Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Granting wishes for North Texas kids

The scene wasn’t unlike any other basketball camp – kids running up and down the floor, dribbling, shooting baskets and going through drills with smiles on their faces. In more ways than one, the gathering on the Mavericks practice court made wishes come true.

The Mavericks helped kick off the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s national awareness campaign Destination Joy presented by LAY’S by hosting a clinic for 50 kids Tuesday from the organization’s North Texas chapter. President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, along with head coach Rick Carlisle and Jerry Stackhouse, led the morning session that included a tour of American Airlines Center, the team’s locker room and training facility before getting out on the court.

“This hits home,” said Nelson, a member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas board. “It’s something that we’re really fortunate to be able to engage with kids like this. This is the annual kickoff, so this is a really special deal for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Unfortunately, there are not enough wishes to go around. We’ve got more kids than wishes, so we’re just asking North Texas to be generous with their donations.”
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Lakers beat Celtics for title

EA SPORTS NBA LIVE 09 has predicted that the Lakers will capture their 15th NBA Championship by defeating the Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals simulation. In a historic match-up that was last seen 21 years ago, the series lived up to its billing in a seven game thriller.

It was NBA Finals MVP Kobe Bryant who led the charge, averaging 29 points and 6 assists per game throughout the series. With this victory, Phil Jackson set a new record by winning 10 NBA Championships as a coach. The Finals tip off this Thursday at 9 pm EST on ABC. NBA LIVE 09 will be in stores on October 7, 2008.

Mavs Foundation grant application

The mission of the Dallas Mavericks Foundation is to assist young people through programs stressing education, good health and skills necessary for their future success. Click here to download the 2008-09 grant application, which must be postmarked by June 30, 2008.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Carlisle to vist Dirk in Germany

Rick Carlisle is leaving for Germany next week for some extra bonding time with Dirk Nowitzki, who is preparing for the next month’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Carlisle has made it a point to meet with several players – Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Josh Howard, Jerry Stackhouse and others – to get the ball rolling for next season.

“You’ve got to use the summer to connect with guys, find out about them and try to help them get a little better in some areas from a skill-development standpoint,” Carlisle said. “Get them plugged into situations that are going to present themselves in games next year now. It’s been good.”

Stackhouse played for Carlisle in Detroit six years ago.

“Rick is going to be good,” Stackhouse said. “He’s a guy that knows the game. He’s played on some great teams, been around a lot of basketball knowledge as well as his thoughts about how the game of basketball should be played – I think his style will be great for this team.”

Carlisle also plans to have his coaching staff finalized this month.

“The summer is an opportunity,” he said. “We have to take advantage of it.”

Carlisle remembers the Celtics’ last title

It’s not a shot or even a game that Rick Carlisle focuses on when his thoughts drift back 22 years. The memory that sticks in his head most when asked about the 1986 NBA champion Boston Celtics is what you might expect for someone who thinks like a coach.

He remembers practice.

“The ’86 team became a great team early in the year when we acquired Bill Walton,” Carlisle said this week from his largely-unfurnished office overlooking the American Airlines Center practice court. “His presence allowed other role players like myself, Jerry Sichting, Scott Wedman, Greg Kite to play at a higher level. All of a sudden our practices became very competitive.”

A count was kept on the board in the locker room of the daily scrimmages between the second team (Green) and the starters (White). Despite the presence of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish on the White, the results were surprisingly even.

Opposing teams, understandably, didn’t stand much of a chance. The Celtics breezed through the regular season with a league-best 67-15 and steamrolled through the playoffs to claim their 16th NBA title. That team is widely considered the best of the Bird Era and, in the estimation of Carlisle, perhaps should hold the top spot in NBA history.

“There was a definite strength-in-numbers component to that group and to that team as a whole,” he said. “When you talk about Bird and Walton and K.C. Jones and Red [Auerbach], who was still around and very active at the time, you’re talking about some of the most strong-willed guys you could ever be around in terms of wanting to get it done.

“Of course I’m little partial, but it may have been the best team of all time. When you think of how top heavy that team was with Hall of Famers.”

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Early start for Reyshawn and Renaldas

Reyshawn Terry and Renaldas Seibutis, last year’s second-round picks, are getting a head start on summer league. Terry is also in town working out at the team’s facility at American Airlines Center and Seibutis is scheduled to join the fun in the next couple of weeks.

“They’re going be around for summer league so we’re going to have a lot of time to make decisions,” said Rick Carlisle, who plans to spend considerable time at summer league.

Both swingmen will be given every opportunity to make the roster this season. Terry, a North Carolina product who played in Greece last season, has added considerable muscle to his 6-foot-7 frame.

Seibutis (6-6) could still pack on a few pounds to his slight build, but he’s been compared favorably to a young Doug Collins by the Mavs personnel department. Seibutis, 22, has spent his entire career overseas.

Carlisle believes the team can find value with its second-round pick (51st overall) later this month. Terry was drafted 44th and Seibutis 50th. Carlisle also didn’t rule out trying to get into the first round.

“There’s no doubt the draft is deep,” he said. “We feel like at 51 we’re getting somebody that has a chance to make the roster either this year or next year. It may be a European that stays over there. Donnie [Nelson] and [director of scouting Amadou Gallo Fall] do such a great job of scouring the whole universe so it should be exciting.”