Saturday, March 1, 2008

Get well soon

Avery Johnson has been under the weather for the last few days. He had a fever Thursday night in San Antonio causing him to sweat throughout the game. Yes, it was the fever, not the officials or Tim Duncan.

Johnson wasn’t doing much better last night and today it hit particularly hard. He spent today’s practice resting in his office and took a nap on the flight to Los Angeles.

No. 100 coming soon?

Jason Kidd has flirted with a triple-double three times since his Mavs’ reunion, but none was closer than the 21 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists he tallied against the Kings. The next triple-double will be the 100th triple-double of his 14-year career, trailing just Oscar Robertson (181) and Magic Johnson (138) on the all-time.

Though the coaches are given updated stats at every timeout and individual totals are up on a board at both ends of American Airlines Center, Avery Johnson said he wasn’t aware during the game that Kidd was an assist shy of the statistical milestone.

“I didn’t know that,” Johnson said. “I know he was much more aggressive.”

Kidd had a couple chances in the closing minute to get that 10th assist, but he pulled the ball back with the win already in hand.

Kidd gets the point and shoots

When he finally hangs up his sneakers, Jason Kidd will be remembered as one of the greatest passers in the history of the game. That singular ability to create shots for others is the foundation of his game.

Mavericks coach Avery Johnson, a former point guard, understands that unselfishness. Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard, Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse and the rest of Kidd’s teammates appreciate it. But getting the most out of Kidd goes beyond the 64 assists he’s piled up in just six games.

Johnson views Kidd as an all-around threat. Part of that threat involves Kidd creating his own offense. As foreign as the concept may seem – Kidd admitted that for years he wasn’t asked to score – Johnson needed more shots to come flying out of the 34-year-old hands of No. 2.

So one night after hoisting up just eight – and sitting out the final 35 seconds at San Antonio – the guy that’s been given the keys to the Mavs’ offense revved up his engines. Kidd shot 18 times against Sacramento. Message delivered.

“I heard him loud and clear,” Kidd said after scoring a season-high 21 in Friday’s 115-106 win over Sacramento.

Read the rest of this note and get a preview of the Lakers in today's notebook at

Friday, February 29, 2008

Notables from 115-106 win vs. Kings

TONIGHT’S KEY RUN: Sacramento led 79-70 with 2:08 to go in the 3rd quarter. The Mavericks then went on a 20-2 run through the 10:05 mark of the 4th quarter to take a 90-81 lead.

• Jason Kidd scored a season-high 21 points (9-18 FGs, 1-2 3FGs, 2-3 FTs) to go 11 rebounds. The 11 rebounds were a high since joining the Mavericks. (previous season-high was 20 points vs. WAS, 12/28)
• Kidd fell 1 assist shy of his 100th career triple-double. The point/rebound double-double was his first since becoming a Mav.
• Dirk Nowitzki notched his 14th 30-point game (34 points on 15-26 FGs, 2-4 3FGs, 2-2 FTs) and 20th double-double tonight (10 rebounds).
• Josh Howard scored 20 points (10-19 FGs, 0-1 3FGs) for the second time in the last 10 games. It was his 3rd 20-point game in February.
• Malik Allen scored his Mavericks-high 8 points (4-5 FGs) in 14 minutes.
• For the third time this season, Jerry Stackhouse scored a season-high 23 points (5-12 FGs, 2-3 3FGs, 11-11 FTs).
• Dallas improved to 8-1 when scoring 110+ points.
• Dallas improved to 2-0 when 4 players score 20+ points. The only other time the Mavs accomplished the feat was in the 99-84 win @ GS (11/): Jo. Howard and Terry (24), Nowitzki (22), Harris (21).
• Sacramento’s Beno Udrih scored 19 (8-11 FGs, 3-3 FTs) 1st half points – 7 more than his full-game average of 12.0 per game.
• Sacramento waived guard Tyronn Lue before tonight’s game.
• The Mavericks have now won 12 consecutive home games.
• Tonight’s attendance was 20,354 fans (19,200 capacity). The Mavs have sold out 262 consecutive regular season games at AAC and 300 games including the postseason. Dallas currently owns 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.

Dirk & Kidd star in win over Kings

Jason Kidd poked the ball out of a Kings’ hands and went flying into the most expensive of expensive seats at halfcourt. Before he fell, he flipped the ball back to Dirk Nowitzki.

We’ve seen that flip a few times over the last 10 days.

Nowitzki took a step and launched a 35-footer off one foot, the buzzer sounded and the bank was friendly. Another packed house at American Airlines Center, naturally, exploded.

“If he doesn’t get that steal that play doesn’t happen,” said Nowitzki, adding that his shot was “lucky.”

The play of the year for the Mavericks? You’re not going to get much of an argument, especially since the SportsCenter moment highlighted the momentum-turning sequence in the 116-105 victory Thursday night over Sacramento.

“That’s one of my highlights of my career right there,” Avery Johnson said. “If I wasn’t a coach, I would have been jumping out of my suit. But I had to remember I was the coach. I was clapping and smiling and laughing at [Paul] Westphal. Boy, if I was a fan, I would have gone crazy on that one just like our fans did. That was a great highlight play.”

The red-hot Nowitzki scored a game-high 34 and an aggressive Kidd (21 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists) flirted with another triple-double as Dallas bounced back from Thursday night’s setback in San Antonio and won its 12th straight at home.

Josh Howard (20 points) reached the 20-point plateau for only the second time in 10 games. Jerry Stackhouse led the bench brigade, which was stretched out considerably more than the previous night, with 23 points in 33 minutes.

The Mavs had four score at least 20 for the second time this season. Kidd’s total was easily his highest since returning to Dallas (it had been 12) and the most he’s scored in game this season. Erick Dampier led the team with 13 boards, with Nowitzki adding another 10.

The Mavs (39-20) had their issues with Sacramento, the only team with a losing record that the Mavs will face in a five-game run that started against the Spurs. The Kings led by as many as 11 in the first quarter before Dallas turned the tide with a 30-10 run.

Beno Udrih, the victim of Kidd’s swipe at the end of the third, Ron Artest and Kevin Martin helped keep Sacramento afloat. The Kings battled back and regained a nine-point edge in the third before the Mavs stormed back.

Starting with a 7-foot hook from Howard, the home team reeled off 12 consecutive points in just 93 seconds. Challenged by Johnson before the game to attack the basket, Kidd followed with a driving finger roll. Nowitzki drilled a 3-pointer, Howard connected on a floater and then came Kidd-Nowitzki special.

The Mavs would extend their lead from three (84-81) after three period to nine in the fourth, but Sacramento pulled within one possession of taking the lead on several occasions. Dallas would never surrender it and closed out the win at the line in the final minute.

Johnson explains Kidd move

Avery Johnson’s decision to sub Jason Kidd out at the end of last night’s loss at San Antonio dominated the talkshow circuit, TV and radio, and cyberspace today. The Mavericks coach held firm that his decision to sit Kidd with 34.5 seconds left was based on getting the best shot at the time and not a shot at Kidd.

“Had we not been able to get the ball where we needed it to go, I would have been really concerned,” Johnson said before tonight’s visit from Sacramento. “Jason is going to be in the game 90 percent of the time or more in that situation.”

Anything less than 100 percent isn’t likely to satisfy some precincts. Johnson added that all the wrinkles haven’t been ironed out with Kidd just yet. Several mistakes, unseen by the untrained eye, are being made on the offense end during the game with Kidd and Johnson didn’t want to take a chance on the last possession.

Those mistakes are going to be made as the adjustment period continues. Everyone isn’t going to be on the same page after just five games, Johnson said. Having an offensive group he’s familiar with – Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard, Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse and Erick Dampier – won out. Kidd also wasn’t aggressive offensively enough last night (eight shots) to suit Johnson.

“I wanted him to shoot 16 times, instead of eight,” Johnson said.

Johnson understands the shock today, but not the “negative journalism” that followed.

“The disappointing part is when you have negative journalism that talks about how we’re not working that well together or we overreacted to a situation,” he said.

He later added he doesn’t appreciate, “taking it further like I really don’t like [Kidd] or we’re not getting along, I don’t have confidence in him, assuming those things.”

Mark Cuban didn’t have a problem with Johnson’s decision.

“Didn’t even notice, to be honest with you,” Cuban said of Kidd’s absence for the final possession. “All I saw was Dirk wide open and Tony Parker grabbing his jersey.”

Cuban admitted that if the same strategy had been employed down the line, the uproar would have been more justified.

“If this was 28 games from now, then you’d have an argument,” Cuban said, “but it’s five games.”

Key stretch vs. contenders has begun

SAN ANTONIO – Did the Spurs start a four-game stretch that will define the season? Or will those four games, three against legitimate Western Conference contenders, lay out a roadmap of where the Mavericks need to go with a quarter of the season left?

Depends who you ask. In any event, the Mavs view the games against San Antonio, the L.A. Lakers (Sunday) and Utah (Monday) as pivotal.

Avery Johnson: “I don’t know if it’s fun playing against the teams in the West. We’ve done a decent job of it overall, but again we’ve got to give this team a chance. It’s fun the way we’re moving the basketball. I tell you that’s fun to watch.”

Dirk Nowitzki: “It’s a fun stretch. We’ve got to get better with the competition. With the standings in the West, we can’t afford to lose any games.”

Jason Kidd: “You can’t ask for a better chance to see where you’re at team-wise and each night try to get better.”

The Western Conference isn’t going to ease up anytime soon, even with Yao Ming being out for the rest of the season. Nine teams are at least 11 games over .500 going into Thursday and each can make a case for advancing deep into the playoffs.

When the Mavs fly home Monday night, they will have faced three of those teams on the road in a five-day period. It’s understandable why some view the stretch as a litmus test gauging where the Mavs are with Kidd.

The franchise has made no secret of its intentions in acquiring Kidd. Neither has the point guard. But, as Johnson is apt to say throughout the course of the season, championships aren’t won in … fill in the appropriate date. In this case, it’s the first week of March.

Read the rest of this story and get a preview of the Kings in Mavs-Spurs notebook at

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mavs nipped in San Antone 97-94

SAN ANTONIO – Some of the characters have changed, adding another level of intrigue to perhaps the league’s best rivalry, but the essence of Mavericks-Spurs hasn’t changed.

It’s bitter. It’s intense. It’s personal.

So it should come as no surprise that playoff sweat dripped onto the hardwood inside a packed and raucous AT&T Center. When the Spurs finally walked off the court grasping the hard-earned 97-94 victory, the Mavs were left to count up all the missed opportunities.

“Tonight’s game was a heavyweight fight and we just didn’t have that last punch at the end to bring it home,” Avery Johnson said. “We battled tonight and got a chance to see what match-ups we liked or didn’t like and we had a chance see how our defense works with different players. For our first time playing with this team I felt we played hard.”

Three missed shots in the last 25 seconds – two by Dirk Nowitzki and another by Jason Terry allowed San Antonio to take a 2-1 lead in the season series. The Spurs visit American Airlines Center on March 23 for the last regular-season scuffle between the two.

No telling whether a postseason rematch is in the cards, but if one is, it can’t get much better than Thursday. Or can it?

“The game was just what everyone expected it to be,” Nowitzki “It was a physical, fun game that came down to the wire. We had some good looks down the stretch and just couldn’t come up with a big play to force overtime.

“We had our chance. We just fell a bit short. It was a game that was up for grabs. It was back-and-forth in the fourth quarter that could have gone either way with a couple of bounces of the basketball.”

The Mavs (38-20) fell two games back of San Antonio (39-17) in the Southwest Division. Dallas returns home to host Sacramento on Friday night.

The teams traded elbows and baskets for 48 minutes in a contest as close as the final score indicated. The lead changed hands 19 times, with 16 ties. In the fourth quarter alone, no side led by more than Dallas’ five points.

Nowitzki led the Mavs with 28 points, 17 coming on 21 trips to the line. Josh Howard and Brandon Bass added 16 each. The other five Mavs who played – Johnson used only eight for the first time this season – scored 34 points combined.

Tim Duncan (game-high 31 points and 15 rebounds) gave the home team a 96-94 lead with two pressure-packed free throws with 34.5 seconds remaining. Nowitzki misfired from the left free-throw line extended on the ensuing possession, but the Mavs kept the ball when San Antonio knocked the rebound out of bounds.

Nowitzki and Terry couldn’t force a tie, though a whistle could have come on both shots, including Bruce Bowen’s block on Terry’s try with about three seconds left. The whistles never sounded and San Antonio closed it out. Jason Kidd (10 assists) wasn’t on the floor after Duncan’s free throws.

“We wanted to spread the floor and put all of our shooters in the game during the last couple of minutes to give Dirk more room to operate with different situations,” Johnson said.

“We had a good situation, a set play, but we just didn’t make a shot, but we definitely had an opportunity to win,” Terry said. “It was disappointing, but at the same time we have lots of time to get better. It’s a great game to learn from, to watch film and break it down. We have lost the past two games in San Antonio by a total of four points.”

Popping off: Kidd is a “Warrior”

The Spurs tried to sign Jason Kidd in the summer of 2003, even though they were coming off a title with Tony Parker as their point guard. That should tell you something about the respect San Antonio skipper Gregg Popovich had for Kidd.

And still has.

Popovich was asked about the Kidd’s impact after just four games with Dallas.

“I always thought of Jason as a fearless point guard,” Pop said. “If he thinks something’s there, he’s going after it. He’s there to win. If he makes a mistake, he’s great in that he doesn’t care. All that matters is the very next play.

“He doesn’t linger in the past, all he does is compete. He has the same juices flowing that Manu Ginobili has, very unique people, every second they’re on the court. They would have been great warriors in the Middle Ages.”

Magloire won't debut against Spurs

The Mavs wanted a big body like Jamaal Magloire to match up with teams like the Spurs. It just won’t be this game against San Antonio. (The teams meet again March 23 in Dallas.)

Magloire, with one practice and shootaround under his belt, isn’t ready to play just yet. Avery Johnson said the veteran center is in better shape than he thought considering Magloire hasn’t played in a month.

“We’re going to give him a little bit more time,” said Johnson, adding that Magloire will be on the inactive list tonight.

Barry headed to Spurs, Cassell to Boston

It appears the Mavs are out on Brent Barry. The word out of San Antonio is that the 3-point specialist is headed back to the Spurs, the team he’s been with since 2004. Barry, released recently by Seattle, had narrowed his choices to San Antonio, Dallas and Phoenix.

Barry can’t sign with the Spurs until March 21. The NBA mandates a 30-day waiting period before a free agent can re-join the team that traded him. Barry could have signed with another team immediately.

Barry lives in San Antonio and is expected to announce his intentions Friday.

Playoff-tested point guard Sam Cassell, bought out Thursday by the Clippers, is also on the Mavs’ wish list, but indications are that he’s going to Boston.

“He’s a good player and it was something that we definitely visited about,” Avery Johnson said. “Who knows what’s going to happen. If he changes his mind, we definitely have a spot available.”

Tylock Court Vision J-Kidd Assists Corner

What: Launch of the Tylock Court Vision J-Kidd Assists Corner

When: Friday, February 29th when the Mavs take on the Sacramento Kings. Tip is at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Section 113 at American Airlines Center

More Info: On Friday, the Mavs will launch the Tylock Court Vision J-Kidd Assists Corner at the top of Section 113 to keep track of the number of assists Jason Kidd makes at each of the remaining regular-season home games. Similar to the way baseball fans keep track of strikeouts by displaying a "K," the Mavs will display an "A" for every assist Kidd makes. Dr. Gary Tylock will be on hand to flip the first "A."

The first 10,000 fans to enter American Airlines Center tomorrow night will also receive an "A" placard, courtesy of Tylock Eye Care & Laser Center, to hold up every time Kidd records an assist.

For each assist Kidd makes during the remainder of the Mavs home regular-season games this season, Tylock Eye Care & Laser Center will donate $50 to The Jason Kidd Foundation.

About The Jason Kidd Foundation: The Jason Kidd Foundation was established in 1999 and is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the welfare of youth by providing funding for children's medical research and to other charitable organizations that support the needs and interests of children. For more information, visit

Josh Howard Cap Drive Collection Night

What: Josh Howard Cap Drive Collection Night

When: Friday, February 29th Mavs game vs. Sacramento; doors open at 5:30 p.m., and caps will be collected through the end of the first quarter.

Where: American Airlines Center; Plaza Concourse Rotunda 1 outside sections 109 and 110.

More Info: The first 100 fans to donate 10 or more new caps at Friday's game will have the opportunity to attend a postgame meet-and-greet with Josh Howard.

Every cap that is collected will be donated directly to the oncology units of Dallas/Fort Worth area children's hospitals for children afflicted with cancer.

A special thanks to NAPA Auto Parts and Jordan Brand for their support of this program.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Kidd's style is rubbing off

Touch passes from Dirk Nowitzki? Okay, maybe that’s not too hard to believe. But Erick Dampier?

“It’s rubbing off,” Josh Howard surmised. “I’ve never seen it before.”

It is point guard Jason Kidd. More specifically, his willingness to share the ball in a creative and prolific manner. The Mavericks, in the span of about a week, have seemingly transformed into a pass-happy bunch that’s traded high tops for track shoes.

“Jason had brought tremendous energy, as well as the other guys,” Howard added. “If we can continue to keep that energy up and keep flying under the radar going into the playoffs, I think we’ll do great things.”

The numbers during the three-game winning streak going into San Antonio shouldn’t be seen as absolute – after all, it’s a sample of three games – but consider the trends. The Mavs averaged 25.7 assists and 20.7 fastbreak points in wins over Memphis, Minnesota and Chicago. Compare that to 19.9 and 12.8 in the 53 games before Kidd’s arrival.

That’s a 29 percent increase in assists and up a whopping 77 percent on the break. Again, it’s three games against three teams with losing records, but it’s also obvious to anyone watching those three games that a shift in style has occurred.

Read the rest of this story and get a Spurs preview in today's notebook at

Magloire joins the fun

New backup center Jamaal Magloire (6-11, 265) practiced for the first time Wednesday at American Airlines Center before the team left for San Antonio. Avery Johnson said the eight-year veteran had a “decent practice,” but he hasn’t decided if Magloire will be active against the Spurs.

“I feel pretty comfortable,” Magloire said. “I’m going to watch film tonight and we have a shootaround again in the morning, so whatever coach decides, I support it.”

Once he does get up to speed, Magloire’s size should be an asset against the stout frontlines that reside in the Western Conference. Magloire, buried at the end of the bench in New Jersey, jumped at the chance to join a contender and revitalize his once solid career.

“I would hope so,” said Magloire, who has averaged 8.7 points and 7.3 boards in 530 career games. “I worked tremendously hard, even not playing in New Jersey. Everyday I would be the first one in and the last one to leave, and I hope to show that out on the court.”

So why wasn’t he playing with the Nets? He’s at a loss.

“There’s no reason why I wasn’t playing up there,” Magloire replied. “I’m still curious as to why.”

Kids Club All-Star Skills Challenge

What: 2008 Mavs Kids Club All-Star Skills Challenge

When: Saturday, March 8, 2008, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Where: University of Texas at Dallas, 2601 N. Floyd Road
Richardson, TX 75080

Divisions: Separate Boys & Girls Divisions: 8 and under, 9-11, 12-13

Events: 3-A-Day Free Throw Challenge, Mavs Kids Club Passing Competition & Borden Timed Obstacle Course

Other Info: Prizes for the winners of each competition and autographed memorabilia. Participants must have a signed waiver by a Parent/Guardian. Waivers are available at This event is FREE and open to the public.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Veteran center Jamaal Magloire signed

The Mavericks filled a need for a true backup center Tuesday by signing free agent Jamaal Magloire, a former All-Star waived by New Jersey last week.

Magloire (6-11, 265) will practice with the Mavs on Wednesday and be available for Thursday night’s visit to San Antonio. The 29-year-old helps fill the void left when Gana Diop was shipped to the Nets as part of the Jason Kidd trade.

“We’re very fortunate to be able to acquire Jamaal Magloire,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “We were concerned about our backup center spot after the trade and this will provide us some much needed depth.”

Magloire has played sparingly this season – his first in New Jersey – but he’s been productive for most of his eight-year career. He averaged 9.2 points and 9.5 rebounds with Milwaukee in 2005-06, his last season as a full-time starter. Those numbers dipped to 6.5 points and 6.1 boards last season in Portland when he mostly came off the bench.

His glory years were with New Orleans from 2002-05. The Toronto native averaged a double-double during 2003-04 (13.6 points and 10.3 rebounds), earning All-Star honors that season. He’s averaged 8.7 points and 7.3 boards in 530 career games, including 301 starts.

“He’s the perfect age at 29, a former AS, who brings toughness, rebounding and defense,” Nelson added.

Magloire’s additions should ease Avery Johnson’s concerns behind Erick Dampier. Johnson had been using an undersized collection of forwards – Malik Allen, Brandon Bass and Juwan Howard – to spell Dampier. That combination has performed admirably during the last three games, especially considering Dampier’s revitalized play.

But it should be noted that the frontlines of Memphis, Minnesota and Chicago don’t exactly measure up to those of San Antonio, Phoenix, L.A. Lakers and the other Western Conference contenders. The Mavs were in the market for size and experience, and Magloire provides both.

The Kentucky product was playing less than 11 minutes per game this season and his decreased production was an issue. His former Nets teammates in Dallas, specifically Kidd, assured the Mavs front office that Magloire can still contribute.

The Mavs aren’t done shopping with one roster spot remaining. The team is part of Brent Barry Sweepstakes, along with just about every contender, including in-state rivals San Antonio and Houston. Barry, released by Seattle, has already cleared waivers. Sam Cassell could also be a possibility if he’s released by the L.A. Clippers.

The Conference Call West

Big Men, Big Expectations

Trade winds have blown the West wide open and time will tell which teams improved their chances of reaching the NBA Finals. Two clubs address the arrival of new Big Men on their websites, with the Lakers giddy about Pau and the Suns happy about Shaq.

"After making a large trade, many teams take weeks and sometimes, even months before they establish the proper chemistry. For the Lakers and Gasol, it has seemingly happened overnight," writes Jeff Skibiski on

In addition to extolling the quickness, length, hands, passing and shooting of the Spanish Acquisition, gets to the crux of the matter: how a certain MVP candidate feels about the trade.

"Perhaps no one has benefited more from the addition of Gasol than Kobe Bryant. After years of calling for a bona fide second scorer, No. 24 finally got his wish when the Lakers brought Pau in from Memphis," observed Skibiski. "With Gasol joining Bryant — and Andrew Bynum when healthy — as one of the only players on the team capable of drawing a double team, Kobe has the perfect decoy."

Stefan Swiat on crunches some early numbers regarding Shaq and the Suns.

"Since the addition of 'The Big Cactus,' the Suns have outrebounded their opponents by a differential of 15.5 boards a night," writes Swiat. "The Suns outrebounded the Lakers by 13, including nine more on the offensive glass, while they outboarded the Celtics 18. That's more than a 20-rebound turnaround."

Additionally, conventional wisdom that Phoenix would be forced to eschew it's favored fastbreak game has thus far proven false.

"In their first two games, [the Suns] have registered an average of 22 fast-break points a game, which would catapault them to tops in the league. Head Coach Mike D’Antoni believes that O’Neal can only increase the amount of scoring they do on the break. 'We should have more fast-break points with him here,' D’Antoni said. 'Our defense will be better, we’ll have cleaner rebounds and that will allow us to get out and run.'"

Get caught up on all the happenings around the West, including the Mavs, in the "The Conference Call West: February 26, 2008" on

Mavs-Spurs Watch Party

What: Mavs vs. Spurs Watch Party at Dave & Buster's

When: Thursday, February 28, 2008, 6 p.m. Tip-off is 7p.m.

Where: Dave & Buster's, Walnut Hill and 75 Location
1021 Walnut Hill Lane, Dallas, TX 75231

More Info: Dave & Buster's will host a Mavs Watch party Thursday night for the Mavs game against intrastate rival San Antonio. The party will get started at 6 p.m., one hour before tip-off at 7 p.m. Mavs Fans will have the opportunity to interact with the Mavs ManiAACs and Mavs Street Team, while enjoying great food and watching the game on D&B's big-screen TV in the Show Room. Fans will also have a chance to win Mavs merchandise, autographed gear, and Mavs tickets.

Shopping for help

The Mavs could be on the verge of filling a couple roster spots depending on the decisions of a couple of free agents. The team is in the hunt for 3-point specialist Brent Barry, but just about every contender from coast to coast covets the 3-point specialist who was recently released by Seattle.

“I know there are a lot of teams that are in the running for his services,” Avery Johnson said. Included in that group: Boston, LA Lakers, Houston, Phoenix and his former club San Antonio.

Veteran center Jamaal Magloire is also on the radar. He was an All-Star a few years back and would help fill the void left by Gana Diop’s departure.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Notables from 102-94 win vs. Bulls

TONIGHT’S KEY RUN: Dallas led 5-4 with 9:00 to go in the 1st quarter. They then went on a 17-2 run to extend their lead to 16 points, 22-6, with 3:51 to go in the period.

• Tonight’s was first home game since Jason Kidd returned to the Mavericks (2/19). His last home game in a Mavs uniform came in a loss (109-73) to ATL on 2/17/96. He had 6 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists in 22 minutes.
• Erick Dampier matched his season-high for rebounds (11) in the 1st half. He came down with 8 DR, scored 6 points and blocked 4 shots in the half.
• Dampier finished the game with a season-high 16 rebounds (season-high 12 DR) and a season-high 7 blocks – just one off his career-high. (previous high for rebounds - 11 done 3 times) (previous high for blocks - 6 @ CHI, 12/3/07) (career-high for blocks - 8 vs. LAC, 4/17/02)
• Jerry Stackhouse matched his season-high for points with 23 (7-11 FGs, 3-5 3FGs, 6-6 FTs). He also scored 23 vs. DEN (12/6/07). The 3 3-pointers also marked a season-high. (previous high – 2 done 6 times)
• Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich was disqualified from the game with 2:20 to go in the 2nd half. He had 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in 11 minutes prior to the disqualification.
• Chicago’s Luol Deng left the game in the 3rd quarter to have a laceration above his left eye treated. He returned to the game with 7:41 left in the 4th.
• Eddie Jones was Inactive (coach’s decision) for the 1st time this season.
• The Mavericks have now won 11 consecutive home games and 3 straight overall.
• Tonight’s attendance was 20,340 fans (19,200 capacity). The Mavs have sold out 261 consecutive regular season games at AAC and 299 games including the postseason. Dallas currently owns 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.

Big D return: Kid, Mavs hold off Bulls

The building, the uniforms, the owner and the expectations are different. So much has changed in the last 11 years, two months and eight days that it hardly seems to be the same franchise.

The last time Jason Kidd suited up with “Mavericks” across his chest, a Clinton occupied the White House. What would the odds have been of predicting a repeat of both in 2008?

Hilary may or may not have her time. Kidd’s is now. Playing before a packed American Airlines Center that had all the energy of a campaign rally Monday night at tip-off, the one-time franchise cornerstone has assumed that office once again.

“I was happy to be back home,” Kidd said as reporters crowded his locker after the game. “This is where it all started for me. I didn’t get the opportunity with that franchise. This one is a little different.”

Kidd lit up the city of his NBA dawn by flirting with career triple-double No. 100 as the Mavs outlasted Chicago 102-94 for their third straight victory – all against teams with losing records. That won’t be the case Thursday, as Dallas (38-19) heads south down I-35 to renew acquaintances with the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs are the first contender on the schedule since New Orleans – Kidd’s first game with the Mavs following the All-Star break trade. The Hornets won that game easily as Kidd was noticeably out of sorts. In the three games since, he has 40 assists.

Dirk Nowitzki, though, had the night’s first dish. He asked Avery Johnson on the team flight to end the pregame introductions with Kidd. That spot had been reserved for the reigning MVP.

“That shows what type of man he is,” Johnson said of Nowitzki.

Jason Terry entrenched at “2” guard

That’s the word from Avery Johnson, who said he’s settled on an all-Jason backcourt going forward. Kidd and Terry don’t present the same size issues as Terry and Devin Harris, since Kidd is stronger than Harris and stands closer to 6-foot-4. (Harris was closer to 6-1.)

“We like Jason Terry at the ‘2,’” Johnson said. “We think he’s one of the best shooters in the league.”

What does that mean for Eddie Jones? Well, he was on the inactive list against Chicago.

Johnson added that his focus, at least for the rotation, is on the bench. Sixth man Jerry Stackhouse can feel secure as the first man off the pine. Devean George will be given every opportunity to “back up” Kidd as a point forward.

The team is in a mini-training camp mode. Johnson plans to evaluate everything in three-game increments instead of the usual five since the playoffs are right around the corner. After tonight, only 25 games remain in the regular season.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Post-Game Quotes: Mavs 99, Wolves 83

Dallas Coach Avery Johnson:
"We are glad to come out of this road trip 2-1... We thought we were in pretty good shape when we had that 10-point lead in the third. We started fooling around a little with the ball and had some breakdowns defensively. I was trying to buy a few minutes to put Kidd back in the game. I thought about putting him in a little sooner, around the seven-minute mark, but when he got back in he just took off. He was scoring, he was passing, he was just doing it all."

"Damp's defense on Jefferson in the second half pretty much won the game. We couldn't guard him in the first half. So between Damp and Kidd, and what Josh did in the second half defensively, was very good for us... Josh was battling a little food poisoning. He still gutted out 38 minutes for us (even though) he wasn't feeling well. He should be feeling better at home when he gets some home cooking."

"We have an All-Star point guard that wasn't going to let us lose. He knew what we needed to do. I gave him one or two things to think about, but other than that he knew how to run the team. He is a little more comfortable with the team and with me, and vice versa... I think he will be excited. It was a good game to have going into that (first home) game. We had some miscues early in the game when he was trying to get Damp some passes, but we will have to work through some of those things."

Dallas Forward Dirk Nowitzki:
"It's been fun. You get the ball in Jason's hands and he makes it fun for everybody. He's throwing passes that you think, 'No way are they ever going to get there,' but somehow he finds a way."

"So far it has been getting better every game, but obviously we know the last two opponents, Memphis and Minnesota, were not the best. Tomorrow we have a tough one at home with Chicago, which should be an emotional game being the first home game with Jason. It should be fun, and then we have to get ready for San Antonio. Obviously as the competition gets better, we have to get better, too."

Dallas Guard Jerry Stackhouse:
"Tonight, (Kidd) set everybody up and then when they forgot about him, he took advantage of it late. He is capable of having big scoring nights for us, but I think with the scorers that we have, he is just going to try to get everybody involved and hope that is enough. But he can sense it when he has to pick it up on the scoring load."

"He is still learning. We have had three games together. As he becomes more familiar with the sets, he is just going to get better and better and we are going to get better and better. Right now with everyone, the passes are a little unexpected. I think we will find a little more rhythm as the year goes on. We need to find it. We don't have time to be up and down the way that the Western Conference is right now."

Dallas Guard Jason Kidd:
"We came out and finally had a pretty good third quarter and built our momentum. For me, it is just to find the open guy and make the game as easy as possible, until my teammates got on me a little bit about just attempting that layup because I had a lot of looks at layups. I took their advice, and that is just going to make the team better... For me it is just to play hard. I am out there executing the coach's game plan. Find the open guy and make the game as easy as possible, and have fun doing it while we are out there."

"The play that was called by the coach was for me and Dirk, so it was just a matter of me understanding how they are going to play, go underneath and just beat my guy under the basket. The play from there, the second time, they were cheating under. Dirk set a good screen and it was just a matter of me making the jump shot. In time I will understand where I will get shots in the offense. Playing in this league for a while, you understand that with five or six minutes left, that is where the game begins. Hopefully I can be there to help my teammates win."

Minnesota Coach Randy Wittman:
"I thought the tide turned when it was 74-71 for the longest time. We got about seven stops in a row and then missed some chippy shots. Craig missed a couple easy ones underneath, we missed a couple in transition, and I felt we could've really turned the tide there and scored three or four buckets in that time. We had good shots. We had a couple of really good looks that didn't go in. Rashad hit a 'three' to tie it at 74 and then they went up 78-74. That stretch kind of deflated us offensively, I thought."

"We settled for way too many jump shots at the start of that third quarter. It's one thing to settle for those when you're in a rhythm and making shots, but we weren't and we settled for them unlike we did in the first half. I thought we attacked in the first half. I thought that stretch at 74-71, we were pretty solid defensively, but when we missed those easy ones, it kind of deflated us a little bit. We've got to fight through that. We went into the fourth quarter tied and we lost our composure. They made a run at us and we lost our composure with each other, had a little frustration."

"At the end of the second quarter, that was totally our fault. We gave up six points in the last 28 seconds. We gave up four points in the last possession of the half on the made basket and the missed free-throw tip. At the end of the first quarter, we let Jason Kidd just walk up to the three-point line and shoot it. You could add that one to it. We just got out of his way, let him go and shoot a 'three'. You've got to finish the quarters. That's what good teams do, they finish quarters. That's where you lose momentum. At halftime it was 48-all when it should've been 48-43. Now you're really feeling good instead of giving a tip-in off a missed free throw, which kind of deflates you a little bit."

"I don't know if (Jefferson) was open more in the second half. I'd have to take a better look at it. A lot of it was on double-teams. They doubled him again, but we didn't settle for those shots in the first half on double teams. We got the ball, swung it to the weak side and then dribble penetrated and attacked the basket. Now, when you have shooters over there and you're knocking down shots, it's one thing to continue to do that. We haven't done that, where you've gotten into a rhythm and you're knocking shots down. That's part of basketball, is continuing to take those jump shots. That's what Dallas has built on, but you also see them attacking the basket when they're not making shots. They've got Nowitzki, Terry and guys who can really shoot the ball, but they're going to have nights when those shots don't go in. We've got to figure out ways to get to the foul line."

Minnesota Forward Craig Smith:
"From their transition they were able to get a lot of easy baskets, including layups and 'and-ones'. They changed the game themselves until the last quarter, when on the offensive end we were a little light on the ball and we made some bad passes that they turned into points."

"We have to eliminate the mistakes at the end. We realize that we aren't as experienced as a lot of other teams at the end, and because of that we have to pace ourselves and to take our time during crunch time... It can start on our offensive end by getting better shots and rotating the ball so they don't have as much of an opportunity to get steals. Everyone has to get back in the paint and play solid."

Minnesota Forward Al Jefferson:
"We just made some mistakes you can't make against a good team like that. They did a great job of running their offense and getting off their shots. They did exactly what you know they're going to do."

"You've got to finish out the quarter, you've got to run your plays and you've got to get back on defense -- especially with Jason Kidd added to them. Our mistake, and they took advantage of it. That's what a team like Dallas, San Antonio -- you see those great teams like that, that's what they're going to do. Like I said, you just can't afford to make mistakes."

Kidd Ties Season Best with 17 Dimes

MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 24 (AP) -- Jason Kidd tied his season high with 17 assists in his third game with Dallas and Dirk Nowitzki scored 29 points to lead the Mavericks to a 99-83 win over Minnesota on Sunday night.

Jason Terry added 20 points and Josh Howard 14 as the Mavericks sent the last-place Timberwolves to their seventh loss in eight games.

Kidd might not be scoring as much anymore -- he had a quiet 12 points on nine shots -- but he still has the sweet-touch passes and ability to create shots for his teammates.

After only five assists in his Mavericks debut Wednesday, Kidd has 32 in his last two games since last week's blockbuster trade. He had all but seven of his team's assists against the Timberwolves.