Nice try. But, not nearly good enough against the World Champion Boston Celtics.
Without Jason Terry, this team has no clue in the half-court offense in the 4th Quarter. Heck, with Jason Terry they barely have a clue in the half-court offense in the 4th Quarter. Without him there is no chance.
Josh might as well take the night off at halftime. Dumb fouls. Poor decisions. And nobody wants the ball less in the 4th than Josh.
How frustrating was it to watch the Mavs attempt to defend the high pick and roll? Do you have to switch 100% of the time and put Barea on Pierce? Has that worked?
Only in the final minutes did they stop switching. Too late. Pierce was in his zone by then.
I do like Rajon Rondo’s game. Very key to those Celtics.
They huffed and puffed, but could not blow the house down …
The Mavericks did all they could Thursday night to beat the defending NBA champions. They got a forceful effort from plenty of players.
But one thing was missing, and it probably cost them a 99-92 loss to the Boston Celtics at American Airlines Center. What was lacking?
According to their coach, it was coaching.
"I told the players they fought their hearts out and really deserved to win," coach Rick Carlisle said. "I'm going to take the blame for this. When you sit in this chair, there are times you have to be man enough to say you blew it."
Carlisle was unhappy with his decision to continue playing Boston's Paul Pierce one-on-one during a fourth quarter when Pierce outscored the Mavericks, 18-17, and the Celtics overcame what had been a 15-point deficit earlier.
When Pierce got rolling, Carlisle said he should have adjusted.
"We played Pierce a few different ways and had some of our best guys guarding him, but we should have double-teamed him. My heart is with our guys and their effort. This one's on me. We could have made more shots, but I'm going to take all the blame for this one."
The Mavericks finished the pre-All-Star portion of the season 31-21. They missed a chance to perhaps rise as high as fourth in the Western Conference standings. But their play during a 6-2 run after the loss in Boston last month has raised optimism throughout the team.
Thursday night brought everything down a notch or three.
Pierce outdueled Dirk Nowitzki down the stretch. With the score tied, it was Pierce who scored six consecutive Boston points, the last two on a tough jump shot over Devean George with 38.5 seconds left for a 95-91 lead.
The Celtics made their free throws the rest of the way to secure the win.
Pierce finished with 31 points, including 14 trips to the free-throw line, which did not go unnoticed by owner Mark Cuban.
Cuban has held his tongue in regard to officiating for the last several seasons. But he could not stay quiet after the officiating crew of Dick Bavetta, Scott Wall and Derek Richardson sent the Celtics to the line 15 times in the fourth quarter to only four trips for the Mavericks.
"If Dirk got the officiating that Paul Pierce gets, he'd go to the line 10 more times a game," Cuban said. "I don't know if it's because they are the champions or what, but it's amazing that Dirk takes such a pounding and doesn't get the same respect from the officials.
"And it's the same with Josh Howard. He'd be a perennial all-star if he got the same calls that Paul Pierce gets."
Howard, by the way, played despite getting a cortisone shot in his left wrist before the game. "It flared up again and I had to get a shot," Howard said. "It's tough. I can't go left. No dribbling at all. But just as long as I don't break it, I'm going to be out there."
Today’s Trade Rumor that would bother me greatly if the Mavs were crazy enough to do it …Carter is old and getting older. And he wasn’t very interested in competing hard every night when he was 25…
The New Jersey Nets and Dallas Mavericks have discussed a trade that would reunite Vince Carter and Jason Kidd, with Carter joining the Mavericks, a league source familiar with the discussions said Thursday night.
The proposed deal, which isn’t imminent, would send Carter, Keyon Dooling and Eduardo Najera to the Mavericks for Josh Howard and Jerry Stackhouse.
Nets executives are still reluctant to trade Carter, but are determined to let teams make their best offers all the way to next Thursday’s trade deadline.
The Mavericks have lost guard Jason Terry to a broken hand and desperately need perimeter scoring to stay a contender in the Western Conference. The Nets’ and Mavericks’ front offices engineered the Jason Kidd-Devin Harris blockbuster at the trade deadline a year ago. Nets GM Kiki Vandeweghe and Mavs GM Donnie Nelson have been active trading proposals, league sources say.
Carter, 31, has inspired significant interest throughout the league. The San Antonio Spurs are pursuing him and have discussed a proposal that would include Roger Mason, Bruce Bowen and Fabricio Oberto. While the Spurs also have interest in Detroit’s Rasheed Wallace, a Pistons source says the teams have not had any conversations.
“*” = team option for Carter in 2011-12
Yesterday, one of my favorite Bill Simmons columns was released, the NBA Trade Value column where he ranks the top 40 players in the league. Here is Dirk’s neighborhood:
15. Pau Gasol
14. Paul Pierce
13. Dirk Nowitzki
12. Deron Williams
11. Kevin Garnett
And then, his brilliant description of Lebron:
1. LeBron James
Last February, I wrote that he didn't have a ceiling. This year? I figured out his ceiling. At least for right now. At age 24, he's a cross between ABA Dr. J (unstoppable in the open court, breathtaking in traffic, has the rare ability to galvanize teammates and crowds with one "Wow" play, even handles himself as well off the court) and 1992 Scottie Pippen (the freaky athletic ability on both ends, especially when he's cutting pass lines or flying in from the weak side for a block), with a little MJ (his overcompetitiveness and sense of The Moment), Magic (the unselfishness, which isn't where I thought it would be back in 2003, but at least it's in there a little) and Bo Jackson (how he can occasionally just overpower the other team in a way that doesn't seem human) mixed in ... only if all of that Molotov Superstar Cocktail was mixed together in Karl Malone's body. This is crazy. This is insane. This is unlike anything we've ever seen. And to think, LeBron doesn't even have a reliable 20-footer or a post-up game yet. See, this is only going to get better. And it's already historic.
Let’s play a little game of What Issue Does Bob have with this story? …
Whether Terrell Owens will be with the Cowboys or not, he's reaching out to free agent linebacker and Baltimore Raven icon Ray Lewis.
In the past, Owens told me he's been contact with Lewis, who expressed an interest in playing for the Cowboys. This off-season, Owens reached out to Jerry Jones to make a sales pitch if you will for Lewis to join Dallas.
And Deion Sanders, a close friend of Lewis and Owens, has also spoken to Jones about the linebacker.
Now, we're not sure if Lewis will sign with the Cowboys. The Ravens don't want to lose their icon, so we'll have to see how this plays out once free agency starts Feb. 27 is uncertain.
Let’s see. Terrell Owens and Deion Sanders are telling Jerry Jones who he needs to sign?
Well, last time we listened to Deion, we got Pac Man. Actually, last time we listened to Deion, he was talking to Terrell after a Cowboys win in Washington about everything wrong with the Cowboys.
CUT HIM OFF, JERRY!
And Terrell? Just Cut him.
Enough of the Sanders pipeline. The Circus must leave town.
Speaking of the circus, Drew Rosenhaus is part of it, too …
Rosenhaus said he hasn't been told the team has a problem with Owens and expects him to return in 2009.
"I've stated my opinion, which is all that it is because the Cowboys publicly have made it clear they're not going not comment on this situation," Rosenhaus said. "Terrell has a contract and the bottom line is I believe he will be back with the Dallas Cowboys this season. Terrell wants to be a Dallas Cowboy. He wants to finish his career with the Cowboys. He has a contract the team signed him to a new deal before the  season. He has, in my opinion, made it very clear that he wants to be a great player in 2009 and a great teammate in 2009 and he really loves playing for the Cowboys. He's got a great relationship with Tony Romo and with the other players on the team. So, he's very fond of his coaches on the team so I don't see any reason why Terrell wouldn't be back."
Rosenhaus talked about any potential problems with the Cowboys.
"Terrell doesn't have a problem with the Cowboys," Rosenhaus said. "Now if the Cowboys organization, if they have a problem, that hasn't been communicated to me or to Terrell and the bottom line is that ultimately every team has the ability to choose which players they want on their club and I think Terrell is going to back. If they decide to make a move, Terrell is one of the more gifted players in the National Football League and I think he will be a very coveted player."
As of a few days ago, Profootballtalk offers a look at caproom …
Current Cap is about $124mm
Cardinals 84 million.
Lions 85 million.
Buccaneers 86 million.
Chiefs 86 million.
Eagles 93 million.
Titans 93 million.
Bengals 95 million.
Packers 95 million.
Bills 98 million.
Dolphins 101 million.
Falcons 101 million.
Texans 101 million.
Seahawks 103 million.
Bears 104 million.
Ravens 104 million.
Steelers 105 million.
Vikings 105 million.
Broncos 107 million.
Chargers 107 million.
Panthers 108 million.
Rams 109 million.
Jaguars 110 million.
49ers 111 million.
Giants 112 million.
Browns 113 million.
Raiders 116 million.
Patriots 119 million.
Cowboys 121 million.
Jets 125 million.
Colts 128 million.
Saints 130 million.
Redskins 131 million.
Then, since we are rolling with lists today, Page 2 listed worst MLB contracts ever, and Tom Hicks got a whole section …
The Tom Hicks Memorial Division
Tom Hicks purchased the Rangers in 1998 and won division titles his first two seasons. Maybe he was lucky. Or maybe he got a lot dumber. They've had just one winning season since.
The only thing crueler than Clark's parents naming him Mark is what he did to Rangers fans.
Mark Clark, 1999: 2 years, $9.3 million. Remember when $9.3 million was a big contract for a back-of-the-rotation starter? The Rangers gave Clark the then-sizable deal despite his going 9-14 with a 4.84 ERA for the Cubs in 1998. Clark battled injuries with Texas and went 6-12 with an 8.37 ERA over two seasons. No, that ERA is not a typo.
Alex Rodriguez, 2001: 10 years, $252 million. A-Rod, of course, was magnificent with the Rangers, crushing 156 home runs and knocking in 395 runs in his three seasons. The Rangers also lost 89, 90 and 91 games those three years, in part because Rodriguez's monster contract hamstrung the team's payroll. But at least the Rangers eventually turned Rodriguez into Soriano and turned Soriano into Brad Wilkerson, Armando Galarraga (who was traded to the Tigers) and Terrmel Sledge … which means, uh, the Rangers have nothing showing on their current roster for Rodriguez.
Ken Caminiti, 2001: 2 years, $9.5 million. Caminiti played just 54 games with the Rangers. So no, that Rodriguez-Caminiti 1-2 punch didn't exactly pan out.
Chan Ho Park, 2002: 5 years, $65 million. Park won 22 games with the Rangers. Over three-plus seasons. Park was one of the 10 highest-paid players in the league from '02 through '05. Park, like Rodriguez, was a Scott Boras client. Which only proves that Scott Boras was a much smarter negotiator than Tom Hicks.
Juan Gonzalez, 2002: 2 years, $24 million. Gonzalez had hit .325 with 140 RBIs for Cleveland in 2001, but it would be his last productive season. He spent much of his two seasons on the DL and hit just 32 home runs. In a TV interview in 2007, Hicks said he suspected Gonzalez had used steroids and that "we just gave that money away."
Mike Modano, 2005: 5 years, $17 million. Oops, wrong sport.
Kevin Millwood, 2006: 5 years, $60 million. "The Rangers finally got the legitimate No. 1 starter they have been seeking," heralded the AP story when Millwood signed. (He had won 18 games combined the previous two seasons, so perhaps it was bit of an exaggeration by the writer.) Millwood's ERAs with Texas: 4.52, 5.16, 5.07. His innings: 215, 172 2/3, 168 2/3.
Michael Young, 2007: 5-year contract extension, $80 million. Young is a very nice player, a five-time All-Star. But there is a trend with his slugging percentage that Captain Edward John Smith could relate to: .513, .459, .418, .402. And the Gold Glove Award that he won in 2008 was so well received by management that he's moving to third base in 2009 (and the Rangers thought they'd never have to pay out that $25,000 Gold Glove bonus!). So now you have a declining offensive player without much power moving to a power position and signed for $16 million a year through 2013.
What might the 2010 USA Olympic team look like on the ice in Vancouver? …
No. 1: Tim Thomas
Although Ryan Miller is the probable No. 1, the unorthodox Thomas does nothing well except stop the puck and win. Every Thomas save is like a snowflake, different from every other, but notice how rarely the red light goes on. Vancouver could be the workingman's goalie's moment.
No. 2: Ryan Miller
Recovering from a broken thumb sustained late in 2005, Miller, a potential difference-maker in Turin, was foolishly left off the 2006 squad. (Waddell should have taken a flyer on him instead of John Grahame or Robert Esche.) Miller will be an integral part of this team, assuming he gets the starting job.
No. 3: Jonathan Quick
If the NHL ultimately does send players to Sochi 2014, the Los Angeles Kings rookie would benefit from the Olympic experience.
First pair: Ryan Suter (left) and Brian Rafalski (right)
This will be a first-rate, puck-moving pair, capable of dealing with high-tempo Olympic hockey. Suter is starting to blossom while Rafalski, a power-play catalyst, is having one of his best NHL seasons with Detroit.
Second pair: Ryan Whitney (left) and Mike Komisarek (right)
Komisarek is the physical shutdown defenseman, playing the customary Derian Hatcher role for Team USA. Whitney has been slowed by his foot injury that required surgery last summer, but that will be in the rearview mirror next February.
Third pair: Paul Martin (left) and Jack Johnson (right)
There is a paucity of right-side American defenseman, but if the oft-injured Johnson
is healthy and has a solid start next fall, he can play regular minutes and provide some oomph. If not, John-Michael Liles adds a puck-mover to the pair.
Taxi squad: Johnson/Liles and Matt Niskanen.
First line (left to right): Zach Parise, Paul Statsny, Phil Kessel
Kessel has all-world speed, but needs a center to get him the puck. Scott Gomez, the other prospective center of this line, carries it too much, which would not take the proper advantage of his two superb wingers. Parise, who has a chance for 50 goals this season, could dazzle.
Second line: Dustin Brown, Scott Gomez, Patrick Kane
Brown is the ideal banging/scoring winger for two skaters who should be able to work give-and-go's. Despite his current sub-par performance with the Rangers, few are as passionate about playing for Team USA as Gomez.
Third line: David Booth, Chris Drury, Brian Gionta
Team USA would have a third scoring line with the emerging Booth and Drury, who often plays well in pressure situations. The problematic element is the undersized Gionta, whose production has slipped every year since Turin. Jason Pominville might fit in that spot.
Fourth line: Jason Blake/Pominville, Ryan Kesler, Jamie Langenbrunner
As much as we like Paul Gaustad, Kesler figures to best fit the role of checking center. If Pominville can't play the off wing -- he's a right-handed shot -- Blake, who can play either wing and has been a bright spot in Toronto this season, will likely be willing to return to his crash-bang, fourth-line roots and do whatever he must in a last hurrah for Team USA.
Vernon Wells is in studio Friday at 1:30. Here are a few youtubes from the Arlington kid:
Vernon Wells Commercial
Sweet Vernon Wells