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DevinHarriswillstart
08-18-2004, 02:32 AM
Building Character
By "Chef" Edward M. Bauerle
for HOOPSWORLD.com
Aug 17, 2004, 23:51 Email this article
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There is a saying in the NBA that no matter who is on your schedule, there are still 82 games and you still have to play the same teams that everyone else has to play. Well,
that may be true to a certain extent, but sometimes the NBA schedule can make your life a little easier, or a little harder depending on how good you are.

Some feel that the schedule was responsible for the Mavsí 14-game winning streak that opened the 2002-03 season and contributed to the 60-win season they eventually recorded.

Some feel that the schedule treated the Mavs in an equal and opposite way when it served up a stretch of 19 games in 26 days last May. The Mavs were on the road for 12 of those games and had a six-game trip that would end up costing them any chance of improving their playoff berth.

So the theory that a team has to play all 82 games no matter whom is on it is a valid one, but one that needs to have an asterisk placed next to it. Because no matter what anyone says the way a team starts the season or ends it has more to do with the way the schedule is laid out rather than who they have to play.

The 2004-05 NBA schedule for the Dallas Mavericks seems to have taken a turn for the worse since the 2002-03 season when they posted a franchise-best 60 wins and started the season 14-0. The fact that Dallas slipped in the rankings last season after the NBA decided to give the Mavericks a record 22 nationally televised games may be a factor in the number of games this year that are nationally televised.

Now when we compile these numbers keep in mind that we arenít counting NBATV as national coverage. When we are talking about national TV we are referring to TNT, ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2.

The number of televised games the Mavericks have this season is 17. Now we understand that with the addition of Shaq in Miami, and Tmac going to the Rockets, not to mention the success of the World Champion Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers, that someone is going to have to bite the bullet when it comes to getting exposure. The drop in the standings as well as lack of success the Maverickís had last year dictates that number drops so we arenít that concerned with it. But it still is worth mentioning.

The teams the Maverickís do play when they are on TV do show that some old rivalries as well as some new ones are being showcased from time to time. A visit to Miami to take on Shaq and the boys on the 11th of November is just the start. The prime time game against Kobe and the Lakerís on the 4th of March, and the 10th of March as well as the game on April 17th continues the Laker/Mav rivalry that continues to draw attention.

And of course how can we forget the game on the 17th of Feb on TNT against Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns. That should be interesting to say the least.

Back-to-back games are another number that we sometimes wonder how much weight it really carries when talking about a schedule. Last season the Maverickís had 17 Back-to-back games, and this year they have 16. So does that mean more Wís in the win column and a more rested team going into the playoffs? Maybe it does and maybe it doesnít, but one less is better than one more.

NOVEMBER

The 2004-05 season starts with a home opener against the Sacramento Kings. This is the same team that knocked the Mavericks out of the playoffs in the first round last season and the same team the Maverickís play in the last preseason game of training camp. The Mavericks play 16 games this month. Eight games at home as well as eight on the road.

They have five back-to-back games during the month with a four game road trip to the East Coast thrown in for good measure. Four games in six days. The month is highlighted with a trip to see Shaq in Miami on the 11th and a home welcome for Steve Nash on the 18th.

That is what we talk about when we say that the way the schedule plays out has more to do with who you play. Is it fair? Nothing is fair and it doesnít warrant crying about it, but at the same time how you start the season has a lot to do with how you finish. What we mean by that is that the division and conference are won in November and December and not March and April.

DECEMBER

The month of December is a little friendlier than November is. The Mavericks tone it down a bit playing only 13 games in the month. With only six games on the road and seven at home along with two back-to-back games the month of December looks to be a good month for the Mavericks to catch their breath. The month has the World Champion Pistons making their only appearance to the American Airlines Center on the 6th but find the Mavs on the road for the Christmas Holidays. Three games in five days.

What a nice way to spend the Christmas Holidays.

JANUARY

The month of January is much like the month of December only easier. The Mavericks play 13 games during the month and only have two back-to-back sets to deal with. They also find themselves home for the New Years during a five game home stand that includes a visit from Kobe and the Lakers. They only play four games on the road this month while hanging at the ACC for nine.

Between December and January the Mavericks have a really nice opportunity to rest and to get healthy and they are going to need it. What happens after January is something that we feel is not only brutal, but could very well end the Mavericksí run of playoff appearances if the team isnít ready for the stretch run.

FEBRUARY

While the Mavericks only play 13 games during the month of February with only two back-to-back sets the month finds the Mavericks on the road. Eight out of 13 are on the road with at three game set and a five game West Coast road trip thrown in. During that month the Mavericks find themselves pitted against the hated Sacramento Kings twice. Before the All-Star break the Mavericks have to play nine games in 17 days. Eight out of those nine are all on the road. That is what we mean by brutal.

Again it isnít the teams that we have to play, but the time frame in which we have to do it in. That is the brutal part. Once again we find the Mavs on the road for the last part of the season, potentially finding themselves prematurely out of the playoffs as a direct result.

MARCH

The Mavericks continue the brutal road to the playoffs by playing 16 games during the month of March. With only seven games at home and nine on the road the Mavericks find no relief with the schedule or the teams they have to play during the month. With a four game home stand to help the brutal attack the Mavericks must play the Timber Wolves twice in three days, the Lakerís twice and the World Champion Pistons at the Palace in Auburn Hills. Three back-to-back sets thrown in for good measure say the month of March is again, nothing but madness.

If the Mavericks are still in the playoff hunt by the end of March then Don Nelson will be considered for the Coach of the Year. With the amount of turnover on this roster, not to mention having to deal with the loss of his veteran point guard Steve Nash, Don Nelson may be facing his greatest challenge as a head coach.

APRIL

The scheduling Gods in the NBA didnít give the Mavericks any relief during the month of April. In fact one could say that if the Mavericks are fighting for their playoff lives by this time then the month of April may be the last nail in the coffin. Eleven games with only five at home is no way to end the season. Not to mention that the Mavericks have to play the last five games in eight days with four of the five on the road. During the time the Mavericks have to play Portland, the Lakers, and end the season in Memphis at the Pyramid against the Grizzlies.

The months of February, March, and April will be the biggest test the Dallas Mavericks have ever faced in the history of the franchise. They say that character defines who you are. Well, if that is the case then the 2004-05 version of the Dallas Mavericks will be defined by just that: character. Talent wins games, but character wins championships.

We said at the start of this column that every team in the NBA has to play an 82 game schedule. They have to play the teams that are on that schedule and they have to play them in the order in which they appear on it. But that is where the similarities end. The difference isnít how many games are on the schedule but how the games are placed and how they are structured that makes the difference.

If the Dallas Maverickís are going to make it to the NBA playoffs this season then they are going to have to do it the old fashion way. They are going to have to earn it, and if they do then this may end up being the greatest accomplishment Don Nelson has ever achieved during his tenure as an NBA head coach.

Have a nice day and thanks for playing.




Well.....with our new frontline....bring it on!!!

V2M
08-18-2004, 04:34 AM
Chef Ed: You can't be serious!!

1. 19 games in 26 days last May can't be right, can it? i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif

2. "What we mean by that is that the division and conference are won in November and December and not March and April" i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif

3. "Once again we find the Mavs on the road for the last part of the season, potentially finding themselves prematurely out of the playoffs as a direct result." - In February!!

4. "If the Mavericks are still in the playoff hunt by the end of March then Don Nelson will be considered for the Coach of the Year." - Excuse Me!!

5. "The months of February, March, and April will be the biggest test the Dallas Mavericks have ever faced in the history of the franchise." i/expressions/anim_roller.gif

6. "If the Dallas Maverickís are going to make it to the NBA playoffs this season then they are going to have to do it the old fashion way. They are going to have to earn it, and if they do then this may end up being the greatest accomplishment Don Nelson has ever achieved during his tenure as an NBA head coach." i/expressions/anim_roller.gif

I've left out a half dozen others for brevity.i/expressions/face-icon-small-confused.gif

Chef Ed
08-18-2004, 02:49 PM
1. I realize that the numbers are kind of shocking, but if you look back at last years schedule you will see the numbers are right......Sad, but right. Brutal would be more appropriate.

2. The obvious goal is to win the division, but if your wasting games during the months of Nov, and Dec. then your going to find yourself on the outside looking in when April comes around.
That was a huge reason why Dallas was in the running for the division two years ago even when Mike got hurt for the last 14 games.

3. If you analize the schedule during the months of Feb, March and April then by the end of Feb the Mavs could be on the outside of the playoff picture and with the way the schedule is laid out then it could end up coming back to haunt them. Not to mention the new deal with Dampier and all the new faces on the roster. It is going to take time for this team to learn how to play together and if it carries into the latter months of the season then the Mavs are going to have a problem.

4. Because of the new faces on the Mavericks and the fact that it is obvious that Nelson is going to change his style of play this year and given the way the schedule plays out then yes, Nelson should be considered as a Coach of the Year canidate by this time. Look at what happened last year in Utah. All the change and Utah was still in the hunt. And look who's name was up for coach of the year then.

5. Again I revert back to the way the schedule is laid out and the roster factor. A lot of new players in new positions. Daniels at the two. Terry at Point. Dampier at Center. Stack at the 6th man. Devin learning the new PG position in the NBA. A lot to learn, and not a lot of time to learn it in. And also keep in mind that we may not be done here. We still have a lot of players on the roster and it needs to be trimmed.

6. Nelson has always seemed to have a stacked deck when it comes to roster and he has always done a wonderful job with them. Sure no titles, but his regular season record speaks for itself. So
because of the new roster, and the fact that it is apparent that Nellie is going to have to change his style because of the makeup of the roster, this may well be his biggest challenge.

Someone posted somewhere that they felt that this roster was being set up for Donnie. I'm not sure I disagree with that. It may well be that Donnie is behind the scenes setting himself up for the long run.

lonny22
08-18-2004, 07:11 PM
Chef,

I'm not worried about this at all.

All teams play a bunch of back to backs to cut down on travel time out of town.

Throughout the year teams get 3 games in 4 days and sometimes 4 in 5.

The Mavs don't have any 4 games in 5 days, but amazingly play 4 games in 4 days in April. The middle 2 are Seattle, so it's not as bad.

The Mavs are no worse off than any other elite team. They have always been young enough that back to backs weren't a problem to win. Those kill Shaq.

The biggie for me is always how many games are back half of back to backs against elite teams. The Mavs have 8 this year, which is comparable to other elite teams.

Big Boy Laroux
08-19-2004, 07:40 AM
if nellie makes the playoffs with this team, it will be his greatest accomplishment? now, i'm not the biggest homer, but he better damn well make the playoffs! if he doesn't, it's his greatest failure, and he'll be out of a job. i know the west is strong, but come on...

chef, i will say kudos to the improved spelling and grammar in the article.

Finley4ever
08-19-2004, 08:50 AM
Originally posted by: lonny22
Chef,

I'm not worried about this at all.

All teams play a bunch of back to backs to cut down on travel time out of town.

Throughout the year teams get 3 games in 4 days and sometimes 4 in 5.

The Mavs don't have any 4 games in 5 days, but amazingly play 4 games in 4 days in April. The middle 2 are Seattle, so it's not as bad.

The Mavs are no worse off than any other elite team. They have always been young enough that back to backs weren't a problem to win. Those kill Shaq.

The biggie for me is always how many games are back half of back to backs against elite teams. The Mavs have 8 this year, which is comparable to other elite teams.

I don't think it is accurate that they play 4 games in 4 days in April. According to the schedule, the closest thing they have to that are two 3 games in 4 days stretches on the 11, 13, and 14 and on the 17, 19, and 20.

lonny22
08-19-2004, 07:06 PM
I got the 4 games in 4 days from ESPN and didn't believe it, but it shows up on the Mavs schedule, the Sonics schedule, and the daily schedule. I haven't checked other locations.

Chef Ed
08-20-2004, 01:56 PM
I wrote this before the Dampier deal was done, but I still believe that with all the turnover on the roster that it is going to take time for this team to come together. How long that takes no one knows, but your right. Now with the trades that have been done and with the center we have always needed then your right. If he doesn't make the playoffs then he should be fired.

On a side not about the column. As much conflict that what happed the other week with myself and the posters on this board I admitt that because of it you forced me to do something about my writing and to get someone to teach me. If I am going to continue to write then I need to take the responsibility to do it right. So for that I thank you all for what happened. It wasn't fun, but it was effective.

Now isn't it alot more enjoyable to debate the content rather the structure.....