The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports:
The Mavericks have lost four of their last five games. They’re in desperate need of a wake-up call and can’t afford to limp into the All-Star break on a 1-6 free fall.
“Right now, I don’t want to jump the gun,” Mavericks forward Shawn Marion said, “but we have to get this one.”
Dallas’ low point of the season came Friday in a head-scratching 117-108 home loss to the woeful Timberwolves. Afterward, coach Rick Carlisle questioned his team’s effort.
“We’re not going to be good until we play hard,” Carlisle said.
The Mavericks climbed near the top of the Western Conference early in the season because of great defense. But that’s a distant memory. Their last six opponents have shot at least 49 percent from the field.
Michael Lee of the Washington Post reports (via blog):
Caron Butler’s name has been mentioned in trade rumors for almost a year, and the talk has only intensified with the Feb. 18 trade deadline less than two weeks away. He’s been rumored to be headed to Dallas, to Houston, to the Los Angeles Clippers, to New Jersey, to Portland, to Phoenix.
“I’m popular,” Butler said with a smile after scoring a season-high 31 points, including the game-winning jumper with 0.5 seconds remaining, against the Orlando Magic on Friday. “I’ve always been a popular kid, since middle school, I’ve been bigger than everybody. I’m very popular right now.”
Butler has had a disappointing season, with him struggling to develop chemistry with Gilbert Arenas, looking uncomfortable in Flip Saunders’s offense and upset over his role within it. Throw in Arenas’s season-ending suspension and his continued troubles to adjust and it was easy to see that he was unhappy and this season couldn’t end soon enough for him. He never complained publicly, but the worn expression on his face said it all.