Nets Ban Gambling On Team Plane
Marion Fitting In With Mavericks
DALLAS -- Shawn Marion's scoring average is his lowest since his rookie season. His rebounding average represents a career low.
That doesn't mean that Marion has been a disappointment since he came to the Dallas Mavericks in a sign-and-trade deal this summer.
"The thing that I've loved about him since he's got here is he's just been all about trying to fit in and make it work," coach Rick Carlisle said.
Fit was the foremost reason the Mavericks didn't get involved in the bidding for one of the high-scoring wing players on the trade market this summer, although finances were also a factor. The deals that sent Richard Jefferson to the San Antonio Spurs -- Friday's Mavs opponent -- and Vince Carter to the Orlando Magic dominated the offseason headlines.
The Mavs were thrilled to acquire Marion, whom they considered a better fit for them at half the price. They haven't changed their mind as the season nears the halfway point. (Oh, it's also worth noting that Jefferson's scoring average is the lowest since his rookie season and Carter's is a career low.)
"The priority was not trying to win the summer," owner Mark Cuban said, referring to perception of offseason moves. "The priority was trying to become a better team."
That meant making major strides defensively, which is why Marion made sense for the Mavericks. He's also an offensive upgrade over Antoine Wright, who is the man Marion replaced in the starting lineup and the only rotation player the Mavs gave up in the deal to get him.
The Mavericks ranked 17th in defensive efficiency (points per possession) last season. They've skyrocketed to seventh this season.
• Read the rest of MacMahon's story at ESPNDallas.com
Schedule: Friday, Jan. 8
Boston will be out for revenge after Atlanta took the season's first matchup in November.
Friday Game Notes
ESPN Stats & Information
• The Celtics are 7-1 this season in road games against teams that are currently at or above the .500 mark. Boston's only road loss to a team with a winning record was at Phoenix on Dec. 30.
• LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony have each averaged at least 20 points per game in each of their first six seasons, and they are doing so again in their seventh go-rounds. Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan were the only other players from the same draft to average 20 or more points per game in each of their first six seasons (although Jordan played only 18 games in his second season).
• Nuggets coach George Karl may have some added motivation to beat the Cavaliers. On Wednesday, Cleveland waived his son, Coby Karl, who appeared in three games for the team this season.
• The Lakers have lost eight straight games in Portland, their longest active road losing streak against a single opponent. It's the longest road losing streak for the Lakers against a particular opponent since they lost 10 in a row at Seattle from 1991 to 1994.