Showing posts with label Dallas Mavericks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dallas Mavericks. Show all posts
Sunday, June 12, 2011

What is the Mavericks Mindset Going Into Game 6?

Rick Carlisle's Sunday morning shootaround media session lasted an almost record-short one minute and 53 seconds.  Individual players' interviews weren't that much longer.  That's because eight hours prior to tip off of Game 6 of the NBA Finals, there's not much more these players and the Mavericks head coach can say about their Sunday night matchup with the Heat.

"This is Game 7," Jason Terry proclaimed on the American Airlines Arena floor.  "This is our approach tonight.  We're trying to get this thing done tonight."

If what the Mavericks have done previously this postseason is any indication, the odds are in their favor.  Dallas is 3-0 in closeout games this year.  Plainly put, they've ended playoff series when they've had the chance.   Whether it was the Blazers, Lakers or Thunder, Dallas got it done.

"It's been a killer instinct," center Tyson Chandler said when I asked him about the team's approach going into series-clinching games.  "Understand that you don't want it (the series) to go on, that you don't want to give the other team any hope, any chance.  You finish them while you can."

So what is the Mavericks mindset as they are just one win away from reaching that goal, winning the franchise's first-ever NBA title?  From what I've been able to glean, they're focused and relaxed while trying to maintain a bit of an edge.

"Same thing we been doing throughout the playoffs: we keep a certain amount of focus," Chandler said. "You don't change anything.  You don't try to get overhyped or animated, anything like that.  You just focus on the game, focus on execution, what you can do to succeed.

"This has been a very intense two week period," Rick Carlisle said during his 100-yard dash-like interview.  "It's an extended period yet it seems to go by quickly.  You just kinda roll with it.  I embrace the intensity of it and I know our guys do."
Saturday, March 27, 2010

10 Games To Go And What Do You Know?

Two things I've noticed:
1) Taking a break from blogging blows.  I missed it.  I had a very entertaining stretch that included a FABULOUS 80th birthday party for stepdad, Ed Hipps.  A Marilyn Monroe impersonator made his night. 

2) During the Mavericks 2-4 stretch, they haven't been pushing the ball enough.

Dallas has only two wins in its last six games with those wins coming over the Clippers and Bulls.  In that span, the Mavericks have been putting up just 13 fast break points a game.  You could argue they hit rock bottom against Portland when they laid a goose egg.  ZERO fast break points compared to the Blazers' 16.  Ouch.

During their 13-game win streak, Dallas put up 20.15 fast break points a game.  Fast break points are just one element but it's definitely a strong contributing factor to this six-game span.  Add to that, Dallas has taken less free throws lately with no more than 20 in the last four games heading into the Warriors game and there are some points lefts on the court that they were getting during the win-streak. 

So what the hell is going on? 

The Mavericks, the most veteran team in the NBA, are struggling at one of the most important times of the season. This is when their experience should be paying off yet it seems to have disappeared.

My Mavs Game Night partner, Derek Harper, is adamant that successful veteran teams team should place emphasis on closing a season strongly.  No doubt the coach is placing an emphasis on this but are the players?  The timing of this stumble is concerning.   Where will the Mavs be at the end of this 10 game stretch?  I don't know.  And I am not sure if anyone knows which version of the Mavs team will show up once the playoffs begin.
Sunday, March 14, 2010

JET Back on the Runway???

A very fragile-looking Jason Terry made an appearance at Rick Carlisle's ping pong tournament on Sunday.  I say fragile because I was almost scared to give him a hello hug.  His face was a tad swollen after having facial surgery on March 5th.  A smidge puffy, would best the way to describe it.

He told me he expects to be back in uniform against the Bulls on Wednesday.  He and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones are the most optimistic people I know. 

"You sure?" I asked.  "Yep." he assured me.  "Wednesday."

I like the effort.  We'll see.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

DFW, We Have a Leader


For a particular story I am doing, I have been asking a number of Rangers about who their leader is.  I have asked Manager Ron Washington  and GM Jon Daniels who they look to when they need to impart a message to the team.   The unanimous answer, on all fronts, has been one man: Michael Young.

This shouldn't come as a shock or surprise; but I will tell you it's impressive.  He leads by example and does it vocally, as well.   Pitcher C.J. Wilson might have said it best: "He's made so many sacrifices for the team.  To keep his bat in the lineup and keep his different positions, win a gold glove at short, now he's playing 3rd.  He can win a gold glove there you know."

Young's willingness to do whatever it takes and ability to excel at each attempt isn't lost on his teammates.  "Everyone's going home and looking at himself in the mirror saying 'what can I do to push the team over the top?' Wilson added.

Why does that impress the hell out of me?  Because for years I have asked just about every key player on every pro team in Dallas who the leader on his team was.  EVERY, single player gave me a different answer or named a few guys.  Some players (dallas mavericks) named the owner (mark cuban)!  It's so refreshing to have a team that knows who that guy is.  What's even more refreshing is to have a guy who's willing to put himself on the line to do it.  Many players aren't brave enough to do that and for Young to do is a testament to his character. 

Almost More Impressed by the Peeps
While I've been busy dissing the autograph flies at spring training, I must give huge kudos to the fans.  They are a loyal bunch.  I have asked Rangers execs asked if the number of fans is lower than in years' past given the economic climate.  Overwhelmingly the answer is no.  Fan turnout is impressive for a team not named the Cowboys, Yankees or Packers.  There's something to be said for the loyal baseball fan.  Even more impressive is the loyal Rangers fan.  There have been some rough years in the Arlington.

BTW, my personal favorite, The Cookie Lady, is in Surprise with her husband.  I did a story with her years ago and received about two dozen cookies for my colleagues at the station.  Here's hoping we see some of her sweets in the next few days! ;)