Posts Tagged ‘Mavericks’

All Ball Fave Five: Most Disappointing Playoff Teams Of The New Millenium

by Micah Hart

You may have noticed it’s the offseason, which means we have plenty of time to sit around and think about many of the things that make it fun to be an NBA fan. Here at All Ball, we’ll be passing the time until the start of the season with a new series, the Fave Five. Each week we’ll count down a list of the five best, or worst … somethings. We’ll try to get creative with it. Plus we’re taking requests! If you have a suggestion for a Fave Five post, give us a shout and you may see it appear in this space over the next several weeks.

Who is going to win the Super Bowl this year? The World Series? Your guess is as good as mine. In the NFL and MLB, who wins from year to year is totally unpredictable. In football it’s about who is lucky and who is healthy; in baseball it’s who is lucky and who gets great pitching.

The NBA is different. There are very, very few Cinderella stories in professional basketball. For my money, the 2011 Mavericks and the 2004 Pistons are the only surprise champions I’ve seen in the NBA in my lifetime.

The best teams almost always prevail. Which is why when we think of the teams who have come up short since the start of the 2000s, the answers are pretty obvious.

Let’s take a look:

5. 2011 San Antonio Spurs

What happened: The Spurs got off to a ridiculous start to the season (they were 29-4 at one point), and for a while there was talk that they might flirt with 70 wins. They cooled a bit down the stretch, but still finished the regular season as the top seed in the Western Conference with a record of 61-21.

The draw in the West looked pretty good, as they faced the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. Talk about a mismatch – the Spurs, four-time NBA champions, versus the Grizz, who to that point had not won a single playoff game in franchise history in three previous appearances. So naturally they advanced to face HEY WAIT A MINUTE!

Memphis shocked San Antonio in six games, and the Spurs went home as only the fourth No. 1 seed to ever lose to a No. 8 seed*.

* The Bulls became the fifth this past season, but methinks that might have turned out differently had Derrick Rose been healthy.

Why they disappointed: I’ll be honest. I don’t really think of this Spurs team as being all that much of a disappointment. Some of that is due to the fact that the Grizzlies turned out to be a pretty good team, and some (maybe a lot) is due to the fact that Manu Ginobili hurt his elbow the final game of the season and was severely limited in the series. Still, 1 seeds don’t lose to 8 seeds, so here they are.

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Dallas, You Sure You Brought Enough Guys?

by Micah Hart

This is a screenshot from the Mavericks news conference this afternoon to introduce all of their new players for the upcoming season. Man. That’s a lot of bodies.

I’m going to recommend that they wear names on the fronts of their jerseys as well for the first several weeks, just to help all the new guys get to know each other. Maybe do a few ice-breakers, like Two Truths and a Lie or that thing where you pass around a roll of toilet paper without telling anyone why and then make people say something about themselves for each ply they took.

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Jason Terry Is Pushing His Luck With The Whole Championship Trophy Tattoos

by Micah Hart

Remember two seasons ago, when we found out Jason Terry got a Larry O’Brien trophy tattooed on his bicep at the start of the Mavericks’ title-winning campaign? That was amazing. Like once-in-a-lifetime amazing, especially considering the general consensus on the Mavs’ title chances at the beginning of the year.

Apparently Terry has decided to double down on tattoo-related predictions, as the new member of the Boston Celtics tweeted this new addition to his arsenal of ink:

I love the confidence, JET, you know I do, but you saw the Lakers’ recent trade, right? You’re going to need the luck o’ the Irish and the luck o’ the Dwight Howard recurring back injury to pull this one off.

H/T @jasonterry31

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If It Were Up To Charles Barkley, Dirk Nowitzki Would Have Played At Auburn

by Micah Hart

Dirk Nowitzki hosted a celebrity baseball game for charity over the weekend, and aside from any funds raised for the Heroes Foundation, the best part of it was definitely Charles Barkley holding court in the locker room.

Apparently Chuck, along with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, was in Germany back in the late 90′s, and wound up playing against a teenage Dirk in a game where Nowitzki showed his future promise by dropped (according to Barkley) 50 points or so on Pippen. That was all Barkley needed to know, and he set about trying to “entice” Nowitzki to come play college ball at Auburn. Defenders of the purity of college athletics might want to bury their heads in the sand on this one:

My favorite quote: “That dude is seven feet tall, he’s not going in the damn army, what’s he going to hide behind in the field?”

I tell you what – Chuck may have been right about hanging some banners had Dirk gone to play at Auburn. Nowitzki would have been a freshman on the 1998-99 Tigers squad, a team that featured SEC Player of the Year and All-American Chris Porter (a future Warriors draft pick). Auburn was a #1 seed in the South region of the 1999 NCAA Tournament, but was upset in the Sweet 16 by Ohio State.  With a sweet-shooting Nowitzki firing away from the outside to complement Porter’s inside game? Who knows what might have happened.

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Dirk Nowitzki Joins The Avett Brothers In Concert

by Micah Hart

Last time this year, Dirk Nowitzki was joining the ranks of basketball immortals. Things didn’t turn out quite as well for him this season, but at least he’s using his new-found free time wisely.

Saturday night Swish41 made a surprise appearance during the Avett Brothers concert in Grand Prairie, TX, joining the band on stage during the song “I Killed Sally’s Lover” and rocking out on the tambourine. Nowitzki comes in around the 2:00 mark:

If Dirk’s disappointed he’s not still in the mix for the title, he ain’t showing it.

H/T @drewpackham

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LaMarcus Aldridge, How Do You Rate On The Horry Scale

by Micah Hart



Looks like we missed one of these during the regular season when we were on vacation, but can’t let the playoffs get too far gone without acknowledging LaMarcus Aldridge‘s handiwork before his season-ending hip injury.

For those that 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 Clippers-Nets game), and celebration, and give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys.

The Blazers had a tough season, losing many, many players to injury, but at least we know one night ended happily. What’d Horry have to say?

Difficulty

Medium-difficulty shot. Aldridge gets the ball pretty far out on the perimeter with his back to the basket. He gets a nice little shoulder into Brendan Haywood as he makes his move towards the paint, creating some space for a step-back jumper. LA is one of the sweetest shooting big men in the game, so I’m not surprised he cans this one. I know you got bumped a little there Brendan, but a little more effort there on the contest might have been nice.

Game Situation

Tied 97-97 in overtime, the Blazers have just 3.7 seconds left to make something happen. Just enough time to get the ball to Aldridge and let him go to work.

Importance

This game was played on April 6, at which point the Blazers were still very much alive for the 8th spot in the Western Conference playoff race. So yeah, a pretty important win. Unfortunately Aldridge would be lost for the season just a few days later, and Portland would be lottery bound.

Celebration

Portland is an awesome place to hit a game-winner. And though the Blazers were away from the friendly confines of the Rose Garden, they still get a nice huddle going on the Mavericks’ homecourt. A tip of the cap to the sportsmanship of Nic Batum, who ended up smack-dab in the middle of the Mavs’ bench when the shot dropped, but refrained from preening as some might have.

Grade

2 Horrys. A tie game, a somewhat easy shot (though LA’s smoothness deserves a lot of credit for making it look so) makes this one a little on the pedestrian side. I’ll give it 2 though for the potential playoff implications at the time and for doing it to the (since departed) defending champs on their home court.

What do you think?

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Three For All: A Retrospective

by Micah Hart

The 2011-12 NBA regular season will come to an end tonight, and one thing we can say for sure is the compressed 66-game slate certainly gave teams their share of challenges. Chief among those (in our eyes at least) were the back-to-back-to-back series that every team faced at least once throughout the year, a chore that never occurs during a normal 82-game calendar but was made necessary once again due to a lockout (the last time teams played three games in three nights was 1998, the last time the NBA played a shortened season due to a labor stoppage).

With 42 three-for-all sets built into the calendar, we made it our business here at All Ball to document each one, curious to see what information we might glean from them. Would it be an accurate predictor of postseason achievement? Would we see NCAA-tournament style cinderella runs from some of the lesser squads? Could anyone win what we assumed would be an incredibly grueling third game?

Let’s run through some of the numbers and see what’s what.

7 – Number of times teams went undefeated in their three for all challenge, led by the Spurs, who managed to do it twice within the span of less than a month. The Spurs’ second run saw them match the Heat with 15 points, the maximum possible score allowable for three road wins by double-digit margins. We’ll break down who’s was more impressive on Thursday night. In addition to those two, the other perfectionists were the Bulls, who maxed out their trip with 13 points (all wins were by double-digits, but they played only one road game), the Thunder, the Hawks, who amazingly found the strength to win the third game in four overtimes over the Jazz, and the Suns (more on them in a second). Of the six teams to taste perfection, only Phoenix will be sitting out the postseason.

6 — Number of times teams went winless. Would it shock you to learn that the Wizards were the only team to go defeated twice? Would it shock you further to learn the Bobcats, the worst team in NBA history, aren’t on this list? In addition to the Ashington Izards (No Ws – I R HILARIOUS), the Pistons, Clippers, Mavericks, and Suns found the going toughest. The Suns, incidentally, were the only squad to put up undefeated and winless marks, which really encapsulates their season in a nutshell, from being 12-19 to just missing out on a playoff spot after their loss in Utah on Tuesday.

4.5 — The average score for the 42 attempts was 4.5 points. The most common score was 2 points, accomplished 10 times, while no one scored 14 or 9.

22-20 – Record for teams in the third game of the three for all. I gotta tip my cap to these guys, I would have pegged this mark to be much worse before the season started.

And now for some superlatives, after the jump.

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Delonte West Reminds Gordon Hayward of 8th Grade

by Micah Hart

The NBA is a tough, physical game, and as the season winds down and playoff berths are at stake, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see tempers flare a bit from time to time. Usually that means a little pushing and shoving, maybe some jawing, or a staredown. Or, if you are Delonte West, maybe a shove to the ear:



Yeah, that just happened — and it earned Mr. West a technical, too. It’s a good thing Gordon Hayward took the high road, or things might have escalated and West might have snapped him with a wet towel.

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Dirk Nowitzki talks pitching with the Texas Rangers

by Micah Hart

Here is defending World Champion Dirk Nowitzki talking about pitching with defending two-time near World Champions Derek Holland and Scott Feldman of the Texas Rangers:



One thing I’ve always wanted to know — how much do same city/opposite sport professional athletes hang out? Do they have networking mixers? LinkedIn groups? WHAT???

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Three For All: Dallas Mavericks

by Micah Hart



As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.

With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Dallas Mavericks, who played three straight from Mar. 8-10.

The defending champs have had their share of struggles this season, which is to be expected of any team coming off the kind of high that was the Mavericks’ title run. Order seemed to be restored at one point, but then Dallas faced a nine-games-in-twelve-nights stretch to begin the second half of the season, culminating in the three for all, with all three games on the road to boot. A recipe for disaster? Let’s see:

Game 1: Suns 96, Mavericks 94 – Dallas had beaten Phoenix eight straight coming into the game, and led by 11 at the half. All seemed well. Then the Suns got it going, and Rodrigue Beaubois missed two shots in the game’s final seconds that might have sent it to overtime. Tough start. -2 points

Game 2: Kings 110, Mavericks 97 - This is exactly the kind of loss we should expect to see in this compressed season — a young, athletic team racing past an old, tired squad of veterans. The Kings were up 10 at the break and never looked back. -1 point

Game 3: Warriors 111, Mavericks 87 - See previous paragraph, and double it. 0 points

We’ve seen oh-fers twice before this season, by the Pistons and Suns, two teams on the outside of the playoff hunt looking in (Ironically, both teams have been playing their best ball of the season lately — perhaps the humiliation of the winless threeplays were the inspiration?). We weren’t supposed to see this kind of thing from the Mavericks.

However … we’ve seen a few veteran playoff teams take some games off this season. Mark Cuban said himself on the B.S. Report last week that seeding doesn’t matter this year, that every team is just trying to survive the compressed schedule, and that regular season performance will not necessarily translate to the playoffs. So, -3 points for the Mavericks. Were they giving it their all? Or were they taking a couple losses in battle right now in hopes of winning the war later on? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Up next: The Suns are back at it with a chance to redeem themselves, playing three straight Mar. 14-16.

Three for all Top Ten:
Miami Heat (15 points)
Chicago Bulls (13 points)
OKC Thunder (12 points)
New Jersey Nets II (8 points)
Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
Houston Rockets (7 points)
Portland Trail Blazers (6 points)
L.A. Clippers (6 points)
Philadelphia 76ers (6 points)
Denver Nuggets I (6 points)

Full Three for all standings

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