Pelicans starters see action in win over Mavs

October, 23, 2014
Oct 23

BOSSIER CITY, La. -- There can be a little drama in the NBA preseason.

After the New Orleans Pelicans' 10 point fourth-quarter lead was cut to one in the waning moments, an emphatic follow slam by undrafted rookie Patric Young with 2.1 seconds remaining helped the Pelicans secure a 88-85 victory at the CenturyLink Center.

Dallas guard Ricky Ledo's 3-pointer at the buzzer caught the front of the rim.

Tyreke Evans scored 14 points and Anthony Davis added 13 as the Pelicans' starters saw plenty of action in the team's final tuneup for the 2014-15 season.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle opted to rest stars such as Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler in Dallas' penultimate preseason affair. The Mavericks were led by guard Gal Mekel's 17 points.

A 3-pointer from guard Jimmer Fredette pushed the Pelicans' lead to 10 points with 8 minutes left in the game. An Ivan Johnson three-point play helped the Mavericks cut the lead to 86-85 with 30.5 seconds remaining before a wild scramble near under the hoop led to Young's dagger.

The Pelicans finished the preseason 5-2. Dallas is 3-4.

Both offenses struggled early in the neutral site matchup.

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Gravity 101

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22


Tom Haberstroh and Kevin Pelton introduce the concept of gravity and identify some of the NBA's top floor-spacers.
Chandler Parsons, Kevin DurantJerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsChandler Parsons is ready to take the next step in his career and become more of a leader.
DALLAS -- Chandler Parsons embraces the challenge of proving the Dallas Mavericks didn’t overpay for him.

The Mavs certainly paid a premium rate for a player who has never been an All-Star, signing Parsons to a three-year, $46 million deal that is close to a maximum contract for a four-year veteran.

That was the price of poker for the Mavs, who had the luxury of bidding high for Parsons due to Dirk Nowitzki’s discount deal and had to do so to have any chance of the Houston Rockets declining their right to match the offer to their restricted free agent. Parsons looks forward to showing that the Mavs made a wise investment.

“Nothing was given to me, and I believe I earned this contract,” Parsons told “Now obviously, I want to prove my worth.

“I want to prove I’m worth that, and I want another contract. And I want to win big. I came here looking for a bigger role, I came here for more leadership, and I’m ready for that next step in my career.”

The Mavs are confident that Parsons, who turns 26 this week, will continue to be an ascending player. He increased his scoring, rebounding and assists averages in each of his three years in Houston, topping out at 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists last season.

As more of an offensive focal point with the Mavs, it’s reasonable to project that Parsons’ numbers will continue to trend upward.

The Mavs don’t want Parsons to worry about his individual numbers. He’ll have a featured role in the offense, but it’s not as if Parsons will have the ball in his hands as much as the Rockets’ James Harden, whose scoring average and shot attempts increased dramatically after he made the transition from complementary piece in Oklahoma City to go-to guy in Houston.

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Mavs waive Eric Griffin, Yuki Togashi

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
The Mavericks waived forward Eric Griffin and guard Yuki Togashi on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-8 Griffin was originally signed July 18 after playing for the Mavs in the Las Vegas Summer League, where he averaged 9.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.3 steals in 19.3 minutes. He saw action in two preseason games for Dallas.

Togashi, who is listed at 5-foot-7, was signed Oct. 15 and did not play in a game for the Mavs.

Both players are likely to play for the Texas Legends, the Mavs' D-League affiliate.

The Mavericks' roster now stands at 18 players.

'Sky's the limit' for Mavs' offensive machine

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20
NowitzkiJerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports"I think we can score with the best of 'em in this league," Dirk Nowitzki said of the upgraded Mavs.

DALLAS – These Dallas Mavericks will be an offensive juggernaut.

That might sound like a premature declaration, considering this starting five has played a grand total of two preseason games as a unit. But just listen to LeBron James, a pretty good authority on offensive awesomeness.

“If it’s not the top three or four best offenses in the league, then you don’t get any better than Rick Carlisle offense,” James said after getting a firsthand look at the Mavs on Friday in Cleveland.

He’ll get no argument from the Memphis Grizzlies, after one of the NBA’s stingiest defensive teams struggled to get stops until the Mavs’ starters iced up on the bench in the fourth quarter of Dallas’ 108-103 victory Monday night.

You don’t get any better than Rick Carlisle offense, but Carlisle’s offense got a lot better this offseason.

The Mavs were an elite scoring team the past season, when Dallas ranked tied for second in the NBA in offensive efficiency and put up 109 points per 100 possessions. Then the Mavs made a couple major upgrades in the starting lineup.

Chandler Parsons, the Mavs’ new $15-plus-million-per-year small forward, is an all-around weapon who hurts opponents as a pick-and-roll ball handler, spot-up perimeter shooter, slasher, runner and just about any other imaginable way. Tyson Chandler is best known for his award-winning work on the defensive end, but he excels as a roll man who can catch and finish above the rim, a threat who sucks in defenses and creates space for the Mavs’ many shooters.

Whether Jameer Nelson is an offensive upgrade over departed, deadeye-shooting point guard Jose Calderon could be subject for debate, but there’s no doubt Nelson fits well in Dallas with his veteran savvy, perimeter shooting and penetration ability.

Put those new pieces and a deep bench with Dirk Nowitkzi and Monta Ellis, one of the league’s premier pick-and-pop partnerships, and the Mavs have an awfully potent mix.

Not to put too much stock in preseason stats, but in the four quarters started by the Mavs’ starting five, Dallas has scored an eye-popping 130 points.

The Mavs scored 91 points through three quarters against the Grizzlies, who gave up a Western Conference-low 94.6 points per game the past season. Heck, the Mavs managed to score 57 points in the first half despite their two leading scorers from the past season combining for 2-of-11 from the floor.

“I think we can score with the best of ‘em in this league,” said Nowitzki, who finished with 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting. “We definitely have a lot of scoring power out there. The game these days is pick-and-rolls, and we’ve got some great pick-and-roll players. With Tyson and [Brandan] Wright, we’ve got guys who can finish way above the rim. That sucks in a lot of the guys because they’ve got to protect the rim. Jameer is a knockdown shooter. We’ve got a lot of weapons out there.”

The Mavs have a lot of weapons that mesh well. The Dallas decision-makers did a masterful job manufacturing a roster of players who perfectly complement one another.

Nowitzki, the sweetest shooting power forward to ever play the game, demands the kind of attention that will make him the focal point of any defensive game plan. Ellis, one of the league’s most dynamic off-the-dribble players, is one of several Mavericks who should thrive running pick-and-pops with the 10th scorer in NBA history, a list that also includes Parsons, Nelson and sixth man Devin Harris. If teams cheat too much toward Nowitzki when he’s spacing the floor on the weak side while the centers set picks, Chandler or Wright are highlights waiting to happen.

The Mavs, whose rotation will probably go at least 10 deep on a regular basis, plan to play at a fast pace and challenge foes to keep up.

“Rick’s system is unbelievable, and I think for the personnel that we have, it’s perfect,” said Parsons, who had 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting and 5 assists in 28 minutes against Memphis. “It’s run-and-gun, but he does have a structure. His playbook is big. He puts us in the best situations ... spots on the floor where we can thrive ...

“I think the sky’s the limit for us. I think we’ve got to understand that we’ve got so many guys who can score the ball that if we lock in on the defensive end, we could be special. We have so many guys and so many weapons who can hurt you on the offensive end. If we lock in and focus, we’re going to be tough to beat.”

Mavs used balanced offense to beat Grizzlies

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20

DALLAS -- Tyson Chandler and Monta Ellis scored 14 points each to lead seven Dallas players in double figures as the Mavericks beat the Memphis Grizzlies 108-103 on Monday night.

All five Mavericks starters scored 10 or more. In addition to Chandler and Ellis, Chandler Parsons and Jameer Nelson had 11 each and Dirk Nowitzki added 10. Off the bench, Richard Jefferson scored 13 and Al-Farouq Aminu 12.

Quincy Pondexter scored 18 points to lead Memphis. Marc Gasol added 17 points.

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DALLAS -- As the Memphis Grizzlies took the floor for shootaround, the players gravitated to one of the corners of the American Airlines Center court.

“This is the spot, right?” they asked Vince Carter.

Vince Carter
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsVince Carter's finest moment for the Mavs was hitting a game-winning buzzer-beater in last season's playoff series against the Spurs.
“Nah, a little bit over,” Carter replied, basking in the memory of his finest moment with the Dallas Mavericks, that Game 3-winning buzzer-beater in last season’s playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs.

Carter has many fond memories from his three years in Dallas, when the eight-time All-Star reinvented himself as one of the NBA’s best sixth men.

The 37-year-old Carter hoped to continue -- and finish -- his career with the Mavericks, but that’s not the way free agency played out. The Grizzlies swooped in with a take-it-or-leave-it, three-year, $12.3 million offer for Carter while the Mavs were waiting to see if the Houston Rockets would exercise their rights to match Dallas’ deal for Chandler Parsons.

Carter, recognizing that the Mavs couldn’t come close to matching Memphis’ deal if Parsons landed in Dallas, opted to take the sure thing from the Grizzlies, a Western Conference playoff team that needed a sixth man with his scoring and playmaking abilities.

“They offered that young man a lot of money,” Carter said, referring to Parsons. “I kind of understood how it goes from there. It’s a business. I get it, so there’s no hard feelings or anything like that. I understand how it goes. It was a great situation, a great offer from Memphis. It was kind of like, ‘If I pass on this now, what would be left here for me?’ Obviously not much. Had to move on.”

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Pacers rally in 4th quarter, beat Mavericks 98-93

October, 18, 2014
Oct 18

INDIANAPOLIS -- Chris Copeland had 22 points and David West scored 16 to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 98-93 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.

Indiana erased a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit with an 18-3 run that began with Lavoy Allen hit a jumper with 7:35 to play in the quarter. The Pacers outscored Dallas 37-19 in the final period.

David Sloan scored 12 of his 15 points for the Pacers in the fourth.

The Pacers finally took the lead for good, 95-93, when Allen took the inbounds pass and immediately found Sloan cutting through the lane for the layup.

Richard Jefferson and Gal Mekel led Dallas with 19 points each. Al-Farouq Aminu contributed a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds

West left the game in the third quarter with a right ankle injury. He did not return for the Pacers.

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Mavericks down LeBron, Cavaliers 108-102

October, 17, 2014
Oct 17

CLEVELAND -- Chandler Parsons and Jameer Nelson scored 19 points apiece and the Dallas Mavericks beat Cleveland 108-102 on Friday night, handing the Cavaliers their first loss of the preseason.

Dirk Nowitzki added 16 and nine rebounds for the Mavericks, who stuck with their starters in the fourth quarter when the Cavs rested LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Kevin Love didn't play in Cleveland's third exhibition in four nights.

Irving returned to the lineup after missing three games with a sprained right ankle and led Cleveland with 23 points. Tristan Thompson had 17 and James 12 before sitting out the fourth.

Dallas led from the outset, opening a 16-point lead in the first half. The Cavs, who struggled shooting against a zone defense for most of the night, were still within three points in the final two minutes but Brandan Wright scored underneath and the Mavericks held on.

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Shawn MarionDavid Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty ImagesThe Mavs will face former teammate Shawn Marion as a member of the Cavs for the first time Friday.
DALLAS -- “Weird” is the word used by members of the 2011 title team who are currently employed by the Dallas Mavericks to describe seeing Shawn Marion wearing the wine and gold of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Marion, a man who played such a critical role in delaying LeBron James’ first championship celebration a year, is now a member of King James’ supporting cast.

The Mavs have nothing but fond memories and warm feelings for Marion, who they’ll see tonight when they face the Cavs in a preseason game. Marion didn’t make an All-Star team or put up spectacular numbers during his five years in Dallas, as he did during his run with the Phoenix Suns. But owner Mark Cuban should seriously consider raising the Matrix’s No. 0 to the American Airlines Center rafters when Marion retires to the home he’s building in the Dallas suburbs.

“He’ll go down as one of the all-time great Mavs because of his contributions to a championship team, number one,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of Marion, who will rest instead of playing Friday night. “But number two is his versatility and his ability to do so many different things that contribute to winning.”

Marion, a four-time All-Star during his 20/10 days in Phoenix, transitioned to being the ultimate role player in Dallas.

Marion averaged 11.6 points, scoring in double figures each season, despite never being an offensive focal point, getting a bunch of buckets off cuts to the basket or from crashing the offensive glass. He ranked among the NBA’s most effective rebounding small forwards, averaging 7.0 per game during his Dallas tenure, leading the Mavs in that category the last three seasons.

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DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki shot his way into the top 10 of the NBA’s all-time scoring list last season and isn’t nearly done yet.

How high can the big German go?

[+] EnlargeRick Carlisle and Dirk Nowitzki
AP Photo/Jason DeCrowRick Carlisle is confident Dirk Nowitzki will catch Wilt Chamberlain on the NBA's all-time scoring list.
“He’s going to be one of the top five scorers of all time, I would guess,” Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said on Sirius XM NBA Radio.

Nowitzki enters his 17th season with 26,786 points. Wilt Chamberlain, the No. 5 scorer in NBA history, scored 31,419 points in his career.

Can Nowitzki score another 4,633 points in his career? That could largely depend on two issues that are directly related: his health and how much longer he plays.

Nowitzki, 36, signed a three-year, $25 million deal this summer. He certainly hasn’t ruled out continuing to play after that contract expires, particularly if he’s still performing at a high level on a team capable of contending for a title.

“Obviously, I’m looking to complete that contract in three years and then re-evaluate and see how the body is holding up,” Nowitzki said earlier this month. “I’m looking forward to having three good years.”

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Nowitzki, who should move past Hakeem Olajuwon, Elvin Hayes and Moses Malone this season and Shaquille O'Neal in 2015-156, could pass Chamberlain before this deal is done.

Nowitzki scored 1,735 points last season, averaging 21.7 in 80 games. His scoring numbers will likely dip as he continues to fight Father Time and the Mavs try to trim his minutes. He’d need to average 1,544 points over the next three seasons – with an extra free throw mixed in somewhere during that span – to catch Chamberlain by the end of this contract.

With good health, Wilt could be well within Dirk’s reach.

Mavs' Nelson: 'I just have to be aggressive'

October, 16, 2014
Oct 16
DALLAS – Just be Jameer Nelson.

That’s the job description for the new Dallas Mavericks starting point guard in the simplest terms.

[+] EnlargeJameer Nelson
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsJameer Nelson is capable of doing anything the Mavs ask of their point guards.
The Mavs signed Nelson because they wanted a smart, tough floor leader who could provide some penetration, knock down open shots and get the ball where it needed to go. That’s what Nelson did throughout his 10-year tenure with the Orlando Magic.

But Nelson is in the beginning stages of a major transition. He’s learning the Mavs’ schemes on the fly – and they’ve still installed only about half of their offensive sets – and getting accustomed to operating an offense that features a pair of wings who thrive as pick-and-roll initiators and the sweetest-shooting power forward in NBA history.

“Most importantly, I just have to be aggressive in whatever I do,” said Nelson, who has career averages of 12.6 points and 5.4 assists per game. “I’m going to make mistakes. I’m going to mess some things up, but just staying aggressive will help myself and the team.

“The system is new. Things are different. Learning on the fly is a little tough, but I’m smart enough, picking it up pretty fast and learning guys’ sweet spots on the floor, learning when I need to shoot more. All that stuff will come.”

Coach Rick Carlisle, who raves about Nelson’s intangibles, knows that Nelson is feeling his way in a new system with all new teammates. The feeling-out process is about becoming familiar with when and where teammates want the ball and Nelson can get his scoring opportunities in the Mavs’ movement-intensive offense.

“Get comfortable and give us the right balance of penetration, scoring off pick-and-rolls, scoring off spot-ups and he’s got to give us tough defense,” Carlisle said. “He’s very capable of all those things.”

Breaking in a new starting point guard is becoming old hat for the Mavs. Nelson will be the fourth point guard to start opening night for the Mavs in four years, following in the footsteps of Jason Kidd, Darren Collison and Jose Calderon. And who could forget the starting stints for Derek Fisher and Mike James during the 2012-13 campaign? Oh, right, you’d rather forget.

The Mavs very well could be in the market for a premier point guard again next summer, when Rajon Rondo and Goran Dragic should be available in free agency. But Nelson, who has a player option for next season on the two-year, cap-room-exception deal he signed this summer, should be a fine fit to lead a committee that also features veterans Devin Harris and Raymond Felton.

Nelson provides at least reasonable facsimiles of some of the best attributes of the Mavs’ last few opening-night point guards. He’s not among the precious few in NBA history who are on Kidd’s level as a leader, but the muscular, 6-foot Nelson provides toughness, a take-charge personality and would score high on any basketball IQ tests. He’s not as quick as Collison, but Nelson has a knack for getting in the lane and finishing or finding a teammate for an easy bucket. Nelson isn’t as accurate a long-range marksman as Calderon, but he has shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range four times in his career.

In other words, the squatty, 6-foot Nelson is capable of doing anything the Mavs ask of their point guards.

“He’s been around for a long time now and he always plays with certain poise,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “He’s a great shooter, so you can never leave him open. And if he gets in there he’s a good passer – I love his penetrations.

“So with the lineup we’ve got out there, he should get his fair share of pick-and-rolls, he should get his fair share of open shots. And if he’s open, I’ll take a shot up any time.”

In summary, here’s what the Mavs need from Nelson: Be aggressive. Be smart. Be tough. Be yourself.
DALLAS -- The Mavericks’ starting five will make its debut as a full unit in Friday’s preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“We’re going to play our normal group Friday and we’ll go from there,” coach Rick Carlisle said.

It is a certainty that Dirk Nowitzki will not play Saturday against the Indiana Pacers. Nowitzki, who is entering his 17th season, has said that he will not play both ends of back-to-backs during the preseason.

It’d make sense for the Mavs to rest other veterans, such as center Tyson Chandler, shooting guard Monta Ellis and point guards Jameer Nelson and Devin Harris, against the Pacers as well.

For now, the focus is on the starting five building some chemistry after minor injuries to Nowitzki (hip) and Ellis (knee) have prevented the starters from all being on the floor together for game action.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how it works in a game,” Nowitzki said. “We put in a lot of new sets here the last couple of days, so I think it’s going to take a few reps and a few games to get everybody on the same page. But, yeah, it should be a fun game.”

Bruce Bowen discusses comments made by LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki about the length of the NBA season.

MJ mystified by shorter season talk

October, 15, 2014
Oct 15

Michael Jordan was surprised and a bit bewildered to hear LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki suggest Wednesday that they'd like to see the NBA's 82-game regular season shortened.

"I love both of those guys, but as an owner who played the game, I loved playing,'' Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Hornets, told ESPN during a telephone interview. "If I wasn't playing 82 games, I still would've been playing somewhere else because that's the love for the game I had. As a player, I never thought 82 games was an issue.

"But if that's what they want to do, we as owners and players can evaluate it and talk about it. But we'd make less money as partners. Are they ready to give up money to play fewer games? That's the question, because you can't make the same amount of money playing fewer games.''

When asked about the NBA's experiment with a 44-minute exhibition game Sunday, as opposed to the usual 48 minutes, James and Nowitzki said they'd prefer a shorter season to shorter games.

"It's not the minutes, it's the games," James said before the Cavaliers' preseason victory over Indiana. "The minutes doesn't mean anything. We can play 50-minute games if we had to. It's just the games. We all as players think it's too many games. In our season, 82 games is a lot.''

Nowitzki said he'd recommend that the season be cut from 82 games to the "mid-60s.''

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Dirk Nowitzki
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9