Mark Cuban: Don’t expect any Mavericks to score 20 points per game

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In 16 of the last 17 seasons, the Mavericks have featured a 20-point-per-game scorer. Heck, a couple of those years featured two 20-point-per-game scorers.

Between Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley, Dallas has not lacked a clear go-to scorer.

That’s about to change – at least if Mavericks owner Cuban gets his wish.

Cuban, via Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:

“I’m not expecting anybody on our team to be a 20-point scorer,” the owner said as the Mavericks introduced six new players at a news conference. “Not Dirk. I don’t want him to be a 20-point scorer. Seriously. Monta (Ellis) has that capability. Chandler (Parsons) has that capability. Dirk has that capability. Richard Jefferson’s got that capability. Jameer (Nelson could score) 15. Raymond (Felton) could do 15, if that was the focus, but that’s not our focus.

“That’s the cool thing. There are going to be times when we overpass. And that will be the challenge.”

Since the 2000-01 season, of the 70 teams with top-five offenses each season – and that’s the type of potential these Mavericks have – 62 have produced a 20-point-per-game scorer:

(Click here to view a larger, interactive, version of the chart)

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Season Team Offensive rating rank Offensive rating Scoring leader Points per game
2013-14 LAC 1 112.1 Blake Griffin 24.1
2013-14 POR 2 111.5 LaMarcus Aldridge 23.2
2013-14 DAL 3 111.2 Dirk Nowitzki 21.7
2013-14 HOU 4 111 James Harden 25.4
2013-14 MIA 5 110.9 LeBron James 27.1
2012-13 OKC 1 112.4 Kevin Durant 28.1
2012-13 MIA 2 112.3 LeBron James 26.8
2012-13 NYK 3 111.1 Carmelo Anthony 28.7
2012-13 LAC 4 110.6 Blake Griffin 18
2012-13 DEN 5 110.4 Ty Lawson 16.7
12/1/2011 SAS 1 110.9 Tony Parker 18.3
12/1/2011 OKC 2 109.8 Kevin Durant 28
12/1/2011 DEN 3 109.2 Ty Lawson 16.4
12/1/2011 LAC 4 108.5 Blake Griffin 20.7
12/1/2011 CHI 5 107.4 Derrick Rose 21.8
11/1/2010 DEN 1 112.3 Carmelo Anthony 25.2
11/1/2010 SAS 2 111.8 Tony Parker 17.5
11/1/2010 MIA 3 111.7 LeBron James 26.7
11/1/2010 HOU 4 111.3 Kevin Martin 23.5
11/1/2010 OKC 5 111.2 Kevin Durant 27.7
10/1/2009 PHO 1 115.3 Amar’e Stoudemire 23.1
10/1/2009 ATL 2 111.9 Joe Johnson 21.3
10/1/2009 DEN 3 111.8 Carmelo Anthony 28.2
10/1/2009 ORL 4 111.4 Dwight Howard 18.3
10/1/2009 TOR 5 111.3 Chris Bosh 24
9/1/2008 POR 1 113.9 Brandon Roy 22.6
9/1/2008 PHO 2 113.6 Amar’e Stoudemire 21.4
9/1/2008 LAL 3 112.8 Kobe Bryant 26.8
9/1/2008 CLE 4 112.4 LeBron James 28.4
9/1/2008 DAL 5 110.5 Dirk Nowitzki 25.9
8/1/2007 UTA 1 113.8 Carlos Boozer 21.1
8/1/2007 PHO 2 113.3 Amar’e Stoudemire 25.2
8/1/2007 LAL 3 113 Kobe Bryant 28.3
8/1/2007 GSW 4 111.8 Baron Davis 21.8
8/1/2007 NOH 5 111.5 Chris Paul 21.1
7/1/2006 PHO 1 113.9 Amar’e Stoudemire 20.4
7/1/2006 DAL 2 111.3 Dirk Nowitzki 24.6
7/1/2006 WAS 3 110.1 Gilbert Arenas 28.4
7/1/2006 UTA 4 110.1 Carlos Boozer 20.9
7/1/2006 SAS 5 109.2 Tim Duncan 19.99
6/1/2005 DAL 1 111.8 Dirk Nowitzki 26.6
6/1/2005 PHO 2 111.5 Shawn Marion 21.8
6/1/2005 SEA 3 111.1 Ray Allen 25.1
6/1/2005 DET 4 110.8 Richard Hamilton 20.1
6/1/2005 TOR 5 109.5 Chris Bosh 22.5
5/1/2004 PHO 1 114.5 Amar’e Stoudemire 26
5/1/2004 SEA 2 112.2 Ray Allen 23.9
5/1/2004 SAC 3 110.5 Peja Stojakovic 20.1
5/1/2004 DAL 4 110.3 Dirk Nowitzki 26.1
5/1/2004 MIA 5 110.2 Dwyane Wade 24.1
4/1/2003 DAL 1 112.1 Dirk Nowitzki 21.8
4/1/2003 SAC 2 110.3 Peja Stojakovic 24.2
4/1/2003 SEA 3 107.3 Ray Allen 23
4/1/2003 MIL 4 106.5 Michael Redd 21.7
4/1/2003 MIN 5 105.9 Kevin Garnett 24.2
3/1/2002 DAL 1 110.7 Dirk Nowitzki 25.1
3/1/2002 MIL 2 108.8 Ray Allen 21.3
3/1/2002 GSW 3 108.3 Antawn Jamison 22.2
3/1/2002 LAL 4 107.2 Kobe Bryant 30
3/1/2002 MIN 5 106.1 Kevin Garnett 23
2/1/2001 DAL 1 112.2 Dirk Nowitzki 23.4
2/1/2001 LAL 2 109.4 Shaquille O’Neal 27.2
2/1/2001 SAC 3 109 Chris Webber 24.5
2/1/2001 MIN 4 109 Kevin Garnett 21.2
2/1/2001 SEA 5 108.9 Gary Payton 22.1
1/1/2000 MIL 1 108.8 Ray Allen 22
1/1/2000 LAL 2 108.4 Shaquille O’Neal 28.7
1/1/2000 UTA 3 107.6 Karl Malone 23.2
1/1/2000 DAL 4 107.1 Dirk Nowitzki 21.8
1/1/2000 HOU 5 106.7 Steve Francis 19.9

Unsurprisingly, a plurality of the exceptions are Spurs teams. Gregg Popovich’s squads move the ball, spreading the scoring.

Which is exactly what Cuban wants for his Mavericks.

Report: CJ McCollum has been playing through fractured lower back

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CJ McCollum hit two critical free throws late Tuesday to put Portland up three late on Dallas and secure the win.

But he had a rough night overall, shooting 2-of-14 overall. His shooting numbers are down across the board through this restart, not terrible but down from the level the world has seen from one of the games most feared scorers.

Now we know why: A fractured lower back. Dwight Jaynes of NBC Sports Northwest broke the news.

Sources told NBC Sports Northwest prior to the game that McCollum has been playing with a L3 vertebral transverse process fracture (non-displaced) since last Thursday. In layman’s terms, he has a fracture in his lower back. He has played three games since the injury.

While this injury is not as bad as “a fractured back” sounds, it has slowed other players who had it, including Utah’s Mike Conley.

Portland has had success despite a slowed McCollum, in part because Gary Trent Jr. has stepped up and taken on a larger role on both ends of the court (including drawing a charge on Kristaps Porzingis that sealed the Blazers win over the Mavericks).

That win put Portland in as the eighth seed in the West, a spot they can hold with a win against Brooklyn on Thursday. That would put them in a play-in series — where if they won the reward would be LeBron James and the Lakers. To reach that point and threaten Los Angeles, Portland is going to need a lot out of McCollum. The question is how much does he have to give with this injury?

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo ejected after headbutting Moe Wagner

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The Milwaukee Bucks are lucky they have another seeding game remaining because there is a good chance Giannis Antetokounmpo gets suspended a game for this.

The reigning (and soon-to-be two time) MVP let Washington’s Moe Wagner get under his skin. After Wagner took a charge from Antetokounmpo the two had to be separated. They kept jawing, and when they came together again, Antetokounmpo headbutted Wagner.

Wagner may have sold that a little, but that is unquestionably a headbutt. Antetokounmpo deserved the Flagrant II and ejection that came with it.

The one-game suspension that is coming will not cost the Bucks anything, they have the No. 1 seed in the East locked up. However, that one game is aginst the Grizzlies and if Memphis wins it gets the nine seed in the West at worst (eighth of Portland were to lose Thursday).

Wagner has a gift for getting under an opponent’s skin. Antetokounmpo has to do better keeping his emotions in check, because come the playoffs they will get tested like never before.

 

Damian Lillard scores 61 points, win vaults Portland to eight seed

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The Portland Trail Blazers control their own postseason destiny — and they can thank Damian Lillard for that.

Lillard got all the respect he wanted when he tied his career-high of 61 points Tuesday, and the Portland Trail Blazers needed every one of them to beat the Dallas Mavericks 134-131.

Lillard was 9-of-17 from three, plus got to the line 18 times and hit every free throw.

Portland’s win combined with Memphis’ loss to Boston puts the Trail Blazers into the eighth seed in the West — win on Thursday against Brooklyn and Portland is the eighth seed. That is a massive advantage heading into the two-game play-in series, the eighth seed just needs to win one of those two games to advance to the playoffs (and a first-round date with LeBron James). The ninth-seeded team needs to sweep the two games to advance.

Memphis can maintain the nine seed with a win Thursday. Should the Grizzlies lose again (to the Bucks, who have nothing to play for) it opens the door for the Suns or the Spurs to get the nine seed. Or maybe higher.

Portland is not safe just because of the win Tuesday: If it loses to Brooklyn on Thursday and two of Memphis, Phoenix, and San Antonio win, the Trail Blazers will be watching the first round of the playoffs on television like the rest of us. The race in the West is that tight.

It’s hard to imagine Portland losing a critical game, however, with the way Lillard is playing. He said he wants some respect on his f ****** name – and he’s more than earned it.

Watch Devin Booker score 35, keep Phoenix perfect 7-0 and in play-in hunt

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Devin Booker scored 35 points and the Phoenix Suns protected their playoff hopes by beating the Philadelphia 76ers 130-117 on Tuesday to remain undefeated in the NBA restart.

Booker became the Suns’ career leader with his 91st 30-point game, breaking a tie with Walter Davis.

Mikal Bridges added 24 points and Ricky Rubio had 16 points with 10 assists for the Suns, who began the day only one game behind eighth-place Memphis in the Western Conference playoff race.

Phoenix is 7-0 as the only undefeated team in the restart and an unlikely factor in the tight race for a spot in this weekend’s play-in for the final playoff spot.

Phoenix pulled away late after leading only 105-102 following back-to-back baskets by Alec Burks, who led the 76ers with 23 points.

A dunk by Cameron Johnson capped a 10-3 run that stretched the lead to 115-105.

The Suns continued their high-scoring play in the bubble after averaging 120 points in the first six games.

Philadelphia, No. 6 in the East and already assured of a playoff spot, is attempting to prepare for the postseason after losing Ben Simmons to a knee injury.

Shake Milton was Philadelphia’s only healthy starter against the Suns. The 76ers also were without Joel Embiid (left ankle), Tobias Harris (sore right ankle) and Al Horford (sore left knee). Josh Richardson was rested.