DALLAS _ Rodrigue Beaubois came to the Dallas Mavericks two season ago as a player with a lot of flair and finesse.
Now he’s showing them his tough side.
“He’s gotten so much tougher in two-and-a-half years,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “His first year you would have needed a spatula to get him off the ground.
“Honestly, he fell in a heap every time he got touched. He took a lot of heat from his teammates, he took a lot of heat from the coaches, and he’s raised his level of toughness quantum over that period of time.’’
Beaubois’ level of toughness was questioned Monday night when Phoenix Suns guard Sebastian Telfair clobbered him on a fastbreak attempt early in the third period. Telfair was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected from the game, while Beaubois picked himself up off the floor and calmly sank the ensuing two free throws to give the Mavs an 86-74 lead.
“The Flagrant 2 play was a massive play in the game – a big momentum play,’’ Carlisle said. “I thought (Beaubois) showed toughness, he showed resolve, he continued to concentrate.
“He’s more and more coming to the realization that his game is predicated on the defensive end first, and that’s what’s going to bring us success this year.’’
Beaubois only tallied four points, and was 0-of-5 from the floor. Carlise, however, was not discouraged.
“I like Roddy tonight,’’ Caerlisle said. “Nights like tonight where maybe the shots aren’t going in and there’s a couple of uncharacteristic offensive mistakes, he stayed into the game mentally and he was in a stance and he was a positive factor for us.
“Look, he’s a smart guy. He understands that if you crumble every time you get hit, they’re going to keep hitting you in this league, and it’s going to be harder and harder to get back up. He gets hit now, he pops back up and boom, he’s ready to go again, and it wasn’t always that way.’’
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DALLAS _ The most surprised person to see Steve Nash still playing
is Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
Back in the summer of 2004 when the Mavs were deciding whether to let Nash – then a free agent – go, or resign him, Cuban relied on his medical staff to help him make up his mind.
“I’ll say it now, if you would have told me Steve would have been playing eight years later I would have bet any amount of money you’d be wrong,’’ Cuban said. “But some guys do a great job of taking care of their bodies and taking advantage of the new technology that‘s come along.
“The thing about Steve is his discipline.’’
That discipline led Nash to become the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in the first two seasons after the Mavs chose not to re-sign him.
“I knew he was discipline, but I thought he would fall apart before it mattered,’’ Cuban said. “All the advice I got from everybody we had was that he was going to fall apart. He proved us wrong -- and more power to him.
“I give him a lot of credit. He proved me definitely wrong.’’
If Cuban had to do it all over again, he said he would do the same thing and not re-sign Nash, who is n ow 37 years old.
“Because we won a championship,’’ Cuban said. “We’ve been good, but at the same time I just learned that guys can play longer now.
“Especially the type of guys that have their heads together as much as their bodies.’’
DALLAS -- Before this past Saturday's game at New Orleans, Dirk Nowitzki felt sort of weird.
Nowitzki had already gotten the news that he wasn't going to play for four games, including Saturday's game against the Hornets. His conditioning, and sore right knee, made it easy for the Mavs to shut down their 10-time All-Star.
Still, Nowitzki had this uneasy feeling before the game against the Hornets.
“Just sitting there and I didn't even get dressed before the game was just awkward,'' he said.
“Watching the guys change into their uniforms and me just sitting there with no uniform was just a different experience.
“But it's something that I have to go through to get better and get back to where I want to go.''
NEW ORLEANS – It was nearly déjà vu for Dallas Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd and New Orleans Hornets point guard Jarrett Jack.
In a Mar. 9 game at New Orleans Arena last year, the Mavs were leading the Hornets, 92-90, when Jack saw one of Kidd;’s outstretched arms above him, and he managed to draw a foul on Kidd with 8.4 seconds left while attempting a three-point field goal.
Jack went to the charity stripe and sank all three free throws, and the Hornets wound up winning, 93-92.
Fast-forward to this past Saturday in the same arena, and the Mavs were clinging to an 83-80 lead when Jack again came zipping down the court and met up with Kidd – at the three-point line – with 1.8 seconds remaining in the game. But this time before Jack could get off a three-point attempt, Kidd intentionally fouled him, sending him to the line to attempt a pair of free throws.
Jack converted the first free throw, missed the second one on purpose, collected the offensive rebound, but missed a potential-tying 14-footer at the buzzer which could have sent the game into overtime.
By the way, last year’s Mar. 9 contest was also the game when – after it was over – coach Rick Carlisle called the Mavs “soft.’’ The Mavs led the Hornets, 92-85, with 1:13 left, but got outscored 8-0 the rest of the way.
NEW ORLEANS _ He may be the face of the Dallas Mavericks’ franchise, and his voice may carry a lot of weight. But Dirk Nowitzki couldn’t talk the Mavs’ brass out of sitting him down for four games.
The Mavs have watched Nowitzki struggle mightily just to get up and down the floor. He even admits that he can’t blow by defenders like he used to, and that he basically is out of shape.
So when Carlisle told Nowitzki he was going to be sidelined for four games, all Nowitzki could do was basically listen and take the sobering news in stride.
“He had no choice,’’ Carlisle said after tonight’s 83-81 win over the New Orleans Hornets. “There was no negotiating on that one.’’
Carlisle and his staff will put Nowitzki through a mini-boot camp. It started with workouts on Saturday at the New Orlenas Arena and will continue even when Nowitzki misses home games this week against Phoenix, Minnesota and Utah.
“The important thing to realize is this is not a rest week, this is a work week,’’ Carlisle said. “We’re going to get some of these minor issues resolved and we’ve got to get him back to where he needs to be.’’
Nowitzki, who sat out tonight's game against the Hornets, joked that his game is so uneven that the Mavs wanted to send him to Frisco to play for the Texas Legends of the D-League. He added that after playing for Germany in the Euro games last summer, he waited too late to take his customary two months off to rest his body.
Nowitzki said: “Usually by that time it’s in September I’m working out and getting ready for the season.’’
Asked if the Mavs were fearful Nowitzki could have injured himself more severely had he kept playing, Carlisle said: “This is something we have to do right now and I’d rather just leave it at that.
“At this point it’s pretty obvious that we need to take this period of time and he’s got to work hard, and he will.’’
NEW ORLEANS --- Lamar Odom finally got an opportunity to show the Dallas Mavericks the old Lamar Odom.
With Dirk Nowitzki sidelined for four games due to a sore right knee, Odom found himself in the starting lineup tonight against the New Orleans Hornets and he responded with a season-high 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting. While playing an abundance of minutes at his natural power forward spot, Odom finally showed Mavs fans the Odom they had grown accustomed to seeing during his past seven years with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Odom appeared very comfortable on the court, and the Mavs even went to him three straight trips down the court in the third quarter.
“A lot of what we’re doing is just out of flow, and the ball found him two or three times and he made important plays for us,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “Our best game is playing out of that dimension and he’s getting a better feel for how to play with our guys, and tonight was a good indication of that.
“He had 16 points and those points were all important points for us.’’
Odom had been struggling since the Mavs acquired him Dec. 10 in a surprising trade with the Lakers. But he has played well lately for the Mavs, who are 100-7 after finishing this road trip with a 2-2 record.
NEW ORLEANS – After the way he’s seen Shawn Marion perform on both ends of the floor this season, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle finally admitted the obvious following tonight’s 83-81 win over the New Orleans Hornets.
“Right now Shawn, he’s our best player,’’ Carlisle said. “He’s been in this position before, he knows what it’s about, he likes the responsibility and he came up big for us in two big areas – scoring and rebounding.’’
Marion tallied 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting against the Hornets, and also contributed 12 rebounds. The 12-year veteran had to carry a larger load because Dirk Nowitzki missed his first of four games with a sore right knee, and the Mavs needed someone to step up in his absence.
“(Marion) and Jet (Jason Terry) are going to be our two main guys,’’ Carlisle said. “And then we’re going to have to get even contributions from a lot of other guys.’’
NEW ORLEANS _ After watching Dirk Nowitzki struggle from game to game recently, the Dallas Mavericks have decided to sit their franchise player for four games.
Essentially, Nowitzki isn’t in tip-top shape and the Mavs believe sitting him for a minimal of four games will help him regain this All-Star form.
Nowitzki was told of the news on Friday, and he wasn’t exactly thrilled about it.
“They approached me with it (Friday) at the meeting and I wasn’t thrilled at the beginning,’’ Nowitzki said. “We talked about it (Friday) in the meeting and I just thought it was a good decision for everybody.’’
Officially, the Mavs are saying Nowitzki has a sore right knee. It’s the same knee that forced him t miss nine games last season – the Mavs were 2-7 in that stretch – before he recovered and become the Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals.
But, as he’s scoring just 17.5 points per game, Nowitzki knows his body isn’t right.
“I’m not helping right now any way, and I think the guys are better off when I’m not out there,’’ he said. “This gives me time to really do some of the stuff that I couldn’t be doing because my knee was bothering me the last couple of weeks.
“I couldn’t lift and run and do the stuff I needed to do because my knee was swollen most of the time. So this week my knee felt better, and this next week gives me some time to lift and really get back to where it should be.’’
In addition to missing Saturday’s game against New Orleans, Nowitzki will miss upcoming home games against Phoenix, Minnesota and Utah. He isn’t expected to return until a Jan. 29 home game against San Antonio.
But it won’t be like Nowitzki will just be sitting back in a rocking chair and resting.
“With Dirk out he’s going to be busting his (butt) this week,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’re going to be on him hard – he’s got a lot of work to do.
“If things go like we think they’ll go, by the end of the week he’ll be back ready to play.’’
Nowitzki said after the Mavs won the NBA title in June, he really should have rested. Instead, he played in the Olympic qualifying tournament for his home country of Germany.
“I think the whole Euro experience kind of threw my whole summer off,’’ Nowitzki said. “Usually what I should have done is after we won it all take two or three month off and then slowly work back into it.
“But I only had not even a month off after we won it, and I had already started working out again. So once the Euros were done I was so fed up with basketball, I couldn’t see it, I couldn’t smell, I couldn’t go in the gym.’’
And now Nowitzki’s paying the price.
“I couldn’t go by anybody on the dribble, and that’s part of my game right now,’’ he said. “I was just basically a pop-up shooter every time I caught it.
“And if I didn’t have I had to swing it because I just couldn’t make a moved and couldn’t go by anybody and just didn’t feel comfortable.’’
NEW ORLEANS - Part of the reason Dirk Nowitzki will be sidelined for a minimum of four games is because of a lack of conditioning. The Dallas Mavericks forward recently admitted his conditioning is not where he wants it to be. Not long after that, he started wearing a protective sleeve on his right knee, the same knee that caused him to miss nine games last season. Before Saturday's game against the New Orleans Hornets, coach Rick Carlisle explained some of the reasons Nowitzki will be out a minimum of four games. “It covers the knee, it covers conditioning and it covers whatever else,'' Carlisle said. After the Mavs won the NBA championship last June, Nowitzki played for his home country, Germany, in the Olympic qualifying tournament. He said he eventually got sick of basketball and proceeded to take too much time off from the game. Then, after the lockout ended, a two-week training camp ensued, which was two weeks shorter than a normal training camp. And apparently it wasn't enough time for Nowitzki to get his legs under him. The Mavs, not wanting to put any more physical stress on their franchise player, decided it was time to sit Nowitzki, who officially is listed with a sore right knee. Lamar Odom started tonight's game against the Hornets in place of Nowitzki. But Yi Jianlian and Shawn Marion also saw time at Nowitzki's position in the first half, which ended tied at 41-41. “Again, it doesn't fall on just one guy,'' Carlisle said. “Everybody is going to have to do their job and do it well.'' -- Dwain Price Follow me on Twitter @dwainprice
NEW ORLEANS - The Dallas Mavericks will have to find a way to survive without forward Dirk Nowitzki, who will miss at least the next four games with a sore right knee. It's the same knee that forced Nowitzki to miss nine games last season, a stretch in which the Mavs went 2-7. Nowitzki leads the Mavs in scoring with 17.5 points per game. He will sit out Saturday night's game at New Orleans and upcoming home games against Phoenix, Minnesota and Utah before a potential return on Jan. 29 at home against the San Antonio Spurs. With Nowitzki out, it's imperative that the Mavs find some scoring punch from someone else. Otherwise, this could be a very long four games. "It's a great opportunity for us to step up and fill up all the stuff that Dirk does,'' center Ian Mahinmi said. “We have enough weapons on this team to cover him for a little bit.'' Nowitzki recently started wearing a protective sleeve on his right knee - a clear indication that something was amiss. Nowitzki's injury comes on the heels of the sprained left foot guard Vince Carter suffered last Monday against the Los Angeles Lakers. The eight-time All-Star has missed the past two games and is out indefinitely. - Dwain Price Follow me on Twitter @dwainprice