Tag:Brendan Haywood
Posted on: May 3, 2011 2:08 am
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Kobe gets a great look to win, somehow misses

Posted by Royce Young



According to most every casual NBA and Los Angeles Laker fan, the Lakers had the Mavericks right where they wanted them. Or at the least, in an advantageous spot. L.A. was down two with 3.1 seconds left.

Meaning it was Mamba Time.

We've all seen Kobe Bryant hit big shots time after time. He's done it my team, he's done it to your team. The image of him drilling a huge crunch-time shot is emblazoned into our brains. Ask most anyone that hasn't ever heard of 82games.com or has a Synergy Sports account and they'll tell you Kobe is the most clutch player since Michael Jordan.

And in some ways, he is. I mean, you let me pick one guy to take and make a shot with a few seconds left and I'm probably going to come back to Kobe. Still, a ton of research and a ton of great sportswriting has sort of debunked the Kobe in the clutch thing. A big reason for it is because the Lakers tend to go away from the offense that makes them so tough to defend and basically it turns into Kobeball. His ball-hogging bogs down the Lakers and in the clutch -- defined as the last five minutes of a game within five points -- the Lakers' offensive efficiency takes a massive hit.

Monday though, down two with a couple seconds left, the Lakers drew one up for you-know-who and it was a beauty. After Kobe caught the ball, I would assume every Dallas Maverick fan there is immediately sensed the worst coming. Kobe had a clean look and we all just knew we were about to watch the latest signature Kobe in the clutch moment.

Except a funny thing happened. He missed. Just barely, but he did.

A shame too, because what a great play it was. Andrew Bynum completely swallowed Jason Kidd whole, Derek Fisher delivered the ball on time and Kobe got a clean look. That, was a great play. That, was a great look. If Kobe nails it, we're all talking about The Black Mamba for a few days and bringing up names like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and every other big playoff shotmaker. But he missed it. It happens. Still, a great look for him.
Posted on: May 2, 2011 1:51 am
Edited on: May 2, 2011 12:29 pm
 

Mavericks-Lakers preview: The first time

A preview of the first round playoff series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. Posted by Ben Golliver.

kobe-kidd

I. Intro: No. 3 seed Dallas Mavericks (57-25) vs. No. 2 seed Los Angeles Lakers (57-25)

For the first time in the Dirk Nowitzki era, these two long-time Western Conference powers will face off in the playoffs. The Mavericks arrive in the Western Conference semifinals after knocking out the Blazers in six games. The Lakers are here by virtue of dispatching the New Orleans Hornets in six games.  Both teams are among the oldest in the league, sporting cores that have been through playoff fires together. (Obviously the Mavericks have been burned a bit worse than the Lakers). 

The Lakers and Mavericks were similarly effective during the regular season, winning 57 games and putting up very, very similar efficiency numbers. The Lakers were No. 7 on offense and No. 6 on defense while the Mavericks were No. 8 on offense and No. 7 on defense. The teams even played exactly the same pace during the regular season, slightly below league average.

The Lakers, however, were a marginally better rebounding team and a significantly better team when it comes to taking care of the ball. Dallas enjoyed one major advantage: they lead the league in assist rate, meaning that no one scores a greater percentage of their points directly from passes. That offensive balance is key as the Mavericks generally have four scoring options on the court at all times and do a nice job of maximizing those players' skills. 

The difference between these two even-on-paper teams could very well wind up being L.A.'s star talent. The combination of Kobe Bryant / Pau Gasol / Andrew Bynum / Lamar Odom is a vicious four-headed monster for Nowitzki to fight off with a supporting cast that is a fairly motley crew at this stage of their careers.  

II. What Happened: A look at the season series

The Lakers took the season series, 2-1, with all three games taking place since New Year's Day. Both Lakers victories came in March. The most recent one was a chippy 110-82 blowout victory at Staples Center that saw multiple ejections, including forward Matt Barnes for throwing Mavericks assistant coach Terry Stotts to the ground. 

The teams split in Texas, where Dallas took a high-scoring 109-100 affair in January while the Lakers won a March grinder, 96-91.

L.A.'s homecourt advantage is a factor here, but both teams are equally capable of stealing a game in this series. Not only did these teams have identical regular season records, they were also very similar in their home/road split. The Lakers were 30-11 at home and 27-14 on the road; The Mavericks were 29-12 at home and a league-best 28-13 on the road. Both teams won on the road at least once during their first round series, including dual Game 6 close-out victories on the road. 

III. Secret of the Series: Foul trouble

A critical determining factor in this series could be foul trouble, as the Lakers succeeded in pounding the paint over the course of their first round series against the Hornets. While Dallas has better bigs than New Orleans by a long shot, they aren't particularly deep in the front court. Center Tyson Chandler was regularly in foul trouble against Portland, a factor the Blazers weren't able to fully exploit because their own front court lacks depth and size. 

The Lakers, on the other hand, are perfectly suited to making Chandler pay if he gets two or three quick ones. Gasol, Bynum and Odom are all capable scorers and Bryant can get into the paint when necessary too. If Chandler is able to stay on the court, the Mavericks stand a chance. If not, they'll be hard-pressed to rebound on both ends and prevent second chance points, and it will put an even greater burden on Nowitzki. Expect the Lakers to attack this positional weakness much more aggressively and directly than they did in round one.  

IV. The Line-Item Veto: Who wins each match-up?

PG: Jason Kidd's three-point shooting and overall offensive orchestry was a major difference-maker in Dallas' series victory over Portland. Derek Fisher will gladly serve as the underdog in this match-up as long as he doesn't have to guard Hornets point guard Chris Paul again. Advantage: Mavericks. 

SG: Despite all the talk about his ankle, Kobe Bryant surely looks healthy enough to enjoy great success here. The Mavericks are extremely weak at the two-guard spot, something they did well to overcome in their opening round series. DeShawn Stevenson and a ready-to-go Roddy Beaubois will set the table for sixth man Jason Terry, who came on strong late in the Portland series, but none are equipped to defend Bryant. Huge advantage: Lakers. 

SF: Shawn Marion was perhaps Dallas' most pleasant surprise in round one as he neutralized Portland's potential X-factor, Gerald Wallace, while also chipping in on the boards and with some scoring production. Ron Artest probably hasn't hit his stride yet but we're entering the part of the calendar when he is at his best, making everyone's life miserable and making heady hustle plays. Marion was good for 10.5 points and 6.2 rebounds in round one; Artest put up 11.8 and 5.0. Artest could very well end up winning out. For now, call this one a push. 

PF: Just as Dirk Nowitzki vs. LaMarcus Aldridge was one of the must-watch first round matchups, so too will be Nowitzki vs. Pau Gasol. There's no question about who played better in round one. Nowitzki carried the Mavericks by averaging 27.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while Gasol once again warded off criticism for his passive play. If there's a silver lining for Gasol, it's that he will have plenty of help from Artest, Lamar Odom and company in defending Nowitzki. Still, he will have his hands full. Advantage: Mavericks.

C: The Lakers should win the pivot. Andrew Bynum was dominant against the Hornets, putting up 15.2 points and 10.3 rebounds while also blocking nearly two shots per game. Tyson Chandler isn't asked to score much, but he did rebound effectively against the Blazers, including a monster 20-rebound performance to help secure a Game 5 victory.  The key issue, as mentioned above, will be his ability to stay out of foul trouble. His back-up, Brendan Haywood, doesn't stand a chance in this series. Advantage: Lakers.

Bench: This match-up pits this year's Sixth Man of the Year, Lamar Odom, versus a perennial candidate for that award, in Terry. Both present defensive problems for their opponents but Odom is a particularly tough cover for the Mavericks. The burden will likely fall to Marion, who will have to wrestle with Artest and then track Odom all over the court. That's a lot for one man to bear. Dallas' reserves don't stand much of a chance of helping ease that load, either. The Lakers will continue to use Shannon Brown and Steve Blake to make life easier for Derek Fisher while the return of Beaubois could provide a much-needed athleticism and energy spark off of Dallas' bench, as J.J. Barea didn't get much done in round one. Terry aside, L.A.'s backcourt is a touch more proven and cohesive. Overall, slight advantage: Lakers.

Coach: Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle did an excellent job of making the necessary adjustments in round one but he had the deeper and more talented team on both sides of the ball. He will be on the other side of that equation in round two and that will make his life, and the adjustments, significantly more difficult. Meanwhile, Lakers coach Phil Jackson still has more rings than anyone can count and was able to pull L.A. through some stretches of sporadic play to knock off a feisty Hornets team. He's still got it. Advantage: Lakers.

V. Conclusion

The Lakers aren't playing perfectly but, in sum, are simply a cut above the Mavericks from a talent perspective. They've got multiple options to throw at Nowitzki, no other clear match-up disadvantages, multiple stars in Bryant and Odom that should be able to operate with impunity and a third in Bynum who could swing the series if he continues to show the unstoppable size/skill combination that he flashed in round one. The Mavericks are confident, capable of getting hot and smartly get to the line late in games, especially at home. Ultimately, that probably won't be enough. Prediction: Lakers in 6.

Posted on: January 26, 2011 12:13 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2011 12:30 pm
 

Game Changer 1.26.11: Beatdowns and takedowns

Beatdowns, takedowns, and shakedowns all in today's Game Changer. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.   

THE BIG ONE: L.A. beat the crap out of Utah


I have no other way of discussing this. None. Utah was overwhelmed in every facet of the game to the furthest degree. It wasn't the Cavaliers game, but it was pretty embarrassing. But don't take my word for it. From Silver Screen and Roll on the SBNation Network:
The cushion reached 17 in the first quarter, 28 at halftime and 33 late in the third. Utah never made a run that was even mildly threatening. That the game got out of reach early meant plenty of garbagio time for the scrubs, who did some nice things of their own. Luke Walton made all four of his shots (seriously?), Devin Ebanks buried a step-back three, and Derrick Caracterflashed some aggressive D at the rim. Top grades all around!

As a team the Lakers made 68% of their twos and 44% of their threes - easily their best shooting night of the season. They also did a great job of getting to the free-throw line, a direct result of their relentlessness in attacking Utah's sluggish team D. The Lakers were just faster to every spot on the floor, which forced the Jazz to clutch and grab all night long.
via Lakers 120, Jazz 91: Wire to Wire Ownage - Silver Screen and Roll .

Yeah, that's pretty much how that went. The Jazz' defense is completely out of sorts right now. Al Jefferson was atrocious, and he's going to have to be the difference maker if that team is going to go anywhere. Granted, in years past, the Jazz would fire out strong in January then fade in April, so maybe this year will be the reverse, but at some point, the Jazz have to be concerned of how far they're going to fall in the standings and who they'll wind up facing in the first round. Because if it's the Lakers, at this point you have to assume that's going to be a pretty quick series. 

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:

Kwame Brown: 13 points, 18 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block Wait, Kwame Brown?!

Runner-Up:

Pau Gasol: 20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists

FLAGRANT OR NO FLAGRANT?

Brendan Haywood gave Blake Griffin an elbow contusion with this takedown. Haywood says it's not a flagrant. What do you think?


Posted on: December 30, 2010 2:02 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2010 2:09 pm
 

The best in Texas right now? A Maverick answer

The Spurs are great, the Mavs are better this season. Here's why they're the Best in Texas. 
Posted by Matt Moore




Who's the best in Texas? The Dallas Mavericks, that's who. 

Let's start by admitting that this is largely like asking what's better, pancakes or waffles. Done right, they're both pretty awesome with syrup. The Spurs are a deep, talented team that executes with consistency and is led by a smart, capable head coach and an all-world power forward. The Mavericks are a deep, talented team that executes with consistency and is led by a smart, capable head coach and an all-world power forward. Both teams are top teams in the league, both teams are capable of beating anyone on any given night, and both teams are reasonable in having championship aspirations at this point. 

That said, while the Spurs currently entertain a 2.5 game advantage over the Mavericks, it's been the Mavericks who have staked their claim as the best team in Texas this year. Consider this: The Spurs are 6-3 against teams in the top ten in point differential . The Mavericks are 9-2, an absolutely ridiculous mark , including wins over Miami, Oklahoma City, Orlando, and Utah. They swept the Heat in two meetings. They have beaten the Celtics. Now the Spurs have also beaten the Heat, have beaten the Lakers, have beaten the Jazz and the Thunder. But the Mavericks have been just slightly better against elite teams, including ... a November 26th 103-94 win over San Antonio. 

So how did Dallas get this good? Consistency and depth. The Mavericks, more than any team in the league, including the Celtics, Lakers, and Spurs, have played consistently well quarter to quarter. With the improved depth at center as Tyson Chandler turns back the clock, and with a four-guard rotation that will only improve with the return of Rodrigue Beaubois, the Mavericks have solid depth at nearly every position. Jose Juan Barea is always surprisingly good, the annoying player you can't believe is sticking you with daggers. Jason Kidd is still incredibly talented even at his age. Have you ever taken a look at how fast he is in transition? Unbelievable at age 37. Jason Terry is still lighting it up. And DeShawn Stevenson is a well-rounded shooting guard who amazingly isn't a liability under Rick Carlisle's tutelage. 

Small forward, though, may be the best situation for the Mavericks. They're able to combo with Caron Butler and Shawn Marion (who's having a renaissance year).  Marion's physical athleticism and Butler's precision makes for a great matchup combination. Being able to adjust his lineup to whatever the opponent throws at him is a considerable asset for head coach Rick Carlisle. At power forward, Marion is a capable small lineup option, but we all know the real answer is Dirk Nowitzki (who's a gametime decision Thursday night). Nowtizki has played at an MVP-level this season, rebounding well while continuing to be an absolute monster from the elbow down the stretch. Dirk has the ability still to pump-fake and drive, keeping opponents glued to their stance instead of bodying him, and when that big frame rises up at the elbow, it's nearly impossible to defend. The Mavericks only go as far as the Big German takes them, but he's got a track record of going pretty far. The knock on Nowitzki has been about his playoff performances, where he's a career 46% shooter, averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds per game. That he ran into Dwyane Wade going Nova in '06 and a disastrous matchup advantage for vintage Don Nelson in '07 should not confuse the greatness of his career. 

And center has been a huge upgrade with Tyson Chandler playing at a tough level for any Western center. Having Brendan Haywood as your starting center is okay, not great, but having him as a backup is a boon, even if he is struggling this season. That's six more fouls the Mavs have to throw around a night, and that size has been missing for years in the Big D. Redefining the Mavs as an offensive juggernaut that can also defend (currently 6th in defensive efficiency ) changes the game for Dallas, and that's what's happened this season.

The Spurs are a great team and a legitimate championship contender. They're also the last team to knock off the Mavericks in the playoffs. But right now, with the Spurs having some inconsistencies game to game, and with Duncan having a bigger drop-off than Dirk, the Mavericks are the best squad in the Lonestar state. We'll find out if that's true heads-up Thursday night when the two meet.

Yippie-kay-yay.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 2:22 am
Edited on: December 8, 2010 9:34 am
 

Mavericks breaking out with more than front five

Mavericks excel with more than the starting five, as their win streak reaches ten. Posted by Matt Moore



The Mavericks have always been able to gunsling with the best with them this decade. Having a seven-foot Hall of Fame, former MVP legend will do that for you, alongside one of the top point guards of all time and a former sixth man of the year. But as was evident in the Mavericks' tenth straight win , it's not just the starters for Dallas that are getting the job done. 

After the Mavericks outran the Jazz on December 3rd, Dirk Nowitzki said this is the deepest team he's been on . The numbers are bearing out that this is at least a very good team depth-wise, and not just on the offensive end. 

Dallas' bench entered play Tuesday night averaging 33.6 points per game and allowing just 28.7 per game. It's that kind of advantage when your starters come off the floor that leads to starters being able to rest more, and coaches like Rick Carlisle not having to throw starters back out into weird rotations in order to plug leaks as a lead drops or a deficit widens. 

Tonight's contributor was Ian Mahinmi, who provided his first career double-double against the Warriors with 12 points and 10 rebounds to go with 2 steals and one very nasty block. Mahinmi being a viable backup center when Tyson Chandler and/or Brendan Haywood can't go gives a whole new dimension to the Mavericks, allowing them to play big against opponents. That's something that will be crucial to keep an eye on as the playoffs approach, even if the Mavericks aren't as hot as they are now (and odds are they won't be). 

It should be noted that Jason Terry is a big reason for the bench points as DeShawn Stevenson has been starting in his stead at shooting guard. Still, there's not an absence of production for Dallas off the pine as Mahinmi, Jose Juan Barea, and Shawn Marion are all capable of putting in solid to great nights if they're feeling on. That's a pretty big set of weapons to account for, and that's part of the reason Dallas has been so unstoppable thus far this season. 

Oh, and have we mentioned Rodrigue Beaubois isn't even back in action, yet? 

The Mavericks aren't just stocked at each position, they're capable of throwing together combinations to specifically counter what their opponent puts on the floor. With Rick Carlisle at the helm, the team is willing and able to adjust on the fly to problems presented, which is partially responsible for Dallas' remarkable ability to close this season. 

When Beaubois returns, the Mavs will feature a stellar four-guard rotation, a solid punch-counterpunch at small forward with Caron Butler and Shawn Marion providing contrasting approaches, and a three-headed center system with veterans Haywood and Chandler backed up by young buck Mahinmi. Quite simply, when the Mavericks are healthy, they are not a team you want to run into on a dark and stormy night. And unlike the Hornets, this success doesn't seem to be the product of a hot streak. 

Get past all that? 

You've still got Dirk Nowitzki in effect. 

#1 (for now ) indeed. 
Posted on: June 28, 2010 3:05 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2010 6:02 pm
 

Everyone wants Joe Johnson all of a sudden

Look, I'm not sayin'. I'm just sayin'.

You're going to be hard pressed to find a bigger Joe Johnson advocate in ye old Blogosphere than the author of this post right here. An Arkansas native (Johnson grew up in Little Rock, went to school at U of A), and someone that dug the SSOL-era Suns (who didn't outside of San Antonio), I have followed the explosive wing's career in Atlanta with great interest. That little crossover business with Boston? That's some pretty stuff, right there.

But is he worth all the attention he's suddenly receiving?

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the Mavs intend to pursue a sign-and-trade to acquire the services of the soon-to-be 29 year-old shooting guard. This coming on the heels of reports that he's on the fast train to New York, and of course, that Chicago is on the target list as well.

The Mavericks have been banking on a sign-and-trade option for free agency for a long time (and Mark Cuban's already invested money to that effect in the form of a fine for talking about it ). They have a talented roster and are willing to absorb more salary, as they've consistently been at the top of the luxury tax for nearly the past decade. A combination of Caron Butler and pieces might be enough to entice the Hawks into going for the deal. For Johnson, it would mean getting the extra year's worth of money that comes with signing with his former club, plus not having to be "the man" for the team, playing in tandem with Dirk Nowitzki. It would also move him closer to his hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas.

But is Johnson worth the kind of money that would be coming to him in a max-contract sign and trade? There's been a lot of speculation about Johnson being willing to take less than a max deal, but those rumors were tied with him being headed to New York. Regardless, his deal will still be an albatross, and will remain so throughout the length of his contract. By the time it ends, Johnson could be a 35 year old shooting guard with faded elevation. His jump shot isn't pure like Ray Allen, and there's been a noticeable plateau in his efficiency as he approaches the apex of his career.

With that being said, there's something to be said in that article linked above from Hawks blog Hoopinion on how his game could adjust in the right circumstances:


"...he could become more efficient in a lower-usage role but likely at the cost of some the volume of points he's scored and assists he's earned over the last five seasons."

That's precisely the type of role he'd fit in with the Mavs. Jason Kidd as the creator, Dirk Nowitzki (assuming the highly probable re-signing) as the lynch pin, and Johnson as the perimeter finisher. It would put the Mavs offense immediately in the top of the league offensively... hypothetically. Then again, the deal for Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood was supposed to put them in similar context, and instead resulted in a swift first round ejection.

There's one thing we can tell from this report. Mark Cuban, yet again, will not be sitting around twiddling his thumbs during the most important offseason in NBA history.

-Matt Moore


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com