Saturday, December 15, 2007

Notables from 96-83 win at Houston

Houston Rockets (12-12) vs. Dallas Mavericks (16-9)
Dec. 15, 2007 -- Toyota Center
Final Score: Dallas 96, Houston 83

Houston Leaders
Points: Yao Ming-28
Rebounds: Yao Ming-14
Assists: Yao Ming-3, Tracy McGrady-3, Steve Francis-3

Dallas Leaders
Points: Josh Howard-23
Rebounds: Dirk Nowitzki-6
Assists: Dirk Nowitzki-8

* Tonight's attendance of 18,307 marks Houston's largest crowd of the season and the eighth overall sellout at Toyota Center in 2007-08.
* Houston's 96-83 loss tonight snapped its three-game home winning streak. The Rockets have now lost six consecutive meetings with the Mavericks, including the last three at Toyota Center .
* The Mavericks connected on 36-of-71 (.507) from the field and 17-of-18 (.944) from the free throw line, becoming the first team this season to shoot .500 or better against the Rockets while connecting on .900 or better from the foul line.
* Dallas also outscored the Rockets 30-20 in the third quarter, forcing nine Houston turnovers in that period.
* Houston out-rebounded Dallas 40-29 (+11) tonight, marking the seventh time this season the Rockets have out-rebounded an opponent by a double-digit margin.
* The Rockets actually held the Mavericks to 13 points in the second quarter, which matched the opponent season low for that period. The Spurs also managed just 13 second-quarter points against the Rockets at Houston (11/6/07).
* Yao Ming finished with 28 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots. Overall, Yao has outscored his counterparts, Gana Diop (12) and Erick Dampier (2), by a 79-14 margin over the three games played between the Rockets and Mavericks this season. Yao also had 30 points, a season-high 15 rebounds and a season-best six blocked shots in the last meeting vs. Dallas(11/21/07) at Toyota Center, while Diop and Dampier both went scoreless in that game.
* Yao Ming actually had 14 points and 10 rebounds in the first half of tonight's game. It marked the first time this season and the eighth time in his career to post a double-double by halftime. His last time to accomplish this was 20 points and 10 boards over the first two quarters at the L.A. Lakers (4/2/06).
* Shane Battier, who took four stitches to close a cut on his head suffered in the first quarter, hit 3-of-5 3-pointers en route to 11 points.
* Tracy McGrady also suffered a bruised left knee in tonight's game, but returned for the start of the third quarter.
* Steve Francis got the start for Houston tonight with Rafer Alston out as a precautionary measure with a sore groin.
* Josh Howard (23) and Dirk Nowitzki (20) led five Mavericks in double-figure scoring tonight. Dallas has now had two players reach 20 or more points in each of the three meetings this season (Terry-31 and Jo. Howard-21 on 11/5/07; Harris-22 and Jo. Howard-20 on 11/21/07).

Effort carries over in third Rockets win

HOUSTON – The Mavericks have been looking for carryover. From practice to practice. From game to game. From quarter to quarter.

Whatever the time frame or circumstance, the search for carryover from one performance to the next was put to the test Saturday night. Finishing a back-to-back against a division rival coming off two-day break is about as stiff a challenge as there is in the NBA.

The Mavs rose to the occasion and clamped down on Houston to escape the Toyota Center with a 96-83 victory. In beating Houston for the third time in three tries already this season, Dallas (16-9) appears to be turning a corner.

“It’s about time,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “It’s December now and there has to be a sense of urgency and the last two games there has been some progress. We’re pressing too much and we don’t need to worry, but to just go out and have fun. You can’t get too high or too low because it is a long season.”

The Mavs gave themselves a personal challenge for the last five games.

“Our defense really picked up,” Jerry Stackhouse said. “We’re 4-1. We wanted to look at it as a playoff series and 4-1 will do it every time.”

Westphal suggested starting Jones

Avery Johnson has referred to Paul Westphal as a “calming” influence. Westphal has quietly made his presence felt in his first season on Johnson’s staff, but the former head coach couldn’t convince the current one of starting Eddie Jones last night against New Orleans.

Johnson was asked before tonight’s game at Houston when Jones might be ready move into the role envisioned for the veteran shooting guard.

“A couple more games,” Johnson replied. “I thought about starting him last night. Paul tried to talk me into it, but I just thought I wanted to wait a couple more games just to give him a few more minutes.”

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mixing it up to down Hornets

The combinations were different. The substitution patterns tweaked. The Mavericks shook some things up Friday night and out tumbled a win.

It wasn’t always pretty. The Hornets made their runs. There were defensive breakdowns and offensive bog downs for Dallas. The reigning MVP never found his shot.

But the good outweighed the bad, as the Mavs outlasted Southwest Division rival New Orleans 89-80 two weeks after falling in overtime in the Big Easy. Jason Terry scored a game-high 25 for Dallas, which has won three of its last four.

“I thought for most of the game we executed the game plan,” Mavs coach Avery Johnson said. “We executed our system. They missed some shots, but we were very competitive tonight. Lots of energy.”

Especially defensively. After torturing Dallas a couple weeks back, Chris Paul was held in relative check. David West and Peja Stojakovic – 17 combined points – were shut down. The Hornets as a team were held to 36-percent shooting and the 80 points allowed were the fewest given up since Portland hit the same number Nov. 30.

Jerry Stackhouse typified the basket-protecting effort with a game-turning third-quarter block. With the score tied at 54-all – the Hornets had just taken the lead moments earlier – New Orleans jitterbug Bobby Jackson broke away from an apparent easy layup.

Notables from 89-80 win over New Orleans

TONIGHT’S KEY RUN: DAL led 41-25 with 3:52 remaining in the 1st half. The Hornets then went on a 27-10 run (to 5:39 remaining in 3rd quarter) to take their only lead, 52-51. DAL used a 10-5 run to finish the 3rd quarter and led 61-57 going into the 4th. The Mavericks went on an overall 16-5 run (between 5:39 left in 3Q and 10:09 to go in 4Q). At the end of the run, DAL led 67-57.

• The Mavericks held the Hornets to 13 1st quarter points – the lowest total for a quarter this season. The Cavaliers had two 15-point quarters (1st and 4th) in the season opener (10/31/07) in Cleveland.
• Josh Howard finished with his 5th double-double of the season (15 points, 10 rebounds). The Mavs improved to 4-1 when Howard records a double-double.
• Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-low 7 points (2-8 FGs, 3-4 FTs), but added 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. (Last season, he had two 6-point outings – vs. TOR on 11/29/06 and @ SEA on 12/20/06)
• Hornets guard Chris Paul led the Hornets with 25 points, but dished out a season-low 3 assists. (Previous low was 4 assists @ ATL on 11/30)
• Hornets forward David West scored a season-low 7 points (2-10 FGs, 0-1 3FGs, 3-4 FTs). (Previous season-low was 9 vs. DET on 12/5)
•Hornets forward Peja Stojakovic left the game in the 4th quarter with a re-aggravated left groin injury.
• Tonight’s attendance was 20,071 fans (19,200 capacity). The Mavs have sold out 246 consecutive regular season games at AAC.
• Tonight also marked the 284th consecutive regular/postseason sellout. The Mavs currently have the longest running sellout streak in the NBA. The Sacramento Kings previously held the streak but failed to sellout their home opener this season. The Mavs are now ranked #10 on the all-time NBA sellout streak list.

Devin Harris responds to Jameer Nelson

There should be a little extra something to Monday’s matchup of point guards. Orlando’s Jameer Nelson recently brought up Devin Harris as a reference point to his ongoing contract negotiations.

“I think I’m a better player, and I mean more to my team,” Nelson said according to published reports. “My numbers are better. Yeah, he’s bigger, but he’s not a legit 6-3. I’m a legit 6-1.”

Nelson was joking about his height, but not about his demands. There appears to be a divide in the neighborhood of $10 milion between Nelson and the Magic.

Harris is aware of Nelson’s comments. Harris decided to take the high road, but isn’t about to apologize for his contact.

“What they don’t understand is a team figures your worth,” Harris said. “It’s not me. They see what you’re worth and they’re going to present that to you. I’m sure a lot of people think they deserve more, but it comes down to reality.”

Asked if he’s aware of when the Magic come to town, Harris simply said: “Soon.”

General works in a democracy

For a coach and a team that loves to practice, the last four weeks have provided quite a challenge. The Mavericks haven’t had more than one day off since a Nov. 18-19 break.

It won’t let up until a four-day respite starting Dec. 22. Couple the breakneck schedule with the team’s recent haze, and Avery Johnson has taken a serious look at how the team prepares.

“Get a little practice and try to keep the team a little fresh,” he said Friday before facing New Orleans. “We haven’t responded to practice, we haven’t gotten a carryover like we have in the past, so it’s made me take a serious evaluation on how we practice and when we practice. I actually thought we’d be able to practice a little bit more this year, but that may not be the case.”

Johnson came into the season by tweaking the normal routine. One of the changes is more time in the weight room in an effort to keep the team “stronger longer.”

Johnson recently met with trainer Casey Smith to discuss, among other things, when the team lifts. He may consider moving practice times, though this team prefers getting into the gym around noon.

Johnson just doesn’t want to get too radical.

“The one thing you don’t want to do is outfox yourself,” he said. “Sometimes it’s just simple. You don’t have to get too creative.”

And he plans to continue receiving feedback from those who carry out the orders.

“This is not a dictatorship,” Johnson said. “That’s one of the keys. As much as you guys think I’m all hands on and whatever this picture is you’ve painted of me, I do listen to my team.”

Eddie Jones staying fresh

Eddie Jones played 15 ½ minutes in his return to the lineup Wednesday at Toronto. He missed his only shot, a 3-pointer, and collected three rebounds, two assists, two fouls, a steal and a turnover.

Avery Johnson rated the performance, Jones’ first in 15 games, as OK. That’s not bad considering the kind of day it was for EJ.

“He ran three or five miles on the treadmill earlier that morning,” Johnson said. “We’re not going to do that today. We’re just going to save him now just for games. He finally has met his weight and that was exciting news.”

Johnson has made a big deal of Jones’ losing weight during his rehab stint.

“He must have not eaten for about two days because it was like a boxer when you go for the weight,” Johnson added. “I just don’t want him to take off his shirt.”

Dirk's early All-Star returns solid

Dirk Nowitzki has made six All-Star teams. He’s never been voted a starter. (He did start last year because Yao Ming was out.) You can vote for Dirk and the other Mavs on the ballot here at (where you can win daily prizes) or at

Nowitzki is off to a good start this season, currently sitting second among Western Conference forwards. Fans pick the starting five, while conference coaches choose the seven reserves.

Here are the first returns for the West:

Forwards: Carmelo Anthony (Den) 482,127; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 443,117; Tim Duncan (SA) 423,608; Carlos Boozer (Utah) 175,248; Shawn Marion (Pho) 154,641; Josh Howard (Dal) 146,909; Kevin Durant (Sea) 113,314; Luis Scola (Hou) 101,981; Shane Battier (Hou) 95,757; Grant Hill (Pho) 83,544.

Guards: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 569,302; Tracy McGrady (Hou) 388,959; Steve Nash (Pho) 317,091; Allen Iverson (Den) 292,565; Manu Ginobili (SA) 141,891; Jason Terry (Dal) 121,397; Tony Parker (SA) 117,881; Chris Paul (NO) 110,688; Jerry Stackhouse (Dal) 103,307; Baron Davis (GS) 100,422.

Centers: Yao Ming (Hou) 439,125; Amaré Stoudemire (Pho) 286,401; Erick Dampier (Dal) 101,878; Marcus Camby (Den) 94,473; Pau Gasol (Mem) 73,461; Mehmet Okur (Utah) 51,017; Chris Kaman (LAC) 40,256; LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 35,601; Tyson Chandler (NO) 32,595; Andris Biedrins (GS) 29,026.

Catching up with Brandon Bass caught up with Brandon Bass during the visit to New Orleans earlier this month. As many of you know, Bass is from Louisiana and began his pro career with the Hornets.

Check out the interview at Here's a snippet: Being that you grew up in Louisiana, describe how it feels getting to come home and play in front of a lot of friends and family.

Bass: It’s a good feeling, a little weird, getting to come home and play against your former team and in front of a lot of family and friends. It is pretty much the first time my family will get to see me actually play as an NBA player, so I’m going to enjoy it. What’s been behind your vast improvement in production this season with the Mavericks?

Bass: I think just sticking with it. Sometimes things don’t go as planned early on, but if you stick with it you can overcome some things, and that is what I did in this situation.

Devin Harris back tonight vs. Hornets

Devin Harris looked healthy and rested this morning, and will return to the lineup tonight against New Orleans at American Airlines Center. The stomach virus that knocked the starting point guard out of Wednesday’s loss at Toronto has subsided.

“Devin should be OK,” Avery Johnson said. “He went through shootaround. We definitely need his spend tonight to contain Paul the best that we can and also try to make him play some defense.”

Chris Paul scored 33 points in the Hornets’ 112-108 overtime win over Dallas back on Dec. 1, as New Orleans snapped a 21-game losing streak in the series.

“He’s really playing some outstanding basketball,” Johnson said. “He’s really dangerous right now. He’s making his shots. We know he’s a great leader, floor general, so he’s been giving a lot of teams difficulty right now. He’s playing at the top of his game.”

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What the Mavs had to say in Toronto

Toronto came out and dictated the pace in the second quarter…
Yes, that was the key to the game. We got off to a slow start, but that beginning to the second quarter kind of reminded us of the end of the third quarter against the Knicks. Man, we just weren’t very good and that’s where they got control of the game. I thought we made a little bit of a run at the end of the third, and they finished off the third better than we did. We outscored them 23-21 in the third, much better quarter for us but we gave up 33 points in the second. They pretty much had control of the game the rest of the way.

Were they doing something to you offensively to get you out of sync?
We were out of sync from the start. The first play of the game that we ran is something that we normally run and we just didn’t run it right. We were out of sync from the start. We just didn’t do a good job offensively for the rest of the night.

On Dirk Nowitzki….
He just couldn’t get it going tonight. Josh (Howard) was keeping us in there for a minute. Jet was keeping us in there for a minute but we just couldn’t get going tonight overall.

DIRK NOWITZKI (13 points, nine rebounds)
Thoughts on the game…
I don’t think we were good all night at both ends of the floor. We couldn’t make shots. We shot 38 per cent on the road, that makes it tough to win a game. Plus defensively we weren’t sharp, giving up transition buckets. We were down 20 early and then we had to fight back all game. That is tough, especially against a good team. They are a great home team, so they deserved to win as we weren’t very good.

On the team’s defense…
We have to be better defensively to win, especially on the road consistently. We have to do it with energy, getting back in transition, contesting shots even though sometimes the guy might be open, you still have to go out there and do your best. (Kris) Humphries killed us on the glass, which is all hustle. You have to put a body on him and get the rebounds defensively. We just have to get better defensively if we want to win ball games, especially on the road. At home we can outscore people, if you want to win on the road consistently you have to get stops.

JASON TERRY (21 points, two rebounds)
Thoughts on Chris Bosh…

I had a bad night myself. I had two turnovers in the first two possessions. I didn’t execute a play and that is something that you can’t have when you are trying to get a good start on the road. We weathered the storm there for a minute. When you score 76 points, and they score 92 we should easily win that game 100-92 or vice versa we should easily win that game 78-76. We have got to get some stops. We didn’t rebound the ball well at all tonight.

Coach mentioned it looked like they had more energy than you tonight…
They played last night, so that is kind of mystifying. Give them credit once again they are a good team. They were amped up because T.J. (Ford) was out, but we still have to come out and take care of business. Like I said, give them credit, they outworked us all night.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lackluster Mavs fall hard at Toronto

TORONTO – The Mavericks didn’t give up a lead this time. They never had one.

Dallas native Chris Bosh led the balanced Raptors to a wire-to-wire 92-76 victory Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre. The sluggish Mavs (14-9) had their two-game winning streak snapped in the finale of a quick two-game road trip. Dallas had also won eight straight against Toronto.

The Mavs were without point guard Devin Harris, who came down with a stomach virus the night before. The Raptors had little sympathy. Toronto completed a road-home back-to-back sweep without point guard TJ Ford, who took a violent fall in Tuesday’s win at Atlanta.

Bosh led five Raptors in double figures with 17 points. Toronto (13-10) looked a step quicker from the start, jumping out to an early 5-0 edge that forced a timeout from Avery Johnson.

The Mavs appeared to wake up momentarily before their defense was sliced up in the second quarter. The Raptors were a picture of ball movement and balance, as Toronto took an 18-point lead (54-36) into the half.

Nine Raptors scored in the second quarter – none more than seven points – as Toronto outscored Dallas 33-19. Dirk Nowitzki was the only Maverick in sync offensively, with 11 points and five assists at the break, but the reigning MVP couldn’t do it alone.

Nice job, Butterfingers

A loose ball took out the beer of a guy seated in the front row here late in the second quarter. The spill caused a little delay since it had to be cleaned up by one of the ball boys before play could continue.

During the break, official Gary Zielinski had this to say to the offending fan: “If you’re going to sit in those seats, you either have to save the beer or save the ball. And you did neither.”

The "Real" Mavs are coming

I asked Avery Johnson if he’s seen the real Eddie Jones yet. Johnson took the question in another direction.

“You haven’t seen the real Mavericks,” he said. “Put it like that. Forget Eddie, you haven’t seen the real Mavericks. How about that?”

Johnson’s 20-game evaluation of the team revealed as many questions as answers. Johnson has made some changes, taken some things out, added others and put a new set of challenges into place.

“We have to play some shorter games within games to challenge ourselves,” he said. “I thought we were coasting a little bit too much, especially defensively.”

He does expect to see the real Mavs at some point.

“Sometime soon hopefully,” Johnson said, “but the good news is we haven’t seen them hardly at all early in this season. You’ve seen bits and pieces. You saw a little bit of them in the first half of the Knicks. You saw them offensively against Utah. You saw them early in the season in a game against the Spurs.”

Johnson added that there’s plenty of room for improvement and the plan is a steady climb through the rest of the regular season.

Delayed by Toronto traffic

If the Mavs get out of the gates a little slow tonight, it might be because they’re a little bit behind schedule. Because of gridlock here in downtown Toronto, the two busses hauling the team to the arena were late.

I’m on the first bus, which left the hotel at 4:40 p.m. local time. We got to the arena at about 5:20. That’s about 20 minutes late. The second bus – the one with Avery Johnson, Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard, Jason Terry and others – didn’t get here until 5:45 or about 75 minutes before tip-off.

The locker room opens up 90 minutes before the game, so there was a little scramble to get ready and start the routines. Maybe next time we’ll take the subway.

Harris and Ford out, Jones back

Starting point guards Devin Harris and TJ Ford are out tonight. Suffering from a stomach virus, Harris stayed back at the hotel. He’ll meet the team at the airport after the game for the flight back to Dallas.

Ford could also be in the building later. He took a scary fall last night in Atlanta, hitting his head on the court before being wheeled off in a stretcher. Ford stayed in Atlanta overnight for observation. A battery of neurological tests came back negative, according to team officials, which is good news.

Eddie Jones will be activated for the first time since Nov. 13. The shooting guard is taking a cautious approach as to his return. “If shots come my way, they come,” he said. His focus, however, is defense and rebounding.

JJ Barea will take on a bigger role without Harris. The third-string point guard had been slowed by a sprained joint in his right shoulder, which limited movement. He said that other than being a little sore, he’s fine.

Harris sick and Jones on the verge

Devin Harris missed today’s morning shootaround with a stomach illness. He stayed back at the team hotel to rest. He’ll be a game-time decision tonight against Toronto.

Eddie Jones, officially listed as day-to-day, could be activated. Jones is itching to play and has met most of rehab goals set by Avery Johnson. If Jones doesn’t play tonight, look for his return Friday back in Dallas against New Orleans.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Avoiding more cold (play) in Canada

TORONTO – The flurries awaiting the Mavericks after reconvening Tuesday afternoon north of the border had little to do with the white stuff blowing outside.

Winter Storm Avery Johnson touched down on the practice court inside the Air Canada Centre after originating in New York. The second-half letdown against the Knicks the night before was still being felt during the focused two-hour workout.

“The film session was a little tense,” Jerry Stackhouse admitted. “I think just from a matter of the letdown, so many good things happened for two-and-half quarters for us. But just a couple bad possessions then all of a sudden it snowballed into more of a game than we liked.”

Sure, the Mavs (14-8) beat New York by 10, but considering their 23-point third-quarter lead was chopped to seven with plenty of time left, the win lost some of its luster. Dallas also had an uneven performance last month against the Raptors, rallying from 24 down to win.

“We just need to be mentally tougher, everyone, from one to five,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “We can’t give up easy layups offensively, transition baskets, and [need to] work on our pick-and-roll coverage.

“We just have to challenge ourselves mentally and stay in the game whether we’re up one or 15. We knew they weren’t going to give up. They kept making shots and kept coming back.”

Read the rest of this note and more at

Eddie Jones wants to play vs. Raptors

Eddie Jones finished up practice today with a drill that was draining just to watch. Sprinting from one end of the court to the other, Jones had to shoot 3-pointers from 11 spots on the floor. The goal was to make eight.

He started strong, receiving encouragement from his teammates along the way. Jerry Stackhouse was on his feet cheering him on. As Jones began to slow down, Avery Johnson pushed him on: “Fight through Eddie.”

Jones didn’t make the eight. He kept shooting in the final corner to finish up on a make. Johnson was satisfied. Jones is close to his weight requirement and has met his conditioning goals.

“He worked awfully hard today,” Johnson said. “He’s trying really hard.”

Depending on how he recovers, Jones could play against the Raptors. He sure wants to.

“I feel all right,” he said between breaths. “I’m excited. I’m going to try to make it happen.”

Stack: Stay home booing Knicks fans

Not only did the fans at Madison Square Garden last night heartily voice their dissatisfaction with the Knicks and Isiah Thomas, they booed a young boy singing Frank Sinatra tunes at halftime.

There’s no place like New York.

“I’ve been in situations like that in Philadelphia and it’s tough,” Jerry Stackhouse said today after practice in Toronto. “You just wish they would stay their ass home. Why come to the game and boo? Come and support.

“That’s how fickle Northeastern fans can be or fans in general. If they were able to turn it around somehow and go on a nice 10-game winning streak, Isiah can do no wrong and Dolan made the right move sticking with him.”

MSG chairman James Dolan recently gave Thomas a vote of confidence.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dirk lights up Big Apple for 36

NEW YORK – Jerry Stackhouse whipped a pass behind his back to Erick Dampier cutting on the baseline late in the second quarter. An easy layup followed, as did a timeout from embattled Knicks coach Isiah Thomas.

The Mavericks’ off-Broadway performance Monday night had several jaw-dropping moments, in addition to a bit of drama before the curtain fell.

Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 36 for Dallas, which upped its modest winning streak to two with a showing that bordered on dominating at times, included a second-half lull, and disintegrated into a scene that’s become all too familiar recently at Madison Square Garden.

Fans packing the world’s most famous arena chanted “Fire Isiah” when they weren’t booing through most of the Mavs’ 99-89 victory. Dallas (14-8) concludes its brief two-game trip Wednesday night at Toronto.

Mavs notes: Fast starts/finishes for J-Ho

NEW YORK -- Josh Howard finished strong against Utah. Real strong. The career-high 47-point performance featured 16 points in the fourth quarter, as the Mavericks pulled away late for a 125-117 win.

Howard is no stranger to being the man down the stretch. It’s just been some time.

“In the past I’ve done that,” said Howard, referring to his days at Wake Forest. “Coach has preached to me this year to finish in the fourth. I see that I average something like seven points in the first [quarter], five in the middle ones and just three in the fourth.”

Mavs coach Avery Johnson acknowledged the offense getting away from Howard too much in the fourth quarter this season, even though the fifth-year small forward went into Monday night leading the team in scoring at 22.4 points per game.

Normally, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry take the big shots in crunch time.

“That’s one of the things we talked about,” Johnson said before facing the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. “I had a couple of plays that I wanted to run specifically in the fourth quarter just to make sure he at least touched the ball. Now I didn’t know if he was going to score.”

Read more from tonight’s notes at

Eddie Jones not back tonight

Eddie Jones should be returning to the lineup this week, but it won’t be tonight. The veteran swingman has been out since Nov. 13. The Mavs practice tomorrow in Toronto and face the Raptors on Wednesday.

“That may change tomorrow,” Avery Johnson said. “That may change the next day, but today he’s not ready. He’s made tremendous progress since he’s been in my rehab program.

“Hopefully he’ll hit the court soon and once he hits the court I think it will take him not as long to get ready because of being in peak condition. Weight is down. He just has to consistently run better. We really put him through a big-time test yesterday and he passed so we’ll see how he practices tomorrow.”

Marbury likely out tonight

Grieving over the death of his father, Stephon Marbury is not expected to play Monday night when the New York Knicks host the Mavericks, according to

"I don't think he'll be playing tonight," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said at the team's morning shootaround. "Again, we'll give him as much time as he needs. This is a tough thing for him to overcome right now. He is fighting his way through it."

Since his father, Donald Marbury Sr., died a little more than a week ago, Marbury missed last Wednesday's game against the Nets, but then played in the Knicks' two games against the 76ers over the weekend.