It’s been a week of reunions for the Dallas Mavericks. They already welcomed home former top assistants Dwane Casey and Terry Stotts. Tonight they visit the Big Apple and will see two integral players to the championship run two seasons ago.
Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd now wear the blue and orange for the New York Knicks. Chandler is in his second year with the Knicks and has changed the defensive culture almost single-handedly. His efforts did not go unrecognized as he took home the Defensive Player of the Year award.
Kidd’s exit from Dallas in the offseason came as a surprise. The original plan was to lure Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams home and employ Kidd as his backup. When Kidd bolted back to the New York area (Kidd played for the New Jersey Nets from 2001-2008) it caught Mavs’ star Dirk Nowitzki off-guard and didn’t sit well with owner Mark Cuban.
“I was more than upset,” Cuban said. “I thought he was coming. I was pissed…
“J. Kidd is a big boy; he can do whatever he wants. But you don’t change your mind like that. That was … yeah. I’m sure I’ll get over it at some point, but as of now, I wouldn’t put J. Kidd’s number in the rafters.”
It was somewhat frustrating as a Mavs fan simply because we didn’t have another natural point guard on the roster. Personally, I wasn’t too hurt by the news. I love J-Kidd for all he did as a Maverick, but paying him $9 million for three more years until he’s 42-years-old would have been a poor investment.
We know how it all played out. Mavs went a different direction and quickly turned a signed-and-traded Ian Mahinmi into Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones. Mavs now have their starting point guard, a 25-year-old with speed, scoring ability and a high basketball IQ.
Kidd and his undefeated Knicks will be up against a vastly new-look Mavs squad. The Mavs will once again be without key players when Dirk and Marion sit out. Roddy B will be a game-time decision with a bum ankle.
A key for the Mavs in this game with be keeping Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony in check. Well, at least try to without top wing defender Marion to handle those duties. One would expect Rick Carlisle to go with both Dahntay Jones and Jae Crowder.
When the Mavs let their best impact center in franchise history, Tyson Chandler, walk to ‘keep the powder dry” it left fans dumbfounded and infuriated. Chris Kaman temporarily has eased those concerns and helps some move on. Kaman is by far Dallas’ best offensive center EVER. It’s only been a handful of games, but it’s that obvious.
Kaman looks natural out there on the offensive end. He can shoot, he can post and he can create problems for opposing big men. He will certainly make Chandler work tonight.
O.J. Mayo and Collison will need to push the tempo and create opportunities for one another as well as the rest of their teammates. Mayo is averaging 28 points per contest in November, but is finding other ways to impact the game.
This game should have plenty of storylines and excitement.
New York’s local broadcast network ‘MSG’ has had two Knicks promo posters pulled for possible inappropriate meanings (Check them out below). Both were clever and hilarious in my opinion. One other TV ad though for tonight’s game said, “Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler will show Dallas how basketball’s played in New York.” No problem, the Mavs will see how they play.
In the end we just want to also show them our new brand of Mavericks ball and hope it’s better than theirs. Another result to place in the standing’s left column. Go Mavs!
Actions tips at 6:30 p.m. CT and airs on Fox Sports Southwest and MSG.
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