The Mavericks are the only NBA team to use a free throw shooting coach. Gary Boren, an investment banker from Dallas, has helped, with a nod to deceased hoops coach Denny Price, the Mavs maintain a steady success rate at the free throw line. This year, the Mavericks are shooting close to 80 percent from the line.
I thought this quote was telling.
â€œWhatâ€™s amazing is, these guys have seen miles of film running up and down the court and the coaches are yelling at them, but not one in a hundred has been filmed standing still shooting a free throw,â€ Boren said.
I can attest to this as a college player whose coach would fast forward the videotape through the free throw sequences.
We make fun of all of the Mavericks assistant coaches but in this case you cannot argue with the results.
Poor Bob Hill. The Seattle Supersonics coach draws up a game plan that tries to contain Dirk, force Jason Terry into situations where is uncomfortable and hope that the Sonics could take advantage of Josh Howard’s absence from the team only to get beat by a bench warmer who had only played 27 minutes the entire month of January. I wonder if Austin Croshere, who clocked in nearly 24 minutes against Seattle on Tuesday night, was even mentioned in the pregame meetings.
Croshere, who normally doesn’t get off the bench enough to score more than a basket or maybe some free throws, scored a career high 34 points in an incredible display of scoring prowess. In his first seven minutes of play Croshere scored 11 points. According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, Croshere went on to have the second highest points-to-minute ratio in Mavericks history.
The great debate is not who will win the Super Bowl, whether McGwire and Rose belong in the Hall of Fame, or if Beckham will awaken soccer in the U.S. The great debate is who has the better team? Mavs or Suns. I do not have the time or statistical juggling ability to determine objectively, so I will let you check the experts and their power (rankings.) What exactly makes these rankings powerful? Anyways, here is what the experts are saying.
Marc Stein (ESPN) using the force- Mavs
John Hollinger (ESPN) using statistics- Suns
Steve Kerr (Yahoo) using ex player cache - Mavs
Eddie Johnson (Hoops Hype) using the question: what team would I like to play for? – Suns
Tony Meija (Sportsline) using Fonzi’s cool - Mavs
Marty Burns (SI) using mega-media conglomerate strength - Mavs
Knickerblogger (Courtside Times) using OTTER - Mavs
Sam Blake Hofstetter (NBCsports) using the magic of Bud Collins’ ties – Suns
Bill Simmons (ESPN) using Tivo - Suns
What do you say? Be sure to list your power source.
Jan Hubbard observes the travesty of the Mavericks lack of attention in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
Part of the explanation for a lack of Mavericks Mania is because of the Cowboys. Almost a week after they were eliminated by Seattle, they still dominate sports coverage, particularly the air waves.
“I was listening to the radio [on Wednesday],” said WFAA/Ch. 8 sports anchor Dale Hansen, “and there was a long debate on whether Tony Romo is going to be that good. My God. It’s January, and we’re talking about next season?”
Hansen, however, admits to playing into the obsession with the Cowboys.
“This Mavericks team, I believe, is the best sports team in this city since the 1993 Cowboys,” he said, while watching the Dallas-Portland game from the hockey press box. “This is the best group of guys, and they are exciting to watch. But if Bill Parcells leaves tomorrow, or Tony Romo gets traded, there will not be a word about the Mavericks Sunday night on [Dale Hansen's] Sports Special. That’s the reality of Texas.”
This is what I have to put up with and I am not just complaining because I want more column inches or more late night highlights. This upsets me because the Mavericks are a special team. I mean, special enough to be placed on the list of other special teams like the 2004 Red Sox, the 2006 Boise State football team, and the 2004 Detroit Pistons team. I have no clue if the Mavericks will win the NBA title but I do know that I have never seen a team like this. Winning games they have no business winning (like the last two games), star play from a player whose legacy will carry into the next two decades (Dirk), a coach who somehow makes his team believe that every NBA game is a NCAA Tournament win-or-go home contest, and young players who balance style, pride, and bravado with real effort, hard work, and homework (Terry and Howard). Why should it take a championship for this team to get the appreciation it deserves?
According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, Mavericks coach Avery Johnson used deception to throw Spurs star Tim Duncan off his game last Friday night in a 90-85 Mavericks win.
In the fourth quarter, the Mavericks bench would yell “Double” “Double” every time Duncan would get the ball but they would never double team the All-Star. The idea was to get Duncan thinking a double team was coming and slow down his movement with the ball or make him more likely to pass to another player. The tactic seemed to work. The Spurs only scored 16 points in the fourth period. Maybe the Mavericks should not cover him next game and yell “Single” “Single” instead. Here is a list of other words that can be yelled at Spurs’ players.
In homage to Brent Barry’s father’s free throw shooting style the bench could yell “Granny” “Granny” whenever Barry gets the ball.
In the playoffs, when Robert Horry is shooting a three the Mavericks need to yell “Preseason” “Preseason”
To Manu Ginobili – “Bald Spot” “Bald Spot”
To Michael Finley – “Finals” “Finals”
To Oberto – “Shower” “Shower”
The Lakers ended the Mavericks second longest winning streak in franchise history with a tight win last night in Los Angeles. I did some rudimentary analysis of the Mavericks first big streak of the year (12 games) and the streak that ended yesterday (13 games.) My focus was to determine which streak was more impressive. Here are my observations:
First Streak 12 games (Nov. 9 – Dec 1)
Road Games: 5
Opponents Faced More Than Once: Memphis
Shared Opponents with other streak: Phoenix, Charlotte, NO/OKC, San Antonio, Sacramento
Exclusive Opponents (faced only in this streak): Chicago, Portland, Toronto, Washington, Minnesota
Stinker Teams: Portland, Toronto, NO/OKC, Memphis (2), Charlotte
2006 Playoff Teams: Chicago, Phoenix, San Antonio, Washington, Sacramento, Memphis
Most Impressive Wins: Phoenix on the road, San Antonio at home
Circumstantial: This streak began with the fifth game of the season (at Phoenix) after the team started the year 0-4. The majority of the wins came without Josh Howard or Devean George who were out with injury.
Second Streak 13 games (Dec. 13 – Jan. 7)
Road Games: 5
Opponents Faced More Than Once: NO/OKC, Seattle
Shared Opponents with other streak: Phoenix, Charlotte, NO/OKC, San Antonio, Sacramento
Exclusive Opponents (faced only in this streak): Denver, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Indiana, Seattle, Philadelphia
Stinker Teams: Seattle (2), NO/OKC (2), Charlotte, Philadelphia
Most Impressive Wins: vs. Phoenix at home, San Antonio on the road
2006 Playoff Teams: Phoenix, San Antonio, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Indiana, Denver
Circumstantial: Played nearly two games without Dirk Nowitski and most of the games without Jerry Stackhouse.
Observations: These streaks are very similar but I may have to give the edge of impressiveness to the first streak based on the circumstances coming after an 0-4 start to the season and playing 9 games without Josh Howard. The second streak loses notoriety because of four games against patsies Seattle and NO/OKC and the benefit of playing Phoenix, LA Lakers, Indiana, and LA Clippers all at home. If the Mavericks would have won last night and made it two in a row on the road against the Spurs and Lakers then the second streak would have been the most impressive.
Just about every team in the NBA was rumored to be interested in Allen Iverson before he was traded to the Denver Nuggets last week. The Mavericks got mentioned a few times simply because the Mavericks, based on their high profile owner and national cache, are becoming the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees of the NBA (“being mentioned in big deals is almost as important as being in the middle of big deals”). According to local reports, the Mavericks brain trust of Mark Cuban, Anthony Johnson, and Donnie Nelson spent less than five minutes discussing whether or not Iverson would be a good fit for the team. Their decision, obviously, was to not pursue any deal for the Sixers, now Nugget, guard.
This got me thinking of other decisions concerning the Mavericks that took less than five minutes to discuss. Here is the list:
Whether the team should send Bennett Salvatore a Christmas card?
After the retirement of Shawn Bradley and Keith Van Horn back to back, should the team be more tolerant of people from Utah.
Just how many assistant coaches do we have?
Whether the purchase of YouTube by Google was a wise deal? (Cuban wanted to discuss but Nelson and Johnson were not interested)
Extending the contract of MavsMan
If anyone would notice if the team tried to sell printed but never worn “NBA Champions” shirts in the gift shop?
Piping lost episodes of the The Benefactor into the visiting locker room.
Developing a new stat that correlates the number of head shots of Cuban during games with the success on the court. (Does Cuban get more airtime when the Mavs are winning or when they are losing?)
Determining how to start 0-4 in the playoffs and then win the next 12 games. Just like they started the season.
Making a trade of George (Devean)-Washington (Darius, preseason free agent) for Thomas (Tim) and Jefferson (Richard).
Letting Terrell Owens try out for the team after the NFL season.
That Avery Johnson would mumble just once. He has the best enunciation known to man.
That the NBA would start an assistant coaches league where at halftime three coaches from one team play three coaches from another in half court three-on-three. The Mavericks have enough coaches that they could wear down teams over the course of the year. The winner gets to throttle the Duke assistant coaches. I want to see Chris Collins get dunked on by Jack Sikma.
That the Harlem Globetrotters would be named the official national team to play in all international competitions. And also provide halftime entertainment.
That the NBA would have an age ceiling on referees. It was interesting to note that there was no referees above 50 officiating the Soccer World Cup games this year.
That Devin Harris would no longer be refered to as “The Up and Coming Devon Harris”. The boy has arrived.
That the Dallas media would realize that all the time they spend sniffing Terrell Owens jock could be spent on the only story that will matter come the middle of January – the Mavericks’ quest for a title.
That Mark Cuban would stop his sarcastic approval act when commenting on the actions of the league office. Surprisingly, the Dallas media never comments on this. Do they really believe his mock glowing accolades for Stern and company?
That Shaq will show at least a passing interest in the regular season. This is purely for my selfish fantasy hoop purposes.
That the Clippers dream run of last year wouldn’t be a fluke.
That all true hoop fans would take on the Nash/Dirk hairstyle philosphy of shaving your hair in the offseason and not cutting it again until the season is over.
That Austin Croshere find a contributive role other than bench cheerleader.
That no assistant coach ever has plastic surgery. Tex Winter is like 80 years old but he looks 35 years younger than that.
That the injury bug going around the league does not reach the Mavericks.
That the Mavericks are hoisting a championship trophy in June.
Watching the Mavericks game last night against the Sonics was like watching a high school JV game. With Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen injured the Sonics had their JV team out there. The Mavericks had their JV team out there too until about mid-way through the third quarter then their Varsity showed up again.
Earl Watson: He is playing with the JV because he can’t get along with the Varsity head coach or with anyone for that matter. He is talented but he thinks he is an elite player when really he is just a good player that needs to fill his role and make the most of it.
Luke Ridnour: He is too good for his own good. Quick, smart, slight of hand ball maneuvers, and funky runner seem so effortless that no one notices too much. “That is just Luke,” they say. He is like Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation - a curiosity for sure but no one takes him seriously.
Mickael Gelabale: He just started playing organized basketball last year after coming over from the track team where he was District Champ in the long jump. He is the most talented guy on the team but doesn’t know a pick and roll from a “pick and pocket.”
Chris Wilcox: Huge, mean, and loves to dunk. After JV practice, instead of working on his free throws he practices two hand slams and sees how far he can swing his legs up on the dunk. He destroyed two goals at the local Baptist church gymnasium.
Andreas Glyniadakis: He is the classic big-white-stiff that all the lower classmen talk up because they have never seen anyone taller than him. Regrettably, his ability, other than drawing fouls, does not match his height. He goes on to play for the local junior college before marrying his high school sweetheart and working at Lowe’s.
Damien Wilkins: One of the only freshmen on the JV, some say because his dad shows up to every practice and intimidates the varsity coach. He has tons of basketball ability but wants to put on a human highlight film every time he touches the ball. He ends up scoring 30 in a JV tournament championship game but by the end of the season he isn’t starting. The dad has made multiple calls to the school principal for the firing of the JV coach.
Nick Collison: Another Varsity player who is making a cameo with the JV because he isn’t getting off the bench with the varsity. Unfortunately, no one can really figure out why he is on the Varsity because he plays so mediocre as a JVer. With the Varsity he is a solid glue guy who can score six and get six rebounds but with the JV he looks lost.
The Miami Heat cap off their home sweep of the Dallas Mavericks with a 95-92 win to claim the franchise’s first NBA title. Dwyane Wade added to his legendary finals performance with 36 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists. He was named series’ MVP.