Posts Tagged ‘Dallas Mavericks’

Horry Scale: Monta Is Money


VIDEO: Monta Ellis GWBB

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I can not tell a lie: It has been a season of highs and lows here at Horry Scale Central. We began the season with three Game-Winning Buzzer-Beaters within seven days, a flurry of activity to make even the most jaded NBA watcher’s head twirl. This required me to write three Horry Scale posts in succession, which turned out to be a controversial endeavor. Folks weren’t happy with my rating of the Jeff Green GWBB, which kept me up very late at night, triggering some difficult and genuine soul searching, at least as far as you know. Since then I have perhaps tried to overcorrect with some of my other ratings, a maneuver that has in no small part generated its own share of controversy, and which has caused something of an existential Horry Scale crisis.

But I digress. Before we get too far into this, we should stop and explain: What is the Horry Scale? For those who are new around these parts, the Horry Scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Kings-Pistons game?) and celebration (is it over the top or too chill? Just the right panache or needs more sauce?). Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, the patron saint of last-second daggers.

With the rules in place, Today we turn our tired eyes to the lovely Pacific Northwest. Let’s check out last night’s game-winner from Monta Ellis

DIFFICULTY
Monta Ellis has made tougher shots in his career, probably even in this game. This was basically a catch-and-shoot on a curl coming around a screen, a shot Ellis has taken thousands of times in his life. And Ellis made a clean catch, swung around the screen, and had a wide open look at the basket. And yes, he drained the shot, so kudos to him. To me the most interesting thing on this play was that the Blazers did not switch defenders on the screen. In the NBA, for the most part defenders always switch on picks in the last few seconds of a game, and particularly on an inbounds play. This is not only easy for the players on the floor to remember, in a more general sense it means defenders are always running at the ball when there are only seconds to play. But as Ellis came around the series of screens, Portland’s Wesley Matthews tried to stay with him, with no real help waiting for him. (As my main man Ben Golliver reports on Blazers Edge, Portland had decided before the play to only switch guard-on-guard screens. Dallas’ other guard on the floor was Jose Calderon, who was inbounding the ball, so the Blazers all knew there would effectively be no switching.) By the time Ellis caught the pass, curled around the pick from DaJuan Blair and popped free at the top of the key, Portland’s best defensive option may have been LaMarcus Aldridge, who was flat-footed about six feet away from Ellis. Matthews made a last-second swipe at the ball from behind while trying to recover, but he couldn’t make a difference.

GAME SITUATION
What you don’t see in the clip above is the clutch three-pointer Lillard made to tie the game with 1.9 seconds remaining. That play was set up by a Dallas turnover from, you guessed it, Monta Ellis. So in many ways this GWBB was about redemption for Monta. Still, once Dallas got the ball with the game tied, it seemed like it would probably be Dirk Nowitzki time, right? Even in the video above, as the Mavs line up for the play, you can hear Portland analyst Mike Rice note, “Watch [DaJuan] Blair set a pick for either Vince Carter or Dirk.” So Dallas coach Rick Carlisle using the situation to run a play for Ellis was not only in retrospect a wise choice, it was crafty, as well.

IMPORTANCE
This was big on both sides. The Blazers had been riding a four-game winning streak, and had amassed eight straight wins at home. The crowd in Portland, which is always among the best in sports, was rowdy and sold out, twenty-thousand strong. The Mavs, meanwhile, after an offseason that was quieter than most expected, have been something of a mild surprise this season, bobbing along a couple of games above .500. Any road win in the NBA is a good thing, but a road win over the best team in the Conference is always a great thing.

CELEBRATION
The Mavs seemed really fired up by Ellis’ shot, surrounding him and grabbing him. Also, I’m pretty sure someone ran off the Dallas bench and hit Ellis with a large cushion at about the 19-second mark of the video. I particularly enjoyed this facet of the celebration: The cushion bash needs to become a regular part of post-shot celebrations.

If nothing else, Mavs owner Mark Cuban was jacked up about it…

GRADE
I think we can all agree that the degree of difficulty wasn’t through the roof, at least just as a jump shot, in a bubble. But all the other parts of this play — Ellis’ earlier turnover, Lillard’s game-tying three moments earlier, Portland’s home win streak, Dallas’ execution on the final play — give added weight to the play. This is one of those situations where I wish we had half-Horrys to award, because I really feel like this is a 3.5 Horry Play. Should I round up or down? That’s another discussion for another day. In this case, I’m going with four Horrys, because for me the post-shot cushion bash lifts it from three to four…

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That’s my take. How many Horry’s would you give the Monta Ellis game-winner?

Did Kidd Learn Drink Spill From Previous Experience?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We had a mini-controversy erupt over the long NBA offseason, as Nets coach Jason Kidd became embroiled in…CupGate? WaterGate? SodaGate?

Whatever you want to call it, late in a close game against the Lakers and out of timeouts, Kidd may or may not have intentionally spilled a drink onto the court to delay the game. The Nets basically got a free timeout out of the incident, but lost the game anyway. Kidd was fined $50,000, and he apologized and everyone mostly moved on.

But Mavericks owner Mark Cuban spotted something he might have seen before, and he took to Twitter to point it out. Turns out a drink spill happened in a Dallas/Chicago game back in 2009, giving the Bulls a few free seconds to make some adjustments.

And who was on the court for Dallas when all this occurred? Point guard Jason Kidd…

VIDEO: Spilled Drink Delays Bulls/Mavs

(via FTW)

Rick Carlisle Debuts Gregg Popovich Impression

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Heading into the fourth quarter of last night’s Mavs/Rockets game, ESPN’s Chris Broussard had a couple of questions for Dallas coach Rick Carlisle. Unfortunately for Broussard, this was also the exact moment that Carlisle decided to break out his Gregg Popovich impression…
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VIDEO: Carlisle Does Popovich Impression

MAVS SMASH

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night the Dallas Mavericks came from behind to take a late lead on the Houston Rockets, and they were able to hang on for a 123-120 victory. This morning, Mavs owner Mark Cuban did a little celebrating on the Twitter…

VIDEO: Mavs Smash

Dallas Mavericks Do Spongebob Squarepants

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of my favorite videos of this young season is the Dallas Mavericks’ version of “The Fox” that we linked to the other day. It’s a catchy song that is popular on its own, before the Mavs got involved with animal costumes and random players singing nonsense lyrics. But the Mavs haven’t stopped there, as they keep cranking out parody videos. Their latest missive? A version of the Spongebob Squarepants opening, complete with Captain Mark Cuban…
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VIDEO: Dallas Does Spongebob

(via TNLP)

What Do The Mavs Say?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of this summer’s most popular viral videos came from the Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis, who released their weird song “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)” That video has almost 175 million views, so they’re obviously doing something right.

Leave it to the Dallas Mavericks to create a spot-on parody of the song and video. Want to see guys like Dirk Nowitzki and Sam Dalembert in uniforms and partial animal masks, singing non-sensical lyrics? Then do we have a video for you!

I nearly spat out my coffee when Vince Carter made his appearance…
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VIDEO: What Do The Mavs Say?

Dirk Nowitzki Loves Game Days

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When we last saw Dirk Nowitzki, he was riding around in the back of a car with a DJ and singing “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones.

Now Dirk has re-emerged, this time in the Dallas Mavericks offices, and here we see what Dirk is like on a typical game day. Dude gets pretty fired up, it seems. (BTW, shoutout to Earl K. Sneed with the cameo.)
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(via Mavericks.com)

Talk Show: Raymond Felton


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ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Going into the the 2011-12 season, the Knicks saw popular point guard Jeremy Lin sign with Houston, and they replacedKnockout Blue:Pirate:Black him with Raymond Felton, a former Knick coming off a down season in Portland. While Lin and the Rockets had a nice season, Felton helped coalesce Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith and Tyson Chandler and lead the Knicks to a 54-28 record, their best since ’96-97, and into the second round of the playoffs. This season, Felton says the Knicks have their goals set a bit higher.

I caught up with Felton last week in New York City, where Felton was at an event for Under Armour to help launch its newest basketball shoe, the Anatomix Spawn (right), which he’ll wear this season.

ME: So, what are you doing this summer?

FELTON: I’ve just been training, working out. Trying to spend a little bit of time with family and friends, but for the most part, just really been grinding, just getting after it.

ME: No travel or vacation? You don’t get to take some time off?

FELTON: You know, only traveling I did, when the season ended and we lost, I went to the Bahamas for like four nights, and that’s it. I went to Vegas, but I don’t really count that because that was business. I went down there to watch the team play at Summer League, and I got some workouts in there. I stayed down there an extra week because my AAU Program was coming down to play in tournaments, so I stayed down there to do that. So really, vacation? I haven’t had any.

ME: When you say your AAU program, what do you mean?

FELTON: Team Felton. I’ve got like 5, 6 teams, a legit program.

ME: Is that something where when you played AAU as a kid, you thought, “One day I want to be able to sponsor a program and give other kids this opportunity”?

FELTON: Yeah. You know, the AAU business can be a real crooked business, and I hate to see kids get taken advantage of, man. So I just try to give back. I have a nephew who’s pretty good, so it started with his age group, and I’ve just added teams up from that. It’s been good, my team’s doing pretty good. My highest age group, which is his age group, they finished in the top eight in the country this year. The 14-and-under group, they finished fourth. My other young teams down there, they actually won nationals this year. It’s been pretty good, man.

ME: And are you in the stands cheering during the games?

FELTON: Yeah, I’m in the stands, trying to coach a little bit. You know, get on the referees when they’re making me mad, be like Mark Cuban a little bit. But it’s all fun. I just like to see the kids compete and then try to do the best they can.

ME: For a student of the game and fan of the game, what is it like being the point guard of the New York Knicks? Is it cool?

FELTON: It’s great, man. To be the point guard of the New York Knicks is like being the point guard of the University of North Carolina. When you put that jersey on, everybody will know who you are, everybody will recognize you. It’s a good feeling, it’s a good feeling. I feel like when you play here in the city of New York, if you play hard, they’ll love you. When you’re slacking, they’ll let you know. That’s one thing I do know about New York — these fans, they’ll let you know if you’re not playing up to the part. Which is a good thing.

ME: It’s kind of like Carolina, right? The standards are set pretty high.

FELTON: Yep. If you’re not playing up to the part, they’ll let you know. But it’s fun. I love it.

New York Knicks v Indiana Pacers - Game SixME: When the Knicks signed you last summer, a different point guard in the NBA, an All-Star, told me that he thought you would be the perfect fit for the Knicks, because the Knicks were a team with a lot of options and strong personalities, and you’d be able to sort of direct everything and take control.

FELTON: I feel like I’m somebody that Melo and those guys, they respect me. So if I tell them something, they’re not going to get mad, they’re not going to look at me crazy. They respect my game, they respect me as a point guard. I’m going to get you guys the ball. I know that you and JR need to score this basketball for us. I think those guys, they saw that last year, and this year there’s going to be even more of a respect level, because we had a good season as a team. So I think those guys respected me, just like I give them that same respect back. That’s a big part of having a good team — if you’ve got that respect for each other, it’s easy to play with each other.

ME: Last season you guys had a lot of new parts. How long did you feel like it took you guys to kind of get on the same page?

FELTON: It really took the preseason, and we really tried to click, and we got our bumps and bruises out of the way. Because when the season started, we were rolling.

ME: Right, you guys were red-hot, started 15-5.

FELTON: The biggest thing we wanted to do, we wanted to get off to a great start because we looked toward the end of the year, and our schedule was tough. But we ended up with that tough schedule killing it, won 13 in a row, with all those back-to-backs, back-to-backs, travel, travel. Just the mental toughness that we have a team, after all of that, as a team, and as individuals, and just how we trust and respect one another, I think that’s really big. If you trust and respect one another, I think that takes a team a long way.

ME: What’s it like playing with Carmelo Anthony? Because he’s such a great player, and he kind of gets overshadowed a bit by guys like LeBron or Kevin Durant. Even though he might be the best scorer in the NBA …

FELTON: Without a doubt. Without a doubt. Because he scores in so many ways. There’s a lot of guys who can score the basketball in this league. Kevin Durant, by far, is one of the top ones. Him and Melo could be neck-and-neck — those guys can score in a lot of ways. But Melo can score in more ways than KD, because Melo can post up, he can score off the dribble, he can score in the mid-range, he can score finishing at the rim, and he can shoot threes. You’re talking about a guy who has a total, complete game, and he’s big and strong — 6-8, big body, strong body. A lot of people like to talk about how he takes a lot of shots, this and that. Listen man: We need him to score. It gets maximized because if you’re having an off night and you take thirty-something shots, it’s like, “Aw man, he’s shooting too much.” If you’re having a great night, he’s got 40-something points and he took thirty-something shots, ain’t nobody saying nothing. I just tell him, “You do what we need you to do. As a team, we know what you’re going to do every night.” So we gotta adjust our games to that. Me as a point guard, I have to adjust my game to that. I hate when people say about him, “He takes too many shots.” People try to compare him and LeBron — two different games. Melo is who he is, LeBron is who he is. So I hate when they try to make those comparisons. You can’t say Larry Bird and Michael Jordan had the same game. They’re different, but they both got chips. Add Magic Johnson in there. Those guys all had totally, completely different games. But they all got rings. That’s all it is. I support Melo 100 percent. He knows that. We all do. And we want to continue to keep working and get better.

ME: You spent last season playing with Jason Kidd. What kind of coach do you think he’ll be this season in Brooklyn?

FELTON: I think he’ll be a great coach, but at the end of the day, he’s not going to have to do too mCharlotte Bobcats v New York Knicksuch coaching. He can do like Phil Jackson did — he might have drawn something up out of the timeouts, he might have talked about a couple of things during halftime, but Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, those guys ran the team, they made the game. You’ve got Deron Williams, one of the best point guards in the league, you’ve got Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez, those guys understand the game and they’re veterans, so there’s not too much coaching you can do. But he’s going to be great for Deron. He was great for me last year. He made my game better. He made me look at a lot of things a whole lot differently, as far as on the court and off the court. So mentally, he’s going to be great for D, without a doubt. He’s going to make him better mentally, and make him better when he’s on the court. The team themselves? Really, they’re going to be fine on their own. As far as a coach, he’s going to be a great coach. A guy who knows the game the way he does, played the game at the level he played, he’s going to be a great coach. Especially as a point guard, because as a point guard you have to understand every position. Say a coach has 50 plays, you’ve got to know 50 plays, but you’ve got to know every position for every play. That’s something a lot of people don’t understand. So he knows every position. It’s going to take him time to get used to going from playing last year to being a head coach this year, but I think overall he’s going to be a great coach.

ME: I live in Manhattan and I know people in the city and the boroughs love the Knicks. But the last few years, with the move to Brooklyn, it feels like people are starting to talk a little more about the Nets. But do you feel like this is still a Knicks town?

FELTON: Oh, without a doubt. I still feel like it. We’ve still got New York on our chest. We’re still the New York Knicks. We’re still the city’s team, without a doubt. Brooklyn can do whatever, and we’re still going to be the city’s team. There’s nothing like having New York on your chest. Brooklyn is going to be a good team, and I think it’s good for the city, for the state, to have the Nets in Brooklyn. It’s going to be a good, big rivalry, well talked about, which is great. I’m loving it. I don’t care that they’re here — I’m happy they’re here, actually. It’s going to be fun.

ME: So this season is just weeks away now — what are your expectations for the Knicks?

FELTON: Same thing as last year. I feel like we should grow and try to capitalize on what we did last year. We didn’t finish the postseason as well as we wanted, but as far as the season that we had, we had over 50 wins, we won our division, finished second in the East. That says a lot right there, we had a great year. Best season we’ve had in 13 years. So we’ve got to capitalize on that, try to get better from there.

ME: And how do you get better from there?

FELTON: As far as the overall season, all you can do is win more games. (Laughs.) There’s nothing else you can really do as far as that. In the postseason, that’s the biggest thing for us. You’ve got to take care of those 82 games, but if you do that and advance to the postseason, we’ve got to try and advance further than we did last season, and get past that second round, get to the Eastern Conference Finals, and go from there. One step at a time. I feel like if we do better than we did last year, it’s an overall successful year. But it’s one step at a time, one game at a time.

How The Dallas Mavericks Went After Dwight Howard

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — For fans of the Dallas Mavericks, having Mark Cuban as an owner must be nice. No, not every move Cuban and the Mavs make works out perfectly, but at the very least the Mavs try. Where other teams stand pat, the Mavs often make moves and have shown over and over that they are willing to spend some money. If they’re going down, they’re going down swinging.

At the same time, Cuban has frequently shown a willing to be open. He communicates with fans via Twitter and his blog, and regularly pulls back the curtain on the workings of the organization to let fans know the thinking behind decisions.

Over the weekend, Cuban took to his blog to check in with Mavs fans and explain where the Mavs are right now and how they ended up there. Cuban starts with the 2010 season and works his way forward to this summer, where the Mavs had cleared cap space and were planning to make a run at a “max out” free agent. With Chris Paul unavailable, the Mavs instead went after Dwight Howard. According to Cuban, they had a three-hour meeting with Dwight, and as part of their pitch, the Mavs showed him this video they created…
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Cuban adds as a reminder that the video was just a portion of their pitch, an example of the marketing support the Mavs put behind their players.

Since Dwight chose Houston, the Mavs have moved on to the next part of their plan. As Cuban writes…

“If we stay healthy, I think we can have a good team. How good? I don’t make predictions. I do believe that by having a core of players that we can grow and develop with, and cap room in the upcoming season and what we feel is the ability to develop and improve the performance of our players, we are in a good position for this year and for the future. We have been hurt by not having a core of players in place that free agents see as teammates they want to play with.  That shouldn’t be the case next year.”

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Dallas Mavericks Auctioning Off Championship Court

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I grew up in Atlanta going to as many Hawks games as I could afford to get to ($5 seats FTW!). Then, in 1997, the Hawks announced plans to demolish their long-time arena The Omni and build what would eventually be named Philips Arena.

A few weeks after the last event was held there, the Hawks had an auction in The Omni, so my friend Matt and I showed up. Everything was for sale, from kitchen equipment to usher uniforms. We ended up $20 on two huge framed photos that had formerly lived in the press room of former Hawks forward Ken “Snake” Norman, and we pooled whatever money we had to buy two seats from the arena, mounted on a piece of plywood. Matt and I shared an apartment at the time, and we plunked those seats right down in the living room. (They currently reside in my parent’s basement.)

It wasn’t much, but I knew I had to get a piece of history. The Hawks hadn’t won a title in the building — they hadn’t even been to the Conference Finals — but I’d spent so much time there and had so many memories there, that I wanted some kind of keepsake. Not long after our purchase, this happened (skip ahead to the 6 minute mark)…
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I bring this up because news broke today that the Dallas Mavericks are going to auction off two sections of the court that they played on when they won the 2011 NBA Finals, as well as few sets of floor seats, autographed by Dirk Nowitzki. The auction will take place in Chicago on Aug. 1, and if you want to get in on the bidding, you better have some bingo: The court sections have a minimum bid of $7,500, while the seats are all around $400 already.

The coolest part is that according to the Dallas Morning News, proceeds will go to a great cause: the Dallas Mavericks Foundation.

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(via B/R)