Kyrie Irving’s time in Brooklyn needed to end

Kyrie Irving’s time with the Brooklyn Nets has reportedly come to an end. 

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Mavericks are sending Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, an unprotected 2029 first-round pick, and second-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Nets in exchange for Irving and Markieff Morris.

The 30-year-old Irving, who can become a free agent at the end of the season, reportedly requested a trade from the Nets on Friday, and two days later, he’s on the move. Irving reportedly requested a trade after he and the Nets could not come together on a contract extension.

Now, Irving will team with Luka Doncic. Dallas(28-26) needed another star to team with Doncic, and for at least the rest of the season, they will have that, and if Irving can be a good solider for the next few months, maybe he could have a home in Dallas, but history tells us, that could be a problem.

According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, Irving’s extension talks are expected to be put off until this summer. He is eligible for a two-year extension now and a four-year deal in the summer.

Irving, who is averaging 27.1 ppg in 40 games this season, is worth the risk for the Mavericks. Dallas was treading water and needed to do something. Here’s another reality, if things don’t work out for Dallas, they will have cap space.

According to MacMahon, if they don’t re-sign the eight-time All-Star, the Mavs will have close to max salary cap space this summer. 

Regarding the Nets(32-20), they get Dinwiddie(17.3 PPG), a decent scorer, and Finney-Smith is a solid 3-and-D wing player, so when Kevin Durant gets healthy, the Nets can still compete. According to Wojnarowski, the Nets will continue to try to improve their roster before the trade deadline.

Irving spent four seasons with the Nets, and injuries were an issue throughout his time with Brooklyn; not receiving the COVID vaccine caused him to miss time, and retweeting a film that some have called antisemitic was an issue, and in the end, both parties needed a divorce.

Mavs’ Doncic on 53-point game: ‘I did some good work’

After missing two games with a sprained ankle, Mavericks star Luka Doncic was back against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night, and he picked up where he left off. 

He scored 24 points in the first quarter and had 34 points at the break and 45 after three quarters. Ultimately, Doncic finished the game with 53 points (17-24 FG, 5-11 3FG, 14-18 FT), eight rebounds, and five assists as the Mavs(27-25) defeated the Pistons(13-39) 111-105 at American Airlines Center.

Doncic’s 53 points is a team record for the most points in a regulation-length game. He’s back, but according to him, he’s not entirely healthy.

“It’s good,” he said. “It’s not 100%, but it’s good. I did some good work.”

Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said Doncic and the team were connected in his return.

“I think we were connected,” Kidd said. “I think sometimes when someone comes back, you tend to wait. Spencer [Dinwiddie], after the last two games, was playing at a high level. I thought he was letting Luka dictate everything instead of just playing the game he was playing the last two [games]. Luka’s going to join the party; he’s too talented not to, the ball is going to find him.

Doncic handled the scoring load for the first three quarters, and Spencer Dinwiddie, who was the only Dallas player besides Doncic to score in double figures on Tuesday night, took over in the fourth. He had 10 of 12 points in the final stanza and gave Dallas their first lead in the fourth since the second quarter, which the Mavs never relinquished.

Doncic was impressed by the play of Dinwiddie.

“I mean, he’s an amazing player,” he said. “He needs to stay aggressive and play his game and get going. He’s an amazing player.”

Dallas gets back at it on Thursday night as they host the Pelicans.

Notes:

Doncic now has four games this season with 50-plus points, which leads the NBA (four players tied with two games). The Mavericks are 4-0 this season when he goes for 50-plus points. Doncic joined Kobe Bryant, James Harden (3x), and Michael Jordan as the only players to post four games with 50-plus points over the last 50 years.

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NBA announces All-Star starters

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo were named captains in the 2023 All-Star Game at Vivint Arena in Utah, the league announced Thursday.

In the East, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Donovan Mitchell were named starters, while in the West, James will be joined by Nikola Jokic, Zion Williamson, Luka Doncic, and Stephen Curry in the starting lineup.

James(7,418,116), who made his NBA-record-tying 19th All-Star appearance, was the leading vote-getter overall, and Antetokounmpo(6,761,032) was the leading vote-getter in the East.

Fans, current NBA players, and a media panel selected starters for the 2023 NBA All-Star Game. Fans accounted for 50 percent of the vote to determine the starters, while players and media accounted for 25 percent each.

Each player’s score was calculated by averaging his weighted rank from the fan votes, the player votes and the media votes. The two guards and three frontcourt players with the best score in each conference were named NBA All-Star Game starters.

The All-Star reserves will be named on February 2, and the NBA All-Star game will take place on February 19.  On that night, James and Antetokounmpo will select their teammates.

Notes:

-At 23, Doncic joins Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Isiah Thomas, and Anthony Davis as the only players to earn four All-Star nods before their 24th birthday.

-This is Mitchell’s fourth NBA All-Star selection and his first time being selected as a starter.

-Williamson, who is also an All-Star starter for the first time his career, becomes the fourth New Orleans player to be voted a starter, joining Chris Paul (twice), Anthony Davis (x3), and DeMarcus Cousins.

Mavs’ Kidd on win over Heat: ‘I thought they played for 48 minutes’

Over the last three games, the Dallas Mavericks had no issues scoring(121.3 ppg), but they were not stopping teams from scoring(135.3 ppg), and because of their poor play on defense, the Mavs have lost three straight.

On Friday, they were hoping to get back to playing big-time defense, and on Friday night, they did that.

Dallas(25-22) led the visiting Miami Heat(25-22) pretty much from start to finish as they defeated the Heat 115-90.

Mavs head coach Jason Kidd, who was visibly upset about the team’s defensive performance in their loss to the Hawks on Wednesday night, liked the effort the team played with on Friday night.

“I thought they played for 48 minutes,” Kidd said. “I thought even the group that was in at the end played with energy and effort. I think there was clarity of what we’ve asked them to do in this game plan, and they responded. It wasn’t me calling them out or saying we had a walk-through or shoot-around during the game against Atlanta. You could see they were flying around. Now we’ve got to hold them to that standard.”

After the three quarters, the Mavs held the Heat to 67 points on 44% shooting from the field, including 3/15 from three-point range, and Dallas took a 25-point lead into the fourth.

Without Christian Wood(fractured thumb), Dallas went with a smaller lineup, which was effective for the Mavs on both ends of the court. Reggie Bullock, who had 15 points on 5-6 shooting from three-point range, said the work on the defensive end was a collective effort.

“It was just a team effort,” Bullock said. “Obviously, [the lineup] was a lot smaller tonight; people were flying around, giving multiple efforts, trying to take away 3s from them. But it was just the effort that guys put in, the five that Coach [Jason Kidd] put out there.”

Notes:

-Luka Doncic had a game-high 34 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists. Doncic is averaging a league-best 33.7 points per game, slightly ahead of Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid (33.6 ppg).

-Spencer Dinwiddie contributed 19 points, third rebounds, and two assists. Over his last four games, Dinwiddie is averaging 23.0 points and 5.8 assists per game.

Mavs’ Jason Kidd wants his team to be better on defense

There’s an old adage in sports that defense wins championships, and if that’s the case, the Dallas Mavericks will struggle to win big.

After allowing 136 and 140 points in two losses to the Blazers over the weekend, Dallas’ defensive struggles continued on Wednesday night when they fell to the Hawks 130-122 at American Airlines Center.

With the loss, the Mavs have lost three straight and five of their last six.

Dallas allowed the Hawks to shoot 57% from the floor and 50% from three-point range.

Luka Doncic, who had a game-high tying 30 points, four rebounds, and eight assists against the Hawks, wished he had answers.

“I wish I knew,” Doncic said. “If I knew, we wouldn’t struggle.”

During their three-game losing streak, the Mavs have averaged 121.3 points per game, but they’ve allowed 135.3 points per contest.

According to Doncic, the Mavs are scoring enough, but they need to put more effort into defense.

“I think our offense is fine,” he said. “We scored 122. That’s good. They scored 130. We’re good on offense. We just have to make sure we put in the same effort on defense.”

Mavs head coach Jason Kidd says it doesn’t matter how many points the team scores; if the team doesn’t defend, they won’t win.

“If it’s with this personnel, you have to keep asking or demanding for those guys to play defense,” he said. “It’s not, you know, just the offensive end, and tonight, again, we gave up 130. The team shot 57 percent … It’s a shootaround. You know, in this case, in this league, you do that no matter if you have Luka [Dončić], or Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] or Lebron [James], you’re going to lose. It doesn’t matter how many points you score; you’re always going to be short. And so until we put a better effort into playing defense and understanding what we have to do, then we’re going to score 120, but we’re going to give up 130 and 140.”

Dallas recently got back two of their better defenders in Dorian Finney-Smith and Josh Green, waiting for another of their top defenders, Maxi Kleber, to return. However, Dallas has to figure it out on the defensive end, or Kidd’s right; they will score a bunch of points and give up even more.

Mavs’ Kidd on loss to Celtics: ‘We just lost to the best team in the league’

Coming into Thursday’s game against the visiting Boston Celtics, the Dallas Mavericks(22-17) had won seven straight and were on a roll. However, six of the seven teams they played were below .500, so the Celtics(27-12), who have the best record in the NBA, was going to be a test for the Mavericks, and a test Dallas would fail.

Boston led by as many as 30 and dominated and routed the Celtics 124-95.

Luka Doncic, who was recently named Western Conference Player of the Month, led the Mavs with 23 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists, but his shot was off(7/23 FG), and he appeared under the weather. 

After the game, Mavs head coach Jason Kidd was asked about Doncic’s health.

“He looked like himself out there,” Kidd said. “He just missed some shots. He had some good looks. They just didn’t go down. I don’t know about his health. I know he did leave at one point, but I don’t know what the cause of that was.”

The Mavericks did not play well defensively, as Boston had two 30-plus point quarters. In addition, they struggled from the field as they shot 38% from the floor. Spencer Dinwiddie, who had 18 points and five assists, said poor defense and shooting cost the Mavericks. 

“I mean, obviously, they put up 124 points, which is never good, and the lack of defense,” Dinwiddie said. “The lack of shooting is one thing. It can ebb and flow sometimes. Obviously, the Celtics are one of the best teams in the league at the moment, record-wise, and they were in the Finals last year. They deserve a lot of credit, but we have to bring it on the defensive end and give ourselves a chance to win.”

Kidd gave all the credit to the Celtics, including Jayson Tatum, who had his second career triple-double with 29 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists.

“We just lost to the best team in the league,” Kidd said. “Look and see how they played and how the ball was shared. They executed their game plan. They did a lot of things. They got to the Finals last year [and] have a new coach. Their ability if things aren’t going well, their two stars aren’t going well in the first half [and] that’s a team game. I understand Jayson [Tatum] has a triple-double, which is pretty cool. Got his average, got 13 points there in the fourth quarter. I thought we did a really good job of keeping those guys [in check] and trying to show them multiple bodies, but they were unselfish tonight, and their teammates knocked down a lot of threes for them.”

Dallas continues to be shorthanded; they again were missing Dorian Finney-Smith(Adductor), Maxi Kleber(Hamstring), and Josh Green(Elbow), but according to Dinwiddie, that’s no excuse when you have Doncic.

“We’ve got to do our job,” Dinwiddie said. “We can’t just be making excuses. Anytime you’ve got the best player in the world on the floor, you’ve got a chance to win. 2 through 10 that night [have] just got to do their job.”

Dallas has another good team coming to their building in the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday, so they must flush this one away and move forward.

Doncic, Embiid named NBA Players of the Month

On Tuesday, the NBA announced that Mavericks guard Luka Doncic(Western Conference) and 76ers center Joel Embiid(Eastern Conference) were named Players of the Month for games played in December.

Doncic averaged 35.1 points (.519 FG%, .424 3FG%), 8.5 rebounds, 9.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 36.3 minutes in 15 games in December. It marked the highest-scoring month in franchise history (min. 10 games played) and the Mavericks went 11-4 in his 15 appearances during the month (11-6 overall).

He tallied a career-high 60 points (21-31 FG, 2-6 3FG, 16-22 FT) to go along with a career-high 21 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals and one block in a career-high 47 minutes in Dallas’ 126-121 come-from-behind win over New York on Dec. 27. Doncic became the first player in NBA history to record a 60-point, 20-rebound triple-double and the second player to post a 60-point triple-double of any kind.

Doncic netted 50-plus points three times over his final five games in December, totaling 228 points, 56 boards and 51 assists over that five-game stretch (Dec. 23 to 31). He became the first player in NBA history to total 225-plus points, 50-plus rebounds and 50-plus assists over any five-game run. Dončić also became the first player to record three 50-point games over a five-game span since Harden in January 2019.

The three-time All-Star has totaled 292 points, 77 rebounds and 69 assists during the Mavericks’ current seven-game win streak (41.7 ppg, 11.0 rpg and 9.0 apg since Dec. 21), which is their longest win streak since their championship season in 2010-11. He is the first player in league history to record 290-plus points, 70-plus rebounds and 60-plus assists over any seven-game stretch.

Embiid dominates

This was Embiid’s fifth career Player of the Month award, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Allen Iverson for the most such honors in 76ers franchise history.

Embiid led the 76ers to a 9-4 record (.692) in the month, including a season-long eight-game win streak from Dec. 9-25. Philadelphia’s .692 winning percentage ranked third in the NBA throughout the month.

The five-time All-Star earned the honor after leading all NBA players in scoring at 35.4 points per contest on .545 shooting from the floor and .417 from three-point range. He and Doncic were the only NBA players to post such numbers in December.

His totals in points (460), rebounds (129) and blocks (23) make him one of four players in league history with such numbers over 13 outings, joining himself (earlier this season), and Hall of Famers Moses Malone, Bob McAdoo and Shaquille O’Neal.

Embiid posted at least 30 points in 10 games, joining Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Iverson as the only 76ers to have double-digit 30-point outings in the month of December. Embiid (twice), Iverson (seven) and Chamberlain (five) are the only 76ers ever to post at least 10 30-point games in any month in franchise history.

Highlighting the month was Embiid’s second 50-plus point game of the season on Dec. 11 against Charlotte. In the win, Embiid posted 53 points on a career-high 20 made field goals, adding 12 rebounds. He’s one of five players in NBA history to post at least four career games of 50 points and 10 rebounds, while shooting at least 60-percent from the field.

Embiid is the first center with multiple 50-point games in a single season since Hall of Famer David Robinson in 1993-94. He is also the first 76er with multiple games of 50-plus points since Iverson had three such contests during the 2004-05 season.

The Cameroon native went on to round out the month with his fifth career triple-double against the Oklahoma City Thunder, making him the eighth 76er to produce five triple-doubles with the team.

Doncic named Western Conference Player of the Week

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic has been playing at an elite level over the last couple of weeks, so it was no surprise that Doncic was named the Western Conference Player of the Week for games played from Monday, Dec. 26 through Sunday, Jan. 1, the league announced on Monday.

This is the second straight week and the ninth time in his career that he has received the honor. It is the first time in his career that he has garnered the award in back-to-back weeks, and he becomes the first player to earn consecutive Player of the Week awards this season.

Doncic led the Mavericks to a 3-0 week with averages of 48.7 points (.617 FG%, .480 3FG%), 13.0 rebounds, 10.7 assists, 2.3 steals, and 1.3 blocks in 39.7 minutes per game. He racked up 146 points, 39 rebounds, and 32 assists during the week, becoming the first player in NBA history to total 140-plus points, 30-plus rebounds, and 30-plus assists over any three-game span.

The 23-year-old opened the week by pouring in a career-high 60 points (21-31 FG, 2-6 3FG, 16-22 FT) to go along with a career-high 21 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals and one block in a career-high 47 minutes in Dallas’ 126-121 come-from-behind win over New York.

Doncic closed out the 2022 calendar year by tallying a game-high 51 points (18-29 FG, 6-10 3FG), including 30 in the first half (22 in the first quarter), to go along with six rebounds, a game-high nine assists, a season-high-tying four steals and one block in 37 minutes in the Mavericks’ 126-125 victory at San Antonio on Dec. 31. He had 42 points through three quarters, breaking a tie with Mark Aguirre (22) for the most 40-point games in franchise history.

The three-time All-Star has led Dallas (21-16) to a season-best six-game win streak. For the season, he is averaging a league-high 34.2 points to go along with 8.7 rebounds, 8.9 assists (4th in the NBA), and 1.7 steals (5th in the NBA) in 34 games (all starts).

Dallas battles the Rockets in Houston on Monday night.

Mavs’ Wood: ‘Luka’s (Doncic) playing like an MVP’

On Thursday, Luka Doncic continued his push for the MVP against the Rockets.

After having a 60-point triple-double in Dallas’ win over the Knicks on Tuesday night, Doncic was just as good against Houston as he had 35 points, 12 rebounds, and 13 assists; he recorded a 30-point triple-double in the first three-quarters of the game, and ultimately, the Mavs would roll over Houston 129-114 at American Airlines Center.

The Mavs(20-16) finished their three-game homestand 3-0 and have won five straight. 

In the last two games, Doncic has posted 95 points, 34 rebounds, and 23 assists. In addition, he has scored the most points in consecutive triple-doubles in the history of the NBA, passing Russell Westbrook’s record of 94 points and his 151 total points+rebounds+assists are the third-most in consecutive triple-doubles in NBA history.

According to Christian Wood, who had 21 points, six rebounds, and four blocks against Houston, the Mavs are having success because the team is playing together, and Doncic is playing like an MVP.

“We’re just playing together,” Wood said. “If you look at the last game, we stayed together even though everybody probably thought we were gonna lose. Today, we stayed together, and everybody was moving the ball. Even in the game before that, we were just piggybacking off of each other and playing off of each other. It’s really working out. Also, you know, Luka’s [Luka Dončić] playing like an MVP. But, in terms of the team, we’ve been doing great together.”

Dwight Powell, who was 8/8 from the field and finished was a season-high 19 points, agrees with Wood; the Mavs are playing together.

“We’ve been trusting each other,” Wood said. “There’s obviously been ups and downs. Clearly, there have been some games that some people counted us out, during the game, but we stuck together. That’s one of the biggest things for us, is trusting one another and staying together regardless of the situation and having that next man up mentality.”

During their five-game winning streak, Doncic is averaging a triple-double with 40.4 points, 11.8 rebounds, 10.4 assists, and 2.2 steals per game.

Obviously he’s not going to average 40 points a game, but Doncic is going to get his numbers, but those numbers mean nothing if Dallas does not win; however, this five-game winning streak could mean the Mavs had turned the corner, and on their way to becoming the team many thought they would be when the season started.

Dallas heads to San Antonio to face the Spurs on Saturday night.

Mavs’ Luka Doncic continues to amaze!

With 0:27 seconds left, and the Mavs(19-16) trailing the Knicks(18-17) by nine, the thought process was that Dallas’ three-game winning streak was going to be over.

However, the fantastic and unthinkable happened. Dallas closed the fourth quarter on a 9-1 run, including an amazing shot by Luka Doncic after he intentionally missed a free throw to send the game to OT.

In the extra session, Doncic scored seven of the Mavs’ 11 points, and Dallas would defeat the Knicks 126-121.

Now, here’s the bigger story. Doncic finished the game with 60 points, 21 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals, and a block; this is the first 60-point, 20-rebound, 10-assist game in the history of the NBA. Doncic joined James Harden as the only players in history with a 60-point triple-double.

Mavs head coach Jason Kidd says Doncic is always doing something new.

“I know, everybody is still in shock,” Kidd said. “He always does [something new]. He’s special. The history of the game is written by the players, and it was written again tonight for a player – Luka – doing something that’s never been done before. It’s hard to do – there’ve been some great players before him. As we were walking in, Elgin Baylor, I think Wilt [Chamberlain] – he was in that class, and then he separated himself and made his own class, which is pretty cool.”

Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau added on Doncic: “He is a monster player. There are some plays I thought he made good plays and was aggressive. But you can’t keep fouling a guy and give 22 free throws up. We keep talking about verticality and staying restricted, but we keep whacking down all the time. Until we fix that, it is going to costs us.”

According to Doncic, there might have been some luck involved with this performance.

“I don’t know,” Doncic said. “I was just kind of a little bit lucky there. [I had] two steals, one block, five offensive rebounds, and a jump ball, too. I don’t know, man. I’m just enjoying the sport.”

Doncic became the seventh player in the history of the NBA to record a 50-point triple-double (5, James Harden; 3, Russell Westbrook; 2, Elgin Baylor; 2, Wilt Chamberlain; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Richie Guerin).

Being compared to those stars amazes him.

“We just saw it on the screen right now,” Doncic said. “We were watching NBA TV. I mean, it’s just incredible to be in those comparisons and just to be with those guys, at any stage. It’s amazing for me.”

Back to Doncic’s shot that sent the game to OT, he actually thought it was the game-winner.

“Well, it was celebrating,” Doncic said. “But, honestly, a lot of people asked me about this back in the locker room. I thought we won it. So, when I went to the crowd like this, I thought we had won the game. But when I saw the score, I was like, “Oh.” I didn’t know what to do.”

This was an exceptional performance by Doncic, and at this point, the things he does will stop being a surprise. He’s just that good!

Notes:

  • In Tuesday’s game, Doncic did the following:

    • Set a new career-high of 60 points (51 vs. LAC, 2/10/22)

    • Set a new career-high of 21 rebounds (20 at SAC, 8/4/20)

    • Set a new Dallas Mavericks scoring record (53, Dirk Nowitzki vs. HOU, 12/2/04 in OT)

    • Tied the Dallas Mavericks FGM record (21-33, Mark Aguirre vs. DEN, 3/24/84)

    • Set a new American Airlines Center scoring record (57, Steph Curry, 2/6/21)

    • Recorded the second 60-point triple-double in NBA history (James Harden vs. ORL, 60p-10r-11a, 1/30/18)

    • Set a new Dallas Mavericks record for 50-point games (3rd of career)

    • Became the first Maverick with 50+ points twice in 3-game span (50 at HOU, 12/23)

      -For the Knicks, Quentin Grimes scored a career-high 33 points (12-25 FG) to go with 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Dallas native Julius Randle added 29 points and a season-best 18 rebounds.

      Former Mavs guard Jalen Brunson, who missed Tuesday’s game with a hip injury, received a standing ovation after a video tribute between the first and second quarters.

      For Dallas, Spencer Dinwiddie added 25 points (9-15 FG), 6 rebounds and 5 assists. This was Dinwiddie’s fourth game of the season with 25+ points and he has scored 15+ points in 22 of his 34 appearances this season.

    • Christian Wood contributed 19 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists. Over his last four home games (since 12/14), Wood is averaging 25.3 points (.587 FG%) and 9.0 rebounds per game.