Congratulations to the Harpers on the birth of their daughter Daria at
11:30 pm Tuesday night.  Derek Harper was with his wife that night, not at
the Atlanta game.

Tony Dumas was found not guilty of charges he assaulted his girlfriend in

Jason Kidd did not travel with the team for the up coming 3 game road trip
due to a sprained neck.  Kidd hurt his neck in the Clippers game last
Thursday and it has bother him since.

Atlanta Hawks at Dallas Mavericks  (December 17)

This was a disgusting excuse for a game from the Mavs.  I'd love to give
Atlanta some credit, but a pathetically as the players played (I won't
call them a team) I don't think the Mavs could not have beaten the worst 
CBA team.

The game was tied at 16-16 with 3 1/2 minutes remaining.  Behind Dikembe
Mutombo's blocks, Mookie Blaylock's stellar shooting, and the Mavs general
incompetence, Atlanta ended the quarter with a 11-3 run.  Chris Gatling
left the game for good after collecting his 3rd foul in only 3 minutes of
playing time.  Gatling did not play in the 2nd quarter due to foul trouble
and did not play in the 2nd half due to the blowout.

Atlanta opened the 2nd quarter by scoring the first 7 points to give
themselves a 34-19 lead.  And it got worse from there.  Atlanta was
shooting lights out as the Mavs doubled-down whenever the ball was fed
into the post and Atlanta would kick out to the open perimeter man for the
jumper, often a 3-pointer.  Atlanta led 62-36 at the half.  Atlanta shot
61% FG including 72% in the 2nd quarter and Dallas shot bellow 30% FG.
Blaylock had 19 points including 5-7 3-pointers, Eldridge Recasner had 10
points, and Mutombo had 5 blocks.

Jason Kidd stayed in the locker room for the 2nd half as his neck and
shoulder were bothering him.  [Though my theory was that he was suffering
from whip lash from watching Blaylock's 3s.]

With a line-up of Eric Montross, Jim Jackson, George McCloud, Jamal
Mashburn, and Tony Dumas for the entire quarter, the Mavs only scored 10
points.  Only about 3 times in the quarter did I see the Mavs actually try
to set up a play.  The rest of the time, it was individuals trying to make
something happen.  Atlanta led a disgusting 73-38 midway through the
quarter.  Atlanta was up 71-46 after 3.

The blow-out continued in the 4th quarter.  Atlanta led by 38 at 90-52
with 9 minutes remaining.  Atlanta broke the NBA record of 3-pointers made 
in a game with their 19th of the game with about 40 seconds left.  The 
Mavs had twice made 18 3-pointers last season (but needed many more 
attempts than Atlanta did).  Atlanta won 109-73.

Atlanta shot 19-27 3-pointers (70.4%).  The final results could have been
worse, though, as Atlanta missed 12 free throws.  Atlanta shot 51.1% FG
and Dallas shot 35.4% FG.  Mookie Blaylock was awesome with 27 points on
10-15 FG and 7-10 3-pointers, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists.
The Mavs kept driving the lane and their shots kept being blocked by 
Mutombo, whose finger must have gotten sore from waving it at the Mavs 
after each block in the manner that a mother says to a child, "No, no, no."
After a while, the Mavs would still drive but would become hesitant near
the basket, pull back, or fumble the ball away.  Only once did I see them
do the proper thing when going at a shot blocker - drive strong, make the
blocker turn towards you (and if he doesn't turn, continue in for the
bucket), and dish off to the man he was defending for the easy layup.  I
don't know why the Mavs always have such an awful time against shot
blockers (see games with Shawn Bradley [ie, the 114-91 blow-out earlier
this year] or even back in the Mark Eaton era).

The 96-97 Mavericks is currently not a team.  It is a collection of
individuals.  Individuals are concerned with themselves, not the good of
the team - whining of minutes, whining of shots, whining of who belongs
on the team, whining of "what's the coach doing?", and finger pointing.
I don't know how you take individuals and make them into a team.  Desire
of winning is normally the catalyst, but even in winning these babies were
crying.  I don't know if this roster will ever get its act together.  With
the addition (or development) of one more player, this roster has the
talent to be great.  But, as these players are showing, potential means
nothing.  I'm hoping that this pathetic excuse of a game is a turning
point of the Mavs and they get their act together.  [A players meeting
should have definetely been called - I'm hoping it was (but the 
leadership of the players understandably had more important things on his 
mind).]  I'm hoping that this game opened some of the player's eyes as to
what they are doing wrong.  But more likely, it was just another game of
"I just was off", "they were unstoppable", "it was just one of those
nights", and finger pointing.

Lenny Wilkens: "Mookie was incredible.  He's a competitor on both ends of 
the floor.  He plays defense as hard as he plays offense, and that's great."
Mookie Blaylock: "As a team we played a pretty good ballgame.  Our defense 
really started it all.  When you make your first two or three, the basket 
seems to get bigger.  Our bench came out and shot the ball really well. We 
really fed off each other tonight."

Blaylock: "When you make your first one or two, the basket gets bigger.
You feed off each other.  But the defense really started it all.  It was a 
key for us."

Dikembe Mutombo: "I had four blocked shots in a row and guys are still 
coming at me.  I love blocking shots and guys who challenge me, they give 
me more of an opportunity to block shots."

Mutombo: "I had four blocked shots in a row, and guys were still coming at
me.  Then they said 'We aren't going there anymore.'  You're playing 
against a guy who's led the league in blocked shots all these years.  
Don't they watch cable TV?  I guess they don't have TVs in Dallas."

Jim Cleamons: "Some days you just want to stay in bed and today was one of
those days.  They shot extremely well.  We were just trying to play 
straight up.  They found the open man and they knocked down the shots."

Cleamons: "Some days you just want to stay in bed, and today was one of 
those days where we didn't play very well.  The Hawks were just ultra-hot.
And we have no excuses for what we were doing."
Cleamons: "We were out of stride and off kilter.  I don't know where our 
minds were.  Dikembe was like Spiderman and the rim must have looked as 
big as a hula-hoop to them from the outside."

Jim Jackson: "It was one of those nights where they were really hitting.
We were caught in rotations and when you get caught in rotations your 
going to give up something.  Tonight it was the 3-point shot and they were 
knocking them down."

Jamal Mashburn: "That was embarrassing.  His taunting stuff isn't 
necessary, but we've got a lot more to worry about than that."

Chris Gatling on only playing 3 minutes: "I'm in the dark, go ask coach.
I don't know, I guess I'll go to sleep wondering why and hopefully I'll 
sleep it off like a bad hangover."

Atl-Dal boxscore

Patricia Bender
Not affiliated with or representing anyone besides myself.