One time when I was around seven to 10 years old, a friend that lived on my street got a brand new aluminum baseball bat. He immediately invited me over and I rushed to his place at the end of the street.
I took some practice swings in his driveway, it was a pretty cool bat. Then it was his turn. He took a rather forceful swing for swinging at nothing at all and my head got in the way and he smacked me clearly on the side of my head, full-swing, with an aluminum baseball bat.
I never fell to the ground, and never cried or welped. My friend was shocked and asked if I was OK. I nodded in silence, walked home to my house very slowly. I knocked on my front door and when my mother answered, I promptly passed out in the doorway. I woke up sleeping on an ice bag and my head felt like it had just been used as a bowling ball.
Onto the (brief) bullets after the jump:
- Pathetic. Awful. Putrid. All those described the Mavericks effort level in the opening 12 minutes of this game against the Manu-less Spurs. It would be easier to swallow if the Mavs were traveling for their back-to-back to face a team they haven't seen much and was lacking a key rotational player – perhaps heading to Chicago and not being prepared for Taj Gibson if Carlos Boozer were inured, due to lack of familiarity and game tape. But no, this is the Spurs. And there was Jason Kidd, in the game's first three minutes no less, with weak close out after weak close out against Gary Neal as he repeatedly killed it from beyond the arc. No Mav was above exerting a little more than minimal effort in the opening quarter. Dirk Nowitzki was absolutely dreadful on rotations, Brendan Haywood was ludicrous in his shot selection and overall, Dallas' team defense was disastrous as San Antonio racked up an absurd amount of wide-open looks. True, it was the Mavs sixth game in eight nights, but this was also the Spurs sixth game in nine nights. And if there was one quarter that the Mavs could actually be competitive before the tired legs kicked in, it would have been the first. Awful. Truly awful.
- In eight games, the Mavs have been blasted by the Heat, Nuggets, Timberwolves and Spurs. Not sure if you're scoring at home, but the fact that right now the chances of the Mavs getting absolutely trounced is a coin flip is completely distressing – shortened training camp and lack of conditioning be damned.
- Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry managed to win the scoring duel against Matt Bonner, 18-17. That's all I can say.
- Delonte West was part of the Mavericks horrible starting slump, which is the reason why his 27 minutes and 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting netted him a +/- of a -25 on the night, worst of any Mav. Even though all his points were in garbage time, I still see him being a meaningful late-game player.
- It's hard to justify Roddy Beaubois' 21 minutes of 1-for-8 shooting and four points as quality, but Beaubois showed some things. His three blocks flashed his freaky athleticism and he played some credible 1-on-1 defense on Tony Parker. I'm a little confused on where Beaubois' jumper went over the last two seasons (42 percent last year, 33 percent so far this season) but the young guard took quality looks within the offense, he just has to knock down the pull-up elbow jumper off the pick and roll.
- I feel really bad for Brandan Wright. The former top-10 pick couldn't make his way in the league due to injuries and horrible situations in Golden State and New Jersey. The kid finally finds a team that is not only a quality organization for building up players, but also a team that was looking to completely retool with seemingly bunches of minutes to be had, especially for an athletic forward such as Wright. After tonight, Wright has played 16 minutes this entire season –11 of which came in the season opener against Miami. I don't really follow how Wright couldn't earn a single minute in those lopsided Denver and Minnesota games in which Dallas clearly needed a spark. And tonight, Wright picked up where he left off in the final preseason game against OKC: finishing around the basket and showing off the great athleticism with six points in five minutes. Brian Cardinal has played more minutes than Wright, and that really, really baffles me. Wright signed a one-year deal here to grab some minutes with a good team and perhaps relaunch his NBA career with someone else next season. It's not even looking like that's going to happen unless Rick Carlisle has a change of heart.
- I can't write anymore bullets because I broke half of my fingers with a tack hammer while watching this game. Just assume that anything I didn't cover, I thought completely sucked (Like the Mavericks completely depressing offensive efficiency, turnovers, etc., the works.)