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by Mike Fisher    Wed, Aug 6, 2008, 12:43 PM
What’s on Dirk’s mind? Figuratively and literally, it seems, judging by the haircut he received apparently done with a butter knife, carrying his country’s flag at the Olympics. What’s on’s mind? THE MAVS’ NBA SCHEDULE IS OUT!

  Read on for an Insta-Deep-Review of Dallas’ 2008-09 schedule with two of our greatest basketball minds (no, not me): The encyclopedic, passionate and opinionated voices of the Mavs, Chuck Cooperstein and Mark Followill. …

   Says Coop: “In general, I think the schedule is not as friendly as it was the last few years, but (assistant GM) Keith Grant once told me the story about (ex-coach) Dick Motta, who once said when he was presented the schedule: "Amazing! 41 at home. 41 on the road.’’


  But, says Followill, "This is always an exciting day when the schedule is released

because it gives you some insight as to how you will be spending a six-month stretch of your life,’’

   HIGH-PROFILIN’: The season starts with the Mavs as a player in the NBA’s Tip-Off 08 festivities – and it starts with a close-up look at the rebooted Houston Rockets. Dallas will be on national TV (TNT) as part of an Oct. 30 doubleheader against T-Mac, Yao and Ron-Ron, all at American Airlines Center for a 7 p.m. tipoff.

   “Opening night should have a lot of juice to it with the Rockets adding Bill Artest,’’ Followill says. “And the Mavs will have to be sharp to start the season.  They have eight of their first 12 on the road and the home games are Houston,Cleveland, Lakers and Orlando - all among the top four records in their conferences last year.’’

  There’s also a TNT doubleheader on Christmas Day, and the Mavs are on the road in Portland for that 9:30 p.m. start against Greg Oden and Co.

   And in the final three weeks of the season, the Mavs are a featured Sunday daytime game on ABC: On March 29 at noon in Cleveland, on April 5 at 2:30 at home against the Suns, and on April 12, in the third-to-the-last game of the year, at New Orleans for a noon start.

   A full 20 games are on national TV, on either TNT, ESPN or ABC.

  The breakdown:

  The Mavericks’ nine ESPN telecasts include Nov. 7 at Denver, Nov. 19 at Houston, Nov. 28 at L.A. Lakers, Jan. 9 at Phoenix, Jan. 23 at Detroit, Jan. 28 vs. Golden State, March 4 vs. San Antonio, April 8 vs. Utah and April 15 vs. Houston. TNT features the Mavericks seven times. Those games are the season opener Oct. 30 vs. Houston, Nov. 13 at Chicago, Dec. 4 vs. Phoenix, Dec. 25 at Portland, Feb. 5 at Utah, Feb. 12 vs. Boston and March 5 at New Orleans. Dallas also has five nationally televised games on ABC. They are Jan. 25 at Boston, Mar. 15 at Lakers, March 29 at Cleveland, April 5 vs. Phoenix and April 10 vs. New Orleans.

    For those of you scoring at home, Dallas’ 21 dates this year is comparable to its 23 national dates from last season.

    So the networks and the league themselves obviously still considers the Mavs to be a “high-profile team.’’

   Says Followill: “That’s the first thing that jumps out at me: For all of the national talk about Dallas on the decline and no longer being a contender, etc -- by the way, such talk is so pointless in August – the network and league suits still must view this team as having viewer appeal nationally, either because of status as a possible contender or because they think Dirk, Kidd and Mark Cuban stir interest. There are the maximum-allowed five games on ABC, seven on TNT (which by league rules, up to six of those are exclusive telecasts, so we will get to do a local telecast against TNT's on the Thursday, Feb. 5 game at Utah) and nine ESPN games. That's 21 nationally-televised games plus whatever NBATV brings to the table. That's a significant number and compares at or near the same number of national telecasts in the last few seasons.’’

    Says Coop: “I guess, at least at the moment, the networks feel as if this team is not bottoming out.’’

   B-2-B’s: It’s the toughest challenge in the NBA – back-to-back games – and the Mavs start the season with four of them in the first month of play alone. Most difficult of those? Let’s go with Nov. 3 at home against LeBron’s Cavs, followed 24 hours later by a trip to San Antonio.

   Dallas has just one B-2-B in December. To open March, Coop and Followill will risk running out of clean undies while observing four games in five nights, a pair of B-2-Bs that include games here against Toronto, there against Seattle, here against the Spurs and there against New Orleans. (SA and NO back-to-back will be a big Southwest Division 24-period, eh?)

    (P.S.: I hope the Mavs don’t follow the sked to the letter. … because at it reads on the official posting from the NBA, it does indeed list the Mavs as having a game IN SEATTLE. Where, you know, they don’t have a team anymore.)

   In total, the Mavericks have 15 back-to-backs this season.  Five of them begin on the road and conclude at home, five are home-away and five are on the road.

   Says Followill:”The 15 back-to-backs is a number comparable to recent years and still lower than many teams in the league; some teams end up playing over 20 back-to-backs. And yes, I also only spotted one of the dreaded four-in-five nights stretches.’’

    One more thing about this: Coop is all over the degree of difficulty.

    “It seems to me as if the number of difficult games as the second of the B-2-Bs (they would be hard enough on their own) has increased this season,’’ he says. “At SA, home vs. Orlando, at Houston, and that’s just in the first three weeks of the season! Both of the games at Utah are second of B-2-Bs (and preceded by games against Portland). New Orleans in March, preceded by a game at SA. It looks pretty hard to me.’’ 

   TOUGH TICKETS: Of the three meetings with the Lakers, only one is at home. So, all you Fake Lakers fans with your brand-new jerseys you purchased on the day of the game because you just now decided to be a fan, we’ll see you on Nov. 11 and then good riddance to you.

    Coop is more sympathetic than I am, saying, “I feel a little sorry for the fans in that they get only one Kobe game (and it’s early) and only one time to see Portland (and Odom).’’

   Oh,and the defending-champion Celtics come to town on Feb. 12 for an 8:30 p.m. start.

   Followill gives the New Jersey heads-up: “I wonder if Jersey fans care enough to boo Kidd (or cheer for the matter) when he comes back to the East Coast on December 19.’’

   And one more item: Those Mavs-Stars doubleheader days.

   “I looked at the Stars schedule, too,’’ Followill says, “and if you like those AAC doubleheaders where the Stars play in the afternoon and then the Mavs at night it looks like there are going to be three of those: Sat. Jan 17, Sat. Feb 21 and Sun Mar. 1st.’’

   For information on tickets, call 214-747-MAVS.

   SCHEDULING QUIRKS: S A few of ‘em:

   QUIRK: Says Followill: “All schedules seem to have their oddities. This year the Mavs have a seven-game homestand in early December. Which is great, but something that I don’t ever recall. … seven straight at home.’’

    Coop thinks that’s unfortunate. “It’s too long,’’ he says. “Teams don't like it because they're into the routine of playing a few at home and then getting back on the road.’’ 

   QUIRK: Followill: “Also, it’s a little weird that the Mavs won’t see last year's playoff foe and

division rival New Orleans for the first time until Jan. 14th.’’

    QUIRK: From Coop the ol’ Gator: “It's killing me that the Knicks are in Dallas on the night that the University of Florida will win the national championship (doesn't matter who they play) in a quasi home game in Miami and I won't be able to see it.’’

    QUIRK: February is loaded with home games, but the four roadies are bears: at Orlando, Utah, Houston and San Antonio. “And then,’’ Followill notes, “in March they play 16 games and only four of those teams had losing records in 07-08. Perhaps the best thing about the

month is four days off between the 20th and 25th.’’

   QUIRK: In November, Coop is seeing stars. “LeBron, Kobe, and Dwight Howard. All making their only AAC appearances of the season. Yikes.’’

    QUIRK: Followill is seeing something less than stars: “I can't wait for our first regular-season telecast Nov. 1 in Minnesota. Gerald Green's revenge?! … OK, well, maybe I should tap the brakes a

little there.’’

   Yes, Mark. That thought isn’t a “scheduling quirk’’; It’s a “Followill quirk.’’

   SPEAKING OF NEW ORLEANS. …: Friday, April 10, the Mavs tackle the Hornets at home in a 7:30 start. Saturday, they take a breath. … and then travel to the Bayou for the second end of the doubleheader and a noon start.

   Who knows what that NO home-and-home will mean in April?’’ says Coop. “Certainly not easy, but hopefully they will have clinched a playoff spot by then so the games won't be as seemingly earthshaking.’’

  I say two games in three days just before the stroke of the season’s midnight. … and it will all feel a little bit like a Mavs-Hornets playoff series.

   Well, hopefully, it won’t feel like the last Mavs-Hornets playoff series.

    THE SUPER BOWL AND A JINX: Followill with Story Time:

    FOLLOWILL STORY TIME 1: “Although I really don’t believe in jinxes and things like that, I do remember enduring the kick in the stomach of the Cowboys playoff loss while I was sitting in a hotel room in Sacramento watching the game. And I'll be damned if this year we aren’t right back in Sacramento for a game on Jan 11 which happens to be weekend of the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.

   “Surely it couldn’t happen again, right?’’

   FOLLOWILL STORY TIME 2: “The games in Florida happen to be sandwiched around Super Bowl Sunday so Coop and I are already planning our trip down the road to Tampa to see the Cowboys in the Super Bowl.  Can anyone hook us up with tickets?’’


    Care to pile on with opinions on Fish, Followill and Coop’s opinions? Here’s the place on Boards!



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written by Jo , August 06, 2008

Who told him the haircut was a good idea?

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