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Tag:Brian Cardinal
Posted on: February 3, 2012 5:26 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Power plays

By Matt Moore



In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5, KB talks the best power forward in the West, how good the Bulls are, and whether Griffin-over-Perkins was a dunk . You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS


1. Who's the best power forward in the West?

If you consider Pau Gasol to be a power forward (and I do, despite the fact that he doesn't play with much power), it's hard to do better. But in terms of all-around game, LaMarcus Aldridge is about to pass him, if he hasn't already.

2. Are the Bulls better, worse, or the same as they were last year?

Better. Rip Hamilton gives them an experienced scorer for the playoffs and makes their bench more potent -- whether he starts or Ronnie Brewer does, either way. Omer Asik will be ready to contribute in a meaningful way in the playoffs and is becoming a bear to deal with on screens. Also, I love the way Derrick Rose has responded to falling short against Miami in the conference finals, with a quiet but edgy determination to go farther this time.

3. Brian Cardinal noted to me this week that teams that can go 9, 10 deep are having success. Do you think the need for depth in this crazy compacted schedule will carry over in the playoffs or are we just going to see the usual 8-man rotation we usually see?

I think it depends on the team, but for the most part, the extra days of rest, practice and game-planning will allow teams to go with a more orthodox rotation. For teams with quality bench players (Spurs, Mavs, Thunder, Bulls, Sixers), getting them additional floor time and experience during the regular season will make them more effective in the postseason.

4. What should the Pistons do to fix this mess?

Where to begin? As I alluded to in Postups, Joe Dumars could be in for some tough times. For starters, I'd see if a financially flexible contender would be willing to take Ben Gordon off my hands between now and the deadline. Then, I'd amnesty Charlie Villanueva next summer and go from there. Where I'd be going, I'm not sure, but I'd get moving in that direction -- whatever that direction is.

5. How does the Blake Griffin/Perkins dunk measure up on your all-time scale?

I don't really keep conscious track of such things. But I enjoyed the EOB roundtable on the best dunks ever, and I'll say this: 1) Like Dwight Howard's "Superman" stunt in the dunk contest, if you don't flush the ball and make the rim snap, it ain't a dunk. Impressive that Griffin is the only player in the league who can get so high above the rim that he's literally throwing the ball through the rim from on high, but still, it ain't a dunk; and 2) Whatever it was, it still wasn't better than Vince Carter over Frederic Weis.
Posted on: January 29, 2012 11:08 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 1:09 pm
 

Jason Terry and the Mavericks' survival plan

Jason Terry helped the Mavericks survive against a Spurs bench run Sunday night. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore


DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks, as much as any team in the league, know that this is not anything like a normal season. There are games packed on top of games packed on top of games. Dirk Nowitzki is still trying to get into his normal game condition, evidenced by his struggles in his first game back. The Kardashians are prowling the arena along with the realities of their television show, and have we mentioned the schedule is insane?

Those are just some of the reasons that led Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle to call this year, "wacky" after the Mavericks' 101-100 win over the San Antonio in Dallas Sunday night.

"It's a wacky year," Carlisle said, "and there's a lot of things going on with crazy scores and leads and deficits disappearing, so you've got to be ready for anything. We're fortunate, but it's a good win. "

Wacky. Much like this up and down win that did not come easy. The Mavericks held a strong lead in the third quarter, lead by Vince Carter who finished with 21 points on 8-15 shooting. But then, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who Mavericks guard Jason Terry later called "a mastermind" and who Carlisle called "the greatest coach really ever in this game," pulled his starters. Completely. With 2:12 to go in the third quarter. From there on out it was entirely bench players, and instead of a weak surrender, the trio of Danny Green, Gary Neal, and James Anderson poured in a flurry of lay-ups and three-pointers. The bench squad scored on 8 of 9 fourth quarter possessions to take the lead. Another blown lead in a wacky year.

"We gotta keep working," Carlisle noted after the game. "I love the fact that we came back from nine down in the fourth. It's a tough position to be in, but the guys fought and got it tied and in overtime we were able to get out of here."

"Getting out of here," that's probably the theme of the NBA season for almost all the teams caught in this hellacious compacted schedule. It's some sort of weird, mutant version of the age old cliche of "survive and advance." In this year with so many outliers, teams need depth, and they need pacing, and they need some luck. The Mavericks have had little of that this year, but having the kind of veterans they do gives them the experience to get through crazy games like Sunday's.

Compared to their struggles to start the year, the Mavericks recovered, played like World Champions, and finished off the non-stars in overtime. It takes experience, it takes veterans, it takes a mindset to "survive." Oh, and Jason Terry, that helps too.

"I was locked in," Terry said after he finished with a game-high 34 points on 14-23 shooting and 4 assists in 37 minutes.

His is always the second name on the Mavericks behind the Big German, but lost in the Lamar Odom trade and the free agency departures and the injuries is the fact that Jason Terry still wears Mavericks blue. And he's a survivor. Terry has made huge shot after huge shot for the Mavericks throughout the years and on Sunday showed why the Mavericks will keep learning, keep adjusting, and keep improving as veterans do even in a wacky year, and will be there at the end, when the playoffs begin.

"I watched the film [from the first meeting between the two teams] and there were some shots that I know I would make if I got them again," Terry said. "I said if I continue to get those same looks and opportunities that I'm going to be aggressive and take them."

It was Terry taking and hitting big shots along with the kind of consistent team effort on defense and the glass that got the Mavericks back in control. It was also players like Carter, who have been around long enough to make the plays when they need to, especially against an inexperienced crew like the upstart bench mob from San Antonio. Carter later said this season comes down to simple survival.

"That's what it's going to be about it. It's going to be about survival. Every guy on the team has to be ready to play, because you just never know."

What the Mavericks do know is that they have guys who have been there, done that. Other teams may have more youth, more depth, fresher legs and more wind. But does having the veterans in a season like this, even with the wear and tear on older bodies, help the Mavs in their mindset?

"I think so," Carter said. "And just making sure your young guys are prepared."

Carter complimented Roddy Beaubois, starting at point guard yet again for the injured Jason Kidd. "My hat's off to Roddy. It gets to where he's not playing big minutes, and he plays spot minutes and then he gets the start. To play like that, it gets a salute from me."

Veterans putting the young guys in a position to make plays, and Jason Terry hitting big shots when the Mavericks need them. If the Mavericks are going to survive this year, that's the approach they want to have. It's not about the division lead the Mavericks took Sunday night with the win. It's not about getting Nowitzki back into the rotation or worrying about blowing a lead to a group of bench players. 

This season is not about being perfect. It's about survival. And the Mavericks are as well prepared to survive as any team in the league.
Posted on: January 26, 2012 2:12 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 2:13 pm
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Posted on: October 22, 2010 12:07 am
 

Mavericks roster set for now and later

Mavericks unexpectedly keep Steve Novak and Brian Cardinal despite previous decision to only hold 13 on roster. Posted by Matt Moore

The Dallas Mavericks are simultaneously gunning for this season and setting themselves up for the future. Dirk Nowitzki is entering his last contract. Jason Kidd is a dinosaur. Jason Terry is less of a jet and more of a Wright Brothers airplane. But it's still talented, versatile, and a strong contender for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. To fill out that versatile orster, the Mavericks today confirmed that both Steve Novak and Brian Cardinal would be making the roster. To make room , they waived Rashad McCants and Sean Williams.

The Mavericks had spoken strongly of only carrying 13 on the active roster, but loved what both Cardinal and Novak did in camp and preseason . It's an example of how hard work and chemistry can overcome an organization's conservative convictions. Cardinal is nothing to write home about, but he's a pro and has a good reputation from previous benches he's played on. Novak is a curious case. He blossomed in Houston, struggled in LA with the Clippers (who doesn't?) and has been lighting it up in preseason. He's shot 41% in thre preseason and with his size could be a dangerous perimeter option off the bench in a crunch.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks cut McCants who is expected to join their D-League affiliate in Frisco which begins play this year. Though not formally associated with the Texas Legends, the Mavericks have been instrumental in the formation of the team, with GM Donnie Nelson taking a significant role in the franchise. The Mavericks appear to be starting to examine their future, even as the current core begins another desperate attempt to finally claim the ring to validate a stellar run in the 2000's.


 
 
 
 
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