Mavs Open Preseason with a 106-104 Victory Over Visiting Bucks

By Darreck Kirby
Project Shanks Creative Director

The Dallas Mavericks opened the preseason with an impressive 106-104 win against the visiting Milwaukee Bucks. The evening was more about distributing minutes evenly and giving the starters the lion’s share of the first quarter. Said the twenty-year veteran Dirk Nowitzki after the game, “I was the only one who couldn’t do it [play the whole first quarter].” Considering Dirk’s irrefutable place in NBA history and that this is just the first preseason game of his twentieth season, the exhaustion can be forgiven.
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Dallas Mavericks 2017-18 Outlook

By Darreck Kirby
Project Shanks Creative Director

Last season the Dallas Mavericks amassed just 33 wins against 49 loses to complete one of their worst seasons in recent memory. To put things bluntly, the roster Dallas walked into the season with provided little hope to fans eager to see the return of playoff basketball in Big D. The starting lineup of Derron Williams, Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki, and Andrew Bogut was never going to set the league on fire, and it resulted in the Mavs getting off to one of their worst starts since the 90s.  Things were so bad, in fact, Dallas ultimately took out a flier on a kid named Yogi Ferrell and opted to revamp its young core by trading for 23-year-old rim protector, Nerlens Noel. Sure the moves teased the possibility of Rick Carlisle’s squad sneaking into the playoffs, but in the end there just wasn’t enough depth or, frankly, talent, to overcome an abysmal 9-21 start. Dallas would get the number 9 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and land the electric point guard, Dennis Smith Jr.

Original photo credit Mavs.com

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Podcast Shanks – Mavs Season In Memorium

It was a polarizing season for the Dallas Mavericks. From beginning the year with one of the worst starting lineups in the league to cultivating a surprisingly talented, young roster, the Mavs appear to have a bright future despite posting their first losing season in 16 seasons. In this episode of Podcast Shanks, Darreck Kirby and Brennan Scala take a look at the highs, the lows, and everything in between from this past Mavs season. [Read more…]

Harrison Barnes Leads Mavs Past Wizards

HarrisonBarnes
The road has not been a friendly place for Dallas this season, and the start of this road trip, a 100-78 thumping in Toronot, proved just that. But if Dallas intends to compete for that final playoff spot, they’ll have to find a way to get it done away from the AAC as 7 of their final 12 games will be on the road. Wednesday night, they found a way to beat a good team in the road unis. [Read more…]

Dirk Joins Exclusive Club, Scores 30,000th Point

Dirk-30k
The 30K Club has a new member and his name is Dirk Nowitzki. Coming into Tuesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Tall Baller from the G needed just 20 points to become just the sixth player in NBA history to score 30,000 points. He wasted little time doing so. [Read more…]

Mavs Rout Thunder Behind Smothering Defense

Seth-Curry-Crossover

The return of Wes Matthews provided Dallas with an added spark Sunday night. It wasn’t that the team hadn’t been playing defense already -far from it. With their 104-89 victory tonight, Dallas strung together its seventh straight sub-100 defensive effort. Not bad for the boys in blue. The best example of this was a wild sequence in which Matthews took on Russell Westbrook at the top of the key and simply hounded him with active hands and solid positioning. Every time Russell turned, the Mavs flashed an added defender, forcing the triple-double machine back toward Matthews. Westbrook and Wes danced a bit, then Russ flipped up an awkward off-balance shot at the buzzer that missed everything. The crowd erupted and Wes pumped his fist. Matthews might have only chipped in 9 points, but his relentless effort nevertheless fueled a stellar effort. [Read more…]

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…]