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.
Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.
But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.
There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.
Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….
Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.
This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.
If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.
The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.
Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.
Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.
Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.