Tag:Dallas Mavericks
Posted on: February 1, 2011 5:26 pm

3-Up, 3-Down: Lakers riding the see-saw

Posted by Royce Young

Each week we give you three teams trending up and three teams trending down in correlation with our Power Rankings. Check out the latest edition of CBSSports.com's Power Rankings here.


1. Dallas Mavericks (5): Here they come. Finally.

After a few weeks of major struggles following Dirk Nowitzki's knee injury and Caron Butler's season-ending surgery, the Mavs finally appear to be righting the ship. They've won five straight and appear to be finding that mojo all over again. Better yet, the injury to Dirk might have a silver lining as some other players had to re-find themselves a bit. Shawn Marion is playing well, J.J. Barea has stepped up big off the bench and Tyson Chandler is playing downright angry.

2. Knicks (12): The Knicks have been a bit up and down, but that comes with being a largely mediocre team. But they've won three of four and appear to actually be finding a bit of defense too. In a big win over Miami, they held the powerful Heat to just 88 points including a fourth quarter lockdown where they gave up just 15 points.

The Knicks clearly aren't equipped to be an actual contender in the East, but they do look like a squad that will give someone fits in the postseason.

3. Phoenix Suns (18):
When Steve Nash is running your show, all hope is never lost. The Suns have eased themselves back into the Western playoff discussion after winning seven of 10. The new pieces are starting to come together as Marcin Gortat had one of the best games of his professional career. Vince Carter is still showing a heartbeat and Mickael Pietrus is helping add a little defense to their chops.

With wins over the Celtics and Hornets the past week, the Suns are starting to grab some attention again. Sustaining success will be difficult in the West, but they're at least part of the conversation again.

1. Los Angeles Lakers (7): One week, they're on top of the world looking like maybe the most dominant team in basketball. The next, they're rather pedestrian, struggling to find points and having an even harder time finding stops.

The Lakers are the type of team with the spotlight directly in their face at all times and when they stink, we all notice. Kind of comes with being the defending champ, you see. General manager Mitch Kupchak is talking trades, Andrew Bynum's knee is acting up again and Kobe is hogging the ball. Just another day in Lakerland, right?

2. Utah Jazz (13): Jerry Sloan just can't seem to put his finger on the problem righ tnow in Utah. They've dropped seven of nine and the two wins were only over Minnesota and Charlotte. And both were struggles to get there.

The obvious issue is on the defensive side where the Jazz are giving up a hundred points to everyone . And when Deron Williams isn't able to carry them, they just can't keep up. Al Jefferson has been solid, but Paul Millsap just isn't the same as Carlos Boozer. Utah is still a good team no doubt, but there are problems to be solved.

3. Toronto Raptors (29):
The only reason we haven't all noticed the Raptors' 12-game losing streak is because Cleveland is toeing a historic line right now. But Toronto has been miserable lately. They were never good to start with, but the past two weeks have been especially terrible.
Posted on: January 31, 2011 11:20 am
Edited on: January 31, 2011 1:04 pm

Dirk Nowitzki to play in Germany during lockout?

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki is considering playing in Germany if there's a work stoppage next season. Posted by Ben Golliver. dirk-nowitzki

A number of NBA players, particularly those without guaranteed contracts, have hinted that they will head abroad if there's a work stoppage next season, but none with the superstar status and international clout of Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki. 

Scout.com translates an article from the German newspaper BILD in which Nowitzki and one of his advisors state that the German forward would continue returning to his homeland to ply his craft if a lockout shut down next season.
In an article in the German newspaper BILD (www.bild.de), Dirk Nowitzki shared his thinking on what he might do in the event the NBA is not playing in 2011-12, saying, "Rather than do nothing at all for a year, I would come to Germany [to play]." His closest advisor, Holger Geschwinder, elaborated further on their approach: "We would be negligent if we weren't analyzing our choices."
According to the article, those choices center around three teams with ties to Dirk: Bamburg (which is near Dirk's hometown of Wurzburg), Alba Berlin (which has the biggest arena, best tradition, and whose coach is a close friend of Dirk), and Bayern (which has two players who are close to Dirk, and whose coach is the coach of the German national team).
Talk about a worst-case scenario for the Mavericks and owner Mark Cuban. Nowitzki has not only proven to be an MVP candidate for the Mavericks when he's been on the court, Dallas looked lost and played he's missed time this season due to a knee injury. Nowitzki is, perhaps more than any other NBA player, The Franchise.

And that's not just on the basketball court. Nowitzki is Dallas's highest-paid player at $17.3 million this season and his contract stretches until 2013-2014, with annual raises that will eventually earn him $22.7 million, fully guaranteed, three years down the road. The Mavericks are on the hook for $62 million over those three years and Nowitzki, who has been incredibly durable as a pro, is already 32 years old.

In other words, Nowitzki is really good, really critical, really expensive and starting to get up there in years. If you're an NBA owner looking for a combination of attributes that you would absolutely not want a player to have if he was planning to go overseas and play during a work stoppage, that would be the exact combination. The risk of injury is always there, but in this case would be magnified tenfold given Nowitzki's skillset, salary cap number and importance to the Mavericks.

Update: Citing salary cap expert Larry Coon, ProBasketballTalk notes that this is almost certainly misguided, wishful thinking on Nowitzki's part and that it would be extremely difficult to extricate himself from his NBA contract, even during a lockout and/or work stoppage.

Hat tip: HoopsHype.com.
Posted on: January 28, 2011 1:12 am

Game Changer: Big problems late for the Heat

Posted by Royce Young


Erik Spoelstra said last week that Chris Bosh, not LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, was the Miami Heat's most important player. We all scoffed at such a thing.

But after Miami's Thursday night 93-88 loss to the Knicks, maybe he has a point.

The Heat struggled to find points against a poor defensive team as the Knicks moved the ball well, found good shots and made them. Miami on the other hand was entirely stagnant. The ball didn't move and the Heat didn't have options other than an iso play for Wade or LeBron. They missed that extra option of a kick to Bosh for a 15-footer.

That's where Bosh has a lot of value. He just gives the team a bail out option. In those possessions where Wade holds the ball for 16 seconds and tries to create, normally he has an open Bosh to kick to. Lately, the Heat have dearly missed that.

The last eight minutes, the Heat didn't run a single successful offensive set. Everything they got was either a putback or in transition. The Miami offense was so bad that after a contested LeBron brick that was in a possession without a single pass, TNT commentator Steve Kerr said, "You're kidding me," while the ball was in flight.

The game had a playoff feel to it and that could be bad news for the Heat. Consider this wild stat: The Heat are now 1-8 in games decided by five points or less. That almost seems unimaginable for a squad that has closers like Wade and LeBron, but what it shows is that the team doesn't understand offense.

They get by because of superior talent and explosiveness in the open floor unlike anyone else, but when it comes to grinding out halfcourt sets in a tight game, they don't know what they're doing. The ball doesn't move, players don't cut. The ball is either in Wade or LeBron's hands and they dribble out the 24 and try and make a play themself. They just don't know what to do. It's horrific offense.

But credit the Knicks. They started the game 6-29 from 3 but hit their final four attempts. Danilo Gallinari and Landry Fields each drilled a pair. Unlike the Heat, the Knicks got those looks because of good inside-out action, nice off the ball movement and crisp cuts and dribble penetration. It was actual offense.

The Knicks won a big game over rival Miami despite shooting 36 percent. It's a big win for New York because it proved to itself that it can play with the big bad boys from Miami. This game felt like an opening round playoff game and it's possible that it was a preview. And if this game told us anything, it's that the Heat need Chris Bosh back and they also have got to figure out what in the heck to do in crunch time. 


Tyson Chandler showing up big for Dallas, scoring 21 points and grabbing 15 rebounds.

Landry Fields was huge for New York, scoring 19 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

Dwyane Wade scored 34 points on 14-22 shooting. However, he started 14-17 so that means he missed his final eight shots. Plus, he went just 6-14 from the line.

LaMarcus Aldridge struggled a bit getting looks against Boston, but finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds.


LeBron had a tough night shooting the ball, going just 7-24 against the Knicks. But he did reject Ronny Turiaf in fairly spectacular fashion.


If you only look at the final score, you'd probably assume the Celtics-Blazers game was an ugly, unwatchable affair Thursday night. The Celtics won 88-78, the Blazers shot 37 percent and Boston turned it over 20 times.

But really, watching the Celtics defend can sometimes be as much a joy as watching an offensive explosion.

The Celtics completely locked down the overmatched Blazers, suffocating the Portland ballhandlers while forcing long, contested jumpers. Kevin Garnett was completely brilliant on LaMarcus Aldridge, who really was Portland's only offensive weapon. Only four Blazers finished in double-figures and with Nicolas Batum leaving early because of a sore knee, the Celtics basically turned into a pack of hungry wolves hovering over some red meat.

Boston didn't score the ball all the well, but they didn't have to. They got just enough from Paul Pierce (17 points), Ray Allen (18) and Kendrick Perkins (10). It was really kind of a routine Celtic win. Hard, intense defense from the tip and crisp offensive execution in key stretches. It's hard to imagine someone beating a healthy Celtics in a seven-game series when they play like this.


The Mavericks finally appear to be coming out of their funk as they slid past the Rockets 111-106. And while it looks to be getting better for Dallas, they aren't winning the way they were before.

Against Houston, Dirk Nowitzki only scored 18 points on 16 shots. Jason Terry only had 15 on 12 shots. The way Dallas got by was from a collaborative effort from everyone. J.J. Barea put in 19 off the bench on 8-10 shooting. Tyson Chandler had 21 points on 5-8 from the field. Sasha Pavlovic had 11 big points including 3-4 from 3. The Mavs got a little something from just about everybody and they had to have it.

The Mavs have Peja Stojakovic coming and it's possible they'll make a deal before the deadline, but if this is the Mavs team we're going to see down the stretch, they're going to have to win like this. Obviously they can rely on Dirk heavily, but if he's not hitting, the role players will have to elevate themselves. Barea will need to create, Pavlovic will need to shoot and Chandler will have to play big inside.

Dallas still has a good team, despite the injuries. This is win No. 30 for them. They may have fallen off the radar a bit because of a tough few weeks but this team isn't going anywhere.
Posted on: January 24, 2011 5:50 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2011 5:53 pm

Stojakovic to Dallas, Ajinca to Toronto are done

Peja Stojakovic has been officially acquired by the Dallas Mavericks, who also announced a trade that sent Alexis Ajinca to the Toronto Raptors.peja-stojakovic Posted by Ben Golliver.

Late last week, we noted that the Toronto Raptors were buying out Peja Stojakovic, and that the veteran forward planned to sign with the Dallas Mavericks. In a not-officially-related move, the Mavericks were going to trade reserve big man Alexis Ajinca to the Raptors. The timing of the two moves raised some questions around the league, and the deal was held up by the league so that an investigation could take place.

On Monday, the Mavericks announced that both moves had been completed. In addition to formally confirming Stojakovic's signing, the Mavericks sent out the following details regarding the Ajinca trade.
The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have traded center Alexis Ajinca, a second round draft pick and cash considerations to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for the draft rights to forward Georgios Printezis.
Ajinca (7-2, 248) played in 10 games with 2 starts for Dallas this season. He averaged 2.9 points, 1.7 rebounds and 7.5 minutes per game as a Maverick. Ajinca was originally acquired via trade from Charlotte on July 13, 2010.   Printezis (6-9, 230) was the 58th pick of the 2007 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs before Toronto acquired his rights from San Antonio for a future second round pick. Printezis is a native of Athens, Greece and plays professionally in Spain.
The trade details are surely a formality, as the pick is likely heavily-protected and the draft rights to Printezis are inconsequential.

The move to pick up Stojakovic, of course, is an effort to fill the hole left by Caron Butler's season-ending knee surgery. It's not totally clear how much game the 33-year-old has left, as he's made just eight appearances so far this season. 

This signing is the definition of a low-risk, low-reward move, as Stojakovic will make the veteran's minimum, costing Dallas virtually nothing, and Ajinca wasn't likely to see court time or progress past his "project" status any time soon. Even if Stojakovic is the step-slow, no-defense, spot-up shooting small forward everyone seems to think he is, the only standard he really needs to meet is "better than nothing." 

ESPNDallas.com reports that Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said on Monday that Stojakovic will not play for Dallas on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers and said that it wasn't yet clear whether he would play on Thursday night against the Houston Rockets.
Posted on: January 24, 2011 12:05 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2011 6:05 pm

Nene eyeing three teams: Dallas, Miami and who?

Posted by Royce Young

This was a Shootaround item, but I felt the need to extrapolate a bit more on it. Ken Berger reported that Nuggets center Nene is unhappy with the protracted Carmelo Anthony situation and could be looking to move on from Denver.

Nene, like Carmelo, has an early termination option and could make himself an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Nuggets might be looking at a similar situation with Nene: they need to move him and get something back, rather just watch him walk for nothing.

Berger said Nene has three teams that he's eying and listed one as the Heat. It's probably unlikely the Heat have the pieces to put together a realistic trade for Nene that Denver would go for, but still, Nene on the Heat is a scary thought.

Marc Stein of ESPN tweeted that a second team on Nene's list is the Dallas Mavericks. He also said the third remains a mystery right now, but assured that the Rockets would be players in trying to acquire Nene.

But who could the third team be? The Mavs have some good pieces to make such a move, but why would they? Tyson Chandler is having a great year and behind them they have Brendan Haywood, who's making a lot of money to play backup. Even if the Mavs were just renting Nene for a few months, that's a pretty good logjam inside.

One team that could be a player for Nene is the Oklahoma City Thunder. They have assets in future first-round picks, a nice expiring contract in Morris Peterson and could potentially offer back a quality young player like Cole Aldrich or D.J. White. The question would be if the Thunder would be interested in re-signing Nene to an extension though, seeing as they still have to solve the Jeff Green contract situation and also extend Russell Westbrook this summer.

More than likely, Oklahoma City doesn't make that move because of the way Sam Presti approaches the future. He prefers to draft and develop, rather than trade away young players. If Nene could be had just for an expiring contract and a pick, it's a possible move for OKC. But Denver's going to want more than that.

Another potential third team on the list? the Trail Blazers. Portland has Joel Przybilla's expiring contract, and decent young assets like Luke Babbitt, Eliot Williams and Patty Mills, plus future picks. Or toss in Andre Miller, who the team wants to move. (Though Miller and Chauncey Billups together doesn't make a ton of sense. Maybe they could flip Miller again for something else.) Again, the Nuggets would probably ask for Nicolas Batum, who they've had a fascination with lately, but Portland's not budging on him.

The Blazers could certainly use Nene though, you know, because of the injuries and all. Nene would have the opportunity to remain a starter and really would become an offensive focus for Portland. He'd probably have to live in fear that his knees might spontaneously combust, but the Blazers would be a nice fit.

Lastly, two other teams I'll throw in that could be fits: Phoenix and Golden State. Nene would work well in both systems and both teams would love to have a player of his caliber. The question is whether or not either could put together a satisfactory trade for Denver.

In the end, Denver is going to have to look long and hard concerning its future with Nene. He might be willing to re-sign, but apparently he's soured on the team a bit now and might be looking for something else. Denver's got to figure out his future, along with Carmelo, and make a decision.

It's been a fun first few months for Masai Ujiri, hasn't it?
Posted on: January 21, 2011 6:04 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2011 6:07 pm

Report: Ajinca deal held up by league for now

Posted by Royce Young

According to Yahoo! Sports and ESPN Dallas the NBA has held up a trade to send Dallas Maverick forward Alexis Ajinca to the Raptors. According to the reports, several rival front offices have privately charged an illegal side deal had been arranged to get Peja Stojakovic to the Mavs.

Peja of course was waived and bought out by the Raptors Thursday.

All indications still point that the Mavs appear to be ready to sign Stojakovic once he clears waivers. He'll become a free agent Monday and has reportedly given the Mavs a verbal commitment.

To create a roster spot for Stojakovic – who had almost immediately committed to the Mavericks – Dallas agreed to send the Raptors the 7-foot Ajinca, a future second-round pick and cash to Toronto for the rights to Georgios Printezis.

As the report from Yahoo! notes, such accusations like this are hard to prove and the league is just performing its due dilligence in holding up approval. The trade is still likely to go through, according to reports. When reached by email on Friday by Yahoo!, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban denied there had been an illegal prearranged deal.

The trade was appeared to be done Thursday as TNT's cameras even caught Mavs coach Rick Carlisle breaking the news to Ajinca before Dallas's game against Chicago. Ajinca was told to go back to the team hotel and wait.

Again, this is just the league fulfilling its obligation to check it out and more than likely things will eventually go through. But there is a chance the league could find things were done improperly and Dallas would need to figure out how to clear a roster spot for Peja a different way.
Posted on: January 21, 2011 11:47 am
Edited on: January 21, 2011 12:17 pm

The Game Changer: Portland keeps fighting

Posted by Royce Young

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  


The Los Angeles Clippers have been playing pretty well lately. So well in fact that people have actually been talking about the potential of them making a run to the playoffs. This year. Myself included. When you look at that roster and how good they are capable of playing and who they've beat, it seems completely possible.

But all of this has come at home, or at least near home. That's the thing about mediocre and bad teams. They can win at home. Look at the Wizards. They're 12-8 at home. But 0-20 on the road. The Clippers are in that same territory (13-13 home, 3-13 road). These games they've won that's got everyone's heart pumping have come at Staples. But now they're on the road for 11 straight and it started in Portland Thursday.

And we learned two things:

1) The Clippers aren't actually there and 2) but they aren't that far off. The Blazers are a very good team at home and the Clippers are a young team that really doesn't know how to win away from Staples. Los Angeles hung tough, battling back every time Portland pushed a lead into double-digits. Whether it was a big shot from Eric Gordon or a big putback by Blake Griffin, the Clips hung tough. That's the first step in winning against good teams on the road -- at least be in the game for the entire 48 minutes. And the Clippers are getting there.

But Portland showed why its still a good team, despite all the injuries. They have savvy veterans and it was displayed extremely well at the end of each quarter. The Clippers would spend an entire quarter coming back, but the Blazers would rip off a 15-4 or 12-3 run to close the period, putting L.A. back in a hole. Again, young team against a veteran team at home.

Two more points to make:

Blake Griffin is the Clippers best player. We know that. But Eric Gordon isn't far behind at all. Thirty-five points and seven 3s against Portland.

LaMarcus Aldridge might not make the All-Star Game, but he tried to state his case Thursday. He finished with 28 on 13-20 shooting against Griffin and held the Clipper stud to 6-16 shooting.

Four in a row for Portland. The hits keep coming with Marcus Camby being out for a few weeks, but Nate McMillan keeps them ticking.


Eric Gordon had 35 points that included a 7-11 effort from 3.

Derrick Rose had 26 points nine assists and seven assists. He shot just 9-28 from the field but scored 14 of his 26 in the fourth quarter.

Thaddeus Young had 21 points on 9-14 shooting plus six rebounds off the bench for Philly in a loss to Charlotte.

D.J. Augustin put up 31 and dished out eight assists in the Bobcats win over the 76ers.

Blake Griffin
had a typical night with 20 points and 18 boards but his Clippers came up short in Portland.

LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 28 against Griffin, hitting 13-20 from the field.


The Mavericks and Bulls are both teams that have been battling injuries. It's just one team has been battling a little bit better.

The Bulls took down the Mavs 82-77 in a defensive struggle and did it without Carlos Boozer who missed a third straight game with a sprained ankle. And of course they're missing Joakim Noah because of thumb surgery.

Dallas on the other hand is without Caron Butler who is recovering from knee surgery and has Dirk Nowitzki back, but Dirk clearly isn't right. Nowitzki was just 6-16 from the field, grabbed only two rebounds and was visibly limping all over the floor. He'd stop on every other possession and adjust the wrap on his right knee, or stretch out his leg. He's fighting through this thing because his team is kind of in a situation it needs him, but Dirk isn't Dirk right now.

On the other hand, what helps the Bulls press through the injuries more so than the Mavs is that Chicago's best player isn't playing without any problems. Derrick Rose was again fairly terrific, dropping 26 points while dishing out nine assists and grabbing seven rebounds.

Nevermind that Rose was just 9-28 from the floor. He may have taken more shots than he scored points but he hit big ones late and was a big reason his team won. Hey, when Kobe does it we all rave about what a closer he is. So cut Rose some slack.

Read the rest of how the Bulls powered past the hurting Mavs here.


How about seventh place in the East?

When you're a team like the Bobcats, you take wins however you can get them. With news coming that Tyrus Thomas will be out for an extended period of time because of a torn meniscus, Charlotte was left short-handed against the 76ers.

So how do you win? Unlikely characters step up. D.J. Augustin looked like a combination of Chris Paul and Deron Williams in the first half, scoring a flurry of points. And to finish, it was Gerald Wallace who hit three clutch shots down the stretch as Charlotte topped Philadelphia 100-97.

The Bobcats aren't necessarily a seventh place team, but that's where they sit now. Under new coach Paul Silas they are 8-5 and more importantly, the team's young players are showing development. Augustin is playing the best basketball of his career and Henderson finally stepped up in a big way offensively. It could be short lived as Charlotte has only 13 healthy players on the roster, but for now, live it up in seventh.


Rudy Fernandez hit a wild hook shot against the Clippers and said after the game, "It's a Euro thing. You wouldn't understand." You're right Rudy. I don't understand.

Posted on: January 20, 2011 11:14 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 11:18 pm

Mavs keep on struggling, Bulls keep winning ugly

Posted by Royce Young

The Mavericks and Bulls are both teams that have been battling injuries. It's just one team has been battling a little bit better.

The Bulls took down the Mavs 82-77 in a defensive struggle and did it without Carlos Boozer who missed a third straight game with a sprained ankle. And of course they're missing Joakim Noah because of thumb surgery.

Dallas on the other hand is without Caron Butler who is recovering from knee surgery and has Dirk Nowitzki back, but Dirk clearly isn't right. Nowitzki was just 6-16 from the field, grabbed only two rebounds and was visibly limping all over the floor. He'd stop on every other possession and adjust the wrap on his right knee, or stretch out his leg. He's fighting through this thing because his team is kind of in a situation it needs him, but Dirk isn't Dirk right now.

On the other hand, what helps the Bulls press through the injuries more so than the Mavs is that Chicago's best player isn't playing without any problems. Derrick Rose was again fairly terrific, dropping 26 points while dishing out nine assists and grabbing seven rebounds.

Nevermind that Rose was just 9-28 from the floor. He may have taken more shots than he scored points but he hit big ones late and was a big reason his team won. Hey, when Kobe does it we all rave about what a closer he is. So cut Rose some slack.

The game itself, wasn't pretty. What we saw was a struggling Mavs squad that's trying to re-discover itself and a Bulls team that's getting good at winning ugly. Rose had the 26, but after that there wasn't a Chicago player in double-figures. Everyone that played scored, but as a team, the Bulls shot 36.9 percent from the field. But they won. Mainly because Dallas shot just 35.6 percent. In all honesty, I think this type of win is what makes Tom Thibadeau happiest.

Other than Rose, Kurt Thomas gets the gold star for the night. Without Boozer and Noah, Chicago needed someone to step up on the inside and battle Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood. The veteran Thomas was up for the challenge, playing 29 minutes and scoring nine points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Plus he had a number of good passes and defensive stops on Chandler and other Mavs that tried to penetrate the paint.

Guys like Thomas, Omer Asik (who had seven rebounds) and Taj Gibson (who played Dirk really well) are a big reason why the Bulls have pressed through the adversity.

The Mavs have now lost seven of eight and 10 of 13 since the injuries starting pulling them down. They're going to eventually pull out of this tailspin once Dirk gets completely healthy. But it's becoming painfully obvious how important Caron Butler was to their success.

Not having an isolation player and someone that can score without a set play or without Jason Kidd setting him up is something that's really hurting the Mavs. Nights like this surely have to make Mark Cuban think about renting a certain player for a few months. Surely.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com