I thought that Indiana game was a bit closer than it seemed; the Pacers hit every single crucial shot they had, and still only won by 5. You have to figure if Amir caught one of the two passes in the key that he missed (either would have finished in a dunk), the Raptors made a stop down the stretch, or the Pacers missed on of the many shots they shouldn’t have hit, the Raps could be 2-0 right now. That’s my glass is half-full moment, down to business.

The defending champs host the Raptors for what will be their 4th game in 6 nights; on the second night of a back-to-back having played the Thunder in Oklahoma. That’s a lot of wear and tear for an aging team who is 0-3 to start the season. That said, these are the defending champs with a war-tested lineup; can’t take them lightly.

I had a chance to talk with Ian Levy and Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game about the Mavs:

True or False: Cuban and Nelson don’t get enough credit for the teams they’ve been fielding for the last decade.

Ian I think they get the right amount of credit. Cuban is known for be willing to spend and for letting the basketball people make the decisions. Nelson has shown a great understanding of timing, not just buying low and selling high, but knowing when the structure of the team needs to go in a different direction.

Rob True. I don’t want to instill the Mavericks with more of a victim complex than they already have (sorry, Shawn Marion — I meant to say “World Champion Mavericks,”), but building and maintaining a contender for more than a decade is no small feat. Dallas may only have one title to show for all of Cuban and Nelson’s hard work, but they played some incredible basketball for 11 straight seasons. That’s damn impressive.

The Mavs retooled in the off-season, replacing Chandler w/ Odom, signing VC and Delonte; without jeopardizing their 2012 cap situation I must add. I look up and down this roster and feel this team is better than the one that won the championship last year; thoughts?

Ian The team that won the championship last season was not the same team they had on paper, it was a beautiful origami construction, using that paper as a raw material. These first two losses for the Mavericks are a reminder that they need to take what they have and make it into something much greater.

Rob I’d give Lamar Odom a slight edge over Tyson Chandler in whatever universal comparison of basketball players I can muster, Vince Carter is fairly comparable to Caron Butler (if you count him in your estimations of the championship team), and Delonte West is better than J.J. Barea. But as a team? I’d say this roster is a bit inferior; Chandler, Barea, and even DeShawn Stevenson were perfect fits for this particular team, while the new pieces contribute to a less complete overall product.

This season could finally be the one that Jason Kidd’s body says “enough’s enough”? With Dirk potentially having a couple more elite seasons in him in the front court, wouldn’t the priority heading into the summer be signing Deron Williams as a free agent target?

Ian Absolutely, but it sounds a lot like one of those “hometown loyalty” pipe-dreams. The Mavericks need to be proactive in building a roster for the future. Adding a player of Williams’ caliber would be tremendous, but the possibility seems too tenuous to be the centerpiece of a plan.

Rob Both are possibilities; Kidd’s drop-off could come without warning, and Dallas has very real interest in acquiring Williams. But it’s one strategy, not the strategy. The Mavs aren’t banking on age-old ties to a high school to bring in Williams, just as they won’t be banking on an age-old point guard to guide them into the next era. Nelson and Cuban are staying flexible, being mindful of their spending, and playing it by ear. They obviously have some tentative plans in place, but overall their outlook is more of a flow chart than an agenda.

Call the game

Ian My apologies to the Raptors fans but I think the Mavericks get on track with a win tonight.

Rob I’ll say Dallas wins a tight one. The Mavs looked much improved against the Thunder on Thursday night, and while they’re sure to be weary after their down-to-the-wire loss, I see them building on their performance in Friday’s game. They’ll have their hands full with a more active Raptors team, but I think the Mavs get it done for their first win of the season.


Point Guard
I know we’re just two games into the season, but the Raptors are 8th in defense. Don’t rip me a new one, I realize it’s ony two games, but when the hell have we ever been top 10 in defense? Some of that starts with Calderon on the perimeter not doing his clapping hands routine. The one thing that has me concerned about Kidd after watching Paul George have all the time in the world the other night from beyond the arc, is Kidd being put in the same spot; otherwise, keeping him under control shouldn’t be  a mission for Calderon (and Bayless who is my 2nd least favourite Raptor after Magloire).
Edge: Raptors

Shooting Guard
DeRozan played ball all summer, is young, in great shape, a gym rat…yet still has been having a tough time with catching a rhythm early in games. Had it not been for an epic 2nd half against the Pacers, everyone would be pretty ‘meh’ on the kid right now. That said, his shot has looked really good this year. Barbosa has given us exactly what we’ve expected from the get-go (stayed fresh in Brazil while the rest of the league played XBOX and such). The Mavs have two guys over 34 (Terry/Carter) and a head case (West). So while Carter’s best days are behind him, Terry still has some gas in the tank, and has been playing well so far. West is the only one of the lot who plays any defense, but I have a suspicion the Mavs will give the Raptors just enough wiggle room that they will find their offensive stride.
Edge: Mavericks

Small Forward
James Johnson can play defense, rebound, and dunk in transition, and…that’s about it. He should never be allowed to shoot another jumper or put the ball on the floor, again. That said, he’s loads better than Weems. Marion on the other hand hasn’t been to the free throw line yet this season. This troubles me, especially considering he still insists on shooting 3s. Regardless, he’s still got enough to completely nullify anything (Rasual Butler, seriously?) the Raptors can throw at him at the 3, and give Bargnani some fits if Dallas ever goes small ball. The 3-spot quickly falls off after Marion, but they are deep enough to trot out some interesting lineup combinations.
Edge: Mavericks

Power Forward
Nowitzki > Bargnani. Bargs is making strides, nice ones, but there’s nothing else to talk about here.
Edge: Mavericks

One day I’m actually going to put together my list of players I loathe; Brendan Haywood will be on that list, close to the top. I hate how the Raptors single handedly made him look like a star when he played for the Wizards. I did enjoy how after the Mavs handed him that retarded contract of his, they realized they wouldn’t be able to win anything with him as their starting center, then went and got themselves Chandler; that must have been fairly emasculating. So he will have a couple dunks, miss everything from the line and be pretty invisible for the night. Odom may or may not finally wake up and actually choose to contribute, and knowing the Raptors luck it could be tonight, but I like the center-by-committee the Raptors can field against this lot.
Edge: Raptors

The Line

The gamblers have the Mavs as 9.5 point favourites with an over/under of 196. I’m really torn on this one, on the one-hand it’s hard to imagine the Mavs losing their 4th game in a row to start the season at home to the Raptors, but on the other hand they are giving up 110 points a game.  Mavs by 3, bet against the line.

Arsenalist has a Breaking It Down post dropping after lunch; check it out.

  • Nilanka15

    I understand the dislike of Bayless, but why Magloire? I find he does exactly what’s expected of him (i.e. play spot minutes, use some fouls, challenge shots, grab some boards, and have a seat the rest of the night).

    And I’m not gonna lie, I liked the unintentional/intentional body slam on Hansborough. Oakley-esque, lol.

    • Sam Holako

      I liked that too, just haven’t liked the guy since highschool; dude was a jerk. I do appreciate his battle with Hansborough, though.

    • voy

      I think maybe the dislike of magloire is because of all the hype.  That takedown of hansborough I’m pretty sure was totally by accident.  I think Magloire just collapsed under the weight of his own ass. 

      I dont dislike the guy, but lets stop with all the “jamal has always wanted to play for toronto and now he has finally arrived home”.  Lets all hail Odysseus.  No one was stopping him from signing a contract with the Raps previous to this year.  Sure he may have always wanted to play for Toronto but he’s wanted to chase the money more.  Nothing wrong with that.  But lets stop pretending Jamal is Jesus.

      Just my opinion.

      • Bearvon

        Plus Leo’s praise is vomit inducing.

        • Matt52

          Did you mean to say, “Leo is vomit inducing.”  

          I will accept either one as fact.

    • http://jtshoopsblog.blogspot.com/ JT’s Hoops Blog

      I can understand the hate for Magliore.  he’s a spot play that at one time called himself “the King of Toronto.”  He has like one good season where he gets selected to the All Star Squad and suddenly his head get inflated.  He also strung along Jay Triano when it came to commiting to team canada.  trust me there are a lot of reasons to hate Magliore

      • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!


        That’s a strong word buddy you sure you want to promote hate?

        Magloire is a TDot resident born & bred- recognize game sucka, hating on Jamaal as a Raptor is like hating on yourself.

        I recall that JM had f/a particulars each time Team Canada called him for Olympic commitments (correct me if I’m wrong)- and fuck Jay and his child molesting daddy….who is he really to Jamaal?

        At least he made an All Star team- has AB?

        I respect JM and his NBA career plus all his non publicized community work in the greater TDot area- he is a great addition to the Raptors roster as a veteran Big Man who plays the game the right way- all out hustle & effort.

  • Brian B

    I’d still rate Kidd above the Raptors PGs, and as much as I hate to do it, by default Dallas gets the edge for having a center. But, I’d rank DD as better than the Mav’s SG by committee- at least potentially. If he gets it together, the Raps stand a chance. Otherwise, another long night.

    • http://jtshoopsblog.blogspot.com/ JT’s Hoops Blog

      I agree.  Kidd @ 39 can still beat both Jose and Jerryd ten times over.

  • j bean

    Dallas fans are really crying the blues and missing Chandler. They’ve given up over 100 pts in all three of their games. Maybe missing Casey too. VC and J Kidd are tied at 8 points a game just behind West who is third in scoring at 9 pts a game.  They are in bad need of a team like the Raptors to get their season into the win column.

    • http://jtshoopsblog.blogspot.com/ JT’s Hoops Blog

      That’s why the Raptors should beat them.  Raptors have the advantage as they had a three day rest and the Mavs have almost played five straight so far. 

      • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

        The Raptors should beat no team as a given.

        3 days rest?? WTF are you talking about?? The Rap’s played on Wednesday vs Indiana.lmfao

        The Raptors don’t have an advantage the victory starved Mavericks playing at home do as they will be playing not to lose their 4th game in a row plus VC seemingly comes up big against Toronto…..smdh

  • cesco

    Casey should tell Andrea to stick to Dirk and not roam around and leave him unguarded. He can guard Dirk without any help and their scoring should be about the same as Dirk must be pretty tired  . With that game plan , the chances of an upset are greater .

    • voy

      oh, man, I seriously hope Casey doesn’t put Andrea on Dirk.  I’d much rather have Andrea on Haywood and Amir on Dirk.  If we go Andrea vs Dirk and Amir vs Haywood its not an unreasonable expectation to see Bargs and Amir picking up a few cheap early fouls like they did last game.

      If Odom comes in to spell Haywood, I wouldn’t wind seeing Andrea guarding Lamar as long as he gives him the outside jumper.  Let Lamar shoot those all game long.

      • http://jtshoopsblog.blogspot.com/ JT’s Hoops Blog

        AB is better to guard Dirk because if he guards haywood, jason Kidd will make him pay for it passing to haywood everytime.  at least with Dirk, Bargs does not have to play physical as both are essentially the same type of player.

        • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

          Stick to your blog as you know very little as AB will get abused by Dirk 1 on 1 especially with no help.

          Dirk will post AB’s lazy ass up on both boxes, elbows, ft line while shooting off balance jumpers in his face all game long.

          Dirk consistently rebounds, boxes out and defends- AB does not, they are nothing alike as basketball players except being 7 feet tall and white.

          The last time Dirk average 5 rebounds or less for a season was his 2nd year in the League…his career average is 8.4 rpg.

          • p00ka

            But AB owned him tonight

            • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

              Who won the game?

              Who will be in the All Star game & playoffs this season?

              • p00ka

                You’re the loudmouth that said Dirk would abuse AB, not which team would win. Dirk covered AB so well, they switched him off his feeble, and failed, attempts to cover him. Just an example of how dumb you are without your 20/20 brilliant hindsight.

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      AB can guard Dirk 1 on 1 w/o any help- really?

      In what dimension as this isn’t a Twilight Zone episode it’s a real NBA game?lol

      Amazing what some folks believe to be true in relation to AB’s defensive abilities going on 6 years after the fact of his arrival in the TDot.

      • cesco

        It is has been acknowledge by most people  (except for haters) that Andrea is a good one on one defender .

        • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!


          How quaint- your Societal conditioning is very self evident.lmfao

          Let’s just wait & see exactly how well PF AB does tonite against the much more nimble Dirk & potentially the very versatile Odom as well if he matches up 1 on 1 with NO HELP.

          I call Dirk with a double double (29 pts & 10 rebs) while AB takes 20 shots and grabs 5 rebounds tonite while fading in the 2nd half & 4th quarter.

          • http://jtshoopsblog.blogspot.com/ JT’s Hoops Blog

            Gosh you just love hating don’t you?  You always bash the Raptors, but you have little or nothing to support your case.  

            • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

              So says you………a difference of opinion is hating???

              Check AB’s career stats….sucka duck.

              • p00ka

                What is it you say? Stats are for liars/deceivers? You speak with forked tongue grasslicker

                • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

                  Look it’s BC right nut….

                  Fyi those are relative stats ie games played, ppg, rpg, bpg, spg…..

              • p00ka

                to be precise, quote from you
                 “Poli Sci 101- stats are another way to lie and/or deceive.”
                bullchit loser

                • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

                  Never argue with a fool because from a distance one can’t tell who is whom- especially over the internet- fool…..smdh

                • p00ka

                  LMFAO, lame loudmouth loser

      • nex

        lol… “the Tdot”..

  • why

    Dallas may rue adding Vince Carter – all smiles and giggles as they were getting thumbed in their first two games.

    It seems like all the teams he has played for have hoped against hope that he would somehow return to his early career form – it has been what, 11 seasons now?

    • http://jtshoopsblog.blogspot.com/ JT’s Hoops Blog

      VC is a washed up has been anyways.   

      • why

        agree – not sure why he is still in the NBA or specifically why the defending NBA champions would want his sorry you-nkow-what.

      • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

        What does that make you?????? A never been????

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    A loss is a loss whether by 15 points or 1 point.

    Jack almost killed me with his Indiana post game comment something to the effect of:

     ‘it’s better to lose by 5 than 15 because it means that the team was just that much closer to winning the game’

    that was a pure insult to any intelligent Raptors basketball ticket buying fan.

    The Raptors are currently 8th in defense after 2 games- get a grip on reality let’s see where they are after 10 games then every 5 afterwards- really now…smdh

    Dallas pg > Raptors pg

    Dallas sg Raptors sf

    Dallas pf > Raptors pf

    Dallas c > Raptors c (Dirk has been playing some center for Mavs when they go small)

    Dallas bench > Raptors bench

    Dallas 107
    Toronto 98

    Let’s see how well PF AB does guarding Dirk & Odom tonite….

    Casey will see 1st hand that AB is nothing close to Dirk like tonite.

    I wonder how long before Amir beats AB’s ass for making him guard the other teams center every night as BC allows him to play dressup as a 7’1 260 pound PF.

    • voy

      somehow lost in this analysis, although not surprising considering the source, is that it would also be much easier for andrea to cover haywood.  Casey is not doing bargs any favours if he asks him to chase dirk all over the floor. 

      you obviously haven’t bought many raps tickets if you think watching your team lose by 15 is the same as watching them lose by 1.

      • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

        Good loss?

        A loss is a loss- point blank, I have never heard of a good loss before unless it was a BC sponsored pr media spin in the wind designed to fool a segment of the Raptors fan base.

        The object of the game is to get more Ws than Ls and qualify for the post season it doesn’t matter if you lose by 20 points or 1 point in the final standings it’s all Ws & Ls.

        • voy

          although I never brought up the term, considering the content of your previous posts, its not surprising you have never heard of a “good loss”.

          Most of us here aren’t babies, or suffer from A.D.D., we can delay immediate, short term gratification for a longer-term more substantial goal.  We understand how a 20 point loss is infinately worse than losing by one point with a cast of young players.  Its not a hard concept to grasp for adults.

          Yes, in the end its all about winning more than you lose. Unfortunately, most teams dont go from losing 60 games by a wide margin to becoming immediate contenders.  And before you float the theory, this is not an exclusive fact to BC led teams.
          This is not NBA 2K11. When time permits, you should turn off the playstation and watch a game.

          • Matt52


          • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

            Spoken like a person who never played the game at a high competitive level….pure 100% balderdash…..sell that shit to the non imformed Raptors fans who buy tickets not to someone who knows the game inside out.lmfao

            The Raptors never have been and never will be NBA Championship contenders under BC much less Atlantic Division contenders……

            I don’t play video games……………insinuation is like masturabation it only gets you off kiddo….

        • awillistheman

          A good loss is one in which you worked hard and gave yourself a chance to win. Of course a team that plays this way will win more games than if they didn’t. So while a loss is a loss, the way you lose makes all the difference as this loss gives hope for future wins which both fans and players can appreciate.

          • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

            You are straight up stuck on stupid- congratulations….no wonder BC keeps on getting over on most TDot Raptors fans.

        • http://jtshoopsblog.blogspot.com/ JT’s Hoops Blog

          Why r u feeding this hating troll?

          • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

            Go back to your bullchit blog and write some more bullchit particulars then delete the subsequent viewer comments that you disagree with- sucka ass blog dictator.lmfao

  • slaw

    How are the Raptors 8th in defence? They’re 8th in opponent’s PPG but they’re playing at a glacial pace (26th in the NBA), which is the main reason the OPP PPG is so low.

    Are we still looking at PPG as the measure of a defense? Is it 1981?

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      This http://espn.go.com/nba/statistics/team/_/stat/team-comparison-per-game/sort/avgPointsOpponent is where Sam got that misleading stat that has Miami ranked 23rd and we all know that Miami is a very much more superior overall defensive team than are the Raptors.

      Poli Sci 101- stats are another way to lie and/or deceive. 

      • p00ka

        So your admitting that when you use stats to evaluate a player you’re just full of BS. We already know that, but an admission is a big step to becoming a big boy. Good on ya!

    • j bean

      What are the best stats to rate a team defensively?

      • slaw

        I like Defensive Rating cause it gives you a number you can do very quick comparisons with. You do need to drill down into Opponents’ EFG%, FG% DIFF, and Opponents FTAs. There might be others people want to note.

        I don’t want to discount PPG entirely because it does tell you something about this current Raps squad – Casey wants a slow-it-down, halfcourt team that grinds out teams on defense. That’s a massive change from years past….

    • Matt52

      Very much agree on the opponents PPG.  Personally, I give defensive rating much more weight.

  • awillistheman

    How much does Casey’s knowledge of the Dallas players factor into this game?

  • Joaquim

    just on sentiment alone the mavs are going to spank the raps tonite – they, as champions, don’t want to lose their fourth to the raps – a bumbling team in the eastern conference