Sports






Carlisle thanked Harrison Barnes for the two-and-a-half years of work he did for the Mavs

SACRAMENTO – One of the first things Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle did when he arrived at Golden 1 Center on Thursday was to seek out Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes.

From the time he signed a four-year free agent contract with the Mavs in July of 2016 until he was traded to the Kings this past Feb. 6, Barnes was a fixture in the Mavs’ starting lineup.

“He was great for us for two-and-a-half years, Carlisle said. “We invested a lot in his development. I was very proud of how he improved each year.

“I got a chance to say hello to him briefly on the court (before Thursday’s Mavs-Kings game) and just thanked him for everything he did for us for those two-and-a-half years, and I wished him the best.”

Before he was traded to the Kings, Barnes was second on the Mavs in scoring with 17.7 points, and also was one of their more influential players in the locker room.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a guy at age 26 or 27 with the kind of consistency that he brought every single day, whether it was to the practice court, to the pre-game preparation or to the game,” Carlisle said. “Sacramento’s got a gem, and he’s a great fit here and he really makes sense for them.”

That “gem” tag Carlisle put on Barnes also refers to the work the seven-year veteran performed in the Dallas/Fort Worth communities. Particularly with former Dallas chief of police David Brown in tow, Barnes was in various places in the Dallas/Fort Worth community trying to teach and show youngsters a better way of life.

“In the community he was extremely active and pro-active,” Carlisle said. “He was a strong voice and a conscious for young kids, young people, and he stands for all the right things.

“He’ll be a major asset in Sacramento both on the court and in the community.”

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Tim Hardaway Jr. out for the rest of the season with a left tibia stress reaction

 

SACRAMENTO – Dallas Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. will miss the remainder of this season with a left tibia stress reaction.

Coach Rick Carlisle made that announcement prior to Thursday night’s game between the Mavs and Sacramento Kings.

“It’s a situation that needs to be handled now, and so the plan is basically to shut him down for the year,” Carlisle said. “He will not play any more this year.”

The Mavs acquired Hardaway in that Jan. 31 seven-player, two draft pick trade with the New York Knicks. In 17 games for the Mavs, Hardaway has averaged 15.5 points per game.

“I know that we’ve done a lot of testing, we’re in the process of doing a little more testing on the leg,” Carlisle said. “Next week there will be more of a determination on course of action.

“I really like him as a player. He fits what we’re building here for the future, and the important thing is his health right now.”

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The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 126-118 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers

  1. JACKSON SHOWED A LOT OF ACTION: While playing more minutes than any of the 25 players who played in Wednesday’s game between the Mavs and Portland Trail Blazers, Justin Jackson was able to show the Mavs’ coaching staff how well he can prosper under difficult circumstances on the road. Jackson played 34 minutes off the bench, scored 21 points and added four rebounds. He also was 8-of-15 from the field and 3-of-8 from behind the 3-point line. It’s the most points Jackson has scored since the Mavs acquired him in a Feb. 6 trade that involved sending Harrison Barnes to the Sacramento Kings.
  2. BURKE MADE QUICK USE OF HIS PLAYING TIME: As he has on numerous occasions, Trey Burke made phenomenal quick use of the time he was on the floor in Wednesday’s game. The six-year guard from Michigan scored 15 points in only 22 minutes and was an efficient 5-of-9 from the field. Burke tallied eight of his points in the fourth quarter when he started that game-ending 30-13 rally by the Mavs after scoring on a driving layup with 9:12 remaining in the game. Burke’s plus 11 point differential tied with Courtney Lee for the highest on the Mavs, and his quicksilver speed kept the Blazers off-balanced.
  3. ANOTHER 20-POINT OUTING FOR DONCIC: Luka Doncic has been scoring 20 or more points in a game so frequently that it’s almost expected that that’s what he’s going to do every game. In 29 minutes against the Blazers, the rookie from Slovenia poured in 24 points to go with five rebounds and six assists. He also was 8-of-16 from the field and a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line, which has occasionally been his Achilles heel. Even more impactful, Doncic didn’t even score in the first quarter on Wednesday. This was the 39th game in which Doncic has scored 20 or more points this season.
  4. LILLARD WAS SMOKING HOT: Sometimes these scoring binges involving Portland guard Damian Lillard occur in bunches. Big bunches. Wednesday was one of the binge-feeding games for Lillard. The seven-year veteran from Weber State poured in 17 of his game-high 33 points in the third quarter. In fact, during a simple 2:58 stretch of the third quarter, Lillard went an amazing 4-for-4 from the 3-point line and personally outscored the Mavs, 12-5. It was one of those games where Lillard was seriously dialing in from long distance as he converted 9-of-18 shots, including making 6-of-12 buckets from downtown.
  5. SELLOUT CROWD SERENADED DIRK: Every time he got off the bench to come into the game, or whenever he touched the ball or attempted a field goal, Dirk Nowitzki heard all of the good tidings coming from the Moda Center sellout crowd of 19,803. While Nowitzki was on the bench late in the game, chants of “We Want Dirk” reverberated throughout the arena. And when Nowitzki was put on the Jumbotron with 1:06 remaining in the game, the crowd literally went ballistic. They got even wilder when Nowitzki stood up, smiled and applauded and thanked them for their support.

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Mavs forward Justin Jackson all-in when it comes to supporting World Down Syndrome Day

SACRAMENTO – When it comes to World Down Syndrome Day, Justin Jackson is all-in.

The Dallas Mavericks’ forward is all-in because Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder that has hit very close to Jackson’s home.

“My wife (Brooke) has an aunt that has Down Syndrome, but it was really just a passion of my wife,” Jackson told Mavs.com. “Once we got married (in August of 2017) it became a passion of mine, so that’s kind of what started this whole thing and that’s what’s going to kind of keep it going.”

Jackson, who started his NBA career with the Sacramento Kings in 2017, is on the verge of launching a non-profit in Sacramento that involves those afflicted with Down Syndrome. That non-profit will have a resemblance to Gigi’s Playhouse, whose purpose is to change the way the world views Down Syndrome while amplifying a message that everyone should be accepted.

Thus, since the Mavs are in Sacramento to play the Kings on Thursday at 9 p.m., for Jackson it’s ironic that Dallas’ arrival coincides with Thursday being World Down Syndrome Day.

While in Sacramento, Jackson’s day will be filled with media obligations and the wearing of his T-shirts that support Down Syndrome. Plus, during the game he’ll be wearing brightly-colored socks and sneakers in support of World Down Syndrome Day.

“It’s super important for me,” Jackson said, referring to World Down Syndrome Day. “I always tell everybody basketball is definitely my job and I take it super serious, but it’s not the most important thing in my life.

“Loving people and doing that is what I feel like is my job that God put me on this earth for.”

Jackson is totally aware that Down Syndrome is the largest chromosomal disability in the country, yet it is the least funded. He wants to do his part to help change that.

“Basketball is obviously great, it makes money for my family, it’s fun to play,” Jackson said. “So it’s awesome and I’m going to put everything I have into it.

“But off the court and everything in life, there’s some other big things in my life as well.”

Off the court, the Mavs acquired Jackson from the Kings on Feb. 6 for Harrison Barnes and Zach Randolph. Since his arrival in Dallas, the 6-8 forward has been trying to find his rhythm with the Mavs, and that finally happened during Wednesday’s 126-118 loss in Portland when Jackson was 8-of-15 from the field and tallied 21 points in 34 minutes.

“I like his movement, I like his activity, I like the fact that he can score off the move,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’re working hard with him on his 3-point shooting and footwork to allow him to create from time-to-time with the shot-clock running down.

“He’s a great kid, he’s a heck of a worker and he wants to get better. He’s been a really nice addition to our team.”

As far as playing for the first time against the team where his NBA career started, Jackson is very enthusiastic about that prospect.

“I don’t have any hard feelings towards (the Kings),” said Jackson, who turns 24 on Mar. 28. “I love those guys that are still there, so it’s going to be fun to go against them outside of practicing against them.”

Still, while Jackson will obviously be focused on helping the Mavs defeat the Kings, his attention and his heart will also be on the Down Syndrome platform he and his wife has undertaken.

“Obviously it’s going to be cool to go back and play against my old team,” Jackson said. “But off the court (Thursday) is World Down Syndrome Day, which is super big for me and my wife.

“We’ve got a non-profit actually coming out in Sacramento. So, we’ve got a bunch of stuff planned for (Thursday) that’s going to be really cool.”

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Damian Lillard scored 33 points to lead the Blazers to a 126-118 victory over the Mavs

PORTLAND – For the first quarter-and-a-half of Wednesday night’s game against Portland, the Dallas Mavericks were able to stay neck-and-neck with the Trail Blazers.

Then the bottom fell out.

The Mavs were clinging to a slim 44-42 lead with 5:20 remaining in the second quarter. But the Blazers finished the first half on a blistering 23-8 run and led 65-52 at intermission en route to cruising to a 126-118 victory a before a sellout crowd of 19,803 at the Moda Center.

“I like our first half up to the point where we were up 44-42,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I think they had a 23-8 run to end the second quarter and that’s really where the problems became difficult.

“In the third quarter (Damian) Lillard just had a stretch where great players can have. He had four threes in a row, I think, and we were unable to answer. . .and the crowd got into it and it got away.”

Portland eventually built its lead to as much as 25 points – 113-88– following a 3-pointer by Jake Layman with 9:22 to go in the game. But the Mavs made things a bit interesting at the end when they finished the game on a 30-13 run.

“I did like the way the guys at the end fought their butts off,” Carlisle said. “It got to an eight-point game – that’s meaningful.

“Those guys don’t get a big chance to play a whole lot. (Rookie forward) Kostas Antetokounmpo (played in his first NBA game and) got his first NBA point, which is pretty cool.”

Luka Doncic scored 10 of his team-high 24 points in the fourth quarter, Justin Jackson collected nine of his 21 points in the final quarter, and Trey Burke added eight of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.

“I like Jackson,” Carlisle said. “It’s time to give him a look – a look with some longer stretches of minutes.

“In the first half when they had us a bit stymied with switching and physical bodies, he created movement with cutting and finishing in the paint that got us going a little bit. I liked a lot of what he was doing out there.”

Jackson, who has been getting some one-on-one practice sessions with Carlisle on his movements and 3-point shooting, wound up playing 34 minutes and was 8-of-15 from the field and 3-of-8 from 3-point range.

“Coach has been putting in quite a bit of time with me,” Jackson said. “I would say I was already decent with those things, but coach has given me a few things just to kind of focus on and I think that’s helped.

“I enjoy playing, man. I think we kept on playing – obviously Damian hit a bunch of tough shots. But it was fun just to get out there and just play and fight with those guys.”

The loss was the 12th in the last 14 games for the Mavs, who will take their 28-43 record to Sacramento, where they’ll play the Kings on Thursday at 9 p.m.

Knowing that Portland had the game under control thanks to 33 points from Damian Lillard and 20 from ex-Mavs guard Seth Curry, the Blazers’ crowd turned their attention to Dirk Nowitzki, who may have played his last game in Portland. The crowd started chanting “We Want Dirk” with 3:30 left in the game, and it got even louder with 1:06 to go when the cameras were put on Nowitzki while he was on the bench and shown on the overhead Jumbotron.

So, Nowitzki simply stood up, smiled, raised his hands and started clamping and waving along with the crowd.

“It was another warm reception from a great basketball crowd,” Nowitzki said. “The crowd has always been great here when I come up here to compete.

“They’ve had some teams in my career here, and they’ve had some great crowds. So, I really appreciated it.”

NOTES: Forward Maxi Kleber missed Wednesday’s game with a sprained left wrist. But the second-year veteran said he’s doing much better. “After the game (Monday against New Orleans) I couldn’t do any movements — today it’s way better,” Kleber said. “I did some shooting outside, so it’s improved a lot.” Kleber was injured when he dunked the ball and was fouled by Cheick Diallo with 5:03 remaining in regulation during the 129-125 overtime loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. “He was trying to get the block, so I guess stuff like that just happens, but it was a bad situation,” Kleber said. “When I dunked it and then when I feel on the floor. . .that’s when I hurt it. I don’t think you necessarily have to jump that high, but when you get pushed and you unexpectedly hit your wrist like that, I kind of fell awkwardly. I slipped off the rim and I tried to catch myself.” Whenever Kleber returns, the Mavs plan on taking the cautious approach. “We hope he gets better as quick as possible,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “But we’re not going to rush him out there and put him in harm’s way.”.  . Before Wednesday’s game, Portland coach Terry Stotts was asked if he’s going to be sad that his team will be possibly playing against Dirk Nowitzki for the last time. “He hasn’t said he’s retiring, so I’m not going to be sad tonight,” Stotts said. “It’s been a year-long celebration for a guy who hasn’t said he’s retiring.”. . .When Dirk scored early in the third quarter, a fan held up a sign that read: “Thank You Dirk.”. .Carlisle knows he’s been fortunate to have a player of Nowitzki’s ilk to coach for the past 11 seasons. “It’s been so magnificently easy that it’s really difficult not to take the guy for granted,” Carlisle said. “He’s such a special human being, he’s such a great teammate. He’s so into winning and into sacrifice and all the things you need to do. And he’s one of the very greatest to ever play, so it’s a very unusual mixture of personality and dynamic high impact skills. Whenever he (retires), certainly it will not be the same around here.”. .Terry Stotts is very impressed with the maturity level of Mavs rookie Luka Doncic. “I think the fact that he played at such a high level at such a young age in Europe – with Real Madrid— that gave him probably more of a maturity that most rookies don’t have coming into the league today,” Stotts said. “He had played at a high level against mature men in adverse situations, so at such a young age he’d seen it all and I think that’s how he kind of conducts himself on the court. He’s very confident, he knows what he wants to do. For a young guy like that to basically be a point forward at age 20, it’s just really impressive.” Asked if he thought Doncic will win this year’s Rookie of the Year award, Stotts said: “I don’t want to go against my Oklahoma guy, but it certainly looks like it.” The “Oklahoma guy” Stotts is referring to is Atlanta’s Trey Young, who, like Stotts, played his college ball at Oklahoma. Told of Stotts’ Rookie of the Year comment, Carlisle smiled and said: “Wow, what a bold prediction. He put himself out there, didn’t he? I don’t like to count chickens before they’re hatched, but it’s pretty clear Luka’s having a phenomenal year. And there are rookies playing extremely well, but his level has been truly special. As we’re going down the stretch the challenge for him is to keep carrying the load on the one hand. On the other hand, he’s got to involve teammates and he’s got to play both ends and he’s got to do a lot of things. This is a great opportunity for him to feel what it feels like to have a high level of responsibility in this league.”. .Rookie forward Kostas Antetokounmpo got in his first NBA on Wednesday. He played the game’s final 5:53 and was 0-of-2 from the field and finished with one point and two steals. And the Mavs were a plus-eight while he was in the game. Antetokounmpo said of his first game: “It was exactly what I thought it was going to be.”

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As he walks down memory lane, Portland coach Terry Stotts has high praise for Dirk Nowitzki

PORTLAND – Terry Stotts knows of the indelible impact Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki has had on the NBA for 21 years. But the Portland Trail Blazers coach shared with his listeners another aspect of Nowitzki that many may not know.

“Anybody that’s been around him, his sense of humor is great,” Stotts said before Wednesday night’s game between the Mavs and Blazers at the Moda Center. “Nobody is immune to it.

“Whether it’s making fun of somebody’s shirt or somebody’s game, or whatever it is, he’s very witty. Making comments on the bus or comments at practice.”

Stotts, who was an assistant coach/offensive coordinator with the Mavs from 2008-’12, caught a glimpse of Nowitzki’s sense of humor first-hand.

“I will say one time, it was early in my career (in Dallas), and he hadn’t touched the ball in a little while for a few possessions,” Stotts said. “And he said, ‘Hey Stotts, give me the (expletive delete) ball. So, we did.”

Stotts discussed the way some may have unintentionally taken Nowitzki’s greatness for granted.

“When you’re around a guy like Dirk or any great player, you appreciate them more when you’re around them,” Stotts said. “I remember when I was in Seattle, (assistant coach) Bob Weiss came in and he goes, ‘You know I knew Gary Payton was pretty good, but I didn’t know he was this good.’ And it’s probably the same thing with Dirk.

“When you’re around (Nowitzki) every day you appreciate him as an opponent, but what he does for your team every day, whether it’s in practice, in the locker room and certainly on the court, you see it every night in the games that you can count on him every night, it just makes the appreciation grow.”

Nowitzki passed Wilt Chamberlain this past Monday against New Orleans and became the No. 6 all-time leading scorer in NBA history. Stotts noted that it’s difficult for folks from his generation to put into words what that truly means.

“Wilt was untouchable, and for someone to be in that context is hard to fantom,” Stotts said. “I think the way (Nowitzki has) done it, being the type of player that he is, he’s certainly not the type of player that he just passed or the players that are ahead of him (on the all-time scoring list).

“He did it in his own way and in his style that I don’t think anybody could have foreseen 20 years ago.”

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March Madness? Mavericks have plenty of connections

When basketball players get to the NBA, many things change. But one thing does not – their allegiance to their college.

While the Mavericks and other NBA teams have a growing number of international players with no university connections, many players get excited about this time of the year when the NCAA Tournament is set to begin.

The Mavericks have seven players whose schools made the Big Dance: Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke (Michigan), Devin Harris (Wisconsin), Jalen Brunson (Villanova), J.J. Barea (Northeastern), Justin Jackson (North Carolina) and Dorian Finney Smith (Florida).

And, of course, Rick Carlisle’s Virginia Cavaliers also made the tournament – as a No. 1 seed, no less.

All of them think their schools are headed to the Final Four, although they admittedly have different levels of confidence about that possibility.

For Jackson, he doesn’t have to crow about the Tar Heels. They are a No. 1 seed. It’ll be surprising if they aren’t playing deep into the tournament.

But others, like Finney-Smith and Brunson, know the odds are stacked against them.

“We’re small, but as long as we don’t go up against a really big team, I think we’ll be fine,” Finney-Smith said of his Gators. “I don’t think teams will want to see us, to be honest.”

Florida is a No. 10 seed and opens against seventh-seeded Nevada. If they get past Nevada, the Gators could meet up with No. 2 seed Michigan in the second round, which could make for some interesting chatter in the locker room with Hardaway and Burke being staunch Wolverines.

Meanwhile, no matter what, nobody can take away two NCAA titles from Brunson. He’s confident, sort of, about the defending champion: “We got a lot of new guys, but I’ll take us. I like our chances.”

Harris watched his beloved Wisconsin Badgers reach the championship game in 2015. They enter this tournament as a No. 5 seed and open against Oregon, which lost its best player, Bol Bol, early in the season.

Most of the players on the Mavericks that went to college have some experience about the tournament. One that does not is J.J. Barea, whose Northeastern team did not reach the tournament despite his stellar play during four seasons there.

“I’m happy for them,” Barea said. “I know they’ll play hard and if they get a few breaks, who knows?”

Northeastern is a No. 13 seed and is a trendy upset pick against No. 4 seeded Kansas.

Duke, of course, is the heavy favorite to win the title. But Carlisle’s Cavaliers come in as the top seed in the south region and No. 2 seed overall. He and assistant to the basketball staff Jenny Boucek, another Virginia product, no doubt will be cheering the Cavaliers.

Twitter: @ESefko

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The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 129-125 overtime loss to the New Orleans Pelicans

  1. DIRK’S SPECIAL NIGHT: Well, that didn’t take long. Dirk Nowitzki needed just four points to pass Wilt Chamberlain and become the No. 6 all-time leading scorer in NBA history. Less than four minutes into Monday’s game, the 21-year veteran was able to collect those four points after connecting on his first two shots from the field. Nowitzki buried a 21-footer off a feed from rookie Jalen Brunson with 9:51 remaining in the first quarter. Then his magical and memorable 20-footer – via a pass from rookie Luka Doncic — near the top of the key at the 8:35 mark of the first quarter tickled the twine and vaulted the Mavs’ legend past Chamberlain. Nowitzki now has 31,424 career points to 31,419 points for Chamberlain.
  2. LUKA’S FIFTH TRIPLE-DOUBLE: Luka Doncic posted his fifth triple-double of the season as he finished Monday’s game with 29 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. That’s the most triple-doubles ever by a Mavs rookie, eclipsing the four triple-doubles Jason Kidd registered during the 1994-’95 season. Doncic’s five triple-doubles are also the second-most by a Mavs player in one season. The only Mavs player with more triple-doubles in a single season is Kidd, who dazzled his way to nine triple-doubles during the 1995-’96 campaign. As is the case with many players, Doncic benefited from the overtime session as he finished regulation play with nine rebounds and six assists, but picked up four rebounds and four assists in the overtime period to tie a neat little bow around his triple-double.
  3. MEJRI A HUGE FACTOR: Center Salah Mejri hasn’t received numerous playing opportunities this season, but he sure made the most of the opportunity he received on Monday. The third-year veteran scored a season-high nine points and also grabbed seven rebounds and had one steal in 14 workmanlike minutes off the bench. Mejri was an efficient 4-of-6 from the field, including 1-of-2 from behind the 3-point arc. It was the fourth 3-pointer Mejri has made in his career, including the third this season as he continues to stretch his game beyond the painted area of the floor. It’s the second resourceful games Mejri has produced in the last four games. Back on Mar. 8 at Orlando, he finished with eight points, five rebounds and three blocks in 16 minutes.
  4. RANDLE DOMINATES AGAIN: It’s something about playing against the Mavs that brings out the best in Julius Randle. Maybe it could be the fact that Randle is from Plano and he knows friends and family will be tuned into the game. Whatever the case, the fifth-year forward had yet another outstanding performance against the Mavs as he poured in a game-high 30 points, hauled in nine boards and was 14-of-24 from the field. Randle also scored on a dunk that put the Pelicans ahead, 110-109, with 5.1 seconds left in regulation following a crucial steal by former TCU standout Kenrich Williams. In three earlier games against the Mavs this season, Randle had 27 points and 18 rebounds, 23 points and four boards, and 22 points and 12 rebounds.
  5. POWELL CONTINUES HIS IMPRESSVE RUN: Dwight Powell continued his very impressive run of late. In 35 minutes against the Pelicans, Powell produced 16 points, eight rebounds and two steals while providing the Mavs with his usual dose of high energy. Powell, who was 6-of-8 from the field, has now scored 10 or more points in 16 of his last 18 games after scoring 10 or more points in 16 of his previous 48 games this season. Some of Powell’s increased production is due to more playing time he’s been afforded after DeAndre Jordan was part of the Jan. 31 trade the Mavs made with the New York Knicks. In his last 18 games, Powell has averaged 15.1 points and 7.1 rebounds while giving the Mavs some very valuable minutes at the center position.

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Nowitzki zoomed by Chamberlain on the all-time scoring list, but Mavs lose to Pelicans, 129-125, in overtime

DALLAS – A perfect Monday night filled with drama, mystery and a little intrigue didn’t end so perfectly for the Dallas Mavericks.

Well, it sort of did.

An American Airlines Center sellout crowd of 20,276 came out in full force, ready to scream and shout to the top of their lungs and watch something that’s very rare in the NBA today. What they witnessed was history in the making as Dirk Nowitzki scored eight points and powered his way past Wilt Chamberlain to become the No. 6 all-time leading scorer in NBA history.

However, Nowitzki’s monumental achievement was tempered because Plano native Julius Randle poured in 30 points to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a wild 129-125 victory in overtime over the Mavs, who dropped to 28-42 on the season.

Nowitzki entered Monday’s game needing only four points to pass Chamberlain. And the 21-year veteran didn’t waste much time solving that mystery and putting to rest on whether this was going to be the night when he reached another impressive milestone.

“Before the year (started) I was only (233) points (from passing Chamberlain), and there were times when I thought I’m not going to make it the way the season went with the (foot) injury, and then coming off the injury I was super, super slow,” Nowitzki said. “But the last few weeks I felt better and I’ve been playing better, and the team obviously has kept looking for me and kept telling me to shoot.

“So, I’m glad it’s over with now. I tried to make it happen (this past Saturday at home against Cleveland) really bad. The atmosphere was amazing – I just couldn’t push it over the top. So, it was good today to just get it out of the way soon. But it’s still so surreal to past a long-time legend.”

The crowd went stir crazy when Nowitzki popped in a 21-footer on his first field goal attempt of the night with 9:51 to go in the first quarter. Then, the moment everyone had been waiting for finally happened.

Nowitzki got the ball near the top of the key off a pass from rookie Luka Doncic, then launched a feathery 20-footer that swished through the nets with 8:35 left in the first quarter. The crowd went ballistic, the players on Mavs’ bench were delirious, and shortly thereafter Nowitzki paused to take in all of the commotion surrounding his history-making shot.

“The first one (the Pelicans) switched. . .and I had a good look,” Nowitzki said. “And then the second one they switched again and I took my time and faced (Anthony Davis) up like I’ve done a million times and I tried to shoot over him – that’s what happened—and it went in and I was happy. It was good to just get it over with on my first two shots.”

Nowitzki now has 31,424 career points to 31,419 career points for Chamberlain.

Unfortunately, although the Mavs eventually built a 61-49 lead early in the third quarter, the air somewhat eerily left the building after Nowitzki climbed up the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

“The crowd was great,” coach Rick Carlisle said. (But) once he hit the mark, the energy and anticipation went down a bit. But it is no excuse for how the game ended.

“I thought we played a great first half as a team, but the second half was very poor in just about every area – from taking care of the ball, to rebounding, to shot-making. You name it.”

The Mavs actually had a chance to win this game after Doncic was undercut and fouled by ex-TCU standout Kenrich Williams with just 1.1 seconds remaining in regulation play and Dallas trailing 110-109. But Doncic, who has had his frequent struggles at the charity stripe this season, missed the first free throw attempt, then sank the second pressure-packed one to send things into overtime.

Doncic ended up registering his fifth triple-double of the season as he finished with 29 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. But not only was he disappointed in the critical free throw he missed late in regulation play, the rookie from Slovenia also criticized himself for going 10-of-26 from the field.

“I took way too many shots,” Doncic said. “A night like this was way, way too many shots.”

In the overtime session, the Pelicans (31-42) opened up a 124-117 lead following a put-back basket and a 3-pointer by Frank Jackson with 40.3 seconds remaining.

Utilizing a 22-6 run, the Mavs bolted ahead, 101-94, with 3:36 left in regulation following a pair of free throws by Doncic. And it really seemed like the Mavs were going to be able to salt this game away after Doncic buried two more free throws for a 109-105 lead with only 19.1 seconds to go in regulation.

However, Elfrid Payton drilled a 3-pointer to trim the Mavs’ lead down to one point. Williams then stole an inexplicably poor inbounds pass by Tim Hardaway Jr., and Randle quickly dunked it and stunned the crowd and put New Orleans ahead, 110-109, with just 5.1 seconds left in regulation.

“We obviously made a lot of mistakes in the second half and a lot of mistakes when it got really tight at the end,” Carlisle said. “New Orleans made some great plays and we made some errors.

“We all own it. Everybody was in on everything in the second half. We have some stuff to look at and fix, and we have a tough road trip ahead.”

But before the Mavs start their three-game road trip on Wednesday in Portland, Carlisle started his postgame press conference by tipping his hat to Nowitzki.

“I just want to congratulate Dirk on surpassing Wilt Chamberlain’s all-time points scored (record),” Carlisle said. “It’s really a monumental historical accomplishment.

“Not many people on the outside know the kind of sacrifices he’s made to be on the floor to accomplish something like this. It’s just another credit to how he’s approached his entire career.”

NOTES: Besides the triple-double by Luka Doncic on Monday, the Mavs got 21 points and six rebounds from Tim Hardaway Jr., 16 points and eight rebounds from Dwight Powell,, and 14 points from rookie Jalen Brunson. Salah Mejri played perhaps his best game of the season as he collected a season-high nine points and grabbed seven rebounds in only 14 minutes. . .Maxi Kleber  left the game for good with 4:59 left in regulation play after spraining his left wrist. The X-rays on Kleber’s wrist were negative. . .The Mavs shot 43.8 percent from the field, but misfired on 26 of their 35 shots from 3-point land.

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Dirk, others pay homage to Wilt as one-name legends swap spots on scoring list

If Wilton Norman Chamberlain were still alive, he’d be 82 years old and no doubt would give a nod of approval that another one-name wonder has passed him on the all-time scoring list.

Dirk Nowitzki took less than four minutes Monday night to get the four points he needed to pass Chamberlain for No. 6 on the NBA scoring list.

Wilt, who died just a few months after Luka Doncic was born in 1999, will always be a legend, even if his name rarely gets thrown around with the likes of Michael, LeBron or Kobe or anybody else when it comes to listing the greatest basketball players ever.

Older NBA watchers appreciate Nowitzki passing Chamberlain more, probably. They remember just how great the Big Dipper was.

“At one time, he was my favorite player in the early, early ‘70s,” Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle said Monday before the Mavericks played New Orleans and Dirk made history once again. “I was a kid growing up in northern New York state and we didn’t have cable TV to watch the ABC game of the week on Sundays, so we drove into town, which was a 5 or 10 minute drive to a friend of ours and he (Chamberlain) was a guy I was simply in awe of.

“Wilt was one of those larger-than-life guys that did virtually everything there was to do on a basketball court. He was constantly resetting the bar of things that could be accomplished by an individual guy and along the way won two championships with two of the most dominant teams in history, Philadelphia in ’67 and the Lakers in ’72.”

Consider some of the numbers Chamberlain put up. He averaged 22.9 rebounds per game for his career.

Averaged.

And he never averaged fewer than 18 rebounds per game for a season.

Passing the ball? He averaged 7.8 assists in the championship season of ’67 and 8.6 helpers the next season.

Scoring? Obviously, he could do a little of that, too. He averaged 50.4 points in the 1961-62 season. He averaged 30.1 points for his career. And of course, there was that 100-point game.

He shot 54 percent for his career and more than 72 percent in his final season.

And, he played every minute of every game in the 1961-62 season, averaging 48.5 minutes per game, thanks to a few overtimes.

Yes, that’s a flat-out legend that Nowitzki passed on Monday night.

More proof? Even some of the kids that Nowitzki has been playing with and against paid homage to Nowitzki – and Chamberlain.

“Great night for Dirk,” said Shawn Marion, one of Nowitzki’s former teammates on the 2011 championship team who wanted to make sure he was present for the milestone. “Wilt was a monster. But Dirk is No. 6 — again.”

Indeed, he was sixth for a time before LeBron James passed him earlier this season to knock him down to seventh. Now Nowitzki is back in sixth.

“It’s amazing,” said the Pelicans’ Julius Randle, who grew up in the Dallas area and knows all about Nowitzki’s history. “For a guy that’s so accomplished, he’s kind of had an underrated career, underappreciated, from my perspective. It’s great that he’s breaking these milestones and people are giving him the love he deserves.”

Interestingly, Randle was in the building a couple years ago when he was with the Lakers and Nowitzki broke the 30,000-point mark.

“Seems like every time I play him he’s breaking some record, man,” Randle said with a laugh. “It’s crazy. I was just happy he didn’t hit the shot over me, to be honest with you.”

Randle also said of Chamberlain: “He was a freak athlete in his time. There wasn’t anybody like him from an athletic standpoint. He was the first of his kind.”

Nowitzki agreed as he addressed the media after his milestone.

“Anytime you beat some of those legends up there, it’s incredible,” he said. “Wilt, in his era, was the most dominant player this league has ever seen. Nobody’s scored 100 (except Chamberlain). It’s surreal at times to be up there with some of these names.

“He dominated his era like nobody else. He was obviously a little before my time, but everybody knows about Wilt, how athletic he was, how big he was, that height, 7-2 or whatever it was. He was just unguardable in that era. That’s why he’s up there in only 13, 14 years. If he’d played a couple more years, he’d be No. 1 or 2.”

Carlisle also said that if there were sports talk shows in the ‘60s like there are now, the big debate would have been Chamberlain vs. Bill Russell.

“I remember very vividly when he passed several years ago,” Carlisle said. “I remember seeing Bill Russell’s reaction to it and it was extremely emotional and those two really pushed each other to levels of greatness that were just amazing to even consider – Russell with all the championships and Wilt with championships and MVPs and individual accomplishments and some of the statistical things that, if you think about them, are just beyond belief.

“That’s the part of this that gets me, along with how I feel about Dirk.”

So add Wilt to the list. He follows Oscar, Hakeem, Elvin, Moses, Shaq and the other one-name heroes of the past that Nowitzki has eclipsed on the scoring list.

It’s a mind-blowing amount of talent. And a list that Nowitzki truly deserves to be part of.

Twitter: @ESefko

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Nowitzki passed Chamberlain and became the No. 6 all-time leading scorer in NBA history

 

DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki became the No. 6 all-time leading scorer in NBA history during Monday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans at American Airlines Center.

Nowitzki went into the game needing just four points to pass Wilt Chamberlain for the sixth spot on the all-time scoring list. The historic bucket – an 18-footer near the top of the key via a feed from rookie Luka Doncic — came with 8:33 remaining in the first quarter when Nowitzki used a jumper to score the 31,420th point of his illustrious career that moved him by Chamberlain, who finished his career with 31,419 points.

Donnie Nelson, the Mavs’ president of basketball operations and the person who helped discover Nowitzki over in Germany, was almost at a loss for words when trying to describe what the 7-footer has meant to the Mavs.

”You run out of words and accolades,” Nelson said. “He’s just one of those very rare human beings in what he’s meant to the city and to the sport.

“It’s just been a complete honor in every sense of the word to be with him for 21 years and running.”

Coach Rick Carlisle has been coaching Nowitzki in the NBA longer than any other person – since 2008. So he’s seen first-hand what type of impact Nowitzki has had on the Mavs’ franchise.

“It’s been a two-decade-plus love affair with really a symbolic and iconic figure when you look at everything Dirk has done on the floor, off the floor and some of the challenging things he’s worked through,” Carlisle said. “I understand the feeling.

“I played with some great players. I played with (Larry) Bird in Boston for three years when he was the best player on the planet, and I played with Patrick Ewing (in New York) when he was an up-and-coming MVP caliber player. People have a great connection to their superstar athletes, especially the ones they can relate to, and Dirk has allowed us to relate to him in some very unusual and special ways because of the person he is. Look, it’s really hard to put so many things into one or two sentences with him because it has been so long.”

Owner Mark Cuban put it more succinctly when explaining what Nowitzki has meant to the Mavs and to the city of Dallas.

“Dirk is the franchise,” Cuban said. “Everything we have been for the last two decades is because of him.

“Personally, he is a friend.  I know he is there for me and he knows I’m there for him.”

Mavs assistant general manager Michael Finley, who was one of Nowitzki’s teammates from 1998-2005, recalls the days when the 21-year veteran appeared to be hellbent on becoming one of the NBA’s special players.

“He took what he left the year before and came back with something else in his bag,” Finley said. “He was never satisfied. I think he improved every year in his career until this year.

“That’s what the greats do. You can’t be satisfied. Every year he came back better. Even if it was a little bit, it was something. By him doing it, it ultimately made the team better.”

Throughout his career, Nowitzki made 14 All-Star teams, was the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2007 and he also collected MVP honors of the 2011 Finals when he led the Mavs to their only world title. Along the way he changed the NBA game in becoming the first big man to step out deep on the perimeter and bang in one 3-pointer after another.

“Dirk’s whole thing is he was going to shoot better any anyone else,” Cuban said. “Dirk uses his size, his length and his athleticism to get shots off.”

In taking a step down memory lane, Finley remembers the moment when Nowitzki became the household name that he is today. The Mavs’ executive said it was in 2001 when Dallas trailed the Utah Jazz 0-2 in a best-of-five first-round playoff series, but battled back and won the next three games and the series, winning the clincher in Salt Lake City.

That was Nowitzki’s third season in the NBA

“That was his first taste of being a superstar as far as the media and as far as on the court, because everything they said in the playoffs they were coming at him and he was able to block it out and still produce,” Finley said. “Then he went in that San Antonio series (in the second round), and I think he had a 40-point game, and I think that was the turning point of him becoming the Dirk that we’ve got.”

 

 

Dirk Nowitzki passed Wilt Chamberlain on Monday night against the New Orleans Pelicans and became the No. 6 all-time leading scorer in NBA history. Here are the Top 10 leading scorers in NBA history.

Player Points Scored Games Played Scoring Average
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 38,387 1,560 24.6
Karl Malone 36,928 1,476 25.0
Kobe Bryant 33,643 1,346 25.0
LeBron James* 32,439 1,194 27.2
Michael Jordan 32,292 1,072 30.1
Dirk Nowitzki* 31,420 1,510 20.8
Wilt Chamberlain 31,419 1,045 30.1
Shaquille O’Neal 28,596 1,207 23.7
Moses Malone 27,409 1,329 20.6
Elvin Hayes 27,313 1,303 21.0

*=Active players

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Nowitzki hoping to pass Wilt Chamberlain during Monday’s game against the Pelicans

DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki woke up Monday morning as the No. 7 all-time leading scorer in NBA history. But there’s a very strong chance the Dallas Mavericks’ franchise player will go to bed Monday night as the No. 6 all-time leading scorer in NBA history.

Nowitzki needs just four points to pass Wilt Chamberlain and become the league’s sixth all-time leading scorer. Going into Monday night’s 7:30 contest at American Airlines Center against the New Orleans Pelicans, Nowitzki has 31,416 career points to 31,419 for Chamberlain.

Obviously, Nowitzki would prefer to bypass Chamberlain at AAC. And in order for that record-breaking occasion to occur, the 21-year veteran would have to reach that benchmark against the Pelicans since this is the Mavs’ final home game before they start a three-game road trip Wednesday night in Portland.

“Breaking records is always fun,” Nowitzki said. “If it happens at home it’s even more special for your fans that’s been riding with you for such a long time.”

After his long recovery from left ankle surgery which he underwent on Apr. 5, Nowitzki has played in 38 games this season and scored less than four points in 15 of those games. However, since he finally got his conditioning intact, he has scored four or more points in 10 of the last 11 games.

Thus, the sellout crowd that’ll be on hand for Monday night’s game are almost assured they’ll be among the fortunate few who’ll be on hand watching history in the making.

Meanwhile, while the Mavs’ fans are gearing up for something they’ll forever remember, the Mavs players are also on watch. On Assist Watch.

Guard Devin Harris was the player who gave the assist to Nowitzki when Germany’s most popular athlete reaching the 30,000-point plateau during a Mar. 7, 2017 home game against the Los Angeles Lakers. However, Harris insists there are no internal debates among his teammates as to who will get the assist on the basket when Nowitzki passes Chamberlain.

“There isn’t any internally (debate),” Harris said. “It’ll be me. Now that’s the end of that.”

Still, the players are just as giddy about Nowitzki passing Chamberlain as Nowitzki is himself. They know there will be something special in the air when the Mavs host the Pelicans.

“It’s watching history,” Harris said. “I was here for 30,000 and I was able to get him the assist.

“You’re happy for him. He’s worked so hard for it. All the things he battled through this (past) summer to come back and play and compete and try to get to a higher level, you’re just happy for the guy.”

Nowitzki scored 14 points during this past Saturday’s 121-116 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers while playing a season-high 29 minutes. Cavs coach Larry Drew, who was an assistant coach with the Lakers during Nowitzki’s rookie campaign in 1998-’99, recalls seeing the Mavs’ legendary player for the first time.

“I remember, it was back in my Laker days, seeing him for the first time and I thought he was a good player when I saw him then,” Drew said. “I just had no idea he would turn out to be the type of player that he turned out to be.

“He just seems to be a guy that always came to work every day, and certainly with his size and his height, shots that he made, you just don’t see guys making shots like that. But he’s had such a phenomenal career and he’s been such an ambassador for our league.”

An ambassador who will undoubtedly reach another in his laundry list of milestones on Monday night. In the meantime, Nowitzki’s teammates are lining up in hopes of being the player attached to that milestone.

“Obviously, winning the game and winning games is our key goal,” Harris said. “But hopefully I can be the one to get (the assist) to him.”

Not one who craves the attention, Nowitzki will just be delighted to get the attention surrounding him passing Chamberlain in his rear view mirror so he can concentrate on the game at hand.

“I’m appreciative of the support at home every time I sub in,” Nowitzki said. “It’s been super fun, it’s been emotional, so hopefully we can get this over with on Monday.”

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Dirk Nowitzki set for another ‘I was there when it happened’ moment

Daily doses of history come with the territory for Dirk Nowitzki.

On Monday, a particularly special dance with a momentous event will, in all probability, take place for Nowitzki and anybody lucky enough to be at American Airlines Center.

Nowitzki has scored 31,416 points in his 21-year NBA career. Wilt Chamberlain, considered by many to be the best big man and maybe the best player period of all time, scored 31,419 points in his 14 seasons.

People still talk about the night when Nowitzki surpassed 30,000 points with that first-half explosion of points against the Los Angeles Lakers. They will never forget other moments in the career of the greatest Maverick ever – the finger roll while getting fouled by Manu Ginobili, the championship-hoisting celebration, the 53-point night against Tracy McGrady and the Houston Rockets.

Monday night, most likely, will be another had-to-be-there event.

Perhaps old-timers will have this sentiment more than the Twitter generation. But the fact is that if you pass Wilt Chamberlain at anything, you have had a major accomplishment.

The question, of course, is when Nowitzki will get the milestone. Will he start? Will he come in with Devin Harris as a bench player, which would allow Harris the opportunity to get the assist for the Wilt-passing bucket?

Remember, it was Harris who assisted when Nowitzki knocked down the jumper that pushed him past 30,000 points.

“That has to happen again, right?” Harris said with a wide grin after Saturday’s win over Cleveland.

If Luka Doncic is back in the starting lineup we don’t know if Nowitzki will remain there. Especially with New Orleans and Anthony Davis (presumably) and Julius Randle waiting for him in the Pelicans’ starting lineup.

The best part of the night is that it will happen at AAC. And it will happen on a telecast by Fox Sports Southwest, which is good for fans who cannot be at the arena.

Occasions like this are good for the NBA, good for the Mavericks, good for fans and good for just about everybody other than those who are trying to buy tickets to the game on the resale market.

Prices, no doubt, are spiking.

But that’s something that, like nightly brushes with history, comes with the territory when Nowitzki is involved.

Twitter: @ESefko

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The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 121-116 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers

  1. ONE WORD — DIRK: Needing 18 points to pass Wilt Chamberlain and become the No. 6 all-time leading scorer in NBA history going into Saturday’s game, Dirk Nowitzki inched ever so close to that high-water mark against the Cavs. Nowitzki finished the game with 14 points – one point shy of his season high – six rebounds, a season-high tying two steals and a season-high tying two blocks. With the crowd buzzing, and while playing a season-high 29 minutes, Nowitzki was 5-of-13 from the field, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range. He now has 31,416 points to 31,419 for Chamberlain.
  2. SOLID OFFENSIVE SHOWING: The Mavs surprisingly had one of their better all-around offensive performances of the season. Surprisingly, because it came with rookie point guard phenom Luka Doncic sitting out the game due to a right knee contusion. Overall, the Mavs were 46-of-90 from the field for a healthy 51.1 percent, and 16-of-35 from behind the 3-point arc for an even healthier 45.7 percent. With Devin Harris dispensing a season-high nine assists and Jalen Brunson adding seven, the Mavs wound up distributing 32 assists. Also, the Mavs turned the ball over just five times.
  3. HARDAWAY CELEBRATES HIS BIRTHDAY: Tim Hardaway Jr. sure knows how to celebrate a birthday. While turning 27 years old on Saturday, Hardaway went out and poured in a game-high 22 points against the Cavs. Hardaway tallied 19 of those points in the first half, which concluded with the Mavs nursing a 66-57 lead. In all, Hardaway converted 8-of-18 shots, and was 4-of-9 from beyond the 3-point line. It’s the second-most points Hardaway has scored since joining the Mavs in that Jan. 31 trade with the York Knicks. He scored 24 points against Portland on Feb. 10.
  4. MAXIMIZING HIS TIME: Maxi Kleber made the 25 minutes he played against the Cavs pay off handsomely and he wound up playing the best game of his career. The second-year forward tallied a season-high 18 points and was 5-of-11 from the field and 3-of-6 from 3-point territory. The five made field goals ties for the most field goals Kleber has converted in a game this season. In addition, Kleber pulled down a career- and game-high tying 12 rebounds. He also maneuvered his way inside the paint to grab a game-high five offensive rebounds.
  5. FINNEY-SMITH RAINING THREES: Dorian Finney-Smith came out of the gate playing the catch-and-shoot game to near perfection. In a first quarter where the Mavs scored 34 points, nine of them came from Finney-Smith on 3-of-4 baskets from beyond the 3-point arc. As a whole, Finney-Smith contributed 14 points and was 5-of-10 from the floor and 4-of-6 from 3-point range. The four 3-pointers are the most he has made in a game in his career. He also had six rebounds and a career-high six assists. It’s the first 10-point, five-rebound, five-assist game of his career.

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The Fast Break: Mavs vs. Cavaliers

Final: Mavs 121, Cavaliers 116

  • Dirk Nowitzki’s climb to sixth place on the all-time scoring list hasn’t always gone as quickly or as smoothly as we might have expected heading into the season. Six points in one game, then nine. Seven, followed by four, followed by two. But, every now and again, his star burns bright as ever and he reminds us all of how he’s pushing for sixth place to begin with. Fifteen points in 25 minutes in Utah, and 15 again in just 19 minutes in Orlando. Tonight, when he exited the game in the third quarter with just four points, needing 14 more to surpass the single-most statistically dominant player in NBA history on the all-time scoring list, no one expected him to return with enough time left to move beyond Wilt. But, lo and behold, Nowitzki poured in 10 points in less than two minutes, coming to within striking distance of Chamberlain, the only player to average 50 points for an entire season. It was a scene reminiscent of the night he reached 30,000 points.

    It’s been a long time since Nowitzki has moved past a player on the all-time list — since Dec. 23, 2015, to be exact, when he hit a baseline jumper to overtake Shaquille O’Neal for sixth place. We will have to wait a bit longer to see him push past Wilt, though it certainly won’t take four years, and in fact it likely won’t even be 48 hours. Nowitzki is four points behind Chamberlain, and he’ll likely wrap it up early in the Mavs’ game against New Orleans on Monday night. We’ll save the sappy stuff for when it happens. His 10-point blitz tonight has set the stage for a memorable evening.

  • It was a career night for Dorian Finney-Smith in more ways than one. The third-year pro scored 14 points, fueled by a career-best four 3-pointers, and added a new personal-best six assists. He was also a team-high +12 on the night in 35 minutes. Finney-Smith has always been a solid passer, but his game has taken a step forward this season when he’s put the ball on the floor. Opponents respect the threat of his jumper, so they typically close out anticipating him to hoist a 3. But when he recognizes a driving lane, he’s quick to attack it. Many of his assists come in this way, as he drives head-first at an imbalanced defense, and usually the only helper slides over from a big man waiting at the rim or from a shooter in the opposite corner. Either way, it results in a wide-open shot for a teammate. He’s also improved at scoring himself off the drive, and added another clip to the highlight reel tonight.

    Finney-Smith has only recently emerged from an extended shooting slump during which he shot just 22.9 percent from beyond the arc from Jan. 31 through the end of February. In his last six games, though, he’s shooting better than 39 percent from deep. His performance tonight was particularly impressive considering Luka Doncic’s absence from the lineup due to a right knee contusion, leaving the Mavericks without their do-everything centerpiece. But Jalen Brunson and Devin Harris picked up the playmaking slack to help set the table for their teammates, and Finney-Smith contributed as well; his six assists were third-most on the team on a night when the Mavs handed out 32 as a team.

  • This was one of the team’s better shooting performances of the season. Dallas hit 45.7 percent of its 3-point attempts, its best mark from beyond the arc since December, and the fourth-highest in any game the team has played this season. The club also hit 13 of its 16 free throw attempts, and it’s a good thing, too — despite opening up a 21-point lead midway through the second quarter, the Mavs ended up needing every point to win the game. They’re now 12-3 this season in games in which they have a true shooting percentage of at least 60 percent, which indicates that when the shots are falling, they’re very difficult to beat no matter the opponent. (True shooting percentage takes into account both the added value of made 3s and also free throw percentage.) This will hopefully level the metaphorical ship for the Mavs’ shooters moving forward, after working through a collective slump. Doncic’s absence hopefully won’t be extended, and if anything, a game off might do him some good just to get a little bit of a break after a few weeks of extremely intense work. Maybe that’ll help him regain his stroke from the outside, too.

  • Maxi Kleber enjoyed one of the most productive games of his career, recording 18 points and 12 rebounds — his fourth career double-double — off the bench. Per Basketball-Reference, he’s just the sixth Maverick in the last 20 years to go for 18 and 12 off the bench, joining an interesting group of players which includes David Lee, Vince Carter (twice), James Singleton, Keith Van Horn, and Antawn Jamison. Since the trades, the Mavericks have been in dire need of bench production, and though Kleber has played well as a starter, his presence off the pine gave the team a much-needed boost. The German also bagged three treys tonight, increasing his 3-point percentage over the last 19 games into the high 30s and close to 40. His versatility as a 4 and/or a 5 is a great asset, giving Dallas the ability to play big (next to Dwight Powell or Salah Mejri) or small (next to Finney-Smith, or even Justin Jackson or Doncic). He’s proven himself to be a valuable player on both ends of the floor in his two years in Dallas.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (28-41) will play the Pelicans at home on Monday. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.

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  • The Fast Break: Mavs vs. Cavaliers

    Final: Mavs 121, Cavaliers 116

  • Dirk Nowitzki’s climb to sixth place on the all-time scoring list hasn’t always gone as quickly or as smoothly as we might have expected heading into the season. Six points in one game, then nine. Seven, followed by four, followed by two. But, every now and again, his star burns bright as ever and he reminds us all of how he’s pushing for sixth place to begin with. Fifteen points in 25 minutes in Utah, and 15 again in just 19 minutes in Orlando. Tonight, when he exited the game in the third quarter with just four points, needing 14 more to surpass the single-most statistically dominant player in NBA history on the all-time scoring list, no one expected him to return with enough time left to move beyond Wilt. But, lo and behold, Nowitzki poured in 10 points in less than two minutes, coming to within striking distance of Chamberlain, the only player to average 50 points for an entire season. It was a scene reminiscent of the night he reached 30,000 points.

    It’s been a long time since Nowitzki has moved past a player on the all-time list — since Dec. 23, 2015, to be exact, when he hit a baseline jumper to overtake Shaquille O’Neal for sixth place. We will have to wait a bit longer to see him push past Wilt, though it certainly won’t take four years, and in fact it likely won’t even be 48 hours. Nowitzki is four points behind Chamberlain, and he’ll likely wrap it up early in the Mavs’ game against New Orleans on Monday night. We’ll save the sappy stuff for when it happens. His 10-point blitz tonight has set the stage for a memorable evening.

  • It was a career night for Dorian Finney-Smith in more ways than one. The third-year pro scored 14 points, fueled by a career-best four 3-pointers, and added a new personal-best six assists. He was also a team-high +12 on the night in 35 minutes. Finney-Smith has always been a solid passer, but his game has taken a step forward this season when he’s put the ball on the floor. Opponents respect the threat of his jumper, so they typically close out anticipating him to hoist a 3. But when he recognizes a driving lane, he’s quick to attack it. Many of his assists come in this way, as he drives head-first at an imbalanced defense, and usually the only helper slides over from a big man waiting at the rim or from a shooter in the opposite corner. Either way, it results in a wide-open shot for a teammate. He’s also improved at scoring himself off the drive, and added another clip to the highlight reel tonight.

    Finney-Smith has only recently emerged from an extended shooting slump during which he shot just 22.9 percent from beyond the arc from Jan. 31 through the end of February. In his last six games, though, he’s shooting better than 39 percent from deep. His performance tonight was particularly impressive considering Luka Doncic’s absence from the lineup due to a right knee contusion, leaving the Mavericks without their do-everything centerpiece. But Jalen Brunson and Devin Harris picked up the playmaking slack to help set the table for their teammates, and Finney-Smith contributed as well; his six assists were third-most on the team on a night when the Mavs handed out 32 as a team.

  • This was one of the team’s better shooting performances of the season. Dallas hit 45.7 percent of its 3-point attempts, its best mark from beyond the arc since December, and the fourth-highest in any game the team has played this season. The club also hit 13 of its 16 free throw attempts, and it’s a good thing, too — despite opening up a 21-point lead midway through the second quarter, the Mavs ended up needing every point to win the game. They’re now 12-3 this season in games in which they have a true shooting percentage of at least 60 percent, which indicates that when the shots are falling, they’re very difficult to beat no matter the opponent. (True shooting percentage takes into account both the added value of made 3s and also free throw percentage.) This will hopefully level the metaphorical ship for the Mavs’ shooters moving forward, after working through a collective slump. Doncic’s absence hopefully won’t be extended, and if anything, a game off might do him some good just to get a little bit of a break after a few weeks of extremely intense work. Maybe that’ll help him regain his stroke from the outside, too.

  • Maxi Kleber enjoyed one of the most productive games of his career, recording 18 points and 12 rebounds — his fourth career double-double — off the bench. Per Basketball-Reference, he’s just the sixth Maverick in the last 20 years to go for 18 and 12 off the bench, joining an interesting group of players which includes David Lee, Vince Carter (twice), James Singleton, Keith Van Horn, and Antawn Jamison. Since the trades, the Mavericks have been in dire need of bench production, and though Kleber has played well as a starter, his presence off the pine gave the team a much-needed boost. The German also bagged three treys tonight, increasing his 3-point percentage over the last 19 games into the high 30s and close to 40. His versatility as a 4 and/or a 5 is a great asset, giving Dallas the ability to play big (next to Dwight Powell or Salah Mejri) or small (next to Finney-Smith, or even Justin Jackson or Doncic). He’s proven himself to be a valuable player on both ends of the floor in his two years in Dallas.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (28-41) will play the Pelicans at home on Monday. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.

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  • Mavs beat the Cavs, 121-116, and Nowitzki now four points shy of passing Chamberlain

    DALLAS – One by one, they came to American Airlines Center on Saturday night determined to not only see history made, but also to see the Dallas Mavericks snap their seven-game losing streak.

    Well, at least the sellout crowd of 20,347 went home half satisfied.

    Tim Hardaway Jr. led a balanced Mavs’ attack with 22 points on his 27th birthday and the home team was able to blow out the candles on a pulsating 121-116 triumph over the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, the other big news of the night was the run Dirk Nowitzki is making towards becoming the No. 6 all-time leading scorer in NBA history.

    Nowitzki entered Saturday’s game just 18 points shy of passing Wilt Chamberlain for the sixth spot on the league’s all-time scoring chart. The 21-year veteran played a season-high 29 minutes and finished with 14 points on 5-of-13 shots, coming up only four shy of overtaking Chamberlain and sending the crowd home really, really happy.

    “I was going for it, there,” Nowitzki said. “I just didn’t have the hot hand there down the stretch.

    “I forced it, obviously, a little bit. I didn’t really have any great looks. We won the game and we’re moving on.”

    Since the Mavs host New Orleans on Monday, more than likely Nowitzki will be able to make history and past Chamberlain against the Pelicans. And that will suit him just fine.

    “I was dragging a little bit down the stretch, that’s why actually coach gave me another minute,” Nowitzki said. “It was just good to be out there.”

    Obviously, coach Rick Carlisle and the rest of the Mavs are very aware where Nowitzki stands on the all-time scoring list.

    “A this point the whole world is going to know where things are at, which is cool,” Carlisle said. “Our guys have been aware of it since the All-Star break.

    “And as things have gotten closer, certainly the arena has been more perked up. Tonight, it was mayhem in there.”

    Mayhem definitely ensued when Nowitzki scored and followed that up with a 3-pointer, and then added another 3-pointer a short time later to push the Mavs ahead 112-96 with 7:13 left in the game.

    “After I made those back-to-back three’s the crowd went wild,” Nowitzki said. “It was a fun game.”

    The Mavs played without their best player, Luka Doncic, who sat out a right knee contusion. However, the Mavs shot 51.1 percent from the field, 45.7 percent from 3-point range (16 of 35), and distributed 32 assists while turning the ball over just five times.

    Guard Devin Harris acknowledged that the Mavs were trying their best to help Nowitzki get over the scoring hump against the Cavs. But they also had to keep a watchful eye on the Cavs, who fell behind by 20 points in the first half and sliced their deficit all the way down to 119-116 when Collin Sexton scored with 5.3 seconds remaining,

    But Harris closed the deal with a pair of free throws with 4.3 seconds left.

    “I mean at the end of the day we’re still playing a game, so we had to make enough plays to win the game,” Harris said. “But I think everybody sacrificed and tried to get it open for (Nowitzki).”

    Besides Nowitzki and Hardaway, heroes were plentiful on this night for the Mavs. Maxi Kleber registered his second straight double-double as he finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, Jalen Brunson finished with 16 points and seven assists, and Dwight Powell scored 16.

    Also for the Mavs, Dorian Finney-Smith was 4-of-6 from 3-point land and collected 14 points, six rebounds and two steals, and Trey Burke added 11 points in just 22 minutes. Still, the spotlight was shining bright on Nowitzki as he continues to chase history.

    “We wanted to get it open for him so he could have it,” Harris said. “I’m hoping this next game we will be able to, but you know getting on the streak we have been on you know obviously being so close to winning games, you know playing a lot harder on defense it was more important to get the win tonight. But obviously we want him to get the next one.”

    So do Nowitzki.

    “I haven’t played 30 minutes, obviously, in a long, long time,” Nowitzki said. “Overall, not that great enough to put it over 18, but there’s always the next night, hopefully.”

    NOTES: By sitting out Saturday’s game with a right knee contusion, rookie Luka Doncic has now missed five games this season due to various injuries. . .The 22 points Tm Hardaway Jr. scored against the Cavs were two shy of the most points he’s scored since he was traded to the Mavs from the New York Knicks on Jan. 31. Hardaway’s high with the Mavs are the 24 points he scored during a Feb. 10 home game against Portland. . .Luka Doncic received a trophy at halftime for winning the NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for his play during the month of February. It’s the fourth consecutive month Doncic has won this award. He also became the first member of the Mavs to win the award four times in one season. . .The Mavs will host the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday at 7:30 p.m. before opening a three-game road trip Wednesday in Portland.

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    Mavericks’ win featured a surplus of strong rookie showings, even without Doncic

    When you see Luka Doncic on a regular basis, it’s easy to get spoiled.

    And easy to overlook a lot of other NBA rookies.

    But on Saturday night when Doncic was benched by a right knee contusion, Maverick fans got to see one of the other strong rookies that came in with the Mavericks’ star in the 2018 draft.

    And we’re not talking about Jalen Brunson, although he had another big-time showing, which has become routine for him since the All-Star break.

    But Cleveland’s Collin Sexton, the point guard out of Alabama, got hot from 3-point range in the third quarter and showed the sellout crowd why, in most seasons, he would be considered the steal of the draft with the No. 8 overall pick.

    He rolled to 28 points, 18 of them after halftime as he tried to keep the Cavaliers in the game that in the end became a watch party to see if Dirk Nowitzki could pass Wilt Chamberlain and move into the No. 6 all-time scoring slot.

    Nowitzki didn’t, even though he had a 10-point fourth quarter. He finished with 14 points and will need four points on Monday against New Orleans at American Airlines Center to pass Wilt.

    Meanwhile, the rookies who played on Saturday put on a great show. When eyes weren’t on Dirk, they were watching Sexton run wild and Brunson put together a 16-point, seven-assist night. Since the All-Star break, he’s averaging 16.4 points and is hitting 40.4 percent of his 3-point tries.

    Maverick fans know that Doncic is a cornerstone for the franchise. What they also are finding out is that Brunson may very well be a foundation piece for the Mavericks’ future, too.

    “He’s certainly building a case that he’s a big part of our core of young guys moving forward, for sure,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Brunson. “Whether he’s a starter or rotation guy, he’s a winner.”

    Meanwhile, Doncic’s knee problem, which is not believed to be serious, sabotaged a meeting with Sexton that would have featured two of the marquee point guards from last summer’s draft.

    But it opened the door for Sexton to shine. He’s averaging nearly 16 points per game in his rookie season. Only Doncic, No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton of Phoenix and Atlanta’s Trae Young (No. 5 overall) are averaging more.

    “Collin has been playing well,” Cleveland coach Larry Drew said. “The game is starting to slow down for him a little. He’s really doing a good job of picking and choosing his spots. He’s going to make mistakes. He’s still a rookie. But it’s our job to help him grow, and he’s definitely doing that. He’s had a phenomenal year.”

    Carlisle couldn’t agree more, mentioning that Sexton, Doncic and Brunson are part of a terrific overall rookie class.

    “He’s good,” the coach said of Sexton. “And he’s improved tremendously since the beginning of the year. He’s got a much greater understanding of NBA spacing. He’s picked up his 3-point shooting in a big way and his drive game has been there all year.”

    Sexton helped quiet a boisterous crowd as Nowitzki was making his run at catching Chamberlain. He had scored 10 quick points to put the Mavericks up by 16. Sexton had six points in the final six minutes as the Cavaliers made their run.

    “We let Dirk get going a little,” Sexton said. “They started getting that energy. When we started making that run, we took Dirk out of the game and tried to limit the crowd.

    “I’m just trying to go out there and let the game come to me and play relaxed.”

    Just as for Doncic and Brunson, losing games as a rookie has not been easy for Sexton. He was used to winning a lot at Alabama under Avery Johnson, just as Doncic was in winning a European championship last season with Real Madrid and Brunson was when he won two NCAA titles in three seasons with Villanova.

    But Brunson, Sexton and Doncic – along with Ayton, Marvin Bagley, Jaren Jackson and Wendell Carter, among others – are proving that the learning curve for this rookie class will be a fast one.

    Twitter: @ESefko

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    Losses mount, but fans might want to use an eye test before casting opinions

    Sometimes, we all need a Friday afternoon dose of truth.

    That’s why it’s important to address the surprisingly large number of Twitter users and other social media savants that believe the Mavericks are doing a terrific job of tanking down the stretch to give themselves the best chance they can get to keep their first-round draft pick.

    To recap, that pick goes to Atlanta as compensation for the Luka Doncic trade unless it is in the top five. And as the losses mount, the Mavericks’ odds of having their lottery draft pick be in the top five keep getting better.

    It’s still laughable when people utter the “T” word.

    This team traded away four of its five starters and got one (Tim Hardaway) in return. They lost another top player to injury for the rest of the season (J.J. Barea).

    What did people expect to happen when the Mavericks went all-in with Kristaps Porzingis for next season?

    Losses were, and are, going to happen.

    And yet, to say that this team – players and coaches – is trying to lose is completely unfair to Rick Carlisle, Luka Doncic, Dirk Nowitzki and the rest of the roster.

    Apparently, people confuse a shortage of manpower with tanking.

    That’s unfortunate.

    If you stayed up to the bitter end of Thursday’s loss at Denver, you got a double-dose of proof that the Mavericks are trying their best to win games. A furious comeback from 10 points down in the final minutes culminated with a Doncic dunk with just over 5 seconds showing. He was fouled on the drive and missed the free throw.

    The play was a heroic moment, and yet when he missed the free throw, he was as distraught as he could be.

    Then Nikola Jokic threw in a crazy buzzer-beater to break the Mavericks’ hearts. The despondency was clear and anybody who took to Twitter to applaud the loss was showing a serious lack of appreciation for the way an outmanned team beat one of the best teams in the Western Conference on their home floor for virtually all 48 minutes.

    It was a tough loss. And, yes, when all is said and done, it may help the Mavericks’ lottery position.

    But anybody who doesn’t see the difference between this March and last March and the way the Mavericks are playing clearly has their blinders on.

    Twitter: @ESefko

     

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    Losses mount, but fans might want to use an eye test before casting opinions

    Sometimes, we all need a Friday afternoon dose of truth.

    That’s why it’s important to address the surprisingly large number of Twitter users and other social media savants that believe the Mavericks are doing a terrific job of tanking down the stretch to give themselves the best chance they can get to keep their first-round draft pick.

    To recap, that pick goes to Atlanta as compensation for the Luka Doncic trade unless it is in the top five. And as the losses mount, the Mavericks’ odds of having their lottery draft pick be in the top five keep getting better.

    It’s still laughable when people utter the “T” word.

    This team traded away four of its five starters and got one (Tim Hardaway) in return. They lost another top player to injury for the rest of the season (J.J. Barea).

    What did people expect to happen when the Mavericks went all-in with Kristaps Porzingis for next season?

    Losses were, and are, going to happen.

    And yet, to say that this team – players and coaches – is trying to lose is completely unfair to Rick Carlisle, Luka Doncic, Dirk Nowitzki and the rest of the roster.

    Apparently, people confuse a shortage of manpower with tanking.

    That’s unfortunate.

    If you stayed up to the bitter end of Thursday’s loss at Denver, you got a double-dose of proof that the Mavericks are trying their best to win games. A furious comeback from 10 points down in the final minutes culminated with a Doncic dunk with just over 5 seconds showing. He was fouled on the drive and missed the free throw.

    The play was a heroic moment, and yet when he missed the free throw, he was as distraught as he could be.

    Then Nikola Jokic threw in a crazy buzzer-beater to break the Mavericks’ hearts. The despondency was clear and anybody who took to Twitter to applaud the loss was showing a serious lack of appreciation for the way an outmanned team beat one of the best teams in the Western Conference on their home floor for virtually all 48 minutes.

    It was a tough loss. And, yes, when all is said and done, it may help the Mavericks’ lottery position.

    But anybody who doesn’t see the difference between this March and last March and the way the Mavericks are playing clearly has their blinders on.

    Twitter: @ESefko

     

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    The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 100-99 loss to the Denver Nuggets

    1. HEARTBREAKING DEFEAT: In the bushel of games the Mavs have lost this season, Thursday’s game ranked right up there with (the worst of) them. The Mavs went toe-to-toe with one the NBA’s best team and led by 12 with over 11 minutes to go, and by one point after Luka Doncic hammered home an aggressive dunk right on the noggin of Paul Millsap – and on the noggin of Mason Plumlee, too — with 5.8 seconds to go. But that was more than enough time for Nikola Jokic to drain a ridiculous nine-foot turnaround fadeaway jumper at the buzzer while he was totally blanketed by Dwight Powell.
    2. MAVS SHOWED THEY CAN PLAY WITH ONE OF THE NBA’S BEST TEAM: The Mavs have lost seven consecutive games. But they showed Thursday night that they can play with Denver in Denver, who has the fourth-best record in the NBA and the league’s second-best home record. The Mavs outscored outscored the Nuggets, 12-6, in second-chance points. The Mavs also showed some progress they’ve made since the twin trades that relieved them of four of their starters some six weeks ago. The Nuggets are considered one of the NBA’s elite teams. And while the Mavs are tied with having the worst road record in the league, it took an improbable shot by Nikola Jokic at the buzzer to beat Dallas.
    3. LUKA CONTINUES TO IMPRESS: Luka Doncic came very close to registering his fifth triple-double of the season. The rookie from Slovenia finished the game with 24 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. It’s the seventh time this season that Doncic has been either one or two assists or rebounds away from collecting a triple-double. Doncic was 10-of-23 from the field and only 1-of-8 from 3-point territory. But after posterizing Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee on that vicious dunk with 5.8 seconds left, Doncic was upset that he failed to complete the three-play play when he was fouled by Millsap.
    4. BRUNSON STILL HAS THE HOT HAND: Jalen Brunson continues to produce so fluidly that he’s playing like someone who’s been in the NBA for three for four years. The rookie from Villanova tallied 20 points, grabbed five rebounds and dispensed four assists against the Nuggets. He also was 8-of-15 from the field and 3-of-7 from 3-point land. It’s the fourth time in the last 11 games that Brunson has scored 20 or more points in a game as his role gets more and more defined. Whenever Luka Doncic goes to the bench, Brunson has looked very comfortable running the Mavs’ offense.
    5. OH, WHAT A DAY, WHAT A DAY: Years from now the historians will remember that day a bomb cyclone prevented the Mavs from flying to Denver on Wednesday – their scheduled departure day. History will also remember that the tired-legged Mavs – they flew to Denver on Thursday morning and had to cancel their shootaround – caught lightning in a bottle and gave the Nuggets all they could handle. In addition, history will show that Dirk Nowitzki got a tech while he was standing on the baseline saying something a referee. Nowitzki said he’s going to try to get the T rescinded. History will also show that Denver needed a 21-8 finishing kick to beat by the Mavs by one point at the buzzer.

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    Mavs drop a very tough one at the buzzer to the Denver Nuggets, 100-99

    DENVER – This was one of those cruel-and-unusual-punishment kind of game for the Dallas Mavericks.

    On a Thursday that started with an early morning flight from Dallas, the Mavs weathered one storm after another from the Denver Nuggets. Unfortunately, the game lasted one second too long as Nikola Jokic scored on a wild off-balanced nine-foot unimaginable turnaround fadeaway jumper at the buzzer over the outstretched arms of Dwight Powell and the Nuggets sneaked out of the Pepsi Center with a 100-99 triumph over the Mavs.

    The loss was disappointing on all levels for the Mavs. That’s because they know they truly outplayed one of the four-best teams in the NBA for the lion’s share of the game, but came away empty-handed.

    “The effort was great,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s just getting over the hump is where we’ve got to get to.

    “We did many, many things well. And (Jokic) hit a very difficult shot.”

    It appeared as though the Mavs were going to pull one of their biggest upsets of the season when Luka Doncic stormed through the lane and brought the Mavs’ bench to its collective feet when he throw down a vicious tomahawk dunk right over Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee to put Dallas up, 99,98, with just 5.8 seconds left.

    In his attempt to play defense, Millsap fouled Doncic on the play. However, Doncic missed the free throw, thus leaving the door open for the Nuggets to find a way to win it at the end, which they did.

    Meanwhile, Doncic blamed himself for not making the free throw that – the way things turned out – would have forced the Nuggets to make a basket like the one Jokic made just to send the game into overtime.

    “I should have made that free throw,” said Doncic, who was 3-of-7 from the charity stripe. “I feel like I let my team down.”

    The Mavs took a comfortable-at-that-time 91-79 lead with 11:21 remaining in the game on a bucket by Doncic. But the Mavs only made three of their final 18 shots and committed four turnovers in wilting down the stretch.

    “We missed about five wide open shots,” Carlisle said. “We had some great looks — they made a run.

    “I thought we kept our poise really well. Luka made a great play to get the lead and (Jokic) hit as difficult a shot as you’re going to hit to win a game with no time left.”

    The loss was the 12th in the last 13 games – and seventh in a row — for the Mavs and dropped their record to 27-41. Denver, meanwhile, increased its record to 45-22.

    As far as trying to fly to Denver itself, the Mavs had all sorts of difficulties. The Mavs were originally slated to fly out of Dallas on Wednesday at 3 p.m. CDT and arrive in Denver at 4 p.m. MDT.

    But because of a so-called bomb cyclone – basically a blizzard of historic proportions — that created treacherous weather conditions in Denver, the Mavs had to change their flight plans because the entire Denver International Airport was closed to all traffic on Wednesday.

    Ultimately, the Mavs left Dallas on Thursday at 8 a.m. CDT and arrived at their Denver hotel at 9:45 a.m. MDT.  Not exactly ideal conditions considering the Mavs’ regular routine was altered – they canceled their Thursday morning shootaround – and they had to resort to Plan B.

    “It would have been a messed up day if the game was like a 7 o’clock start,” said forward Dirk Nowitzki, who scored nine points. “But the game was at 8:45 almost, we got to rest all day, everybody got his nap routine.

    “We were at the hotel by about (9:45 Thursday morning), so obviously that wasn’t any excuse at all. We played well enough to steal the game.”

    Doncic finished the game one assist shy of a triple-double as he collected 24 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, while Brunson added 20 points, five rebounds and four assists. Also for Dallas, Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 17 points, Powell had 16 points and 10 boards, and Maxi Kleber finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

    On the strength of eight points from Powell and seven apiece by Brunson and Hardaway, the Mavs took a 29-20 lead late in the first quarter. Powell, in fact, scored eight of Dallas’ first 10 points as the Mavs seemed well rested after an unusual day of traveling.

    After Millsap scored his 20th point at that juncture of the game to put the Nuggets ahead 49-44 with 3:34 left before intermission, the Mavs finished the half on a spirited 13-2 run and went to the locker room nursing a 57-51 lead. Hardaway popped in a pair of 3-pointers to highlight the run, and a pair of free throws by Kleber ended it as the Mavs skipped to the dressing room with that six-point cushion.

    When the Nuggets were making one of their runs late in the third quarter, Nowitzki was whistled for a technical foul. And he wasn’t even in the game.

    “Actually I wasn’t on the bench – I was on the baseline,” Nowitzki said. “I think I got the tech, actually, because I didn’t cuss, which is one of the few times I didn’t cuss, so that’s why I was confused why I got the tech.

    “I guess the ref said its because I was on the court, which is not true. I was behind the court, I was not on the court. But I’m going to fight that one and get my money back.”

    After this gut-punching loss, the Mavs will host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. But they’ll always remember that thunderous dunk by Doncic which almost won this game.

    “I love the poise that we kept when they were making the run, and I love the aggression on the play when Luka dunked the ball and got fouled,” Carlisle said. “And then it comes down to one play.”

    NOTES: Over 5,000 folks spent Wednesday night in Denver International Airport, according to officials, due to the horrific weather conditions that ultimately forced the entire airport to close. A total of 7.1 inches of snow fell in Denver on Wednesday, and the blizzard conditions got the city caught up for the season. Some 39.2 inches of snow has now fell in Denver during this winter season. . . Center Salah Mejri explained that he was overjoyed that the Mavs decided not to fly to Denver on Wednesday. “I’ve traveled a lot in Europe, to Russia where it’s very cold in Moscow,” Mejri said. “Even here I traveled to very cold places like Minnesota in the winter and I never saw something like how it was snowing. It was crazy.”. . Guard Courtney Lee explained that arriving in the city on the same day of the game comes with many challenges. “We got to the hotel (at 9:45) and then we had a meeting at 11 and everybody was tired,” Lee said. “So from that meeting, people went back to the room and just slept the whole time, as opposed to we had a shootaround, go to the gym, break a sweat, get loose.  Or have a later meeting throughout the day, and then you can get into your routine. So, it just threw a lot of stuff off. It takes you all the way back to your AAU days when you’re traveling and playing on the same day.”

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    All (unusual) travel aside, the Mavs are up and ready to battle the Denver Nuggets

    DENVER – Because of inclement weather conditions in Denver, the Dallas Mavericks have had a very unusual day in the Mile High City.

    After moving their team plane’s departure out of Dallas from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning because of poor weather in Denver, the Mavs arrived at their team hotel in Denver on Thursday morning at 9:45 local time. Thus, there was no time for a shootaround in preparation of Thursday’s 8:30 p.m. MDT tipoff between the Mavs and Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.

    Coach Rick Carlisle said arriving in the city on the same day he has to play a game has its many challenges.

    “In the modern era of private planes and charters, I’ve never been with a team where this has happened,” Carlisle said. “We got out (of Dallas) this morning, gained an hour, which was good, got right to the hotel, we had a team meeting and then got off our feet.

    “It was a different kind of day for sure. It was a very unusual situation.”

    Center Salah Mejri said he’s never seen anything like this before.

    “I’ve traveled a lot in Europe, to Russia where it’s very cold in Moscow,” Mejri said. “Even here I traveled to very cold places like Minnesota in the winter and I never saw something like how it was snowing. It was crazy.

    “We saw a snow storm in New York this year, too, but it wasn’t anything like that. This was scary.”

    Guard Courtney Lee said arriving in the city where he has t play a game on the same day took him back to his high school days.

    “It threw a lot of stuff off,” Lee said. “It takes you all the way back to your AAU days when you’re traveling and playing on the same day.”

    Lee was grateful for one thing that came out of this very unusual day.

    “A got a couple of buddies that live out here and they were like it was a blizzard (on Wednesday), and the winds were crazy last night,” Lee said. “I’m glad that we didn’t try to force the issue and come last night, and put safety first and come this morning.”

    Carlisle isn’t about to use the unusual travel as any kind of an excuse if things don’t go right for the Mavs when they battle the Nuggets.

    “Look, the NBA is wild and crazy at times and sometimes things like this happen,” Carlisle said. “You just got to get ready and play.

    “I’m not big into excuses. I certainly don’t want to make any excuse before they throw the ball up.”

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    Mavs’ charter flight to Denver got canceled; will fly to Denver on Thursday morning

    DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks were scheduled to fly to Denver on Wednesday afternoon. But their charter flight was canceled due to extreme inclement weather conditions in Denver.

    Instead, the Mavs are now slated to fly to Denver on Thursday morning and play the Denver Nuggets on Thursday at 9:30 p.m. CDT in a game that will be televised nationally on TNT.

    After playing the Nuggets, the Mavs will open a two-game home stand on Saturday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    The Mavs are 27-40 on the season, while the Nuggets are 44-22 and in second place in the Western Conference.

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    Porzingis had his first 5-on-5 practice exactly 13 months after undergoing ACL surgery

     

    DALLAS – Exactly 13 months to the day from undergoing successful surgery on his torn left anterior cruciate ligament, Kristaps Porzingis went through his first full-scale 5-on-5 practice with the Dallas Mavericks.

    “That’s not how we planned it,” Porzingis said. “It’s just the progression that we had. I could have been on the court way earlier than this.

    “But we really took our time, we really stayed patient, I stayed really patient. I’m proud of myself for staying that patient. But now it’s here, I’m excited and I can’t wait for the next practice.”

    Porzingis went through his first 5-on-5 practice with the Mavs on Wednesday at the Lympo practice facilities. From all indications, it was a very successful practice – with no restrictions placed on Porzingis – and the 7-3 forward/center walked away smelling like a rose and feeling very confident about what he’s been able to accomplish.

    “I’ve visualized a lot and I see myself playing, so this whole time I’m always thinking in my head ‘I don’t want to come back and be rusty,’ “ Porzingis said. “I want to be in the game right away.

    “I missed the shots today, but I felt good on the court, I felt comfortable, I felt fluid and I think that’s important. The shots will start falling and the more we play, the more I play. It’s good to finally be able to do something physical, so I’m happy.”

    Porzingis sustained his knee injury on Feb. 6, 2018 against the Milwaukee Bucks while he was still a member of the New York Knicks, and then underwent the surgery on Feb. 13, 2018. In a seven-player, two-draft pick trade, the Mavs acquired Porzingis from the Knicks on Jan. 31.

    Although there are absolutely no plans for Porzingis to play this season, coach Rick Carlisle can’t help but think about the prospects of having the three-year veteran in his starting lineup next season and beyond.

    “He went through a full practice with no issues, so very encouraging,” Carlisle said. “He’s made tremendous progress with his rehab, with his conditioning, his strength, and (playing 5-on-5 basketball) was the next logical progression.

    “He played 3-on-3 yesterday morning with some of the other guys and did extremely well there. So this went really well.”

    Porzingis and Carlisle have had discussions about what his role will be with the Mavs going forward, and Porzingis is very confident about that critical role.

    “I really like his philosophy, the way he sees me out there on the court, and I think we’re on the same page on all of the stuff that we talked about,” Porzingis said. “So I’m really excited to play for coach Carlisle and it’s going to be a great opportunity for me to take my game to the next level.”

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    Porzingis went through his first 5-on-5 practice session with the Mavs on Wednesday

    DALLAS – Kristaps Porzingis went through his first 5-on-5 practice session with the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. Afterwards, he declared himself in better condition and more healthier now than he was before he suffered a torn left anterior cruciate ligament on Feb. 6, 2018.

    “I definitely feel better than I did before (the injury),” Porzingis said after Wednesday’s practice at the Lympo practice facilities. “The way I move, the way I run, the way I jump, everything just feels more fluid.

    “It’s been almost 13 months since I played 5-on-5, and it felt great today to be back on the court and be back with the guys and just enjoying what I truly love.”

    While Porzingis may be feeling better, coach Rick Carlisle acknowledged that from his understanding from upper management, the plan remains for the 7-3 forward/center to sit out the remainder of this season and make his regular season debut with the Mavs next season.

    “My understanding is that he’s not playing (this season),” Carlisle said. “I’m operating on the assumption that he’s not playing.

    “If somebody told me something different, then that would be different. But that has not happened. And I don’t think there should be any talk about him playing (this season).”

    Porzingis injured his knee during a Feb. 6, 2018 game against the Milwaukee Bucks while he was still playing for the New York Knicks. The three-year veteran, who was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team last year but couldn’t play in it because of his injury, underwent successful surgery on Feb. 13, 2018.

    The Mavs traded Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and two first-round draft picks to the Knicks for Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke, Courtney Lee and Porzingis this past Jan. 31. Since then, Porzingis had been going through various rehab treatments and playing limited basketball — until Wednesday’s full-scale workout.

    “I’ve been feeling good playing 1-on-1, 2-on-2, 3-on 3, so I felt comfortable,” Porzingis said. “My body has changed since I got hurt, and I feel stronger on the court. I’m moving well, so I’m really happy about the progress that we’ve made.

    “I missed shots (at Wednesday’s practice), but I felt good, I felt fluid on the court, I felt fast and I felt really good physically. Also, I already have a high confidence because of the work that I’ve been putting in to get to this point, so it was really natural for me to just be back on the court and be competing and contacting. So it really felt good and I’m looking forward to the next practice.”

    Carlisle noted that there weren’t any restrictions on what Porzingis could or couldn’t do in Wednesday’s practice. And that made Carlisle become even more enthusiastic about Porzingis’ appearance on the court.

    “We went 15 or 20 minutes of live 5-on-5 and he did a lot of stuff leading up to it, whether it was full court with his movements,” Carlisle said. “Many, many encouraging signs there.

    “But days like today are extremely important. The impact that he had in practice was high. Not only does he score the ball, but he moves, he passes, he can make plays. He was involved in a lot of things going on out there.”

    After practice, Porzingis did some one-on-one drills with forward Dirk Nowitzki. All in all, these were successful steps he was able to make as the Mavs have their eyes squarely on the future.

    “A day like today where he gets through a full live practice and staying after it and playing 1-on-1 and shooting with Dirk, this is great stuff,” Carlisle said. “We’re playing a spacing style transition game and he shoots it, he drives it, he can make spot-ups.

    “All of his skills are a big factor. What I saw today confirmed that we’re on the right track with our approach, which is good.”

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    The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 112-105 loss to the San Antonio Spurs

    1. BRUNSON’S CAREER NIGHT: Jalen Brunson has come a very long way from his days participating in the Mavs’ summer league last July. The rookie from Villanova proved once again that he should have indeed been a first-round draft pick last summer. While playing 37 minutes against the Spurs, Brunson poured in a career-high 34 points and was an exceptional 12-of-16 from the field and 3-of-6 from 3-point range. It’s the most points Brunson has scored in a game since his high school days. The second-round draft pick also extended his career-best double-figure scoring output to five straight games. Over the last five games Brunson is averaging 18.2 ppg and 5.2 apg, and is shooting 60.7 percent from the field and is a perfect 16-for-16 from the free throw line.
    2. THE POWER OF 20 FOR POWELL: After reaching the 20-point scoring barrier only four times in his first four seasons, Dwight Powell has now accomplished that feat five times in the last 10 games. That includes the 20 points he collected Tuesday against the Sours when he was 6-of-15 from the field and 7-of-7 from the free throw line, and also grabbed seven rebounds while playing a career-high 39 minutes. Powell has been on an amazing tear in the 10 games since the All-Star break, with averages of 16.9 ppg and 7.0 rpg in 32.7 mpg. During that 10-game span he also has converted on 62.2 percent of the field goals (61-of-98), 46.4 percent of his 3-point attempts (13-of-28), and 77.3 percent of his free throws (34-of-44).
    3. MAVS WON (MOST OF) THE STAT GAME: Except for the most important stat of them all, the Mavs won most of the key stats against the Spurs. The Mavs outscored the Spurs in the paint by a 40-32 margin, they outscored the Spurs in second-chance points 14-12, and they outscored them in fast break points 7-4. The Mavs also scored 42 points on their 3-point baskets to just 24 points for the Spurs on theirs. The Mavs even finished the game tied with the Spurs in rebounds, 38-38. However, while the Spurs were a perfect 18-of-18 from the free throw line, the Mavs were just 15-of-26 from the charity stripe. And those 11 misses were crucial in a game that went down to the last minute before it was decided.
    4. LUKA’S STRUGGLES: Chalk this up as one of those rare games that happens on occasions to even the game’s best players. No one is immune to it. Such was the case Tuesday night as Luka Doncic struggled mightily against the Spurs. The rookie from Slovenia scored just 12 points, picked up six rebounds, distributed seven assists and blocked two shots. However, he was just 5-of-18 from the field, 1-of-7 from beyond the 3-point arc, and an even more surprising 1-of-9 from the free throw line. Doncic was limited in Monday’s practice after he suffered a left knee strain late in Sunday’s game against the Houston Rockets. Perhaps he was still dealing with that injury against the Spurs.
    5. DIRK CLOSING IN ON WILT: With the eight points he scored against the Spurs, Dirk Nowitzki is now just 27 points away from passing Wilt Chamberlain and becoming the No. 6 all-time leading scorer in NBA history. Chamberlain finished his illustrious career with 31,419 points, and Nowitzki has now scored 31,393 points. At the rate he’s been going lately, Nowitzki could pass Chamberlain either in Saturday’s home game against Cleveland or in Monday’s home game against New Orleans. Nowitzki went 3-for-3 from the field against the Spurs — including 2-for-2 from 3-point land — and tallied eight points less than six minutes into Tuesday’s game. But he misfired on his only other two field goal attempts.

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    Mavs missed 11 crucial free throws in dropping a 112-105 decision to the San Antonio Spurs

     

    DALLAS – Of all the things that didn’t go right for the Dallas Mavericks in Tuesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, their inability to make successful connections with their free throw attempts is near the top of the list.

    While the Spurs were 18-of-18 from the charity stripe, the Mavs missed 11 of their 26 free throws attempts. Those miscues ultimately loomed large as the Spurs got out of American Airlines Center with a 112-105 victory.

    The sellout crowd of 20,366 was puzzled that rookie Luka Doncic was just 1-of-9 from the free throw line, including missing all three charity throws in the third quarter when he was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer.

    “We just had an off night, and they’re a team that doesn’t make mistakes,” coach Rick Carlisle said. They’re 18-for-18 from the line.

    “It wasn’t just Luka that struggled. (Maxi) Kleber missed a couple. We have had struggles all year. Dirk (Nowitzki) missed one and missed three the last time we played at home (on Sunday against Houston). Sometimes that happens, but it is a process and it is trusting in your routine.”

    Doncic’s misses were so unusual that Carlisle was asked if the talented rookie was feeling OK. After all, Doncic was limited in Monday’s practice due to a left knee strained he suffered late in Sunday’s game against Houston.

    Carlisle, however, said he hadn’t heard if Doncic’s knee was bothering him at some point during Tuesday’s game.

    “But he didn’t look right,” Carlisle said. “He had a tough night and I probably played him too many minutes, although he is probably at about average or maybe a little under.

    “But tough nights happen. We just have to learn from it, get better and get ready for (Thursday’s game at) Denver – another good team.”

    Doncic played 34 minutes and also was 5-of-18 from the field while finishing with 12 points, six rebounds, seven assists and nine turnovers. Meanwhile, rookie Jalen Brunson poured in a career-high 34 points – the most points he’s scored in a game since high school.

    Brunson was 12-of-16 from the field and also had five rebounds and four assists.

    “He does everything right,” Carlisle said of Brunson. “He works at his craft and pays attention to detail.

    “He was having some struggles from the free throw line early in the year and just kept grinding, and since January I think he is shooting somewhere in the eighties. This guy was 33rd pick in the draft and he is pretty damn good.”

    Also for the Mavs, Dwight Powell finished with 20 points and seven rebounds, Devin Harris scored 11 points in 16 minutes, and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 10 points.

    The loss was the sixth in a row for the Mavs and their 11th in their past 12 games, dropping their record to 27-40.

    Despite their problems at the free throw line, the Mavs still were within 102-99 of the Spurs after Powell scored on a hook shot with 1:49 left. However, DeMar DeRozan (33 points) and Derrick White (23 points) each scored to bump the Spurs’ lead up to 106-99 with 58.5 seconds to go.

    Brunson followed with a long 2-pointer, and when the Mavs had a chance to make it a one-possession game, Doncic misfired on a pair of free throws with 30.7 seconds remaining. Four free throws by DeRozan and two from Seagoville native LaMarcus Aldridge (28 points, even rebounds) closed the deal on this game.

    “They’re a good team, a playoff team,” said Nowitzki, who tallied all eight of his points in the game’s opening five minutes and 24 seconds. “Today, they kind of dominated.

    “We made a few runs, but overall couldn’t get over the hump. We got it down to three, but couldn’t get enough stops to really make it a game. And (14) turnovers hurt us, but you got to give them credit. Obviously, they’re well coached and they’re super smart.”

    DeRozan scored 16 points in the opening quarter, which ended with San Antonio ahead, 34-24. White tallied nine points and Aldridge added eight as the Spurs went to the dressing room nursing a 60-53 lead.

    Aldridge added 10 more points in the third quarter and the Spurs assumed an 84-74 led entering the final quarter. But while the Mavs outscored the Spurs in the paint (40-32), on fast break points (7-4) and on second-chance points (14-12), they simply couldn’t come up with the necessary key stops – or key free throws – to emerge with a victory.

    “I don’t know how many games are left, I am not counting,” Carlisle said. “But I do know there were some positives in this game — we can’t forget about those.

    “We have to see things how they are, not worse than they are. The fact that we were even on the boards (at 38-38) is a pretty good sign because the boards have been a problem for us. We have practice tomorrow and will work to get better.”

    NOTES: Prior to Tuesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, Rick Carlisle gave kudos to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who has led the Spurs to five world titles since 1999. “He’s great at everything,” the Mavs coach said. “The relationships he has with the players, the strategies. Everything! He’s done an amazing job over two decades now. For me he’s the greatest coach in history, because he re-invented that team several times, won multiple championships playing multiples different styles, and he’s been in one place for an amazing amount of time and it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere any time soon.”. .The Mavs are just 1-9 since the All-Star break, leaving Carlisle to say: “We are disappointed. Guys are working, guys in recent games, our fight has been there and we’ve been going hard and we’re going to stay with it. It’s a very difficult schedule, but these are great opportunities.”. .Before Tuesday, Jalen Brunson highest point total in college were the 31 points he scored in four different games. But he surpassed that with his career-high 34 he scored against the Spurs. Brunson joined Luka Doncic in the 30-point club this season. The New York Knicks, with Allonzo Trier and Kevin Knox, are the only other team that’s had two rookies score at least 30 points in a game this season. . .Carlisle knows the schedule will only get tougher for the Mavs as they try and fight for more wins. He also knows the Mavs let Sunday’s game against Houston slip away when they held James Harden to just 20 points — nearly 17 points under his league-leading average of 36.6 points per game. “Defensively, we’re going to be seeing great players virtually every night through the end of the season,” Carlisle said. “The effort against Harden the other night was tremendous. Guys were really committed. There was no overreaction when he did get a shot or get a dunk. We’ve got to be poise and play through situations where these teams make plays, and great players make plays.”

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    Gregg Popovich: Dirk Nowitzki is a ‘spectacular’ competitor and ‘great’ human being

    When it comes to rivals, Dirk Nowitzki has a few, but probably none quite so heated and hated as the San Antonio Spurs.

    Heated, hated and loved, all at once, if that’s possible.

    Yes, it’s the Miami Heat with Dwyane Wade that Nowitzki and the Mavericks have hooked up with twice in the NBA finals, with each winning a championship.

    But the Spurs? That’s down the road on Interstate 35. That’s David Robinson. That’s Tim Duncan. That’s Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.

    And, of course, Gregg Popovich.

    The legendary coach took time before the Spurs played the Mavericks Tuesday night on TNT to pay homage to Nowitzki. Whether or not Nowitzki retires after this season isn’t the point. The fact is that Popovich has seen greatness both on his side of the rivalry and the Mavericks’ side in the form of Nowitzki for the past 21 seasons.

    “Oh my gosh, that’s a lot of years,” Popovich said. “All I can say is that Dirk is a spectacular example of a competitor on the court and a great human being all at the same time. He competed with a ferocity and he loved winning, hated losing, but was classy in that he knew how to handle both. And that’s why he garnered the respect of teammates, opponents, fans, for all those 21 years.

    “There aren’t many examples of somebody who played that great for that long and was also a wonderful human being who did all the right things for that entire length of time. So he’s a special, special person, in my book.”

    Nowitzki has an assortment of memories against the Spurs, some awesome, some not so much. Who can forget the finger roll and Ginobili foul to force overtime in Game 7 in 2006? Or the knee injury in 2003 when management was conflicted on whether to play Nowitzki or not? Or the 31 points in the Game 5 clincher in 2009’s first round. Or the 2010 series when they were the No. 2 seed after a 55-win regular season but were upset in the first round by the seventh-seeded Spurs?

    “Playing these guys twice in the last month of the season is interesting, too,” said Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle. “I know it’s real meaningful for Dirk because the competition has always been great and the stakes always high, it’s in-state, divisional rival … we’re in the throes of a rebuild now, but for so many years, both teams were up there in the Western Conference and a lot of battles back and forth.

    “I remember the ’06 seventh game. That was an amazing ending to that series. We had a good series against them in ’09, lost to them on ’10. I’m pretty sure in his mind these are special. I don’t know if this is it for him or not. But if this ends up being his last year, I’m sure he savors every moment playing against teams that were big rivals.”

    Nowitzki has a profound respect for Popovich and the Spurs’ organization. Hates to lose to them, as the Mavericks did on Tuesday night 112-105. But admires the way they do business and compete.

    “His (Popovich’s) teams are always super-smart and play super-hard,” Nowitzki said after the loss. “They compete whether they’re down 20 or up 20, they always keep coming. They keep throwing guys out there that play smart, play the right way. That’s been the Pop way for over two decades.”

    That’s what makes for good competition.

    And of course, the years of battling Duncan will be remembered fondly by generations of NBA fans. Like Nowitzki, Duncan also retired without fanfare. He didn’t announce anything. He just finished one season and decided that was it. Nowitzki is handling his retirement – whenever it comes – the same way.

    “That’s who they are,” Popovich said. “We’ve often talked about it in our organization. Those are two guys who have gotten over themselves a long time ago. They do their jobs and they go home.”

    Meanwhile, the Spurs’ coach, like everybody else in the NBA, has been impressed with the rookie season that Luka Doncic has produced.

    While Doncic did not have a sterling Tuesday night, he remains solidly in the crosshairs of stardom, Popovich said.

    “He’s surprised a lot of people, No. 1,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of people knew who he was. All the scouts and teams knew. Obviously, Dallas knew. But he’s been a great surprise for fans and for basketball. And I think he’s in that category of player where it’s not that he’s a great scorer or great defender or great rebounder or whatever. He’s a beautiful basketball player. He does everything. He is a consummate basketball player, skill-wise, understanding, just an intrinsic understanding of the court and spatial arrangements and that sort of thing. He’s very unique in that regard.”

    Twitter: @ESefko

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    A Porzingis sighting? Rick Carlisle gives a glimpse of what he saw in Tuesday workout

    Rick Carlisle knows that Maverick fans are hungry for a Kristaps Porzingis sighting. So is the coach.

    And he got a little glimpse of what’s to come Tuesday morning.

    Carlisle said that he watched the 7-3 newcomer play in a scrimmage of sorts and came away very impressed, hinting that the big man could be practicing “soon.”

    “I have those thoughts all the time,” Carlisle said when asked if he is intrigued by the future. “But, that’s not where we are.

    “KP is doing very well. I watched him play a live 3-on-3 game this (Tuesday) morning and do a lot of spectacular things and a lot of simple things with a great degree of specialization. The prospect of him being with us on the court is extremely exciting. But we’re not there yet. But he’s ramping it up and he’ll be practicing with us sometime soon.”

    The Mavericks have been adamant that Porzingis will not play in any games until next season. He has been traveling with the team and sitting on the bench during games.

    On Tuesday against the Spurs, he spent a lot of time sitting next to owner Mark Cuban on the baseline.

    As for what he liked about the Tuesday workout, he said: “I like everything I see in him. I like the disposition, I like the mental approach, I like the attention to detail, I like the seriousness, I like the detailed approach to developing his craft and skill. And it’s certainly exciting.

    “But right now our focus is certainly, in the background, on his continued recovery and development, but in the foreground, it’s the guys we have available and we just got to keep working to get those guys better.”

    Twitter: @ESefko

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    Jalen Brunson has been very aggressive while making steady progress in his rookie season

    DALLAS – After scoring 18 points against the Houston Rockets on Sunday night, that marked the first time in his career that Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson has scored 10 or more points in four consecutive games.

    Brunson attributes the success to his confidence and work ethic, and to the overwhelming attention that point guard Luka Doncic is attracting.

    “I think Luka demands double-teams, so he’s an unselfish player and I just stay ready to make a play,” Brunson said following Monday’s practice at the Lympo practice facilities. “He makes life easy.

    “Like I said, he demands double-teams, he demands all eyes on him. I just keep playing off of him and I just find a way to get in his vision and make plays.”

    On Mar. 4 Brunson scored 10 points against the Brooklyn Nets and followed that up last Wednesday with 11 points against the Washington Wizards. Then came an 18-point, season-high nine assists performance last Friday against Orlando before the rookie from Villanova added seven rebounds and four assists to his 18-point showing against the Rockets.

    Coach Rick Carlisle explained that Brunson has been “very aggressive” when he puts him in a game and that style has contributed mightily to his success.

    “He’s playing real solid on both sides of the ball,” Carlisle said. “His paint attacks and playmaking abilities are a big part of us being able to pass successful on offense.

    “And defensively he’s learned an awful lot about this league, and he’s been matching up on not only some top point guards, but some of the all-time great point guards. Guys like Chris Paul last night. He’s done well and continues to study the game and work.”

    While Brunson’s game and playing time has skyrocketed since the Mavs included guard Dennis Smith Jr. in a trade to the New York Knicks on Jan. 31, losing games hasn’t been something Brunson is accustomed to. Particularly since he won two NCAA titles in the last three seasons.

    So how is he adapting to something that’s foreign to him?

    “It’s tough, but I guess it’s easy to be motivated when you’re losing a lot,” Brunson said. “So we’re going to just keep getting better and keep finding ways to improve as a team.

    “I know everyone has that same drive and determination. We just have to put it all together.”

    The Mavs came close to putting it all together during Sunday’s 94-93 loss to the Rockets. They even held James Harden – he entered the game averaging an NBA-best 36.6 points per game – to just 20 points on 7-of-25 shooting.

    That includes the Mavs holding Harden scoreless on 0-of-8 shooting in the fourth quarter.

    The Mavs hope to keep up that same defensive intensity on Tuesday at 7 p.m. when they host the San Antonio Spurs at American Airlines Center.

    “We’ve got to have the same mentality,” Brunson said. “I think last night no matter what was going on — even when they made tough shots — we stuck together and we didn’t overreact to plays they were making.

    “We just kept fighting. We just got to keep fighting like that. That was one of our best games we’ve played defensively, especially against a team like that who’s hot. We just got to build off of that.”

    And individually, Brunson hopes to build off the double-digit scoring success he’s enjoyed over the last four games.

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    Nowitzki “trying to get everything out” of his body over the last four weeks of the season

    DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki anticipates the last month of the season being just like what he’s given the Dallas Mavericks since he recently started feeling better.

    More than anything, although he hasn’t announced whether or not he’s retiring after this season, Nowitzki did say this about what to expect from his 40-year old body over the next four weeks.

    “I’m just trying to get everything out of this body that’s left and just go for it,” Nowitzki said after Monday’s practice at the Lympo practice facilities. “Have fun.

    “(I’m) competing obviously way better than in December when I first came back.”

    What Nowitzki was referring to was the recovery from surgery on his left ankle last Apr. 5 that spilled over into this season, eventually forcing him to miss training camp and the first 26 games. The 21-year veteran didn’t play his first game this season until the Mavs were matched up against the Suns in Phoenix on Dec. 13.

    Since then, Nowitzki has been doing everything he can to get his body to act right. Some days feel better than others.

    “I said it 100 times now, my foot kind of messed up the entire season for me,” Nowitzki said. “I was hoping to feel like this in November and December after 20 games in.

    “But sitting out six or seven weeks right during the training camp, during the season, just threw my whole season off. But I can’t complain.”

    Nowitzki can’t complain because he knows he’s had a treasured career. He was fortunate to spend 21 years with the same organization – no other NBA player can make that claim.

    And Nowitzki has been a 14-time All-Star, a regular season Most Valuable Player along with taking home MVP honors of the 2011 Finals when he led the Mavs to their only world championship.

    “This is season 21 and I’ve been pretty much injury-free my entire career, so I can’t sit here and complain about a little inflamed tendon,” Nowitzki said. “So, it was what it was.

    “I kept fighting through it, but going through it obviously was not fun — coming back in the middle of the season.”

    Nowitzki was never one of the fastest players in the NBA. So as he was fighting through this season, trying to get his legs under him was a challenging proposition.

    “The game nowadays is super fast, super skilled,” Nowitzki said. “So me coming back in December being a step slower than I already am was extremely tough and frustrating at times.

    “But the only way was to fight through it and keep moving and keep going and keep working hard, and here we are.”

    Where Nowitzki stands today is 35 points away from passing Wilt Chamberlain and becoming the No. 6 all-time leading scorer in NBA history. Back in the day, he could reach that total in a game or two, yet he knows those days are long gone.

    In the meantime, fans across the NBA have been clamoring to see Nowitzki one last time, see him make one last bucket, see him give them one last curtain call, one last one-legged fadaway jumper that they can store in their memory bank.

    However, while Nowitzki have been humbled by all of the league-wide attention he’s received this season, he doesn’t feel pressured to make an announcement about his basketball future just because tributes keep pouring in from around the NBA.

    “It’s been amazing, it’s been emotional at times,” Nowitzki said of the numerous tributes from well-wishers. “I’ve been very appreciative.

    “But at the end of the day it’s going to be my decision (concerning his NBA future). It’s how the body reacts the last couple of weeks.”

    And how did Nowitzki’s body react Monday?

    “I obviously feel a lot better, movement-wise, than I did in December, so I’m pleased with that,” Nowitzki said. “But I’m still working every day. I lifted and ran some today.”

    The lingering question remains, is this the beginning of the last days of lifting weights and running wind sprints for Nowitzki as an NBA player? Only he knows for sure.

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    For Dirk Nowitzki, passing Wilt Chamberlain not as big as reaching 30,000 points

    DALLAS – Sometimes within the next week, Dirk Nowitzki will past Wilt Chamberlain and become the No. 6-leading scorer in the history of the National Basketball Association.

    But the Dallas Mavericks’ legendary forward acknowledged that reaching that milestone — he needs just 35 points to pass Chamberlain — doesn’t have the same cache as when he reached the 30,000-point plateau during a home game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Mar. 7, 2017.

    “I think 30,000 was a huge step,” Nowitzki said after Monday’s practice at the Lympo practice facilities. “It was being kind of hyped up for a long time, and I came out there and the 30K shirts were laying there. This will be big, but not quite as big as 30K, but this obviously has been a long time coming.”

    Mavs personnel laid 30K T-shirts on all the seats inside American Airlines Center when Nowitzki needed 20 points to achieve that milestone against the Lakers. Putting aside the pressure that came with those mitigating circumstances, Nowitzki went out and poured in 18 points in the first quarter of that game, and added the two more points he needed to reach 30,000 with 10:58 remaining in the second quarter on – what else? — a one-legged fadeaway 15-foot jumper.

    Still, Nowitzki said passing Chamberlain pales in comparison to eclipsing the 30,000-point barrier. And with his recovery from left ankle surgery last Apr. 5 taking much longer than expected, leaping over Chamberlain has been no small task.

    “It was only (233)  points before the season (started to pass Chamberlain), and its been obviously a slow, slow crawl toward this,” Nowitzki said. “Like I said the other day in Orlando, 200 points used to be two weeks and now it’s a whole season.

    “But it is what it is. I’m going to keep working and hopefully eventually it’ll happen.”

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    Mavericks tell football tales after visit to practice by Patrick Mahomes

    The Mavericks have lost five in a row and 10 of 11, so naturally the hot topic after practice on Monday was … football.

    NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs via Texas Tech, who sat courtside at Sunday’s 94-93 loss to Houston, visited practice and afterward, exchanged jerseys with Dirk Nowitzki.

    It’s not often you get to see two MVPs holding each other’s jersey.

    “Mine was so long ago, I don’t even see myself as an MVP anymore,” Nowitzki said. “But he’s the reigning MVP and it was great to see him. He had an unbelievable year, an MVP year. He’s a spectacular athlete. It was good to meet him.”

    Nowitzki and Mahomes exchanged more than jerseys, sharing a laugh about who knows what as they chatted on the far end of the practice facility, away from earshot of media members.

    “He’s on top of his game and still so young,” Nowitzki said. “He’s incredibly fun to watch with his no-look flips, his long passes and athleticism, so the sky’s the limit for him and I’m happy for him.”

    Nowitzki, by the way, said he’s no stranger to football.

    “I got a good arm,” he said, somewhat jokingly. “I played handball back in the day in Germany. So I know how to throw a ball a little bit and know how to catch. But the ball was a little smaller and round. It’s a little different.”

    Nowitzki didn’t have the best football backstory, however.

    That went to ookie point guard Jalen Brunson, who said he dabbled in football when he was a kid, although he was pretty sure all along that basketball would be his calling.

    But when he played Pop Warner football in his youth, he played for a team that was coached by Vince Papale.

    Yes, that Vince Papale – the one who the Disney film Invincible, featuring Mark Wahlberg, was filmed after.

    “His family and my family are still pretty good friends,” Brunson said. “It’s a pretty cool story.”

    Asked what position he played, Brunson said: “I played every position. But basically, the game plan was to get the ball to Vinny Pipalli, his (Vince’s) son, and he ran 80 yards every time.”

    Vinny Papale, by the way, plays for the University of Delaware Blue Hens.

    Twitter: @ESefko

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    Luka Doncic questionable for game against the Spurs with a mild left knee strain

    DALLAS – Luka Doncic will be listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs with a mild left knee strain.

    The Dallas Mavericks’ point guard suffered the injury late in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s game against the Houston Rockets.

    Despite Sunday’s injury, Doncic remained in the game, which the Mavs lost, 94-93, to drop their record to 27-39.

    Doncic finished the game with a team-high 19 points, a career-high 15 rebounds and a game-high tying nine assists. He also had two steals and blocked a pair of shots in 37 minutes.

    However, the rookie from Slovenia was limited in Monday’s practice.

    “He’s a maybe,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’ll be listed as questionable with what we consider a mild knee strain.”

    Doncic was involved in the last play of the game that didn’t go the Mavs’ way. Not long after the crossed midcourt with the game clock about to expire, he was met by three members of the Rockets.

    Faced with that dilemma, Doncic passed the ball in the corner to Jalen Brunson, who’s 14-footer at the buzzer was blocked by Chris Paul.

    “We looked at that play today and it’s one of those situations where there’s a split second where if the ball moves at the right time you’re going to get a really good look,” Carlisle said. “It didn’t work out, but it’s an opportunity for us to learn from it.”

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    The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 94-93 loss to the Houston Rockets

    1. DEFENSE WAS ON POINT: It had to be difficult for the Mavs to walk away from Sunday’s game against the Rockets without getting a win after they put on one of the best defensive performances of the season. In addition to holding the Rockets to just 94 points – their lowest point total in a win in two-and-a-half seasons – Houston shot just 36.4 percent from the field and misfired on 36 of their 52 shots from 3-point range. This also snapped a streak of 12 consecutive games where teams had scored at least 100 points on the Mavs. And it was just the 13th time all season that the Mavs have held an opponent under 100 points.
    2. LUKA’S NEAR TRIPLE-DOUBLE: Dogged all night by the Rockets’ aggressive defense, rookie Luka Doncic still came close to registering his fifth triple-double of the season. Doncic finished the game with 19 points, a career-high 15 rebounds and a game-high tying nine assists. He also picked up two steals and blocked two shots. It wound up being the 17th double-double of the season for Doncic. In fact, for the first time in his career, Doncic already posted a double-double by halftime of Sunday’s game when he had 10 points and 13 rebounds at that juncture. And the 37 minutes Doncic played tied for his third-highest of the season.
    3. MAXI MAXIMIZED HIS MINUTES: In his first game back after missing the previous two games due to left knee effusion, Maxi Kleber delivered big-time for the Mavs as he posted his first double-double of the season and the second one of his two-year career. While playing 31 minutes off the bench, Kleber tallied 10 points and grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds. The only time the second-year forward has played more minutes in a game this season occurred on Jan. 9 when he produced 13 points and nine rebounds in 34 minutes in a game against the Phoenix Suns. Kleber also blocked three shots against the Rockets.
    4. BRUNSON SETTLING INTO A GROOVE: Jalen Brunson is consistently making a strong case as to why he will at least be on the NBA’s All-Rookie second team this season. Brunson scored 18 points, collected seven rebounds and handed out four assists in 35 minutes against the Rockets. It’s the second-most minutes he’s played this season – Brunson played 36 minutes against Washington last Wednesday. The point total means Brunson has now scored 10 or more points in four consecutive games for the first time in his career. In addition, Brunson was 5-of-5 from the free throw line against the Rockets, with the attempts being one shy of his career high for a game.
    5. MAVS MADE HARDEN PRACTICALLY A NON-FACTOR: James Harden took the NBA by storm recently when he rambled through various defenses around the league and scored 30 or more points in 34 straight games. But on Sunday, Harden had to struggle against the Mavs just to finish the game with 20 points. It was only the fourth time this season Harden has been held to 20 points or less in a game. Overall, Harden was just 7-of-25 from the field, including only 3-of-15 from beyond the 3-point arc. And while playing the entire 12 minutes in the fourth quarter, Harden was 0-of-8 from the field and 0-of-5 from 3-point land while scoring no points against the Mavs’ sticky defense.

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    Thousands of fans flock to Selena-inspired 11th annual Festival de Los Mavs

    DALLAS –The annual Festival de Los Mavs has become a gathering that feels more like a reunion with family and friends, as thousands of people flock to the event each year to catch vibrant, headlining performances on the main stage while simultaneously snacking on authentic food and posing for photos with Dallas Mavericks players from the past and present.

    Amanda Solis performs her Selena-inspired set to thousands of fans attending the 11th annual Festival de Los Mavs [Sunday, March 10, 2019]

    Yena Valencia of Farmers Branch said she never misses a Festival de Los Mavs and this year was especially meaningful for a couple of reasons.

    “We are Mavericks fans by heart and Selena fans as well,” Valencia said, noting she was thrilled to learn that some performances would honor the late Selena Quintanilla-Pérez . “We came to celebrate her life and legacy with other Mavs fans, and we loved it. Today was amazing.”

    This year marked the 11th year the Dallas Mavericks hosted Festival de Los Mavs (presented by Coors Light) and festivities took place on the plaza at American Airlines Center. Texas City native, Amanda Solis, performed on the mainstage with her Selena tribute.

    “When I first saw Selena perform on TV growing up, it shocked me…it inspired me,” said Solis. “For a Latina like me, it was just a huge influence on my life from then on. It gave me hope that I can become something great with ambition like Selena.”

    After Solis finished her set, A.B. Quintanilla, Selena’s older brother, headlined Festival de Los Mavs with his group, Los Kumbia All Starz, as thousands of fans swayed, bopped and sang with the Mexican-American group in an upbeat, family-friendly environment.

    Dallas Mavericks legend Rolando Blackman and 13-year NBA veteran JJ Barea also attended the Festival de Los Mavs and signed autographs. The ManiAACs, Mavs Dancers, Champ and Mavs Man also made appearances at the festival.

    Valencia said meeting Barea was the best part of her day.

    “I love to teach my children about their Mexican and Latin Heritage, and it means a lot to have someone like JJ on the team, so my children can see someone like them,” Valencia told Mavs.com. “JJ is my son’s hero. Today was just great. I loved every moment. The weather was nice, the food was wonderful, and we got a picture with our favorite player!”

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    Mavs put on a stout defensive performance, but lose to the Rockets, 94-93

    DALLAS – After what happened Sunday night at American Airlines Center, the Dallas Mavericks have to be thinking what do they have to do in order to secure a victory.

    The Mavs held one of the top teams in the NBA to 19 points under their season average, and also limited the NBA’s leading scorer to almost 17 points under his average. But that stout defensive performance wasn’t enough.

    Eric Gordon tallied a game-high 26 points and the Houston Rockets held on to nip the Mavs, 94-93, before a sellout crowd of 20,423.

    It was the 10th loss in the last 11 games for the Mavs, who dipped to 27-39 on the season entering Tuesday’s 7 p.m. home game against the San Antonio Spurs.

    Dallas trailed by as much as 12 points, but had a chance to win it at the end. James Harden missed a driving layup and the Mavs rebounded the ball with seven seconds remaining.

    Shortly after Luka Doncic got the ball across midcourt, he was met by three members of the Rockets. Doncic, who hurt his knee with less than five minutes to go in the game, passed the ball in the right corner to Jalen Brunson.

    But the rookie from Villanova had very little time to gather himself, and his 14-footer was unceremoniously blocked by Chris Paul at the buzzer.

    “He made a great defensive play,” Brunson said. “I kind of had the ball with like one second left.

    “Luka was being triple-teamed, so I got the ball and looked at the clock and it was one second (remaining) and I just tried to get it up there. He just made a great play.”

    The Mavs could have employed a timeout to set up a final play, but coach Rick Carlisle said he felt it was best to trust his players in that situation.

    “I decided not to call timeout and go, Carlisle said. “I always feel in those situations if you have playmakers you trust, then you’re going to have a better chance to get an open look if you go, and it didn’t work out.

    “In hindsight, I should have called timeout. I trust Luka and Brunson and the other guys in there that those guys can make a play, and we just were unable.”

    The 94 points were the fewest the Mavs have allowed in a game since they defeated Charlotte, 99-93, on Feb. 6, ad the fewest the Rockets have scored in a win in two-and-a-half seasons. The Mavs also beat the Rockets on the boards, 51-41, forced Houston into missing 36 of its 52 shots from 3-point range, and also held the Rockets to just 36.4 percent shooting.

    But somehow, some way, it was the Rockets who came away with their eight straight victory and padded their record to 41-25.

    “The compete level was tremendous – very impressive,” Carlisle said. “You hold these guys to 94 and you hold Harden to 20 points, you really busted your butt out there, so I’m really proud of the effort

    “It’s just right now with wins so difficult to come by, there’s no moral victory in it.”

    Harden was just 7-of-25 from the field and only 3-of- 15 from 3-point land. He picked up his fifth foul less than a minute into the second half, and finished the game with a pedestrian-like 20 points.

    “Effort worked and a lot of different looks, a lot of different schemes, a lot of communication going on out there,” Carlisle said, when asked how the Mavs defended Harden. “It wasn’t perfect all the time obviously, but as the game went on we got tougher and that was great to see.

    “The crowd was great, we made plays. But there’s always a couple of back-breaking plays that happen when you lose a game like that, and we just got to work to avoid those next game.”

    Doncic finished with 19 points, a career-high 15 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two blocks. By halftime, Doncic already had 10 points and 13 rebounds, which marks the first time in his career he reached double-double status by halftime.

    However, Doncic drove and came away limping after he scored on a finger roll with 5:03 left that got the Mavs within 89-86 of the Rockets. Doncic, though, remained in the game, although it was clear that he was favoring his left knee.

    “I don’t know if he banged his knee or if he landed on it, but the hope is that it’s not serious,” Carlisle said. “He did finish the game, so well see. We’ll know more tomorrow.”

    Brunson helped the Mavs get off to a fast start. With the score tied at 22-all late in the first quarter, Brunson already had 12 of 18 points at that juncture.

    The Mavs went on to lead, 26-25, after the first quarter, but trailed 58-54 at the half and 81-72 after the third quarter. Still, Maxi Kleber described it as “super frustrating” to play so well on the defensive end of the court and not come away with a victory.

    “We had that game,” said Kleber, who had 10 points,11 rebounds and three blocks after missing the previous two games due to a left knee effusion. “It was tough, but they’re very talented players and they know how to close games, too.

    “They were very clam, even if they didn’t make their shots. But obviously it’s very frustrating. We had that game today.”

    NOTES: Coach Rick Carlisle said there are no plans to reduce Luka Doncic’s minutes now that the Mavs’ playoff chances appear to be slipping away. “We need guys going as hard as they can go,” Carlisle said. “Look, our goal is to win games, and so he’s obviously very important to that. Again, a big part of this last segment of the season is him getting a real taste for what it means to have to carry a certain load. In this case he’s got to carry a substantial load defensively, offensively and with rebounding. Everyone has a responsibility to take care of the ball and he’s done better in recent games.”. . On that vaunted step-back 3-point shot Doncic employs that’s similar to that of the Rockets’ James Harden, Carlisle said: “I like his step-back shot for him. It’s aggressive, decisive and on balance. He’s one of the few guys that really executes it at a high level with consistency,  but our style of play is going to be dictated by how our team is built, who the other guys are that he’s playing with, etc. etc. Having some of Harden’s abilities is a great quality to the extent to which we’ll play that way. We’re not doing much of it this year. End of quarters, you see (Doncic) isolated with the ball. But going forward I think it’s important that our team has the right balance based on our roster. We don’t know exactly what that’s going to look like with (power forward Kristaps) Porzingis in the mix next year. I don’t see Luka having the ball as much as Harden does in those types of situations.”. .Dirk Nowitzki only played seven minutes – all in the first half – on Sunday and collected six points on 1-of-3 shots. “It’s a coach’s decision — the matchups were very difficult,” Carlisle said. “I thought he did well to get some shots and he scrambled around in the first half, but it was tough.”. . .Some high-powered athletes from other sports attended Sunday’s game. That includes Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Pat Mahomes, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Michelle Carter (shot put), and five-time NFL Pro Bowl running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

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    Regardless of outcome, Doncic did the right thing on final play against Houston

    Luka Doncic knew immediately what the Houston Rockets were doing on the last play Sunday night.

    They did the right thing, defensively.

    And Doncic, while it may not be the popular choice, did the right thing, too, even though the Mavericks wound up losing 94-93 to the Rockets at American Airlines Center.

    Doncic, who missed another triple double by one assist, had the ball in his hand with the clock ticking down and the Mavericks trailing by a point. With inside of 5 seconds remaining, he got double-teamed by James Harden, who helped out P.J. Tucker with the trap. Then Clint Capela was creeping in range for more defensive help.

    “Yeah, it was obvious,” Doncic said. “I think it was Capela and P.J. and Harden. There was three. I had to pass the ball. It would have been a really bad shot if I’d taken that shot.”

    And so, he passed to the right wing, where Jalen Brunson was waiting. Brunson was having a very good night offensively, but this shot that could have won the game was tipped by Chris Paul, preserving the Rockets’ eighth consecutive win and sending the Mavericks to their fifth loss in a row and 10th in their last 11 games.

    “Yeah, obviously you want somebody else to take the shot,” Tucker said of getting the ball out of Doncic’s hands on the final play. “Chris made a good play. You don’t want it to come down to that, but we did a good job finishing it off.”

    Indeed, the Rockets had to heave a sigh of relief when they got out with the victory. After leading by 12 at the start of the fourth quarter and by 94-89 after Tucker’s 3-pointer with 1:29 to play, the Rockets still had to sweat out the final possessions.

    But they were not going to let Doncic beat them even though coach Mike D’Antoni said it wasn’t necessarily the game plan to trap Doncic in that situation.

    “I’m sure glad they did,” D’Antoni said when asked about getting the ball away from Doncic at winning time. “I don’t know that there was any strategy involved. But I think it’s normal. And Luka, we know how good he is. And P.J., again, defensively is just a bear out there.”

    And the Mavericks did some damage of their own at the defensive end. This was only the second time since Christmas that the Rockets have scored under 100 points. They came in with a 2-8 record when scoring under 100, but eight of those sub-100 games came when they were getting off to an 11-14 start.”

    Like everybody else this season, the Rockets came away impressed with Doncic, regardless of the final play.

    “He’s the motor of their team,” Tucker said. “He attacks a lot. He looks to get everybody going. I wanted to be physical with him, make it tough and make him have to play one-on-one against me and have everybody stay home and make him take tough shots.”

    Added Harden: “He’s great, not only because he has the ability to score, but he is a great passer as well. He does a lot of things to impact the game. With this being his first year, he’s got a long way to go, but he’s definitely on a great start.”

    Doncic, meanwhile, said he has pattered at least some parts of his game after Harden.

    “I studied lots of things, the step-backs and the way he jumps and stops,” Doncic said. “The moment you reach, he’s going to get two free throws. I watched a lot of videos on that.”

    That said, he has no regrets about the final play. And the Rockets also said they felt like Doncic did the right thing, regardless of how it turned out.

    “I read him and sort of knew he was going to throw it to Jalen,” Paul said. “And Jalen didn’t have any time to do anything else. If he pump-faked it, I’d have been in trouble, but then he might not have gotten the shot off in time.”

    It was still better than letting Doncic get free.

    “Absolutely,” Paul said. “Why let the best player beat you?”

    Twitter: @ESefko

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    Jack Arthur Committed to University of Texas

    Jack ArthurAnother Dallas Tiger commits to University of Texas Longhorns down in Austin!  Congratulations to Class of 2021 Jack Arthur on his commitment to playing baseball for the Longhorns.  Jack is at Flower Mound High School and plays for Tommy Hernandez in the Tigers club.

    Way to go Jack!!

    Texas Baseball

     

    Jack Arthur pitching

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    Since their last visit, Rockets have been revitalized, but should doubts persist?

    The first time the Houston Rockets came to Dallas this season, they left with a 107-104 loss that dropped their record to 11-14.

    And that was when they had Chris Paul and Clint Capela healthy. But they also had a load of early season issues that delayed any sort of liftoff they were hoping for.

    Since then, both Capela and Paul have missed significant time and yet the Rockets have had a revival nonetheless.

    James Harden is a firm favorite for the MVP award and the Rockets have won seven in a row as they make their last appearance at American Airlines Center this season on Sunday in an early, 6 p.m. tip.

    The Rockets have gone 29-11 since their first trip to Dallas and have reached 40-25 for the season, good for third in the Western Conference playoff order.

    They have won at Boston, at Toronto, at Golden State and against Philadelphia in Houston. That’s four of the presumed contenders for the NBA title.

    During that span, here’s a few key numbers:

    Harden has averaged 37.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists, although he has shot just 27.3 percent from the 3-point arc.

    Paul, who missed more than a month with a hamstring problem, has averaged 14 points, 9.9 assists and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 30.2 percent from 3-point range.

    Capela, who also missed a month with a thumb injury, has averaged 12 points and 12 rebounds during the winning streak and shot 65 percent from the floor.

    Eric Gordon, another player who missed time to injury, is perhaps the biggest beneficiary during the streak. He’s averaged 18.2 points and shot 44 percent from deep. Those are both nice bumps from his season-long averages.

    As coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters in Houston after the Rockets’ win over Philadelphia on Friday: “I think it’s very obvious when Clint, Chris and James play together and they’re all healthy, we’re pretty hard to beat. It’s taken this long to get all three of them on the floor and in a good rhythm and they’re doing that.”

    The Rockets’ recent surge has them rightfully believing that they have all the pieces they need now – healthy pieces – to make another serious run at the championship.

    But you have to wonder if they aren’t still walking on eggshells to some degree.

    Last season in the Western Conference finals, they had the Golden State Warriors on the ropes, only to lose a 3-2 lead in the series when Paul went out with a damaged hamstring.

    The Rockets in many respects have only one thing to fear and that’s their health. They have proven when healthy that they can beat all comers. Injuries are a threat to derail any good team. But the Rockets have history working against them.

    Until they prove they can keep all their heavy lifters on the floor, doubts will persist.

    Twitter: @ESefko

     

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    The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 111-106 loss to the Orlando Magic

    1. DIRK’S SHINING MOMENT(S): The standing ovations just keep on coming for Dirk Nowitzki. Ad this time he put on a really good show for the fans in Orlando. The 21-year veteran scored a season-high tying 15 points – he also scored 15 on the road against the Utah Jazz on Feb. 23 – and grabbed five rebounds. Nowitzki was 6-of-11 from the field against Orlando. That ties for the most field goals he’s made in a game this season – he was 6-of-14 from the field against the Jazz. What’s more, the 15 points he scored were two more than the 13 points Nowitzki combined to score in the previous three games against Memphis, Brooklyn and Washington.
    2. BRUNSON PUT IN SOLID WORK: Jalen Brunson played what coach Rick Carlisle described as perhaps his finest game of the season on Friday. Brunson collected his third-highest scoring game with 18 points. He also handed out a career-high nine assists. The rookie from Villanova was an efficient 8-of-11 from the field while carving up the Magic all night long. Brunson’s 72.7 shooting percentage was his highest of the season when he’s attempted 10 or more field goals. And his overall steady play has been a bonus for the Mavs, who were surprised he was still available to be drafted last summer on the second round.
    3. SLOW START WAS DAMAGING: It’s difficult to say the Mavs got off to a slow start, because they actually scored the first five points of the game. But after that semi-fast start by Dallas, the Magic outscored the Mavs 29-14 the rest of the first quarter and assumed a 29-19 lead going into the second quarter. The Mavs’ deficit grew to 15 points (62-47) by halftime and to 19 points (92-73) by the end of the third quarter. Although the Mavs made a run at the end to make things very interesting, that deep hole they fell into by being down 19 points wound up being their downfall.
    4. MORE DAZZLING MOMENTS FROM LUKA: The more games Luka Doncic plays, the more he looks like he’s been playing in the NBA for five or more years. The 20-year old rookie just does things on the floor that some 10-year veterans still can’t do. And for Doncic, a lot of it is about as routine as taking a walk in the park. Friday was another example as Doncic tagged the Magic for 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists, while also wowing the sellout crowd with his dangerous step-back 3-point shots. It was just another example why when the NBA’s Rookie of Year trophy is handed out sometimes in the next two months, more than likely Doncic’s name will be on it.
    5. ARMSTRONG HONORED: Obviously, this takeaway has more to do with the game of life and less to do with what went on in any games across the NBA this season. Just before the third quarter started Friday, an honor given to Mavs assistant coach Darrell Armstrong on Thursday in Orlando was shown on the Jumbotron. Armstrong was awarded with a trophy for starting a foundation 21 years ago that helps families in Central Florida who have babies born prematurely. The foundation offers financial and medical assistance, and has been very helpful to those families who find themselves in this challenging situation.

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    Despite solid showing from Nowitzki, the Mavs lose to the Orlando Magic, 111-106

    ORLANDO – Dirk Nowitzki matched his season-high point total Friday night in front of a sellout crowd of 19,196 fans at the Amway Center. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to beat the Orlando Magic.

    Terrence Ross came off the bench to pour in 22 points and the Magic held on to defeat the Mavs, 111-106. The loss dropped the Mavs to 27-38 overall and 0-3 on this three-game trip through the Eastern Conference going into Sunday’s 6 p.m. home game against the Houston Rockets.

    Nowitzki played 19 minutes, went 6-of-11 from the field and finished with 15 points and five rebounds. He also received another loud standing ovation throughout the course of the game.

    “It was good to get a little rhythm there,” Nowitzki said. “I missed my first three, but then mixed in a couple of makes, and in the second half I felt good.

    “We tried to make a run to come back, but just overall we just got to find a way to win a game. That’s more frustrating than anything.”

    This was the ninth loss in the last 10 games for the Mavs, who fell to 6-27 on the road.

    The Magic stretched a 69-63 lead midway through the third quarter into a 92-73 lead by the conclusion of the third quarter. It was still 101-83 Orlando with 7:50 remaining in the game before the Mavs caught fire and closed to within 111-106 of the Magic with 47.9 seconds to go.

    However, Luka Doncic missed a 3-pointer with 22.7 seconds left, and Tim Hardaway missed a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left and the Wizards ran out the clock from there.

    Part of the Mavs’ problem, according to coach Rick Carlisle, was the deep hole they dug themselves in before they rolled up their sleeves and started to fight their way out of it.

    “You get down 19 at any point in an NBA game, the odds of getting back and winning are very difficult, especially on the road,” Carlisle said. “You’ve got to play close or play from the front.

    “We had a poor start, the second quarter was rough, but the second half we did better. We just got to stay in the fight.”

    Orlando (31-36) shot 48.3 percent from the field and converted 14 of their 29 baskets from behind the 3-point arc. In the meantime, the Mavs converted 47.2 percent of their shots, but missed 24 of their 34 attempts from 3-point land.

    “They had a good shot-making night,” said Carlisle, noting that the Mavs were behind, 29-19, after the first quarter. “We allowed them to get open a few times too many in the first half.

    “In the second half we played better. I like the way we hung in and fought through it and stayed in the game. We got to get home and try to get healthy and go from here.”

    Doncic paced the Mavs with 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists, Jalen Brunson had 18 points and a career-high nine assists, Hardaway collected 15 points and six rebounds, and Dwight Powell added 13 points, six rebounds and two steals.

    “I thought Brunson had one of his best games,” Carlisle said. “His paint attacks were productive, he found people, he was aggressive, I thought he defended hard. He’s a young player getting better every game.”

    The Mavs outscored the Magic in fast break points (20-10) and in points in the paint (56-42). But Ross was 6-of-11 from behind the 3-point line, Nikola Vucevic finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds and six assists, and Jonathan Isaac added 14 points and nine boards, and that was more than enough to stymie the Mavs’ comeback bid.

    “We had three opportunities to bring ourselves back into the game,” said Hardaway, who was 1-of-7 from 3-point range. “I missed a whole bunch of wide-open threes that I’m just really, really upset about knowing that I could do so much more for this team in order to get wins.”

    NOTES: Prior to Friday’s game against Orlando, coach Rick Carlisle was asked about the progress of forward Kristaps Porzingis, who the Mavs acquired in a Jan. 31 trade with the New York Knicks. Porzingis hasn’t played since Feb. 6, 2018 when he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks. “Without getting into too much detail, he’s doing extremely well and ramping up individual workouts and some one-on-one workouts, which includes some full court work, so progress is steady and very positive,” Carlisle said. “Beyond that, we’re trying to keep that stuff behind closed doors because just out of respect to him — and he’s a private guy. We’ll try to update you guys when we can and when the time is right, but he’s doing real well.”. .Dirk Nowitzki moved past John Stockton and in sole possession of third place on the NBA’s all-time games played list when he played in his 1,505th game on Friday. The two players ahead of Nowitzki on this illustrious list are Robert Parish (1,611) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,560). . .Dirk Nowitzki and Magic All-Star center Nikola Vucevic hung out a bit together during the All-Star weekend in Charlotte last month. Vucevic, who becomes a free agent on July 1, counts Nowitzki as one of his childhood idols. Both Nowitzki and Vucevic were teammates on the All-Star squad drafted by Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. . .Salah Mejri blocked three shots against the Magic on Friday, tying his season high that he recorded during a Feb. 23 game at Utah. . .With his 24 points Friday, Luka Doncic has scored 20 or more points in 36 games this season. He also now has 37 games with five or more assists after he collected five assists against Orlando. . .Carlisle gave his assessment on rookies Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson playing in the backcourt at the same time. This is the first time since he joined the Mavs in 2008 that Carlisle has given two rookies extended playing time. “Look, both of these guys have unique experiences,” Carlisle said. “Doncic has been the MVP of Europe and in a couple of different leagues and won a few championships. Brunson’s a two-time national champion in the last three years. These guys have an unusual experience level in big games, so they’re not typical in that sense. I’ve loved working with both of them, and they’ve both gotten better and they both respect each other and have played well together.”. .Just before the third quarter started Friday night, a video was shown on the Jumbotron of Mavs assistant coach Darrell Armstrong receiving a trophy on Thursday for his work in the Central Florida area. Armstrong, who played for the Orlando Magic from 1995-2003, created a foundation in 1998 that supports families in Central Florida who have babies born prematurely. . .Carlisle said he’s very optimistic guard J. J. Barea will make a successful return to the basketball court. Barea underwent surgery on Jan. 14 to repair the rupture of his right Achilles tendon. “He’s has a history of being a very good healer,” Carlisle said. “He had shoulder surgery several years ago and did extremely well with that. He’s always healed well. He’s a diligent attention to detail guy with his rehab and exercises. I’m looking at him returning to the court. Beyond that, he’s going to be an asset to any organization he’s involved with. He’s just a winner. But I know he’s more focused on the playing aspect next year, and so far his rehab’s going real well. So, knock on wood and we’ll keep plugging away at that.”

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    Many years later, Darrell Armstrong continues to help families in Central Florida with premature babies

    ORLANDO – At the Dallas Mavericks’ practice facilities, he became affectionally known as the assistant coach who rings the bell and proceeds to announce a big accomplishment by one of the team’s players. But in Orlando, Darrell Armstrong is known as the guy with a big heart who answered the bell while reaching out to help others in need.

    In 1998, Armstrong started the Darrell Armstrong Foundation for Premature Babies, with the sole purpose of helping families with premature babies and other medical needs. On Thursday, during an off day for the Mavs before they play the Orlando Magic on Friday at 6 p.m. at the Amway Center, Armstrong received a glass trophy from the AdventHealth Foundation of Central Florida for his tireless work in their various communities.

    Armstrong’s foundation has donated over $1 million since 2002 to help AdventHealth for Children and its programs that assist families with premature babies. It’s a cause near and dear to Armstrong, since he has a son and a daughter who were both born prematurely.

    A guard for the Magic from 1995-2003, Armstrong knows of the financial burdens and stress and strain that goes with having a premature baby and simply wanted to step up and help in any way he could. Since his foundation started, Armstrong has opened three child development centers in Central Florida and has also purchased an ambulance to transport children from one hospital to another.

    “This foundation has been blessed, and in so many ways we also have blessed a lot of premature babies and a lot of families to give them the extra help and care that they need, and that’s what you want,” Armstrong told Mavs.com in an exclusive interview. “I want babies, I want kids to have a future and have a chance to make a difference in this world, and I believe we are giving them that chance.”

    Thomas Roscoe, the vice-president of the Darrell Armstrong Foundation for Premature Babies, runs the foundation because Armstrong spends the lion’s share of his time in Dallas working with the Mavs. The two men met while they both were employees of the Magic, and ironically, Roscoe has a daughter who was born prematurely.

    “Darrell was always big in the community and doing community stuff, so whenever I needed to go out and get players to do things (for the Magic), Darrell was always one of the first guys who said he would do it,” Roscoe said. “So, during that time we bonded as friends as well as working for the Magic, and when the opportunity came to leave the Magic, it was an opportunity to work with Darrell and an opportunity to do some other things.

    “When we got started with this we didn’t know how big it was going to become, how many people it was going to impact, but we impact a lot of people all over the country. We’ve got people who come from Puerto Rico for this service, and they get the scholarship money we provide, that we raise.”

    Dr. Rajan Wadhawan, the senior executive officer of AdventHealth for Women and AdventHealth for Children, presented Armstrong with the trophy on Thursday.

    “We are fortunate in Central Florida to have some of the nation’s best pediatric physicians, medical programs and services,” Dr. Wadhawan said in a press release. “We pray that our children remain healthy, but when they need care – whether it be a preemie fighting to breathe on her own, a toddler with leukemia or teenager facing an epilepsy diagnosis – it’s comforting to know we don’t have to travel far.

    “These world-class services have been made possible by the generosity of people who are willing to invest in research, programs and services that they may never personally need. Generous people like Darrell Armstrong. “

    Undrafted out of Fayetteville State, Armstrong was known as the quintessential journeyman as a player. Armstrong started his pro career in 1991 with the Atlanta Eagles in the United States Basketball League.

    He also played for the Capital Region Pontiacs of the Continental Basketball Association, the South Georgia Blues of the Global Basketball Association, with Pezoporikos Lamaca of Cyprus, and Coren Ourense of the Spanish Liga ACB before joining the Magic.

    In addition to his own two kids who were born prematurely, prior to their birth, Armstrong’s brother also has a daughter who was born prematurely.

    “My little niece, she had a lot of things to go wrong with her prematurely,” Armstrong said. “She had to get her ankle and leg broken and re-set.

    “Even today she kind of walks with her knees bent in a little bit, so she went through that, so that was my first time seeing it. I just knew my niece was born, and then once it hits home with you, then you understand it.”

    Armstrong’s daughter, Malia, was born after 36 weeks and weighed three pounds and eight ounces. And his son, Darrell Jr., was born after 34 weeks and weighed four pounds and eight ounces.

    Today, Malia is 22 years old and Darrell Jr. is 16 years old.

    Meanwhile, Roscoe’s daughter, Malia, was born six weeks early and weighed three pounds and nine ounces, and is now 20 years old.

    “We both kind of went through that situation,” Armstrong said of he and Roscoe. “We understood what was going on.”

    Dr. Wadhawan stressed that he is overwhelmingly grateful to what Armstrong has been able to do in Central Florida.

    “Many Magic fans remember Darrell from his “Heart and Hustle” playing days in Orlando,” Dr. Wadhawan said. “What many don’t know is Darrell’s heart and generosity continues to have an impact on our community even today.

    “Throughout the years we’ve been blessed with Magic players who are stars both on and off the court. But how lucky are we to have someone like Darrell, whose commitment to Orlando and our children has transcended several decades.”

    Lending a helping hand to those in need, Armstrong noted, is always just the right thing to do. Especially when it comes to parents with premature babies.

    “It’s always tough when you see the parents in the special care room and they’re looking at their child and you see (the parents) crying,” Armstrong said. “it’s always tough to watch that, because they can’t fight for their baby.

    “The baby’s going to have to do the fighting, so it’s always tough to see the parents in that situation. It’s scary, especially when you’re a first-time parent and you have to go through that.”

    That’s why Armstrong didn’t mind answering the bell on a cause very near and dear to his heart.

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    High Point University names Mavs’ CEO Cynt Marshall as sports executive in residence

    Story courtesy: High Point News & Media

    HIGH POINT, N.C.– High Point University has named Dallas Mavericks Chief Executive Officer Cynt Marshall as Sports Executive in Residence.

    Marshall has been CEO of the Dallas Mavericks since May 2018. Before joining the professional basketball team, Marshall served in leadership roles at AT&T. She started in 1981 and held a variety of line and staff positions in the operator services, network engineering, operations, external and legislative affairs departments. Marshall served as the president of AT&T North Carolina for more than six years.

    She left that role in December 2012 to serve as the senior vice president of human resources for the global corporation. In 2010, Marshall became the first African American chair of the North Carolina state chamber, and in 2013, Marshall received the prestigious Leadership North Carolina Governor’s Award for her efforts relative to education.

    Marshall retired in May 2017 as senior vice president of Human Resources and chief diversity officer. As chief diversity officer, Marshall was responsible for the company’s people strategy, including succession planning, leadership development, and culture transformation.

    Marshall’s son is a graduate of HPU. She will be returning to HPU on March 20 to mentor students in the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication.

    “We’re so excited that Mrs. Marshall is joining the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication as our Sports Executive in Residence,” says Dr. Ginny McDermott, interim dean for the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication. “Mrs. Marshall will help students understand how to navigate complex organizational situations and how to use communication to bring people together. These are the life skills that set our students apart when they enter their professions.”

    Marshall joins other global leaders who serve in residence by mentoring HPU students. This includes Netflix Co-Founder Marc Randolph, HPU’s Entrepreneur in Residence; Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak, HPU’s Innovator in Residence; ABC News’ Byron Pitts, HPU’s Journalist in Residence; and Scott McKain, best-selling author, business consultant, trainer and HPU’s Corporate Educator in Residence.

    Story Source: High Point University 

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    With late-season surge, Jalen Brunson could merit all-rookie consideration

    Looking back, Jalen Brunson getting drafted 33rd in last year’s NBA draft was almost as stunning as Luka Doncic falling all the way to third overall.

    The Mavericks have a franchise cornerstone in Doncic, of course.

    But they also found an absolute gift with their second-round pick of Brunson. It turns out that winning two NCAA championships in three seasons with Villanova translates just dandy into the NBA.

    So well, in fact, that it’s not a stretch to make the case that Brunson should receive some consideration when it comes time for media members to start selecting their all-rookie teams.

    Brunson has been on a terrific run in the last two months. Since Jan. 5, he’s averaged 9.7 points, 3.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds while shooting a robust 41.2 percent from 3-point range. He’s started 13 of those 24 games and averaged 23.5 minutes in them.

    Recently, it’s been even better. Since Feb. 1, he’s averaged 10.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 27 minutes per game. He’s started 11 of those 13 games.

    For the season, he’s the second-leading scorer among the 30 players selected in the second round of the draft. Brooklyn’s Rodions Kurucs, taken 40th, is the leader. Brunson ranks in the top 20 among rookies in scoring at 7.4 points and is in the top 10 in assists and 3-point shooting percentage.

    “He’s gotten better and better as the year has gone on,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s worked very hard, but he’s stuck with the process of spacing and stepping into shots. The NBA is a long season. You just got to stay the course on things.

    “He didn’t shoot it particularly well early, but he’s learned to space the floor since then. And he’s worked a lot on his shot, his rhythm and range. When you stick with the plan, good things will happen.”

    Carlisle sees a great future for Brunson, who at 6-3 has good enough size to play alongside the 6-7 Luka Doncic against virtually any opposing backcourt.

    “He’s young. He’s 22. I just think Jalen is the kind of guy that is going to keep learning about the league, about how to do things more efficiently, more productively, Carlisle said. “He’ll learn more about opponent tendencies.

    “What are his physical ceilings? I think he’s a deceptively good athlete and his deceptive quickness and change-of-pace speed is one of the things that makes him difficult to guard.”

    Brunson probably will get overlooked when it comes to all-rookie selections, although a continued late-season push could keep him in the picture for voters. He’s certainly getting enough playing time now and his confidence has grown exponentially.

    Making the first team all-rookie squad is out of the question. There is a decent chance that the first team might end up being the first five selections of the 2018 draft: Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley Jr., Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Trae Young.

    All are averaging at least 13.5 points per game and the only other rookie who can claim that is Cleveland’s Collin Sexton at 15.1 points per game.

    Others, like Chicago’s Wendell Carter Jr., the Clippers Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and New York’s Kevin Knox have had solid rookie seasons. But the list starts to dwindle when you get past them.

    Among players drafted 12th or lower, Atlanta’s Kevin Huerter (9.3 points), the Clippers’ Landry Shamet (8.9 points) and Kurucs are the only players averaging more points than Brunson.

    Brunson hasn’t given a lot of thought about the future. He prefers to look ahead, not even to the end of this season. Instead, he’ll work on helping this team, which has gone into exploratory mode since the All-Star break, using every game and every minute to evaluate everybody on the roster.

    Next season will be here before you know it and the Mavericks figure to have a much different look in 2019-20 with Kristaps Porzingis joining Doncic. Brunson will be a part of whatever personality that team takes on.

    “I’m here to help keep the energy up,” Brunson says. “Obviously, Luka means a lot to this team, but I try to play pickup defense and stay available. And I’m always going to play hard.

    “As the year has gone on, I’ve gained more confidence. I’m trying to play with what the defense gives me.”

    For now, that’s put him on an upward trend that keeps letting a lot of teams know that there was no way Brunson should have slipped to the third pick of the second round.

    Twitter: @ESefko

    For more on Jalen Brunson, including a look back at his years at Villanova, visit: https://www.mavs.com/jalen-brunson-is-proving-this-mavs-rookie-class-consists-of-two-first-round-talents-not-just-one/ via @dallasmavs

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    In regards to Nowitzki, Scott Brooks said Wizards fans should have been shouting “One More Year”

    WASHINGTON – As Washington Wizards coach Scott Brooks watched the overwhelming praise, applause and tributes his fans went out of their way to give Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki on Wednesday night at the Capital One Arena, he wanted to make one major correction.

    Sure, the Wizards fans kept wildly shouting “We Want Dirk, We Want Dirk” while the Mavs’ legendary forward was sitting on the bench late in the fourth quarter of Washington’s 132-123 win over the Mavs. But Brooks said:

    “At the end, I think our fans had it all wrong. I thought that was a mistake on their part. They should have been chanting ‘One more year. One more year.’ We all want to see (Nowitzki) one more year. You don’t want him to leave.”

    Now in his 21st season, Nowitzki has yet to say whether or not this is his final NBA season. Instead, he’s keeping his options open and could indeed return for a 22nd year next season.

    In the meantime, fans like the ones in Washington and other places across he NBA continue to give Nowitzki what amounts to a farewell tour. A farewell tour to whom Brooks describes as one of the true ambassadors of the NBA.

    Even Emily Haber, the German ambassador to the United States, attended Wednesday night’s game.

    “He’s a global icon,” Brooks said. “He’s done so much for the game, and he’s so fun to watch. I’m sure he’s so important to their locker room. He’s a winner’s winner.

    “It’s contagious what he brings to his team and just the competitiveness, the drive, his ability to come back year after year after year after year and get better and never satisfied with being a first-time All-Star, first-time All-NBA player, first-time champion. He comes back every year, and that’s what you want your best players to do is work out every single time.”

    While the 40-year old Nowitzki was 0-of-3 from the field and scored only two points against Washington, that mattered not to Wizards guard Tomas Satoransky, who is from the Czech Republic. For Satoransky, being on the same court with Nowitzki was like being on the same floor with royalty.

    “It always feels great – such a special player, a great player,” Satoransky said. “Gets a standing ovation or his respect like that from the opposite team’s fans. He deserves it. Without a doubt.

    “It was good for the last time going against him. Every time you go against someone you watched growing up, it’s special.”

    And it was special for Brooks to coach against Nowitzki and have the pleasure of trying to devise a scheme to slow him down.

    “I heard it as a kid many times when Larry Bird would lose, he came back and had something different,” Brooks said. “When Magic (Johnson) lost, they came back with something different.

    “You want your best player to come back with something different and better each year. And he’s done it for nearly. . .I don’t know if he’s come back the last couple of years with something different, but he’s a lot of years been one of the best players ever.”

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    The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 132-123 loss to the Washington Wizards

    1. POWELL SETS ANOTHER RECORD: Five games after setting his career-high scoring with 24 points in a road contest against the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 25, Dwight Powell was back in record-breaking mode again. On Wednesday, the five-year veteran topped his performance against the Clippers by pouring in a career-high 26 points – again on the road — against the Washington Wizards. And he did it by converting 11-of-12 shots from the field. That’s also the most field goals Powell has ever made in a game. In addition, Powell capped off his sterling night by hauling in 10 rebounds.
    2. LUKA IN RAREFIED AIR AGAIN: Luka Doncic continues to place himself in rarefied air. In places where very few people have gone. Wednesday was yet another example. Doncic finished with a game-high 31 points, a game-high 11 rebounds, seven assists and a game-high four steals. The only rookies in NBA history with similar eye-popping (31-11-7-4) numbers are some guy name Michael Jordan and another guy name Alvan Adams. Doncic was in such control that had his teammates made some of the open looks he set them up with, he probably would have finished with 15 or more assists. It’s the eighth 30-point game this year for Doncic.
    3. JACKSON DISPLAYED A LOT OF ACTION: Now that he admits he’s finally comfortable playing in the Mavs’ system, Justin Jackson showed precisely what he can do. In 25 minutes of the bench Wednesday, the second-year forward out of North Carolina tallied 10 of his 18 points in the first quarter. That’s the most points Jackson has scored in a game since the Mavs acquired him in a Feb. 6 trade that sent Harrison Barnes to the Sacramento Kings. Jackson was 5-of-7 from behind the 3-point line. That ties for the most 3-pointers he’s ever made in a game.
    4. SECOND-CHANCE, PAINT AND FASTBREAK POINTS: Because the Mavs were unable to keep the Wizards off the offensive boards, Washington was able to outscore Dallas in second-chance points, 27-14. Some of that, coach Rick Carlisle said, is because the Mavs are not very tall, which makes grabbing a sufficient amount of rebounds more challenging. Also, the Wizards got the best of the Mavs in points in the paint, where they outscored Dallas, 62-52. In addition, Washington outscored the Mavs in fastbreak points, 18-4.
    5. THE NOWITZKI TREATMENT: Dirk Nowitzki received thunderous ovations during pregame introductions when he started the previous five games. But since he didn’t start Wednesday’s game, the Wizards’ fans had to wait until he entered the game for the first time with 2:34 remaining in the opening quarter before they could shout and express their appreciation for the Mavs’ superstar forward. And the fans shouted everything from “We Want Dirk” to “MVP” throughout the game. Even Emily Haber, the German ambassador to the United States, was on hand at Wednesday’s game.

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    Mavs played much better, but still lost to the Washington Wizards, 132-123

    WASHINGTON – For the Dallas Mavericks, their overall effort Wednesday night against the Washington Wizards was exceedingly better than their effort Monday night against the Brooklyn Nets.

    But unfortunately for the Mavs, the final results were the same.

    Despite double-doubles by Luka Doncic and Dwight Powell, the Mavs wilted down the stretch and eventually suffered a 132-123 loss to the Wizards before 16,867 fans at the Capital One Arena. With the loss, the Mavs are 27-37 and tied with the Wizards with the identical won-loss record.

    After the 39-point loss to the Nets, the Mavs wanted to increase their defensive aggression, add more ball movement, rebound more proficiently, and play with some additional force. While they were able to check some of those boxes, the Mavs’ inability to keep the Wizards off the boards and inability to effectively lower Washington’s shooting percentage ultimately did them in.

    “It’s hard to have a perfect defensive game against these guys, but I thought our collective fight in the game was really good compared to the Brooklyn game, so we made a couple of strides there,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’ve got to clean up a couple of areas, and a lot of it’s going to be about possession of the ball, low turnovers and good rebounding numbers, and we’re just going to have to play the game really hard and really together.”

    The Mavs held a 112-111 lead with 5:28 to go following a rebound dunk by Dwight Powell. But from there, Washington outscored Dallas 21-11, including back-to-back back-breaking 3-pointers by Jeff Green which put the Wizards ahead, 122-115 with 2:35 remaining in the game.

    Carlisle said of Green’s two three’s: “They were big for them and not good for us.”

    The Mavs started out like they were going to run the Wizards clean out of their own arena. With Doncic scoring 12 points and Justin Jackson coming off the bench to sparkle with 10 points, the Mavs shot a robust 69.6 percent from the field (16 of 23 shots) and led, 43-33, after the first quarter.

    That’s the most points the Mavs have scored in the first quarter since Mar. 22, 1992 when they dropped 46 points in the first quarter of a game against Seattle.

    But for all of their greatest in the first quarter, the Mavs hit a roadblock in the second quarter when they were outscored, 36-22, and trailed, 69-65, at the half.

    “We’ve been in a little bit of a shooting slump as a team, and I’m not surprised to see a few go in, finally,” center Dwight Powell said. “I’m glad to see guys move the ball and share the ball, and offensively we had a great flow tonight.”

    Powell sure had a great flow going himself against the Wizards. The fifth-year veteran wound up converting 11-of-12 shots and tallying a career-high 26 points and grabbing 10 boards.

    “Listen, this is Powell’s time of year,” Carlisle said. “He’s had great runs this time of the season for the last two or three years, and this is no different.

    “Any time you go 11-for-12 from the field in an NBA game you’re playing pretty freaking good.”

    Doncic also came up big for the Mavs as he finished with 31 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Michael Jordan and Alvan Adams are the only rookies to post a similar stat line.

    “It was almost impossible to get him off the floor tonight he was playing so well,” Carlisle said of Doncic. “He struck a terrific balance between drives, the outside shot and involving his teammates.

    “And he was our leader out there. I love the way he played.”

    Carlisle also relished the way Jackson played as he had his finest hour for the Mavs since coming over from Sacramento in a Feb. 6 trade that sent Harrison Barnes to the Kings. Jackson tallied 18 points and was 5-of-7 from 3-point land.

    “I think I’m just kind of getting more and more comfortable,” said Jackson, who tied his career-high in 3-pointers made in a game. “When you go from one team to another it takes a little bit of time.

    “So I’m just kind of getting more comfortable getting out there with the guys and finding open spots.”

    Also for the Mavs, Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 17 points, Jalen Brunson finished with 11 points and eight assists, and Dorian Finney-Smith added 10 points and seven boards.

    Meanwhile, the Wizards ended up shooting 53.8 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from 3-point range, while the Mavs were 48.4 percent from the floor and 36.6 percent from beyond the 3-poinr arc. Washington also handled the Mavs on the boards, 49-39, and used its 15 offensive rebounds to outscore the Mavs in second-chance points, 27-14.

    “They’re an elite offensive team,” Carlisle said. “A lot of our problems came down to rebounds we were unable to secure, and so that’s got to be an emphasis going forward.

    “We’re not super big, so we’re going to have to do it by committee and we’re going to have to do it with persistence.”

    At least what the Mavs saw against the Wizards was a step in the right direction.

    “The effort was way better,” Doncic said. “I think we moved the ball great. We just have to play every game like this.”

    NOTES: Another game meant another round of wild celebrations from the fans for forward Dirk Nowitzki. Although Nowitzki didn’t start the game, when he went into the game for the first time with 2:34 left in the first quarter, he received a very loud standing ovation. “It’s emotional and sweet,” Nowitzki said. “Even the announcers, when I come in, are reading off my entire resume so far, here and the last game in Brooklyn (this past Monday). Like I said, it’s very humbling and I’m very appreciative of all the receptions I’ve been getting on the road, but somehow we’ve got to find a way to get a win.” Even late in the game, fans were shouting “We Want Dirk, We Want Dirk.” But Wizards coach Scott Brooks said that was a big mistake. “At the end I think our fans had it all wrong,” Brooks said. “They should have been chanting ‘One more year. One more year.’ We all want to see him one more year. You don’t want him to leave. He’s done so much for the game, and he’s so fun to watch.” Even Emily Haber, the German ambassador to the United States, attended Wednesday’s game. Nowitzki played 12 minutes, was 0-of-3 from the field and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe and finished with two points and two rebounds. . .History will show that the Washington Wizards used the No. 5 overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft to select Devin Harris. However, Harris said: “They didn’t draft me. They just picked me. Officially I was drafted by the Mavs. It wasn’t even like I got the phone call from (the Wizards). When the phone rang (at the draft headquarters) it was (Mavs owner Mark Cuban) on the phone. I had to put the (Wizards’) hat on and changed it 20 minutes later (to the Mavs’ hat). That was it. The only connection (with the Wizards) was the hat.” On the night of the 2004 draft, the Wizards traded Jerry Stackhouse, Christian Laettner and the draft rights to Harris to the Mavs for Antawn Jamison. . .Maxi Kleber missed the game with a left knee effusion. . .The Mavs are 0-2 on this three-game road trip. The final game of the trip is Friday at 6 p.m. against the Orlando Magic before the Mavs return home to host the Houston Rockets n Sunday at 6 p.m.

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    Scott Brooks described Dirk Nowitzki as “a global icon” who “changed the game”

    WASHINGTON – Scott Brooks recalls the first time he scouted Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki.

    “I just remember this guy, he was a lot taller than I anticipated with the way he shot the ball,” Brook said prior to Wednesday’s game between the Washington Wizards and Mavs. “He can shoot the ball — it’s pretty remarkable — and then he was much skinnier back then, like we all were 20 years ago.

    “But when he started filling out and started knocking people around and off-balanced to get his shot off, that’s when you knew this guy is unstoppable, because his shot was such a high release and he had unlimited range and his footwork is flawless.”

    Now the head coach of the Wizards, Brooks marveled at the way Nowitzki invented the one-legged fadeaway jump shot that became unstoppable.

    “That shot is, you can’t guard it, you just can’t guard it,” Brooks said. “It’s such a high release. He got a lot of credit for that and it’s deserving, because it’s not easy to do all of those balanced things and still get your shot off because defensive players are pushing you and guys are double-teaming you. And he was still able to find a way to get to his shots on the floor, and he had a couple of spots that you couldn’t get him away from and you couldn’t stop him from scoring in those spots.”

    Hardcore NBA fans always have favorite players they enjoy watching as much as they can. According to Brooks, Nowitzki is on that must-see list.

    “He’s fun to watch,” Brooks said. “He’s one of those guys that everybody has favorite players to watch or coach or scout against or just to turn the TV on, and he’s one of them.

    “He plays the game the right way, he wasn’t out there trying to force bad shots. He was taking good shots, and a lot of times he would take shots that you look back and you say, ‘How did he make that?’ And there’s maybe one or two guys in the league that can make that shot.”

    Brooks, who played for the Mavs during the 1995-’96 season, believes that whenever Nowitzki does decide to retire he’ll leave behind an ever-lasting legacy.

    “He’s going to go down as one of the best ever at his position,” Brooks said. “I don’t think it’s fair for any of us to judge players on winning championships, but he’s won one (in 2011).

    “But even if he didn’t win a championship he would be one of the best ever. He changed the game. His trail three (point shot) at his position – there were a few guys doing it before that – but he took it to another level.”

    And that’s not the only thing Nowitzki took to another level.

    “He was catching the ball at the free throw line — he was one of the first guys to go do that,” Brooks said. “You can’t double-team from that spot as easy.

    “And his one-foot fadeaway, those are things that changed the game. And he’s changed the game in a fun way.”

    Brooks got to be around Nowitzki up close and personal a few times, since he coached him when the Mavs’ legend played in the 2012 and 2014 NBA All-Star games. His respect level for Nowitzki reached new heights at the time, which is why Brooks isn’t surprised fans are giving him one thunderous ovation after another this season in various arenas across the NBA.

    “He deserves the respect, not only for what he’s done for their organization, but what he’s done for the world and for the basketball world,” Brooks said. “He’s a global icon.

    “Everybody knows Dirk and what he brings to the game and how he approaches the game and how he interacts with the fans. I got a chance to coach him in the All-Star game and he was very entertaining to be around.”

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    Nowitzki looking forward to spending more time with his children whenever he retires

    WASHINGTON – Dirk Nowitzki obviously is dreading the day when he announces he’s going to retire from the NBA.

    Basketball has been such an integral part of Nowitzki’s DNA, all the way back to when he was a kid growing up in Germany.

    “I love the sport,” Nowitzki said following Wednesday’s shootaround at the Capital One Arena. “It’s given me so much over my life and my career. I’ll definitely stick around in some capacity, but I’m going to need some time away when it’s all said and done.

    “We have (three) young children, so it’s time for me to be in their lives a little more and be a little involved, and eventually obviously something has to come. You can’t just sit home for the next 40 years.”

    Other than stepping back and traveling the world with his family whenever he retires, Nowitzki has no imminent plans for what he’ll get involved with in terms of employment sans the NBA.

    “If the Mavs need me to do something, we’ll find a little niche there once I’m done,” he said. “And I’m sure we’ve got plenty of time to talk about that, but as of now I’m still enjoying it even though it gets hard at times.

    “When you’re out there and something constantly bothers you, that’s not the most fun way to play. But I’m still trying to enjoy it and trying to enjoy my minutes out there with the teammates, and enjoy the bus rides and the meetings and just having fun with the young guys and just enjoying making the best out of it and enjoying my time.”

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    Being an NBA head coach one day is not something that’s on Dirk Nowitzki’s bucket list

    WASHINGTON –Go ahead and scratch coaching off the list of things Dirk Nowitzki wants to do whenever he decides to retire from playing in the NBA.

    That’s not a career move on the Dallas Mavericks’ superstar forward’s bucket list. However, Nowitzki did admit to wanting to at least stick a foot into the coaching circle in some form or fashion.

    “Maybe like individual stuff, working with guys on skills, skill development, player development type stuff,” he said following Wednesday morning’s shootaround at the Capital One Arena. “I think that I would enjoy that, and I think obviously I’ve got some experience there.

    “But head coaching? It’s just something that I’m not real interested in.”

    Coach Rick Carlisle acknowledged that players of Nowitzki’s ilk have a very special view of the game and could develop into a great coach. He used Larry Bird as Exhibit A.

    Bird was a 12-time All-Star and three-time NBA champion while playing for the Boston Celtics from 1978-’92. Then he became the head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1997-’00.

    “I played with Larry for three years (with the Celtics) and became close friends with him over time,” Carlisle said. “I never would have guessed he was interested in coaching. That came out of nowhere, so you never know.

    “I think in Larry’s case he was out (of basketball) for three or four years and he wanted back in, he wanted to be involved in the game and he wasn’t afraid to dive in. It’s very personal as to what extent guys want to do that, but that’s something you’ve got to ask (Nowitzki).”

    Nowitzki broke into the NBA in 1998 and his first coach was Don Nelson, who employed a lot of the push the pace 3-point offensive schemes that’s used on a regular basis in the NBA today. That got Nowitzki to thinking if he did one day change his mind and decide to venture into coaching.

    “I was never really interested in defensive schemes my entire career, as you probably know,” Nowitzki said while laughing. “I’m more about having fun offensively and sharing the ball.

    “My style would probably be more like Nellie back in the days – look for mismatches, push the pace and enjoy playing.”

    Now in his 21st season, Nowitzki and the Mavs will face the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night at 6 at the Capital One Arena. Meanwhile, Carlisle knows whenever Nowitzki does decide to retire, the next chapter in his life will probably be as fruitful as the current chapter.

    “Dirk Nowitzki can do anything he wants to in this game,” Carlisle said. “There’s no doubt about that.”

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    NBA 2K League Draft: Q&A with Peter Malin, Mavs Gaming’s Top Pick (No. 5 overall)

    Peter Malin was selected by Mavs Gaming with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2019 NBA 2K League Draft. His gamer tag is PeteBeBallin. The following are questions and answers asked during the media availability portion of the NBA 2K League Draft:

     

    Q. What is this like for you to be picked into the 2K League?
    PETER MALIN: Yeah, it’s definitely a surreal experience. Of course, you can’t really prepare for an experience like this since there’s nothing to go against. But, I’m definitely prepared for this experience. I think I’ve put in a lot of work, and the hard work I put in, it paid off, and I’m really happy for the people that believed in me. I’m really happy to prove them right.

    Q. How many hours a day do you spend playing the game?
    PETER MALIN: I’d say on average I spend about four hours on NBA 2K19 a day, trying to perfect my craft and get better at the game, and even more than a playing type of person, I really pride myself on being a good teammate, so definitely that’s some of the biggest aspects of my game that I bring.

    Q. For some people like me who doesn’t know exactly what it means, what does it mean to be a good teammate?
    PETER MALIN: Yeah, so playing with my teammates, say a negative situation happens. Always being a positive teammate, maybe giving them positive feedback and positive criticism, rather than negatively throwing shots at them or making them feel uncomfortable in the moment.

    Q. When did you start playing?
    PETER MALIN:
    My first 2K was NBA 2K8, so I was only eight years old when I picked up my first 2K.

    Q. When did you realize that you had developed into a pretty good player?
    PETER MALIN: So, really when I considered taking 2K competitively and I realized me playing professionally was possible was when I started winning tournaments and leagues in NBA 2K18. I won thousands of dollars playing in leagues, and that’s when I realized that this could actually become a future of mine.

    Q. And I take it you were happy to discover that?
    PETER MALIN: Yes. Very excited.

    Q. How old were you when you started to [get good]?
    PETER MALIN: Eight.

    Q. And then when you become really good you were 18 you said?
    PETER MALIN: I’d say I became really good when I was around 16. That’s when I started taking it competitively and realized a future could come out of this situation.

    Q. What did your parents say when — generally we tend to say don’t stay too much in front of the TV, don’t stay too much in front of the screen?
    PETER MALIN: Yeah, so growing up, maybe the first couple years of high school, that’s what I heard a lot from my parents, but eventually once they saw the money that I was making and experiences that were coming from this situation, they started to support me even more, and they’re really supportive of the situation 100 percent today.

    Q. You qualified as a small forward. I’m assuming you were selected as a center for the Mavs. How do you feel you’re going to fit with Dimez on the court play-style wise?
    PETER MALIN:
    I think I’ll fit in really well. It’s just the type of person I am. I’m one to be a positive teammate, not really cause any problems within an organization or a team, so I think me going to an organization I’ll have a positive mindset and I’ll be perfect for someone that wants to fit in with Dimez.

    Q. How do you feel with playing along with Dimez in the future?
    PETER MALIN: I don’t think Dimez gets a lot of credit for the things he does. I think he’s a really good player, and he’s really under-looked in terms of how people portray him, but I’m really excited to go to Dallas and form a great organization with him.

    Q. Is basketball your favorite sport or you have some other ones you enjoy?
    PETER MALIN: Yes, basketball is my favorite sport. I played basketball one year in high school, and I love watching it and playing with my friends at the park all the time.

    Q. Have you been to Dallas before?
    PETER MALIN:
    I have not. I have not been to the West Coast or really anywhere central.

    Q. How old were you when you started to [get good]?
    PETER MALIN: Eight.

    Q. And then when you become really good you were 18 you said?
    PETER MALIN: I’d say I became really good when I was around 16. That’s when I started taking it competitively and realized a future could come out of this situation.

    Q. What did your parents say when — generally we tend to say don’t stay too much in front of the TV, don’t stay too much in front of the screen?
    PETER MALIN: Yeah, so growing up, maybe the first couple years of high school, that’s what I heard a lot from my parents, but eventually once they saw the money that I was making and experiences that were coming from this situation, they started to support me even more, and they’re really supportive of the situation 100 percent today.

    Q. You qualified as a small forward. I’m assuming you were selected as a center for the Mavs. How do you feel you’re going to fit with Dimez on the court play-style wise?
    PETER MALIN:
    I think I’ll fit in really well. It’s just the type of person I am. I’m one to be a positive teammate, not really cause any problems within an organization or a team, so I think me going to an organization I’ll have a positive mindset and I’ll be perfect for someone that wants to fit in with Dimez.

    Q. How do you feel with playing along with Dimez in the future?
    PETER MALIN: I don’t think Dimez gets a lot of credit for the things he does. I think he’s a really good player, and he’s really under-looked in terms of how people portray him, but I’m really excited to go to Dallas and form a great organization with him.

    Q. Is basketball your favorite sport or you have some other ones you enjoy?
    PETER MALIN: Yes, basketball is my favorite sport. I played basketball one year in high school, and I love watching it and playing with my friends at the park all the time.

    The post NBA 2K League Draft: Q&A with Peter Malin, Mavs Gaming’s Top Pick (No. 5 overall) appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    The usually rough Brooklyn crowd showed its soft side in paying tribute to Dirk Nowitzki

    WASHINGTON, D.C. —Something very unique happened in Brooklyn on Monday night that’s never happened before when the Nets are playing.

    Nets fans showed that they indeed have a soft heart.

    In a show of respect, Nets fans went way out of their way to cheer for Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki. From the time Nowitzki was introduced in the starting lineup to every time he touched and shot the ball, the Nets’ fans wrapped their arms around Nowitzki and cheered his every move as if he was one of their own.

    “It’s very touching, it’s great to see,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s great to see a guy of his kind of accomplishment and integrity recognized in the (New York) Metropolitan area, which generally speaking the fans are tough.

    “If they’re giving you that kind of respect, you’ve done an awful lot of things right over a long period of time. They’re not rolling out that kind of love just for anybody.”

    The fan reactions have been humbling to Nowitzki, who now have to play through a different type of noise, especially during road games. The 21-year veteran has in effect become everyone’s favorite player.

    “Of course you hear it,” Nowitzki said of the friendly noise from fans who used to be unfriendly. “All of the receptions have been wonderful and they’ve been humbling. Obviously, I didn’t expect that at all.

    “It really started before the break in Charlotte (on Jan. 2). . .and it kind of took off from there. Then there was Indy, there was Boston and it just kept going.”

    And the fandom kept growing to a point where one city would get wind of how the previous city serenaded Nowitzki, and then the next city would try and out-do the previous city. Everything reached a crescendo in Los Angeles on Feb. 25 when Clippers coach Doc Rivers called a timeout with 9.4 seconds left in the game and his team up by nine points, and basically told the Clippers fans to stand up and give Nowitzki a loud ovation, which they did.

    Nowitzkii has taken mental notes on how every city paid homage to his terrific career.

    “There was Madison Square Garden, so it’s been very humbling, emotional at times,” he said. “Even last night (in Brooklyn), I was horrible.

    “I couldn’t make one and I finally made an elbow jumper on my (10th) try and the crowd went nuts. I’ve been very appreciative of that, and I’ll never forget some of these receptions for sure.”

    In a way, the fan reactions across the NBA has been somewhat awkward, since Nowitzki has not gone on record to say whether this will be his final season. So, what if Nowitzki returns next year and decides to play for a 22nd season?

    “If I come back, we’ll do (these fan tributes) all over again,” Nowitzki said after Tuesday’s practice. “I always said we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out and how the body feels.

    “We’ll go from there and finish, hopefully, the season out strong.”

    Whenever Nowitzki decides to retire, he’ll leave behind a rich legacy that rivals any player in the history of the NBA.

    “He’s quite simply one of the very best that ever played the game,” Carlisle said. “Dirk Nowitzki has demonstrated a level of competitive integrity respect for our franchise, respect for the NBA community that’s really uncommon.

    “It’s been an amazing, amazing run over two decades.”

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    Mavs want to defend better, play with force, attack harder and be more aggressive

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – After surprisingly suffering consecutive losses by 30 or more points, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle had the perfect medicine to fix whatever ails his squad.

    “We needed a hard, aggressive practice today, which we had, and we need to move forward,” Carlisle said after Tuesday’s workout at the Washington Wizards’ practice facilities. “Bad games are no fun.

    “We’ve got to deal with realities and work to get better and then move forward and be positive. And that’s what we did today.”

    The Mavs are in the uncustomary position of doing interviews after losing, 111-81, at home to Memphis this past Saturday, and following that up with Monday’s 127-88 loss on the road to the Brooklyn Nets. The Mavs (27-36) are hopeful of getting things ironed out by the time they face the Wizards (26-37) on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Capital One Arena.

    “In the NBA you’ve got to move on,” forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “You’ve got to watch some of that stuff, get some positives out as much as we can and move on. The next night’s coming at you.

    “Washington is playing the same way – small, athletic, coming at you type of game — and we just got to do a better job of keeping them out of the paint better than yesterday, containing the ball and finding out the shooters. We can’t let our offense dictate our defense.”

    Carlisle described solving this puzzle in another manner.

    “You’ve just got to circle the wagons and get them together,” he said, referring to his players. “You’ve got to stay positive to a large degree, but we all got to be truthful about the realities.

    “We’ve got to play with more force and we’ve got to play better together.”

    The Mavs have lost eight of their last 12 games, and they relinguished 120 or more points in five of those losses. That has been a major point of emphasis.

    “It’s tough, it’s frustrating, but like I said, the NBA season is a long ride, lots of ups and downs and we’ve just got to be a little better defensively,” Nowitzki said. “We’re giving up obviously a 120 almost every night and that’s tough to win consistently if you’re giving up that many points.

    “If you can keep the opponents around 100, then I think we give ourselves a better chance.”

    Of course, the Mavs knew there probably would have been some difficult times after they took the unprecedented move of trading away four of their five starters some five weeks ago.

    On Jan. 31 the Mavs traded Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and a pair of first-round draft picks to the New York Knicks for Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke and Courtney Lee. And on Feb. 6 the Mavs traded Harrison Barnes to the Sacramento Kings for Justin Jackson and Zach Randolph, the latter whom the Mavs subsequently waived.

    Since the trade with the Knicks the Mavs are just 4-9. However, the trades were made with a keen eye on the future health of this franchise — that includes clearing salary cap space. Also, Porzingis won’t play until next season as he continues to recover from a torn left anterior cruciate ligament surgery.

    “Listen, we traded away four of our five starters,” Nowitzki said. “That’s not like we were all of a sudden going to win every game from here on out. This deal that we made was for the future. Sometimes you have to take a step back to take a step forward.

    “KP is not going to play all year. He’s the main piece why we made this trade. Obviously we’re going to think there’s going to be some tough losses, but it’s the way we’ve been losing I think more than anything. . .and obviously some of the frustration comes in when you lose by 30 at home and get down by (44) on the road. I think that’s the frustrating part. Not that we were losing, but like I said, we’ve gone the young route and we’re set up well for the future, but even though right now we’re struggling a bit.”

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    Mavericks do some ‘Ballin in NBA2K draft

    With the fifth overall pick of the NBA 2K Draft, the Mavericks took what they believe to be the gaming equivalent of Luka Doncic.

    A diverse player who can do it all.

    They picked PeteBeBallin, also known as Peter Malin from New York, and couldn’t have been happier to bring him on board to pair with last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Artreyo “Dimez” Boyd.

    “Pete is a very versatile player,” said Tray Thompson, Mavericks Esports sales manager. “He can complement Dimez as a big, who can pick and pop, play interior defense and a facilitator. He’ll kind of alleviate the attention from Dimez. He’s just as efficient at facilitating and scoring the ball as Dimez. I love our team.

    The Mavericks, who missed the playoffs in the inaugural season of NBA gaming, also had the 14th overall pick and took Byanymeansmo.

    The gaming end of the NBA business might be foreign to the older generation, but it is a lucrative byproduct that the league is latching onto going forward.

    “The emotional impact you get from, let’s say, Dirk hitting a game-winning 3-point shot, that same emotional impact is on a virtual standpoint with these gamers,” Thompson said. “It’s an opportunity for kids who have been playing this game for years to step into a professional spotlight, and it’s a credit to Adam Silver seeing this vision and the NBA owners seeing the vision that Esports is a growing entity. You’re looking at an age range from 16 to 35 This is something that the league and the younger fans have to look forward to for a long time.

    “This does bring the opportunity if you don’t have the (athletic) ability but you have the passion for gaming, you can now have a career in it and that’s the biggest thing. You have an opportunity to make money at doing something you love. This year, they can get a salary for a six-month stint and an opportunity to play for $1.2 million.”

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    Mavs, BIOLASE & iKids Dental provide free dental care to hundreds of children at recent TeamSmile event

    DALLAS – Some of the Dallas Mavericks tiniest fans now have bright, beautiful smiles to display thanks to a recent TeamSmile event that took place at the Mavs’ Lympo Practice Facility that gave over 200 students free dental care. Hundreds of volunteers across North Texas helped turned the practice courts into a dental wonderland, decked out in shiny chairs primed for dental cleanings and fillings with sports serving as the backdrop in a cheerful and upbeat atmosphere catered to children.

    The Mavs partnered with BIOLASE (NASDAQ: BIOL), iKids Dental and TeamSmile for the first year to provide life-changing dental care for hundreds of underserved children from Dallas ISD and Boys and Girls Club to receive minimally invasive and virtually pain-free dental care. Care included dental screenings, preventive measures, and onsite radiographs and laser treatments.

    TeamSmile, an organization co-founded by Kansas City Chiefs’ punter Dustin Colquitt, is considered the nation’s premier advocacy group that supports life-changing dental care for underserved and underprivileged children.

    Former Dallas Maverick and 2011 NBA Champion, Shawn Marion, served as the Mavericks team ambassador for the event and two-way rookie guard Daryl Macon came to visit with the children and volunteers.

    “This is an extraordinary event to visit and see,” Macon said. “It’s an enjoyable atmosphere catered to children, and they have all these different stations for the kids to visit. Going to the dentist can be a scary experience, even for adults, so it’s pretty cool to see how they make it a gentle and easy process for all the kids.”

    Over $80,000 in dental care and education was provided (average of $415 per patient) and iKids Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics served as the lead dentists. Almost 150 volunteers helped at the inaugural Dallas Mavericks TeamSmile event, including 19 dentists, 22 dental assists and 11 dental hygienists.  TeamSmile was able to screen 192 children and provide free X-rays for 168 students, according to final data.

    The event was set up like a carnival atmosphere to ease the tension that many children feel when seeing the dentist for the first time. There was even a dance floor and DJ with Marion leading in the Cupid Shuffle. Marion also wore sparkly star sunglasses and sat with the children as dentists carefully examined, cleaned and treated their teeth. He then rotated to center court and helped the children learn how to brush on giant green stuffed animal frogs.

    “Partnering with the Mavericks, BIOLASE, and iKids Dental on this important initiative is extremely important to us and the children of Dallas,” said TeamSmile Executive Director John McCarthy. “By exposing underserved children to dental procedures and the importance of oral hygiene, we are setting them up to be proactive in their dental health for years to come. Creating a fun day with players, mascots and dancers helps children get interested in their own health and learn about the excellent treatment advances made with

    The children rotated to various stations and learned to correctly brush their teeth by practicing on giant stuffed animals to the tunes of popular songs. In another corner, a group of volunteers painted the kids’ faces with rainbows and glitter and gave them free neon t-shirts and other gear.

    The event also featured the Mavs ManiAACs, dancers and team mascot, Champ, along with Macon and Marion.

    When he wasn’t dancing with the kids, Marion took time to visit and thank the Waterlase dentists from the Dallas-Fort Worth area who worked the event and took time away from their own dental practices to serve some of the neediest children in North Texas.

    The Dallas Mavericks coaches and players also moved their practice to the American Airlines Center to ensure the children and volunteers had plenty of space to work and serve the youngsters.

    This is the third initiative that BIOLASE has worked on with TeamSmile, following their successful programs in Los Angeles in November 2018 and January 2019. BIOLASE said they will continue to support more of these initiatives to work to advance dental care and dental laser awareness across the nation.

    “Exposure to proper dental hygiene at a young age is important for maintaining lifelong oral health,” said BIOLASE CEO Todd Norbe. “With our partnership with TeamSmile and the Dallas Mavericks, our goal is to lessen the fear associated with dentistry and give children a chance to meet and connect with their sports idols. When children better understand these dental procedures, their fear of them is relieved, and they are more likely to attend dental checkups with greater regularity.”

    This year’s participants came from Oneismo Hernandez Elementary, Faith Family Academy, Boys and Girls Club and Jubilee Community Center.

    ABOUT BIOLASE, Inc.
    BIOLASE, Inc. is a medical device company that develops, manufactures, markets, and sells laser systems in dentistry and medicine and also markets, sells, and distributes dental imaging equipment, including three-dimensional CAD/CAM intra-oral scanners and digital dentistry software. BIOLASE’s products advance the practice of dentistry and medicine for patients and healthcare professionals. BIOLASE’s proprietary laser products incorporate approximately 220 patented and 95 patent-pending technologies designed to provide biologically clinically superior performance with less pain and faster recovery times.  BIOLASE’s innovative products provide cutting-edge technology at competitive prices to deliver the best results for dentists and patients.  BIOLASE’s principal products are revolutionary dental laser systems that perform a broad range of dental procedures, including cosmetic and complex surgical applications, and a full line of dental imaging equipment. BIOLASE has sold over 36,200 laser systems to date in over 90 countries around the world. Laser products under development address BIOLASE’s core dental market and other adjacent medical and consumer markets.  For updates and information on BIOLASE, Inc. and laser dentistry, visit BIOLASE online at www.biolase.com, Facebook at www.facebook.com/biolase, Twitter at www.twitter.com/biolaseincand LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/biolase.

    ABOUT TEAMSMILE
    TeamSmile is the nation’s premier advocacy group that partners oral health professionals with professional athletic organizations to provide life-changing dental care to underserved children in our communities. By partnering with professional sports organizations, we create an experience that develops bonds between children’s organizations, oral health professionals, surrounding communities, and the athletes that solidify the message that oral health care is vitally important to long-term health. Through this experience, children receive free oral health education, screening, treatment, and are taught that the mouth and body are linked for overall health.

    ABOUT iKids PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY AND ORTHODONTICS
    iKids Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics has dedicated the past 10 years in serving the pediatric oral health needs in Texas.  Following the vision of the founder, and CEO, Dr. Randy Hamilton, DDS, iKids Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics is nationally recognized for their customer service and prides itself in giving ALL children the best quality of care by creating a safe, fun-filled environment while utilizing cutting edge technology from a highly trained team of specialists and support staff.  With over 15 award-winning locations, across the Dallas/DFW metroplex, iKids Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics will continue to strive for excellence in creating a premier dental home for all those entrusted in their care. To learn more about iKids Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, please visit their website at www.ikidsdental.com or by FB @iKidsPediatricDentistry

    BY THE NUMBERS:

    Mavericks 2019

     

    The post Mavs, BIOLASE & iKids Dental provide free dental care to hundreds of children at recent TeamSmile event appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Jalen Brunson is proving this Mavs rookie class consists of two first-round talents, not just one

    June 21, 2018 will always be a date that will go down in franchise history.

    Coming off two seasons with a combined 57 wins, the Mavericks were due for their second top-10 pick in back-to-back years. Except this time, it was the fifth overall pick in the draft. They desperately needed another young piece to accelerate the rebuild.

    But before Adam Silver could even get to the third pick in the draft, Dallas made its move by trading up two spots for international sensation Luka Doncic. He was their guy. Scouting him since his early teenage years, they couldn’t pass up the chance of landing the next potential superstar in the NBA.

    Now, roughly eight months since draft day, Doncic has exceeded all expectations as he looks to be on his way to a Rookie of the Year award in a loaded class. He is the face of the franchise and someone fans envision wearing a Mavericks jersey for the next two decades.

    But June 21, 2018 will also be remembered by someone else on the team for a whole different reason.

    Jalen Brunson was a 21-year-old who had just finished his junior season at Villanova University. Not only did he wrap up his third campaign, but he finished another season atop the college basketball world by winning another national championship during his college tenor. It was his second in three years. And winning is exactly what matters most to Brunson.

    “Everybody knows about Jalen’s accolades, great performances, and overall success at Villanova, but what made him so appreciated and respected was how that individual stuff was all secondary, by a large margin, to winning,” Matt Fraschilla, graduate assistant at Villanova said on his time coaching Brunson.

    This special trait came to light on the biggest stage of Brunson’s career. Brunson was coming off National Player of the Year and Big East award honors as the leader of a Villanova team that was shooting for its second title in three years. He was the point guard and leader of the team. But on the biggest stage, Brunson didn’t shoot the ball well and picked up two early fouls in the National Championship game.

    It was then that Brunson’s character and leadership was most evident.

    “He was just as into the game and his teammates as if he was playing his best game,” Fraschilla said. “He always put his teammates ahead of himself and that will be his legacy at Villanova forever.”

    Jalen, son of former NBA player Rick Brunson, entered the draft after winning that second National Championship. A 21-year-old point guard who wasn’t the biggest or the quickest nor did have a long wingspan or the “young age.” Projected all over the draft board by analysts around the country, the first round ended without Brunson’s name being called.

    “On our board, we had him going in the first round,” Michael Finley, assistant vice president of basketball operations said on draft night. Rick Carlisle would add to it by saying they were “surprised” that Brunson lasted into the second round and that they believed that Brunson would be chosen in the 20s.

    Why was Brunson higher on their draft board? Relationships mean everything. With the Mavericks having Team USA roots through their director of player personnel, Tony Ronzone, the organization had built a solid relationship with Villanova head coach Jay Wright. It was through that relationship with Wright that Dallas got the intel they needed on Brunson. With Wright being a straight shooter, they knew the praise coming from Brunson’s head coach was praise they could rely on.

    Sitting with the third pick in the second round, Brunson wasn’t lasting past Dallas.

    “When Jalen was still there at 33 we thought it was a blessing for us,” Finley said. “We had a great opportunity to get a great young player and we jumped right on that.”

    With the 33rd pick in the draft, Jalen Brunson became a Dallas Maverick.

    But it was clear from the start that Brunson would have an uphill battle to get playing time in Dallas after running the point guard spot his whole life. Dallas had just drafted Dennis Smith Jr. ninth overall the year before and just moved up in the draft to select Luka Doncic, who is a 6-foot-8 point guard in his own right. On top of that, J.J. Barea would be returning along with the uncertain situations at the time with Devin Harris and Yogi Ferrell. In the introductory press conference, the G League was even brought up when talking about Brunson in his rookie season.

    “We will see what takes place with the G League,” Carlisle said on draft night. “He is a guy that has been underestimated many times and has a knack for proving people wrong. Proving people that he does belong and that he can play at a high level. I know he will compete hard and push Dennis and Barea.”

    A few weeks later, Brunson wore “Mavericks” across his chest for the first time as the Mavericks headed to Las Vegas to compete in Summer League. But it wasn’t the prettiest for Brunson, as he averaged a little over six points on 10-of-44 shooting (23 percent) from the field. He knew he had a lot of work to do to have an impact in the league in his rookie season.

    Since then, much like Doncic, Brunson has exceeded all expectations.

    “I go back to Summer League where he had some struggles but studied what happened, learned from it and got better,” Rick Carlisle said at practice after the All-Star break. It was an early point in Brunson’s career they all look back on as it shows the progress he has made in just eight short months.

    Of the current Mavericks on the team, Brunson is fifth in minutes played on the season and has started 21 games. In a matter of months, Brunson went from a developmental third point guard off the bench to a key rotational piece who can start at multiple spots. And it’s that versatility that has allowed him to be better than what many imagined.

    It doesn’t normally work like that. On paper, Brunson didn’t fit the Swiss army knife build. He was a single, well-defined tool coming out of college — a 6-foot-3 guard with a relatively short wingspan and average athleticism that has managed the game from the point guard spot his entire life. But Villanova, and now the Mavericks, saw more than that and Brunson has proven them right.

    “He’d probably agree with me and anyone else that says he’s not going to be the most athletic player on the floor, but he beats people with having great footwork, body control, and knowledge of angles on the floor,” Fraschilla said. “That all comes from years of reps and studying, which he has definitely put the work in to do.”

    It is the intangibles that you can’t teach, the natural feel for the game and the basketball IQ.

    “The knock on the kid was he’s short with a lack of speed and doesn’t have a long wing span, can’t jump, etc.…” Ronzone said. “The thing you can’t teach is desire to lead and win.” And when things get tough or change is taking place, having a stable force like Brunson makes all the difference. For the Mavericks in particular, the back court has been hit with everything you could imagine over the past eight months.

    In the first game of the season, Dennis Smith Jr. manned the starting point guard spot with Luka Doncic and Wesley Matthews on the wing. Smith’s backup was franchise favorite, J.J. Barea, who logged over 20 minutes on opening night. Over time, Smith suffered from injuries and sickness, Doncic began to get more time at point guard, and J.J. Barea suffered a season-ending injury to his Achilles. Then, Dallas made a blockbuster trade sending Smith and Matthews to New York. The roles in the backcourt were changing more often than Doncic changes his shoes during games.

    Through all of it, though, Brunson was ready for anything thrown his way.

    “He has had a lot of different types of roles this year, everything from being a ‘stay ready’ depth bench guy to being a primary rotation guy off the bench,” Carlisle said. “And then he started a lot of games too. One of the great things about him is that he is ready for anything. He will always be ready and he is very professional for a guy who is a first-year player.”

    Always being ready comes natural for Brunson, but what he’s had to learn over the course of his rookie season is the mental toughness that comes with it. “It is a different mental toughness. You have to be ready for anything,” Brunson said. “You can play 30 minutes one night and zero the next. And you have to be ready down the line for some big minutes. Always staying mentally ready is the biggest adjustment I’ve had to make. I think I’ve done a pretty good job at it but it is definitely tough.”

    With Luka Doncic taking over the point guard spot in the offense, Brunson has shown the ability to play off the ball as a secondary playmaker in Carlisle’s system, something not every point guard can adapt to so easily in the NBA. One thing that has allowed Brunson to play off the ball so effectively is his ability to shoot from behind the arc.

    In college, Brunson was a career 39 percent shooter from three while shooting 40 percent during his junior season at Villanova. Even though Brunson struggled with his outside shot early in the season, Brunson has shot 25 of 58 (43.1 percent) from deep since Jan. 9. On spot-up shots in general, Brunson is scoring at a rate of 1.01 PPP, which is in the 56th percentile in the league according to Synergy.

    “He stretched out his game where he is now a consistent 3-point threat,” Carlisle said of his improvement. And that growth can be traced back to some of his first comments as a member of the Mavericks. In his first media session, this was what Brunson had to say in regards to the area of his game that he was going to focus on getting better at. “The 3 is obviously a deadly component in today’s NBA and I am working on it every day,” Brunson said.

    Now, he is one of the best 3-point shooters on the team.

    But don’t think Brunson can score from just the outside. One of the more underrated parts of his game is his ability to use his body and footwork in the post for a point guard, something he did going back to his days at Villanova.

    “I think it’s pretty well known at this point how well he understands the game, but I’d say people may not realize how good his attention to detail to the small details, like footwork, is, and is what makes him so good,” Fraschilla said.

    Carlisle added to that on draft night by saying, “Something you notice right away is a lot of posting up of other point guards. He uses strength and footwork to create separation and space. He has a collection of fadeaway shots. That just shows the resourcefulness,” Carlisle said.

    And the stats have backed it up. Of the Mavericks that have had at least 10 post up possessions this year, Brunson is scoring at 1.143 PPP on 63 percent from the field, both the highest on the team.

    As for the positive impact he has on the court, Brunson is in the only five-man lineup with a positive net rating of the top three most played lineups since the Porzingis trade on January 31. Of the 21 two-man lineups that have played at least 490 minutes together this season for the Mavericks, Brunson and Maxi Kleber have the highest net rating of the bunch. And that is including every player that has suited up for the Mavericks this season.

    Defensively, Brunson has raised a lot of eyebrows across the league. With a minimum of 30 isolation possessions, Brunson is allowing opponents to score at just 0.718 PPP, which is 30th in the league. While being the primary defender guarding the pick and roll ball handler on at least 160 possessions, Brunson is 22nd in the league in allowing opponents to score at just 0.817 PPP according to Synergy.

    Rick Carlisle went out of his way to praise Brunson’s defense after the all-star break, “defensively he is very solid. He is one of our better perimeter defenders,” Carlisle said.

    But the most important part of Brunson’s game isn’t his ability to play off the ball nor is it his outside shooting or ability to run the offense. It is the unique leadership traits and character that the rookie has that sets him apart from your normal rookie. Something that has been evident since his time at Villanova.

    “Jalen exhibited a great combination of vocal leadership and leading by example,” Fraschilla said on Brunson at Villanova. “He was able to command respect without saying a word, just because you knew how much work he put in to be as good as he is, and he not only always knew what his position was doing, but everybody else on the floor’s as well. At the same time, he never shied away from coaching or critiques; he took that on with humility and with a desire to improve.”

    This isn’t something you see every day from players coming out of college. The willingness to take on critiques with the mindset to get better. That humility and leadership by example was something that attracted the front office from the start.

    “Leadership is the toughest thing to find with college kids coming into draft at early age,” Tony Ronzone, the director of player personnel for the Dallas Mavericks said. “The three years of college was huge for JB as he’s coming into the NBA with maturity and already a winner at college level.”

    Ronzone went on to tell a story about how he coached Jalen’s dad, Rick Brunson, in an overseas tournament in Lebanon. He praised Rick’s determination and work ethic as he fought as a fringe player in the NBA.

    “JB has been around NBA players and also got that tough mind set from his dad,” Ronzone said. “Also, JB being from Michael Finley’s hometown area of Chicago helped us as we know how tough Finley was on and off the court.”

    And Finley was one of his biggest supporters on draft night after the Mavericks selected him.

    “He has won on every level and from high school to college,” Finley said. Carlisle added in, “the kid has basically been a coach on the floor.”

    “That winning trait he has and that type of attitude is what made us more attracted to him,” Finley continued. “Even though he was in college, he was a professional. He had a professional demeanor about himself and a very confident young man. Confident in what he brings to the table on and off the court. When we seen we had the opportunity to drafted him, everybody was on the edge of their chairs. It was a unanimous decision to take him,” Finley added.

    Much was made about a pre-draft conversation with Brunson that left the organization impressed. As each organization took their allotted time to speak to each prospect, the Mavs found themselves going up to the final buzzer with Brunson.

    “When we spoke to him we had a 35 minute interview,” Carlisle said. “Some of the interviews get over a little early. We stayed with this kid all the way through until the phone rang to indicate it was time to switch. He was great and had great views on the game. It is important to get guys that love to play when you are rebuilding.”

    On top of that, getting players that are natural born leaders like Brunson are key to a rebuild…and Brunson knows that. “I think with my character and the things I can do from a leader standpoint is a big part of good teams,” Brunson said. “Good teams always have that guy, no matter if he is a top guy or not, there is a guy on that team that keeps everybody together.” Carlisle echoed that statement on draft night when talking about Brunson’s leadership qualities, “Those kinds of characteristics are really important when you are in a rebuild.”

    Brunson might not know his exact role at all times, but his leadership will always be there as he is ready for anything Carlisle throws his way. “Whatever the team needs. Going forward I am just trying to play aggressive and be a good leader. Do whatever Coach Carlisle needs,” Brunson said.

    But Brunson is a second-round pick, and those players aren’t supposed to have this type of impact, let alone the maturity and leadership. Of the players selected in the second round of the 2018 Draft, Brunson is one of only two players that have logged over 900 minutes. He is also first in points, first in assists, fourth in rebounds, and second in 3-point percentage among the second-rounders.

    For the 2018 Draft as a whole, Brunson has logged more minutes than 16 of the first-round picks. He has more total points than 17 first rounders and more assists than 25 first rounders. As for 3-point percentage, Brunson’s 35.1 percent is sixth among all rookies who have attempted 100 or more threes. As for more “well-known” names in the draft, Brunson is shooting a higher 3-point percentage than Trae Young, scoring more points per game than Miles Bridges and shooting a higher field goal percentage than Collin Sexton. I think it is safe to say that Brunson should have been a first-round pick. But that never mattered to Brunson, whose approach was never going to change.

    “I knew that I was going to work hard wherever I went,” Brunson said. “No matter if I was the first pick or undrafted. I don’t think it ever mattered where I got drafted, my mindset was going to stay the same.” That mindset is a mindset of thankfulness and motivation.

    “This is a different challenge and I like where I am at because I know I have so much more left in the tank and I know where I can get better. I am just happy to get this experience and opportunity,” Brunson said. And when this season is over, expect a much-improved Brunson after the summer he has planned. “I think I am just going to watch film this summer. Watch all of my games this year. See what I did and just work hard and get in even better shape. Find ways to get myself better.”

    On the area he wants to focus on the most this summer: “everything.”

    The 2018 NBA Draft for the Dallas Mavericks is defined as the Luka Doncic Draft from the outside, but from the inside, the 2018 NBA Draft is viewed as the draft the Mavs landed both Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson, two key building blocks for the future.

    The post Jalen Brunson is proving this Mavs rookie class consists of two first-round talents, not just one appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    2019 NBA 2K League Draft: Mavs Gaming FAQ

    BROOKLYN – After a successful inaugural campaign, the NBA 2K League is set for its second season with the 2019 NBA 2K League Draft today (Tuesday, March 5th) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Mavs Gaming retained ArtreyoDimez” Boyd, the 2018 overall number one pick, and has both the 5th and 14th overall, as well as three picks later to fill out the roster.

    The draft consists of four rounds, down from six a season ago. The reason for the decrease is that every team will have holdovers and protected players from Season 1. All 21 teams will complete their six-person roster.

    The player pool was announced March 4 and it includes 198 players to fill the 74 spots available in the 2K League Draft. There are 22 international players as well as includes two women (there were no females in the 102-player draft class last season).

    The league also has four expansion teams: T-Wolves Gaming, Lakers Gaming, Hawks Talon GC and Nets Gaming Crew.

    There will be 16 regular-season games in 2019 with $1.2 million in prize money available over the course of the season.

    With the addition of four expansion teams, 126 players will compete in the NBA 2K League’s second season, and new this year, the number of draft-eligible players will exceed the spots available in the league through the draft.  During the offseason, 52 players from the inaugural season were retained or selected in the Expansion Draft, leaving 74 roster spots available.  The 198 draft-eligible players consist of 144 new players who were selected by the league following an extensive tryout process, six players from the league’s first-ever APAC Invitational that took place in Hong Kong in early February, and 48 unretained players from the inaugural season.

    “I want to congratulate these 198 players on establishing themselves as among the best NBA 2K players in the world through a rigorous evaluation process,” said NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue.  “We’re looking forward to an exciting draft day as we welcome a new class of players to the NBA 2K League family.”

    2019 Mavs Gaming Draft Party

    Mavs Gaming will host a draft watch party at the Mavs Gaming Pavilion (2909 Taylor Street) for fans and gamers alike. The party will begin at 3:30PM, with the draft beginning at 4 PM. There will be food, drinks, arcade games and lots of fun in support of the new Mavs Gaming roster.

    What time is NBA 2K League Draft?

    The 2K League Draft will be held March 5 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It’s scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. CT.

    NBA 2K League Draft live stream

    The draft will be live-streamed exclusively on the league’s official Twitch channel.

    When Does The Season Start

    Season 2 begins April 2, 2019. The regular season will continue for 12 weeks before the playoffs begin July 24. The Finals will take place Aug. 3, ending the second season.

    NBA 2K League 2019 Draft order

    ROUND 1

    1. Jazz Gaming
    2. Warriors Gaming Squad
    3. Kings Guard Gaming
    4. Pistons GT (from Pacers Gaming)
    5. Mavs Gaming
    6. Bucks Gaming
    7. Grizz Gaming
    8. Celtics Crossover Gaming
    9. Magic Gaming
    10. Warriors Gaming Squad (from Lakers Gaming)
    11. T-Wolves Gaming
    12. NetsGC
    13. Hawks Talon GC
    14. Mavs Gaming (from Wizards District Gaming)
    15. Raptors Uprising GC
    16. Pistons GT
    17. Bucks Gaming (from Blazer5 Gaming)
    18. Cavs Legion GC
    19. 76ers GC
    20. Heat Check Gaming
    21. Knicks Gaming

    ROUND 2

    22. Kings Guard Gaming
    23. NO PICK (Warriors Gaming Squad retained Vert)*
    24. Jazz Gaming
    25. Pacers Gaming
    26. Mavs Gaming
    27. Bucks Gaming
    28. Grizz Gaming
    29. Celtics Crossover Gaming
    30. Magic Gaming
    31. Hawks Talon GC
    32. NetsGC
    33. T-Wolves Gaming
    34. Lakers Gaming
    35. Wizards District Gaming
    36. Raptors Uprising GC
    37. NO PICK (Pistons GT retained JosephtheTruth)*
    38. Blazer5 Gaming
    39. NO PICK (Cavs Legion GC retained Goddof2k)*
    40. NO PICK (76ers GC retained Newdini33)*
    41. NO PICK (Heat Check Gaming retained 24k Dropoff)*
    42. NO PICK (Knicks Gaming retained YEYNotGaming)*

    ROUND 3

    43. Kings Guard Gaming
    44. Warriors Gaming Squad
    45. Jazz Gaming
    46. Pacers Gaming
    47. Mavs Gaming
    48. NO PICK (Bucks Gaming retained kinG PeroXide)*
    49. Grizz Gaming
    50. NO PICK (Celtics Crossover Gaming retained ProFusion)*
    51. Magic Gaming
    52. Lakers Gaming
    53. T-Wolves Gaming
    54. NetsGC
    55. Hawks Talon GC
    56. Wizards District Gaming
    57. Raptors Uprising GC
    58. Pistons GT
    59. NO PICK (Blazer5 Gaming retained Lavish_Phenom)*
    60. Cavs Legion GC
    61. NO PICK (76ers GC retained ZDS)*
    62. Heat Check Gaming
    63. NO PICK (Knicks Gaming retained Idrisdagoat)*
    64. Wizards District Gaming (compensatory pick)

    ROUND 4

    65. Kings Guard Gaming
    66. Warriors Gaming Squad
    67. Jazz Gaming
    68. Pacers Gaming
    69. Mavs Gaming
    70. Bucks Gaming
    71. Grizz Gaming
    72. Celtics Crossover Gaming
    73. Magic Gaming
    74. Hawks Talon GC
    75. NetsGC
    76. T-Wolves Gaming
    77. Lakers Gaming
    78. Wizards District Gaming
    79. Raptors Uprising GC
    80. Pistons GT
    81. Blazer5 Gaming
    82. Cavs Legion GC
    83. 76ers GC
    84. Heat Check Gaming
    85. Knicks Gaming

    ABOUT THE NBA 2K LEAGUE: The NBA 2K League, a professional esports league co-founded by the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO), launched in 2018 and features the best NBA 2K players in the world.  Each of the league’s 21 teams features six players who compete as unique characters in 5-on-5 play against the other teams in a mix of regular-season games, in-season tournaments and playoffs.  Knicks Gaming won the first-ever NBA 2K League Finals on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018.  For more information about the NBA 2K League, visit NBA2KLeague.com.

    TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MAVS GAMING: 
    Click Here

     

    The post 2019 NBA 2K League Draft: Mavs Gaming FAQ appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 127-88 loss to the Brooklyn Nets

    1. FOUR-QUARTERS MELTDOWN: Something happened Monday night in the Mavs-Nets game that doesn’t happen very often. Brooklyn outscored Dallas in each of the game’s four quarters, and by at least eight points in each quarter. That, in part, led to the Mavs not being able to get any traction against the Nets for an extended period of time.
    2. POWELL STOOD TALL AGAIN: Dwight Powell kept up his “steady as a rock” mantra. The fifth-year veteran scored 20 points, contributed a team-high tying six rebounds and a team-high six assists while going 6-of-7 from the field and 5-of-6 from 3-point land. It’s the third time in the past six games that Powell has scored 20 or more points in a game.
    3. MORE CHEERS FOR DIRK: From the time he was introduced in the starting lineup, Dirk Nowitzki received all sorts of love from the Nets’ fans. And from listening to long-time followers of the Nets, the Nets’ fans never do this type of stuff for visiting players. Not for Kobe Bryant when he retired in 2016. Not for anybody. But they did it for Dirk.
    4. BENCH SCORING DEFICIT: The Nets’ starting five only outscored the Mavs’ starting five, 59-57. However, the Brooklyn bench warmers outscored Dallas’ reserves by a sizeable 68-31 margin. The Nets got 56 points off the bench from three players – DeMarre Carroll (22 points), Caris LeVert (18 points) and Spencer Dinwiddle (16 points).
    5. SHOT-MAKING DISAPPEARED: It was yet another cold performance from the field for the Mavs. One game after shooting 30.6 percent from the floor and 17.5 percent from behind the 3-point line against Memphis, the Mavs shot 35.6 percent from the field and 26.7 percent from beyond the 3-point arc against the Nets.

    The post The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 127-88 loss to the Brooklyn Nets appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    After 127-88 loss to the Nets, Finney-Smith noted it’s time for Mavs to draw a line in the sand

    BROOKLYN – As he stood in front of his locker inside the Barclays Center, forward Dorian Finney-Smith acknowledged that it’s time for the Dallas Mavericks to draw a proverbial line in the sand.

    Especially after the Mavs suffered their worst loss of the season on Monday, losing to the Brooklyn Nets, 127-88. And especially after that devastating loss came on the heels of Saturday’s 30-point loss at home to the Memphis Grizzlies.

    These two head-scratchers had Finney-Smith scratching his head.

    “I feel like we just got to draw the line and say that’s enough and just start competing a little bit harder,” Finney-Smith said. “We just got to draw the line and play defense first and then worry about making shots later.”

    This was the seventh loss in the last eight games for the Mavs, who fell to 27-36 entering Wednesday’s game at Washington. The setback also dropped Dallas to just 6-25 on the road.

    “It was ugly from start to finish,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “When you lose every quarter of an NBA game, you certainly haven’t done what you need to do, so it’s a very disappointing night.

    “They played with a level of defensive force to start the game that helped them gain leverage initially and throughout. The credit goes to them and it’s a night where we needed to do a lot better.”

    The Nets outscored the Mavs in the paint (56-22), outrebounded them by 12 (48-36), and led by as many as 44 points in the fourth quarter. It was an uncharacteristic performance by the Mavs.

    “We’re not shooting the ball well, unfortunately, at all,” forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “Even wide-open shots and layups. And I think that deflated us a little bit, and then our defense is not great.

    “They went at us today and drove, they got layups, they hit all the three’s. It should be the other way around. Our defense should be solid, and sometimes you make shots and sometimes you don’t. But unfortunately, it’s the other way around for us and we’ve got to correct that and be (good) on the defensive end and hopefully make some shots.”

    The Mavs shot just 35.6 percent from the field and misfired on 33 of their 45 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc. Meanwhile, the Nets made 56.5 percent of their baskets and also were 17-of-41 from 3-point range.

    “We’ve got to fight our way out of it,” Carlisle said. “I thought Brooklyn’s effort was phenomenally great and I know ours wasn’t up to it.

    “Listen, the effort can’t be good if you lose by this number of points. We just simply got to do better.”

    With baseball legend Alex Rodriguez sitting courtside, the Mavs trailed 31-21 after the first quarter and 65-47 at the half. Besides gaining an early three-point lead, the only highlight the Mavs recorded in the opening half occurred when Luka Doncic launched a 52-footer that landed in the nets and wowed the crowd of 17,064 with 0.4 seconds remaining before intermission.

    But Doncic finished the night with just 16 points, six rebounds and a season-low tying one assist. In the meantime, Dwight Powell led the Mavs with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists, and Jalen Brunson scored 10 points.

    Also, with the Nets’ fans wildly cheering for him all night long, Dirk Nowitzki scored four points on 2-of-13 shooting. Nowitzki was scoreless until finally scoring for the first time with 3:51 remaining in the game.

    “It’s a continuation of an emotional time here for me, obviously, the last couple of weeks,” Nowitzki said. “The receptions on the road have been phenomenal here on all these East Coast stops.

    “I really appreciate it and enjoy it, but I enjoy winning a little better.”

    Nowitzki said he could hear the crowd roaring and trying to will the basketball through the nets whenever he shot it.

    “I was just fighting out there and didn’t really have a good shooting game, obviously,” he said. “I was just going up and down and trying to get one in and get off of zero points.

    “The first half I had some great looks. It was a frustrating night for me, but I kept on playing and kept shooting.”

    The closest the Mavs got to the Nets in the second half was 16 points after Powell drilled back-to-back 3-pointers and then fed Finney-Smith for a dunk to make it 79-63 Brooklyn with 6:09 left in the third quarter. However, the Nets outscored the Mavs, 48-25, the rest of the game.

    “Our shot-making kind of affected us defensively,” Finney-Smith said. “They did a good job of attacking our paint. I feel like they were in the lane every possession.

    “Even when we collapsed two (defenders), they kicked it out and got three’s, wide open three’s. They were just playing with a little more bounce in their step.”

    It’s the type of “bounce” the Mavs hope to have when they play the Wizards on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

    “We just got to find the next game and start the game off better with a little more energy,” Nowitzki said, “and a little more pop and see what happens.”

    NOTES: Before the game Mavs coach Rick Carlisle talked about the impact superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki has had on the NBA during his 21-year career. “Points scored are obvious,” Carlisle said. “That’s never going to go away. But for those of us that have had the great privilege to be in the trenches with him for a long time, the competitive integrity, the way he prepares on a daily basis, the way he gives of himself to his teammates, to the franchise, to the community in such a humble way, those are things that for me are really big-time things about who he is.”. .Asked why didn’t Dennis Smith Jr. work out with the Mavs, Carlisle said: “He did. He had a triple-double in his last game. But you’ve got to trade good players to get good players, and so that’s sort of the beginning and end of that.” The Mavs traded DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Smith and a pair of first-round draft picks to the New York Knicks on Jan. 31 for Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke and Courtney Lee. Smith collected 13 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists for the Mavs against the Knicks on Jan. 30. . .Rookie forward Kostas Antetokounmpo traveled with the Mavs on this three-game road trip. However, he was inactive for Monday’s game. “We like him,” Carlisle said. “Look, he’s working with an assistant coach privately every day with film work and court work. He’s recovering from a hip flexor injury. But every day, every minute that you’re traveling with an NBA team and around guys like Dirk and guys that are experienced players in this league, you’re going to learn a lot.” Antetokounmpo, who has a two-way contract with the Mavs, averaged 10.4 points and 6.1 rebounds in 37 games this season for the Texas Legends of the G-League. . .On the close relationship between Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, Carlisle said: “They get along great and they know each other from international competition. I see that as another real positive situation. They listen to a lot of the same music in Spanish. There’s familiarity there.”. .After Monday’s 39-point loss to the Nets, a New York reporter asked Carlisle if he got goosebumps listening to the crowd cheer for Dirk Nowitzki during the game, which turned out to be the worst game of the season for the Mavs. “It’s a little hard when you’re down 40,” Carlisle said. “I understand their sentiment, and they’re on-point with it.”

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    Carlisle reiterated again that Kristaps Porzingis will not play in any games this season

    BROOKLYN – When pressed on whether Kristaps Porzingis will play at some point this season, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle reiterated what he said shortly after the team’s Jan. 31 trade with the New York Knicks.

    “Look, he’s not playing this year and the plan was always for him not to play,” Carlisle said before Monday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. “That’s all I can tell you.”

    Carlisle did offer a lot of insight into what Porzingis has been doing since that blockbuster seven-player, two draft pick trade with the Knicks.

    “He’s doing a lot of stuff behind the scene,” Carlisle sad. “What I’ve learned about him is he’s a tremendous talent — I think that’s obvious. He’s a great kid, he is meticulous in how he approaches things very detailed and extremely hard working and organized with everything he does.

    “But in the meantime he picked up his workouts, he’s doing more aggressive one-on-one control banging type stuff with some of our assistants and he’s making great progress.”

    Carlisle, though, noted that it’s doubtful that Porzingis will be involved in any contact practices or scrimmages with his Mavs teammates during the rest of this season. The 7-3 forward is still rehabbing after undergoing surgery in February of last year to repair his torn left anterior cruciate ligament.

    “It’s pretty obvious that (sitting out the remainder of this season is) an opportunity to gain strength, to make sure that he is back 100 percent,” Carlisle said. “Beyond that (Porzingis’s camp) had a plan in place, and we’re helping to facilitate them executing their plan.

    “I know that our trainers, strength coaches and medical are adding value to it, so it’s a win-win as far as I can see.”

    In 48 games for the Knicks last season Porzingis averaged 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks and was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team. Then came to the unfortunate knee injury.

    “Categorically he appears to me to be a leader, which is something you can’t have enough of,” Carlisle said. “All the signs point in a really great direction.

    “But he is traveling with us, he’s involved in practice, he’s vocal in huddles during the games, which is great.”

    Told that Porzingis didn’t travel to away games after he got hurt when he was with the Knicks, Carlisle said: “Let’s not get into a back-and-forth about what happened before. We do things the way we do things and he’s very much involved.”

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    Carlisle not surprised by the play of rookie Luka Doncic

    BROOKLYN –At this point in the season, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said he hasn’t really been surprised by the play of rookie point guard Luka Doncic.

    “The aptitude and vision are special,” Carlisle said prior to Monday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. “The way we’re structured right now after the trades — we traded four-fifths of our starting lineup and we’re set up differently — he has more responsibility.

    “And these last 20 games is a big opportunity for him to learn what it means to carry a bigger load. Not just a productivity load, but a leadership load, a responsibility to help others on the floor. He has a huge responsibility to play both ends of the floor.”

    Carlisle added that Doncic needs to continue to make improvements in all areas of his game.

    “When you come over here (from Europe), the NBA game is different, it’s faster,” Carlisle said. “There’s a lot to learn. . .just to continue to realize that every day you’ve got to work to get better.

    “He’s lived that really through his young career. He started turning pro five-six years ago. He’s accomplished a great deal — we say is a short time — but it’s not that short.”

    Doncic is averaging 21 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game and is favored to win this year’s Rookie of the Year award.

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    Mavs’ Monday foe, Nets got legit via trades, under-the-radar free agents and smart drafting

    The team the Mavericks will play Monday night is a bit on the odd side.

    The Brooklyn Nets have been relatively weak for several seasons, winning a combined 69 games in the past three seasons.

    This year? They have surprised a great many NBA observers by hanging around .500 pretty much all the way after starting out dreadfully (8-18).

    They have done this despite one of their best players, Caris LeVert missing more than two months to injury and also losing Spencer Dinwiddie for an extended period, too.

    Yes, the Nets play in the Eastern Conference, where .500 puts you squarely in the playoff hunt. But they have regained respectability not with a superstar high draft pick, but with a smart combination of non-lottery draftees, astute trades and a couple second-tier free-agent signees. Their high draft picks in recent years were dealt away in previous trades that proved regrettable.

    Swapping the future for oldsters Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett did, indeed, set the franchise back.

    But those days are over and the Nets are back on the rise with a group headlined by DeAngelo Russell, who blossomed into an all-star this season. He was acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers in the deal that sent Kyle Kuzma to LA.

    LeVert was a trade acquisition from Indiana for Thaddeus Young. Dinwiddie and Joe Harris signed as free agents.

    All of those players have become keepers, to the point that most of them have great appeal around the league.

    And then there is former Texas Longhorn Jarrett Allen, who was drafted 22nd and has become a very functional center in his second season.

    Given that the Nets have a relatively new building, the lure of New York and a solid group of young-ish players who will likely make the playoffs this season, it’s not a reach to think that they could make a nice push through free agency, plus they have two first-round picks in June, although neither will be in the top 10, it appears.

    The bottom line, as hard as it might be to grasp for Mavericks fans, is that the Nets are doing what the Mavs had hoped to be doing this March – playing games in the middle of a playoff chase.

    That doesn’t mean the Mavericks won’t pass teams like Brooklyn and several others in their own domain (read: Western Conference). They have laid great groundwork with Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and substantial salary cap space this summer.

    But while the Nets have done it a little differently, their way looks to be working, too.

    Twitter: @ESefko

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    Star-studded Mavs Ball raises a whopping $1.34 million for the Mavs Foundation

    Note: Check back soon to see your Blue Carpet photos! 

    DALLAS – Luka Doncic gazed in awe as a pyrotechnic swell of golden fireworks cascaded from the stage at the Fourth Annual Mavs Ball and encircled his teammate, Dirk Nowitzki, as 800 loyal Dallas Mavericks fans roared to a climatic punch after a bidder threw down $200,000 to eat dinner with the 21-year Dallas Mavericks legend.

    “This is great,” Doncic cheered with fellow MFFLs, who gave a standing ovation to Nowitzki and the winning bidder.

    Fellow teammate Kristaps Porzingis agreed.

    “I think it’s awesome. Just awesome,” said Porzingis, who sat just a few feet away from Nowitzki and the auctioneer. “It’s an insane amount of money, but it’s for a good cause, and it’s dinner with a legend.”

    Soon another bidding war broke out to eat dinner with Dirk — this one harvested an additional $140,000 for the Mavs Foundation. A live taping to attend ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank” with Mavs owner Mark Cuban and fellow sharks poured in $45,000, plus courtside seats with Cuban garnered $20,000 more during the Mavs Ball live auction.

    “The live auction is always fun, but this year it was exceptionally fun,” said Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle. “People enjoyed it, and they had a lot of great items. I feel lucky to have free dinners with Dirk.”

    A jersey worn by Luka Doncic, a favorite to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year honor, nabbed the highest bid of all the silent auction items and sold for $9,051.

    By night’s end the Mavs Foundation’s 2019 Mavs Ball, presented by Smith Thompson Home Security, raised a whopping $1.34 million, but it was the upbeat, energetic auction for dinner with Dirk that that exceeded the $1 million the foundation set out to raise.

    “The night was absolutely amazing,” said Katie Edwards, Dallas Mavericks vice president of Community Relations and president of the Mavs Foundation. “The Mavs family has always supported the community, but I was stunned to see this level of support from our friends and partners. To be able to come together to celebrate the team and the things we do off the court, it just shows the commitment of our fans and the love they have for Dirk and excitement for the future.”

    “He’s the GOAT,” veteran Maverick Dorian Finney-Smith said, who added he better be traveling around the world to every single restaurant with Dirk for that amount of money. “We laugh and joke about it, but shoot, that’s Dirk Nowitzki. That’s a legend. Plus, it’s all for the Mavs Foundation, so it’s worth it.”

    A Night To Shine

    Four years ago, the Mavs Foundation decided to create a night to encompass all that the organization accomplished during the year, thus the Mavs Ball was born. Since that time, it’s blossomed so large that Mavericks had to use the American Airlines Center this year to hold all the people who sought out tickets to the swank blue-tie affair.

    Grammy-award winning trio, Boyz II Men, provided the entertainment to the sold-out crowd and every guest took home Swarovski Bluetooth speakers embellished with 15 sparkling crystals and headphones wrapped in tiny boxes sealed with a golden ribbon.

    It was Nowitzki and the Mavs Foundation, however, that shined as the main attraction of the night, and the purpose was not lost on Dallas Mavericks forward Dwight Powell, who has served a significant role with the foundation and in the North Texas community.

    “I think the dollar number is a just a testament more to Dirk’s legacy in the community,” said Powell, when asked about the $200,000 dinner with Nowitzki. “A lot of people have put a lot of hard work with the Mavs Foundation and made sure it’s handled the right way and no one more than Dirk has created an opportunity for the Mavs Foundation to be successful.

    “It’s a testament to how great Dirk’s been as a human being, not just as a player. I’m sure it’ll be a great dinner. Nick and Sam’s is one of the best restaurants in Dallas, and the food will be great, but the most important part is how much people want to give to the Mavs Foundation because they know that we do things the right way.”

    The Fourth Annual Mavs Ball Details

    The event was the brainchild of Dallas Mavericks senior event manager, Ashley Gambino, along with her staff. Every detail was planned and executed from the moment guests arrived and Gambino set the mood by encasing the blue carpet in a clear tent similar to the ones celebrities walk at the Oscars and Golden Globes. Gambino chose a stunning three-dimensional hedge wall made up of green foliage for the step and repeat background and accented it with 3D logos and cut-out letters.

    Each person walked the blue carpet and posed for photos as they entered the Fourth Annual Mavs Ball and had the chance to visit with Dallas Mavericks players and coaching staff as they sipped on champagne and ate hors d’oeuvres during the reception. VIPs in attendance included Mavs owner Mark Cuban, CEO Cynt Marshall, and Maverick legends Rolando Blackman, Michael Finley, Derek Harper, Shawn Marion and Jason Terry.

    Guests then walked down a darkened corridor lit with towering beams filled with photos at various Dallas Mavericks community events. Blue carpeted steps led them down to the American Airlines Center home basketball court transformed into a glitzy, elegant atmosphere kissed with touches of sparkling gold.

    The three-course menu, created by Levy Executive Chef Mark Mabry, included seared beef tenderloin topped with grilled gulf shrimp and béarnaise sauce accompanied with truffle chive whipped potatoes and roasted heirloom carrots. Guests enjoyed a dessert that included moist milk chocolate cake stacked with layers of white and dark chocolate mousse and topped off with golden flakes and Chantilly cream.

    “The Mavs Ball was an incredibly successful night, raising over $1.3 Million for the Mavs Foundation and it truly could not have been done without the support of so many people,” Gambino said. “Successfully executing an event of this magnitude and hearing the positive feedback we have been receiving from our guests, players, media and all those in attendance is an attribute to what a strong and supportive team we have with the Dallas Mavericks and I am grateful to work with all of them.

    The night also included a surprise moment thanks to Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle and Smith Thompson Security founder Mark Thompson. They presented Mavs Maniaac captain, Rob “Big Rob” Maiden – one of the dance team’s original 2002 members – with his own 2011 Mavericks NBA championship ring.

    The Mavs Foundation

    The Mavs Foundation launched with the Dallas Mavericks two seasons before Nowitzki arrived and since then, he’s served as a staple in the community and helped the Mavs Foundation, a private 501c3, grant over $5 million to nonprofit organizations serving children, women, and families in need. In addition, the Mavs Foundation has built 40 safe Learn and Playspaces, including 24 basketball courts and 16 Reading & Learning Centers.

    These spaces are designed to expand learning opportunities for reading and education programs, as well as provide Computer Labs and access to technology to assist teens and adults with job-skill training and other valuable tools.

    Dallas Mavericks veteran Salah Mejri has attended three Mavs Ball events and said this year’s event was the best because of the live auction with Dirk.

    “I was not shocked Dirk’s dinner went for $200,000,” he said, “I would pay the same if I didn’t play for the Mavs. He’s Dirk. He’s been here for over 20 years and the things he’s done for the city, for the team, for the Mavs Foundation. It’s special. He has no price. You get to attend dinner with Dirk, ask him all these questions…man, it’s worth it for sure.

    Nowitzki’s longtime teammate and close friend, Devin Harris, was not so sure.

    “I don’t know if Dirk has $200,000 worth of things to talk about,” Harris joked. “But hey, it’s for the Mavs Foundation, and that alone is worth every penny. It was a great night, a lot of fun. We all enjoyed it, and I think the fans did, too. The Mavs Ball is always great, but from start to finish, this year was really special.”

    2018-19 Mavs Ball Grant Recipients:
    Each year the Mavs Ball serves as the premier fundraiser and this year’s event celebrated the 2018-2019 Mavs Foundation Grant Recipients: CitySquare, Community Partners of Dallas, Dallas 24 Hour Club, Essilor Vision Foundation, Hope Supply Co., Hunger Busters, Jonathan’s Place, Leukemia Texas, Mission Possible Kids, POETIC , Voice of Hope and YMCA Waxahachie.

    2018-19 Mavs Ball Presenting Sponsor:
    Smith Thompson Home Security

    Other sponsors included: 5Miles (entertainment), Morgan Stanley (reception), Legacy Exploration, LLC (live auction), and KPMG (blue carpet). VIP Table Partners: Aimbridge Hospitality, Mr. and Mrs. Doug Parker and Mr. and Mrs. Evan Wyly. Silver Table Partners: Status Sparkling Wines, Boardwalk Auto Group, DallasMavs.Shop, FOX Sports Southwest, Hexadyne Corporation, Capital Real Estate Investment, LLC. Legends Table Partners: DL Phillips Electric, Patron, Price Realty Corp, PwC, Service King, and Winston & Strawn. Table Partners: Akin Gump, Alta Construction, Baylor Scott & White, Ben E. Keith, Choctaw, Clearview Risk, Coca Cola, Complete Fire Protection & Morrison Utility Co., Denitech, Don Knobler, Flowserve, Frost Bank, Gus Bates, GPA, Jani-King, Legends Hospitality, Matthews Southwest, Mass Electric, Massey Services, Visit Dallas, Wrangler.

    About the Mavs Foundation: Over the past 22 years, the Mavs Foundation has granted over $5 million dollars to nonprofit organizations serving women, children and families in need. The Mavs Foundation has built 40 safe Learn & Playspaces throughout the North Texas community, including 24 basketball courts and 16 Reading & Learning Centers. These spaces are designed to expand learning opportunities for reading and education programs, as well as provide Computer Labs and access to technology to assist teens and adults with job-skill training and other valuable tools. Learn more at MavsFoundation.com.

    Tweets from the Night

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    The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 111-81 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies

    1. POWELL RISING TO THE TOP: Without a doubt, Dwight Powell is playing some of the best basketball of his career. While punching the time clock on Saturday, the five-year veteran finished with 13 points, a team-high eight rebounds, a team-high four assists and a team-high tying two steals. It marks the first time in Powell’s career that he’s scored at least 10 points in five consecutive games. In the past five games, Powell is averaging 16.2 points, seven rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 32.2 minutes per contest. What’s more, he’s shown that with increased minutes, his production has also increased.
    2. SHOTS MISSED THEIR TARGETS: When the Mavs take the time to go back and watch the film from this game, they’ll see where they had more than their fair share of open looks at the basket. Unfortunately for the Mavs, the ball missed its intended target way too may times. Overall, the Mavs were 26-of-85 from the field for 30.6 percent and 7-of-40 from behind the 3-point line for only 17.5 percent. That includes scoring just 32 points in the second half when they were 10-of-40 from the floor and 4-of-20 from 3-point land.
    3. DIRK CRASHED THE BOARDS: Dirk Nowitzki didn’t shoot the ball nowhere near his high standards on Saturday night. The 21-year veteran was just 2-of-10 from the field – he was 1-of-6 from 3-point land — and finished the game with seven points. Nowitzki, however, was very aggressive on the boards and wound up second on the team in rebounds with a season-high seven. That includes grabbing his first offensive rebound of the season. Nowitzki scored on a put-back basket on the play less than three minutes into the game.
    4. ROARING 20s FOR LUKA: Another game, another 20-point outing for Luka Doncic. The odds-on favorite to win this year’s Rookie of the Year award, Doncic scored 22 points against Memphis on 7-of-14 shots and in just 26 minutes. And he left the game for good with 2:49 remaining in the third quarter. Doncic has now scored 20 or more points in 34 games this season, including the past three. Jay Vincent (53 in the 1981-’82 season) and Jamal Mashburn (37 in the 1993-’94 campaign) are the only Mavs rookies with more 20-point games in a season.
    5. NO GAS IN THE TANK: The Mavs tried, on numerous occasions, to shift their engine into a higher gear. But apparently there was no gas left in the tank. Whenever the Mavs tried to make a run, it quickly got derailed by the Grizzlies, and Memphis ultimately ended up making a much bigger run. In the end, this was the worst loss of the season for the Mavs in terms of point differential. And the Mavs were clearly disappointed, particularly since they were coming off of Wednesday’s impressive 110-101 victory over the highly-touted Indiana Pacers.

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    Mavs were off-target and wound up losing to the Memphis Grizzlies, 111-81

    DALLAS – Saturday was one of those short-term memory games for the Dallas Mavericks. In other words, it’s imperative that the Mavs have a short-term memory after what happened to them against the Memphis Grizzlies.

    Unable to effectively shoot the ball or stop Memphis from effectively shooting it, the Mavs wound up suffering their worst loss of the season, losing to the Grizzlies, 111-81, before a sellout crowd of 20,333 at American Airlines Center.

    The Mavs shot just 30.6 percent from the field and missed 33 of their 40 attempts from 3-point range and dropped to 27-35 on the season. Meanwhile, the Grizzles shot 50 percent from the field and converted 14 of their 34 baskets from beyond the 3-point arc.

    Guard Devin Harris said: “For whatever reason we didn’t come out with the right mindset, and obviously we let our shot-making – or lack thereof – kind of dictate the game. They came out and played harder, they got the loose balls, they were attacking us and we didn’t respond too well.

    “The shot-making, obviously, it was just one of those games where we just couldn’t make shots. But from a mentality standpoint we just got to be better.”

    The last time the Mavs led was 11-9, following a pair of free throws by Dirk Nowitzki with 7:15 remaining in the first quarter. From there, Memphis went on a 24-10 run and led 33-21 after the first quarter.

    “If you are a Memphis fan you love the force that they played with, and their level of force led to a lot of good things,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We needed to play with more force and obviously we needed to make more shots.

    “They had the leverage advantage really almost the entire game and we didn’t have answers. They were physical, they drove the paint. Yes, we did have a lot of pretty good looks at the basket, but there were a lot of other things we needed to do better.”

    Carlisle felt his team was too cavalier against a Grizzlies team that won the rebounding battle, 50-43.

    “The NBA game isn’t a game where you can come and ease into it,” Carlisle said. “You’ve got to jump into it, and we just didn’t do that.

    “It starts with how I prepare the team and we weren’t as prepared as needed to be, so it’s on me.”

    Memphis bolted ahead 62-49 at the half and its lead mushroomed to 90-67 after the third quarter and to as high as 109-73 following a 3-pointer by Javon Carter with 1:52 left in the game.

    Luka Doncic led the Mavs with 22 points, Dwight Powell had 13 points, eight rebounds and two steals, and Tim Hardaway Jr. finished with 10 points on 3-of-10 shots in 21 minutes.

    “I felt a little under the weather today,” said Hardaway, who missed Friday’s practice with an illness. “I just wanted to give it a go.

    “The second half I felt a lot better. I got a lot of it out my system.”

    Asked to explain what happened to the Mavs overall against the Grizzlies, Hardaway said: “There’s nothing to explain. We got our butts kicked. Plain and simple.”

    In the second half alone the Mavs scored just 32 points and were 10-of-40 from the field for 25 percent an 4-of-20 from 3-point land for 20 percent.

    “You want to win every single game you go out there and play,” Hardaway said. “Tonight I felt like there was a lid in the second half on that basket, and we couldn’t get any stops.

    “Their guys, give them credit, they played hard, made tough shots, made their open shots and took advantage of our defense.”

    It marked the fifth time this season the Mavs have lost a game by 20 or more points.

    “We’ve got to learn from it,” Carlisle said. “There were two or three plays in the first half where they’re 50-50 balls and they get down on the floor and we don’t.

    “They set a very physical tone. We’ve got good guys and they are good competitors, but we all fell short tonight. That’s the bottom line.”

    The Mavs hope to store this game deep into their memory bank before boarding a plane to start a three-game road trip Monday at Brooklyn.

    “This is a very easy one to forget, and obviously I’m pretty sure coach is going to have us ready to play in Brooklyn,” Harris said. “Not much to remember.

    “It wasn’t really X and O things we weren’t doing. We just didn’t play hard enough.”

    NOTES: Courtney Lee hasn’t played but six games and averaged 8.7 minutes since coming to the Mavs in a Jan. 31 trade with the New York Knicks. “He’s given us some good minutes,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We know he’s a good player. We just happened to be loaded up with wing guys, so he hasn’t gotten a lot of looks. But he’s in the gym early, stays late, keeps himself ready. He’s in great shape. He’s worked to get in better shape since he got here, because he didn’t play a whole lot in New York, either. But as a pro and as a guy that can guard ones and twos and threes — and is going to take open shots and make good solid plays — he’s got to be ready to play because we need him.” Lee played 12 minutes against the Grizzlies and finished with two pints and one rebound and was 1-of-4 from the field. . .Dirk Nowitzki grabbed his first offensive rebound of the season in the first quarter of Saturday’s game against Memphis. He wound up with seven points and a season-high seven rebounds and was 2-of-10 from the floor in 23 minutes. “I thought he was active on the boards,” Carlisle said. “He had one or two tip-outs. As the season has gone on and he’s continued to put the work in, his feet are more solidly under him.”. .When Mike Conley Jr. became a free agent in the summer of 2016, the Mavs were one of the teams pursuing the talented point guard. Conley, however, eventually signed a five-year, $153 million contract to remain with the Memphis Grizzlies. “We knew he was a great player, and spending time with him talking basketball, he’s got an amazing aptitude for the game, really, at both ends of the floor,” Carlisle said. “He’s another guy just from his first year just continues to get better and better and better, and it’s just been unlucky that he hasn’t been an All-Star because he’s an All-Star caliber player for sure.”

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    After nine games, Tim Hardaway Jr. getting very comfortable in Rick Carlisle’s system

    DALLAS – It hasn’t taken Tim Hardaway Jr. very long to become accustomed to playing for the Dallas Mavericks.

    In just nine games with the Mavs since coming over in that Jan. 31 blockbuster trade with the New York Knicks, Hardaway is averaging 16.9 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. That includes scoring 20 or more points in five of the last seven games, including the past three.

    In essence, for Hardaway the transition from the Knicks to the Mavs has been as smooth as lacing up a pair of sneakers.

    “I’m feeling a lot comfortable now,” Hardaway said. “I still have to slow down on some plays, read the defense.

    “But at the same time I’m going to continue to be aggressive and continue to go out there and make plays.”

    The Mavs (27-34) aren’t sure if Hardaway will be able to make any plays for them when they entertain the Memphis Grizzlies (24-39) on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at American Airlines Center. That’s because Hardaway skipped Friday’s practice session with an illness.

    Still, the Mavs have apparently had their eyes on Hardaway for a while.

    “Tim’s a guy we’ve liked for a long time,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s a good shooter, he’s getting more comfortable in our system and how we play and finding where his sweet spots are on the floor.

    “He’s a real solid guy as a two-way player. I like the way he defends, and I like his intensity. He brings a lot of positive things to our team.”

    A 6-6, 205-pound guard/forward, Hardaway has not only been a positive influence for the Mavs on the court. But that influence has also been felt in the locker room.

    “He’s been great,” center Dwight Powell said. “To have a guy that can space the floor like that and can attack off the dribble. . .

    “He’s athletic, he can guard guys and get out in transition. He’s been great in the locker room as well, so it’s been a pleasure to have him.”

    In the 29.9 minutes he’s averaging since the trade, Hardaway has consistently shown that he’s not afraid to pull up from way beyond the 3-point line and fire up a shot. That, he said, is part of his DNA.

    “I’m not trying to be passive out there,” Hardaway said. “I’m just trying to go out there and do what I do best, and that’s play with energy and play with passion and do whatever I can to get this team some wins.

    “I’m just taking what the defense gives me. I know there’s going to be some times when I’m a little bit too aggressive, but at the same time I think we need that.”

    Since joining the Mavs, Hardaway is shooting 41.9 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from 3-point range and has been their second-leading scorer behind rookie Luka Doncic.

    “He’s doing a nice job,” Carlisle said. “He’s been very solid in our defensive system.

    “His competitiveness is something that we knew was a big plus. We knew he could make shots, and guys are starting to really understand where he likes the ball and he’s doing a good job of being aggressive in positive situations.”

    The post After nine games, Tim Hardaway Jr. getting very comfortable in Rick Carlisle’s system appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    That’s What’s Up: Episode 32

    Don’t know what’s up?

    NBA champion Shawn Marion’s got you covered. Feast your ears on episode 32 of his podcast, as The Matrix chops it up with Bobby Karalla on his time in Charlotte during All-Star Weekend, his thoughts on the playoff races in both the Eastern and the Western Conferences, Luka Doncic’s Rookie of the Year campaign, and much, much more!


    The post That’s What’s Up: Episode 32 appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Luka Doncic wins his fourth straight Rookie of the Month award

    DALLAS – The NBA announced today that Mavericks guard/forward Luka Dončić was named the Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in February. He has now garnered the award in each of the first four months of the season and becomes the first Maverick to receive the honor four-or-more times in a year (Jay Vincent held the previous franchise record with three Rookie of the Month Awards in 1981-82).

    Dončić (6-7, 218), who turned 20 years old on Feb. 28, averaged team highs of 24.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game in eight games (all starts) in February. He scored 18-plus points in all eight games, including 20-plus points six times and 35 points once. He also recorded six double-doubles and two triple-doubles during the month.

    The former EuroLeague MVP began the month with a 35-point, 11-rebound, six-assist performance in Dallas’ 111-98 win at Cleveland on Feb. 2. He became the first teenager in NBA history to record multiple 35-point, 10-rebound, five-assist games (35 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists vs. Toronto on Jan. 27). Dončić also surpassed 1,000 career points against the Cavaliers on Feb. 2 (in career game No. 50).

    The 6-7 Slovenian finished the month with a 26-point, 10-rebound, seven-assist effort in Dallas’ 110-101 victory over Indiana on Feb. 27 (the last day before his 20th birthday).

    The Mavericks went 3-1 when Dončić scored 26-plus points in February.

    Dončić has increased his scoring average in each of the first four months of the season (18.5 ppg in October/November, 21.1 ppg in December, 22.4 ppg in January, 24.4 ppg in February). He became the first player to win the NBA Rookie of the Month Award in each of the first four months of the season since Karl-Anthony Towns in 2015-16 (Towns won it all six times that year).

    The rookie guard/forward is averaging a team-high 20.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, a team-high 5.7 assists, 1.0 steal and 32.2 minutes per game this season. He is one of only six NBA players averaging at least 20 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists per game in 2018-19. Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook and Nikola Jokić are the others – all of whom were named All-Stars this year.

    Among all rookies in 2018-19, Dončić ranks first in scoring (20.9 ppg), second in rebounding (7.3 rpg), second in assists (5.7 apg), fifth in steals (1.0 spg) and first in minutes (32.2 mpg). He would become just the second rookie in league history to average at least 20-7-5 for a season, joining Oscar Robertson.

    Dončić was originally selected by Atlanta with the third overall pick in this past year’s draft, before having his draft rights traded to Dallas in exchange for the draft rights to the fifth overall pick Trae Young and a protected 2019 first-round pick. Young won his third Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month Award in February (he also garnered the award for November and January).

    DALLAS MAVERICKS ROOKIE OF THE MONTH AWARD WINNERS

    Luka Dončić – November 2018, December 2018, January 2019, February 2019
    Yogi Ferrell – February 2017
    Devin Harris – November 2004
    Jason Kidd – March 1995
    Jay Vincent – December 1981, February 1982, March 1982
    Mark Aguirre – November 1981

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    Jordan Lawlar Commits to Vanderbilt

    A Dallas Tiger since he was 9U, Jordan Lawlar commits to play college baseball at Vanderbilt University.  What a great opportunity for a talented young player and even better person!  Your Tiger family and friends are very proud for you JoJo!

    #vandyboys

    Jordan Lawlar

    Jordan Lawlar  

    Vanderbilt Baseball

    Perfect Game Profile

    The post Jordan Lawlar Commits to Vanderbilt appeared first on Dallas Tigers Baseball.


    Dallas Mavericks select Muhammad Shabazz as its first-ever ‘Jr. NBA Coach of the Year’

    DALLAS – Former professional basketball player and current North Texas-area youth coach, Muhammad Shabazz (Belief Basketball Sharpshooters), was caught by surprise when he learned the Dallas Mavericks selected him as its 2018-19 ‘Jr. NBA Coach of the Year.’

    “I showed up for a coaching event before a game one night and (former NBA champion) Shawn Marion held out his hand and said congratulations ‘Jr. NBA Coach of the Year,’” Shabazz said, while laughing and recalling the story to Mavs.com. “All kinds of emotions rushed in there. I was excited because it’s all for the kids. It really moved me to be selected by the Mavs.”

    The former 6-foot-10 hoopster played professional basketball in 9 countries before retiring from the game in 2016. Shabazz later launched Belief Basketball SharpShooters, Inc., and became an official Jr. NBA and Jr. USA Team coach. BB SharpShooters is a non-profit organization is a year-round program based in Dallas-Fort Worth with a focus on impacting the skills, discipline, and passion for the game of basketball while helping student-athletes develop to increase their character in the community and the classroom.

    Coach Shabazz was the perfect person to win this year’s honor, according to Mavs Basketball Academy youth manager, Brandon Barkley.

    “We’ve never done a local ‘Jr. NBA Coach of the Year,’ and this year we selected Muhammad Shabazz because he does a great job of representing all the things the Jr. NBA represents and the Mavs,” Barkley said. “We’re big on values with Mavs CEO Cynt Marshall coming on board and culture is very big with us. We seek to uplift, empower and encourage youth in the community and Coach Shabazz embodies everything we represent at the Dallas Mavericks.”

    The Jr. NBA and Positive Coaching Alliance will announce the 2018-19 local winners nominated by the NBA and WNBA teams in February 2019. Shabazz now has the chance to win the prestigious Jr. NBA Award presented annually to a youth basketball coach in an NBA or WNBA team market which is making a positive impact on children by demonstrating outstanding integrity, character, and leadership.

    Eight semifinalists will advance, and then the award will narrow down to three finalists with the NBA Coach of the Year winner named in April 2019. The Executive Voting Panel is comprised of various individuals from the Jr. NBA Leadership Council, NBA league office, and Positive Coaching Alliance. This panel is tasked with providing guidance on the selection of our Coach of the Year finalists and national winner based on their respective basketball knowledge and experience.

    “I think two things stick out about Muhammad,” Barkley said. “He’s big on character and developing well-rounded young men beyond just the court. He told me about kids who were acting up and not being mindful of their culture, and he immediately removed them from the team. Once the athletes adjusted, he brought them back when they understood the importance of the program’s philosophy and what they represent. I think that says a lot because a lot of people are so focused on wins and losses, they won’t make those type of decisions. I was impressed with his desire to make these young men better in every area of life.”

    Shabazz said no matter what happens next, he feels blessed to receive the honor from the Dallas Mavericks. When asked what the student-athletes team him about life, he paused and reflected and had this to say:

    “Compassion. Patience. A love for the simplicity of the game. They’re not playing for money. That’s one thing I catch from them…they just have pureness and really love to compete and play the game. It hits me at the core to see them get upset or lose. I’m just genuinely passionate about the kids, and they make me a better person.”

    ABOUT MUHAMMAD SHABAZZ AND BELIEF BASKETBALL SHARPSHOOTERS
    Muhammad Abdul Malik Shabazz is the CEO of North-Texas-based Belief Basketball Sharpshooters. The 6-foot-10 former professional basketball was born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and then moved to Hemingway, South Carolina, where he excelled at hoops and quickly accelerated through the ranks. He played college basketball at the University of Tennessee before transferring to Claflin University before turning pro and playing in 9 countries. Shabazz showcased his skills in France, Taiwan, China, Dubai, Peru, Basra, Colombia, Turkey Europe and also competed on the 2010 23U USA World Championship Team.

    In 2016, he retired from professional basketball and became an official Jr. NBA and Jr. USA Team coach, forming Belief Basketball SharpShooters, Inc., during this time. The non-profit organization is a year-round program based in Dallas-Fort Worth with a focus on impacting the skills, discipline, and passion for the game of basketball while helping student-athletes develop to increase their character in the community and the classroom.

    Muhammad’s ultimate goal is to use this organization not only to impact the basketball skills of upcoming athletes but to, more importantly, help increase their mental skill level by showing, giving and teaching them the necessary strategies and thought patterns that are needed to ensure that they finish as a champion in life.

    ABOUT THE JR. NBA COACH OF THE YEAR
    From the grassroots level to the professional level, the positive impact that a coach can have on an athlete is undeniable. A coach’s role extends further than wins and losses; it’s about teaching life lessons and developing young people into healthy, confident and respectful adults through the medium of sport. Each participating NBA and WNBA team nominates a local coach, who is automatically entered into the national Coach of the Year selection process. The Jr. NBA and Positive Coaching Alliance will conduct a screening process to narrow the pool of nominees to eight (8) national semifinalists. From the round of eight, an executive panel of judges, along with a fan vote via social media, will determine the top three finalists and national Jr. NBA Coach of the Year winner. The top three finalists will each be awarded with a financial grant to support their local youth basketball organizations and a free Positive Coaching Alliance training. The finalists will also receive a trip to Chicago where the Coach of the Year winner will be announced and honored on a national stage at the Jr. NBA Youth Basketball Leadership Conference on May 17, 2019.

    ABOUT THE MAVS BASKETBALL ACADEMY
    The Mavs Basketball Academy brings the excitement of the NBA to your com munity and is the #1 source for professional basketball training for every skill level of the game. Our basketball training organization is dedicated to helping athletes achieve basketball related goals by utilizing cutting-edge training techniques and a distinctive coaching style that stresses physical improvement, mental growth, and leadership necessary for long-term development and success.

     

     

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    The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 110-101 victory over the Indiana Pacers

    1. AND A TEENAGER LED THEM: On Luka Doncic’s last day as a teenager, the Pacers put him through a physical torture test. Wesley Matthews constantly dogged Doncic every step of the way up the floor. And Kyle O’Quinn whacked Doncic so viciously across the face – and was assessed a Flagrant Penalty-1 – that some in the crowd may have feared for his safety. When the dust had finally settled, Doncic not only passed the test with flying colors. But the rookie from Slovenia celebrated by producing game highs of 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, and added a pair of 30-foot 3-pointer daggers late in the fourth quarter that helped the Mavs snap their five-game losing streak.
    2. BRUNSON STEAL OF THE DRAFT: If the NBA had a “Steal of the Draft” category among their many post-regular season awards, Jalen Brunson would win it hands down. I still can’t figure out how so many great basketball minds “allowed” the consensus National College Player of the Year to slip to the second round of last summer’s NBA Draft. What did they NOT see that the Mavs obviously saw? Anyway, Brunson was 9-of-14 from the field and 3-of-6 from 3-point land while pouring in a career-high 24 points against the Pacers. He also dispensed five assists and picked up a team-high three steals while scoring 22 or more points for the second time in the last four games.
    3. HARDAWAY FITTING IN: From what I can gather, I think Tim Hardaway Jr. may need to start investing in some real estate around here, because he appears to have found himself a home with the Mavs. The floodgates to the points have come so frequently for Hardaway that after pouring in 20 points against the Pacers, he now has scored 20 or more points in five of the past seven games, including the last three. Against Indiana, Hardaway converted 7-of-16 shots from the field and also was 4-of-9 from beyond the 3-point arc. In addition, he added three assists and two steals, and topped it all off with a game-high plus/minus of a plus 19.
    4. THE BALL WAS HOPPING: If you batted your eyes too quickly, you may have missed one of basketball’s more precious sites Wednesday night. That’s because the basketball was hopping around the court at a breakneck pace. At least from the Mavs’ perspective. In all, the Mavs finished the night with 27 assists. That’s only the third time in the past 22 contests that they’ve amassed at least 27 assists in a game. In fact, eight of the nine players coach Rick Carlisle played distributed at least two assists. Luka Doncic led the way with seven assists, Jalen Brunson had five, while Tim Hardaway Jr., Dirk Nowitzki and Maxi Kleber each handed out three helpers.
    5. DIRK IN A GROOVE: The rehab from surgery on his left ankle last Apr. 5 forced Dirk Nowitzki to miss training camp and the first 26 games this season. But Nowitzki has finally found his groove. With the 11 points he tallied against the Pacers, Nowitzki has manufactured double-digit scoring in each of the past three games. Prior to that, the 21-year veteran had produced double-digit scoring in only three of the other 27 games he’s played in this season. What’s more, Nowitzki collected a season-high tying five rebounds for the third time in the last four games. He also made a season-high tying three 3-pointers for the second time in the past three games, and distributed a season-high three assists.

    The post The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 110-101 victory over the Indiana Pacers appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Cynt Marshall named 2019 Legacy Award Honoree at Black Enterprise’s Women of Power Summit

    NEW YORK — Black Enterprise will present its highest honor in recognition of the achievements of black women when it presents the Women of Power Legacy Awards at the 2019 Women of Power Summit on Feb. 28, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Women of Power Summit is the nation’s No. 1 executive development and leadership conference for women of color, annually attracting more than 1,000 corporate executives, professionals, and businesswomen from across the country. The Women of Power Summit, hosted by ADP, will take place Feb. 28–March 3, 2019, at The Mirage Hotel and Casino.

    Honorees to be recognized at the 2019 Women of Power Summit Legacy Awards Gala, hosted by PepsiCo, include the following outstanding achievers:

    Chaka Khan is a songwriter, actor, author, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and activist. Khan has influenced generations of recording artists and has amassed 10 Grammy Awards. Affectionately known around the world as Chaka, she is revered by millions of fans as well as peers for her timeless, classic, and unmatched signature style and musical ability. Throughout her legendary career, Chaka has released 22 albums, has produced over 2,000 catalog song placements, racked up 10 No. 1 Billboard charted songs, seven RIAA-certified gold singles, and 10 RIAA-certified gold and platinum albums. Despite her busy schedule, Chaka has always made time to support and uplift her community. She has a deep commitment to women and children at risk, which led her to establish the Chaka Khan Foundation in 1999.

    Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie (Barbara Graves honoree), serves as the 117th elected and consecrated bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Her historic election represents the first time in the 200 plus-year history of the AME church that a woman obtained the level of Episcopal office. McKenzie was appointed by former-President Barack Obama to serve on the inaugural President’s Advisory Council of the White House Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

    Alice Walker, a prolific writer in multiple genres, Walker is a canonical figure in American letters. Her writing has been translated into more than two dozen languages, and more than 12 million copies of her books have been sold. Walker is an American novelist, poet, and activist. She wrote the novel The Color Purple, for which she won the National Book Award for hardcover fiction and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. She also wrote the novels Meridian and The Third Life of Grange Copeland, among other works.

    Cynthia Marshall was named one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America in 2015. Marshall is a quick thinker, straight talker, and highly respected leader who was senior vice president, and human resources and chief diversity officer at AT&T before she retired in 2017 to launch her own consulting firm, Marshalling Resources and most recently becoming CEO of the Dallas Mavericks—the first African American female CEO in the NBA. Cynthia is a passionate advocate for education as the key to unlocking future economic and personal opportunities for all students. She served as a co-chair of the General Assembly’s Committee on Dropout Prevention, and has been named a “Friend of Education” by the State Board of Education in recognition of her untiring efforts on behalf of North Carolina’s students and schools.

    “For 14 years, the Women of Power Summit has been at the forefront of beating that drum for that change by arming women of color with the hard skills, proven strategies, vital connections, and internal fortitude to not only level up themselves, but to help advance and accelerate each other’s careers,” said Caroline Clarke, Chief Brand Officer, Women of Power. “This year, in Vegas for the first time, we’ve aligned with tremendous corporate partners to create a program — an experience — that will transform the life, the path, the purpose of every woman it touches. Come to Vegas, and bet on that!”

    The post Cynt Marshall named 2019 Legacy Award Honoree at Black Enterprise’s Women of Power Summit appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Wesley Matthews touched by tribute, but hasn’t changed a bit with Pacers

    The full Wesley Matthews experience was on display Wednesday night in his first visit to American Airlines Center since the Mavericks traded him last month.

    He got a warm reception when he was announced with the Indiana Pacers’ starting lineup, then locked down defensively on the first few possessions of the game, forcing two turnovers by Luka Doncic. He hit a mess of 3-pointers before he was done, too.

    Most notably, in the second quarter, he tapped his heart to the fans as the Mavericks played a video tribute on the big screen. The video showed Matthews contributing in the community as well as on the court. For 3 1/2 seasons, he was a fixture in the Mavericks’ starting lineup.

    “It felt good, it really did,” Matthews said of the outpouring of emotions. “I’m surprised not by the reception, but I was in Portland for five years and never got (a video tribute). It was great and I appreciate it.”

    Matthews wasn’t taking a shot at the Blazers. He still has very fond memories of his time in Portland. But it was clear that his first visit back to AAC was special for Matthews.

    He finished with 20 points, including 4-of-10 3-point shooting. Not that any of that mattered to Matthews. The Blazers lost the game 110-101 and that’s the only bottom line he’s interested in.

    But he did have a memorable battle with Doncic, who got the better of Matthews on this night with the victory – along with 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, along with seven turnovers, several forced by Matthews.

    “They made shots, I’ve been in their locker room, I know they’re a good home team,” Matthews said.

    As for his battle with Doncic, he said he already knew what kind of player the Mavericks’ rookie was. It wasn’t going to change Matthews’ aggressiveness.

    “We’re going to fight,” he said. “I play mad. I play angry and that’s how I got here. That is probably how I continue to stay here.”

    The bottom line is that Matthews doesn’t change. He continues to play with Indiana the same way he played when he was with the Mavericks. He and Doncic had some words, some trash talking, some friendly razzing.

    It’s all part of the game.

    “Anything involving Wes is going to be a stimulating situation,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “And that’s one of the reasons we loved him. Those two guys are both great competitors and they also like to have fun in the heat of great competition. It wasn’t surprising to see some exchanges. But in the end, they both wanted to win.”

    Twitter: @ESefko

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    In his final day as a teenager, Doncic leads Mavs to a 110-101 victory over the Pacers

    DALLAS – As the final moments of his final game as a teenage years were slowly ticking away, Luka Doncic spent those precious moments doing what any teenager in his line of work would do.

    He celebrated by making one clutch 3-point basket after another.

    It was an electrifying step-back 30-foot shot by Doncic with 30.9 seconds remaining that gave the Dallas Mavericks a nine-point lead, and they blew out the candles on a five-game losing streak with Wednesday’s 110-101 victory over the highly-touted Indiana Pacers before a sellout crowd of 19,978 at American Airlines Center.

    The Mavs are now 27-34 going into Saturday night’s home game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

    Doncic, who turns 20 on Thursday, overcame some physical play by the Pacers to score a game-high 26 points, grab a game-high 10 rebounds and distributed a game-high seven assists. And his final 3-pointer was just icing on the (birthday) cake as he closed out his teenage years in grand style.

    “He made, like, two or three bombs,” forward Tim Hardaway Jr. said. “I’m over here looking at him on the court and like, ‘Can you get closer?

    “All of them were splashes – all net. When he has it going like that he’s hard to stop. I’m happy he ended his teens with a bang right now and I’m happy we got a win.”

    Doncic was 9-of-16 from the field and 3-of-8 from 3-point land, and didn’t let the seven turnovers he committed affect the joy he had of helping the Mavs get their first win since they beat Portland on Feb. 10. He also wasn’t thinking about one of his worst games of the season when the Pacers held him to just eight points on 3-of-14 shooting during a Jan. 19 game in Indianapolis.

    “I just play every game the same way,” Doncic said. “I don’t think about the other games.

    “It’s too many games to think about them.”

    Former Mavs guard Wesley Matthews made things difficult for Doncic as he stayed chest-to-chest with the talented rookie all game long.

    “Anything involving Wes is going to be a stimulating situation,” Carlisle said. “That’s one of the reasons we loved him, that’s why we signed him (to a free agent contract) four years ago. And he played a great game as well, which was completely expected.

    “But those two guys are great competitors and they also like to have fun in the heat of great competition. It wasn’t surprising to see some exchanges, but in the end they both wanted to win the game.”

    Of his competitive battle with Matthews, Doncic said: “He’s my guy. He was talking a lot in the game, so it was really fun.”

    In addition to Doncic, the Mavs received a career-high 24 points, five assists and three steals from rookie Jalen Brunson, and also got 20 points from Hardaway. Meanwhile, Dwight Powell scored 12 points, collected seven rebounds and picked up a pair of steals, and Dirk Nowitzki finished with 11 points, five rebounds and a season-high three assists and moved to within 69 points of passing Wilt Chamberlain for sixth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list while starting for the third straight game.

    “He has earned these opportunities to start,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s great to see him in a rhythm.

    “He is battling on defense, he is getting his hands on balls around the rim, he is getting a few rebounds, so it’s good stuff.”

    The Mavs took the lead for good at 74-73 when Justin Jackson floated in a 3-footer with 2:12 left in the third quarter. The game remained tight throughout the fourth quarter, and a pair of 3-pointer by Maxi Kleber helped the Mavs get some distance between themselves and the Pacers (40-22).

    “He played extremely well and was certainly an unsung hero in the game if you look at the overall stats,” Carlisle said of Kleber. “The two three’s he hit were as big as any shots in the game.

    “Luka hit a couple of big ones in the end, and Brunson hit a big one a little earlier than that. In these tight games every shot is a big shot.”

    A Doncic 30-footer and free throw – along with a trey by Brunson — bumped the Mavs’ lead to 107-99 with 1:03 left.

    “I was able to make shots and I think I really just changed the game on the defensive end,” said Brunson, who was 9-of-14 from the field and 3-of-6 from behind the 3-point line. “I had a lot of energy defensively.

    “My confidence level is always getting better because I’m always working as hard as I can, and that’s where I get my confidence from. So, the harder I work the more confidence I have.”

    Doncic had nine of is points in the first quarter, which concluded with the Mavs down 26-25. And Brunson poured in 10 of his points in the second quarter, which ended knotted at 53-apiece.

    From there, it was nip-and-tuck most of the second half, with the birthday boy having the last say and ultimately blowing out the candles on a crucial Mavs’ victory against the NBA’s fifth-best team.

    So, what will Doncic do to celebrate his birthday?

    “I’ll just go to dinner with my friends and family,” he said. “Nothing special.”

     

    NOTES: Luka Doncic will be 20 years old on Thursday. But before he joins his 20s, the Mavs’ point guard left an indelible mark on his teenage years. There are only five triple-doubles by teenagers in the history of the NBA. Doncic has four of them. “Luka’s an amazing player for the age that he is,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Even when he turns 20 it’s still going to be remarkable the things that he’s doing. But these last 22 games. . .is going to be a test of how much of that load he can take on his back and to what degree he can help the guys around him be better and impact the entire game. I know he has the ability to do it, but it’s a big challenge.” So what was Carlisle doing at the age of 20? He paused and said: “I was an incoming freshman (at the University of Maine). I was in Oak Hall and playing basketball in the afternoon and studying at night, and beyond that I don’t remember exactly what was going on. Whatever I was doing was going to be way different than what Luka is doing. He’s had a remarkable season.”. .Count Mavs coach Rick Carlisle among those who are very high in Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner. The 6-11 Bedford product went into Wednesday’s game averaging 13.4 ppg and 6.9 rpg while also leading the NBA in blocks with 2.7 bpg. “Most people wouldn’t think that he was the league leader in blocks,” Carlisle said. “We all know he can block shots, but that’s a phenomenal stat. It speaks to the fact that he’s high impact on both ends, and offensively he’s a big problem. He shoots threes, he shoots mid-range, he can post, he’s a good roller, and you add that kind of rim protection to the equation, he’s a dynamo. He’s one of the great young players in the league.”. .During the first timeout of the second quarter, the Mavs showed a tribute to Wesley Matthews on the Jumbotron. Matthews played for the Mavs from 2015 until they traded him to the New York Knicks on Jan. 31. The Knicks waived Matthews on Feb. 7 and he signed with the Indiana Pacers on Feb. 10. “It felt good, it really did,” Mathews said of the reception. “I’m surprised not by the reception, but. . .I was in Portland for five years and I didn’t get one. That wasn’t a shot. I’m just saying why I was shocked. It was great and I appreciate it. I’m grateful for all the people in Dallas, the fans and the staff and all my former teammates. It was a lot of fun.”. .Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 15 points at Utah on Saturday and added 12 points at the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. “It’s not surprising that he continues to get better, continues to get better, continues to get better,” Carlisle said prior to Wednesday’s game. “What can you say? The guy is a remarkable athlete.”

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    The Fast Break: Mavs vs. Pacers

    Final: Mavs 110, Pacers 101

  • This was Luka Doncic’s final game as a teenager, and in the way only he could, Doncic blew away the Pacers as he prepared to blow out the birthday candles. In his last moments as a 19-year-old, Doncic scored nine points on 3-of-6 shooting in the fourth, putting the game away for good with a late step-back 3 in front of Indiana’s bench, giving him 26 points on the night to go along with 10 rebounds and seven assists.

    Doncic played 57 NBA games as a teenager, and in that time he amassed a nearly unprecedented stat line of 1,194 points, 415 rebounds, and 324 assists. The only other player in league history to meet or exceed those numbers before turning 20 years old is LeBron James. Granted, teenagers only started debuting in the league within the last three decades, but we needn’t remind you of the rare company Doncic keeps among all first-year players when it comes to per-game averages. He is a special talent, and now that the book is officially closed on his teenage years, we can begin to put into perspective just how historic his run has been to this point.

    There is still much to improve upon — his seven turnovers tonight followed up a nine-giveaway performance in L.A., for example — but he is already at a level that few players ever reach, at least statistically speaking. It’s difficult to imagine how good Doncic could one day become if he continues to smooth out his weaknesses and improve upon his strengths. It’s also nearly impossible to believe that the Rookie of the Year trophy will not be his in two months, or that by this time next year, we might be debating about other league honors. But that is for then. This is now, and right now Doncic is playing some truly incredible basketball.

  • Jalen Brunson earned a start tonight, after coming off the bench in L.A. on Monday. He responded with perhaps his best game to date as a pro, dropping a career-high 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting and adding five assists and three steals. He also finished a strong +17 in 34 minutes in a nine-point game, evidence that he was able to make things happen when he was on the floor. To wit, as the Pacers briefly opened up a lead early in the second quarter, Brunson checked back in and registered 10 points in the remaining seven minutes and change to close the gap. He also made one of the better hustle plays you’ll see, turning his own mistake into a positive play for Dallas.

    His biggest moment, however, came late in the game when he preceded Doncic’s step-back with one of his own.

    The rookie is shooting an absurd 46.9 percent from beyond the arc in his last 27 games, on more than two attempts per. That’s a particularly interesting development because in his first 26 appearances, he hit just 23.3 percent of them. Perhaps more consistent playing time has a hand in it, as Brunson’s minutes came in all shapes and sizes early in the season before he stepped into a larger role. I suppose we’ll see as time goes on. Hitting the mid-40s for an extended period of time is not easy, regardless of the number of attempts, but it’s even more difficult to maintain. Brunson hit at least the high-30s all three years at Villanova, and better than 40 as a junior, so it’s certainly possible that he’s just a good shooter who faced early struggles. That would be a terrific truth for Dallas to discover, because a quality shooter who can facilitate is an ideal fit on any roster, whether it’s with Doncic in the starting lineup or as a backup point.

  • Dirk Nowitzki got another start, and this one was his first of the season at American Airlines Center. The Big German provided 11 points, five boards, and three assists, piecing together one of his more well-rounded lines of the season. He hit two big 3s in the fourth quarter, including one which forced the Pacers to call timeout and of course brought back plenty of memories.

    Over the course of the last few weeks, and especially within the last three games, Nowitzki has shown signs that he remains much more than merely nostalgia in uniform. He’s scored in double-figures in three straight games and four out of five overall, and he’s hit multiple 3-pointers in nine of his last 15 appearances. His minutes are on the climb, and his shooting percentages are following. We can talk about next season, next season. For now, Dirk is playing his best basketball of the season and seems to almost be back. All of that has made the present quite a gift.

  • Wesley Matthews was back in town tonight, his first time in front of the Dallas crowd as a visitor since last month’s trade with New York. He put together a pretty solid “revenge game,” scoring 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting and saving some of his best stuff for the fourth quarter. He was also the primary defender on Luka Doncic all night long, and he had a big hand in forcing a few of Doncic’s turnovers. It was great to see Matthews on the floor, and he really seemed to be in his element; he and his former teammates were talking plenty of good-natured trash all night long. (Afterward, Nowitzki said that leading up to the game Matthews told him the Pacers’ scouting report for Dirk was just a photo of George Washington.) I would expect Matthews to have big games every time he comes back to Dallas, too, as he always played great in Portland as a member of the Mavs. That’s what competitors do, and Matthews certainly is one.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (27-34) will meet the Grizzlies (24-39) at home on Saturday. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.

    The post The Fast Break: Mavs vs. Pacers appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


  • Nowitzki in rhythm as a starter, but he’s not ready to make any bold predictions for the future

    Dirk Nowitzki got his first victory of the season as a starter on Wednesday night when the Mavericks knocked off Indiana 110-101 at American Airlines Center.

    Afterward, the legendary Maverick who had 11 points, five rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes said he’s feeling much more comfortable as a starter than he did coming off the bench.

    Part of that is because his body is now about as good as a 40-year-old body can be playing basketball against competitors half his age.

    And another part is that he just feels better being on the court for the jump ball.

    “It’s a little easier to find your rhythm obviously,” he said of being in the starting lineup. “Off the bench for me is a new role and it’s a little harder. I have a lot of respect for guys who do it their whole career.

    “For me, it’s obviously easier to start. But whatever the decision might be, maybe down the stretch we go back to Maxi (Kleber). But we’ll try to make it work and play well.”

    It helps, of course, that Nowitzki has recovered from a tendon problem in his surgically repaired left ankle. He was supposed to be ready to play by the start of this season. But the complications with the tendon pushed his recovery back about two months.

    “I was hoping to feel like this in November, December when the first month of the season is over,” Nowitzki said. “But those eight weeks I missed with the inflamed tendon messed up the entire season for me. You can’t cry about it. You got to keep working and hopefully keep feeling better and better as the season goes along. I’ll keep working on days off and hope to finish the season even stronger.

    Nowitzki said he definitely feels a lot better than when he returned in December. He’s got more bounce in his legs and he said he feels like he can contribute now, whereas he was struggling just to get up and down the court in the first month or so after he returned to action.

    For proof, he’s averaging 12.7 points in his three starts and has hit 8-of-22 3-pointers (36.4 percent) from 3-point range.

    What Nowitzki is not ready to say is that his improvement and the strong future that the Mavericks have with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis is swaying the pendulum when it comes to perhaps returning for a 22nd season next year.

    “Yeah, I don’t know,” he said. “I haven’t really thought about it. But I’d love to be there for the young guys one more year. But it depends on how the body feels. I’ve had some issues this year. I had some knee swelling the last few weeks before the All-Star break, so it’s not all great. But like I said, I am feeling better, feeling a little stronger.

    “I think I’ll make that decision later on. But I think the future is bright. I think Luka and KP if they stay healthy and stay together should be a great combo and should be playing great off of each other. They both have an incredible skill set for their size. They should jell well, but we’ll have to see how it goes next year.”

    Meanwhile, Nowitzki said it was good to see Wesley Matthews, who made his return to American Airlines Center as a member of the Pacers. Matthews, who had 20 points, was traded to New York in the Porzingis deal and subsequently bought out. He signed with the Pacers before the All-Star break.

    Nowitzki said Matthews reminded him before the game of just how old 40 years old is.

    “He had the picture on my scouting report and it was George Washington,” Nowitzki said. “That one hurt.

    “But, as you guys know, I love Wes. He’s one of the fiercest competitors I’ve seen. He’ll always be a friend. And he had a heck of a game.”

    Twitter: @ESefko

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    Wesley Matthews holds no grudge, but (jokingly, we think) says he’ll take all their heads off’

    Wesley Matthews holds no grudge against the Mavericks.

    He knows that rebuilding organizations have to do what they think is best for their future.

    That said, he issued a half-joking, half-intimidating proclamation Tuesday after the Pacers practiced at American Airlines Center in advance of Wednesday’s game game.

    “They got to do what they got to do, but I’m still going to try to kill ‘em,” Matthews said. “I’m going to try to take all their heads off.

    “And if that ball bounces too close to Rick (Carlisle), I’ll go for that, too. Same with (Mark) Cuban, if that ball bounces too close to the sideline and I can save it, he better have his hands ready.”

    Carlisle and Cuban would expect nothing less out of Matthews. Nor would Maverick fans.

    The 32-year-old was a Maverick for three-and-a-half seasons and he has landed in Indiana with the Pacers. Matthews has had a whirlwind month since being traded to the New York Knicks on Jan. 31.

    He has gotten to a place he’s familiar with. Not Indiana. But being in the middle of a hot playoff chase, which the Pacers are in the Eastern Conference.

    “I love it. I love it. I can’t say anything other than I love it,” Matthews said. “I will never take for granted or be ungrateful for this opportunity and this moment I’m in. This is what I know, what I’ve become accustomed to.

    “In my first year in Dallas, we were in that situation. And since then it hasn’t been. And you miss it. You want to be in this situation.”

    To say the least, the last month has been a whirlwind for Matthews. It started on Jan. 30 when the Mavericks won at New York and the starting lineup included Matthews, DeAndre Jordan, Dennis Smith Jr. and Harrison Barnes – all of whom play elsewhere now.

    It was the start of a crazy stretch for Matthews. And he said the trade to New York was not something he saw coming.

    “I for sure was not expecting it,” Matthews said. “We’d heard trade talks about me and Dennis and it was all about Phoenix or Orlando. Once Dennis (who had been away from the team) returned, we were like, all-right, everything’s subsided. I kind of had my mind on the idea that we were here for the long haul and we were going to finish out the season and finish it out the right way and see if we can make a little push.

    “We played in New York, had a win, a nice night, and then we get to Detroit on a back-to-back and I take my pregame nap, I wake up and got a thousand messages that I was traded.

    “They could have just left us there, right?”

    The stay in New York was brief, although Matthews said the experience with the people and the city was good. He enjoyed the stay and the vision that the franchise had.

    However, Matthews knew something wasn’t right.

    “At this point in my career, I feel like I still have a lot left to give a team and a lot in the tank and a lot that I still want to accomplish,” Matthews said. “As soon as that trade happened, teams were knocking on our door right away.

    “I started looking at opportunities to get to a situation where I could be in the playoffs.”

    Matthews and his agent worked with the Knicks and the Pacers were there with a starting spot and a good fit for a player who has made his career out of hitting 3-point shots and playing sticky defense.

    Matthews’ game against the Mavericks will be his sixth as a Pacer. In the first five, all starts, he has averaged 13.6 points and shot 44.1 percent from 3-point range. That’s a substantial upgrade from the 38 percent he was shooting in his 44 games with the Mavericks.

    Admittedly, the time in Indiana is a small sample size. But so far, the Pacers have loved Matthews’ grit and his shooting.

    And landing in Indiana has been a nice way to end the crazy adventure Matthews has been on for the past month.

    “He brings a competitiveness to the locker room that you want,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “Our guys compete, but when you have a guy like that who wears his attitude on his sleeve, that rubs off on guys. I worked with him in Portland and we brought him on board. He’s still got that same fire toward the game that you want. He’s still playing to prove himself.”

    That will never change for Matthews.

    He also will not forget his three-plus years in Dallas. He hopes the fans will feel the same way Wednesday night.

    “I gave everything I had every single night,” he said. “I don’t have any regrets. I busted my ass to get back and get ready. And I laid it on the line. The fans were good to me”

    Twitter: @ESefko

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    Clippers coach Doc Rivers took showering Nowitzki with love to a whole new level

    LOS ANGELES – As he travels through these various NBA cities for the very last time this season, the fans in those arenas have showered Dirk Nowitzki with a lot of love.

    But nothing could prepare the Dallas Mavericks’ superstar forward for the lovefest that happened Monday night when the Mavs played the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center.

    The Clippers already had this 121-112 victory in the bag when their coach, Doc Rivers, inexplicably called a timeout with 9.4 seconds remaining. From there, Rivers walked over to the scorer’s table, grabbed the in-house microphone, gave his personal tribute to Nowitzki and urged the fans to stand up and cheer for the Mavs’ all-time leading scorer.

    “It was sweet,” Nowitzki said. “I really appreciate it.”

    Coach Rick Carlisle, who is good friends with Rivers, acknowledged that he had no idea the Clippers coach was going to pull off one of the more memorable and rewarding moments in the history of pro sports.

    “When he grabbed the mic, it sort of made sense,” Carlisle said. “I don’t know when it came into his head.  I mean, it’s a pretty close game, normally you’re not thinking about things like that, but it was great and I know that it really touched Dirk.

    “And it’s great for our young guys to see a moment like that, because it’s just another nod of how special Dirk is to not only our franchise, but to everybody that follows our game.”

    Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari not only followed the NBA before he was a first-round pick in 2008. But Gallinari, an Italian, was a huge Nowitzki fan before he (Gallinari) joined the NBA and was personally touched by the acclamation from Rivers.

    “It meant a lot because we grew up watching (Nowitzki) in Europe, and then coming here everyone was trying to be like him,” Gallinari said. “He is a legend not just for the NBA, but especially for (European players).

    “I am glad that Doc did that. It is an amazing moment, it is great to be a part of it. At the same time, it is amazing and sad because it is the last time we will play against him.”

    Well, maybe not.

    Nowitzki hasn’t made any formal announcements regarding whether or not this will be his final season. Plus, the last two games are the first time this season he’s scored double-figure points in consecutive games, while also playing season highs of 25 and 26 minutes two games in a row, respectively.

    “I’m feeling a little better,” Nowitzki said. “I feel like I can play a little more than I dd a month or a month-and-a-half ago, so I can at least enjoy myself.”

    Although these impromptu tributes are becoming emotional for Nowitzki, he’s learned how to put them in their proper perspective.

    “It really started a few weeks ago in Charlotte,” he said. “I remember when they were yelling at the end: ‘We Want Dirk,’ and it snowballed from there.

    “There was Boston, Indy and some of those East Coast cities, obviously, where we only go once, and that was incredible. Obviously, the energy in New York was fantastic. Obviously, I’m enjoying it.”

    Clippers guard Lou Williams said it “was classy” what Rivers did in paying homage to Nowitzki.

    “We’re not sure if this is the last time we’ll see him, but just in case it was good to honor a legend,” Williams said. “He is a champion in this league and one of the trailblazers for international players coming over to the NBA.

    “The career that he had has been excellent. He has been a role model, too. I’m sure there are tons of international guys that look up to him and want to come here and play. He set a fine example.”

    Nowitzki, now 40 and in his 21st season, was the first big man to step out and start making 3-point shots a part of his every day life. Now, the 3-point shot is a part of every day life in the NBA today for most players – the tall ones and the short ones.

    “He deserves even more,” rookie Luka Doncic said. “He does everything in the world. The way he plays basketball at the age of 40 is just amazing.

    “I see him practice every day. He practices more than everybody, so that’s just amazing to see. I’m just really happy they give him ovations like that.”

    That same happiness is shared by Carlisle.

    “It’s just a nod to how special his career has been,” Carlisle said. “When you factor in competitive, integrity, franchise loyalty, a championship, 14-time All-Star, it’s a lot of things to stack up on top of each other.

    “I get a little emotional thinking about everything he’s meant to all of us – me, my family and all of that. It’s a proud moment for him and our franchise.”

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    The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 121-112 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers

    1. WHAT’S UP DOC?: Kudos to Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers for calling a timeout with 9.4 seconds remaining in Monday’s game so his own fans could give Dirk Nowitzki a well-deserved standing ovation. During the timeout, Rivers got on the microphone and urged the fans to stand and cheer for Nowitzki, which they did. Rivers and those Clippers fans realized Monday may have been Nowitzki’s final game at the Staples Center, so they wanted to show their appreciation for the fine work he’s done during his 21-year career.
    2. TRIPLE-DOUBLE WATCH: In his first game since the All-Star break, Luka Doncic registered his fourth triple-double of the season as he finished the game with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. That’s the most triple-doubles by a member of the Mavs since Michael Finley also had four triple-doubles during the 1999-’00 season. The Mavs’ single-season franchise record for triple-doubles is nine by Jason Kidd in the 1995-’96 season. Kidd also collected four triple-doubles as a rookie during the 1994-’95 campaign.
    3. POWELL’S CAREER NIGHT: Dwight Powell really stuffed the stat sheet Monday. The five-year veteran poured in a career-high 24 points, hauled in eight rebounds, distributed four assists, picked up a pair of steals, and also blocked two shots. In addition, Powell was very efficient from the field in perhaps his best game ever. He was 10-of-11 from the floor, 2-of-2 from 3-point range and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe. And it was Powell’s dunk with 16.4 seconds left that gave Luka Doncic his 10th assist and put the finishing touches on his fourth triple-double.
    4. TURNOVERS WERE A PROBLEM: One game after the Mavs committed a franchise-low three turnovers on Saturday against the Utah Jazz, the Clippers used 17 turnovers by Dallas to score 21 points. Since the Mavs only scored two points off of six Clippers turnovers, the turnover differential was clearly the difference in this game. Facing a lot of pressure, double-teams and traps, Luka Doncic uncharacteristically turned the ball over a career-high nine times, while Tim Hardaway Jr. committed six turnovers.
    5. HARDAWAY GOES FOR 20 — AGAIN: For the fourth time in the past six games, Tim Hardaway Jr. was able to crack the 20-point barrier. Hardaway was 7-of-16 from the field – including 4-of-11 from behind the 3-point line – and wound up with 20 points in 35 minutes. He also pulled down six rebounds and handed out two assists. Hardaway tallied 14 of his points in the second half, including eight in the third quarter when the Mavs held their largest lead of the game at 83-78 with 3:03 remaining when Hardaway fed Maxi Kleber for a 3-point basket.

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    Rivers calls late timeout to honor Nowitzki during Clippers’ 121-112 win over the Mavs

    LOS ANGELES – Decades from now, millions of folks will probably still be talking about the night Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers surprising called a timeout very late in Monday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks so he could deliver a very special message.

    That message?

    Rivers wanted the Staples Center sellout crowd of 19,068 to do the honorable thing and stand up and give Mavs superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki one last thunderous standing ovation.

    After he was issued the timeout, Rivers walked over to the scorer’s table, took the microphone and shouted: “Dirk! Now, let’s go! Let’s go! One of the greatest of all time. Dirk Nowitzki. We’ll certainly miss him.”

    At the time, there were still 9.4 seconds remaining a game the Clippers ultimately won, 121-112. And as the crowd stood and furiously clapped and cheered following the unexpected command by Rivers, a sheepish Nowitzki was obviously emotional and taken aback at what had just transpired.

    “First, I was like, ‘Why is Doc calling a timeout, what is he doing when we have only (9.4) seconds to go, what’s he up to?,’ ” Nowitzki rhetorically asked. “Then he grabbed the mic.

    “I didn’t really understand much, but I’m really humbled, and that was an emotional moment and I really appreciate it.”

    Nowitzki finished the game with 12 points and a season-high tying five rebounds while becoming the fourth player in NBA history to play at least 1,500 games. Meanwhile, Rivers said in a recent game against the Miami Heat, the Clippers didn’t give Dwyane Wade the right send-off, and he wasn’t going to let that happened in what may be Nowitzki’s final game against the Clippers.

    “We had a (nine-point) lead (against the Mavs) and I had a timeout,” Rivers said. “Honestly, I didn’t plan it. I just felt like he deserved that.”

    That touching moment overshadowed a game that saw rookie Luka Doncic register his fourth triple-double of the season as he finished the game with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. The last Mavs player to collect four triple-doubles in a season was Michael Finley in 1999.

    Because he had missed the previous two games with a sore right ankle, this was Doncic’s first game since the Mavs lost to Miami on Feb. 13 prior to the All-Star break.

    “I was just happy to be back,” Doncic said. “I missed two games, and with the All-Star break, I couldn’t wait to get on the floor, so I was just happy.”

    What Doncic wasn’t happy about was the career-high nine turnovers he committed, some of which were catastrophic.

    “That was terrible, I was terrible today,” Doncic said. “That was all my fault. I had a lot of turnovers, so that can’t happen again.”

    And why did it happen this time?

    “Some of it was the pressure the Clippers put on him, some of it was just, they’re mistakes,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “A player like him that’s getting trapped every single night is going to be more prone to turnovers, so this is why we study film. We’ve got to show him ways to make simpler easy plays.

    “At times it’s tough for him because he feels like he can thread any needle and throw the ball through one guy’s nose out of his rear end and hit a teammate. You just can’t do that in this league on a consistent basis, so that’s what teaching and learning is all about.”

    In helping hand the Mavs (26-34) their fifth straight loss, Montrezl Harrell went on a dunking rampage and led the Clippers with a career-high 32 points, and Lou Williams added 21 points and 10 assists.

    After the Mavs inched to within 116-110 of the Clippers with 2:16 left in the game, Harrell jammed home a dunk and Danilo Gallinari (20 points) buried a pair of free throws as the Clippers padded their lead to 120-110 with 58.2 seconds to go.

    “He’s become a big impact player in this league,” Carlisle said of Harrell. “He’s elevated his game, really, month to month in the last two years in a big way, and they’ve done great work with him and we didn’t do a good enough job.

    “When you have a guy like Williams out there and you’re running around trapping, the Harrell’s of the world are going to be even more effective.”

    The Clippers rolled to a 29-22 lead after the first quarter, but the Mavs narrowed the gap to 63-57 at intermission. Despite 11 points and three assists from Doncic in the third quarter, the Clippers were able to carry a 91-88 lead into the final quarter.

    It was a quarter that involved that unexpected surprising stoppage of play and heartfelt speech by Rivers.

    “It was one of the greatest things I’ve seen,” Carlisle said. “I obviously had a couple of words with Doc and thanked him. I know there will be more moments similar to that, but this was an original.

    “I’ve never seen something like this. That’s why Doc is one of the special people, one of the people I most respect in this game, a Hall of Famer. It was one of the real special moments that I’ve been a small part of, so it was great to see.”

    NOTES: Besides the performances by Luka Doncic and Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Powell poured in a career-high 24 points, grabbed eight rebounds, collected two steals and blocked two shots against the Clippers, Tim Hardaway Jr. had 20 points and six rebounds, and Maxi Kleber scored 10 points after missing Saturday’s game in Utah with an illness. . .Mavs coach Rick Carlisle reminded the media that although Doncic has received a lot of attention this season, the rookie really doesn’t seek out or like that attention. “I haven’t seen and I wasn’t with Cleveland when LeBron James was drafted (No. 1 overall in 2003),” Carlisle said. “I don’t know what it was like when the bus would pull up at 2 in the morning. But this has been a zoo, but he’s not looking for the attention. He wants to be a great teammate, he wants to win games, and he wants to be a part of something bigger than himself.” . .Carlisle said the remainder of the season is critical for Doncic’s development. “It’s very important on a lot of levels,” he said. “Number one, it’s a chance to keep competing and getting better as teams adjust to him. We’re seeing more trapping of him in pick-and-rolls with the way our team is restructured, and he’s going to have to deal with those kinds of situations and a lot of defensive attention. And also, a really important thing is that he’s certainly a future leader of this team and this period from here to the end of the year is going to be about what that responsibility is about, both from a production standpoint, facilitating and helping your teammates get great shots and all the things that go along with it. I try to keep things simple, I talk to him very frequently about these things, and he has a lot of experience, even though he’s very young.” . .Dirk Nowitzki started his second straight game – his only two starts of the season – and played a season-high 26 minutes against the Clippers, eclipsing the 25 minutes he played Saturday at Utah. “As the season has gone on, he’s feeling better, he’s moving better, he’s continuing keeps getting better,” Carlisle said. “It’s hard coming off of missing the first seven or eight weeks of the season and not having a training camp to get your legs and all of that. But he’s getting to a better and better place, and we just keeps monitoring it and getting him out there with the right guys.”. .Guess who’s looking forward to free agency? Los Angeles Clippers forward Johnathan Motley.  Formerly of the Mavs, Motley is in the second year of a two-way contract he signed with Dallas in the summer of 2017.  “It’s my first (free agency),” Motley said. “So it’s going to be interesting to see what happens and hopefully some good things happen.”. .After Monday’s game, Luka Doncic gave boxing great Floyd Money” Mayweather an autographed jersey, and the two posed for a picture. Doncic said Mayweather told him: “He said, ‘You play like me.’ “. . .Dirk Nowitzki, who hasn’t said if this is his last season, couldn’t help but notice all the attention he’s receiving in all the arenas across the NBA this season. “They making the (retirement) decision for me, I guess,” Nowitzki said, jokingly, after Monday’s game. “We’ll see what the rest of the season brings. But (the receptions have) been great, really emotional in some of these buildings. The reception from the fans have been incredible, so much love for sure.”

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    Rick Carlisle discusses the personalities of Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Garnett

    LOS ANGELES – At one point during his pregame interview session prior to Monday night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was asked to compare the personalities of Dirk Nowitzki and former Minnesota Timberwolves/Boston Celtics great Kevin Garnett.

    “I would say that KG’s personality was more overt and more kind of out there in your face,” Carlisle said. “I agree that Dirk’s a different style of person and player, too, but no less competitive.  I think both of those guys are high, high, high level Hall of Fame guys, high, high, high level in the history of the game, up there in one of those pantheons.

    “And I don’t think you get to your 21st year and do what he’s doing now without being just phenomenally competitive. There’s also much to do with just the kind of body maintenance that goes on, the preparation day to day, just to get on the practice court, just to get on the game floor. My hats off to him.”

    Nowitzki and Garnett got into a very competitive playoff series in 2002 when the latter played for the Timberwolves. The Mavs swept that best-of-five series, 3-0.

    “KG played 20 years as well, right?,” Carlisle said. “Two decades at the level that these guys played at is just a phenomenal accomplishment.”

    What also has been a phenomenal accomplishment, Carlisle added, is Nowitzki’s level of consistency.

    “He’s been as consistent a superstar athlete as I’ve ever been around,” Carlisle said. “I’ve been around a few as a player with my time in Boston with Half of Famers. I played a year-and-a-half with Patrick Ewing, I coached Reggie Miller, I coached Ben Wallace, who is a finalist for the hall of fame, which is great to see.

    “Dirk and Reggie Miller, they all have a similar consistency to sort of just a day-to-day approach. And it’s unbending in terms of what they demand of themselves.”

    The post Rick Carlisle discusses the personalities of Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Garnett appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Nowitzki recalls some fond memories of playing in the Staples Center, especially in 2011

    LOS ANGELES – Because the Staples Center is the only arena that has two NBA tenants, Dirk Nowitzki has played more games in this arena than in any other during his 21-year career.

    Still, the Dallas Mavericks’ superstar forward had no problem identifying his most precious memory from playing in the Staples Center.

    “It’s got to be when we beat the (Los Angeles ) Lakers here in the playoffs, when we swept them that year in the (2011 postseason) and we beat them twice here,” Nowitzki said following Monday morning’s shootaround. “Those big, big games stand out.

    “Those two where we stole it here was probably the biggest games.”

    In the 2011 playoffs, the Mavs won a rugged first-round series against Portland in six games, then faced the Lakers in the second round. At the time, the Lakers were the two-time defending NBA champions and were trying to three-peat as champions.

    However, the Mavs won Game 1 (96-94) and Game 2 (93-81) at the Staples Center, then closed out the series by winning Game 3 (98-92) and Game 4 (122-86) at American Airlines Center.

    From there, the Mavs beat Oklahoma City in five games in the Western Conference Finals, and then defeated Miami in six games in the NBA Finals.

    As far as playing at the Staples Center goes, Nowitzki said: “It’s a great atmosphere, great building. The Lakers being here and the Clippers — always two good teams, great competition over the years. So I’m enjoying playing against some of the best in the West.”

    Ironically, the Staples Center will serve as the site of a milestone for Nowitzki. When the Mavs (26-33) meet the Clippers (33-28) on Monday at 9:30 p.m., it will be the 1,500th game of Nowitzki’s illustrious career.

    The only players who have played more games are Robert Parish (1,611), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,560) and John Stockton (1,504).

    “I didn’t know that,” Nowitzki said, when told of the milestone. “That’s a lot of games.

    “I’ve been obviously fortunate to be sort of injury free for a long, long time – no major injuries. And to be able to still play is a blessing. I’m still enjoying the competition, so hopefully I can finish the season.”

    The post Nowitzki recalls some fond memories of playing in the Staples Center, especially in 2011 appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


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    Don’t look for Salah Mejri to hesitate when he has an open look from 3-point range

    SALT LAKE CITY – The lane most folks expect to see Salah Mejri operating from is the one located inside the paint. But recently, the 7-2 Dallas Mavericks’ center has expanded his game to include the 3-point shot.

    In Friday’s game against the Denver Nuggets, Mejri attempted a pair of 3-pointers and wound up converting one of them, which sent the Mavs’ bench into a frenzy. It was Mejri’s second successful 3-pointer in his career.

    However, it may be the beginning of things to come.

    “Three weeks ago I got with him and talked to him about working on it, because there are many alignments now in the league where the (center) is spotted in the corner, and in some cases open from beyond the arc,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s such an important weapon to have.

    “During that period of time he wasn’t playing a whole lot. And I said to him, ‘Hey look, you ought to spend time taking a lot of threes, get used to stepping into them, do it in practice, do it off of conditioning type workouts so you’ll get the rhythm of doing it when you have some fatigue, and it’s something that can extend your career.’

    “He’s shot free throws better this year and he was one for two from three the other night (against the Nuggets).”

    Now in his fourth season, Mejri entered this season just 1-of-7 from behind the 3-point line. He’s now 2-of-12 from the 3-point stripe, including his only missed attempt from downtown during Saturday’s 125-109 loss to the Utah Jazz.

    “For me to be out on floor I need to have something to offer, and that’s the 3-point shot,” Mejri said. “(Friday) they backed off of me and I tried and shot it and made one, and the next time I shot another one and I was short.

    “But if I keep working on them and I get an open look, why not? I had been shooting them before when I was in Europe, and I was shooting a lot, too.”

    By the way, prior to draining that 3-pointer against the Nuggets – on a step-back play – Mejri’s only made trey in the NBA came during the 2016-’17 regular season finale at Memphis. And as the Mavs prepare to play the Clippers in Los Angeles on Monday at 9:30 p.m., Carlisle doesn’t expect the Tunisian to hesitate any more if he gets an open look from outside the 3-point arc.

    “Salah’s got a good touch,” Carlisle said. “He shoots the ball better than a lot of people think.”

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    The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 125-109 loss to the Utah Jazz

    1. DIRK’S SEASON HIGH: In perhaps his last visit to Salt Lake City, Dirk Nowitzki turned back the clock one more time. While making his first start of the season, the 21-year veteran poured in a season-high 15 points on a season-high six made field goals and a season-high three made 3-pointers. And it all came while playing a season-high 25 minutes – on the second night of a brutal back-to-back. It was a deuce and a trey by Nowitzki that got the Mavs within 86-83 of the Jazz early in the fourth quarter. In all, Nowitzki proved that no matter the circumstances, he still is a threat as long as he’s on the court.
    2. LOW TURNOVERS: Against an aggressive ball-hawking team like the Jazz, the Mavs did what no Mavs team has ever done in their nearly 40-year history. They turned the ball over just three times against Utah. That’s the lowest number of turnovers the Mavs have ever committed in a game. The lowest. Two of the turnovers came in the first quarter and the other one in the fourth quarter. It was an impressive statistical showing by the Mavs considering they averaged 15 turnovers per game in their previous five contests. The low turnover number helped the Mavs attempt 97 field goals to just 85 for the Jazz.
    3. BURKE BACK WHERE IT ALL STARTED: Trey Burke was back in the place where his NBA career got off the ground. And he reminded folks around here just how prolific of a scorer he can be. Drafted ninth overall in the first round by the Jazz in 2013, Burke needed only 23 minutes to score 20 points against Utah on Saturday. The seven-year veteran – he played three seasons for the Jazz — was 8-of-15 from the floor to go with three assists. The 6-1 guard also played big enough to collect a team-high seven rebounds, including a game-high three offensive rebounds.
    4. HARDAWAY STRIKES AGAIN: Slowly but surely, Tim Hardaway Jr. is getting comfortable with his surroundings. In his seven games since joining the Mavs following that Jan. 31 blockbuster trade with the New York Knicks, Hardaway has scored 20 or more points three times. And all three of those have come in the past five games, including the 21 points he tallied against Utah. Hardaway was 6-of-13 from the field and 2-of-5 from beyond the 3-point arc. He also made all seven of his free throw attempts, in addition to grabbing five rebounds and dispensing four assists.
    5. LUKA’S ABSENCE HURT: Luka Doncic sat out his second straight game while nursing soreness in his right ankle. And his absence was sorely missed, especially during critical moments in the fourth quarter when the Mavs needed a key basket to stay in the game. That’s Doncic’s forte: The bigger the stage, the more he tends to find a way to prosper. After getting within three points of the Jazz early in the fourth quarter, the Mavs went 1-of-7 from the field, were outscored 17-4 and fell behind 103-87. A healthy Doncic likely would have prevented that downward spiral from occurring.

    The post The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 125-109 loss to the Utah Jazz appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Nowitzki starts and scores a season-high 15 points, but Mavs fall to the Jazz, 125-109

     

    SALT LAKE CITY – In the city where he famously clinched his first playoff series some 18 years ago, Dirk Nowitzki turned back the clock Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 18,306 at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

    The greatest player in Mavs history made his first start of the season and responded with a season-high 15 points in a season-high 25 minutes. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as the Utah Jazz outscored the Mavs by 13 in the second half and left the arena with a 125-109 victory.

    It was the fourth straight loss for the Mavs, who dipped to 26-33 headed into Monday’s 9:30 p.m. game at the Los Angeles Clippers.

    Nowitzki started the game because Maxi Kleber remained at his Utah hotel room with an illness. Plus, the Mavs were also without rookie Luka Doncic for the second straight game as he continues to nurse his sore right ankle.

    But considering the Mavs were on the second end of a back-to-back after losing at home on Friday to Denver – Utah also lost at Oklahoma City in double overtime on Friday — Nowitzki’s performance was one of the highlights of this game for Dallas.

    “I felt OK,” said Nowitzki, who was 6-of-14 from the field. “I was a little tired (Friday), I think, coming out of the (All-Star) break.

    “Unfortunately, we weren’t good on defense on stretches. Stretches on offense obviously, without Luka in there, too, we go through dry spells. So overall, just not good enough.”

    Coach Rick Carlisle applauded the effort by Nowitzki, who was 3-of-9 from 3-point range.

    “With Kleber out, (Nowitzki) starting made sense,” Carlisle said. “When you get into the flow of the game early, even if you’re not getting a lot of shots, it helps facilitates and you have a little more feel to the game.

    “Our guys did a good job of finding him and he banged in some shots, which is great to see.”

    After Nowitzki nailed two baskets – the latter being a 3-pointer – the Mavs were only down 86-83 with 10:42 left in the game. From there, the Jazz went on a 17-4 run, highlighted by a trio of 3-pointers by Joe Ingles, to assume a 103-87 lead with 6:34 remaining in the game.

    “The boards were an issue again, so we’ve got to keep talking about that and working on it,” said Carlisle, after his team lost the rebounding battle, 53-42. “We’re down a little bit size-wise with Kleber out, and he’s one of our better rebounders.”

    The Mavs trailed 31-25 after the first quarter, 61-58 at the half and 86-78 after the third quarter. Dallas was able to stay close in part because it committed a franchise-low three turnovers.

    “I thought the low turnover number was the highlight of the game,” Carlisle said. “We had been on a stretch of turning it over really at a historically high rate since I’ve been around here.

    “Utah is a team with (Ricky) Rubio out there and Ingles and some of these other guys that steals the ball, that was a really good job (protecting the basketball). But we needed to do better on the boards, we needed to get some more stops.”

    Besides Nowitzki, the Mavs got 21 points from Tim Hardaway Jr, 20 from Trey Burke, 13 apiece from Jalen Brunson and Justin Jackson, and 12 points, six rebounds and five assists from Dwight Powell. Burke was particularly pleased with his performance since the Jazz made him the ninth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and he spent three seasons with their organization.

    “I just wanted to come in and bring energy to the game on both ends of the court and be that spark off the bench,” said Burke, who was 8-of-15 from the field in 23 minutes. “I’m trying to adjust on the fly on both ends of the court, not just offensively.”

    For Nowitzki, who was the ringleader for the Mavs when they battled back from an 0-2 deficit to beat the Jazz 3-2 in a five-game playoff series in 2001, getting his legs back under him at this juncture of the season has been a bonus.

    “It’s a little easier to get in the game when you start and you have a rhythm right away,” Nowitzki said. “It’s a lot easier than coming off the bench.

    “But whatever it is, until the end of the season I’m obviously willing to do and all of it will be fun.”

    NOTES: Utah Jazz TV color analyst Ron Boone has been nominated by the veterans committee in the direct-elect category for the 2019 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1968, Boone was drafted by the Dallas Chaparrals of the ABA and the Phoenix Suns of the NBA. He chose the Chaparrals, where he played two seasons and averaged 18.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists as a rookie. “It’s good to be nominated whether you make it or not,” Boone said prior to Saturday’s Dallas Mavericks-Utah Jazz game. “My name has been on the list before, but I’ve never been nominated until this year. If it happens it happens. I’ll be glad.” Known as an iron man, Boone, 72, played in all 1,041 games of his ABA/NBA career and played at least 20 minutes in each game. It was the longest such streak that was eventually broken by former Mavs forward A.C. Green. Boone played 662 games in the ABA and 379 games in the NBA. “I’m happy to be nominated,” said Boone, who finished his career with the Jazz in 1980-’81 season. “I left a mark somewhere in basketball.” Boone was a four-time ABA All-Star who led the Utah Stars to the 1971 ABA title and also made the ABA All-Rookie First Team while with the Chaparrals. . .It’s been a challenge for the Mavs trying to incorporate four new starters into the starting lineup after two trades approximately three weeks ago that sent starters Harrison Barnes, Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews packing. But the Mavs have gradually made the new lineup work. “The NBA is probably the greatest pro sports league in the world for preparation,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “There’s so many games, and they come quickly and there’s a lot of scouting information and it’s got to be scaled down into its simplest form. When you make a major trade and you get five new players, you at some level will re-invent your team at least a little bit. We’ve sort of re-tooled a little bit based on this group. And the last two-and-a-half weeks scaled down some things and got our defensive system in. The personnel is quite different, so there are some different challenges. But we have good guys that go hard and they’re pros, so that’s a great starting point.”. .Carlisle discussed how nice it’s been to witness the many tributes and standing ovations Dirk Nowitzki has received throughout this season. “It’s so well-deserved and it’s just been great to see,” Carlisle said. “Again, we don’t know if this is his last year. I’m sure he’ll talk about it once it’s over with. But it’s been an amazing 21 years. We have 24 games left in this year, and then who knows how much longer after that. Whatever the case, it’ll go by quickly, so I’ll cherish every moment that he’s wearing the uniform.” Nowitzki scored a season-high 15 points against the Jazz in 25 minutes. His previous high was 14 points scored in just 12 minutes during a Jan. 20 game against the New York Knicks. Asked what it was like to make his first start of the season in Saturday’s game, Nowitzki said: “That’s what I’ve been doing for two decades. It wasn’t that new.”

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    5 takeaways from the 114-104 loss to the Denver Nuggets

    1. MAVS MISSED LUKA’S IMPACT: Rookie Luka Doncic sat out Friday’s game with soreness in his right ankle, and his absence was sorely missed. Without their leading scorer and assist man, the Mavs finished the game with just 19 assists. That marks just the 11th time all season that the Mavs finished a game with under 20 assists. It also was the first time they finished with under 20 assists since they recorded 18 assists at Detroit on Jan. 31, the same day they made the seven-player, two-draft pick trade with the New York Knicks. Doncic also missed that game – the Pistons clipped the Mavs 93-89 — with soreness in his left ankle. In the other game Doncic missed this season (with a right hip strain), the Mavs distributed 20 assists during a 114-110 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
    2. BRUNSON HAS A CAREER NIGHT: Jalen Brunson continued a trend that shows he was one of the steals of last summer’s NBA Draft. Feeling more and more comfortable by the game, the rookie second-round draft pick poured in a season- and game-high 22 points against the Nuggets. Brunson’s performance came on a night when he was a productive 8-of-12 from the field. That’s the most field goals he’s made in a game this season. And his 66.7 percentage from the floor is his highest in games where he’s attempted at least 10 field goals. Brunson also had five assists against the Nuggets, marking the seventh time he’s collected at least five assists in a game. Plus, he picked up his third blocked shot of the year.
    3. POWELL PRODUCED SOLID GAME: Dwight Powell was very active against the Nuggets, finishing with a season-high 20 points and six rebounds in 25 minutes. It’s the fifth time in his career that Powell has scored at least 20 points in a game. (His career-high is 21 points). Powell’s previous high-scoring game this season was the 19 points he tallied in the home opener against Minnesota. Powell was 6-of-12 from the field against Denver. That’s the third time this season he’s attempting at least 10 field goals in a game and the fifth time he’s converted six or more field goals in a game. Also, Powell collected six rebounds against the Nuggets, marking the 15th game he’s had six or more rebounds. Powell has played 20-plus minutes in nine straight games, while reaching that barrier only seven times in the other 49 games.
    4. REBOUNDING WASN’T UP TO PAR: The Nuggets showed why they’re one of the top rebounding teams in the NBA. Denver outrebounded the Mavs, 63-42. That includes a 21-7 advantage on the offensive end of the court. That advantage led to the Nuggets outscoring the Mavs on second-chance points, 22-11. Denver’s big front line of Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee picked up 13 rebounds against the Mavs. Plumlee also grabbed six offensive rebounds, which was one more than the Mavs, while Jokic and Millsap had five offensive rebounds apiece. The Mavs only trailed the rebounding battle, 15-12, after the first quarter when they held a 30-25 lead.
    5. FINNEY-SMITH SHINES: Dorian Finney-Smith started attacking the basket on a regular basis against the Nuggets and it paid off big-time. The third-year veteran’s aggressiveness allowed him to attempt six free throws, and he successfully made five of those. That’s the most free throws Finney-Smith has attempted in a game in his career and the most free throws he’s made in a game in his career. Overall, the University of Florida product was 4-of-9 from the field and collected 13 points, a team-high nine rebounds and recorded two steals for the third straight game. This also was the fourth time in the past seven contests that Finney-Smith finished a game with at least eight rebounds. And it was the 21st time this season he’s made at least four field goals in a game.

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    92-year-old Dallas Mavericks fan after meeting Dirk for her birthday: ‘I still have goosebumps.’

    DALLAS – Peg Hauswirth of Denton said her 92nd birthday turned out to be her best one yet.

    That’s because she finally got to meet her favorite person and hero: Dirk Nowitzki.

    “I told him he’s great and he told me I’m great…and I gave him a kiss!” she said.

    Then it happened.

    “There he is! There he is!” Peg shouted, as Nowitzki turned the corner with his hands held open wide and embraced the woman who waited 21 years to meet her favorite superstar.

    The duo held on tight, Peggy whispering uplifting words with Dirk encouraging her back.

    After hugging and talking for a few minutes, Peg wanted to show Nowitzki one last thing. It was a t-shirt with pink Hawaiian lettering with the words “Dirkalicious” looped across the front.

    It’s the most sacred item in her house, Peg told Dirk, as the pair laughed and posed for phots with the supersized tee that swallowed little Peg.

    Then he pair held on tight for one last hug as Nowitzki thanked her for coming and raced away towards the court with hundreds more fans waiting to high-five and catch sight of Nowitzki.

    “I thought we’d get to just shake hands,” she said. “But I got in a bunch of hugs and even a kiss. I still have goosebumps. That was the best birthday of my life.”

    With tears in her eyes, Peggy stood there in awe.

    Amazed.

    Thankful.

    She paused to let the moment sink in.

    “I love that man,” she said, with a bright smile and then gently walked away with her cane, flanked on both sides by her family, holding her beloved Dirkalicious shirt.

    Twitter: @TamaraJolee | @MavsCare

     

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    92-year-old Dallas Mavericks fan after meeting Dirk for her birthday: ‘I still have goosebumps.’

    DALLAS – Peg Hauswirth of Denton said her 92nd birthday turned out to be her best one yet.

    That’s because she finally got to meet her favorite person and hero: Dirk Nowitzki.

    “I told him he’s great and he told me I’m great…and I gave him a kiss!” she said.

    Then it happened.

    “There he is! There he is!” Peg shouted, as Nowitzki turned the corner with his hands held open wide and embraced the woman who waited 21 years to meet her favorite superstar.

    The duo held on tight, Peggy whispering uplifting words with Dirk encouraging her back.

    After hugging and talking for a few minutes, Peg wanted to show Nowitzki one last thing. It was a t-shirt with pink Hawaiian lettering with the words “Dirkalicious” looped across the front.

    It’s the most sacred item in her house, Peg told Dirk, as the pair laughed and posed for phots with the supersized tee that swallowed little Peg.

    Then he pair held on tight for one last hug as Nowitzki thanked her for coming and raced away towards the court with hundreds more fans waiting to high-five and catch sight of Nowitzki.

    “I thought we’d get to just shake hands,” she said. “But I got in a bunch of hugs and even a kiss. I still have goosebumps. That was the best birthday of my life.”

    With tears in her eyes, Peggy stood there in awe.

    Amazed.

    Thankful.

    She paused to let the moment sink in.

    “I love that man,” she said, with a bright smile and then gently walked away with her cane, flanked on both sides by her family, holding her beloved Dirkalicious shirt.

    Twitter: @TamaraJolee | @MavsCare

     

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    Doncic sidelined with right ankle soreness as the Nuggets beat the Mavs, 114-104

    DALLAS – That heavy lifting the Denver Nuggets did on the boards Friday night was way too much for the Dallas Mavericks to overcome

    The Nuggets outrebounded the Mavs by 21 — including by 14 on the offensive boards – and went on to post a 114-104 triumph before an American Airlines Center sellout crowd of 20,382. The loss was the third in a row for the Mavs and dropped their record to 26-32.

    It was the Mavs’ first game since the All-Star break, and unfortunately, they were experiencing the worst manpower shortage possible. Specifically, star rookie point guard Luka Doncic sat this game out with soreness in his right ankle, and that really hampered what the Mavs were able – or in this case, unable — to do.

    The Mavs will play at Utah on Saturday at 9 p.m., and Doncic is listed as day-to-day. Asked if he’s going to play against the Jazz, Doncic said: “I don’t know.”

    Against the Nuggets, the Mavs sure could have used Doncic, who is the team’s leading scorer and top facilitator. Denver took full advantage of Doncic’s absence as the Nuggets outscored the Mavs in second-chance points, 22-11, and literally had their way inside the paint by winning the board battle, 63-42, including 21-7 on the offensive end of the floor.

    “This game was about the boards and defending, and we just didn’t answer the bell,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “The rebounding was the biggest problem all night. We had a big (29-22 rebounding) deficit at halftime and it grew as the game went on.

    “We talked about it coming in, we talked about it at halftime. We needed to get more people involved. But they’ve got three phenomenal rebounders with (Nikola) Jokic, (Paul) Millsap and (Mason) Plumlee), and they just beat us to death, and that was the big thing.”

    Jokic, Millsap and Plumlee were terrors on the boards as they each collected 13 rebounds.

    Denver (40-18) only clung to a 52-51 lead at the half, but sprinted out of the halftime gate by scoring the first eight points on the way to outscoring the Mavs in the third quarter, 39-23, to take complete control of this game. The Mavs missed their first five shots of the third quarter and trailed, 91-74, heading into the final quarter.

    The Nuggets went on to lead by as much as 24 points – 103-79 – following a jumper by Jokic with 8:47 remaining in this contest before the Mavs finished the game on a 25-11 run.

    In his analysis of that back-breaking third quarter by the Nuggets, guard Jalen Brunson said: “They just started playing a little hard. They turned it up a little bit and they got a little mojo going and got a run.

    “We kept fighting, but it was a little too late. Their whole team just turned it up defensively. . .and you just got to give them credit.”

    Brunson led the Mavs with a career-high 22 points on 8-of-12 shots and five assists, while Dwight Powell poured in a season-high 20 points on 6-of-12 shots and also grabbed six boards. In addition, Dorian Finney-Smith finished with 13 points and nine rebounds, Tim Hardaway Jr. tallied 13 points, Trey Burke contributed 11 points and Devin Harris added 10 points and five assists.

    Meanwhile, center Salah Mejri celebrated after making just his second career 3-pointer in a first quarter that saw the Mavs lead by as much as 16-10.

    “It was lucky,” Mejri said. “Why not (shoot a 3-pointer)? My shot is not that ugly.

    “I’m good at the corner three from time to time, so throw a bone to me.”

    When he wasn’t attempting just the 10th and 11th 3-pointers of his career, Mejri was busy trying to stand his ground with the Nuggets’ rugged front line. And that was especially true with Jokic, who finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.

    “Fighting with Jokic is already like – a big guy, long, not athletic at all, but he’s sneaky athletic,” Mejri said. “He doesn’t jump, he’s not fast, but he’s very long and he pushes his body a lot.”

    In the meantime, the Mavs found out that life without Doncic is not at all pleasant.

    “You just learn that you’ve got to play collectively, you’ve got to play together, most importantly at the defensive end,” Brunson said. “Offensively, I think we were fine.”

    The Mavs shot 40.5 percent from the field and missed 31 of their 41 attempts from behind the 3-point arc, and they held the Nuggets to 40.8 percent shooting.

    “Coming into a game you always have an idea of what the rotation is going to look like,” Carlisle said. “Tonight, it went a little haywire.

    “In this situation when you’ve got a guy like Doncic is not playing, a lot of things can happen.”

    NOTES: The NBA has sent a proposal to the National Basketball Players Association with hopes of lowering the draft-eligible age requirement from 19 years old to 18 years old. “I’m sure that they’ve done their homework and research and the reasons to do it,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “I don’t have a lot of knowledge of all the things that caused this debate, but it sounds like this is the right way to go. I don’t know what all of the provisions will be and if there are some safeguards if guys don’t get drafted.”. . .Prior to Friday’s game, Nuggets coach Michael Malone re-lived that dynamic performance by Dirk Nowitzki in this past Sunday’s All-Star game. Malone was the coach of Team Giannis, which is the team Nowitzki played for when he went 3-for-3 from 3-point land and scored nine points in just four minutes. He came into that (All-Star) game and hit three threes in that first half,” Malone said. “It looked like it was going to be Dirk’s game for a minute. But when you think about Dirk’s career, his legacy, one of the greatest international players to ever play in the NBA, his stats, his rankings, the impact he’s had on the game is well known around the world. For me personally, having a chance to get to know him a little bit off the court as a person, what a humble guy. Here is a guy that is a class act through and through, humble, and if you spent time with him you would never know he is a player with a resume that he has-world championship, Top 10 in scoring, so on and so on. Whenever he does step away, the game will definitely miss him.”. . .Nowitzki was just 1-of-7 from the field and finished with three points and five rebounds in 18 minutes against the Nuggets. “He’s been moving better and better,” Carlisle said. “The first game off the break, you never know with older players exactly how that’s going to go. He had some good looks early and they all had a chance. He didn’t knock them all in, but we’ll keep an eye on it and we’ll see how he’s doing. At this point I would expect him to be available for (Saturday’s game at Utah). But I haven’t talked to (head athletic trainer) Casey (Smith) yet.”

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    Mavericks could do worse than borrowing Denver’s steady-rise blueprint

    The Denver Nuggets that visited American Airlines Center Friday night have missed the playoffs in five consecutive seasons.

    They are a lock to make the postseason this year and have a realistic chance to be the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Or at the least have a home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

    They came into Friday’s action two games behind top-seeded Golden State in the West standings and two games ahead of No. 3 Oklahoma City.

    It’s a tribute to the Nuggets building a quality roster – and to the patience management and ownership have shown with the process of rebuilding and coach Michael Malone.

    It wasn’t long ago, the 2015-16 season, to be exact, when Malone was in his first season leading the Nuggets and they were suffering through a 33-49 season.

    In the last two seasons, they have improved to 40 wins and, last year, 46 wins. Each of those two seasons, they missed the playoffs by a single game.

    And yet, the Nuggets stuck with Malone.

    It’s not unlike what happened in Philadelphia when the Sixers were awful for Bret Brown’s first four seasons, but made the playoffs and went to the second round last season and now are one of the top threats in the Eastern Conference.

    Quin Snyder has gone through very similar circumstances in Utah.

    And, closer to home, it’s going on with the Mavericks, too. At least they hope the dividends of going through some lean seasons are on the horizon. They bottomed out last season at 24 wins. They surpassed that total with more than two months left in this season.

    And like the Nuggets, they have a rising foreign-born superstar to build around. Two of them, in fact. Denver has the multi-talented Nikola Jokic and the Mavericks have Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.

    “It’s great to see,” said Rick Carlisle, who is president of the NBA coaches association. “The pattern in the last few years has been that ownership across the league understands the importance of coaching and continuity. And so, a lot of these franchises have stayed the course.

    “And we’re going through a difficult three years here. And we got to stay the course here and keep getting our guys better. We got to keep making it a little better each day. And we got big decisions to make in the offseason.”

    Malone had bounced around as an assistant coach for 10 seasons before getting his first head-coaching job in Sacramento in 2013. He was fired midway through his second season but was hired by the Nuggets six months later. Now, he’s considered one of the brightest coaches in the league and his job security is rock-solid in Denver.

    Asked about what he tells his team now that they find themselves in position to make some noise in the playoffs, Malone said:

    “Well, you would hope that after two years of missing the playoffs by one game, if they’re looking to me to give a Knute Rockne ‘Win One for the Gipper’ speech every night, we’re in trouble. Coming out of the break, like going into it, is a tough time and sometimes it takes team a couple games to get back. We don’t have that luxury. We have to make sure we hit the ground running and get off to a good start.”

    No worries there. Without Luka Doncic playing for the Mavericks, the Nuggets cruised to a relatively simple 114-104 victory on Friday. That improved their record to 40-18. The Mavericks are 26-32.

    The Nuggets’ showing has surprised many in and around the NBA, including Carlisle.

    “To be first for a significant chunk of the season in the West is a nod to the job he’s done,” Carlisle said of Malone. “I don’t think anybody expected him to be coaching in the All-Star Game.”

    But Malone was, indeed, leading the Western Conference after his team posted the best record in the West through the cut-off date.

    The Mavericks have their ducks lined up correctly to follow in Denver’s steady-rise path. Now all they need is patience and a little luck.

    Twitter: @ESefko

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    Nuggets coach Michael Malone has nothing but high praise for Luka Doncic

    DALLAS – Like so many others in the NBA coaching profession, Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone holds Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Luka Doncic in high regard. 

    “Yeah, he’s a special talent,” Malone said prior to Friday night’s Mavs-Nuggets game. “Here’s a guy that has come in as a rookie and if you watched him prior to his NBA career, he was doing things at a young age in the EuroLeague that no one’s ever done.

    “So, this is just kind of par for the course for Luka. No stage is too big for him.”

    Doncic, of course, missed Friday’s game with a sore right ankle and is listed as day-to-day. And although Malone’s squad didn’t have to deal with the Mavs’ rookie phenom, that didn’t stop the Nuggets coach from drawing an analogy between Doncic and a couple of players from years past.

    “He has a flair about his game that reminds you of a Pistol Pete, Jason Williams,” Malone said. “His passing ability is phenomenal.

    “He’s a guy that you like watching and his ability to play pick-and-roll, find the open man, hit big shots, he plays like a guy that’s not an NBA rookie and I think that speaks to his ability to play at such a high level over in Europe and even leading his country to the European Championship a few years ago. Very, very bright future and Dallas has a great player on their hands.”

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    Luka Doncic will sat out game against the Denver Nuggets with soreness in his ankle

    DALLAS – Luka Doncic will not play on Friday night at 7:30 when the Dallas Mavericks host the Denver Nuggets at American Airlines Center.

    The rookie point guard from Slovenia is listed as day-to-day with soreness in his ankle

    “It’s not serious,” coach Rick Carlisle said during his pregame press conference. “But he won’t play tonight.”

    After Friday’s game, the Mavs will board a plane and fly to Salt Lake City where they’ll play the Utah Jazz on Saturday at 9 p.m. When asked if he’ll play against the Jazz, Doncic said: “I don’t know.”

    Doncic leads the Mavs in scoring (20.7) and assists (5.6), and also averages 7.2 rebounds per game. He also is averaging 18.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and five assists on the second night of a back-to-back.

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    All-Star break came at a great time for Brunson, who also had his high school jersey retired

    DALLAS – On second thought, the NBA All-Star break came at the most opportune time for Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Jalen Brunson.

    Every since he led the Villanova Wildcats to their second NCAA title in the past three seasons last April, Brunson has been running full speed ahead with very few moments to catch his breath. The All-Star break, which lasted a week for teams like the Mavs who hasn’t played since Feb. 13, provided the chance for players like Brunson to sit back, kick up their feet and get some much needed rest and relaxation.

    “It came at a great time,” Brunson said of the All-Star break. “I think honestly, just from last college (season), not really having any time off and going right into the draft workouts, I think my fatigue was during the summer league, and then I kind of got a little break.

    “I think I’m feeling a lot better now. I’m just pushing through and I feel good.”

    Coach Rick Carlisle agreed that Brunson may have hot the proverbial “rookie wall” before his rookie season actually started.

    “I go back to the summer league where he had some struggles, but studied what happened, learned from it, got better,” Carlisle said after Thursday’s practice at the Lympo practice facilities. “He stretched out his game now where he’s a consistent 3-point threat, and he’s driving the ball great.”

    “He’s one of our important playmakers. Defensively, he’s very solid and he’s one of our better perimeter defenders on defense. “

    And that’s not all.

    Brunson actually has played the role of a Swiss Army knife for the Mavs, in that he’s shown that he can help them in multiple areas.

    “He’s had a lot of different types of roles this year,” Carlisle said. “Everything from being a stay ready bench guy to being in the primary rotation off the bench, and then starting a lot of games.

    “One of the great things about him is he’s ready for anything, and he’ll always be ready. And he’s very professional for a guy that’s just a first-year player.”

    While Brunson got some rest during the break, he also returned to his high school in Lincolnshire, Ill, in suburban Chicago – Stevenson High School – last Friday when he had his No. 15 jersey retired during a ceremony. Brunson is the Patroits’ all-time scoring leader and also led them to the Class 4A state title in 2015.

    “It meant a lot,” Brunson said of the jersey retirement. “My high school means a lot to me, that whole community means a lot, so to just go and have that done is pretty special.

    “It’s one thing where you just work on your own and try to be the best player you can be every day and not really worrying about those type of nights. But when the opportunity does come around it’s pretty special.’’

    Brunson and the Mavs (26-31) will be back in action on Friday at 7:30 p.m. when they host the Denver Nuggets (39-18) at American Airlines Center. Which team can knock off the rust the best will like emerge as the victors.

    “I always set a goal with time off,” Brunson said. “I just gradually get back into it. I remember the last couple of days I started working out.

    “I just take a mental break, spent time with family and just kind of just low for a little bit.”

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    Problems behind him, Salah Mejri has a new chance, and an extra paycheck

    To put it delicately, getting waived wasn’t the biggest pain in the rear for Salah Mejri when the Mavericks made the trade of Harrison Barnes to Sacramento.

    To reset the situation, the Mavericks completed the trade on Jan. 6, although it wasn’t made official until the following day. Mejri spent the first half of the Jan. 6 game against Charlotte on the bench for that game, then was absent in the second half.

    It was fair to assume that he had been informed something was up.

    That wasn’t the case, he said.

    “To be honest, everybody thought I left that game because I got waived,” he said. “But I didn’t. I was sick. I was in pain. I had hemorrhoids. I was sitting there. And I wasn’t playing, obviously. I talked to Casey (Smith, the athletic trainer) before the game and told him I’m going to try to go. But if the pain got bad, we’d see how it goes.

    “So at halftime, I talked to Casey and told him it’s very painful. I can’t sit anymore. I’ll go home and (the following day) we’ll go see the doctor.”

    So the 7-2 Mejri went to the locker room and showered. It just so happened that president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson was showing some visitors around the locker room. They saw Mejri, whom Nelson affectionately calls the president of Tunisia, and took a few photos and moved along.

    “Then five minutes later, he saw me again and said: I just got the call and we made a trade,” Mejri remembers. “He didn’t mention any names. But he said they needed a roster spot and we waived you. So then my agent called and we talked.

    “Two days later, my agent calls again and said: do you want to come back to Dallas. They want you back.”

    And that was it. Within the span of a couple days, Mejri was back with the Mavericks.

    There is more to the story, though. Mejri knows that a lot of people believe the Mavericks brought him back, at least in part, because he’s such close friends with Luka Doncic. And while he and the rookie are close, the Mavericks – and other NBA teams, by the way – don’t do friendly favors very often, if ever. It’s just not the way the business works.

    But the reason he’s back, primarily, is because he was the best option for what the Mavericks need in the final 25 games of the season.

    “He’s doing very well,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Mejri’s health. “And we’re going to need him the last 25 games. We need rebounding, we need rim protection. We need a guy that can roll and finish. So, with DJ (DeAndre Jordan) gone, we just need somebody to absorb some of those minutes.”

    And as for that Doncic connection?

    “He’s back here for basketball reasons,” Carlisle said. “His relationship with Luka has nothing to do with it. I don’t know where you go to find a guy who can do the kinds of things he can do at the center position and has some familiarity with our system. It just made perfect sense to me. It was totally about basketball and what we need from him on the floor.”

    But anyway, back to the hemorrhoid problem.

    Mejri was so uncomfortable during the game against Charlotte when the trade came to fruition that he didn’t even digest the news about getting waived right away.

    “I love Dallas, but I was in so much pain that day, I didn’t even think about the waiving part,” Mejri said. “I was still processing it. But I was in too much pain. Let me deal with that. In fact, the next day, I had surgery to remove it. That’s why I wasn’t in Houston (on Feb. 11). I was still recovering. And I’m still recovering now. The other thing happened so quick. There was a lot of emotion, a lot of pain, a lot of everything.

    “But I’m happy to be back here. And that’s it.”

    And theres one positive byproduct of Mejri being waived and then rehired by the Mavericks. He’s getting two paychecks. When he got waived, his original salary was guaranteed for the remainder of the season. When the team re-signed him, he got another veteran-minimum contract, pro-rated of course.

    “That’s the good part, I guess,” he said. “There’s, like, a good thing about everything bad, as they say.”

    And so now Mejri can focus on trying to help the Mavericks for the final third of the season. He received inconsistent playing time before the All-Star break, mostly because Jordan and Dirk Nowitzki would eat up all the minutes at center.

    Now, there’s a need there. With Kristaps Porzingis being ruled out for the remainder of the season, the Mavericks will need more than the center grouping of Dwight Powell, Maxi Kleber and Nowitzki.

    Much will depend on matchups, but Mejri obviously will be in the rotation. He was in the starting lineup in the final game before the All-Star break, although he played only eight minutes because Miami went with mostly smaller lineups and the game got out of hand in the Heat’s favor.

    For the season, Mejri has played only 17 games and averaged 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in very limited minutes.

    He knows how that looks to the Mavericks, to fans and to other teams. And as a free-agent-to-be, he knows he needs to show as much as he can in the remaining 25 games.

    “I need to make a case for myself and play the whole season,” Mejri said. “A lot of people think I can’t play because I didn’t get the chance to play. If you’re not playing, if the coach isn’t giving you an opportunity, it means something’s wrong with you. It’s not something wrong with the rotation or what the coach wants. People always think there’s something wrong with the player.

    “But for the team to waive me and then sign me back a few days later, that’s a huge sign. There’s nothing wrong with me. I will do whatever they ask me to do. If they ask me to play 20, I’ll play 20. If they tell me to play one, I’ll play one. I’m a professional. I’m getting paid twice now, so I will do whatever I can do.”

    Mejri’s waiving did set off shock waves halfway around the world. As the only Arabic player in the NBA, he is followed widely in northern Africa and elsewhere in that part of the world.

    He received a lot of inquiries from people wondering what his next move would be. He’s happy that it ended up being back with the Mavericks – the only team he’s played for in four NBA seasons.

    “I would love to finish my career in Dallas,” the 32-year-old said. “But if not, there are 29 other teams in the NBA and many teams overseas. There’s nothing as good as the NBA and I would love to stay here.”

    The future will be whatever it is. But for now, just having the chance to salvage a heretofore rough season is a good thing.

    As Mejri might say, his problems are behind him.

    Twitter: @ESefko

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    Great athletes performing (and watching) as Mavericks pay homage to their best supporters

    GRAND PRAIRIE – We’ve seen wide-eyed wonder when something amazing happens. And there it was on Wednesday night at the Cirque du Soleil amphitheater under the big top.

    Jaws dropped. Eyes couldn’t budge off the action and attention spans were suddenly a lot longer.

    And those were the adults.

    The kids were mesmerized even more as the Mavericks had their annual celebration showing appreciation to season-ticket members, who were treated to a private viewing of the Cirque du Soleil show AmaLuna.

    It was a night of fun and mingling and a chance for the Mavericks to say thank you to the folks who pay the freight.

    And then there were the aerial stunts, gymnastics feats and high-flying theatrics that thrilled kids of all ages.

    Great athletes recognize other great athletes. Takes one to know one, right? Asked what he thought of the performers and if they were pretty good athletes, Devin Harris said:

    “Pretty good? They’re better than we are.”

    OK, that might have been a bit of a reach. But not by much. When the fans and players and kids saw a woman dangling from a circular steel trapeze some 40 feet above the stage – by her feet – they knew they were amid some next-level talent.

    The whole night was geared to give the fans a special night. And in that regard, the Mavericks and the Cirque du Soleil folks delivered.

    CEO Cynt Marshall said it’s the kind of night that reminds the Mavericks of how lucky they are. They have a loyal fan base that has been largely responsible for selling out every game since Dec. 15, 2001. The sellout streak is at 707 and counting, 774 if you include playoff games.

    “This event is all about our season-ticket members, pure and simple,” Marshall said. “It’s an opportunity to give back to them and show them how much we appreciate them and just show them a little love for being with us for the whole season and cheer this great team on. And being there when we need them. We don’t ever want to underestimate the value of the sixth man. Or sixth woman.”

    All of the players were on hand at the big tent constructed in the parking lot of Lone Star Park. It looks smallish from the outside, but is bigger than you think when you get inside.

    “It’s a great night of family fun,” Harris said. “We’re trying to show that we really care about them. And this is about them.

    “We have one of the best fan bases in the NBA, there’s no secret about that. They support us through great seasons, through bad seasons. They’re always there for us. We do these nights for them.”

    Added Dirk Nowitzki, who addressed the crowd and said he’s a “huge” Cirque du Soleil fan: “You guys push us every night. Thanks for supporting us all season and hopefully we’re going to finish the season strong, make a little push. And we’ll see you guys Friday (when Denver visits American Airlines Center).”

    To that, several boisterous members of the crowd yelled out: “One more year.”

    Earlier in the night, as Nowitzki was mingling with fans, the same three words broke out in a long, loud chant: “One more year … one more year … one more year.”

    Nowitzki just sheepishly grinned. He’s been consistent in saying he won’t make any decisions about when his basketball career is over until after he sees how he feels at the end of the season.

    But no matter what, he and his teammates returned the adulation to the fans for one grand night under the big top.

    Twitter: @ESefko

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    All-Star Weekend was a huge experience for both Dirk Nowitzki and Luka Doncic

    DALLAS – Having Dirk Nowitzki by his side at his first All-Star Weekend had to serve as a big bonus for Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Luka Doncic.

    However, except for when Nowitzki was the honorary coach for the World Team in the Rising Stars game last Friday in Charlotte, Doncic was rarely by Nowitzki’s side.

    “I wasn’t with him at all,” Doncic said. “We had different plans. I just saw him in the 3-point contest (on Saturday). That’s all. I didn’t see him at all.”

    Besides playing in the Rising Stars game, Doncic participated on the Skills Challenge on Saturday, while Nowitzki was a part of the 3-Point Contest on Saturday and also played in the main event – the All-Star game – on Sunday.

    Still, being in the same All-Star environment as Nowitzki was a beneficial experience for Doncic, who is expected to make many more of these trips throughout the upcoming years.

    “It’s an honor to be asked to go and to compete in that stuff,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I’ve been involved in some All-Star Weekends. They’re phenomenally well-run, the level of visibility is ridiculous.

    “I don’t think there’s anything quite like this internationally, so I’m sure it was a new and different experience (for Doncic). But I’m not a mind reader.”

    This was the 14th and final All-Star game for Nowitzki, who has been there, done that over the years as far as All-Star Weekend is concerned.

    “He’s been through all the stuff,” Carlisle said. “There are a lot of demands All-Star Weekend on players. There are media demands, there are appearances, there are a lot of things, and those things are extremely important to the league.

    “But it’s not like you just show up and play and it’s all fun. It’s a great privilege for both of those guys and I’m sure they both feel that way. There’s a level of work involved, but it’s a real privilege to be involved in that weekend.”

    That level of work apparently got to Doncic.

    “I was more tired in Charlotte than in any game in the season, so it’s tough, but I like it,” said Doncic, who left Charlotte on Sunday to vacation in Cancun with his girlfriend. “For me it was just fun to be there.”

    Doncic finished with 13 points, five rebounds and nine assists in the Rising Stars game, and was knocked out in the semifinal rounds of the Skills Challenge by Atlanta’s Trae Young. And he seemed to fit right in alongside the other All-Stars who crammed into the courtside seats to watch the All-Star Saturday events.

    “When we were watching the 3-point contest, the slam dunk, there were a lot of great players just in the front,” Doncic said. “And all the movie stars, all the rappers — it was kind of a great experience.”

    What wasn’t a great experience for Doncic was the Name That Tune game which he and Nowitzki played in that was shown on the Jumbotron during a timeout at Sunday’s All-Star game. The fans got a big kick out of it, because Nowitzki named every tune and Doncic didn’t get any of the songs right.

    “They put all the 90’s songs in there,” Doncic said, while laughing. “I wasn’t born yet.”

    Actually, Doncic was born in 1999, but he was no match for Nowitzki in the Name That Tune game. However, the 19-year old phenom has more than proven that be belongs in the NBA as he’s averaging 20.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists this season after being the third overall pick in last June’s NBA Draft.

    “I know a lot of people didn’t think that I could play that good, that I wouldn’t be able to play in the NBA,” Doncic said. “But I knew my game and I knew that I could play.

    “Obviously, I didn’t know I was going to play that good, for sure. But I knew I could play here.”

    And the whole world saw what he could do in the events on Friday and Saturday.  Next up for Doncic is the main event – the All-Star game itself.

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    Carlisle told the media they’re wrong to assume that this is Nowitzki’s final season

    DALLAS – Just because NBA commissioner Adam Silver gave Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki sort of a farewell invitation to play in one more All-Star game this past Sunday, that doesn’t necessarily mean this is the 21-year veteran’s final season playing in the NBA.

    One special occasion, coach Rick Carlisle reiterated on Wednesday, has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

    “You’re wrong to assume that it is his last season,” Carlisle told the media. “We don’t know. He’s been very consistent, really, for multiple years saying that he’ll always leave it open and decide in the offseason, which I respect.

    “When the time comes pretty clear – he’s not the kind of guy looking for a farewell tour. He loves the game, he’s given everything to the game, but right now he’s giving everything he can to our team.”

    Thus, in no uncertain terms, Carlisle said: “I know you (media) guys want to show up once in a while and you’re trying to get some big quote. You’re not getting it from me.

    “There’s a lot of people I have the highest respect for. There’s nobody I have more respect for than Dirk Nowitzki and everything that he’s done, and everything that he’s done for this franchise and for so many of us that’s been here for a long time.”

    Nowitzki is a 14-time All-Star who led the Mavs to the 2011 NBA title. And on Sunday, he completely his storied All-Star game career by scoring nine points in just four minutes on 3-of-3 shots from 3-point range.

    “Sensational,” Carlisle said. “The best 90 seconds of basketball I’ve ever seen. Honest to God. It was great. It was just great.

    “It sums up his career. Just perfection. The perfection of the jump shot. It was great. He got in. He got out. See you later.”

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    With 25 games remaining, Mavs still have their eyes squarely set on qualifying for the playoffs

     

    DALLAS – With 25 games reminding in the regular season, the goal for the Dallas Mavericks is the same now as it was before this season started over four months ago.

    “I’m not sure I want to advertise (the goals), but it starts with winning games,” coach Rick Carlisle said after the first post-All-Star game practice on Wednesday afternoon at the Lympo practice facilities. “I don’t think it’s any secret that we want to always play our hardest.

    “And the two key areas that are going to determine where we are with winning games are rebounding and ball security. We’ve got to take care of it and we’ve got to rebound.”

    In essence, the Mavs are hopeful of advancing to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. That’s their objective these final seven weeks of the season.

    In their first game since the All-Star break, the Mavs (26-31) will host the Denver Nuggets (39-18) on Friday at 7:30 at American Airlines Center. After that contest, they’ll fly to Utah where they’ll play the Jazz on Saturday night in Salt Lake City, and then play the Clippers in Los Angeles on Monday night.

    “These three (games) out of four (days) out of the break is very challenging,” Carlisle said. “Challenging travel. But we had a good day of practice today and we’ll be ready and we’ll go hard.

    “Denver coming in on Friday is one of the top rebounding teams in the league and we’ve got to board with them.”

    The Mavs are just four games behind the Clippers (32-27) in the loss column for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. And of the Mavs’ final 25 games, 13 of them are against teams who would qualify for the playoffs if the postseason started Thursday.

    “We’re going to play these games to win them,” Carlisle said. “It’s a hard schedule down the stretch, no question about it.

    “We have 25 games left, we want to learn as much as we can, of course, but we’re trying to win. We don’t want to compromise winning to find out if a guy can make a left-handed hook shot over a shot-blocker or anything like that.”

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    DJ Poizon Ivy, the Mavs’ official disc jockey, was a big hit during NBA All-Star Weekend

    CHARLOTTE – By now, nearly everyone knows the Dallas Mavericks were well-represented by Dirk Nowitzki and Luka Doncic this past weekend in Charlotte during the NBA All-Star Weekend.

    What many may not know is that the Mavs were also well-represented by DJ Poizon Ivy.

    The official DJ of the Mavs, Poizon Ivy was the DJ at the NBA All-Star Celebrity game, and at the Special Olympics Unified game last Friday. It kept up a trend where DJ Poizon Ivy remains as the only female DJ who the NBA has invited to participate in the prestigious All-Star Weekend.

    “This is my second official NBA All-Star Weekend as a DJ,” DJ Poizon Ivy said. “Last year I did All-Star Sunday, this year I got assigned to All-Star Friday, so that consisted of the Special Olympics Unified Game, which is very, very, very motivating and encouraging.

    “I did the Celebrity Game, which, according to reports, is one of the most successful celebrity games that they’ve had thus far in terms of scoring, in terms of viewership, in terms of excitement. So being a part of that musical element means a lot to me.”

    Just being asked two years in a row by the NBA to be one of his DJ’s at All-Star Weekend has been invigorating for DJ Poizon Ivy.

    “Being invited back by the league is definitely an honor,” DJ Poizon Ivy said. “Obviously they had a lot of people who they can pick from, so getting there twice is wonderful.

    “I’m the first female DJ to DJ the NBA, really, like All-Star anything. That happened last year. So again, I’m back here, still the only one.”

    Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, as Ivy Awino, DJ Poizon Ivy moved to Dallas at the age of nine. While she always had a passion for music, she also always had a passion for basketball, and quickly immersed herself into becoming a member of the Mavs family.

    “I grew up as a ball kid for the Dallas Mavericks – for six years,” DJ Poizon Ivy said. “And then I left and went to Marquette and did that.

    “Then I moved back (to Dallas) and that’s when I worked with the (Dallas) Wings (of the WNBA), and now I’m here with the Mavericks.  It’s kind of like this cool destiny story, right? What are the odds?”

    A very accomplished disc jockey, DJ Poizon Ivy has a couple of items on her check-list she would like to achieve before the music goes silent.

    “What’s next on my check-list is All-Star Saturday,” she said. “I haven’t done All-Star Saturday yet, but once that happens, of course I’ve shared with everybody that I’ve set some goals. Next up is, hopefully, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo (Japan).

    “So, let this be a public announcement that I’m throwing my hat in the ring. It would be a wonderful accomplishment, a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. And then after that, being at home and (Kristaps Porzingis) and Luka (Doncic) and the future Dallas Mavericks bringing that (world championship) chip home in the (American Airlines Center) and programming that.”

    With the enthusiasm and zest for life she employs while playing her music, DJ Poizon Ivy has this innate ability to stimulate the crowd and keep them energize throughout a game. She knows that music itself is as big as part of the game as the game itself.

    Thus, she also knows it’s imperative that she does her homework prior to coming to the arena. And the bigger the stage, the more (musical) homework she has to cram into her head.

    “It’s just an honor to be here watching Dirk and Luka and just watching history right in front of my eyes, and attending super cool events,” DJ Poizon Ivy said. “So, I’m just always grateful and happy to represent the Dallas Mavericks in the most positive light possible and be a visible element, and I’m just grateful to everybody who was able to make it happen.”

    DJ Poizon Ivy also was grateful to hear that this past Saturday that the NBA launched a new professional basketball league in Africa named the Basketball League Africa (BAL). The BAL will include teams from Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia.

    “A lot of people who know me and follow me know about my passion for NBA Africa and my involvement there,” DJ Poizon Ivy said. “So, with the announcement of the new league, it’s exciting.”

    For DJ Poizon Ivy, it’s also been exciting that she has carved out a very successful niche in the male-dominated world of being a disc jockey and emerged with some prized job opportunities.

    “Sports unifies more than anything, and so does music,” DJ Poizon Ivy said. “So, existing at the axis of both is truly special, and I’m hoping that I can use that to activate a lot of change socially and career-wise and things of that nature.

    “I guess I’m doing something right. And long as I can keep doing it and keep on achieving and checking off some events, then pretty soon I’ll hopefully have the whole entire All-Star Weekend under my belt.”

     

     

     

    The post DJ Poizon Ivy, the Mavs’ official disc jockey, was a big hit during NBA All-Star Weekend appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Mavs’ Chris Arnold, Rolando Blackman and Mark Followill recognized for sports accomplishments

    By Rachael Sklar

    DALLAS – The Dallas Mavericks are extremely proud of their employees, who are being recognized at the local, state-wide, and national levels for the incredible accomplishments in the sports world. Here’s a look at at the recent awards and/or honors for Chris Arnold, Rolando Blackman and Mark Followill:

    Chris Arnold
    On February 23rd, The Dallas African American Museum added 10 new names to its gallery honoring African Americans who have made outstanding contributions to sports. Dallas Mavericks game night Emcee and Inclusion Ambassador, Chris Arnold is a member of the 2019 inductees.

    Chris Arnold has been a part of the Mavericks broadcasting department since 1996. Arnold goes beyond his Inclusion Ambassador and Game Night Emcee responsibilities and continues to be involved in many of the team’s off the court promotions including public speaking, marketing initiatives and other broadcast endeavors. The Mavericks are so lucky to have Chris Arnold as part of the team and are so excited about his induction into the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame. Congrats Chris!

    [The Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame (TBSHOF), housed at the African American Museum, was established to chronicle the sports history contributions made by African Americans.  It was established in 1996 to honor coaches and athletes of high character and athletic achievement, who are either Texans by birth or by athletic participation (collegiate or professional), and who have made recognizable contributions to African American culture and/or history.]

    ***********************

    Rolando Blackman
    On January 29, 2019, Rolando Blackman’s high school Jersey from William E. Grady High School was retired as he was be inducted into the Grady HS Athletic Hall of Fame.  It is on that day, the Brooklyn Borough President, Mr. Eric Adams, has proclaimed the day as Rolando Blackman Day.

    Grady High School was where Blackman’s passions and skills developed, and by the time he was a senior, he was named a NYC All-city basketball in player. He then went on to play at Kansas State University before being drafted with the ninth overall pick by the Dallas Mavericks in 1981.

    Blackman has been a legend for the Dallas Mavericks, both on and off the court. After his 13 seasons in the NBA came to an end, Blackman continued his basketball career in many different positions with the Dallas Mavericks including defensive coordinator, assistant coach, and Director of Player Development and currently serves at the Vice President of Corporate Relations. Blackman is a true Maverick and we congratulate him on his high school jersey retirement. Go Ro!

    ***********************

    Mark Followill
    The voice of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Followill, was recently voted the 2018 Texas Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. Followill is the television play-by-play announcer for the Dallas Mavericks on FOX Sports Southwest and for FC Dallas soccer. This is Followill’s first win and he will be honored at the 60th annual NSMA Awards weekend in June.

    Followill has completed 19 seasons as part of Dallas Mavericks broadcasts, and 13 seasons as play-by-play voice of the Mavs television broadcasts on Fox Sports Southwest and TXA21. Followill is a legend in the Dallas community and the Mavericks are so proud of his Sportscaster of the Year award. Congrats Mark!

    [The National Sports Media Association, Inc.is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which seeks to develop educational opportunities for those who are interested in pursuing a career in sports media, through networking, interning, mentoring and scholarship programs. The NSMA also honors, preserves and celebrates the diverse legacy of sports media in the United States. Founded in 1959 as the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association in Salisbury, N.C., the NSSA added its Hall of Fame in 1962, with Grantland Rice as its first member. The organization rebranded to the National Sports Media Association in 2016 and moved to Winston-Salem, N.C. one year later. For more information on NSMA, go to nationalsportsmedia.org] 

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    Grammy award-winning trio Boyz II Men set to perform at Mavs Ball 2019

    DALLAS – The iconic Philadelphia R&B group Boyz II Men is set to join the entire Dallas Mavericks team, owner Mark Cuban and head coach Rick Carlisle along with hundreds of fans for the fourth annual Mavs Ball on March 1st, 2019, presented by Smith Thompson Home Security.

    The Mavs Ball will take place on Friday, March 1, 2019, from 7-11 p.m. at the American Airlines Center, home of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.

    The star-studded night, hosted by FOX Sports Southwest’s Mark Followill and Dana Larson, will include a cocktail reception, seated dinner, live and silent auctions and entertainment by the Grammy Award-winning group, Boyz II Men. The entire 2018-2019 Dallas Mavericks team will be in attendance.

    To purchase tickets and tables for the event, or to view photos and video from last year’s gala, visit: Mavs.com/MavsBall.


    ABOUT THE MAVS BALL
    The Mavs Ball is the premier fundraiser for the Mavs Foundation, an organization dedicated to impacting and empowering the lives of children, women and families in North Texas communities. Launched in 1996, the Mavs Foundation has pumped over $4.5 million dollars into the local community and built 38 safe Learn & Play spaces throughout the North Texas community, including 22 basketball courts and 16 Reading & Learning Centers.

    This year’s event will celebrate the 2018-2019 Mavs Foundation Grant Recipients: CitySquare, Community Partners of Dallas, Dallas 24 Hour Club, Essilor Vision Foundation, Hope Supply Co., Hunger Busters, Jonathan’s Place, Leukemia Texas, Mission Possible Kids, POETIC, Voice of Hope and YMCA Waxahachie.

    The entire 2018-2019 Dallas Mavericks team will be in attendance with Boyz II Men to set perform and headline the event. Boyz II Men’s past hits include: “End of the Road,” “I’ll Make Love to You,” “One Sweet Day,” “Motownphilly” and many others.

    Proud sponsors for the event include: Smith Thompson Home Security, 5miles, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Patron Tequila, Legacy Exploration and KPMG.

    ABOUT BOYZ II MEN:
    Boyz II Men remains one of the most truly iconic R&B groups in music history. The group redefined popular R&B and continues to create timeless hits that appeal to fans across all generations. The band has penned and performed some of the most celebrated classics of the past two decades. The group’s 4 Grammy Awards are just the tip of the iceberg: throughout their 25-year career, Boyz II Men have also won a whopping 9 American Music Awards, 9 Soul Train Awards, 3 Billboard Awards, and a 2011 MOBO Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as well and a Casino Entertainment Award for their acclaimed residency at the Mirage Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, which has been ongoing since 2013.

    The trio holds the distinction of being the best-selling R&B group of all time, with an astounding 64 million albums sold. And the reason is abundantly clear: for the past two decades Boyz II Men have given fans a rich catalogue of hits filled with smooth harmonies and enduring themes. And for Boyz II Men the hits just keep on coming—the group continues to craft new albums and bring their legendary act to stages across the world.

    Boyz II Men’s past hits include: “End of the Road,” “I’ll Make Love to You,” “One Sweet Day,” “Motownphilly” and many others. And their recent albums have earned them major critical acclaim as well. Their Decca label debut, Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA (Decca/Universal), on November 13, 2007 earned them two Grammy Nominations.

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    Rangers' rookie pitchers get Driveline treatment

    Rangers rookie left-handed pitchers C.D. Pelham, Brady Feigl and Brett Martin followed the path of Tim Lincecum this winter. Those three were sent by the Rangers to Driveline Baseball, the Seattle-area workout facility that is developing a nationwide reputation for being able to help pitchers.


    Mavs encourage DFW Metroplex students to enter Black History Month Challenge for trip of a lifetime

    DALLAS – In honor of Black History Month, the Dallas Mavericks and BNSF Railway, in association with American Airlines, are excited to announce our 11th annual Black History Month Challenge which offers DFW Metroplex students the chance to win the field trip of a lifetime. The contest wraps up this Friday, February 22nd.

    To commemorate February as Black History Month, students are asked to submit an essay around the topic “Advancing ‘The Dream’: How We Can Take Collective Actions to Create Meaningful Change in Our Communities” for a chance to win a trip to Atlanta, GA to visit the birth place of Dr. King, the King Center, and other historic civil rights and black history sites.

    The contest is open to 8th through 12th grade students within a 75 mile radius of the American Airlines Center. Five (5) winners, along with one (1) parent/legal guardian for each winner, and adult chaperones from the Dallas Mavericks will fly to Atlanta, GA on Friday, March 22, 2018 for an exciting three (3) day/two (2) night educational experience in black history.

    To find out specific details, click here

    To read about last year’s winners, visit the following link: Students Experience a Trip into Black History

    About BNSF Railway
    BNSF Railway is one of North America’s leading freight transportation companies. BNSF operates approximately 32,500 route miles of track in 28 states and also operates in three Canadian provinces. BNSF is one of the top transporters of consumer goods, grain and agricultural products, low-sulfur coal, and industrial goods such as petroleum, chemicals, housing materials, food and beverages. BNSF’s shipments help feed, clothe, supply, and power American homes and businesses every day. BNSF and its employees have developed one of the most technologically advanced and efficient railroads in the industry. We work continuously to improve the value of the safety, service, energy, and environmental benefits we provide to our customers and the communities we serve. You can learn more about BNSF at www.BNSF.com.

    About American Airlines Group
    American Airlines and American Eagle offer an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. American is a founding member of the oneworld alliance, whose members and members-elect serve nearly 1,000 destinations with 14,250 daily flights to 150 countries. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL. In 2015, its stock joined the S&P 500 index. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at Facebook.com/AmericanAirlines.

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    Gallo, Mazara open to long-term deals

    Outfielders Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara are both interested in long-term contract extensions if that's something the Rangers want to talk about in earnest this spring.


    Nowitzki soaking in the good times that came with his (picture perfect) performance in the All-Star game

    CHARLOTTE — For Dirk Nowitzki, the tears likely will come later. Maybe it’ll be appropriate if they come in buckets – because that’s all he did for over two decades in the NBA is make buckets.

    No, Nowitzki hasn’t announced whether or not he’ll retire at the end of this season. He’s keeping his options open, which is his right.

    For now, the greatest player in the history of the Dallas Mavericks is living in the moment, soaking in the good times that kept on rolling the past three days during the All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.

    On Friday, Nowitzki was the honorary coach for the World Team in the Rising Stars game. On Saturday, he got off to a rough start, but finished tied for sixth place in the 3-Point Contest.

    Nevertheless, Nowitzki saved his best memorable moment for last.

    With the world watching, and with Nowitzki realizing this would be his final time to play on a hardwood floor filled with the NBA’s greatest players, he promptly went out and showed the sellout crowd that he’s still got it. Playing like he was shooting balls out of a cannon at the local fair with a big old teddy bear at stake, Nowitzki drained one 3-pointer after another. . . and after another.

    It all happened within a span of four mind-boggling, goose bump wearing minutes as Nowitzki went 3-for-3 from 3-point range and finished the game with nine of the most precious points that not he or anyone else who witnessed his show-stopping performance will ever forget.

    “It was an amazing weekend,” Nowitzki said. “(The NBA) kept me busy, but I enjoyed every event I was in, and enjoyed some family time. I had a blast.

    “The one last time on this stage, I couldn’t have scripted it better with making some of those threes. That was obviously a big goal of mine – to make a couple. So that was amazing to share that stage with (Miami’s Dwyane) Wade and obviously some of the best players we have in the world, so it was awesome.”

    Nowitzki and Wade were special invites to the All-Star game by NBA commissioner Adam Silver. And both players were given a commemorative All-Star game jersey with their name and number on it between the third and fourth quarters.

    “Those guys look good to be in the league for so long and still playing at a high level,” Golden State Warriors All-Star forward Kevin Durant said. “D-Wade, I was telling a couple of guys, I feel like he could play a few more years.

    “And Dirk to play (21) years in the NBA is just ridiculous. For them to be honored tonight, it was cool to be a part of.”

    Indeed, the colossal respect the other All-Stars have for Nowitzki is remarkable.

    “I think Dirk has just been special to this league — probably the most decorated international player that we have and we’ll see for a long time,” Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star forward Paul George said. “He’s been special.

    “He’s got patent moves with the Dirk one-legger. “

    George then expanded on how fond he’s always been of Nowitzki.

    “You know, I just remember as a kid him being one of my favorite players just because he was so skilled at his size,” George said. “I would beat teams spreading them out.

    “I used to play the spread game back in the day, when people wasn’t on that game yet. On video games, I put Dirk at the (power forward spot), had him spread out. Whupping a lot of people’s butts on that.”

    Nowitzki himself has been “whupping a lot of people’s butts” for over two decades since he left Germany to pursue a career in the NBA in 1998. He ultimately worked his way into becoming the No. 7 all-time leading scorer in the history of the NBA, and is unquestionably the greatest international player of all-time.

    “I would never say that myself,” said Nowitzki, referring to being the best international player. “There are so many great players that I respect, starting with (Detlef) Schrempf), obviously who is German, (Toni) Kukoc and (Drazen) Petrovic, who obviously his career got cut so short, unfortunately. (Vlade) Divac.

    “There’s too many to mention – players that I respected kind of. . .paved the wave the way for me. And if I helped change the game in a way or helped some Europeans down the line, then that’s obviously an honor and that’s great.”

    When that time comes calling – the one when he takes that long walk into owner Mark Cuban’s office and tells him he’s hanging up his sneakers – Nowitzki knows it won’t be an easy task. It never is, he knows, when he’s touched so many lives and shared the basketball, the locker room, and bus and plane rides with so many teammates.

    “When you play for 20, 21 years you play with a lot of teammates,” Nowitzki said. “I’ve been blessed with a lot of great ones that I will remember and stay in touch with for the rest of my life, especially obviously the 2011 championship team.

    “I’ll never forget some of these guys, and we text all the time. There’s some great teammates of mine that supported me and helped me make my way and stay in the league that long.”

    That support, Nowitzki admits, is exactly what he needed to help him make buckets in the NBA for over two decades.

    NOTES: Mavs CEO Cynthia Marshall will be profiled on The Today Show on Channel 5 on Tuesday in the 9 a.m. hour. Craig Melvin interviewed Marshall about a variety of topics. . .Dirk Nowitzki’s wife, Jessica, was spotted throwing up three fingers after he hit one of his three 3-pointers in Sunday’s All-Star game. Nowitzki’s long-time mentor and coach from Germany, Holger Geschwindner, also attended the All-Star game. “I didn’t even look over, I was hyped myself,” Nowitzki said. “Holger was here, Jessica, a couple of other friends that have been on this emotional roller coaster with me for 20 years.” Nowitzki acknowledged that he doesn’t celebrate the way he used to when he first broke into the NBA. “It was a lot more tame (this past weekend) than it used to be 15 years ago,” he said. “We used to be in the clubs. But now it’s just a dinner here and there and enjoying a glass of wine with friends and family.”. .The Mavs will resume practice on Wednesday and play their first post-All-Star game matchup on Friday at home against Denver. From there, the Mavs have a two-game road trip Saturday at Utah and Feb. 25 at the Los Angeles Clippers. . .The Mavs are 26-31 and four games behind the Clippers (32-27) in the loss column for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs. . .The Mavs have 25 games remaining – 12 at home and 13 on the road.

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    Rangers mulling extensions for young core

    The Rangers are having internal discussions about approaching some of their younger players about long-term contracts before Spring Training is over, something that annually happens this time of year. Outfielders Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara and right-handed pitcher Jose Leclerc would be the players most likely to be approached.


    The Rangers' Spring Training battle to watch

    The next five weeks will see lots of shuffling on Major League rosters. Here are the most intriguing positional battles on each of the 30 MLB clubs.


    DeShields enters camp with eyes on CF job

    Delino DeShields was the Opening Day center fielder last season but started just 93 games due to injuries. Despite that, both he and manager Chris Woodward enter spring camp confident in DeShields' abilities.


    Cynt Marshall joins other leaders to discuss gender equality during NBA All-Star Weekend events

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall said the NBA has made strides in gender equality and she credits Commissioner Adam Silver for serving as a pivotal instrument for change and pioneer for diversity and inclusion in professional sports.

    “It starts with leadership and when you look at Commissioner Adam Silver and his team and what they are doing around diversity and inclusion, they are setting a very high bar,” Marshall said during the FQ Equality Lounge panel at NBA All-Star Weekend.

    The Female Quotient, a company and community dedicated to achieving workplace equality, brought its pop-up activation, The FQ Equality Lounge, for the first time to NBA All-Star Weekend.

    The FQ Equality Lounge hosted panel conversations that featured elite athletes and executives from the worlds of professional sports, consumer goods and products, financial services, technology and more. Organizers said it was important to have these conversations and feature people like Marshall during All-Star Weekend because we see more men in professional sports.

    Other speakers included Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, JUMP.DC Senior Vice President Estee Portnoy and NBA Head of Referee Operations Michelle Johnson, who are elevating the equality conversation and pushing for real progress in the sports world and beyond.

    “When you add women to any equation, the equation gets better,” said Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient“We (hosted) The FQ Equality Lounge at NBA All-Star because it’s an amazing opportunity to bring visibility to women both on and off the court, encourage collaboration between change agents for greater impact, and to activate solutions for advancing parity.”

    Marshall served on the panel with the topic centered around: “We’re Better Together: How Men and Women Can Support Each Other,” moderated by Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient. Pete Guelli, Chief Operating Officer, Hornets Sports and Entertainment, joined Marshall along with Kathleen Kelly (Managing Partner, Compass Financial Partners), Ted Bunch (Founder, A Call to Men) and Tom Finke, Chairman and CEO of Barings.

    NBA All-Star Weekend also focused on the league’s new initiative called Her Time To Play, a movement that is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of girls to play basketball and learn skills critical to success both on the court and in their everyday lives. The Dallas Mavericks, Mavs Basketball Academy and Marshall have all served as strong supporters of Her Time To Play since it launched last October.

    Her Time To Play is a national grassroots initiative created by the WNBA and NBA to inspire the next generation of girls, ages 7-14, to play basketball in a positive and healthy way. Through sports, girls learn important life skills such as teamwork, leadership, and self-confidence. However, twice as many girls compared to boys drop out of sports by the age of 14 (Women’s Sports Foundation), which can be attributed to societal barriers that are primarily faced by girls.

    It is also important for young girls to have female mentors in sports, their local communities and everyday lives, but only 28% of youth sports coaches are women (The Aspen Institute). Her Time To Play aims to increase opportunities for women in coaching and athletic leadership across the youth sports landscape.

    For more information about The FQ Equality Lounge at NBA All-Star, please visit:
    The Female Quotient.

    ABOUT THE FEMALE QUOTIENT
    The mission of The Female Quotient is to advance gender equality in the workplace. Founded by Shelley Zalis, The Female Quotient provides companies and business leaders with research, tools and experiences to promote equality, including the Modern Guide to Equality, a living, breathing playbook for activating change. The Female Quotient also presents The FQ Lounge, a growing community of corporate women and female entrepreneurs transforming workplace culture and a destination at conferences, companies and college campuses where women connect, collaborate and activate change together. Since launching in 2013, The Female Quotient has hosted more than 100 experiences at dozens of high-profile events, including the World Economic Forum (Davos), SXSW, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Advertising Week and more. For more information, visit www.TheFemaleQuotient.com.

    ABOUT HER TIME TO PLAY
    Her Time To Play is a new grassroots initiative launched by the NBA and WNBA to encourage girls aged 7-14 to play basketball. Created in collaboration with the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), along with the WNBA, USA Basketball, YMCA of the USA, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the program is free, and every organization that registers will receive the 12-lesson curriculum, basketballs and whistles, and headbands, wristbands and workbooks for each girl. A need was seen by the Jr. NBA to encourage youth participation in basketball, especially among young girls, due to recent trends in statistics. According to the WSF, girls drop out of organized sports at about twice the rate boys do by age 14. Additionally, Her Time To Play aims to increase the number of women in coaching.  The Jr. NBA will provide opportunities for more than 500 new coaches to receive their USAB Coach License, and select coaches will be honored at the 2019 Jr. NBA Youth Basketball Leadership Conference for their commitment to growing the game.



    The post Cynt Marshall joins other leaders to discuss gender equality during NBA All-Star Weekend events appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Pence's first workouts delayed by sore shoulder

    Outfielder Hunter Pence did not participate in the Rangers first full-squad workout on Monday because of a sore right shoulder. The Rangers do not believe it is serious but are going to give Pence some time off.


    Dirk Nowitzki had a perfect night to end a successful All-Star weekend in Charlotte

    CHARLOTTE – At the very end of Sunday’s night’s All-Star game, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki was accepting handshakes, hugs and congratulatory remarks from almost all 25 of the world’s greatest players who he shared the big stage with at the Spectrum Center.

    No one had to tell Nowitzki that this would be his last All-Star game. He’s already accepted that conclusion. So, before soaking in all of the theatrics after the ultimate playground-style game, the 21-year veteran made sure he gave the sellout crowd something to remember him by.

    Not only did Nowitzki make his first 3-pointer mere seconds after he entered the game for the initial time late in the first quarter. But he also drained another 3-pointer mere seconds later.

    And to top that off, Nowitzki used his talents to drill yet another 3-pointer early in the second quarter that had the crowd buzzing. If was as if Nowitzki knew if this was going to be his final All-Star game, he was going to go down swinging, as he played only four first-half minutes, was 3-of-3 from 3-point range and finished with nine points for Team Giannis during their 178-164 loss to Team LeBron.

    “That was obviously awesome,” Nowitzki said in his postgame press conference. “I wanted to just play a few minutes and hoist up a three, and that’s exactly what happened.”

    In analyzing his three threes, Nowitzki said: “The first one I was a little deep and it was my last time on the stage, so I’m going to go for it and it went in. The second one I stepped back a little more to see what happens, and it went in, too. “

    And the third triple tickled the twine, too, like Nowitzki has so many times since he left his home country of Germany in 1998 and helped turn the Mavs’ franchise around.

    When Nowitzki first entered the game with 56.6 seconds remaining in the first quarter, it was as if his teammates were deliberately searching for him and wanted to get him a field goal attempt or two right away. But that apparently was not the case.

    “Honestly, I don’t think we ran more than four plays all night,” Nowitzki said. “We were all kind of playing off of each other. It was the greatest players out there, we have a game, so we obviously know how to play off each other.

    “Blake (Griffin) wanted to give me that one shot, so he kind of dribbled it at me and kind of flipped it back. But that wasn’t really scripted. It’s just he wanted to really give me a shot, and I took it and it went in. it felt good. It felt good.”

    The past three days have been a feel-good weekend for Nowitzki. He was the honorary coach for the World Team in Friday’s Rising Stars game, and he finished tied for sixth place in the 3-Point Contest on Saturday.

    And on Sunday, Nowitzki once again showed the world why he’s one of the greatest players to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. Thus, it was a night of reflection, a night of memories, a night for Nowitzki to get teary-eyed because something he’s done 14 times – make an All-Star appearance – will not happen again.

    “I think all of that is going to be emotional once I sit back and have some time to think,” Nowitzki said. “Right now I was still out there, I was competing, it was fun, the whole weekend was great.

    “They had me running around like a chicken with a head cut off. Friday I was coaching, yesterday I was shooting, and today I was competing, so it was fun. I’m going to soak it all in, but I think I’ll get more emotional later on once it’s all said and done.”

    As far as it really being all said and done, Nowitzki was mum again on if this is his final NBA season. He’s not ready to have that conversation just yet.

    “Nothing that happened today changed my mind, if you’re asking that,” Nowitzki said. “I want to see how the rest of the season obviously goes.

    “So hopefully I can feel even better than the last few weeks and we’ll see how it goes. We’ll see how my body feeling, and if I just feel I can’t do it no more, then it’s time to go.”

    The NBA presented Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade and Nowitzki with a commemorative All-Star jersey between the third and fourth quarters. Nowitzki noted that was an added nice touch to a successful weekend.

    “It was just a fun all around weekend for me,” he said. “It was a pleasure to compete with these guys one more time on this stage.

    “I got honored between the third and fourth quarters, and that was emotional. It was a great, great weekend for me and I’m ready to go home.”

    But before Nowitzki went home, there was some more handshakes and hugs to receive, and more congratulatory remarks to soak in.

    “It’s been emotional and unreal,” Nowitzki said. “To get respect from your peers, from fellow competitors that you faced so many times, from the fans, from coaches around the league who came up to me.

    “So it’s been really humbling, and I’m soaking it all in.”

    NOTES: Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan turned 56 on Sunday. So what does the G.O.A.T (greatest of all time) get for his birthday? “It’s hard to buy something for a guy that can get anything he wants, and he has everything he wants,” Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “I don’t know. No clue.”  As does many players, Nowitzki has a fond All-Star memory of playing against Jordan. “I can always say I played against Michael Jordan and I can always say I was in Michael Jordan’s last All-Star game back in Atlanta (in 2003), which was a blast. Just to be able to tell my kids and my grandkids one day that I played against the greatest of all-time is a pleasure.”.  ,Mavs rookie point guard Luka Doncic has a lot of respect for Atlanta Hawks rookie point guard Trae Young. “He’s an amazing player,” Doncic said. “He can pass the ball, he can shoot the ball, he can penetrate. He’s going to be really good.” Doncic and Young will always be joined at the hip. Doncic was drafted third overall by the Hawks last June, and Young was drafted fifth overall by the Mavericks. Shortly thereafter, the two players’ draft rights were traded for each other. . .Nowitzki took time to discuss how busy Doncic has been during All-Star Weekend.  “He’s been great, too,” Nowitzki said. “He’s been soaking it all in. They’re keeping him really busy with appearances left and right. But he’s 19. You don’t get tired at 19, so he should be good.”. .The pre-game routine for Nowitzki has obviously changed over the past two decades. “I get to the arena at 3 o’clock to start my pre-game – from getting worked on, massage, rehab, and do some balance stuff and lift a little bit to get ready,” Nowitzki said. “Then I shoot, and them more ice and stem. Obviously, the routine has changed over the years. Usually in my 20’s we used to go to the gym with 90 (minutes) on the clock on the second bus, got dressed, hooped. And now you’ve got to do all of this extra stuff, which sometimes gets a little old, but you still got to enjoy it.” By the way, Nowitzki was busy going through his pre-game routine before the 3-Point Contest on Saturday that he missed Luka Doncic’s appearance in the Skills Challenge. . .A game of Name That Tune, featuring Nowitzki and Doncic, was shown on the Jumbotron during a timeout in the third quarter and drew a lot of laughter. ..There are 56 players currently in the NBA who either grew up in North Carolina or attended a college in North Carolina. That’s the most from any state. . .Count Dirk Nowitzki among those who were surprised the Mavs were able to acquire Kristaps Porzingis in that Jan. 31 blockbuster trade with the New York Knicks. That means the 23-year old Porzingis will get to play with the 19-year old Luka Doncic for perhaps the next 15-20 years.  “I think the Kristaps deal came out of nowhere,” Nowitzki said. “I think we’re all kind of surprised by it that he was available, but we’re obviously hoping to pair those two together for the next decade plus. They’re both really young, they’re both amazing talents, and they both have franchise talent.”. .Spike Lee, Chris Tucker, Miles Brown,  2 Chanz, Fat Joe, Ludacris, Janelle Monae, JB Smoove, Meek Mill, J. Cole, Jamie Foxx were some of the entertainers who attended Sunday’s game.

    The post Dirk Nowitzki had a perfect night to end a successful All-Star weekend in Charlotte appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    All-Star weekend confirmed what we’ve learned and what we love about Luka

    Considering that eight months ago, a lot of us had never seen Luka Doncic, it’s remarkable how much we know about him now and how much he’s become a part of the NBA landscape.

    We’ve come to expect that step-back 3-pointer to splash into the net. We still ooh and ahh when he goes behind the back with the dribble in traffic on his way to the paint.

    And we have enjoyed the boyish charm, that constant smile when he’s on the court and even the way he shakes hands with each referee before every game.

    But All-Star weekend showed us something else – or maybe it was just a reminder on a national stage – that the Mavericks’ rookie point guard has in abundance.

    Showmanship.

    When he fell behind in the first round of Saturday’s skills competition, he pulled up from midcourt and heaved a shot toward the rim in an attempt to beat the LA Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma, who already was at the 3-point line sizing up what he expected to be a game-winning conventional 3-pointer.

    As soon as he let the half-court shot fly, Doncic was smiling about his ploy.

    That shot didn’t go in, although it did bounce off the backboard and rim. But when Kuzma missed his first 3-pointer, Doncic had a reprieve and he quickly launched and made a trifecta to move on to the second round, in which he was ousted by Atlanta’s Trae Young.

    But it was that smile and the almost nonchalance with which Doncic fired up that half-court try that won over the crowd at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center.

    Through the course of the weekend, Doncic was miked up during the Rising Stars Game on Friday night and finished an assist shy of a double-double. His comments during play and breaks in the action were a hit on social media.

    On one trip down the court, he was yelling out “Look, I’m Fox” because he was motoring coast to coast with the ball at a breakneck pace like Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox, known widely as one of the fastest players in the league.

    What we all tend to forget is that Doncic doesn’t turn 20 until the last day of February. And yet, he’s become a darling for fans and, much to his chagrin, the media, too.

    Doncic isn’t opposed to fulfilling media responsibilities. But he’s more interested in just playing the games, having as much fun as he can and putting in as much time playing Fortnight as he can.

    Of course, there also has to be time for promotional and endorsement opportunities.

    It’s not easy to envision what Doncic will be like in three, five or 10 years. But he’s got the framework in place to be a superstar. He plays a style that is unique. His combination of size, strength and deceptive quickness make him very hard to stop when he’s on the attack with the ball.

    And while there are a lot of players who are quicker than Doncic, his first step is equal parts quick and long. Plus, he knows how to use the angles to get an edge against quicker defenders.

    And, of course, the stepback 3-pointer is a weapon that nobody has quite figured out how to defend yet.

    Wrap it all together and the Mavericks’ brass of owner Mark Cuban, president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and coach Rick Carlisle have themselves an honest-to-goodness heir apparent to Dirk Nowitzki.

    And his charisma no doubt will draw in fans from all over, not just MFFLs.

    The weekend wasn’t all about Doncic, of course. Dirk Nowitzki hit all three of his shots in the All-Star Game Sunday night and totally justified commissioner Adam Silver placing Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade in the game as special roster members.

    It was a terrific farewell for Nowitzki, who knows this will be his last All-Star Game, even if it isn’t his last NBA season.

    But this weekend was about the future more than anything else, as far as Maverick fans are concerned. They have lots to look forward to with the coming stages of Doncic’s career.

    The next chapters will unfold in the final 25 games, starting Friday against Denver at American Airlines Center.

    Twitter: @ESefko

     

     

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    Reasons for optimism for each MLB club

    On this opening week of Spring Training, all 30 Major League teams have one thing in common: optimism. Here's an optimism cheat sheet for each of them.


    WakWay providing free food markets in Phoenix

    Rangers bench coach Don Wakamatsu is in charge of running Spring Training for manager Chris Woodward and making sure the daily schedule runs smoothly. Wakamatsu's WakWay Foundation will also be busy in Spring Training. Every Saturday morning, the foundation will partner with the Giumarra Companies and with the support of a grant from Albertsons/Safeway to hold free community markets at five locations in the Greater Phoenix area.


    FAQs about Rangers pitching coach Rangel

    The Rangers hired 55 new people for their baseball operations department this offseason, and pitching coach Julio Rangel may be right behind manager Chris Woodward in importance. This will be the first time Rangel has ever had a Major League job. Here are some frequently asked questions about the new pitching coach.


    Rangers ink Revere to Minor League deal

    The Rangers have signed veteran outfielder Ben Revere to a Triple-A contract with an invitation to Spring Training. The deal, which was pending a physical, was completed on Monday.


    Nowitzki eliminated in the first round, Doncic ousted in the second round

    CHARLOTTE – By all accounts, Dirk Nowitzki never had a really good chance at winning the 3-Point Contest on Saturday night at the Spectrum Center.

    “They got me early,” Nowitzki said, referring to the announcer. “I was still waving at the crowd (following the introduction) and all of a sudden I’m hearing three, two, one.

    “I was rattled. The first rack (of five balls) was awful, and it took me a while to get going.”

    In other action on Saturday, Luka Doncic was eliminated in the second round of the Skills Challenge by Trae Young, ironically who is the player who he was traded for on draft day last June. Jayson Tatum won this event by defeating Young in the finals.

    Also, former Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. finished second in the Slam Dunk Contest, losing to Hamidou Diallo in the championship round, 88-85.

    Nowitzki didn’t get out of the first round and wound up tied for sixth place with 17 points. Meanwhile Joe Harris upset the hometown favorite, Stephen Curry, in the finals, 26-24, to win the 3-Point championship.

    “In the second round the crowd got going, thinking I was going to run the table,” Curry said. “I did, too. The last rack was in-and-out. It’s a make-or-miss league, a make-or-miss competition.

    “It’s a tough way to end it, but Joe shot the lights out. It was a great show. Knowing how strong the field was going into this, whoever won was going to have to earn it, and that’s what happened.”

    The slow start did Nowitzki in, as the never quite recovered to make a serious run at getting out of the first round. He even had a couple of airballs, which is so un-Nowitzki-like.

    “Most people thought I wouldn’t make it in a minute, so I rushed a couple because I always had that in my mind, ’You got to finish, you got to finish,’ “ Nowitzki said. “I was hustling harder in between racks than I did on transition defense.”

    After defeating Kyle Kuzma in the first round, Doncic also was hustling hard, but couldn’t overcome Young in the ensuing round.

    “I just didn’t care about winning,” Doncic said. “I was just having fun out there.

    “It’s always fun to play that type of game against (Young). Normal games, too, is kind of fun, with our kind of history.”

    Doncic even had his doubts about upending Kuzma in the opening round.

    “I thought I was going to lose,” Doncic said. “I thought he was going to make one of those shots.

    “Then I made mine, so I was kind of surprised.”

    Doncic also was surprised with the high volume of entertainers, actors, actresses, music moguls and other Hollywood types who ventured out to All-Star Saturday.

    “This is my first experience here, so it was great and I’m looking forward to more of that,” he said. “Today, seeing all of the stars and the famous people, and I was kind of surprised that they’re watching me.”

    Nowitzki, meanwhile, will compete in the All-Star game in Sunday. It will be the 14th and final All-Star game for the 21-year veteran, and Nowitzki gave the scouting report on what to expect from him.

    “Not much, honestly,” Nowitzki said. “I don’t want to take much time away form some of these players hat obviously got voted in and that deserve to be on this stage.

    “I’m obviously honored and appreciative to come one more time to be around these guys and be on this stage, but I’m not going to play 20 minutes. That’s for the guys that are carrying their team and their franchise. If I get a few minutes here and there and if I make a three, that would be fantastic, but this is more about the guys that are doing it.”

    Nowitzki knows his days of “doing it” like he did it in his prime are in his rearview mirror. Still, he’s soaking in and enjoying every minute of his final All-Star Weekend.

    “It was fun to be a part and be in the locker room with some of greatest shooters we’ve ever had in our game, and just interact with some of these young guys knowing that this is obviously my last time on this stage,” Nowitzki said. “I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to the finals. I should have started off a little harder.

    “I look forward to the game tomorrow and close this weekend out on a high and then go back home and hopefully finish the season strong. We want to finish it strong and see if we can get (to the playoffs) down the stretch.”

    The post Nowitzki eliminated in the first round, Doncic ousted in the second round appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Andrus is now Rangers' elder statesman

    Shortstop Elvis Andrus, who reported on Saturday, doesn't seem to mind the fact that people are giving the Rangers little chance to be better this season.


    Andrus is now Rangers' elder statesman

    Shortstop Elvis Andrus, who reported on Saturday, doesn't seem to mind the fact that people are giving the Rangers little chance to be better this season.


    Without question, in a few short months Luka Doncic has become as popular as Zeke and Dak

    CHARLOTTE – In just four short months since the NBA season started, Luka Doncic has risen to stardom so fast in football-crazed Dallas that his star is shining as bright in the Metroplex as Dallas Cowboys’ stars Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott.

    Like Zeke and Dak are known by just one name, Doncic also is affectionately known by one name — Luka. And that name has been synonymous with winning, with putting bodies in arenas, with dazzling plays, with taking over games, and with a smile that flashes from one end of the DFW area to the other.

    Indeed, Doncic is a fan favorite unlike no other. Fans line up near the tunnel at American Airlines Center during pregame warmups game after game just to get a close glimpse of the Dallas Mavericks’ rookie point guard, or to get a picture with him, or perhaps an autograph or two.

    “Dallas is special for me,” Doncic said on Saturday during Media Day at the Bojangles Coliseum. “It was the place to live for me, so I’m just happy to be there.”

    The Doncic magic has also been on display in Charlotte, where he scored 13 points and dished out nine assists for the World Team during their 161-144 loss to the U.S. Team on Friday night in the Rising Stars game. In addition, Doncic will be on display on Saturday at 7 p.m. during the Skills Challenge competition at the Spectrum Center

    “It’s going to be fun,” Doncic said of the Skills Challenge. “I’ve never did this before, so I’m happy.

    “I’m just having fun. This is my first All-Star Weekend, so I’m just having fun.”

    The fun in Charlotte started for Doncic when he had teammate Dirk Nowitzki as the honorary coach for the World Team. But Doncic had some good-natured fun when discussing Nowitzki’s coaching skills – or lack thereof

    “He wasn’t talking that much,” Doncic said. “I don’t know why.

    “He was a quiet coach, so he’s obviously not material for a coach. But it was good to have him on the sidelines.”

    Nowitzki will be competing in the 3-point contest on Saturday night, and he’ll also be playing in his 14th All-Star on Sunday at 7 p.m. Doncic discussed the ironic of him enjoying his first All-Star Weekend and Nowitzki being involved in possibly his last All-Star Weekend.

    “It’s special,” Doncic said. “But we don’t know if it’s Dirk’s last one because you don’t ever know when he’s going to retire, so we’ll see about that.”

    As the media hurled a range of questions at him in rapid-like fashion, Doncic said Coach Carter is his favorite basketball movie, and that he desperately wants to meet Michael Jordan, the greatest NBA player of all-time who also happens to own the Charlotte Hornets. While adding that Nowitzki has been his mentor, Doncic was asked if there was one particular player he doesn’t like guarding him, or he doesn’t like to guard.

    “It’s a lot of players,” Doncic said. “But if I have to say one it would be Kyrie (Irving).”

    And Doncic noted that it’s not just Irving’s nifty ball-handling skills that bothers him.

    “It’s everything,” he said. “I just don’t want to fall down.”

    While Doncic predicts Nowitzki will have an “easy” time winning the 3-point contest, he added that former Mavs teammate Dennis Smith Jr. is his favorite to win Saturday night’s Slam Dunk contest.

    “I saw him in practice,” Doncic said. “His jumps are amazing, his jumps are high.”

    Doncic’s jumps are also high. Those jumps, that is, that he’s made thus far while becoming a global household name.

    Mavs merchandise with Doncic’s name on them are flying off the shelves as quickly as they arrive. This 19-year wonderboy has taken the NBA – and the world – by storm.

    In layman’s term, like Zeke and Dak, the popularity of Doncic is soaring through the roof. And now that he’s an integral part of All-Star Weekend, that popularity is going to continue to grow.

    “This is great,” Doncic said, sounding like the bashful kid that he is. “Just being here is special.”

    The post Without question, in a few short months Luka Doncic has become as popular as Zeke and Dak appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Pence thrilled to be in Rangers camp

    Veteran outfielder Hunter Pence is in Rangers camp on a Minor League contract. By definition, that means he is not guaranteed a spot, and he will have to make the team in Spring Training.


    Dennis Smith Jr. excited about the chance to win the Slam Dunk contest in his home state

    CHARLOTTE – New York Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. — one of North Carolina’s prodigal sons — has returned to his home state and hopes to give the fans something to be proud of.

    Formerly a member of the Dallas Mavericks, Smith will be competing in the Slam Dunk contest on Saturday night at 7 during All-Star Weekend. And that event has taken on an added significance for Smith, whom the Mavs traded to the Knicks on Jan. 31.

    Smith was born in Fayetteville, N.C., and played one year of college ball at North Carolina State before the Mavs made him the ninth overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft. So this slam dunk contest has a special meaning to the quicksilver playmaker with the incredible leaping abilities.

    “It would be amazing,” Smith said, referring to possibly winning the Slam Dunk trophy. “Just in terms of the activities in Fayetteville, it’s not really too many positive things being put into light.

    “So for me to be able to win this (slam dunk contest) and (Fayetteville native rapper) J Cole to perform at halftime, it’ll be great for the city.”

    Smith said he’ll have a dozen people in attendance for the Slam Dunk contest. He finished fourth in this event last year, but hopes to take home the top prize Saturday.

    “People try to put a lot of pressure into it, but thing is to just go out and have fun,” Smith said. “That’s all I’m worried about.”

    After a reporter showed Smith a magic trick during Media Day on Saturday, Smith said of the Slam Dunk contest: “I might pull a magic trick out of the hat.”

    As far as making the transition form Dallas to New York, Smith said: “I’m enjoying it. The trade happened –it’s business to business – that’s out of my control. But to be able to play for the Knicks and coach (David) Fizdale and that young group of guys has been amazing.

    “I’ve been enjoying it and I’m trying to take full advantage, and I’m super excited to be a Knick. I’m adjusting to New York City. It’s different from Dallas and way different from Fayetteville. It’s an adjustment, but I’m trying to handle my business on the court and work as hard as possible and just compete at both ends every night.”

    The post Dennis Smith Jr. excited about the chance to win the Slam Dunk contest in his home state appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Dirk Nowitzki enjoying what he believes will be his final All-Star Weekend

    CHARLOTTE – Whenever he decides to hang up his sneakers, Dirk Nowitzki hasn’t yet decided what the next phase of his life will entail.

    But he does know what’s immediately on his wish-list.

    “The first is spending time with the family,” Nowitzki said during All-Star Weekend Media Day on Saturday at the Bojangles Coliseum. “They obviously had to sacrifice a lot for me to still do what I do, and be gone every day or every other day in the summer, train all the time and be gone for hours at a time, and travel.

    “So it’s all about family for a few years, and I want to travel the world with the kids and eventually another challenge has to come. What that is or what that will be, I’m not sure yet. It’s definitely going to be somewhat with basketball, because the sport has given me so much over my career and over my life, how many people I was able to meet. It’s been a wonderful ride. I would definitely stick around through basketball, but I’m not sure in what capacity yet.”

    What capacity the next chapter takes Nowitzki, it certainly won’t be as coach. The 21-year veteran was an honorary coach for the World Team during their 161-144 loss to the U.S. Team on Friday, and he realized that line of work isn’t for him.

    “I enjoyed being with the young guys, but it’s actually a lot harder than it looks,” Nowitzki said. “Obviously I could draw up a couple of plays, and you draw a blank, and who’s in the game and who’s going where on that play, so it’s a lot harder than it looks. I give the coaches a lot of credit – it’s not an easy job.

    “To handle all the crazy personalities, the characters on your team, to know the situations during the game, what’s the score, what’s the shot clock. It’s a lot happening during the game, and that was only a fun game, so for me it was a little overwhelming. I don’t think I’m going to be a coach any time soon, but it was a good experience.”

    A reporter asked Nowitzki if he ever thought about one day owning an NBA team, and if he wants to buy the Mavs from owner Mark Cuban if he decides to one day sell the franchise.

    “I haven’t really thought about that that much,” Nowitzki said. “That would obviously be an honor if that’s something that’s coming up down the line.

    “First, I think I want to get away a little bit from the game. I want to spend some time with the family and then make some decision on what’s coming next.”

    What’s immediately next for Nowitzki is that he’ll be competing in the 3-point contest during All-Star Weekend on Saturday at 8 p.m. Nowitzki won this contest in 2006 when he was 27 years old.

    But now he’s 40 and on the back side of his illustrious career.

    “Shooting off the rack is obviously different than catching and shooting in the game, but since I’ve done (the 3-point contest)  four times in my career I should be OK,” Nowitzki said. “It should be a blast.

    “Hopefully I can make a few and maybe get to the final round. That would obviously be my goal. But like I said, there a lot of great shooters out there, so it’ll be tough.”

    To wrap up his weekend on Sunday, Nowitzki will be playing in his 14th All-Star game. And this one came after a special invite from NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who added Dwayne Wade and Nowitzki to this prestigious mid-season classic.

    “This is great to be here enjoying this stage one more time, for sure my last obviously as an All-Star, so it’s been fun,” Nowitzki said. “I have some family in town, I have some friends in town, I’ve enjoyed some of the festivities, enjoyed coaching last night and getting to know some of the young stars that are coming up.

    “I’ve had a blast so far and I’m hoping to finish this weekend tonight, and hoping to make a few shots and have some fun tomorrow.”

    The post Dirk Nowitzki enjoying what he believes will be his final All-Star Weekend appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Doncic finished the Rising Stars game one assist shy of a double-double

    CHARLOTTE – Luka Doncic had to laugh when told that he was just one assist shy of a double-double in Friday night’s Rising Stars game, which his Word Team lost to the U.S. Team, 161-144, at the Spectrum Center.

    “I had nine (assists)?,” Doncic asked, while flashing a big grin. “I didn’t know that.”

    Ironically, during the Mavs’ final game before the All-Star break this past Wednesday against Miami, Doncic also contributed nine assists after leaving that game one assist shy of collecting his fourth triple-double of the season. And in the first half of Friday’s contest, Doncic went searching for assists. He wound up with four of his nine assists by halftime in a game that featured a lot of dunks, numerous flashy passes and very little – almost none – defense.

    “I wasn’t trying to shoot,” Doncic said. “I was trying to pass and just have fun.”

    “For me it was not about winning. I think these kinds of things are about the fans. I was just having fun out there.”

    Doncic finished the game with 13 points, five rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two turnovers in 24 minutes. He also was 5-of-12 from the floor, including 3-of-9 from behind the 3-point line.

    Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki was decked out in a suit while sitting on the World Team bench. Nowitzki was an honorary coach for the World Team, and gave a pre-game speech that involved reminding the players not to over-dribble.

    Was that a sly but playful shot at Doncic?

    “Maybe that’s why we lost,” Doncic said. “But he was just joking.”

    On another matter, when Doncic found out that New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis is questionable for Sunday’s All-Star game after injuring his shoulder during Thursday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Mavs’ rookie couldn’t help but have a natural reaction.

    “That’s why I couldn’t sleep,” Doncic said.

    After all, Doncic was third in the fan voting for the All-Star game behind LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo. And if Davis can’t play, it may be easier to replace him with Doncic, who is already in Charlotte and who also will be competing in the Skills Challenge on Saturday night.

    As far as Friday’s playground-style game went, Doncic was able to perfect one of his patented step-back 3-pointers. He also hoisted a very long 3-pointer – that missed – which was in Stephen Curry’s neighborhood.

    On his ability to rack up assists, Doncic mentioned one former member of the Mavericks as a player he’s always admired when it comes to the fine art of passing the basketball.

    “There’s a lot of people, but I watch a lot of Steve Nash,” Doncic said. “He’s one of my favorite players.

    “(Passing the ball) makes the people happy, so it’s fun.”

    Matched up against many of his peers, Doncic more than held his own. Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles won the Most Valuable Player award after scoring 35 points on 15-of-27 shots.

    Also for the U.S. Team, Jayson Tatum scored 30 points, Trae Young had 25, Donovan Mitchell poured in 20 points, Marvin Bagley III scored 14, Johnson Collins had 12, Kevin Knox tallied 11 and Jaren Jackson Jr. added 10.

    For the World Team, Ben Simmons poured in 28 points, Lauri Markkanen contributed 21 points, Deandre Ayton, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Shai Gilgeous-Alezander had 15 points apiece, Josh Okogie scored 13 points, OG Anunoby tallied 12.

    Overall, Doncic noted that this was a good experience for him that he’ll never forget.

    “I would say just having fun and giving the fans a show,” he said. “I was just having fun out there. Not trying to do too much.”

    The post Doncic finished the Rising Stars game one assist shy of a double-double appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Calhoun has undergone physical makeover

    Willie Calhoun might be the most compelling player in camp. The Rangers, who acquired him from the Dodgers in a Trade Deadline deal in 2017 for Yu Darvish, have always liked Calhoun's bat. But this offseason they gave him a mandate to lose weight and get his body in shape. Calhoun followed orders and showed up to camp weighing 199 pounds. He said he lost 24 pounds in the offseason.


    Cabrera confident he can make transition to 3rd

    The Rangers hope to take some of the pressure off Asdrubal Cabrera as he transitions to being a full-time third baseman.


    Before the NBA Draft, Donnie Nelson had been tracking Luka Doncic for a while

    CHARLOTTE – As Donnie Nelson was hanging out in Europe for the last few years, and tracking literally every basketball move Luka Doncic made, he came across an interesting observation.

    Doncic was always the youngest player on the court, but he didn’t let his young age prevent him from dominating most games. It was as if Doncic relished the idea of beating the older men at a game he always referred as “just basketball.”

    Nelson, the president of basketball operations for the Dallas Mavericks, always viewed Doncic as this gifted warrior who was destined for stardom, destined to bust through the NBA gates and showcase his special talents.

    “We’ve been tracking him for a while,” Nelson said. “Really, I feel like I’ve lived in Europe two years before the (2018 NBA) draft.”

    Nelson sent an inordinate amount of time in Europe so he could scout, among others, Doncic. Unquestionably the best player in Europe, Doncic was the player the Mavs had set their sites on plucking from last summer’s draft.

    “He’s a winner in every sense of the word,” Nelson said. “Just a guy that naturally loves to pass, make plays, just a big moment guy who won on every level.

    “There’s a maturity to his game that it seems like at every level when he was playing as a youth and then into his mid- to late teens, he was always playing against bigger guys and getting it done against those guys. So those were some of the things that we saw.”

    Still, not even smart basketball minds like Nelson — who are overly experienced when it comes to tapping into the international market — were prepared for what Doncic was about to accomplish on the NBA level. They didn’t think his skill set, his charisma, his talents would translate to the NBA so quickly, or that he would be a consistent dominant figure right away.

    “Honestly, I was expecting a much more typical rookie year, which was maybe going through a little bit more ups and downs than we’ve seen,” Nelson said. “It’s great that he’s embraced the opportunity and he’s making the most of it.”

    No one obviously knows for sure where Doncic’s trajectory will take him. But it’s increasingly clear that he is no ordinary NBA rookie.

    “He looks like he’s been in the league for four or five years already, but I think that goes back to his roots and how he’s been competing at this level,” Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego said. “But I think his experience speaks for itself.

    “He’s had great success already at a very young age, and it’s translated. I think people were a little skeptical — could it translate to the NBA — and obviously it has. He sees the game at an extremely high level and just has a great confidence out there.”

    With that confidence, Doncic will be playing for the World Team when they take on the U.S. Team in the Rising Stars game on Friday at 8 p.m. at the Spectrum Center. And Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki will be the honorary coach for the World Team.

    Doncic also will be a participant in the Skills Challenge on Saturday.

    Mavs owner Mark Cuban has joined the list of those singing Doncic’s praises. Cuban knows he has a special player in Doncic, who is only 19 years old and could be a part of the Mavs’ franchise for over two decades.

    “Nothing phases him, the game is slow to him, he doesn’t lose his composure too much, he sees the floor unbelievable,” Cuban said. “He’s calm, he lets the game comes to him, he doesn’t speed up with the game.

    “It’s not too fast, the moments are never too big. You don’t see that in rookies — ever. Ever.”

    Cuban is impressed with the way Doncic is able to capture the moment, then go out and does what needs to be done for that particular moment.

    “It looks like he’s so much slower because he’s so under control,” Cuban said. “It’s kind of like people used to say Tracy McGrady was slow.

    “Luka just plays at an even keel the whole time. He just knows how to play.”

    That balance Doncic has displayed – the balance of knowing when to score, when to rebound, when to get his teammates involved, when to take total control of the game  – is an innate characteristic which makes him such a special player. And an innate characteristic all the great players possess.

    “He’s impressive,” Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. said. “You see him on TV and everything and it’s hard to tell how tall he is until you get next to him.

    “He’s a problem now and he’s going to be a problem for – what, he’s 19 or 20? So, we’re going to have to deal with that for 15, 18 more years, or whatever he’s lucky enough to play.”

    Nance describes himself as “a fan” of Doncic who has admired his game from afar.

    “He’s very refined, but I would say more so poised,” Nance said. “I mean, you never speed him up. He’s just got his own thing going on, just kind of cruising.

    “You can throw whatever defender on him and he’s still got his own pace and his own speed to whatever he’s doing. So, like I said, I was thoroughly impressed, just as the rest of the league is.”

    Doncic has been compared to legends like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.  Others believe he has some incredible passing qualities that rival those of Jason Kidd.

    “You’re talking about a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest that ever played the (point guard) position, Nelson said of Kidd. “But they both love to pass the ball.

    “I was watching Jason when he was in high school back in the day when that was OK, and you could just tell that Jason had qualities where he loved to set up other people. And I think Luka has the same thing.”

    Borrego even went so far as to admit that he believes Doncic can glance into the future and see plays develop before they actually develops.

    “He has great confidence, great swagger, understands the game at an extremely high level, and can almost read a play before it happens,” Borrego said. “He’s a step ahead of most of his opponents, he can play off the ball, he can play with the ball.

    “He’s got great size, so it makes it tough (to defend) in the pick-and-roll. He can pass over defenses, he can hit the roller, hit the skip and make the three. He’s a special player who is only going to get better.”

    A special player who gets cheers in opposing arenas during pre-game introductions, and a special player who has opposing fans oohing and aahing during games when they see him displaying his exceptional ball-handling and passing skills, along with his patented step-back 3-point shot all while flashing that effervescent smile.

    “The charisma comes with not being afraid of the moment,” Cuban said. “When you see a kid out there who’s just playing basketball and not afraid, that’s where the charisma comes from. It’s not like he’s doing some shake every time, or he’s not doing this or not doing all of this.

    “He’s just having fun, he’s just being a kid. I think it’s not so much charisma. I think people enjoy the joy.”

    And that “joy” is precisely what the Mavs are enjoying, as Doncic jerseys are flying off the Mavs’ shelves as quickly as they arrive. In other words, fan across America are tracking everything Doncic does, basketball-wise, the same way Donnie Nelson did a few years ago.

    The post Before the NBA Draft, Donnie Nelson had been tracking Luka Doncic for a while appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Prospects who should vie for a roster spot

    The 30 prospects below all are getting very long looks this spring with an eye toward breaking camp with the parent club. Even if they start the year in the Minors, they all should get the chance to contribute at some point in the very near future.


    Volquez, Smyly, Miller on regular camp program

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    Heading into the All-Star break, a familiar problem has surfaced for the Mavericks

    For the first 50 games of the season, rebounding was not an issue for the Mavericks.

    They had DeAndre Jordan and could lean on him for 14 rebounds or more every game. It was almost automatic.

    Then, the trade happened and Jordan went to New York and the Mavericks suddenly were back in a familiar position of not being a very good rebounding team.

    For three games, they preached a rebound-by-committee approach and it worked. They held their own on the boards and won two of three.

    But the last four games before the All-Star break exposed their new weak link. And it’s a huge part of why they finished the pre-All-Star portion of the season losing three of those four games.

    The Mavericks have been outrebounded by more than nine boards per game in those last four. The only win they got in that stretch was a one-point come-from-behind victory they eked out against Portland – a game in which they were outrebounded 48-39.

    This is a trend that cannot continue if the Mavericks want to make a run at .500 or more after the extended All-Star break. Remember, last season, when they finished 24-58, they were consistently outrebounded? That’s what the last few games have looked like.

    “We have to do it a little differently now,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “And I know we can. But it’s going to take work.”

    This also is an area that is going to need attention during the offseason. Even with Luka Doncic and the potential of pairing him with the incoming Kristaps Porzingis, the Mavericks will need help, particularly in the rebounding and shooting departments.

    But that’s a need that can’t be addressed until the offseason.

    In the meantime, the Mavericks looked like a team that needed a break in the final games, particularly on Wednesday when they faded badly in the second half in an 11-point home loss to Miami, which came into the game with a worse record than the Mavericks, but left with a better one by half a game.

    At 26-31, the Mavericks are as close to 14th place than eighth place in the Western Conference. When they return from the break, they have a home game against Denver, which has the second-best record in the West.

    After that, it’s five of seven on the road. So the need to rest up for the next few days before returning to practice on Wednesday is imperative.

    Clearly, they have a lot of work to do. Solving the recent rebounding woes would give them a fighting chance to make up ground on .500.

    Twitter: @ESefko

    The post Heading into the All-Star break, a familiar problem has surfaced for the Mavericks appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 112-101 loss to the Miami Heat

    1. DIRK/WADE LOVEFEST: Did you see that lovefest between Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade, when they changed jerseys and took some photos immediately after the game? Those two battled each other fiercely in the 2006 and 2011 NBA Finals – with each one winning a title — and there was no love lost between the two at the time. But as Nowitzki said during his postgame interview session, he didn’t love any of the San Antonio Spurs, either. It was just business. And at the end of the day, they’re all one big happy NBA family. As a footnote, Nowitzki and Wade will be first-time Hall of Famers, and will likely go in during the same year.
    2. CLOSE, BUT NO TRIPLE-DOUBLE: Unfortunately for rookie Luka Doncic, he came up one assist shy of registering his fourth triple-double of the season. And this was a really tough one for Doncic to swallow simply because he went into the fourth quarter needing only one assist to get his fourth triple-double and become the first member of the Mavs to collect four triple-doubles in one season since Michael Finley did it in the 1999-’00 season. Doncic finished the game with 18 points, a career-high tying 12 rebounds and nine assists, and was 5-of-17 from the field and 3-of-9 from beyond the 3-point arc while also committing six turnovers.
    3. HARDAWAY HITS THE 20-POINT BARRIER: Tim Hardaway Jr. is making himself comfortable in the Mavs’ lineup. Hardaway finished Wednesday’s contest with 20 points, two rebounds and two assists in 30 minutes. He was 7-of-15 from the floor and 4-of-11 from behind the 3-point line. It was the second time in the last three games that Hardaway has scored at least 20 points. He also poured in 24 points during the Mavs’ 102-101 victory over Portland this past Sunday afternoon as he goes into the All-Star break with a good feel for what his role will be after joining the Mavs in last month’s blockbuster trade with the New York Knicks.
    4. DIRK IN DOUBLE-FIGURES AGAIN: As the fans keep raising the roof every time he enters the game, Dirk Nowitzki keeps trying to make sure everyone has a wonderful night at the game in what may be his final season – although he hasn’t made such a claim. Against the Heat, it only took Nowitzki 17 minutes to pour in 12 points. Nowitzki was 5-of-14 from the field, including 2-of-10 from 3-point territory. It was the third double-figure scoring game of the season for Nowitzki. Earlier, the 21-year veteran tallied 11 points at New Orleans on Dec. 28 and he also scored a season-high 14 points at New York against the Knicks on Jan. 30.
    5. SLUGGISH THIRD QUARTER: Although they hadn’t put in separation between themselves and the Heat, the Mavs did hold a slim 58-57 lead over Miami at intermission. Then came the brutal third quarter. The very long and brutal third quarter. During that 12-minute span, the Heat took complete control of the game by outscoring the Mavs, 32-16, and carried an 89-74 lead into the fourth quarter. How bad was the third quarter for the Mavs? They were just 4-of-22 from the floor – including 2-of-17 from 3-point range — and committed four turnovers, and subsequently never got closer than 11 points in the fourth quarter.

    The post The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 112-101 loss to the Miami Heat appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Nowitzki, Wade swap jerseys after the Heat defeated the Mavs, 112-101

    DALLAS – Shortly after Miami beat Dallas, 112-101, in the Mavericks’ final game before the All-Star break, Dirk Nowitzki and Heat guard Dwyane Wade stood near midcourt and exchanged game jerseys.

    Wednesday’s jersey swap – with a knot of cameras flashing —  was final public confirmation that the two long-time combatants had put their bitter differences aside.

    “I’ll cherish that jersey, obviously, knowing the great competition we had for such a long, long time,” Nowitzki said. “Like I said, he’s a great, great player, one of the greatest players we’ve had in our league.

    “There were some rocky times in our relationship after ’06 both ways. There was some stuff said that both didn’t like, but at the end of he day we’re both competitors.”

    The competitor in Nowitzki and Wade were on full display before an American Airlines Center sellout crowd of 20,364, as they both took turns turning back the clock. Wade scored a game-high 22 points in 22 minutes and was 9-of-14 from the field, while Nowitzki tallied 12 points in 17 minutes and was 5-of-14 from the field.

    “They are two all-time great players and they both played great,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “They both represent their teams and represent the game the right way.

    “It’s special to see those guys out there at the same time.”

    As far as the game itself goes, the Heat overcame a 58-57 halftime deficit and took control of things by outscoring the Mavs, 32-16, in the third quarter. The Mavs were just 4-of-22 from the floor and committed four turnovers in the third quarter when their offense went south.

    “I know we gave into some high-risk plays (in the third quarter) as opposed to keeping it simple, which you have to do against them because they are very physical and very aggressive,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “They made a point of really going after Luka (Doncic) all night, but you have to give them credit.

    “They mix their defenses well and they had a good shot-making night, and we didn’t. One of the problems was I think we allowed our lack of shot-making affect our defense, and then you get into a real problem.”

    Miami built its lead to as high as 21 points (97-76) with 8:53 remaining in the game. The Mavs, who are 26-31, could whittle the lead to no closer than 11 points.

    Meanwhile, Doncic appeared on his way t recording his fourth triple-double of the season as he entered the fourth quarter with 16 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. However, the rookie from Slovenia finished the game with 18 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, and was 5-of-17 from the field.

    “He’s done a great job of attacking of attacking double-teams, but Miami’s quickness was a factor, and they deflected a lot of balls really all night long, not just Luka,” Carlisle said. “They had a lot of deflections off of aggressive defensive activity and we just didn’t make enough plays.

    “We just weren’t good enough tonight.”

    Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Mavs with 20 points and Maxi Kleber added 11 points as Dallas shot 38.6 percent from the floor and missed 37 of its 52 shots from behind the 3-point line.

    In the meantime, all eyes were on Nowitzki and Wade, who both are headed to the Hall of Fame, perhaps in the same year. Wade and the Heat beat the Mavs in six games in the 2006 NBA Finals, and Nowitzki and the Mavs beat the Heat in six games in the 2011 NBA Finals.

    “There’s a great karma to each one of them,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They are both winners, but humble winners.

    “They have tremendous class and as soon as Wade got his opportunity to go one-on-one against him in the corner you just knew that somehow Dork was going to get him with an opportunity on the other end.”

    That sequence certainly happened as Nowitzki found himself one-on-one with Wade, and he calmly buried a long jumper. After the game, the two legends shared a laugh or two.

    “I never really swapped jerseys right after a game, so I felt a little naked in my (T-shirt) there and my tank top,” Nowitzki said. “But it was cool.

    “It was a cool moment, obviously, and it’s been a long time coming.”

    Knowing that he has already announced his retirement, Wade has been swapping jerseys in most the games he’s played this season.  As for the one he swapped with Nowitzki, Wade said: “My best jersey swap of the year.

    “Like I said, to be able to have that, he’s a Hall of Famer, somebody that obviously I’m proud of and have so much respect for. I’m just thankful that he didn’t turn me down and say no.”

    Nowitzki said it never crossed his mind to turn Wade down.

    “I think we’re older now. Wen you’re young and you compete, you’re stubborn,” Nowitzki said. “There were a few guys where I was just not that friendly with. We played against the (San Antonio) Spurs every year in the playoffs, and I didn’t love them guys, either.

    “It comes with competing at the highest level. But at the end of the day were all in the same league, were one big family, even though we compete each other. We bring out the best in each other, and that’s that.”

    NOTES: With the All-Star break here for the Mavs, the players will scatter and are not scheduled to return until they practice on Feb. 20. The Mavs’ next game is Feb. 22 at home against Denver. . .Two members of the Mavs will be very busy during All-Star Weekend in Charlotte. Luka Doncic will play for the World Team against the U.S. Team in the Rising Stars game on Friday. He also will be in the Skills Challenge on Saturday. Meanwhile, Dirk Nowitzki will be the honorary coach for the World Team on Friday. He also will participate in the 3-point contest on Saturday, and will play in his 14th All-Star game on Sunday. . .Center Salah Mejri was back with the Mavs for Wednesday’s game following a short hiatus. The Mavs waived Mejri on Feb. 6, then re-signed him this past Sunday. “I strongly believe in God and whatever is written for us we’re going to see it,” said Mejri, who started Wednesday’s game. “I’m back here with the people that I care about and I love and I’ve been around for a long time. And this guy, I have to take care of. I was going to take care of him regardless if I wasn’t on the team.” Mejri was referring to Doncic. The two are close friends and were teammates on Real Madrid in Europe in 2015, and their lockers at American Airlines Center are next to each other.

    The post Nowitzki, Wade swap jerseys after the Heat defeated the Mavs, 112-101 appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Dwyane Wade on Dirk Nowitzki: ‘We’re an important part of each other’s story’

    Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki had some “frosty” moments through their careers. They weren’t always best buddies.

    But two things are undeniable. They have gotten past those competitive moments during their long rivalry. And they have come to grips with the fact that they were good for each other.

    Wade opened up before he and the Miami Heat made their annual visit to American Airlines Center and he said his last visit to the arena carries with it a lot of special memories – not all of them good.

    But mostly, he is happy to be linked with Nowitzki, something that became inevitable when they both won championships on the other’s home floor, Wade and the Heat winning at AAC in 2006 and Nowitzki and the Mavericks winning at Miami in 2011.

    “I’m thankful,” Wade said. “If you look back on it, I’m 37, 16 years in the league. Dirk’s 21 years in the league, a little bit older than me. You appreciate having someone like that that’s part of your journey, that pushes you.

    “I think we both pushed each other, whether it was ‘06 when we won and what happened the following summer for him. And then in ’11 when they won. We’re an important part of each other’s story, and I think it’s cool.”

    Wade said he was hoping to exchange jerseys with Nowitzki after the game. Wade, who is on a self-announced farewell tour, has made a habit of trading jerseys with an opposing player after every game.

    “I haven’t been turned down yet,” he said.

    Nowitzki has said he would be happy to do so, as long as Wade makes the first move.

    Both players have signature moments that happened with each other that they will never forget. Nowitzki was called for a controversial foul on Wade late in Game 5 of the ’06 finals when Wade paraded to the free-throw line 25 times and the Heat came back for a one-point overtime victory.

    In 2011, Nowitzki played through a 101-degree fever, which Wade and then-teammate LeBron James mocked after a shootaround before Game 5 by fake coughing as they left the arena. The Mavericks came back to win the series in six games with Nowitzki named the MVP.

    “Dallas is a part of my story that don’t get talked about a lot,” Wade said. “We talk about the importance of certain cities, Chicago, Milwaukee and Miami, obviously. But this is a big part of that. Obviously, winning the championship here in my third year in the league and then winning my only MVP as an All-Star (in 2010 at AT&T Stadium). And then when I lost in the finals here in ‘11, it changed my mindset of how I approached the rest of my career. So it’s been very important, definitely.

    “After that, I sat down with LeBron and took a step back. To me, it wasn’t about the individual part of it, anymore. It was really about team success. And I had to take a step back after losing that finals. And I kind of let him take over an organization that I would call mine before that. So I changed my mindset after losing because that’s not why we came together.”

    The respect factor in Dallas certainly remains strong, particularly for coach Rick Carlisle, who has waged many tactical battles trying to slow down Wade through the years.

    “He’s an all-time great player,” Carlisle said. “Multiple champion, great ambassador of the game. There’s just so many things. And if this is his last year, which I’m hearing it is, he’s still putting up really good numbers for a guy who’s calling it a career. You look at their end-of-game stuff, he’s got the ball the majority of the time, still.”

    Wade got a lukewarm reception when he entered the game. There were some boos and they lingered to the first few times he touched the ball. But when he popped up off the bench with just under six minutes to go in the first quarter, fans cheered. And Dirk Nowitzki got up right afterward. They came into the game together at the next dead ball.

    “We have great respect for each other,” Wade said. “I’m happy to have my name parallel to such a great player and a great person. All that stuff is so far behind us.

    Wade and Nowitzki will be honorary all-stars this weekend in Charlotte. It will be Nowitzki’s 14th all-star appearance. It will be Wade’s 13th trip to the event.

    “I think it’s going to be cool,” Wade said. “Me and him have had our fair share of all-star games. This one is a lot different in what we’re looking to get out of it. But I know there will be moments when we’ll appreciate the opportunity to be there with the game’s greats, the up-and-coming guys, the stars of the league now – to take it all in will be special. I get to do it with my loved ones, but also with one of the game’s greats.

    “I think it fits.”

    Wade also said he believes the Mavericks’ franchise is in good hands with Luka Doncic.

    “He’s a hell of a young player,” Wade said. “Dallas Maverick fans should be excited about what he can do for the next 20 years. As a fan of the game, I live watching him play. He does things on the court that wow you. It’s great. You guys got a good one. Keep him. I’m sure Mark Cuban will.”

    Twitter: @ESefko

    The post Dwyane Wade on Dirk Nowitzki: ‘We’re an important part of each other’s story’ appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Projected 2019 lineups, rotations for every team

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    Seventh heaven: Luka in elite company when it comes to filling the stat sheet

    Luka Doncic wants to be a well-rounded NBA player and as a rookie averaging 20.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game, he’s doing that.

    It got us wondering where he ranks among some of the NBA’s best Swiss army knives – guys that can do everything well — score, rebound and assists.

    As it turns out, there are seven players who rank in the top 40 of all three categories. There would be eight, except that LeBron James has not played enough games to qualify statistically under the NBA’s parameters.

    Doncic is one of the seven, along with several others you probably could have guessed. And, by the way, the other six players on the list all are in the All-Star Game this weekend.

    Just as interesting are some of the names that don’t qualify, among them Steph Curry, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

    Here’s the list of the players who qualify in all three categories, plus where they rank on each list going into Wednesday’s action:

    Player                                Points    Rebounds    Assists

    Anthony Davis                  4th             4th            40th

    Kevin Durant                    5th              39th          17th

    Giannis Antetokounmpo 7th             6th            18th

    Blake Griffin                      10th           28th          24th

    Russell Westbrook           20th           11th           1st

    Luka Doncic                      24th           37th          21st

    Nikola Jokic                      28th           13th          6th

    Twitter: @ESefko

    The post Seventh heaven: Luka in elite company when it comes to filling the stat sheet appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Kelley reflects on last season, enjoying ST 'vibe'

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    Dwyane Wade misses Miami shootaround, putting his last visit to AAC in jeopardy

    It would be nice to see Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade on the court together one last time for a few minutes Wednesday night, but that legend vs. legend scenario is in jeopardy.

    Dwyane Wade missed Miami’s shootaround at American Airlines Center with an illness and is listed as questionable for the game, which will be his last appearance in Dallas as he plans to retire after this season.

    Wade and Nowitzki have a long history as competitors. Each has won a championship on the other’s home floor, Wade and the Heat winning at AAC in 2006 and Nowitzki and the Mavericks hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy in Miami in 2011.

    They have had a respectful rivalry, in spite of some antics in the 2011 finals when Wade and LeBron James mimicked Nowitzki’s flu-like symptoms by coughing and sniffling after a practice at AAC.

    The two warriors have taken different approaches to this season. Wade has made it clear that this is a farewell tour, even designing a line of D. Wade World Tour apparel.

    Nowitzki hasn’t even said whether this will be his last season or not and has no interest whatsoever in having any kind of farewell tour. He has, however, been toasted by opposing fans at every arena he’s played in this season as if this is his swan song.

    Nowitzki and Wade are destined to be connected in history, especially if both end up retiring after this season.

    They would enter the hall of fame together in 2024 if this is, indeed, their last season. They also were added as special members of this year’s All-Star Game Sunday in Charlotte.

    “First ballot, yeah,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said of the hall of fame futures of Wade and Nowitzki. “Both great competitors and we saw Nowitzki at his finest, on the biggest stage. To be able to produce and put a team on his back, forever respect.

    We did the Africa game together and I went right up to him when I first saw him and told him that, but I think why there is such a global following for Dwyane and Dirk is because they transcend normal professional athletics. They’ve been able to compete at the highest level but do it with a dignity and a grace and a class that’s different than most, and it’s hard not to root for those guys. They’ve accomplished everything that you can accomplish in this game.”

    Twitter: @ESefko

    The post Dwyane Wade misses Miami shootaround, putting his last visit to AAC in jeopardy appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Porzingis very anxious to join Doncic on the court and “really take this thing to the next level”

    DALLAS – From his seat perched on the Dallas Mavericks’ bench, Kristaps Porzingis has a bird’s eye view of the way Luka Doncic has been a very dominant force in just his rookie season in the NBA.

    That dominance by Doncic is why Porzingis is licking his chops and anxiously waiting for the chance to play with one of the league’s more dynamic players.

    “I’m happy for him, first of all,” Porzingis said. “I’m happy that he’s able to come in the league and make an impact like that right away.

    “It makes me excited and anxious to get back on the court and play with him and share the court with him. I think we can be a pretty special duo together.”

    That’s exactly what the Mavs are hoping. But they have to temper their excitement until next season, because they’ve already said they’re holding Porzingis out the rest of this season as a precaution.

    While he was playing for the New York Knicks last season, Porzingis tore his left anterior cruciate ligament during a Feb. 6, 2018 game against the Milwaukee Bucks. The 7-3 center underwent successful surgery on Feb. 13 – almost a year ago – and has been steadily rehabbing his knee so he can hit the ground running when training camp opens next fall.

    In the meantime, Porzingis has this image stuck in his head of what it’ll be like once he takes the court with Doncic. He’s picturing the full-fledge images of himself being on the receiving end of some of those mind-boggling lob dunks Doncic is famous for making, and how that can uplift a team, a city and an organization.

    “I visualize myself playing alongside these guys and playing alongside Luka and what we’ll be able to do on the court, and it makes me excited,” Porzingis said. “But I’m in a tough moment.

    “I’m around the team and I’m watching them play and I wish I could be out there helping them and playing the game I love. But the situation is what it is right now and I have to stay patient and take care of this knee and take care of my body, and build up my body so when I come back I’m even better than I was before.”

    When asked about it, Porzingis sees the Mavs being NBA champions again sometimes in the next four-to-five years, with the accompanying parade and confetti adorning the streets of downtown Dallas similar to the wild scene when the Mavs won the whole thing in 2011. In essence, the big man is thinking big

    “That is the goal, to win a championship,” Porzingis said. “And that is my only goal, really.

    “You don’t want to get too far ahead, but that is the goal. The first step to that is to make the playoffs and then step-by-step I want to get to that place where you get to learn, and then win a championship.”

    Part of that learning process is taking shape right now for Porzingis. Although he can’t personally make any contributions on the court as a player right now, mentally he’s soaking it all in on what it takes to be a formidable member of this franchise.

    Still, the burdensome of having to sit for what will amount to be approximately 20 months by the time next season starts is weighing heavily on Porzingis’ heart.

    “It’s very hard (to be sidelined), especially for that long,” Porzingis said. “You have little injuries here and there, you sit out for a little bit, but to be out for that long, it’s not that easy. It’s probably the toughest thing to go through mentally not being able to play.

    “Being around the team all the time and not being able to play is just really, really tough. I didn’t think it was going to be that tough, obviously, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just have to stay patient and keep doing what I’m doing and make sure I’m back better than I was before.”

    Affectionately hailed as a unicorn when he played for the Knicks, Porzingis averaged 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks last season when he was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team. His season-ending torn ACL prevented him from playing in the midseason classic, but there was no doubting his skill set and his abilities to carry a franchise.

    Porzingis has even been often compared to Mavs superstar Dirk Nowitzki, who re-invented the NBA game today to where big men constantly float outside the paint and hoist up 3-point field goals. The similarities are flattering to Porzingis, but he knows that’s only what they are – similarities.

    “Of course, there is some similarities,” Porzingis said. “You see the height and the ability to shoot the ball. Dirk is one of the greatest shooters ever, and I don’t want to compare myself to him. I still have a ways to go to get to that level.

    “There are some similarities, but also we have our differences. We’re a different player in a lot of areas of the game, but I’m glad to be here to be able to learn from him and pick up a lot of those things that he has perfected throughout his career.”

    Meanwhile, Porzingis noted that his rehab is “going well,” and that he’s waiting on his luxury car to arrive from New York so he can drive himself around Dallas.

    “I’m happy about the progress I’ve made and I’m looking forward to coming back on the court,” Porzingis said. “I love the city so far, I’ve had great experiences here in Dallas and I’m excited to get to know the city more.

    “I’ve been itching already for a while to get back on the court and play basketball. But I’m trying to stay patient and then put in the work and make sure that when I can come back I’m 110 percent, and me and Luka can really take this thing to the next level.”

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    Davidson embracing 2-way role with Rangers

    Rangers pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training on Tuesday and Matt Davidson was right there with them. A corner infielder by trade, Davidson will get some time on the mound as well.


    Explaining how a 31-point night could be the result of solid defense

    OK, before you start giggling uncontrollably, we’re here today to tell you that Dorian Finney-Smith did a more than commendable job on James Harden in Monday night’s 120-104 Mavericks’ loss in Houston.

    Harden scored 31 points.

    Yes, that’s a bunch. But consider these factors:

    It’s more than four points below his season average.

    It’s more than 10 points below Harden’s average in the past 30 games, when he’s scored 30 points or more exactly 30 times.

    It’s the second-lowest point total for Harden in that 30-for-30 streak. He had 30 in a game earlier this month. And Harden was sitting on 20 points until the final few minutes of the game, when he was reinserted, ostensibly because the Mavericks had trimmed the Houston lead to nine points on a couple of occasions.

    So Harden scoring 31 points isn’t exactly a major event in the big picture of his incredible season – and yes, he remains the heavy, heavy favorite for MVP.

    Bear in mind that Finney-Smith, who did have some help on Harden in the form of trapping defenses that coach Rick Carlisle employed, also finished Sunday’s game checking Damian Lillard during much of the fourth quarter, when he was limited to zero field goals after scoring 28 points through three quarters.

    All of this points to the fact that Finney-Smith is doing a solid job of filling the void that was left by the trade that dealt, among others, Wesley Matthews to New York. He was the designated defender for the Mavericks until he was traded. Now it’s Finney-Smith, who is in his third season with the Mavericks and is averaging 7.9 points and 4.7 rebounds.

    His 3-point shooting, which was revamped with new mechanics more than a year ago, is starting to pay dividends. He’s making 34.7 percent from beyond the arc after averaging less than 30 percent his first two seasons.

    It adds up to a player that will have a significant role moving forward. And he’s already been averaging more than 25 minutes per game this season after missing most of 2017-18 to recuperate a nagging knee injury.

    “Extremely impressed,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s a great worker. And he’s been through some adversity. He had the knee injury last year, something that took awhile to work through. But he really worked hard, for months, and since he’s been back, he’s really worked to maintain it. His shot is well-documented, how much work he’s put in on that. And he’s one of our best perimeter defenders.”

    It’s that last attribute that the Mavericks are going to lean on heavily Wednesday against Miami and after the All-Star break.

    Twitter: @ESefko

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    Miller seeks return to form in return to Texas

    The Rangers signed Shelby Miller to a one-year, $2 million contract with another $3 million available in incentives, expecting him to be a part of a rotation. Miller is confident it will happen.


    Woodward welcomes Rangers to camp

    The time has come for the Rangers to stop with the talk about rebuilding for the future, the restructuring of the coaching staff and the front office, and the long-term goals of the organization. Spring Training is here. Pitchers and catchers report to the Rangers facility in Surprise on Tuesday and the focus needs to fall directly on the immediate task of getting ready for the 2019 season.


    30 low-key acquisitions who could pay off big

    Fans and analysts spend the entire offseason speculating where the top free agents could go, but sometimes an under-the-radar pickup can end up making a world of difference. As positional competitions begin to heat up at Spring Training camps this month, MLB.com's beat writers were asked to identify one potentially overlooked acquisition for each of the 30 clubs. Here's who they came up with.


    The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 120-104 loss to the Houston Rockets

     

    1. STEP-BACK 3-POINT CONVENTION: Luka Doncic quickly reminded everyone that the vaunted step-back 3-point shot which Houston Rockets guard James Harden is famously known for is a move he’s also been famously known for in Europe for years. Thus, when the two connoisseurs of the step-back 3-pointer met Monday, you already knew what was going to happen. And it didn’t take long for the Step-Back 3-Point Convention to convene as Doncic’s first made basket of the night was – you guessed it — a step-back 3-pointer ironically while he was being closely guarded by – you guessed it – James Harden.
    2. MUCH ACTION BY JACKSON: Justin Jackson didn’t play but 11 minutes Monday, but he sure made the most of his opportunity. The second-year forward scored nine points on 3-of-5 shots while impressing coach Rick Carlisle. It was Jackson’s third game – and best game — with the Mavs since coming over from Sacramento in last week’s trade that sent Harrison Barnes to the Kings. And it came with some of his family members and friends in the stands as Jackson played his high school basketball in the Homeschool Christian Youth Association in Houston. Jackson scored all nine of his points during a 10-minute stretch in the fourth quarter.
    3. ANOTHER CLOSE TRIPLE-DOUBLE CALL: With fans on the road buzzing whenever Luka Doncic has the ball and starts showing off his spectacular ball-handling skills, the rookie from Slovenia again came close to registering another triple-double. Doncic finished Monday night with 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. It’s the fourth time this season Doncic has came within one or two rebounds or assists away from collecting a triple-double. And it was his third double-double in the last five games. By the way, Doncic has three triple-doubles this year and is the only teenager in NBA history with multiple triple-doubles on his resume.
    4. POWELL STRIKES AGAIN: Dwight Powell continues to prove that he can be a viable backup center in the NBA. The fifth-year veteran scored 12 points and grabbed for rebounds in 28 minutes against the Rockets. It’s the fourth straight contest Powell has scored at least 10 points in a game. He’s had such a streak just three other times during his career, and has never gone five consecutive games by scoring 10 or more points. Powell finished the night 4-of-5 from the field against the Rockets. In his last four games, Powell has averaged 12 points and eight rebounds, while shooting 14-of-24 from the field and 4-of-8 from 3-point territory.
    5. BRUNSON PERFECT FROM THE FIELD: This was one of those nights where every time Jalen Brunson threw the basketball towards the rim, the basketball went through the rim. The rookie from Villanova was 4-of-4 from the field, 3-of-3 from behind the 3-point arc, and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe and finished with 13 points and five rebounds. In games where he’s attempted at least four field goals, this was just the second time all season that Brunson had a perfect shooting performance. When the Mavs walloped the Utah Jazz, 118-68, on Nov. 14, Brunson scored nine points and was 4-of-4 from the field and 1-of-1 from the free throw line.

    The post The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 120-104 loss to the Houston Rockets appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Uniform patch to mark 150 years of pro baseball

    All 30 Major League teams will wear special "MLB 150" patches on their uniforms for the entire 2019 season in honor of the 150th anniversary of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first openly all-salaried professional baseball team.


    Mavs continue to struggle on the second night of a back-to-back during 120-104 loss to Houston

    HOUSTON – Playing on the second night of a back-to-back continues to be a giant puzzle the Dallas Mavericks haven’t been able to solve on a consistent basis this season.

    One night after rallying to defeat Portland at home, the Mavs had their fourth quarter rally on Monday stymied by Houston, and the Rockets went on to score a 120-104 triumph before a sellout crowd of 18,055 at the Toyota Center.

    With only Wednesday’s home game left before the All-Star break, the Mavs dropped to 26-30 on the season and 6-22 on the road. Also, the Mavs are just 1-9 on the second night of a back-to-back as they failed to put things together for 48 minutes against the Rockets.

    “I thought we battled really from start to finish,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We had some stretches where we struggled, but we’ve got a group that goes hard, sticks together.

    “We had a couple of good runs in the fourth, then they would come down and make a play.”

    The Mavs sliced a 21-point deficit – they trailed 81-60 midway through the third quarter – down to nine to points on two occasions in the fourth quarter. The last time Jalen Brunson’s 3-pointer narrowed the gap to 109-100 with 2:52 remaining in the game.

    After that, all that remained was the mystery of whether the Mavs could sustain that type of effort, along with the mystery of whether James Harden could extend his streak of scoring at least 30 points in a game to 29 games in a row.

    Following Brunson’s basket, Harden had just 20 pints. But from the 2:32 mark of the fourth quarter until just 52.9 seconds remained in the game, he tallied 11 unanswered points on three 3-pointers and a pair of free throws to finish the game with 31 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals.

    “All the shots that he hit we pretty much had a hand in his face, so you just got to tip your hat to him,” said forward Justin Jackson, who scored nine points in 11 minutes. “(Dorian Finney-Smith) played great defense on him, and he shot not a great percentage, but he just hit some tough shots.

    “Sometimes offense beats defense, so you got to tip your hat to him. But you also got to tip your hat to (Finney-Smith) and guys that guarded (Harden) as well.”

    The Mavs had a sluggish start as they turned the ball over four times and fell behind 25-22 at the conclusion of the first quarter. Things got even more dicey in the second quarter when Houston outscored Dallas, 39-28, and led 64-50 at intermission.

    In all, the Mavs committed 18 turnovers that the opportunistic Rockets turned into 26 points which helped decide this game.

    “There were a few unforced (turnovers), but they are a team that turns you over,” Carlisle said. “Their last five wins coming into tonight they forced an average of 20 turnovers, so they turn teams over.”

    Luka Doncic led the Mavs with 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Doncic’s first basket of the night was one of his vintage step-back 3-pointers, which he made right in the grill of Harden, who also has made the step-back 3-point shot a main part of his repertoire.

    Doncic finished the night 7-of-17 from the field and 2-of-9 from 3-point range, while Harden was 9-of-23 from the floor and 6-of-17 from beyond the 3-point arc.

    “He’s an amazing player, so it’s hard to stop him,” Doncic said. “He’s going to make shots and it’s hard to guard him because you don’t know what to do with him to stop him.”

    Besides Doncic, the Mavs got 13 points and five rebounds from Brunson, 12 points from Dwight Powell, and 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting from Tim Hardaway Jr., who tallied 24 points in Sunday’s one-point win over Portland.

    “He had some looks, but after the game he had (Sunday) night they were paying a lot of attention to him and making it tough,” Carlisle said of Hardaway. “He’s just got to stick to the process and stay aggressive.”

    The Mavs also have to stick to the process and stay aggressive during these final 26 games if they have designs on advancing to the playoffs for the first time in three years. Currently, the Mavs are four games behind the Sacramento Kings in the loss column for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.

    “We were on a back-to-back, so it’s tough, but we fought,” said Dirk Nowitzki, who tallied six points in 10 minutes. “We got to keep going for it, keep fighting and see if we can still somehow make it a fight for the eighth seed.”

    NOTES: Following a review, the NBA has determined that the long 3-point attempt Luka Doncic hoisted at the conclusion of the first quarter in Sunday’s game against Portland came after the buzzer sounded. Thus, instead of Doncic’s previous stat line of 9-of-20 from the field and 4-of-10 from 3-point range, he officially finished the game against Portland 9-of-19 from the field and 4-of-9 from beyond the 3-point arc. . .Coach Rick Carlisle said he is hopeful that center Salah Mejri will be available to play in Wednesday’s home game against Miami. The Mavs waived Mejri last Wednesday, then re-signed hm on Sunday. But Mejri wasn’t active for Sunday’s game against Portland, and he didn’t make the trip to Houston for Monday’s game against Houston. . .Kristaps Porzingis said his goal is to help the Mavs win a world title within the next four or five years. “That’s the goal,” Porzingis said prior to Monday’s game against Houston. “Step by step. You don’t want to go too far ahead, but that is the goal. That is the goal, to win a championship. And that is my only goal, really. The first step to that is to make the playoffs, and then step-by-step I want to get to that place where you get to learn and then win a championship.”. .Both Luka Doncic and Houston Rockets guard James Harden are well known for their step-back 3-point shots. Doncic even performed the lethal step-back move – and converted a 3-point shot — Monday night while he was being closely guarded by Harden. “They’re both amazing playmakers,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Of course, Luka is much younger, but there are similarities. The signature shot is always a defining trait of a player. With Dirk (Nowitzki) it became the one-legged fade. Harden and Luka both have the step-back shot, which is the one that you think of the most. There’s a similarity there. Certainly, Harden’s been around a lot longer and I’m in no way saying that they’re the same player or anything like that, but there is some similarity for sure. I view Luka as a guy that can play fast, medium or slow, and effectively in all three (areas) really.”

    The post Mavs continue to struggle on the second night of a back-to-back during 120-104 loss to Houston appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Time is right for Dwight Powell to hit a new gear

    In case you haven’t noticed, the Dwight Time of the year appears to have arrived for the Mavericks.

    Under vastly different circumstances last season, Dwight Powell had a strong finishing kick that started roughly at the same juncture of the season that the Mavericks find themselves at now.

    Powell was cruising along at the end of January last season with solid numbers, but he saw a significant uptick in production from February to the end of the season, averaging 11.4 points and 7.1 rebounds in 28 games. He saw 25.6 minutes of action in those games and was a 44 percent 3-point shooter (14-of-34).

    That stretch pushed his season numbers to 8.5 points and 5.6 rebounds.

    This year, he was averaging 8.4 points and 4.1 rebounds through Jan. 30.

    In the five games since, he has averaged 10.8 points and 7.2 rebounds.

    Powell’s surge this season coincided with the trade of DeAndre Jordan and others to New York on Jan. 31. In the five games since that deal, Powell has averaged 10.3 points and 7 rebounds. (41 and 28).

    He’s also 4-of-9 on 3-pointers.

    Last year, the Mavericks were playing out the season with no meaningful games as they slipped toward the bottom of the standings.

    This season is different as they try to creep back to .500. And the trades of Jordan and Harrison Barnes mean that Powell is due for more playing time than he was getting before the deals.

    “He’s naturally going to be playing more minutes with D.J. not here,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “So things are set up for him to play more, certainly. Regardless of his minute totals to this point, I feel like he’s having a terrific year. His finishing around the basket is up in the top of the league. His 3-point shooting is on the come. He’s worked on it tirelessly and (his recent shooting is) an example of not thinking about it, just stepping into it when he has open looks.”

    Clearly, the Mavericks are going to need Powell, along with Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith, to take up the slack in the rebounding department. They lost 14 rebounds per game when they traded DeAndre Jordan to New York in the Kristaps Porzingis deal.

    They’ll have to keep the hustle plays coming at Houston on Monday night and against Miami at American Airlines Center on Wednesday in the final game before the All-Star break.

    For Powell, it’s business as usual.

    He’s not prone to major fluctuations in the effort he gives. Energy is the driving force behind his game and he’s not going to change that.

    “Whether I’m out there for 3 minutes or 30 minutes, I’m not going to do anything differently,” he said. “You can always control your effort and I’m going to do whatever I can to help win games.”

    Powell is in his fifth season, all but five games as a rookie in Boston have been with the Mavericks. His scoring average has gone up every season, to 8.7 points per game this year.

    He’s still got a ways to go to match Derek Harper, who raised his scoring average every year through his eighth season with the Mavericks, topping off at 19.7 points per game.

    But if Powell continues his second-half surge that might becoming something of a trademark, he should have no trouble keeping his streak going.

    Twitter: @ESefko

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    10 things to watch in Rangers camp

    Rangers pitchers and catchers report on Tuesday with the first full-squad workout next Monday. Here are ten things to watch for.


    The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 102-101 win over the Trail Blazers

     

    1. NEVER GIVE UP: All appeared lost for the Mavs when Rodney Hood nailed a 9-foot fadeaway jumper to put Portland ahead, 96-81, with 10:43 remaining in the game. But that’s when the Mavs got mad and decided to do something about their dire situation. United as one, the Mavs rolled up their sleeves and not only started making a statement on the offensive end of the floor, but they also performed a significant defensive number of the Trail Blazers. After Hood’s bucket, the Mavs ended the game on a brisk 21-5 run. Overall, the Mavs outscored Portland 24-9 in the fourth quarter, tying for the fewest points they’ve allowed in any quarter this season.
    2. LUKA LED THE WAY: As the Mavs were honoring Superhero Day, Luka Doncic continued to marvel and show why he’s the heavy favorite to win this year’s Rookie of the Year award. With the Mavs teetering on the brink of finishing this three-game home stand with a disappointing loss, Doncic rose up and rescued Dallas just in the nick of time. One of the most efficient fourth-quarter players in the NBA this season, Doncic scored 13 of the 24 points the Mavs tallied in the fourth quarter. That includes making five of their nine fourth-quarter field goals and both of their fourth-quarter 3-point baskets. He also made the game-deciding three-point play to go with his nine rebounds and six assists.
    3. HARDAWAY PROVED HIS WORTH: Now we see why the Mavs were so anxious that Tm Hardaway Jr. was included in that blockbuster Kristaps Porzingis trade with the New York Knicks on Jan. 31. Hardaway poured in 24 points, grabbed four rebounds and distributed three assists while going 9-of-18 from the field against the Blazers. He also climbed the ladder once and received one of those riveting Luka Doncic lob passes that directly led to an alley-oop dunk. In addition, Hardaway was a proficient player on the defensive end of the court. And during his 32 minutes, his +17 plus/minus was the best of any of the 23 players who played on Sunday.
    4. FINNEY-SMITH’S SOLID DEFENSE: Portland’s Damian Lillard was on fire when he scored 21 points in the final 5:20 of the third quarter. But Dorian Finney-Smith brought out a bucket of water and cooled him off the fourth quarter. Known for his defensive prowess, Finney-Smith held Lillard to just two made three throws in the frenetic fourth quarter. During that time, Lillard missed all four of his field goal attempts and also turned the ball over twice. In the fourth quarter alone, Lillard had a -five plus/minus while Finney-Smith was a +10. As a whole, as he continues to adjust to his increased playing time in the wake of the two recent trades, Finney-Smith finished the game with 11 points and six rebounds in 35 minutes.
    5. THE BIG 500: It may have gone unnoticed by some, but Sunday’s win was a milestone for the Mavericks in that it was their 500th home victory against 217 losses for a winning percentage of 69.7 percent since they moved to American Airlines Center in time for the start of the 2001-’02 season. The new arena has been so kind to the Mavs that in their 17 seasons since AAC opened, the Mavs advanced to the playoffs 14 seasons and won 12 playoff series. They also reached the pinnacle of their profession by capturing the 2011 NBA title – albeit it was clinched on the road in Miami. The Mavs also have sold out 706 straight home games dating back to Dec. 15, 2001 – the longest such streak in the NBA – and sold out an additional 67 consecutive home playoff games.

    The post The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 102-101 win over the Trail Blazers appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Doncic, Hardaway put on superhuman performances as the Mavs rallied to beat the Blazers

     

    DALLAS – It was Superhero Day at American Airlines Center on Sunday afternoon. And the Dallas Mavericks sure did employ some superhuman efforts in snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

    Dogged by the super-hot shooting of Portland’s Damian Lillard in the third quarter, the Mavs put on their Superman capes in the fourth quarter and rallied from 15 down to squeak past the Trail Blazers, 102-101, before a sellout crowd of 20,340.

    The win was the Mavs’ sixth in their last nine games and padded their overall record to 26-29 going into Monday’s game in Houston. And it came as the Mavs tighten the screws defensively, holding the Trail Blazers to just nine points in the fourth quarter, while scoring 24 points themselves.

    “It’s probably our best quarter of the year if you just take into consideration the whole situation,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We were down pretty significantly headed into the fourth (quarter).

    “They’re a great finishing team with their guards and their playmaking, and to go 24-9 is a great effort defensively.”

    Luka Doncic snapped a tie when he drove inside, scored, was fouled and completed the three-point play to give the Mavs a 102-99 lead with 1:28 remaining in the game. CJ McCollum then scored to get the Blazers to within a point of the Mavs with 34 seconds left.

    After Doncic misfired on a 3-pointer, Lillard missed on a hard drive inside the paint and the Mavs were able to win their 500th home game since thy moved to AAC in time for the 2001-’02 season.

    “We were just being resilient and making sure that we keep fighting,” Tim Hardaway Jr. said. “We knew they were going to make their run.

    “We knew Damian Lillard was going to make tough shots, so we just had to stay poise and continue to keep fighting.”

    Lillard scored 16 consecutive points during one stretch, including 21 of his game-high 30 points in the third quarter. No matter who the Mavs had guarding him, the Blazers’ All-Star guard was just in one of those blistering zones where he was untouchable.

    “He’s an All-Star and one of these years he’ll be a top MVP candidate.,” Carlisle said. “He’s that good.

    “He’s going to have some stretches like that, but as a team we did a great job the last six minutes to get the win.”

    A basket by Rodney Hood put Portland ahead, 96-81, with 10:43 remaining in the game. From there, the Mavs finished on a spirited 21-5 kick as Doncic poured in 13 of his team-high 28 points in the final quarter, and Dorian Finney-Smith locked up Lillard defensively.

    “Something that’s important to understand right now is that Luka has an amazing amount of responsibilities on this team,” Carlisle said. “He’s got to make good decisions, he’s got to score, and he’s got to get guys shots, and he’s got to guard people and rebound.

    “Since the trade (nearly two weeks ago). . .more responsibilities are falling on Luka, and this is really an important 27-28-game stretch for him to feel what this is all about and be able to learn what it feels like to have to deliver in all these different areas. He’s certainly capable of doing it, but it’s a little bit different deal than before the trade for sure.”

    With Hardaway playing the role of Robin to Doncic’s Batman, the Mavs had a terrific one-two punch that eventually kayoed the Blazers. Hardaway scored 24 points on 9-of-18 shots and was the perfect sidekick to Doncic, who really controlled this game from start to finish.

    “I know the first couple of games I knew I was going to be kind of rusty not playing for a week, and then transitioning to a new team,” Hardaway said. “I knew the first couple of games were going to be kind of tough, but at the same time I knew the shots I was taking were good shots.”

    Hardaway tallied 10 points in the third quarter to help keep the Mavs within striking distance of the Blazers.

    “I thought Hardaway Jr. had obviously his best game, “ Carlisle said. “He’s starting to feel his way here and how he’s going to fit in.

    “He was aggressive and smart and he hit big buckets all night long.”

    The Mavs led 25-24 after the first quarter, but trailed 57-47 at intermission. A period linking the first and second quarters were the beginning of a wild sequence that saw Portland outscore the Mavs 20-1.

    However, when it matters most, the Mavs picked themselves up and got their act together just in time to pull out an improbable victory.

    “An exciting game,” Carlisle said. “It was truly some ugly stretches early in the middle, but they can make you look bad with their skill guys, especially Lillard.

    “Him in the third quarter, when it gets like that it’s tough. But our guys didn’t get down. They kept slugging and fighting and that was great to see.”

    Carlisle added that it was great to see Doncic shoulder the load when he knows he’s going to consistently see two defenders coming his way at one time.

    “The important thing is I’ve got to watch his minutes and try to keep him fresh throughout the games,” Carlisle said. “But in terms of the responsibility, all of the attention he’s gotten – and deservingly so – and some of the heroic things at the end of games, with all that comes even more visibility and more responsibility.

    “I love the fact that he loves carrying the load. He has great belief in himself. He’s one of these dynamic young players that has the charisma to give his teammates confidence.”

    And the Mavs rode that confidence to the winner’s circle.

    “Our job is to keep his trajectory consistency moving upward and to make sure that he understands the load and can carry the load, and I think he can,” Carlisle said of Doncic. “I don’t have any doubt that he can.”

    NOTES: Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts applauded the NBA for adding Dirk Nowitzki and Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade to this year’s All-Star roster. But Stotts believes at least one more player should have been added to the All-Star team. “Surprised they didn’t throw Vince (Carter) in there too,” Stotts said. “Of course, Vince is never going to retire, so I guess they got to get a definite commitment from Vince. But I think it was a great tribute to those two guys. It kind of sets a precedent, so if you’re one of the all-time greats, you get an invite to the All-Star game. I really like the fact that Dirk’s going to be in the Three-Point Shooting contest. That’s fun to see. I want Vince to be in the Dunk Contest too, but maybe next year.” Stotts was an assistant coach with the Mavs from 2008’-12, while Carter played for the Mavs from 2011-’14. Carter, by the way, is the oldest player in the NBA at age 42.  He was chosen fifth overall in the same 1998 NBA Draft that Nowitzki was picked ninth. Wade was selected fifth overall in the 2003 draft. . .Stotts was the offensive coordinator on Rick Carlisle’s staff when the Mavs captured the 2011 NBA title/ “Being with Rick gave me a different outlook on how to manage a team, how to coach a team,” Stotts said. “I think you can talk about the X’s and O’s, but I think it’s more use the video, communication with the players, setting a practice plan and how you go about your everyday business was as much what I took from him as anything.”. .The Mavs will play at Houston on Monday and then play their final game before the All-Star break on Wednesday at home against Miami.

    The post Doncic, Hardaway put on superhuman performances as the Mavs rallied to beat the Blazers appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    The Fast Break: Mavs vs. Trail Blazers

    Final: Mavs 102, Trail Blazers 101

  • When Dorian Finney-Smith’s initial offering missed the mark with 9:32 left, Dallas trailing 96-81, Portland’s win probability rose to a seemingly insurmountable 98.3 percent, based on ESPN’s model. But then, something improbable happened. Finney-Smith tipped in his own miss, a humble beginning to a 14-0 Mavericks run capped off by perhaps the game’s most unlikely bucket, a Tim Hardaway Jr. dunk created by an incredible series of tips, bobbles, and caroms along the sideline, mere inches from where Rick Carlisle was watching.

    Basketball has always been a game of numbers, but this era of the NBA is especially so. Every single event that happens in a game has a direct impact on the outcome, and teams have poured untold resources into identifying how they can maximize their odds to win. This game, though, did not follow any rules. The Mavs’ unlikely comeback was just one of several impossible flurries, first when Portland went on a 19-1 run in the first and second quarters and then again when Damian Lillard scored 21 points on eight shots in the third quarter, including scoring 16 straight at one point. The Blazers’ 92-78 lead at the end of the third quarter was itself supposedly a harbinger of what was to come when the clock read all zeros, as Portland had won each of the previous 33 games when it was ahead heading into the fourth. (Amazingly, the club had also lost all 21 games in which it trailed after three.) Rational thinking suggests that all things are solvable, or at least predictable. There was none of that tonight.

    This was the type of game that makes you believe many things. First, that Dallas has somehow found itself just 1.5 games behind LeBron and the Lakers, and just four games out of eighth place with two in hand, and that the playoffs might not yet be out of the question even as the team is just a couple weeks removed from a four-game skid sinking the record to 20-26. Second, that Luka Doncic is something special. It was Superhero Night at American Airlines Center, and Doncic answered the call — and in front of 100 Slovenian fans, no less, who made the trip from Ljubljana by way of Italy, Holland, and Minneapolis — scoring 15 of his team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, answering Lillard’s dazzling display with one of his own. It was a sight to behold, even for a player who has already given us too many highlights for a rookie.

    Doncic is now averaging 24 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists over his last 15 games. In his last seven, he’s averaging just under 26, nine, and seven. Those numbers, from a teenager, might be the most difficult to believe of them all.

  • Doncic stole the spotlight at the end of his game with his scoring, but Maxi Kleber’s defense on Damian Lillard saved the day, staying vertical to contest two shots at the rim, including on the last play of the game.

    Kleber’s defense around the rim isn’t much of a secret anymore, but the magnitude of these stops are understandably amplified given what was at stake. It’s one thing to dominate second units, but post-trade Kleber has assumed starting duties, and he’s now making big plays against one of the best players in the NBA with the game on the line. Dorian Finney-Smith has also become a starter, and he was assigned to Lillard following the guard’s third-quarter explosion. Together, those two helped slow down what appeared to be a runaway freight train.

    Season-long stats are almost irrelevant at this point because Dallas has experienced so much roster turnover since opening night, but the Mavericks are now 10th in the league in defensive rating, and all the way up to second in opponent 3-point percentage. That latter stat in particular is almost unbelievable, considering in the first eight games of the season opponents hit 47.9 percent of their 26.4 attempts per contest. The Mavs started as much behind the 8-ball as a team can be, and yet they’ve scratched and clawed their way back near the top of the league. I’m not smart enough to understand why or how it’s happened, but give some credit to assistant coach Jamahl Mosley, who took over defensive coordinator duties this season following Melvin Hunt’s move to Atlanta.

  • Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 24 points on 18 shots and was a team-best +17 (also the only starter better than +9). He was dynamic, scoring from all over the floor. It was also a day of milestones for Hardaway, who scored his 5,000th career point and also hit his 700th career 3-pointer. More importantly, of course, he delivered a couple big baskets down the stretch, including the aforementioned dunk late in the fourth. He’s flashed quite a bit of athleticism so far in Dallas, linking up with Doncic on a couple of alley-oops already — including one tonight on a play known by some fans affectionately as the “Roddy Oop,” named after former Mavs guard Rodrigue Beaubois. Hardaway has a reputation as a dead-eye 3-point shooter and a dynamic scorer off the dribble, but he’s already shown he’s got hops, too, and has injected even more bounce into the starting lineup along with Finney-Smith and Kleber. Those three, plus Dwight Powell, give Dallas a nice combination of high-flyers to go along with the more ground-bound Doncic and Jalen Brunson, who combined for 13 assists, many of which went to those four.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (26-29) head down to Houston for a quick back-to-back on Monday. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

    The post The Fast Break: Mavs vs. Trail Blazers appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


  • Blazers left with a feeling Mavericks know all too well

    The Mavericks have been on the other side of this brutal equation — more times than they care to remember.

    They’ve watched leads disappear. Lost games they felt they should have won. Been disappointed and wondered how in the world they could leave the court without a victory.

    This time, it was the Portland Trail Blazers lamenting that they let one get away.

    “You score nine points in the fourth quarter, you’re going to have a hard time winning the game,” Damian Lillard said. “It shouldn’t have come down to that, period. You play with fire and you see the result of that.”

    The Mavericks have said that a time or 10 in the last couple seasons as well.

    As Rick Carlisle said, they pretty much had to pitch a shutout in the fourth quarter if they were going to pull out a victory Sunday afternoon. All they did was outscore the Blazers 24-9 in the period and pull out a 102-101 victory at American Airlines Center.

    They did it with Luka Doncic greatness on the offensive end. But they also did it with heavy doses of grit on the defensive end by Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber.

    It was Finney-Smith who got the call to guard Lillard in the final minutes of a one-possession game after Lillard had gone off for 21 of his 30 points in the third quarter, after which the Blazers led 92-78.

    In the fourth quarter, Lillard was 0-for-4 with two turnovers. It was Finney-Smith who guarded Lillard, with Kleber’s help, on the final play when the Blazers had a chance to win it.

    “He’s quick and he kind of lulls you to sleep,” Finney-Smith said. “I knew whenever he’s dribbling and it looks like he might pull up, he might change gears. So I just wanted to stay close so I could make it hard and contested and make him finish over me.

    “He’s a great player and everybody knows he wants that shot. So at the end of the game, they didn’t call a timeout. Obviously, they trust him. It was great team defense. And Maxi did a great job of walling up at the end.”

    Kleber’s effort on the game-saving defensive possession drew high praise from coach Rick Carlisle.

    “He had a couple great verticals,” Carlisle said. “The last possession when Lillard got a little bit of an angle on Dorian, he was there and went vertical and was able to cause the miss and then come down with the rebound. That’s an amazing multiple effort play to be able to do both. To go vertical, then jump up again and come down with the ball.

    “To beat a team like this in this fashion, with a comeback like this, you’re going to have to be almost perfect down the stretch. And our guys were. There was no other way it was going to get done.”

    This was a good example of how the Mavericks are going to have to play the rest of the way if they hope to get into the playoff picture. They have to be a tenacious team that plays through whatever adversity comes their way.

    They also have to have players who can support Doncic, who is being relied on to do virtually everything since the trades involving Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and Harrison Barnes.

    It requires plays like they got from Finney-Smith in the fourth quarter when Carlisle put him on Lillard.

    “It’s a move that you hope to be able to make with a guy like Finney-Smith,” Carlisle said. “I think it’s a difficult ‘ask’ to have a guy like that guard him the entire game. In this case, we went to it late. Lillard’s a great player. He’s an all-star and one of these years he’ll be a top MVP candidate. He’s that good. He’s going to have some stretches like that. But as a team, we did a great job in the last six minutes to get the win.”

    It was why they were able to pull out a victory that looked for the longest time like it would never happen.

    Twitter: @ESefko

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    Mavs sign free agent center Salah Mejri on Sunday

    DALLAS – The Dallas Mavericks filled out their roster to the NBA maximum number of 17 players on Sunday by signing a familiar face — center Salah Mejri.

    It was just last Wednesday that the Mavs waived Mejri, who averaged 3.2 points and 3.9 rebounds in over three seasons with Dallas.

    “We love him,” center Dwight Powell said of Mejri “He brings a lot, even though he’s not necessarily been playing as any minutes as some of the guys who are on this team.

    “It’s definitely great to have another big on our team roster, plus he’s a good friend. I’ve been playing with him for a while. It’s tough to see guys go, especially the way this season has gone, so it’s good to see him come back.”

    Mavs rookie Luka Doncic and Mejri are good friends who were also teammates on Real Madrid in 2015.

    Merji was not on the active roster for Sunday’s home game against Portland and will not accompany the team to Houston, who the Mavs will play on Monday.

    “He’s back on the team because he’s a good player and we need another center that brings a different dimension,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “The fact that he and Luka are friends, that’s an additional good thing.

    “But that wasn’t the reason we brought him back. We brought him back because he’s a good basketball player.”

    The post Mavs sign free agent center Salah Mejri on Sunday appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Pence makes cut in Rangers' roster projection

    The Rangers appear to have a set starting rotation and lineup going into Spring Training, leaving unfinished the usual business of setting the bench and the bullpen. But there are still some unknowns when attempting to predict Texas' 25-man roster for Opening Day.


    Predicting the Rangers' Opening Day roster

    The Rangers appear to have a set starting rotation and lineup going into Spring Training, leaving unfinished the usual business of setting the bench and the bullpen. But there are still some unknowns when attempting to predict Texas' 25-man roster for Opening Day.


    With one roster spot available, Mavs looking at all of their options

    DALLAS – As players around the NBA are waived or are bought out of their contract, the Dallas Mavericks will search the list of available players and see if there’s anyone who fits their needs.

    After all of the wheeling and dealing they’ve done recently, the Mavs have a roster spot available. But there’s no guarantee they’ll use it at any point during these final 28 games of the season.

    “We’re looking at our options as I understand it,” coach Rick Carlisle said after Saturday’s practice eat the Lympo practice facilities. “In the meantime, I’ve got to concentrate on the guys that we have here.

    “That’s kind of how it is and we’ll see what happens in the next several days. There’s some guys getting bought out and some of this and some of that. There will be some different types of options, so we’ll see where the chips fall.”

    Options are plentiful for the Mavs players after four of the opening-day starters – Harrison Barnes, Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews – were sent packing in two separate trades within the span of a week.

    Jordan, Smith, Matthews and a pair of first-round draft picks were traded to the New York Knicks on Jan. 31 for Kristaps Porzingis, Tom Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke and Courtney Lee. Barnes, meanwhile, was traded to the Sacramento Kings this past Wednesday for Justin Jackson and Zach Randolph, who the Mavs subsequently waived on Friday.

    While the shuffling of the deck has an obvious effect on the players — they have to pack up and move across the country at a moment’s notice — what type of challenges are there for the coach?

    “Well, it’s an opportunity for us,” Carlisle said. “It’s kind of a new approach going forward. Guys that certainly appear to want to be here. We’re using some different strategies because the personnel is different.

    “Are there challenges? Yeah, there’s changes, but there’s opportunity. Fortunately, we’ve had a week with some practice time, which has helped, and so we’ll just keep trying to build on that. That’s the way we’ve got to do it.”

    The post With one roster spot available, Mavs looking at all of their options appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Leclerc ranks among MLB's best relievers

    MLB Network's countdown of baseball's best players at each position came to a conclusion with the final installment of the "Top 10 Right Now!" series, featuring the game's top relief pitchers and shortstops.


    Rick Carlisle, Mavs busy laying the critical groundwork with Kristaps Porzingis

    DALLAS – Although the Dallas Mavericks have already acknowledged that Kristaps Porzingis won’t play in any games until next season, that hasn’t stopped them from laying the groundwork on what to expect from the 7-3 power forward.

    “Yesterday I had a chance to meet with Kristaps about how we see his role developing here,” coach Rick Carlisle said after Saturday’s practice at the Lympo practice facilities. “We showed him some film, we showed him some things involving Dirk (Nowitzki), some things involving some of the other top big men in the league that can play both outside and inside.

    “It’s important to have a vision of the direction that you’re going to be going when you have a situation like this so you can get your mind focused on the kind of movements that are going to be required. It was a very good meeting.”

    Porzingis underwent surgery to repair his torn left anterior cruciate ligament on Feb. 13, 2018 while he was playing for the New York Knicks. Less than a month before the injury, Porzingis was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team after he averaged 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game last season.

    The Mavs, who host Portland on Sunday at 2 p.m. at American Airlines Center, acquired Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, Trey Burke and Porzingis in a Jan. 31 trade with the Knicks. In return, the Mavs shipped Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and a pair of first-round picks to the Knicks.

    Since he’s a very vital part of the Mavs’ future, Carlisle and Mavs management wants to make sure Porzingis is fully healthy before they put him in any game. That’s why they’re proceeding with caution in regards with his rehab.

    “He’s doing strength work, rehab work and leg work, court work, and as time goes along those things will ramp up,” Carlisle said. “The transition has been very good, very seamless. He’s right into the swing of things.

    “We have great medical, we have great training people, we have great strength and athletic performance people, we have a great situation. I believe that he feels that way based on the last eight or nine days.”

    A point guard who also has shooting guard skills, Burke describes Porzingis as “a star” who can help take the Mavs places they haven’t been in a while.

    “He’s definitely a guy who can lead a franchise,” Burke said. “I got the opportunity to play with him a little bit before he got injured last season.

    “He makes a point guard’s job so easy with his ability to space the floor, his versatility on both ends of the court. I think he’s a rim protector as well. We all can’t wait for him to be back.”

    Burke compares Porzingis to Nowitzki, who helped changed the NBA to the way it is today with big men stepping outside and draining 3-point shots.

    “Their games definitely are similar, their ability to knock down shots anywhere on the court,” Burke said. “Like I said, it’s easy to play with those guys.”

    Burke has even allowed himself to fast forward and think to next season and visualize guard Luka Doncic, 19, and the 23-year old Porzingis on the court at the same time, and what kind of impact that dynamic duo could have on the Mavs and on the NBA.

    “Both of those guys are very skilled guys (and) they bring a different aspect to this team with their abilities to be aggressive at all times,” Burke said. “They both cause problems and it should be fun seeing those guys play together, it should be fun playing with those guys as well.

    “Right now it’s kind of bleak just because KP is out, but we’re all looking forward to that.”

    Carlisle, who has seen the Mavs miss the playoffs the past two seasons, is certainly looking forward to it, also. Having multiple franchise-type players in their prime on one team is a coach’s dream.

    “Luka is going to be one of our best perimeter players, of course,” Carlisle said. “And Kristaps is a unique big guy that can play inside and outside, and he’s going to play well in the mid-range.

    “We’re a ways away from this coming to real fruition, but this is where the communication and the visual things are important. We’re staying on top of it.”

    Hence the face-to-face chat with Porzingis on Friday.

    “I asked him for some feedback and we had a good discussion,” Carlisle said. “I think we have a good plan and it’s just going to be the rate at which he can increase his court activity.

    “He’s doing great with the rehab, he feels great, and so a lot of positive signs.”

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    Texas has high hopes for quartet of lefty RPs

    The Rangers have four left-handed candidates for their bullpen going into Spring Training, and between them they have a total of 28 Major League appearances. Two have never pitched in the big leagues. That doesn't faze manager Chris Woodward.


    The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 122-107 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks

    1. TOO MANY PAINT POINTS: The Bucks scored 80 points in the paint on Friday. That’s way, way too many points to give up that close to the basket. To put that in perspective, the Mavs scored a total of 88 points in the paint when you combine their totals in recent consecutive games against Detroit and Cleveland. Against the Bucks, the Mavs scored 26 points in the paint. Overall, Milwaukee was 40-of-55 inside the paint for a healthy 72.7 percent.
    2. RAINING THREES: The Mavs got things cranking from the outside as they converted 22 of their 53 shot attempts from 3-point territory. The 22 treys ties a franchise record the Mavs set when they made 22 baskets from downtown against New Orleans on Dec. 29, 2017. And the 53 attempts from behind the 3-point line represents the most 3-pointers the Mavs have ever attempted in a game, breaking the old record of 50 set during a Oct. 20, 2018 contest against Minnesota.
    3. BURKE SHINES: In his second game with the Mavs after joining the team following last week’s trade with the New York Knicks, Trey Burke proved that he can fill up the stat sheet. In 27 minutes off the bench, Burke scored 18 points, grabbed five rebounds, distributed five assists and picked up two steals. Burke was 5-of-9 from the field and 3-of-5 from 3-point land. He also was a plus 15, which is the highest for any Mavs player since Dwight Powell was a plus 16 last Saturday at Cleveland.
    4. HARDAWAY CONSISTENT: Since joining the Mavs following a Jan. 31 trade with the New York Knicks, Tim Hardaway Jr. has been a model of consistency. In his first game with the Mavs on Wednesday against Charlotte, Hardaway tallied 12 points, grabbed four rebounds, handed out two assists and had one steal in 26 minutes. In Friday’s game against the Bucks, Hardaway finished with 12 points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal in 27 minutes.
    5. NEW STARTING FIVE: The Mavs started Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson in the backcourt, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dorian Finney-Smith at the forward spots, ad Maxi Kleber at center. That’s the first time the Mavs have started that lineup and is the 13th different starting lineup the Mavs have employed this season. The latest lineup change is due in part to the two recent trades that involved 10 players and two draft picks. The Mavs were even subbing five players at a time during Friday’s game.

    The post The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 122-107 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Bucks scored 80 points in the paint and went on to defeat the Mavs, 122-107

    DALLAS – Rick Carlisle glanced at the final stat sheet from Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Dallas Mavericks coach was absolutely floored.

    There it was. In big numbers.

    The Bucks scored an amazing 80 points in the paint. That was more than enough as Milwaukee showed why it is the best team in the NBA as it rolled to a 122-107 victory over the Mavs before a sellout crowd of 20,420 at American Airlines Center.

    Afterwards, Carlisle bemoaned the fact that the Bucks got almost whatever they wanted inside the paint.

    “We just did not put up enough resistance and they’re a great team,” Carlisle said. “When you give up 80 points in the paint, which by the way if that’s not an NBA record, I can’t imagine a game where someone scored more than 80 points in the paint — but maybe they did.

    “They’re extremely well coached, (Giannis) Antetokounmpo is a great player, but 80 points in the paint is ridiculous. It’s just ridiculous.”

    The loss dropped the Mavs to 25-29 headed into Sunday’s 2 p.m. game at home against Portland, while Milwaukee improved to 41-13.

    Antetokounmpo did most of the damage inside the paint for the Bucks as he collected 29 pints, 17 rebounds and five assists. That includes a dazzling assortment of dunks.

    “They drove and scored,” Mavs guard Devin Harris said. “Some of it, I don’t know if you can’t stop it.

    “Obviously, Giannis is very good at getting in the paint. Sometimes it’s harder to stop him one-on-one, but they do a great job of surrounding him with shooters so you can’t really help, and a lot of times it leaves our guys out there one-on-one. Obviously, he’s hard to stop that way.”

    In the loss, the Mavs dodged more bad news when the x-rays on Luka Doncic’s sore left hand came back negative. Doncic finished with a team-high 20 points, Trey Burke had 18 points, five rebounds and five assists, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dwight Powell tallied 12 points apiece, and Maxi Kleber added 11 points.

    The Mavs tied their franchise record set against New Orleans on Dec. 29, 2017 by making 22 baskets from 3-point land. But that didn’t move the needle as far as Carlisle is concerned.

    “I’m not that interested in whatever that is a team record,” Carlisle said. “I’m interested in our level of resistance.

    “We’ve got to be better, we’ve got to be better.”

    The Mavs were better in the first quarter. After going 0-of-5 from the field and falling behind 8-0, Dallas rallied and ended the first quarter all knotted up with the Bucks at 29 apiece.

    But with Brook Lopez (20 points), Eric Bledsoe (18 points), Malcolm Brogdon (18 points) and Antetokounmpo either drilling 3-pointers or driving to the basket, the Mavs couldn’t keep up the pace.

    “He’s an amazing player,” Doncic said of Antetokounmpo. “His length is amazing. Now he can shoot 3s, so there’s not much you can do.

    “He’s one of the two best players in the league.”

    Still, Carlisle believes the Mavs could have done more to slow down the Bucks.

    “I’ve got to get these guys better prepared, that’s all,” Carlisle said. “It’s my responsibility. I just know we can do better than this. We’re small, so we’ve got to go harder.

    “We’ve got to be more resourceful, we’ve got to be more persistent. That’s going to have to be our calling card with this group.”

    Milwaukee built its lead to as high as 23 points –83-60 – with 7:08 remaining in the third quarter. The Mavs rallied and chopped the deficit down to 104-97 with 8:14 left in the game following a layup by Doncic.

    But Lopez banked in a 3-pointer and scored on a jumper, Bledsoe drained a 3-pointer, and Antetokoumnpo slammed home a dunk and the Bucks’ lead increased to 114-98 with 5:24 left in the game.

    “Obviously, we just collectively didn’t play well enough to do anything with the lead,” Harris said. “Obviously, they came back, hit some tough shots, some threes, but all night long they kind of lived in our paint.

    “We didn’t put up enough resistance.”

    Burke did mange to show what he could offer the Mavs after joining the team following last week’s blockbuster trade with the New York Knicks. Burke played 27 minutes and was 5-of-9 from the field and 3-of-5 from behind the 3-point line.

    “I was pretty comfortable,” Burke said. “Coach just told me to be aggressive. I think it started when he started getting stops.

    “When we got stops we got out in transition and got some easy buckets. First and foremost we got to get stops, and I don’t think we got enough tonight.”

    Carlisle like the way the Mavs were resourceful during Wednesday’s 99-93 win over Charlotte. But that performance didn’t happen against the Bucks.

    “We were trapping (Charlotte guard Kemba) Walker all over the floor, rotating,: Carlisle said. “It was something to see. We’re capable and again, they’re a great team.

    “They get the ball in the paint, that’s what they do. But I know we can be better.”

    And Carlisle inside the Mavs – who were outrebounded 51-37 – will do better.

    “In this league you’ve got to be able to guard penetration at least with a level of force and will,” Carlisle said. “We just didn’t do it.

    “Look, give them plenty of credit. They’re tough. They’ve got good players, they’ve got good drivers. But 80 points (in the paint) is just too many.”

    NOTES: Kostas Antetokounmpo was slated to be active for Friday’s game, but he became ill. Antetokounmpo’s brother, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is the All-Star forward for the Milwaukee Bucks. . .Mavs owner Mark Cuban has a part in the movie, What Men Want, which was first in theaters on Friday.  The movie features Taraji P. Henson, Kristen Ledlow, Richard Roundtree, Tracy Morgan, Erykah Badu, Shaquille O’Neal, Grant Hill and Karl-Anthony Towns. . .Luka Doncic made his first comments since the Mavs waived center Salah Mejri on Wednesday. Doncic and Merji used to play on the same Real Madrid team in Europe. Their American Airlines Center lockers were also right next to each other. Doncic said: “I probably wouldn’t be the player I am if he wasn’t here to help me get through my first season.”

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    Justin Jackson completes whirlwind 48 hours after being traded to the Mavs

    DALLAS — It was a “big-time surprise” to Justin Jackson when he got traded to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.

    At the time, Jackson was playing for the Sacramento Kings. And they were mere minutes away from playing a game against the Houston Rockets.

    “I was already dressed out,” Jackson said. “I warmed up with the team and they were playing the video before our starting lineup (was announced).

    “That’s when they told me while I was sitting on the bench. I always say a prayer before the game and then get up. I was sitting on the bench about to say a prayer and they came and told me I was part of a deal, and so I had to get off the court and go back to the locker room.”

    Zach Randolph and Jackson were traded to the Mavs on Wednesday for Harrison Barnes, and the newest Mavs forward was at the team’s shootaround practice on Friday morning after a whirlwind 48 hours.

    When he found out he had been traded, Jackson went to the Kings’ locker room and watched the first half. After talking to his wife, Jackson then went home before the second half started.

    “I had to get to my wife,” Jackson said. “It was kind of a tough time at the time, but I had to get back to her and kind of sit down and kind of process things together.”

    Part of that process for Jackson and his wife was realizing that they had to pack up and leave Northern California and move to North Texas.

    “It’s kind of a crazy turnaround,” Jackson said. “Thankfully the All-Star break is only a week away.

    “So during the All-Star break I‘ll be able to go back and things are a little bit more settled and I’ll be able to pack up stuff. It’s a crazy time these 48 hours, for sure.”

    The post Justin Jackson completes whirlwind 48 hours after being traded to the Mavs appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Rangers put emphasis on future entering 2019

    The Rangers will begin Spring Training next week with a firm long-term rebuilding vision for their future, but they also have an unwavering determination to be as competitive as possible in 2019.


    Greek Freak on Luka Doncic: ‘I knew he was special’

    The best player in the NBA under the age of 25 – and certainly one of the best, period — is in Dallas Friday night.

    And as good as he is now, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo can’t help but shake his head about what he’s seen from Mavericks’ teenage phenom Luka Doncic, who has taken a similar, albeit accelerated, path as the Greek Freak, in some respects. Both came out of Europe with a lot of hype. Both are stars now.

    Forgive Antetokounmpo if he can’t resist the temptation to say: I told you so, about Doncic.

    “I’m really impressed, but I’m not surprised,” Antetokounmpo told mavs.com after Milwaukee’s shootaround Friday morning. “I thought he was the No. 1 pick. I saw him playing against my brother (Mavericks’ two-way player (Kostas). I think that was two years before the draft. So I knew he was special. I knew he could be really good in this league. And he was my No. 1 pick.”

    Antetokounmpo came into the NBA in 2013 and averaged 6.8 points and 4.4 rebounds in his rookie season. He was the No. 15 pick in the 2013 draft – two spots after the Mavericks picked Kelly Olynyk, whom they traded for Shane Larkin.

    Now Antetokounmpo is an MVP candidate averaging 27 points, 12.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game.

    In his rookie season, Doncic is averaging 20.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists.

    “I was telling my guys in the locker room, he’s going to be good,” Antetokounmpo said. “Watch out. He’s a 6-7, 6-8 point guard. He has a feel for the game, can pass the ball, shoot the ball, smart, has a high IQ. He’s going to get it right away.

    “They were like: he’s going to be one of these overseas kids that come over here and don’t play out at the end. I was like, no, he’s different.

    “And he’s been doing a great job helping the Mavericks. The sky’s the limit for him.”

    Antetokounmpo’s coach, former Atlanta coach and San Antonio assistant Mike Budenholzer, said he’s not sure about any similarities between his star and Doncic.

    But he does see what everybody else sees about Doncic.

    “It feels like, with what Luka did as a teenager and young professional in Europe, he just seems so much established and played in big games and at high levels,” Budenholzer said. “And it feels like Giannis has kind of come out of nowhere and where Giannis has gotten to is obviously special.

    “Luka is so established and well-known at 19. And what Giannis has done over these five or six years has been pretty incredible, but if Luka can make that progress, then it’s, like, scary.”

    Meanwhile, Antetokounmpo has another connection with the Mavericks in his brother, who signed a two-way contract before this season.

    Giannis said his brother, who is four years younger, is doing great so far in his first NBA season as he spends most of his time with the G-League Texas Legends in Frisco.

    “He’s serious about getting better every day,” Giannis said. “And that’s what I care about as the older brother. I’m really proud of the way he’s adjusting to the game. And it’s a learning process for him.

    “He has to learn how to take care of his body, how the NBA works, how the G-League works, how to play back-to-backs, how you got to rest. You got to learn all that stuff. But as long as you have the mindset to get better, he’s going to be fine. I always tell him, all you better than a year ago? You are, so you’re doing the right things.”

    Twitter: @Esefko

    The post Greek Freak on Luka Doncic: ‘I knew he was special’ appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Previewing the AL West's biggest questions

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    Mavericks’ CEO Marshall: ‘We’ve got to see it through,’ while celebrating African American Heritage Night

    As a beacon for cultural diversity and inclusion, the Mavericks take Black History Month very seriously, and particularly the 20th annual African American Heritage Night that will take place Friday when the Milwaukee Bucks visit American Airlines Center.

    A full lineup of activities will take place, including a postgame party presented by McDonald’s Black Owners of North Texas in the Lexus Club.

    The occasion has special meaning for Mavericks’ CEO Cynt Marshall, who has been a leader in advancing executive-level opportunities for women and blacks since her time with AT&T and since joining the Mavericks.

    “In Dr. Martin Luther King’s last sermon, he said, ‘Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through.’ I thought of this on Monday when I was with over 300 terrific stufent leaders from Highland Park High School and 29 other DFW high schools,” Marshall said. “They conducted their fourth all-day forum on the ‘Race to End Racism.’ I’m so inspired by our youth and my children.

    “While significant progress has been made in my lifetime relative to civil rights, equity and equality, they are focused on the current state of things. We’ve got to see it through.”

    At the game (7:30 p.m. tipoff), there will be a pregame mixer with DJ Steve Nice in the Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Club inside AAC. At halftime, Southern University’s world-famous “Human Jukebox” marching band will perform, with the postgame party starting immediately after the final buzzer.

    More information is available at Mavs.com/AAHN. A portion of proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the National Panhellenic Council of Dallas and the United Negro College Fund.

    In addition, the Dallas Mavericks and BNSF Railway, in association with American Airlines, are conducting their 11th annual Black History Month Challenge which offers DFW Metroplex students the chance to win the field trip of a lifetime.

    To commemorate February as Black History Month, students are asked to submit an essay around the topic “Advancing ‘The Dream’: How We Can Take Collective Actions to Create Meaningful Change in Our Communities” for a chance to win a trip to Atlanta, GA to visit the birth place of Dr. King, the King Center, and other historic civil rights and black history sites.

    The contest is open to 8th through 12th grade students within a 75 mile radius of the American Airlines Center. Five (5) winners, along with one (1) parent/legal guardian for each winner, and adult chaperones from the Dallas Mavericks will fly to Atlanta, GA on Friday, March 22, 2018 for an exciting three (3) day/two (2) night educational experience in black history.

    Visit mavs.com for official entry details.

    Twitter: @Esefko

    The post Mavericks’ CEO Marshall: ‘We’ve got to see it through,’ while celebrating African American Heritage Night appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Mavs will continue to make a strong push towards making the playoffs this season

    DALLAS – Just because they spent the past week trading four of their five opening-day starters doesn’t mean the Dallas Mavericks are giving up on this season.

    On the contrary.

    The Mavs (25-28) are just two games in the loss column behind the Los Angeles Clippers (30-26) for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot. And with 29 games remaining in the regular season – including a pivotal Feb. 25 road game against the Clippers – the Mavs know they are very much in the thick of the playoff race.

    “We are all-in on making the playoffs,” Donnie Nelson, the Mavs’ president of basketball operations, said during a Thursday afternoon press conference at American Airlines Center. “It’s a really exciting time.

    “We’ve got a really good young core with significant upside and I’m really optimistic about the future of this team.”

    The Mavs made two major trades over the past week, including one with the New York Knicks that enabled them to acquire All-Star power forward Kristaps Porzingis. However, Porzingis hasn’t played since tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament on Feb. 6, 2018.

    Porzingis underwent surgery last Feb. 13 and the Mavs plan to sit him for the balance of this season with hopes of having him fully healthy in time for the opening of training camp next fall. But Porzingis is a huge Dirk Nowitzki fan and has often been compared to the Mavs’ legendary 21-year veteran.

    So, if the Mavs are close to making the playoffs this season headed into the final few games, is there any chance they’ll play Porzingis so he can help give them a nudge to the playoffs while also realizing a dream of playing with Nowitzki?

    “Everyone knows that the health of our players is the No. 1 thing,” Nelson said. “And we are one of the most conservative teams — probably in the world — and his long-term health is the most important thing.

    “We will not jeopardize that for anything.”

    Nelson said the Mavs will keep an eye on players from other teams who are waived or are bought out of their contracts to see if any of them can help them make a strong push for the playoffs.

    “Again, our focus is, we want to give our young core an opportunity to experience that,” Nelson said. “Again, with Dirk, you just don’t know when he’s going to make that decision (concerning retirement or returning to play next season).

    “And to end it with a playoff run would be a storybook ending, if in fact this is where it ends.”

    The post Mavs will continue to make a strong push towards making the playoffs this season appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Nelson said seasoned veterans who’ve done business overseas surprised by Luka’s early success

    By Dwain Price

    DALLAS – The rapid and surprising success of rookie playmaker Luka Doncic was a factor in the two major trades the Dallas Mavericks executed over the past week.

    So said Donnie Nelson, the Mavs’ president of basketball operations.

    “If Luka would have, I think, taken a more traditional trajectory, gone through your typical rookie season, you may not have seen some of these moves,” Nelson said during a Thursday afternoon press conference at American Airlines Center. “That was definitely a factor – with his timing.

    “We were expecting a little bit more of a learning curve with Luka. He certainly has caught the world by storm and has just taken everything to a different level and has really taken hold of that quarterback position, and that certainly drove some of the decision-making for us.”

    The Mavs drafted Dennis Smith Jr. with the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft with the distinct intentions of having him becoming their point guard for many, many years. Then they got Doncic – he was the third overall draft pick last summer—in a draft day trade with the Atlanta Hawks with the high hopes that he and Smith could possibly share ballhandling duties.

    But when it became crystal clear that Doncic was a more efficient playmaker than Smith, the Mavs had a difficult decision to make. Ultimately, the Mavs shipped DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Smith and a pair of first-round picks to the New York Knicks on Jan. 31 for Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke.

    Then on Wednesday, the Mavs got some additional salary cap relief when they traded Harrison Barnes to the Sacramento Kings for Zach Randolph and Justin Jackson.

    All of this, Nelson explained, was instigated in part because Doncic has been a much more prolific player at this stage of his NBA career than anyone could have imagined.

    “I think it surprised a lot of us seasoned veterans that have done business on the other side of the pond — that’s a very rare thing that we’re seeing happening,” Nelson said. “A 19-year old young man compete at this level and do the things that he’s doing at his age is in a lot of ways unprecedented.

    “So I think that expedited some of our decision-making. It was a factor for us.”

    Doncic is averaging 20.6 points 7.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists, has recorded three triple-doubles in his past seven games, and is the only teenager in NBA history to collect multiple triple-doubles. While Doncic’s play has been absolutely mind-boggling, the mature way he handles himself in the face of double-teams and opponents playing overly aggressive against him has stunned Nelson

    “We obviously paid a lot to trade up two spots (to get Doncic in the draft),” Nelson said. “A future potential top five protected pick — that’s a haul, right?

    “Again, we felt really, really good. But it’s really surprised us how quickly that he has taken (to the NBA) without your typical rookie-itis.”

    Based on what they’ve already accomplished in the NBA, the 19-year old Doncic and 23-year Porzingis are considered to be franchise-type players the Mavs can amply build around. Porzingis was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star squad last year before suffering a season-ending torn left anterior cruciate ligament, and Doncic was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month during the first three months this season.

    “We’re riding the Luka wave and the Kristaps wave and trying to surround those guys with the right young core, and the future is really, really bright,” Nelson said. “Everyone knows what Luka can do, we’ve seen what Kristaps can do and some of the other young pieces that we’ve assembled to cover those other positions.

    “I think Dallas is really in store for something special.”

    Nelson said the Mavs are hopeful of being major players in the free agent market this summer. They have the salary cap space to sign an A-list free agent.

    “We will absolutely be active as always,” Nelson said. “It’s going to be very interesting and an opportunistic summer, and we certainly are positioned to make some noise.

    “There’s going to be quite a few free agents, and again as you know, there’s household names. But we’ve had good luck with, let’s call it maybe not the quite max-level guys.”

    Meanwhile, while the jockeying for free agents takes place, based on what Doncic has already achieved, Nelson has no idea what’s his ceiling.

    “It’s hard to tell right now — it really is,” Nelson said. “And that’s, I think, part of the excitement of being a Mavericks management person, owner, fan, coach, is seeing this young man every single day just kind of continue to push the envelope.

    “It’s exciting, it’s inspiring, it’s taken our franchise and really opened up a lot of doors.”

    The post Nelson said seasoned veterans who’ve done business overseas surprised by Luka’s early success appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.


    Donnie Nelson got emotional when discussing the Harrison Barnes trade

    DALLAS – Probably the most difficult trade Donnie Nelson has ever made occurred Wednesday night when the Dallas Mavericks’ president of basketball operations traded Harrison Barnes to the Sacramento Kings for Zach Randolph and Justin Jackson.

    Nelson even got emotional on Thursday when he was explaining what Barnes meant to him and to the Mavs’ organization.

    “I don’t have words for Harrison Barnes,” Nelson said, sounding almost apologetic for making the trade. “Honestly, he’s the ultimate professional, he’s been everything and more that we’ve hoped for in terms of community.

    “It all hurts a lot when. . .you lose guys like that.”

    Barnes discovered he was traded while the Mavs were playing the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday. The seven-year veteran was subbed out of the game for Dirk Nowitzki with 3:11 left in the third quarter, and never played again.

    Ever the professional, Barnes stayed on the bench the remainder of the game even though he knew he had been traded to the Kings.

    Nelson said waiting to announce the trade after the game ended was apparently not an option.

    “It was extremely difficult, it was excruciating and the problem that you run into when you have something that happen during the course of the game – I’ve never had it happen to me personally – is that you have to protect the player and you have to protect the franchise,” Nelson said. “I know that there’s maybe some dialogue to the contrary — it’s not something we want to do.

    “Listen, Harrison is not there in the fourth quarter our chances go way down, and every game is extremely important to us. And so, in fairness to Harrison we made that move.”

    Nelson didn’t expect Barnes to be traded on Wednesday. But such is life in the NBA when rades are made in a mili-second.

    “In this industry literally things can happen within five minutes,” Nelson said. “Our expectation was that particular situation was going to happen a little bit more towards the (Thursday 2 p.m.) trade deadline.

    “And you’re not in control of timing with a lot pf pieces, but when they’re presented you better squeeze the trigger. It’s like taking the big shot. You better take it when it’s open. Unfortunately that happened, the timing of that happened during the game.”

    Barnes, who led the Mavs in scoring the previous two years and was second in scoring behind Luka Doncic this season with 17.7 points per game, took to social media and thanked the fans and the Mavs organization.

    “Harrison has just been an absolute model human being and has gotten better in his time here, and really in a lot of respects was the guy that the baton was getting passed to in terms of Dirk (Nowitzki) transitioning,” Nelson said. “We really appreciate just everything that he has done for this franchise both in the community and on the court.

    “That was a real gut-wrencher (trade) for us — very, very difficult. Ultimately it’s put us in a position to have a lot of flexibility and that was the reason behind that decision.”

    The post Donnie Nelson got emotional when discussing the Harrison Barnes trade appeared first on The Official Site of the Dallas Mavericks.