Dominique Jones Leads Legends in Home Debut 135-112

via i226.photobucket.com

As we already know, you come to Mavs Moneyball to get your fix on all things Mavericks.  Well, a part of the Mavericks is the D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends.  The Legends, based in Frisco, began their inaugural season in the NBDL this season and came in to tonight's home opener with a 2-1 record.  As the "little brother/JV" to the Mavericks, they got some nice support from the big boys with appearances by Mark Cuban, Rick Carlisle, Shawn Marion, JJ Barea and Roddy Beaubois just to name a few.  The Mavs ManiAACs even came out to show their support and help get the crowd of 3,010 into the game.

The Legends were a wire-to-wire winner over the Austin Toros 135-112.  The Legends were led by six double-digit scorers, including three players with 20 or more points.  The historic evening also marked the D-League debut of Mavericks rookie Dominique Jones.  Dominique had a game-high 25 points, shooting 10-14 from the field (1-1 on 3-pointers), 3 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.  Jones can say he helped lead the charge towards the team collecting the record for highest point scored in a half with 84, the previous record was 83.

Jones showed off different facets in his game on offense, attacking the basket, mid-range floaters and jumpers from different spots on the court.  He also showed toughness on defense with timely steals and a blocked shot.  "I think it was a good experience, a chance to get some run, get up and down and just try to get my rhythm back," said Jones on his first night with the Legends.  Dominique essentially had just an afternoon's worth of time to get a standard set of plays ready and get familiar with players.  Jones acknowledged that the tight-knit group, with their willingness to help, really made things easier than expected in coming in so quickly with the team.

"It's hard for me to work on certain things because I go off situations," said the rookie on the what the objective was with the assignment in Frisco.  "I don't really have plays called for me (with the Mavericks), I just play, so (the move to Frisco) was just to work on my game and get some burn."

When asked about sending Jones down to the D-League, Donnie Nelson, who doubles as the Mavericks General Manager, said this is a huge opportunity for the rookie.  "Any coach knows that you can do drills until you're blue in the face," said Nelson.  If you're really going to get good, you have to use those things in the heat of battle and that's what this is.  This is an opportunity for him to go against other world-class athletes, other first round picks, former first-round picks and high caliber NBA players and to use those things that we're asking him to work on in practice
everyday with the Mavericks."

Another player making his Legends debut was Rashad McCants.  He scored 20 points off of 7-10 shooting (3-5 from 3-point range), 5 rebounds in just 19 minutes worth of action.  McCants was selected in the first round, 14th overall, by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2005 NBA Draft.  After passing his physical, he made his debut with the Legends and is looking to show he can be a scoring machine and be solid contributor either off of the bench or as a starter.  McCants has had some issues in terms of people seeing him as having a bad image for the league and he knows that he has to do whatever he can to fix that.  "Having a somewhat a bad reputation, I have a lot of making up to do," said McCants.  "I have to let everybody know that I'm not the guy that everyone (thinks I am)."

When asked what this night meant, Coach Nancy Lieberman spoke in regards to two-thirds of the ownership group, Donnie Nelson and Evan Wyly and had an interesting comparison for the home opener.  "This is like a wedding.  (Donnie ) and Evan have been waiting for this day for over a year," said Lieberman.  "When you put up your money, your hope, your dreams and your vision and you actually see it come to fruition.  The greatest thing you can have on a day like today is to cap it with a victory.  We're so excited for the fans, for Frisco and for everyone else."

"I am ecstatic," said Donnie Nelson as the night was over.  "I'm really excited about the product on the floor, the record setting first half to just being really proud of the guys and we're getting reaction from the fans which is the most important things." 

The Texas Legends are affordable fun for the family and if you love basketball, this is a can't miss opportunity.  The team features six former first-round picks in previous NBA Drafts: Joe Alexander, Antonio Daniels, Reece Gaines, Dominique Jones, Rashad McCants and Sean Williams.

When you attend a Legends game, you get the game but it's just a part of the grand experience.  You have things for all age groups.  There are inflatable playgrounds and basketball courts for people to play on and other various activities.  They'll do fun and interactive events with the crowd during timeouts and have enjoyable halftime entertainment.  Just think of it as a Mavericks game, but with even MORE things at your disposal in terms of entertainment.  The HP basketball court at Dr. Pepper Arena is beautiful and has the Mavericks Logo on each side of the court in the free throw circle. 

"We, by design, want to be family entertainment," said Donnie as he was explaining the experience to me.  "Let's face it, not everyone in your family is into basketball.  When you're young, you're into pop-a-shots, carnival atmospheres and circuses.  Our whole thing is we've got something for every person in the family." 

For more information on the Texas Legends, visit their website at http://www.nba.com/dleague/texas/

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