Wounded Warriors focus on stumbling Mavs


Wounded Warriors focus on stumbling Mavs

March 16, 2011

DALLAS (47-20) vs.
WARRIORS (30-37)

Coverage begins at 7 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

OAKLAND (AP) -- If shots are falling for the Dallas Mavericks, they're awfully difficult to beat. Their latest game proved to be a surprising exception.

After falling to third place in the Western Conference, the Mavericks try to bounce back and avoid a third consecutive defeat - and fifth in seven games - when they wrap up a quick two-game road trip Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors.

RELATED: NBA conference standings

Dallas (47-20) shoots the ball better than any team in the West, connecting on 47.7 percent of its attempts, and when Dirk Nowitzki and his teammates are hitting they've been practically untouchable. When the Mavericks shoot at or above their average, they were 30-5 heading into Tuesday's visit to Portland.

With that in mind, it's hard to believe Dallas' season-best 59.7 percent shooting performance - which included an 11-for-11 start - could have led to anything but a comfortable victory. But with Tyson Chandler battling foul trouble and Brendan Haywood out, the Trail Blazers used 15 offensive boards to create extra possessions in a 104-101 victory that dropped the Mavericks behind the Los Angeles Lakers.

RELATED: Nowitzki's game-tying 3 off the mark, Mavs fall to Blazers

Dallas fell to 36-4 when it scores at least 100 points while losing for the fourth time in is last six games overall. Those defeats have been by a combined 10 points.

Neither of Golden State's past two games has been close. The Warriors (30-37) turned in one of their best defensive efforts of the season Sunday, holding Minnesota to 36.6 percent in a 100-77 win, but that didn't carry over Monday against the West's worst team.

Sacramento shot exactly 20 percent better than the Timberwolves had a night early, outscored Golden State 66-38 in the paint and led by as many as 25 in a 129-119 victory.

REWIND: Warriors fall to last-place Kings

Warriors coach Keith Smart wasn't surprised with his team's lackluster effort even though it was hardly taxed the night before.

"I knew we were going to be flat," said Smart, who kept Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry and the rest of his starters out for the fourth quarter. "I was hoping that we wouldn't, but we didn't have the juice. We couldn't match up to the speed of the game. We didn't have the energy."

Sacramento's Marcus Thornton, who averaged just 9.8 points coming in, had a career-high 42 points, but that's not the first time Golden State has let an unheralded guard have a career night. Dallas' Rodrigue Beaubois had 40 points - hitting 9 of 11 3-pointers - in his team's last trip to Oakland, a 111-90 rout on March 27.

Beaubois, who missed 55 games this season with a fractured left foot, has never scored more than 24 points in another game.

In the lone meeting this season, Nowitzki and Jason Terry combined for 45 points in a 105-100 win over the Warriors on Dec. 7 in Dallas - the Mavs' fourth straight win in the series.

REWIND: Highlights -- Dallas 105, Warriors 100

Golden State and Dallas will get well acquainted over the next few weeks, though. They'll play again Sunday at American Airlines Center before meeting once more in Oakland on April 2.

One problem for the Mavericks lately - particularly as Chandler has found himself in foul trouble - has been a spike in the second-chance points they've allowed. Portland had 18 Tuesday thanks to their dominance on the offensive glass, and Dallas has given up 17.0 per game - 4.4 more than its previous average - during its 2-4 stretch.

It's unclear if Haywood, who's battling a sore back, will return Wednesday.

GMs have taken all the fun out of Trade Deadline day


GMs have taken all the fun out of Trade Deadline day

The NHL trade deadline came and went Monday night when the Washington Capitals went chips-in on St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

(For the record, the actual details of the trade are so absurdly complicated that all you will be permitted to know here is that the Caps got Shattenkirk).

But the fact is that, yet again, all the air rushed out of Wednesday’s trade deadline balloon for the hockey media, and the poor sods on set to babysit all the deal-lets and non-deals will weep bitterly as their phones spit out hour after hour of non-information.

At least that’s the way it is playing now. Maybe Pittsburgh will finally close that long-rumored (well, by me, anyway) Sidney Crosby-for-Phil Di Giuseppe deal, but that’s not the way to bet.

But the trade deadline has been slowly but surely dying as general managers find far greater advantage in making their deals away from the time crunch and the persistent phone calls from other general manager, agents and worst of all, media weasels.

For example, the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans broke the NBA trade deadline as well as the All-Star Game by doing the DeMarcus Cousins deal four days early and midway through the first half, in that order.

And though this wasn’t actually a trade, the Golden State Warriors broke the market back in July by maneuvering their way for the prize of the summer – Zaza Pachulia.

Oh, and the other guy.

In short, the general managers seem to have figured out the simplest way to foil the pressures of the trade deadline – by ignoring the deadline and acting ahead of time, creating their own spoiler alerts by spoiling everyone’s fun before they were fully alerted.

And that leaves the rest of us faced with an empty day of blather after we’ve all gone to the trouble of doubling down on beer and chips.

Ultimately the idea behind the coverage of a trade is to break the news of the trade whenever it happens. And the idea of the trade from the general manager’s view is to better the team and minimize the chance of being fired.

All laudable goals, by and large.

But a trade deadline without some recognizable trades is just another day when you can’t fake working, and who needs that?

What’s needed here then is a trade deadline with teeth and real tangible punishments for everyone involved. I mean, we have chips and guacamole to think of.

For instance, there is no reason why the leagues couldn’t install rules that say that no trade can be announced even to any of the principals (players, agents, medioids, et. al.) except on the day of the deadline. Any teams involved in a deal that breaks the embargo is fined a massive amount of the owners’ (as in both teams’ owners) money.

To make this work, the teams would have to agree no trade could be made between, say, Thanksgiving and the deadline. Or Christmas, depending on how you feel about tryptophan overdosing. But the point is, nothing could get done until the agreed-upon deadline, and it could only be announced to anyone on the day of the deadline.

This is profoundly unfair to the players, of course, but that little issue has never bothered management before when the alternative was money.

It is also not much fun for the media, which has to twiddle its opposables floating rumors that can’t be proven or disproven except on that one day when everyone works from midnight to midnight, wired to the eyelids on six-buck coffee and enough green tea to turn a gall bladder into a souvenir ash tray.

No, this is about making a worthwhile and ironclad trade deadline for the good of the sport, and the business.

Okay, this is about our amusement.

We all like trade deadlines. It gives order to the market, and it centers everyone’s focus on one hyper-adrenalized day to watch out for double-, triple- and quadruple-crosses from general managers wanting to jump each others’ action in search of their own personal Shattenkirks.

It spikes Verizon stock, it makes lots of business for movers and real estate vultures, it provides cheap and disposable fame for about two-thirds of the players in the league, and it makes everyone involved look like twitchy red-eyed zombies on television.

It beats the Bachelorette every time, because among other things it looks a lot more like parents do when they’ve been up all day and night with the colic farms.

In short, a trade deadline is a precious thing not to be discarded just because it’s inconvenient for a few suits and about-to-be-moved employees.

So yeah, Kevin Shattenkirk could have held another day or so. You know, for the good of the game.


Curry blames weatherman for career-worst 0-for-11 from 3-point range

Curry blames weatherman for career-worst 0-for-11 from 3-point range

In the wake of a 119-108 Warriors win over the 76ers Monday night in Philadelphia, Stephen Curry had a ready explanation for his 0-of-11 shooting 3-point distance.

He didn’t properly account for the change in weather.

“The weatherman said it’s like a low-pressure system that was coming in (and) I forgot to adjust to the thickness of the air,” he told reporters at Wells Fargo Center.

Curry’s comment may open to interpretation, but it was clear his sense of humor remained intact even after a career-worst shooting night beyond the arc.

He wasn’t the only Warrior finding it difficult to score from deep. Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green combined to go 5-of-20. The Warriors were 6-of-29 from deep, their second-lowest total of the season.

“It’s weird,” he said. “Not to discredit anything they did. The first half we had a lot of open looks that didn’t go in. Klay made a couple down the stretch. KD made one. Draymond made one from the corner.

“Other than that we still took really good shots that didn’t go in. But for us to still have moxie to withstand that and still pretty much have the lead the whole game and allow our defense to get us a win tonight was kind of our M.O.”

Given that Curry owns the single-game record for triples (13) as well as the single-season record (402), it was most alarming that he couldn’t find at least one. And he had opportunities.

“It happens but you have to try and find other ways to impact the game,” he said. “I was trying to get to the paint a little bit more and just try to make plays. One thing is I don’t get down on myself. Obviously, that’s why I got 11 of them up. I still have confidence the next one is going in and that will stay the same tomorrow.”

The Warriors face the Wizards Tuesday in Washington. In Curry’s last appearance at the Verizon Center, last Feb. 3, he went for 51 points. He was 11-of-15 from deep.

“What I love about Steph is he went 0-11 tonight from three but you wouldn’t know it if you looked at his face,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He never loses confidence; he never hangs his head. It is a sign of a guy with ultimate confidence in his ability and the awareness that it is one of those nights.

“He is likely to come out tomorrow and make about seven in a row at some point. So that’s what I love about Steph. He keeps playing.”