How the Mavs Finally Got Their Men

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Mavs Man

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

After the Dallas Mavericks won their lone championship in 2011, the organization saw a philosophical shift. Gone were the key members of a title-winning core mere months after reaching the pinnacle of the basketball world. Tyson Chandler had gone to the New York Knicks in a sign and trade deal that saw him earn a four years and $55 million. Following were the likes of JJ Barea, Caron Butler, Corey Brewer, and other key pieces. A year later, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry would follow, effectively ending an era in Big D. [Read more…]

Mavs Rally Behind Dirk to Upend Thunder at Home

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

On Sunday night, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle found himself in a pickle. His starting center Tyson Chandler was going to miss the game due to lower back spasms. Further complicating the issue was the recent departure, via the Rajon Rondo trade, of Tyson Chandler-lite, Brandan Wright. What he was left with was Greg Smith, an unproven, somewhat undersized big man. But, rather than lean on Smith from the gate, a whimsical dream – a nightmare really – prompted Carlisle to craft the most Don Nelson lineup imaginable. The Dallas starting lineup for Sunday night was as follows: [Read more…]

Costly Turnovers Doom Mavs Against Hawks

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

Monday night in Dallas marked just the second game for Rajon Rondo in a Mavericks uniform. His prior outing had seen a fairly stagnant offense for the most part until Monta Ellis flew in to save the day with a heroic fourth quarter charge. Unfortunately, that same calvary would not make an appearance against the visiting Atlanta Hawks.

Photo Credit: dallasnews.com

Photo Credit: dallasnews.com

Atlanta came into the game riding a hot streak, winning 12 of their previous 13 contests after a 7-6 start. Make no mistake about it, this is not the same Hawks team from last season. In fact, in his pre-game press conference, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle stated “they could very well be the team that comes out of the East this year. That’s how good they are.” On Monday night, their play validated Carlisle’s claim. [Read more…]

Dirk Nowitzki: Humble Star and Top Foreign-Born Scorer

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

This past Tuesday, during a game against the visiting Sacramento Kings, Dirk Nowitzki found himself on the brink of history. Not only would a 17 point night move Dirk up to ninth on the NBA’s All-Time Scoring List, but it would also make him the league’s top scoring foreign-born player by leap-frogging Hakeem Olajuwon in the process. The game got off to a sluggish start for Dallas, falling behind by as many as 24 points, but in the end Dirk’s Mavs were able to right the ship and capture a more-or-less convincing win, 106-98.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The historic basket came with 8:56 remaining in the fourth quarter; a silky-smooth catch-and-shoot from the left elbow off a Monta Ellis dish. The bucket gave Dirk a career total of 26,946 points for his illustrious career and drew a rousing ovation from the home crowd.

But not everything about the Big German’s journey has been as smooth as his jumper. Dirk has faced down countless demons over the course of 17 years. He’s been called “soft,” a poor defender, a choke-artist in big playoff moments. It didn’t seem to matter how many points he scored. Only one thing could rewrite his legacy; an NBA title.

Dirk had been to the Finals once before, going up two games to none over the Miami Heat before an epic collapse derailed Dallas’ title hopes. The team would then fall in the first round of the playoffs in three of the next four seasons, leading many to doubt whether or not Dirk would ever lead the Mavericks to the promise land.

2011, however, proved to be the defining moment in Nowitzki’s career. Leading a team of castoffs, Dirk led a furious charge through the Western Conference, derailing the feisty Portland Trailblazers, sweeping the reigning, defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, and overpowering the up-start Oklahoma City Thunder on his way back to the Finals. There, Dirk would not only have to face his greatest failure in a rematch with Dwyane Wade’s Miami Heat but he would also have to contend with the self-proclaimed most hyped and publicized dynasty-in-the-making.

While the Mavs were hardly the same team that had fallen in 2006, the Miami Heat could say the same. This Heat club now featured the likes of two-time MVP LeBron James and Chris Bosh to compliment Wade’s own stellar skill set. But behind the leadership of Dirk, Tyson Chandler, and Jason Kidd, the Mavs felt they had the pieces necessary to stun the NBA world.

The turning point of the series came in Game 2 after Wade sank a corner three to put Miami up 15 midway through the final frame. The win would have given the Heat a commanding 2-0 lead the Mavs surely wouldn’t have been able to come back from, though thankfully it would never come to that. Rather than lie down and accept their defeat, Dirk led a furious comeback that would find a place in NBA Finals lore for all time, outscoring the over-confident Heat 22-5 over the final seven minutes and change to win 95-93 and tie the series at a game a piece.

Although Miami would answer with a win in Game 3, Dallas’ confidence was at an all-time high. The Mavs would rattle off three consecutive victories, overcoming everything Dwyane Wade and LeBron could throw at them and even Nowitzki’s illness in Game 4. The Mavs would claim the series in six games and Dirk would be named the Finals MVP with averages of 26 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Since that time, Dirk has watched his team’s roster turn over four times, though this year’s squad appears to have more firepower than any he’s ever had – which is saying something considering he played with Steve Nash and Michael Finley in their primes.

Even with every challenge Dirk has faced down over his illustrious career, his consistency and longevity continue to amaze. This season he’s averaging 20.6 PPG on 52.3 percent shooting. And despite everything he’s accomplished, he remains as humble as ever with regards to his place in history.

“Passing the Big O and knowing that only nine guys ever in this league scored more than me – that’s crazy to think,” he told reporters back in August. “From where I came from, a little dump in Wurzburg, Germany, it’s been an amazing ride. So, you know, hopefully I can have a couple more good years and we’ll see where I end up.”

Rick Carlisle – someone familiar with all-time greats – calls Dirk one of the greatest ever. And at the rate he’s going, Dirk could potentially climb as high as sixth spot all time in scoring before he completes the three-year, $25 million deal he signed this past offseason. If he plays beyond that, Wilt Chamberlain’s fifth place mark remains a possibility. Not bad for a gangly 20-year-old kid who started his career coming off the bench for Don Nelson.

To see some of Dirk’s greatest scoring milestones, checkout the video below. The compilation was done by the NBA and includes not only his first career points but several milestones and game-winning shots along before the way to Tuesday night’s latest record.

And as always, follow Darreck on Twitter @DarreckWKirby and be sure to checkout ProjectShanks.com for the latest in Mavs news and updates.

Mavs Fast Break Ep. 2 with Chris Stuckey & Darreck Kirby

Mavs-Fast-Break

CLICK HERE to listen.

With the NBA season underway, Chris Stuckey and Darreck Kirby continue Dallas Mavericks coverage on ProjectShanks.com with another episode of Mavs Fast Break. Topics discussed on the podcast include:

– First impression of Chandler Parsons in Rick Carlisle’s offense
– Parsons vs Ariza through six games
– Mavs stellar first halves vs third quarter woes
– Tyson Chandler’s impact on both ends of the floor
– Re-evaluating the Western conference playoff picture

Follow Stuckey on Twitter: @TheChrisStuckey
Follow Darreck on Twitter: @DarreckWKirby

Dallas Mavericks Blow Huge Lead, Hold Off Feisty Celtics

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

Dallas, TX: The AAC was rocking as the Mavs reutrned from their brief road trip to New Orleans looking to push their winning streak to three games against the Boston Celtics. Much like their home opener, the Mavs raced out to a towering lead, only to watch it melt away in yet another third quarter letdown – the primary storyline for the team as a whole through its first four games.

Dallas may have squandered all but one of its 31-point lead but more than anything what stood out to me was the grit that both teams played with. Give credit to the Celtics for coming out of the half firing despite a big deficit. Brad Stevens has done a great job with his young team, rallying the troops time and time again despite Dallas runs that continously pushed the lead back to double digits. In the end, it was simply too much to overcome. Mavs 118, Celtics 113. [Read more…]

Dallas Mavericks Fall In Season Opener

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

The NBA season opened with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs hosting the new look Dallas Mavericks. And while the game might have gotten off to an ugly start, the champs looked every bit the part and edge the visiting Mavs 101-100.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

For Mavs fans, the good news is that the team really had a chance to win this one. In his Mavs debut, the $46 million man, Chandler Parsons was just 2-of-10 from the floor for five points, had four rebounds and two steals to go along with zero assists in 33 minutes. The team’s chemistry looked out of sorts – which is to be expected – and STILL had the final shot with a chance to steal one. [Read more…]

Dallas Mavericks Continue Making Moves

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

Although the core of the Dallas Mavericks roster was set a couple of weeks ago, President of Basketball Operations and General Manager, Donnie Nelson, along with team owner, Mark Cuban, have continued to shake things up. Not only did the Mavericks add a solid pair of players Wednesday evening, but they did so after beginning their day with a disappointing setback.

jameer-nelson-mavericks

After signing with Dallas this past Saturday, Rashard Lewis, a player Cuban has been trying to acquire for over 10 years now, discovered during his team physical a troublesome knee that will require surgery. While the severity of the injury isn’t known, it was enough for the Mavs to void the contract and get back to placing calls. What they found was the icing on the cake for what has unquestionably been the greatest offseason in franchise history. With their midlevel exception (MLE), Dallas signed former All Star point guard, Jameer Nelson to a two-year, $6 million deal with a player option in year two – a fantastic value for a player of Nelson’s quality. [Read more…]

Chandler Parsons Completes New Look Mavs

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

It’s been an eventful offseason for the Dallas Mavericks, just as it’s loyal fan base had hoped it’d be. First, the big man and mythical giant Tyson Chandler returned to big D in a pre-draft day trade that flipped two of the Mavs starting five as well as a small piece of its future. The price was high but the move unquestionably makes Dallas a better team.

Photo Credit: Chandler Parsons' Facebook

Photo Credit: Chandler Parsons’ Facebook

Next, after failing to woo the likes of LeBron James and Carmello Anthony (both were among the longest of long shots), Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson took a big gamble in courting Houston Rockets’ restricted free agent Chandler Parsons. The Mavs front office rivalry with the Rockets is growing with each passing year, and Cuban partying with Parsons in a Florida night club while officially inking a three-year, $46 million offer sheet rubbed a little dirt in Houston’s eye. [Read more…]

NBA Free Agency Looms: Which players need to be watched?

By Matt Rogers
PSDC Fantasy Expert

Our friends down in San Antonio have barely begun sobering up from their title celebration, the NBA rookie draft is on deck for this Thursday, NBA free agency begins next Tuesday and the NBA world is awash with chaos and speculation. The bank of fog rolling across the NBA landscape is so thick several Vegas books have pulled all future odds on NBA championships. Things are very unsettled right now. The word frenzy has popped up. Here is my best effort to help everyone understand just what is going on.

pau-gasol-mavs

Over the next few days leading up to the draft and the free agency mayhem that follows the next week, expect the stories and speculation about who is going where to grow exponentially. While the biggest stories will focus will be on Carmelo Anthony and Miami’s Big Three, numerous other players may be on the market with the potential to change the playoff picture of the NBA. To keep track of everything in the midst of this madness, first we must identify the players. Here is a look at some of the biggest names likely to draw attention as free agency looms. Let’s start with the champs. [Read more…]

Dallas Mavericks Free Agency Guide

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

Coming off a solid bounce back year that saw them win 49 games and push the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs to the brink, the Dallas Mavericks find themselves with roughly $30 million to fund their free agency spending spree. Priority number one, of course, will be to resign the face of the franchise, Dirk Nowitzki. The ghost-faced driller has said that he has no intention of signing elsewhere, and thanks to the fact that he’s never had an agent, his deal will likely get finalized by the end of the opening day, July 1. It’s also worth noting that the big German plans to sign a very team friendly deal, one that will not only show him some respect for all that he’s done for the franchise, but one that will also leave the team’s pockets plenty full to pursue the likes of several key players in not only this year’s free agency, but the next as well. So who are Dallas’ most likely targets?

Dirk.Celebrates.Mavs.Win

Potential Resignings

Shawn Marion: The only other remaining piece to the 2011 title team, Shawn Marion has been worth every penny to the Dallas Mavericks since he was acquired in 2010. Not only can he guard three or four different positions on a given night, but he also offers veteran leadership and one of the most unorthodox offensive skill sets in NBA history. Marion is a fan favorite, but if he wants to return to Dallas, he’ll need to sign a more team-friendly deal, meaning his days of $9 million per year are over. [Read more…]

Ending On A Sour Note: Spurs Crush Mavs In Game 7

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

For six games in this first round playoff series, the Dallas Mavericks looked every bit capable of upending the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs. But when the two teams took the floor Sunday afternoon, any question about who was the better squad was vanquished. Finally playing like a No. 1 seed at home, San Antonio came out hot and pestered the Mavs into a number of bad shots and turnovers throughout the first period to build a double digit lead. And while Dallas would come back, they would never prove much of a threat the rest of the way.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

NBA Coach of the Year Greg Popovich’s club caught fire in the second quarter, ballooning their lead to as much as 27 before taking a 68-46 point advantage into the half. About the only thing Dallas had going to that point was Dirk, who scored a quiet 17 points efficiently, though that wouldn’t be the case moving forward. [Read more…]