Avery Johnson went back to his tried and true starting lineup from last year that helped them to 67 wins, placing Jason Terry and Erick Dampier back in the starting lineup to try to end this losing streak. It worked, for now, but Terry will be back on the bench soon. It's a telling sign to the Mavs frustration when they have had 8 different starting lineups in the first 15 games. Fortunately, the Mavs came out with more hustle than they did against Washington, and they got the win.
1. Al Jefferson - This fine, young player has lots of promise. He's no Kevin Garnett, who he was traded for, but he's capable of becoming a powerful big man in this league. 31 points on 11 of 19 shooting (9 of 14 from the line), 14 boards, and a block. For those of you who regularly read these posts, you are probably starting to figure out that I get more excited watching young, promising talent than I do watching the handful of the league's established superstars. This kid should be fun to watch for the next few years.
2. Devin Harris - Another kid that should be fun to watch of the next few years, but he's in a different boat. Most talented young players don't walk into a locker room full of seasoned vets with championship aspirations. And most talented young players don't fill a position just left vacant by a 2-time MVP point guard that was a fan favorite and allowed to walk to the competition for nothing in return. If Harris had wound up on a bad team that gave him the keys right away, we might be mentioning him in the same breath as Chris Paul and Deron Williams already. As it is, he's just now getting his opportunity, and he's starting to flourish. Harris had 22 points on 9 of 10 shooting, 6 assists and a steal.
3. Craig Smith - Who the hell is this guy? That's what I was thinking when I was watching the game, but he's a second year player that might get enough playing time on a bad Wolves team to figure things out and become a solid role player soon. He had 17 points on 8 of 9 shooting and 7 boards.
- Dirk's Digits: He was a perfect 13 of 13 from the line, shot 7 of 13 from the field, and led the Mavs to victory behind 27 points, 11 boards, 4 assists and a block.
- Welcome back to Antoine Walker. Some guys want to be on winning teams and others want to be The Man on teams regardless of how well they do. Walker is one of those guys that would rather be The Man. That's why his time here was short lived. Also his time in Boston, Atlanta, Boston (again), and Miami. What makes me more sick that we lost to Miami in the Finals is that this ass clown got a ring out of the deal.
- It's funny that we have Juwan Howard back, because it was the Howard trade that got us Raef Lafrentz, which got us Walker, which got us Jason Terry. The Mavs are very good at turning bad trades into good trades, even if it's a 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon sort of thing.
- Mavs announcer Bob Ortegal's key to the game is 48 minutes of energy. That's gold. Just as I could say the key to this blog is actually posting in a timely manner. In other words, no s**t.
- Wolves forward Ryan Gomes is doing some good things for his community as well as the communities of the cities he visits on the road. He and the Mavs teamed up to donate money to charity, and he's doing the same thing in 9 other cities through out the season.
- The poor Wolves happened to catch the Mavs on a 3-game losing streak. Not that the Mavs shouldn't beat the Wolves anyway, but with the frustration mounting of underachieving, the Wolves should have just handed the Mavs a paddle before the game and told them to spank away at will.
- The spanking subsided in the 3rd, as the Mavs came out flat and let a large halftime lead slip away. The Wolves shot a very high percentage, but the Mavs kept getting to the line to keep in front.
- Harris isn't the only player that had the stigma of having to replace Nash. Jason Terry carried the burden even more so when he came in. If Nash hadn't have walked, Harris would have still been here as Nash's backup. Terry would not have. But with Terry's ability on the court, and more importantly, his fan-friendly attitude and personality have eased the transition. If Terry had come here without the burden of being the guy that replaced Nash, he would have been a fan favorite immediately. He's a genuinely good guy that does a lot in the community for kids here in Dallas, in Arizona (where he played college ball), and in Seattle (where he went to high school).
- The Mavs are putting a lot of stock in turning around their inconsistencies and underachieving ways in getting Eddie Jones and Devean George back healthy. I don't doubt it will help, but it seems a little presumptuous to put that much stock in George and Jones. Of course, with a team whose old logo used to incorporate a cowboy hat, I guess it makes sense that they would believe in George/Jones.
- Who's with me? I find Beyonce to be very attractive/talented, but that DirecTv commerical that they play ad nauseum (no pun intended) is one of the dumbest, most annoying commericals I've seen during Mavs games since the yearly deluge of Toby Keith "I love America and Ford Trucks and I'm a Big Dog Daddy" commercials that they show over and over. There are two reasons I don't like down-to-the-wire Mavs games. One, it's bad for my heart. Two, because when a game is close at the end and each team keeps calling timeouts, they go to commericals. You can conceivably see both the Beyonce ad and the Toby Keith ad 27 times in a 10 minute span. It's enough to make you want to get cable and a Chevy just to spite them.
- The Wolves have Mark Madsen on their team. Funny story. When he was playing for Stanford, my cousin, Katherine, was attending Stanford at the same time. He apparently asked my cousin out on a date quite a few times. Here's where the character of my cousin shows. She wasn't digging his sauce. As has well been documented, he's a goof ball that is only still in the league because he's tall and likes to instigate fights with the other team's star players. Anyway, back to my cousin. She could have taken two roads here: tell this guy that he didn't exactly spread her jam, or hitch a ride on the golddigging wagon with someone she wasn't interested in for the sure millions that would await him in the NBA. She chose the former, and as a result, wound up meeting a wonderful guy named Rob Canales. Rob Canales is quite possibly one of the most genuinely nice people I've ever met in person. He's the one that helped me set up brandonmay.com. So just remember that fate crosses a lot of lines. The next time you're watching a game and Mark Madsen is playing, or the next time you read this blog and think to yourself how much better your life is because of it, just know that none of this might have ever happened had Mark Madsen not been such a tool.
I forge onward, trying to catch up on all the games I'm behind on. Stay with me, and I will reward you soon enough. Take care, and Go Mavs!