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Dirk Nowitzki: We’re Better with Mark Cuban Keeping Quiet

Where in the world is Mark Cuban?  The outspoken owner’s Dallas Mavericks just swept the defending NBA Champion L.A. Lakers.  Dirk Nowitzki and company can no longer be labeled perennial playoff chokers, and while the Mavs have been tearing up the postseason there has been no name-calling or trash talk about other teams from Cuban.  If you ask Dirk, Dallas is better off that way.

“It should be about the players and not the owner,” Nowitzki told the Star-Telegram via Pro Basketball Talk. “We played a great series. We fought hard and battled. That was fun. I haven’t seen Mark since then, and that’s probably a good thing.”

Marky Mark has been known to make comments that result in fines from the league.  He loves to stir up trouble on Twitter, but lately we have seen nothing more than the occasional “Lets go Mavs!” or a thank you to an opposing team executive.

“He is still fired up,” Nowitzki said. “He is still such a huge fan. He is still in it with his heart. He is positive. Sometimes he yells. He picks his spots better. He is not as hands-on as he once was. He is still hands-on for an owner but not as hands-on as he used to be.”

Maybe the fact that Cuban has toned it down has helped take some pressure off the Mavs.  Perhaps this is a better Dallas team than we have seen in past years and their success in conjunction with their owner resting his jaw is a coincidence.  In any event, I’m sure Cuban, Nowitzki, and the entire Dallas area would agree that whatever the Mavs are doing is working.

Dallas Mavericks Giving Away Playoff Tickets to Bald Fans

Tracking down playoff tickets for your favorite team is never an easy task. Here in the Boston area, we have to remortgage our houses or take out a loan to score a playoff ticket for a Red Sox, Patriots, or Celtics game.  With the way the Bruins have been playing lately, you can toss their names on that list too.  Heck, in some towns you need to get an ass tattoo in order to earn a trip to the NFC Championship game.

In Dallas, things are less complicated.  Dallas Neograft, a hair restoration facility in Dallas, is teaming up with the Mavericks to give follicly challenged fans a chance to attend a playoff game free of charge.  Dirk Nowitzki and company managed to sweep the Lakers in the first round, and the Mavs could now be looking at a few more shiny heads when they take the court in the Western Conference Finals.

According to the Mavericks release, fans should go to the Dallas Neograft Facebook page and upload a picture of their bald scalp for the chance to win free tickets and possibly a free hair restoration procedure.  Catch a playoff game and turn the clocks back 20 years?  Sounds like the deal of a lifetime to me.  Chest bump to A_RamseyLTSB for the tip.

Dallas Mavericks Overcome Dumbest Ending to a First Half to Beat Lakers

The Dallas Mavericks were lucky to beat the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of their playoff series Monday night, and not just because Shawn Marion was playing with a cut above his eye. The Mavs had one of the worst endings to a first half of basketball I’ve ever seen. Honestly, the fouls committed by Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki to end the half were two of the dumbest you’ll ever see.

Terry was trying to play aggressive defense on Lamar Odom who was getting ready for a half-court heave with less than a second left. He ended up fouling Odom and giving him three free throws. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Dirk got whistled for a technical after he threw an elbow at Ron Artest on Odom’s third free throw. I understand fighting for position, but let’s be real — there was less than a second left — what was going to happen?

The Dallas Mavericks literally gave away four points to the Lakers to end the half and ended up down 53-44 instead of 49-44. Luckily they won the game otherwise you could point to those four points as the biggest culprit. Honestly, the Mavs may want to open up a loan company if they keep giving away points for free like that. That was truly embarrassing and the team won’t be able to get away with those mental mistakes the rest of the series.

You can see a replay of both stupid fouls at the :50 mark in this video:

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Steve Blake and Jason Terry Fight After Push, Matt Barnes Goes Nuts

The Lakers-Mavericks game got a playoff feeling to it on Thursday night at Staples Center when the teams had a skirmish in the fourth quarter. It all started with a shove by Jason Terry on Steve Blake that started a mini-fight, resulting in Matt Barnes getting angry with Mavericks assistant coach Terry Stotts, and a partially naked woman getting escorted out for attempting to rush the court. Here’s a video of the Lakers-Mavericks fight sparked by Terry’s cheap shot:

Terry, Blake, Barnes and Brendan Haywood were all ejected immediately, while Shannon Brown later got tossed for shoving Brian Cardinal. The best reaction of all came from Phil Jackson who said “There was no fight. They were two cock-roosters bumping chests. Just some pushing and shoving going on.” Classic. Leave it to Phil to keep everything in perspective, right?

Of course he’s not worried — his team has won eight in a row and is closing in on the Spurs for the top spot in the West. The way they’ve been playing, it’s hard to figure they won’t take the top spot before the regular season ends.

Dirk Nowitzki Knee Injury Magnifies His Importance to Dallas Mavericks

Though Dirk Nowitzki has won an MVP award and gone to nine straight All-Star games, you won’t find his name in the conversation for best player in the NBA. LeBron, Kobe, Dwight, Dwyane, Durant — everyone talks about those guys, but Dirk seems to play without too many people noticing. Matter of conjecture, Dirk’s steadiness and reliability has made his constantly stellar play go under-appreciated.

It’s a sad commentary on our society and media that a player needs to get hurt for many of us to see his value, but that’s happened with Dirk. Nowitzki has missed the last nine games for the Mavericks since spraining his knee early in the team’s December 27th win over the Thunder. They lost three in a row after he first got hurt, beat the Cavs and Blazers in back-to-back games, and now they’ve lost four in a row.

You could argue that the Mavs have had a poor record since losing Dirk to injury because of a tough schedule, but that would be inaccurate. Four of the eight teams to whom they’ve lost have losing records. Two of the team’s losses have come against the team with the NBA’s best record — the Spurs — while another came against the Magic. Even though both teams are good, the Mavs beat each one earlier in the year when Dirk was in the lineup.

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Mavericks Didn’t Choke in Spurs Series

Many people will be piling on the Dallas Mavericks for yet another early playoffs exit but I don’t want you falling into that same pattern. They’ll point to Dallas winning at least 50 games every season in the decade and having nothing to show for it. I say they came damn close in ’06 and the legacy of Shaq and Dwyane Wade wouldn’t be what it is had Dallas held on. They’ll remind you the Mavs have made first-round playoff exits in three of the past four years. I have a more logical explanation for each situation that doesn’t involve the lazy shortcuts most media members take. Most importantly, they’ll remind you that the Mavericks are the first two seed to lose to a seven seed in the first round since the format was expanded to best of seven. Anyone who recites this fact should keep in mind that the Spurs could have just as easily been the two seed.

Three years ago, the Mavericks had the best record in the NBA, the MVP award winner, and they drew a first-round matchup against an eight seed that had beaten them every game during the regular season. The Warriors beat the Mavs in six games pulling off the upset. Two years ago, the Mavs’ window of opportunity seemed to be closing as they squeaked into the playoffs as a seven seed and got bounced by a superior Hornets team. Guys like Josh Howard were more concerned with partying than playing and the result was Avery Johnson getting fired for “losing his team.” The Mavericks still managed to win 50 games last season but they seemed to have faded to become a borderline playoff team in the West.

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Craig Ehlo: Cuban Will Pursue Bob Knight

So we’ve already established that the Mavericks fired coach Avery Johnson in the wake of their first round playoff exit. I always say you have to see what’s out there first before you move on, but perhaps this is best for both parties. Now the question for Dallas becomes who do they hire? There aren’t too many big names out there I can think of, and we all know my buddy LB already took a gig with Charlotte. So where does that leave Dallas? Craig Ehlo joined Arnie Spanier on Sporting News Radio Wednesday and offered this possibility:

I think Mark Cuban will actually go after Bobby Knight. You know he just lives in Lubbock, Texas only 375 miles west of there. Cuban is an Indiana grad and I wouldn’t put it past him to offer something to Bobby Knight if Bobby Knight would be willing.

Let’s see, Cuban could offer something, but I don’t see any chance that Bob Knight takes it. He’s already gone on a limb by taking a job with ESPN, is there really a chance he tries out the pro game? I don’t think Knight wants any part of the professional ballplayer. Bob Knight not being able to pick and choose who is on his team via recruiting? Not a good mix. Not going to happen, though the thought is awesome. And who knows, Cuban could try to make something happen here — he’s all about the splash, and hot damn, this would be a waterfall.