knicks chose to shrug the loss off as an aberration following four wins in five games.

"There wasn't a lot of yelling, because we knew that was not us," Jamal Crawford said.

Still, it was a humiliating defeat for a Knicks team that was beginning to feel good about itself after moving two games above .500 for the first time in more than three years.

In many ways, it was a worse performance than a 34-point defeat against Boston in the home opener that led to the firing of coach Lenny Wilkens' top assistant, Dick Helm, the following day.

New York allowed Dallas to repeatedly score with ease on the inside, surrendering 100 points before the third quarter ended.

Howard, a second-year forward from Wake Forest, shot 7-for-17 from the field and 12-of-13 at the line with seven offensive rebounds and three steals. His previous career highs were 22 points and 14 rebounds.

"I knew I was playing hard, I didn't know career-best," Howard said. "Some of their guys weren't playing as hard as they could."

Nazr Mohammed led New York with 14 points, but he set the tone for what turned into a dreadful night by firing up airballs on the Knicks' first two possessions. A jump hook by Finley gave Dallas its first double-digit lead, 12-2, and the Mavericks made 13 of their first 17 attempts in opening a 31-17 lead.

The booing began in the second quarter when Howard gave the Mavericks their 10th and 11th second-chance points on a putback that made it 51-29. Kurt Thomas followed with an airball, and Nowitzki hit back-to-back 3-pointers to get the lead up to 26.

The Mavs' zone defense forced the Knicks to repeatedly throw up long jumpers, and Dallas often turned the ensuing long rebounds into fast breaks.

Howard dunked off a 3-on-1 break for the final points of the first half after Tim Thomas rushed up an ill-advised 3-pointer when the Knicks should have been holding for a last shot. The dunk made it 75-36 at the break.

The Mavs eventually went ahead by as many as 46 in defeating the Knicks for the seventh straight time and securing their fifth consecutive road win.

Dallas had 27 fast-break points and 21 second-chance points.

"There are a lot of things that go into having a good offensive night, but certainly the open court was good to us," coach Don Nelson said. "It got us into a rhythm and feeling good about ourselves, then we scored in our set offense almost every time in that first eight minutes of the game." Ilunga-Mbenga are the only members of the Dallas roster to have not been a starter this season. Stackhouse said he was "hopeful" to play Wednesday night at Atlanta. ... Jason Terry made his second consecutive start at point guard and had six points, seven assists and seven rebounds. ... The Mavericks have made a 3-pointer in 472 consecutive games.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Preview

from Foxsports.com

GAME: Seattle SuperSonics (16-3) at Dallas Mavericks (13-7).

TIME: Thursday, 8:30 p.m. EST.

Even without All-Star Ray Allen playing at maximum effectiveness the last few weeks, the Seattle SuperSonics have surprisingly emerged as one of the top teams in the NBA.

With Allen rounding back into form, the Sonics hope to continue their hot start as they visit Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.

On Nov. 27, Allen injured his left ankle after tumbling into Memphis forward Brian Cardinal. Though the injury didn't stop him from playing, it had been altering his shot.

With the exception of last week's 109-86 win over Utah, in which he scored 38 points, Allen had failed to make more than five shots from the perimeter in six games since tweaking his ankle.

"(Since) I twisted my ankle in that Memphis game, I've had to rework my shooting routine and get my rhythm back down because it has thrown me off as far as my balance." Allen said. "I've been getting good looks, but they are not going down."

Allen burst out of his shooting funk by scoring 29 points, including a pair of late 3-pointers, to help Seattle end San Antonio's 21-game home winning streak with a 102-96 victory on Wednesday night.

Allen made 9-of-19 shots, buried 5-of-9 3-pointers and hit all six of his free throws as the Sonics improved to an NBA-best 16-3. Having regained his touch, Allen will focus on helping the Sonics snap a five-game losing streak at Dallas.

The Mavericks will have a different look waiting for the Sonics.

Known for the smaller and quicker lineups he has employed for much of his coaching career in Milwaukee, Golden State, New York and Dallas, Mavericks coach Don Nelson featured his "big lineup" in Tuesday's 97-87 victory over Minnesota.

Based on the way 7-foot Nowitzki, 6-11 Erick Dampier and 6-9 Alan Henderson performed as a unit, it may be a while before Nelson is tempted to tinker with the rotation.

Nowitzki responded with 34 points, Henderson - making his third start in place of injured forward Marquis Daniels - had 11 points and 15 rebounds, while Dampier chipped in with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

"We went big, but it doesn't matter who we have out there as long as we win," said Dampier.

With Michael Finley, who has been out with an ankle injury, expected back in uniform Thursday, and Daniels close to returning, juggling playing time will be a challenge for Nelson.

The Mavericks are 1-4 at home against teams with winning records, with the lone victory coming against Sacramento in the season opener.

"I think we've had some tough opponents come in so far, and we haven't had our full complement of players," Nelson said.

STANDINGS: SuperSonics - 1st place, Northwest Division. Mavericks - 2nd place, 3 GB, Southwest Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: SuperSonics - F Reggie Evans, F Rashard Lewis, C Jerome James, G Allen, G Luke Ridnour. Mavericks - F Henderson, F Nowitzki, C Dampier, G Josh Howard, G Darrell Armstrong.

TEAM LEADERS: SuperSonics - Allen, 24.1 ppg; Evans, 8.7 rpg; Ridnour, 6.1 apg. Mavericks - Nowitzki, 27.7 ppg and 10.8 rpg; Armstrong, 4.3 apg.

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Mavericks, 3-1.

LAST MEETING: April 10; Supersonics, 119-99. At Seattle, Lewis scored 25 points as the Sonics avoided a season series sweep.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Spurs vs. Mavs

from the official site of the Dallas Mavericks

Fresh off of a much-needed rest, the Mavericks will look to even the score against Southwest Division leading San Antonio Tuesday night (November 30 at 7:30pm CT) at American Airlines Center. Dallas capped off a six-game in nine day stretch with an impressive second-half showing in running away from Memphis with a 98-85 triumph Saturday night.

Sunday was an off-day for the Mavericks, but they got in a good practice session in anticipation of their second clash with Tim Duncan and company in the last six days. By the way, Michael Finley did not return to practice on Monday, so he will miss his 11th straight game Tuesday still recovering from the severely sprained right ankle he suffered November 9 in Orlando. Minus Mike, Dallas was drilled by the Spurs at SBC Center November 24, 94-80. The Mavs were held to a season-low 8 assists, hitting just 38% of their shots, scoring just 13 fourth quarter points on a 3-of-17 shooting frame in the setback. While Dallas has hit the 10-win mark in the season's opening mark at 10-5, it trails the Spurs (11-3) by a game and a half in the standings.

In my book this qualifies as a BIG GAME. The Mavericks have designs on battling San Antonio for division supremacy and one of the West's top three seeds looking to the playoffs. Should they fall on their home floor for a second loss to the Spurs in less than a week, not only will it drop them 2 and a half games off the pace but it would assure San Antonio no less than a 2-2 season series tie with Dallas. The Mavs want to let the club that's arguably the West's best know that they'll give no quarter in this rivalry. The time to deliver that message is Tuesday night.

In the first game between these two teams, Spurs point guard Tony Parker outplayed rookie Devin Harris as he controlled the game's tempo and got into the paint at will off the dribble to deliver a 15 point, 9 assist, 5 rebound masterpiece. Harris must do a better job staying in front of Parker in this game if the Mavericks are going to have defensive success.

The other immediate areas that come to mind off of that 14-point Dallas setback last Wednesday are the Mavericks lack of productivity in the middle and on the wings. Center Erick Dampier struggled to get much done on the interior with 1 point (0-4 from the floor, 1-6 from the line) and 4 rebounds. He'll be looking to make amends in this game against the Spurs’ tall tandem of center Rasho Nesterovic and power forward Tim Duncan.

Swing starters Marquis Daniels (6 points) and Josh Howard (7 points) will also look to be more involved at the offensive end of the floor to take some of the load off of Dirk Nowitzki, who did his part in the earlier meeting with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

Tim Duncan's stats swelled as the night progressed in the first meeting with the Spurs as he wound up with 27 points and 13 boards. Should he post those numbers in this game it won't kill the Mavs unless they again surrender big numbers to Tony Parker at the point.

Don Nelson will hand the head coaching reins over to Avery Johnson in this game. No one knows the Spurs better than the Little General. A.J.'s fire and passion should be quite present in this Mavericks effort.

The Mavericks are a much better defensive team than they've been in years past (as Saturday's second half shutdown of the Grizzlies will attest) and I think that they match up fairly well with San Antonio. The keys in this game will come down to point guard play, rebounding and generating easy baskets. Jason Terry is close to having fully recovered from a right ankle sprain suffered two weeks ago. His late game leadership was instrumental in back-to-back wins over Portland and Memphis. If Devin Harris can bust out of his recent funk and start strong in this game DEFENSIVELY, the Mavs have the personnel to keep Parker in check.

After a slow start to the season on the boards, Dallas has thumped the past two foes on the glass by decisive margins. More of the same is ordered up here because the Mavs can ill-afford to allow second chances to a team whose half court offense is superb. The Spurs again come to Dallas as the league's premiere defensive outfit. Dallas must find ways to create easy scoring opportunities against San Antonio's lock-down approach. Whether those come in transition or early offense, the Mavericks must make it a night-long commitment to keep the Spurs on their heels defensively.

I love the way that Dirk Nowitzki's playing right now (averaging 26 ppg and 11 rpg). I believe that he's capable of leading this Mavericks squad to a big home-court victory on Tuesday night. Dallas is beginning to get healthy again and appears poised to take a good run at the Spurs in this game.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Mavs Finish Strong

from NBA.com

In his first game back in the nation's capital, Jerry Stackhouse made the Washington Wizards pay with his clutch long-range shooting.

Stackhouse scored 28 points, including three 3-pointers in the closing minutes, to help the Dallas Mavericks to their third straight win, a 122-113 victory over Washington.

"When you get traded from a team, the logic is you want to tell them that they made a mistake, but we left on good terms," said Stackhouse, who was traded with Christian Laettner and rookie Devin Harris for Antawn Jamison, who won last season's Sixth Man Award. "The media didn't spin it like we left on good terms, but as far as Ernie (Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld) and Eddie (coach Eddie Jordan) and those guys in that locker room, it was mutual.

"We felt that it was a better situation for them having a younger player and a great situation for me going to a veteran team and a playoff team."

With the Wizards hanging close for much of the second half, Stackhouse buried a 3-pointer with 4:24 remaining, giving the Mavericks a 105-101 advantage. He added another from the left wing 98 seconds later to increase the lead to 111-104.

Stackhouse scored 11 points in the fourth quarter.

"People try to make it more than what it is," Stackhouse said. "I've got a lot of love for those guys over in that locker room and obviously at the end of the game you saw they had a lot of love for me despite everything that's gone on. I feel like I'm in a better place, a place where I'm supposed to be.

"I'm just happy and enjoying playing the way that I'm playing right now. I guess that's respect when every time you touch the ball you get booed. It was fun to quiet the crowd."

Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 of his 32 points in the second half and added 13 rebounds for Dallas, which went 3-1 on its road trip.

"He was balling yesterday," Nowitzki said of Stackhouse, who scored 28 points Saturday in a 94-78 victory at New Jersey. "He was on fire and making shots from everywhere. He's been giving us a big lift, especially now that Mike's (Finley) out (with a sprained right ankle). We need somebody who can come up and score for us and he was big in the last two games.

"I think he's going to be really good for us the whole season," Nowitzki said. "Sometimes you need somebody who can come in off the bench and flat-out score and he showed today and last night what he can do. I think he's going to win a lot of games for us this year."

Marquis Daniels and Jason Terry chipped in 13 points apiece for the Mavericks.

Former Maverick Jamison and Larry Hughes scored 23 points each for Washington, which absorbed its fourth loss in its last five games. The Wizards also got 20 points apiece from Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes.

The last time four Wizards scored 20 or more points in a game was February 6, 2004 in a 112-100 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Arenas added nine assists as Washington became the first team to score at least 100 points this season against the Mavericks. However, the Wizards dropped to 0-4 when allowing 100 or more points.

"It's pretty much unheard of for all of your starters to get double figures," Jamison said. "I'm not talking like 10, I'm talking like almost everyone had 20 points. That's a good sign. It shows you how we look for the open guy, we're unselfish, and that's the way basketball should be played. But there is also a second part of it. You have to find a way to do it on the other end."

Monday, November 01, 2004

Dirk’s Solid Work Carries Mavs

From NBA.com

DALLAS, Oct. 28 (Ticker) -- In a dress rehearsal for the regular season opener, Dirk Nowitzki was nearly unstoppable.

Nowitzki scored 30 points on 11-of-16 shooting as the Dallas Mavericks wrapped up their preseason schedule with a 112-93 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

Nowitzki, who came in shooting just 29 percent (17-of-59) from the floor in his last four games, combined with Devin Harris and Josh Howard to score 29 of the Mavericks' 31 points in the third quarter.

Harris, a rookie from Wisconsin, scored a preseason-high 24 points as he reached double figures for the fifth straight game. Howard added 21 points.

Erick Dampier added preseason highs of 15 points and 15 rebounds, helping Dallas (3-5) hold a 44-28 rebounding edge.

Sacramento's Bobby Jackson, who did not play in the first-round playoff series between the teams last spring due to a strained abdominal muscle, came off the bench to score 15 points. Maurice Evans and Matt Barnes added 13 each for the Kings (2-5).

Sacramento wraps up its preseason schedule against Phoenix on Friday before returning to Dallas to open its regular season Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Just getting started

Hey folks, I'm dedicating this blog to the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. I'm new at this so it may take a quick minute for me to get up and running, but I hope you'll come back and check it out!