And now, some Wednesday links….Mostly Mavs related:
A Spurs win makes everyone feel a little better …
Something had been missing during the Mavericks' first three games. OK, maybe a lot of things, including enough wins.
But the most glaring absence was production from the shooting guard spot, which was why, for the fourth consecutive game, coach Rick Carlisle changed his starter.
He may have found a keeper this time.
Jason Terry was inserted into the lineup and responded with 29 points and six assists, igniting the Mavericks to a 98-81 trampling of the San Antonio Spurs, who fell to 0-3 for the first time in their NBA history.
The Mavericks looked nothing like the group that was dismantled at home 24 hours earlier by Cleveland. Sometimes a blow to the ego does wonders.
"The other night wasn't us," Terry said. "We disrespected the game in a way we don't ever want to have that happen again."
Against the Spurs, the Mavs opened an 18-point lead at halftime, stretched it to 23 and never let the Spurs get closer than seven in the fourth quarter.
"I do think they took it personally," Carlisle said of the turnaround in effort and efficiency. "But the reality is that you can't be a team that gets knocked back before you're ready to fight every night. ... And whatever I have to do to facilitate them coming out like they did tonight, I'm going to do."
The buttons pushed Tuesday were hard to argue. Terry hit 7-of-10 shots in the first half. Josh Howard had a double-double by the end of three quarters, and Dirk Nowitzki finished with 30 points after scoring just eight against Cleveland.
But it was Terry who got the accolades afterward.
"We need another story, a reliable scorer," Nowitzki said. "Jet has to make shots off the bench or as a starter. We needed more out of him, and I think he responded. We were joking after the game, 'Welcome to the '08-09 season, Jet.' "
Stackhouse is becoming a fading memory …
Jerry Stackhouse turns 34 today. It might be a party more of reflection than celebration.
The 6-foot-7 swingman in his 14th season is working with coach Rick Carlisle to understand how he fits into a crowded wing position with Jason Terry entrenched, Devean George returning from injury and young players Antoine Wright and Gerald Green deserving playing time.
"It’s early. I’ve been around a long time and I don’t think it’s anything to panic about," Stackhouse said. "I don’t put myself above the big picture. Hopefully, I have a future with this organization going forward."
A Sixth Man of the Year candidate in three of his four previous seasons in Dallas, Stackhouse has found himself on the bench more often than not through the first four games, including all 48 minutes Monday when Carlisle chose not to play him.
"He’s a pro and he’s still a damn good player," Carlisle said. "In an effort to sort things out, he gets a DNP [Monday] night, which is tough. It’s tough for me, too. But, he and I talked about this a couple days ago. He’s going to do the right thing for the team. He could very well be back in there."
He was first off the bench Tuesday against the Spurs. He played eight minutes in the first half and made 1 of 5 shots. That’s how he finished after logging a season-high 19 minutes.
Before the game he said "it’s too early," to seek a trade or release. He said he foresees more dialogue with Carlisle, president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and owner Mark Cuban.
"It’s tough, being who I’ve been, and to have such a short leash," Stackhouse said. "Long stretches on the bench, I’ve just got to find ways to combat that and that’s the toughest part for me."
Stackhouse said the lingering plantar fasciitis remains an issue, but it won’t keep him out. He’s making $7 million this season and next year’s salary is only partially guaranteed.
He’s helping out Green and Wright where he can, but he said he wants to play.
"It’s tough. I’m not saying it isn’t," Stackhouse said. "I’m looking to play and extend my career past this year. You have to weigh everything. You have to weigh Dallas and my family, the whole thing, more so than just basketball. You have to take all those factors into account before making rash reactions.
"You never know, one small thing happens and I’m right back in."
Mavs Moneyball’s solid write up …
• Fourth game and third starter at the 2. Jason Terry starts and the results were great. Unfortunately for Terry, Carlisle will never grow with this starting lineup on a regular basis because of the defensive implications.
• Jason Terry needs to play like that coming off the bench. 29 points, 6 assists, and only 3 rebounds despite being very aggressive going after his missed shots tonight. He was great.
• Speaking of going after your misses, Jason Kidd is really really good at that. If he were a better shooter he probably wouldn't have as many triple-doubles (rimshot!)
• Dampier and Diop played the entire game except the meaningless final two minutes, so it's pretty clear Carlisle prefers to have a true center on the court at all times. It's a definite change from Avery Johnson, which especially stood out tonight, as Avery often went small against the Spurs.
• I've been saying for about three years that I thought Bruce Bowen was done. Might I finally be right? He played just 12 minutes and didn't see the court in the second half.
• Everyone on the broadcast was talking about the rebounding, effort, and energy compared to last night, but you know what really helped? Shooting 53%.
• Dallas only attempted five free throws.
• Take a look at the Mavs +/-. Anyone stand out?
Report from San Antonio …
A good look at the Red Zone in The NFL …
Michael Lombardi’s Texas Tech quick hits …and the “hotel” is the Oakland Raiders….
I loved Texas Tech winning the other night. I think Mike Leach is a fascinating coach and I wanted to talk with him when we had an opening at the Hotel, but “Someone” in the building vetoed the idea.
I think Graham Harrell is the real deal. And all of this stuff about him being a system quarterback is just bull. All NFL teams run the shot gun and run some form of that offense now. He is actually more prepared than most people may think.
The word from Lubbock on the final drive ….
Many days in practice, Texas Tech does a hurry-up offense drill in which Graham Harrell and his teammates go from one end of the field to the other with a rapid-fire sequence of plays.
In preseason camp, the drill began with the offense starting on its 5-yard line and each subsequent snap coming 5 yards from the previous spot.
During the season, Tech coach Mike Leach changed it up: So that his linemen and receivers wouldn't have a bold yard line as an easy visual on which to line up, the ball was advanced 7 yards after each play.
But the point of the organized chaos remained the same: Run plays as rapidly as possible and get on the line of scrimmage for the next snap.
The Red Raiders' game-winning drive on Saturday was just what that daily segment of practice is designed for.
"We allotted more yards between plays. We allotted between 7 and 28 yards per play this time,'' Tech coach Mike Leach said Monday, a joking reference to Harrell's 28-yard touchdown pass to Mike Crabtree.
The drive was a six-play, 62-yard affair, took 88 seconds and gave Tech a historic 39-33 victory - the program's first over a team ranked No. 1. Texas never led until it nosed in front 33-32 inside the final two minutes.
"I can remember they scored with a minute, 29 on the clock,'' Harrell said. "Coach was standing right beside me and he said, Our average drive's under a minute, 30 anyway, Graham, so let's just go do what we do.' I was like, Let's do it, coach.' ''
Zaun vs Kypreos