Dallas has lost six in a row and nine of their last 10 now. It hasn’t been pretty, especially the two losses to the Spurs where Dallas was barely even a threat.
Coach Rick Carlisle is frustrated — frustrated with the effort level of his team. Frustrated with the professionalism. And he threatened his players with suspension after Sunday’s loss, reports the Dallas Morning News.
“The last week, I’ve had to literally scream in the face of two guys in practices and shootarounds to get the point across. And I will continue to do that. If I have to start suspending guys for not doing things they’re supposed to be doing on the court, I’ll do it. And Mark (Cuban) and I will get into it about that. But somehow, things have got to change and it can’t just be about that it’s a tough schedule. It just can’t.”
If Carlisle wants to get into it with Cuban, they should first acknowledge that Cuban ordered a roster built that allows him to go after free agents next summer but in getting guys willing to take one-year deals — Chris Kaman, Elton Brand, Dahntay Jones — or with that much left on their contract (Darren Collison) that there was a drop in talent level.
The other part of this fall in Big D is O.J. Mayo could not sustain his hot start when he carried this team. For his first 20 games Mayo was scoring 20 points a game and shooting better than 45 percent from three and 47 percent overall. But in his last 10 games Mayo is scoring 13.2 points a game on 38.5 percent shooting and 24.4 percent from three.
Dirk Nowitzki isn’t in shape yet to carry the team coming off knee surgery.
But Carlisle is not wrong here, either — the effort from Dallas has been lacking, particularly on defense. They are playing some good teams lately but just rolling over for them, especially when they get behind.
Carlisle isn’t going to be suspending guys, but he can just take away minutes from guys who are not producing. The problem is he doesn’t have a lot of good players to give those minutes to.
Two Kings dispute shootaround reports, including Rajon Rondo’s
I don’t know precisely which Kings attended the shootaround, but someone fed Fischer a list of names for whatever reason. The agendas and leaks coming from the Kings are debilitating.
And for Butler to publicly disagree with a teammate like that is startling. Unless he’s saying Rondo was misquoted, which seems unlikely, considering Steve Herrick of the Associated Press also quoted Rondo saying three or four players attended shootaround (hat tip: Kevin Draper of Deadspin).
The tamest explanation is that Rondo used “three or four” as a euphemism for “not enough,” and the real number could’ve been closer to five. So, maybe Acy and Butler also attended but participation was down.
But that wouldn’t necessarily mean teammates appreciate Rondo – who declared himself the first veteran teammate DeMarcus Cousins ever respected – saying “three or four.” That could leave a couple of them under the bus.
And there’s still the issue of Karl using shootarounds productively – and Rondo maybe calling him out publicly for it.
Really, this speaks to where the Kings stand. They can’t even conduct a shootaround without controversy.
The Wizards – one of the NBA’s most disappointing teams this season – showed why it’s so difficult to believe in them.
They built a 10-point lead over the Knicks with 1:51 left and steadily blew it. New York got within one and trailed by three with 4.3 seconds left.
And Washington went to sleep.
The Wizards – four of whom hung out near the halfcourt line – allowed the Knicks to push the ball and find a wide-open Langston Galloway behind the 3-point arc. Galloway is one of New York’s best 3-point shooters, and he makes 47% of his wide open 3s, per NBA.com
This is horrific focus by Washington.
But if there’s a team less inspiring than the Wizards, it’s the Kurt Rambis-coached Knicks, and Galloway missed to give his new coach a loss in his first game as New York’s head coach.
Five Takeaways from NBA Monday: Watch out for the Utah Jazz
PuppyMonkeyBaby. PuppyMonkeyBaby.PuppyMonkeyBaby. PuppyMonkeyBaby. PuppyMonkeyBaby. PuppyMonkeyBaby. PuppyMonkeyBaby. PuppyMonkeyBaby. PuppyMonkeyBaby. PuppyMonkeyBaby. Just wanted to freak you out. Here is what you need to know from an NBA Tuesday.
1) Gordon Hayward game winner makes it seven in a row for Utah. This team is hitting it’s stride again. The reason Utah was everyone’s favorite pick to leap up into the Western Conference playoffs this season was they were one of the best teams in the NBA after the All-Star break last season — they went 19-10, played lock-down defense allowing just 89 points a game, and got just enough offense to win.
The Jazz are hitting that stride earlier this season. After a dramatic win over the Mavericks on Tuesday, the Jazz have won seven in a row and moved past Houston into the seven seed in the West. Utah is hitting its stride and is not only going to make the playoffs but also be a tough out in them. They are playing great defense again, allowing 87.3 points per game during the win streak (95.8 points allowed per 100 possessions), plus are getting offense when they need it. Like during the dramatic end of the win over Dallas on the road Tuesday. First Rodney Hood hit a three to force overtime:
Then Gordon Hayward hit the step-back game winner.
2) Kurt Rambis drops first game as Knicks coach. Meet the new Knicks: They got off to a terrible start, had no offensive flow, were constantly putting up contested shots late in the shot clock, and didn’t slow the other team down in transition. And they lost (111-108 to Washington). If that sounds a lot like the old Derek Fisher Knicks, well, what did you expect? Kurt Rambis — whatever you think of him as a coach — was not going to be able to make many changes on the fly, and while Carmelo Anthony dropped 33, the reasons this team has struggled of late have not gone away. This roster is not as good as Phil Jackson apparently thinks it is, and people running the show at Madison Square Garden may have been blinded by a better than expected start. This is not a good team, if anything the emergence of Kristaps Porzingis has them playing above expectations. There are some pieces to build on for the future, but there is still a lot of building to do. This coaching change doesn’t change much of anything in the short term.
3) Setback Tuesday: Bulls’ Jimmy Butler out 3-4 weeks with knee strain; Grizzlies Marc Gasol out indefinitely with a broken foot; Pelicans Tyreke Evans to miss rest of season after knee surgery. The basketball gods were handing out injuries Tuesday like Oprah handed out cars.
The Bulls will be without All-Star guard Jimmy Butler for a month due to the knee strain he suffered a couple of games back. The Bulls are already 5-12 in their last 17 and struggling on defense; this is another big step back along those lines. Chicago is just 1.5 games from falling out of the playoffs, and that is suddenly a concern. The Bulls’ Pau Gasol will replace Butler in the All-Star Game (which means the Bulls keep a representative, and Gasol is there for the Kobe sendoff game, which is nice).
Marc Gasol is the hub of what Memphis likes to do on both ends, but he has a broken foot and will be out indefinitely. Gasol’s game has taken a step back this season, but the team is still 3.7 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court, and the Grizzlies don’t have anyone who can replace what he does at both ends. The Grizzlies have a 4.5 game cushion from falling out of the playoffs, but wins are going to be much tougher to come by now.
Just one second left, so it’s going to overtime, right? Wrong. Avery Bradley with the stupid foul and the Bucks get the win.
5) Miami’s Hassan Whiteside was ejected for elbowing Spurs Boban Marjanovic in the face. It was a made free throw in the fourth quarter of a double-digit game — there wasn’t anything to be battling over. But Marjanovic was working to get his big body in a rebounding position, Whiteside was trying to fight him off and got his elbows up. It was the move of an immature player, which Whiteside can still be at times. Elbow a guy in the face and you’re gone.