Tag:Dallas Mavericks
Posted on: February 14, 2012 1:09 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 4:06 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 9

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

The Spurs have plenty to smile about as they ride a 7-game winning streak. (Getty Images)

The 2011-2012 NBA season continues. Here's the ninth weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Los Angeles Clippers at No. 4. You might be thinking, "Didn't I already read this before?" The Clippers were too high last week and the Spurs too low. And wouldn't you know it, they both moved up this week. The Clippers are a fine team in the West, but fourth best in the league? Even after losing Chauncey Billups for the year? I mean, Kenyon Martin was a nice pickup but not THAT nice. It just doesn't make sense to me to place the Clippers above the Spurs, or really even the Mavericks for that matter, especially after losing a top starter. -- RY

2. Too Low: San Antonio Spurs at No. 5. The Spurs have won seven straight, risen to second in the West and are getting maybe their best player back. It's not that they're too low, it's that they should be in the conversation for the top three right now. Putting them at No. 5 is fine, I suppose, but having them behind the Clippers is criminal. I wouldn't even argue with you if you wanted to bump them ahead of Oklahoma City right now. -- RY

3. Most Overrated: Milwaukee Bucks at No. 19. It's not easy to be considered overrated when you're ranked No. 19 out of 30 but that's the case when you're the ninth best team in an Eastern Conference which goes -- maybe -- five teams deep. The Brandon Jennings distraction, the Stephen Jackson distraction, the Andrew Bogut injury, it's all bad. The Bucks are just outside the playoff picture, but would be the third worst team in the Western Conference right now, better only than the New Orleans Hornets and Sacramento Kings. By season's end, the Kings would probably pass them. 2-5 for their last seven, Milwaukee's recent wins have come against the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers. The March schedule will kill this team. -- BG

4. Most Overlooked: Dallas Mavericks at No. 9. A 4-game winning streak over Western Conference foes -- highlighted by a late Dirk Nowitzki winner against the Portland Trail Blazers in double overtime -- was all the reminder anyone needed that this team will be a major factor come playoff time. Expect them to keep getting overlooked. They might just have the toughest lead-up to the All-Star break of anyone in the league coming up -- with games against the Nuggets, 76ers, Knicks, Celtics and Lakers over the next eight days -- so there's a good chance they don't separate from the West pack until March or April. Even if the breakout never comes, this will be a feared first round match-up and the early-season questions will be a thing of the distant past. -- BG

5. Sure Thing: Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 3. How do you know that you're a really good team? You spend your week on a ridiculous road-trip that includes four games in five nights in some of the toughest buildings the NBA has to offer. You emerge 3-1 -- with wins over Portland, Golden State and Utah -- and yet all anyone wants to talk about is the loss, a close one to Sacramento on national television, with the fanbase fighting to keep its franchise in town. Watching those four Western Conference teams get up for the Thunder made it clear that OKC's reputation as the team to beat in the West is firmly established and agreed upon. Watching OKC match energy with energy on the road only underscored the point. -- BG  

6. Wild Card: New York Knicks at No. 15. So, about that whole Linsanity thing. The funny thing about it is, the Knicks have now won five straight and are back in the Eastern playoff picture. And that's with Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony returning. Which is what makes them so intriguing. Are they going to lose their mojo? Will Lin get marginalized? Or will it all be a perfect marriage? The Knicks could be rocketing up to the top 10, or the bottom could fall out any second. -- RY
Posted on: February 14, 2012 12:00 am
 

Report Card: LeBron gets ridiculous in Milwaukee

Posted by Royce Young

 LeBron had the kind of night where you mention him with Ewing, Barkley and Duncan. (Getty Images)

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

LeBron James
In 31 minutes, LeBron basically demolished the Milwaukee Bucks. That's what they get for beating the Heat twice this season, I guess. LeBron went for 35 points on 16-21 shooting with eight rebounds just for fun. As pointed out on Twitter, the only players to do that the last 20 years are Tim Duncan, Alonzo Mourning, Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing.
Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks continue to steadily climb the hill as they picked up a very nice win over the Clippers Monday. Dirk scored 22 but on 5-15 shooting. He did close the game especially well, which he tends to do. The Mavs though got a bit of everything from a lot of different parties -- Shawn Marion had 16, Vince Carter 10, Delonte West 10, Brendan Haywood 10. Not that anyone ever wrote the Mavs off, but now they're actually getting our attention again.
Chris Kaman
The big guy started for New Orleans and did his job putting up 27 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Utah. He was deactivated as the Hornets shopped him around so this does two things: Helps the Hornets win because a good player played well and increases his trade value. The Hornets probably prefer losses to help the lottery ball odds, but Kaman playing well is a very good thing for New Orleans.
Kenyon Martin Martin played his best game with his new team scoring 10 points in 26 minutes while adding four blocks. He's absolutely everything the Clippers need off the bench. He's a big, physical body and if he's in good shape, he'll probably be a 25-30 minute fixture in that rotation. 
Dwight Howard The Magic picked up a nice win over the Wolves, but it certainly wasn't because of Howard. He was in constant foul trouble which limited him to only 11 points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes. And as for being a closer: He scored three points in the fourth on three shots. 
Charlotte Bobcats The Bobcats put up a fight against the 76ers, but as you might've assumed, lost. Why do you assume? Because that makes 15 in a row Charlotte has lost. 
Utah Jazz
Maybe the Jazz are coming back down to Earth. Another loss, with this one coming to the dreadful Hornets. Granted, it was the second night of a back-to-back and they won in Memphis the night before, but that's five of seven in the loss column for Utah, with this one being against a terrible team. You can't do that when you're trying to compete for a playoff spot in the West. 
Posted on: February 6, 2012 6:21 pm
 

Dirk doesn't think he should be an All-Star

Dirk doesn't think he's been All-Star worthy so far this season. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

After his demolition of the NBA last season and postseason, it's kind of hard to picture an All-Star Game without Dirk Nowitzki. He was clutch, incredible, terrific and dominant as he carried the Dallas Mavericks to a championship and had people wondering if maybe the big German was one of the NBA's three best players.

But after a slow start that had him missing some games, Dirk doesn't even think he should be on this season's Western All-Star team. Via ESPN Dallas:
“Averaging whatever, 15, 16 points, I don’t think you should be an All-Star,” Nowitzki said. “But we’ll just have to wait and see. I think there is a lot of great young talent in this league that deserves to go. I think LaMarcus Aldridge has been stiff the last couple of years. He’s a great young player, fun to watch. You know Blake and Love are playing great. There is a lot of talent at my position.”
The only reason Dirk would make it would be to salute his work during the playoffs. Because he's right. White out his name and a guy carrying around those numbers wouldn't be deserving of making it, especially when there are guys like LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love and Paul Millsap on the fringes. Dirk taking one of those coveted roster spots probably wouldn't be right. At least if we're determining it based on this season's merit.

That's the distinction though: Dirk not making the All-Star team isn't an indictment on him as an overall player, just one on the first month and half of his season. Not only did he start slowly, but he was battling some knee issues along with having to shut it down because of condition. He hasn't been All-Star worthy this season, if we're not just going by who he is and what he's done in the past.

Dirk would obviously appreciate the honor, but he's made 10 All-Star teams and might enjoy having that weekend off to rest up and get ready for a tough stretch run.

Via PBT
Posted on: February 4, 2012 2:48 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2012 3:28 pm
 

Report: Miller gets year in jail for pistol whip

Posted by Ben Golliver
Oliver Miller is reportedly heading to jail on an assault charge. (Getty Images)

The Big O is headed to the big house. 

Former NBA player Oliver Miller has reportedly been sentenced to a year in jail after he was convicted of first-degree assault for arrested for pistol-whipping a man at a Maryland barbecue back in April. 

HometownAnnapolis.com has the details.
[Judge Paul A.] Hackner sentenced Miller to five years of prison, suspending all but one year. He recommended work release and ordered five years of probation upon release. Miller is to have no contact with the victim, Jason Ray Worley, 32, and must complete anger management. His attorney, Paul Mack, called the sentence reasonable.

Prosecutors say at least three people saw Miller, known as "The Big O" during his nine-season NBA career, attack his girlfriend's brother, Worley, in front of the victim's home on Birchcrest Court in Arnold on April 17.

Deputy State's Attorney Thomas Fleckenstein said Miller got out of his car and "blindsided" Worley while he talked to his sister - Miller's girlfriend - using a handgun to repeatedly strike Worley in the face and head.
Miller, 41, plead guilty to the first-degree assault charge in November. He was facing up to 25 years in prison but had no prior convictions. 

Miller, who has reportedly tipped the scales at more than 400 pounds, played nine seasons in the NBA, averaging 7.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. The journeyman center played for the Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Hat tip: HoopsHype.com
Posted on: February 3, 2012 11:20 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 9:44 pm
 

NBA fines Cuban, Carlisle

By Matt Moore

The NBA announced Friday it has fined Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $75,000 for his comments regarding the officiating during Dallas' loss to the Thunder earlier this week. Cuban had gone on another tirade about "accountability" and how "nothing ever changes" with bad calls. He wasn't very specific in what he was upset about outside of a 3-seconds call on Yi Jianlian. Dallas routinely sends video evidence of what the team feels are questionable calls. 

And of course, due to the public nature of Cuban's comments, the fine hammer came down Friday. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was also fined $35,000. Carlisle had also actually punted the ball into the stands, kind of on accident, in fourth quarter and apologized afterwards. Cuban's is pretty routine, and Carlisle's may be procedural, but seems a bit excessive. Video doesn't exactly show Carlisle going Shane Lechler on the ball or anything. 

Carlisle took responsibility for his actions on Friday, according to the Associated Press.
 "I think it's fair. It's irresponsible for a ball to go in the stands. You're subject to a fine," Carlisle said during the shootaround before Friday night's game against Indiana. "So I accept it and regret that the situation happened even though it was accidental."

 Right after the game against the Thunder, Carlisle said the "incident where the ball got kicked into the stands, that can't happen."
Sometime someone should do a total count on how much money the Mavericks have contributed to charity through NBA fines. The number must be stunning. The Mavericks are exceptionally active in charity works anyway, so you have to think they're one of the most active donors of charity works in the country over the past decade at this point.
Posted on: February 2, 2012 5:47 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 6:57 pm
 

The Power Forward Generation

Love and Griffin represent the next generation of All-Star forwards. How great can they be? (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore


How good is Blake Griffin? How good can he be?

Is Kevin Love one of those guys you're going to look back and remember when he had trouble getting on the floor in Minnesota and laugh? (Wait, he already is that guy. OK, more so?)

Why is it LaMarcus Aldridge has never been an All-Star, but Chris Kaman has?

Are these guys you can win a championship with? Are these guys legends? What is it we're witnessing, here?

All right, we're 75 words in and already miles ahead of ourselves. Let's back up and start where any discussion of the greatness of current NBA power forwards should start. With point guards.

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We're in the NBA's golden age of point guards. There have been amazing point guards before, and certainly great point guard eras. Jason Kidd, Kevin Johnson, Gary Payton, Isiah Thomas, and of course Magic Johnson, just to name a small handful. But the era we're currently in may top any before for overall talent. You have to go searching long and hard for a team without a quality starting point guard (as long as you're not starting with the Lakers). So it's easy to get caught up in debates over which is the best, in either conference.

But hidden behind that is a debate that began a year ago, has continued for the past 360 days, and which will be set aflame Thursday night as the starters for the 2012 NBA All-Star Game are announced.

Blake Griffin will be announced as the starter. He's certainly worthy of it.

Kevin Love fans will be outraged. They're going to have a point.

LaMarcus Aldridge will barely make the conversation. And that's a crime.

All three players have emerged as the best power forwards in the West and probably in the league. Blake Griffin is the reason the Clippers landed Chris Paul, the reason they are contenders for the first time. Kevin Love may be dealing with Rubio Mania, but he's still the man in Minnesota and the biggest reason the Wolves are within striking distance of a playoffs berth. And Aldridge, who was always passed over by fans for Brandon Roy and then twice for Greg Oden, is the rock holding Portland steady.

It's entirely possible one of them does not check in on Sunday, Feb. 26th, and that's more than a little bit insane.

But moving beyond the ridiculousness of the All-Star Game, the questions about each player and their long-term futures are more relevant. Aldridge is 26, entering his prime. At the moment, he's a better, more complete player than either Love or Griffin. But their ceilings are considerably higher, and even the question of which is better becomes complicated and sticky.

But are any of them legitimately "great" all-time players? Do any of them have the potential to be Hall of Fame guys? Where are they in that pursuit?

We're jumping the gun here, and we're well aware of it. Griffin is only 22 games into his second season. Love was only truly freed from captivity last season. Aldridge is just now entering his prime. There's no way to tell if they'll live up to potential, if they've peaked, if this is the best they'll ever be. We're exploring the question to give credence to the fact we have legitimately great players at this position, and to examine how great they really are.

For starters, let's look at some numbers. Let's start with this season's results for the three in question, plus Paul Millsap who is truly the dark horse candidate this season, and is only really held back by the number of touches he shares (Millsap has the lowest usage rate. I wanted to compare them to some truly great players that played in the same era so I took Dirk Nowitzki's best season -- the 2007 season which was simply incredible regardless of how it ended -- and had to basically pull one of Duncan's 2002-2006 seasons out of a hat.)



In short, Kevin Love looks pretty phenomenal and like he's on track for that. The stunner is that LaMarcus Aldridge would probably be right there if he were just rebounding a bit more. Aldridge is having his most efficient season ever, but his rebounds per game, minutes, and rate just don't add up. Without doing anything else of note, Aldrige suffers here.

But Love is really what shines in this comparison. His rebound totals are clearly boosting him along, but he's become such a terrific versatile scorer. And for a guy whose knock has always been defense, Love is in the 71st percentile in overall points per possession allowed according to Synergy Sports, and 81st percentile in post-up defense.

Griffin's numbers struggle, there's no question there. But how much of it is just youth? He's roughly 100 games into his career. Where does his start match up with the others on this list?





Now that is surprising. Griffin is top-two in points, rebounds, and assists per 36 minutes, and PER, true rebound rate, and assist percentage (those figures factor percentage of rebounds/assists of total possessions while on the floor) in those players' second years, and first in field goal percentage. Not bad, even when you consider the strange career arc of Nowitzki.

But numbers obviously don't tell the entire story.

There is a question when watching these players play if they're truly at that level. Blake Griffin is criticized for his lack of a mid-range jumper. Kevin Love isn't considered the kind of player you can simply get the ball to and ask him to get you a bucket, and his post offense is still a work in progress. They're obviously still forming their games, but the gap between those aspects and what people expect is enough to cause the question of if they will ever get to elite status.

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Is Griffin simply a product of his dunks? There's no question that things like, say, Rest in Perkins this week put him on a different level from a cultural perspective. He's the most prolific dunker in recent memory, and Dwight Howard put on a cape with music. The problem comes when we start to fall for an overreaction to that from a critical perspective.

"He's just dunks."

That's a pretty significant fallacy.

Griffin's leaping ability to collect and put back offensive rebounds is something that cannot be denied. He's a solid passer. His post-game shows glimpses of what is likely to be an incredible array of moves along with the kind of natural touch that you need for a player down low. There's nothing physically wrong with his jumper that isn't correctable, and he's got range to the perimeter, even if he's going to it too much this season.

But it's the drives that will continue to be his bread and butter. He works in the pick and roll, but face-up, you need help to guard him. You just do. You had better bring a few friends. Griffin's explosiveness is largely unheard of, and that's the hidden secret to all those dunks. He's not capitalizing off of blown coverages. He's whipping around, over, through defenders to get to the rim. There will come a point where the hammering Griffin endures will take its toll. It's at that point he'll have to adapt, and whether that loss of explosiveness as he ages changes his game will factor heavily into his legacy.

But you cannot watch games like the two-game tilt for the Clippers against the Thunder and Jazz and not be aware of how he can take a game over. There are only a handful of players like that in the league, and it's that special, immeasurable quantity that really reveals why you have to consider Griffin not just one of the league's best players right now, but a legend in the making.

-------------------------------

Kevin Love can get 30 points and 30 rebounds in a game. He's done it. This should not be overlooked. Being able to produce like Moses Malone is not something you find, even once in a generation. Love's game is a stat-magician's dream. But when you watch him, it's not the numbers that should impress you. It's his ability to make all the right plays.

Love isn't just a perimeter shooter or a guy who nabs the rebound from his own teammate (to be clear, he does a lot of that, too). He's able to measure whether to take the mid-range or drive. When to pass. His outlet pass remains a thing of absolute beauty. His understanding of the floor is something that sets great players apart from their peers. There's a reason Ricky Rubio manages to find Love in huge moments uncovered. It's because Love is crafty enough and able to understand the defense well enough to slip in that possession, catch, and shoot before the defense can react. He's got the range, to be sure. But he's also got the work ethic to improve and the mind to manage basketball. Does this make him among the all-time greats? No, but his rare combination of instincts and efficiency is going to get him there in a hurry.

-------------------------------

And then there's LaMarcus Aldridge.

Neither Love nor Griffin have won a playoff game. They haven't been the man on their teams for a playoff team. They haven't endured the kind of misfortune the Blazers have suffered and navigated their way through it. Aldridge is a poor man's Duncan in a lot of ways. Consistent. Quiet. Rarely emotional, largely unnoticed and brutally efficient.

Aldridge doesn't light you on fire like Love or break you into a million pieces like Griffin. Instead he simply hammers you into submission, with mid-range jumper and post move after post move. It's his curse to have a more refined game, but it's also to his benefit. Maybe neither of the younger guns can fit so easily into a coach's gameplan. Neither is as dependable, and neither know how to confound a defense as well in big moments. They may get there, but to ignore Aldridge's excellence at this point in time is criminal.

-------------------------------

And so it is, that while the debate over the best point guard alive continues (it's Chris Paul by the way; calling Derrick Rose a point guard is like calling an alien from Mars a citizen of Austin, Texas, they're both weird but that doesn't make it the same thing), the West is slammed with power forwards of past greatness and future legacy. But it's important to capture this moment, where we see the signs of both generations merging. Duncan and Dirk riding out the end, with Garnett fading out in the East, as Griffin sets the world aflame with a highlight reel and Kevin Love leaves you shaking your head.

But in the end, it may be Aldridge, underrated, largely forgotten, less dynamic and dominant and more proficient and capable, who goes the furthest this season of all.

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Closing note: You realize this list excludes Pau Gasol (admittedly having a terrible season), glosses over Millsap who would be right there in this conversation if he wasn't sharing touches with 50 other bigs in Utah, and the wide array of superb small forwards in the West? Let's face it, the league is stacked right now.

Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:19 pm
 

Mark Cuban tees off on NBA officials

Mark Cuban should probably warm up that checkbook. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

Mark Cuban has been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years for things said about and to officials. And I think he better prepare to get that checkbook ready to write another check to the league office.

Cuban, upset about the officiating and the Mavericks 95-86 loss Wednesday to the Thunder, let loose after game. Via ESPN Dallas:
"Look, I haven't said a whole lot about the officiating in a long, long time, but I haven't seen it this bad in a long, long time," Cuban said. "Guys miss calls; that's part of the game. You're not always going to have a great crew. Officials have got to learn that's part of the game.

"But these were officials that have been part of the league for years, and it was just off-the-charts bad. And, if no one ever says anything, nothing ever happens."

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle was ejected early in the fourth quarter for picking up a second technical foul, the last one for punting the ball into the stands.  The crew who tossed Carlisle weren't household names -- Ron Garretson, Michael Smith and Mark Ayote.

"It all comes down to this: I understand that it's tough for the officials now," Cuban said. "They're going through the same travel stress as everybody else, but there's absolutely no transparency right now. I mean, you get games like tonight where it was just horrible. Who knows, I'm not saying it impacted the game, but you can just start naming the calls.

"All I'm saying is some of these guys are bad. Let me rephrase that. Some of these guys are having really bad nights, and it's having an impact. The league's got to come out and say, 'OK, look, we understand they're going through some tough travel or whatever. It's just the way it is.' Otherwise, if that's not an impact, you have to wonder how some of these crews are still on the court."

The free throw disparity really wasn't anything outrageous as Oklahoma City went to the line 33 times compared to Dallas's 25. And that's with the Mavs fouling a little at the end because of the Thunder's lead. But it was a couple of other calls that irked Cuban.

"Then they'll call three seconds on Yi [Jianlian] because it's Yi, and that's it. I mean, it's just ridiculous. Something needs to be done; someone needs to stand up and say something. So here I is.

"If no one ever says anything, nothing ever happens. We turn in stuff not after every game, but we turn in stuff all the time and we get 'inconclusive; inconclusive; yeah, we missed this; yeah, we got it right.' That's all fine and good, but there's nobody reporting to us on accountability. And that needs to change.

"There's a lot of guys and teams that aren't having great starts to the season and there's a lot of crews that aren't having great starts to the season," he said. "The league needs to make some adjustments, because you can't have it like this all the time."

Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:51 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 1:30 am
 

Carlisle got ejected for kicking ball into stands

Posted by Royce Young



Rick Carlisle was clearly frustrated with the officiating in the Mavericks' 95-86 loss at home to the Thunder. So much so that he got himself ejected. He picked up a technical early in the second half for protesting a call but with 9:34 left in the fourth picked up a second.

Not for yelling or arguing though. He got tossed for pretending his was Lionel Messi as he kicked the ball into the stands. Make sure to notice it hit a nice lady in the head.

Carlisle was apologetic after the game though, via ESPN Dallas:

"I want to apologize to our franchise, Mark [Cuban], our fans," Carlisle said after the game. "The incident where the ball got kicked into the stands -- that can’t happen. My intent was not to kick it into the stands, I was trying to kick it to the referee, but I’m not a very good kicker. But, that can’t happen; the officials made the right call on that one. That’s a regrettable situation."

It definitely appeared on the video it wasn't intentional that the ball flew into the stands, but props to Carlisle for just taking responsibility for it. I suppose the league could fine him for it, but we'll have to wait and see.
 
 
 
 
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