24 Oct 2006 22:04:53
Patricia Bender
Mavs News: Avery and Josh signed, games

It's easy to keep putting off writing this as the Mavs preseason games
have been soooo uneventful with so many key players sitting out games with
either minor injuries or the coach simply chosing to rest players. The
last 2 preseason games (tomorrow and Friday) should be more interesting as
the Mavs are looking to (finally) use them as warmups for the regular
season games and all the key players are expected to play.

With the games basically non-news, the biggest news since I last wrote was
the new contracts for Avery Johnson and Josh Howard. After much talk in
July of Johnson wanting a new contract, the Mavs quietly worked on an
agreement this month and out of the blue announced that they had signed
Johnson to a new 5 year, $20 million contract; not including incentives.
The contract replaced the old contract (it's not an extension) and he is
now signed through 2010-11 (the same time Dirk Nowitzki's new extension
expires). And with lots of talk this month about the 2 sides being far
apart and a deal probably not happening, the Mavs did the right thing and
reached a 4 year, $40 million contract extension with Josh Howard (also
taking him through 2010-11). The Mavs have until October 31 to sign the
extension with Howard (though announced, the deal has not been formally
signed yet) else he becomes a restricted free agent next summer. The Mavs
will then have their 3 best players and their coach locked up for the next
5 years (Jason Terry was signed to a new 6 year contract this summer).

Training camp hopefuls Pat Carroll and Darius Washington were released.
Jose Juan Barea and Ndudi Ebi are still hoping to get the one available
roster spot. I'd give the nod to Barea. He's looked better in the
preseason games and has shown that he could be helpful if one of Jason
Terry, Devin Harris, or Anthony Johnson was injured during the season. If
an injury occurred, the team would have an advantage of having a reserve
(there for the end of blowouts where you don't want to risk injury to a
key player) point guard that already knew the team's plays. Ebi plays a
position where the Mavs have a number of players and has the
disadvantage that he is ineligible to be assigned to the NBDL (he's got 2
years of NBA experience and that makes him ineligible). The roster
currently has 16 players and the Mavs have to release at least 1 more
player by October 31.

[Since I fell behind and want to make sure I get this out before another
game occurs, not too much detail from the preseason games. I'm not
including the boxscores or quotes (not that there were many quotes to be
found about the games themselves). You can look at my web page
(www.dfw.net/~patricia/mavs.html) for the boxscores).]


Preseason: Sacramento at Dallas (October 12)

Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse, and Devin Harris again sat
out the preseason game. Greg Buckner also did not play due to a sprained
left knee. Minus those players and with Sacramento playing their 5
regular season starters most of the 1st quarter, it was an ugly quarter
for Dallas. Sacramento scored the first 9 points of the game and Dallas
spent the rest of the night trying to play catchup. Sacramento led 25-18
after 1. The Kings starters sat mosts of the 2nd quarter and the Mavs
were able to keep up with Sacramento's 2nd unit in the quarter.
Sacramento led 49-41 at the half. With their starters back in, Sacramento
again open with a 9-0 run. Sacramento out-scored Dallas 34-22 in the
quarter and held a commanding 83-63 lead after 3. It didn't help that
Dallas elected to rest Josh Howard and Erick Dampier in the 2nd half.
Sacramento won 111-90.

Dallas' poor pre-season shooting continued as the Mavs shot just 39.7% FG.
And their defense wasn't very good as Sacramento shot 47% FG. But you
wouldn't expect much from the Mavs with the poor lineups that were on the
court most of the night.


Preseason: Dallas at Milwaukee (October 14)

The Mavs again played without a number of their key players as Jason
Terry, Dirk Nowitzki, Jerry Stackhouse, Greg Buckner (sprained left
knee), Devin Harris (strained left hamstring), and DJ Mbenga (sore left
foot) did not play. It was the 2nd night of a back-to-back for
Milwaukee - and why anyone would schedule a b-to-b in the preseason is
beyond me. The only good news about this game was that it wasn't
televised so only those in attendance got to watch this poor excuse of a
game - it was painful just listening to it on the radio. Call Dallas the
team that couldn't shoot straight. The Mavs shot just 4-19 FG in the
quarter and Milwaukee led 27-18 after 1. And the 2nd quarter wasn't any
better as the Mavs shot 4-18 FG and scored just 15 points. Milwaukee led
49-33 at the half. Dallas did go on an 11-0 run during the 3rd quarter,
but that only pulled them within 13 points. Milwaukee led 71-55 after 3.
Milwaukee started struggling with their shot and Dallas pulled within 10
points a couple of times. Milwaukee won 91-78.

Dallas shot 40% FG in the 2nd half to "improve" their shooting percentage
to 31.2% FG for the game. Both teams had a high number of turnovers, but
that was more due to a lot of offensive fouls being called than actual
fumbles of the ball.


Preseason: Houston at Dallas (October 17)

The Mavs again played without many key players as Jerry Stackhouse, Dirk
Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Devin Harris (strained hamstring), Erick Dampier
(sore hip), and Devean George (food poisoning) did not play. Juwan Howard
and Bonzi Wells sat out for Houston, but Yao Ming played his first
preseason game - and some mild entertainment was had watching him huff and
puff after a bit and later point to the bench asking to come out while his
coach ignored him. The Rockets tried to play some zone defense and didn't
look very good at it. Both teams struggled with their shot and it was an
offensive 1st quarter, in the wrong sense. Dallas led 19-11 after 1. The
2nd quarter was only slightly better with both teams shooting in the 30%s.
Dallas led 37-32 at the half. The scoring didn't improve any in the 3rd
quarter and Dallas led 54-52 after 3. As usual, the names sat most of the
4th quarter. Houston went on a 12-1 run during the 4th quarter to take
the lead. Ndudi Ebi hit 2 free throws to pull Dallas within 3 points with
32 seconds left. Houston missed with about 10 seconds left and the refs
made the right call this time in granting Dallas a timeout as Avery
Johnson actively (including stomping his foot) called for a timeout [the
refs incorrectly didn't grant Dallas a timeout in a similar situation on
October 10]. But Darius' Washington's 3-point attempt and Ebi's 3-point
attempt at the buzzer both missed and the game mercifully ended. Houston
won 72-69.

How ugly was it? The quarter scoring: Dallas 19, 18, 17, 15; Houston 11,
21, 20, 20. Houston shot 37.3% FG and Dallas shot 34.2% FG. Houston shot
15-29 FT and Dallas shot 11-20 FT. About the only good thing about the
game (besides it not going in to overtime) was Josh Howard's performance.
Howard enjoyed Houston's zone defense and had 22 points including 4-5
3-pointers in 19 minutes. He also had 8 rebounds. For Houston, Tracy
McGrady and Yao Ming had poor outings.


Preseason: Milwaukee at Dallas (October 19)

Jerry Stackhouse, Jason Terry, and Erick Dampier again sat out, but Dirk
Nowitzki and Jason Terry played in their first preseason games. It was
the 2nd time this preseason Dallas faced Milwaukee and it was again the
2nd night of a back-to-back for the Bucks. The Mavs enjoyed having both
Nowitzki and Josh Howard starting the game as the team easily had their
best quarter of the preseason. Dallas shot 59% FG in the quarter and
out-scored Milwaukee 34-20. Howard had 13 points in the quarter. But the
Mavs only shot 39% FG in the 2nd quarter and the Bucks out-scored Dallas
23-18 in the quarter. Dallas led 52-43 at the half. Milwaukee was
absolutely pathetic in the 3rd quarter and only shot 2-21 FG as Dallas
out-scored them 22-4. Dallas led 74-47 after 3. Obviously the 4th
quarter was pure garbage time, even with it being preseason. The last 3
minutes of the game were really painful as all 10 players on the court
were rookies. Dallas won 88-71.

Nowitzki wasn't really looking to score (and also didn't get enough
touches - including Anthony Johnson getting a sideline lecture/instruction
for not getting Dirk the ball when Nowitzki had a mismatch) and he had 8
points (3-7 FG), 9 rebounds, and 4 assists in 22 minutes. Harris had 12
points in 16 minutes and Howard had 15 points in hitting his first 6 shots
(he missed his last 2) and 8 rebounds. Greg Buckner was the high man with
19 points. Michael Redd was the only Buck in double-digits with 14
points, but he only shot 3-11 FG. It was Dallas' first preseason win.

Apparently one of the new rules/enforcements is that players must be ready
to enter the game when they are subbed in. Both teams were whistled for a
delay of game (within a minute apart) when a player was still removing his
warmups when the ref whistled for him to come in the game [the first delay
of game for a team is not a technical]. I noticed that the players were
pretty good about having their warmups off in time the rest of the game.


Preseason: Washington at Dallas (October 21)

Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse, and Erick Dampier remained out and Anthony
Johnson joined them as Avery Johnson chose to rest him. Dallas started
the game without a point guard on the court (with Josh Howard bringing up
the ball), but that didn't last long as the offense stunk. The Mavs again
struggled with their shot and only shot 29% FG in the 1st quarter and
Washington led 27-17 after 1. It still wasn't pretty, but Dallas managed
to cut into Washington's lead some in the 2nd quarter - thanks in part to
Washington's poor free throw shooting (14-22 FT in the half). Washington
led 52-46 at the half. Jarvis Hayes had 19 points. The Mavs weren't able
to make much of a dent in the 3rd quarter, even with Washington still
helping out by missing 5 more free throws. Washington led 76-69 after 3.
The Wizards led 89-76 with 6 minutes left, but they would not score a
bucket the rest of the way. Dallas' youngsters - led by Maurice Ager,
Ndudi Ebi, and J.J. Barea - spurred the comeback as the Mavs stars were on
their feet on the bench cheering them on. The kids closed the game with a
17-1 run, capped by 4 free throws by Ager. DJ Mbenga blocked Washington's
last shot attempt. Dallas won 93-90.

Dallas out-scored Washington 23-15 in the 4th quarter as the Wizards shot
just 6-20 FG. Washington shot just 25-40 FT in the game. Dallas won
despite shooting just 38.2% FG. Dallas fouled 3-pointer shooters (with
the shot going in) twice in this game. An opponent has never converted a
4-point play in the AAC in a regular season game. One of my concerns
going in to the preseason is still a concern. The league talked about
this preseason having a quicker whistle for technicals when players
complain, and one of Josh Howard's problems has been over-reacting to
questionable calls. Although he didn't get called for a T in this game,
he again was too vocal about a bad non-call (probably the only reason he
didn't get a T was because it was such a bad non-call) and stayed talking
with the ref for a bit after the fact. I'm still concerned that Josh and
complaining will be a problem in the regular season.


Patricia Bender [email protected]
For NBA stuff: http://www.dfw.net/~patricia/index.html
For Mavs stuff: http://www.dfw.net/~patricia/mavs.html