The Mavs will finish their cake-walk stretch tonight against the Indiana Pacers. It will be their fourth straight home game against a below-.500 Eastern Conference team, and they have won all three of the previous games in that stretch. The Mavs lost their previous meeting against the Pacers 111-107 in Indiana.
Dunleavy has been top notch
Mike Dunleavy has continued his breakout season and should be a competitor for Most Improved Player. His averages of 18.2 points and 3.3 assists are career highs and his 5.3 rebound average is close to his career high. This was a guy who looked like his career was going nowhere when he was traded from Golden State, but obviously coach Jim O'Brien's system is benefiting the sixth-year forward.
Diener filling in nicely
Point guard Jamaal Tinsley has missed quite a few games this season and has missed 18 of the last 21 Pacers games. In his most recent absences, third-year pro Travis Diener has come alive as a decent contributor. His assist numbers have been satisfactory, and sometimes good, and he had a solid game on Tuesday when he had 11 points, nine assists and three rebounds. He's keeping his turnover numbers low, so he could continue to be a decent contributor if Tinsley finishes the season in street clothes.
Pacers co-owner Herb Simon has evidently had enough of the Pacer players' legal problems and has vowed that changes are afoot.
"Another upsetting situation," Simon said. "The last three years have been one incident after another. It's not that all these players are bad people, they just make bad judgments and they're in the wrong place. We don't have a community that can tolerate this kind of behavior."
He sounds like he's tired of it all, and having a dumpy team can't help ease the mischief either. Danny Granger might be your sole survivor.
Who will be left standing next season?
-Scooter Hendon, Hoops Nerd