Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban, impersonating a rattlesnake. (AP)

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is no stranger to transparency when it comes to his feelings about other teams (or referees), and when asked about the Brooklyn Nets, he reiterated that he feels blessed that his team, unlike the Nets, is not in such a precarious financial position.... MORE →

 

Kings Nets Basketball

P.J. Carlesimo (AP)

The Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks have one of the more awkwardly formed rivalries in basketball: the two only play twice per year, but are connected at the free agency hip because of Deron Williams's decision to spurn Dallas and re-sign with Brooklyn for a maximum five years and $98 million. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who never met a quote he didn't like, noted to reporters before Wednesday night's Mavericks-Nets game (while working out) that Deron Williams was "old, old, old news," and that he was pleased with the Mavericks' flexibility going forward without a maximum contract like Williams bogging their future down.

Brooklyn Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo heard about Cuban's insistence that the Mavericks were better off without Williams, and had some choice words in return... MORE →

 

On Monday night against the Atlanta Hawks, the Brooklyn Nets had one of their worst seven-minute stretches of the season, allowing the Hawks to turn what was anybody's game into an easy blowout victory. Wednesday night, the Nets did the opposite -- they took a close game for their own, mostly on the back of Deron Williams playing like one of the best players in basketball. Williams hit midrange jumpers galore, attacked the basket, and finished the fourth quarter with a loud 13 points on 6-11 shooting to lead the Nets to a 28-19 quarter and a 113-96 victory.

Williams finished with 31 points on the night on 13-25 shooting, adding six assists and one Mark Cuban Struggle Face.

 

Brook Lopez did what he does best last night -- hung around the rim, dropping in easy points off layups and dunks, creating space for himself, finding the space that Deron Williams creates, and making Mark Cuban go nuts about a travel call. (Keep an eye out for Cuban at around :40. He's in the top left in the blue shirt. And he is hilarious.)

Here's some of his best plays from last night's 38-point outburst.

 

Check out the advanced box score from last night's 113-96 Nets victory over the Mavericks here.

A few takeaways from last night's game:

  • First and foremost: Check out these two shot charts.

    Pretty similar, right? The first is Lopez's shot chart in his game last season in Dallas, when he put up 38 points in a 93-92 victory. The second is Lopez's short chart from last night's game in Dallas. Lopez took care of offensive business in nearly the exact same fashion: hanging around the rim, shooting just one or two jumpers, and dismantling Dallas's interior defense with cuts to the basket and post-ups that Chris Kaman didn't know how to defend. Too bad they won't face off in the playoffs.

  • Similarly encouraging: Lopez's 11 rebounds, 18% rebound rate, and seven big offensive rebounds. The Nets and Mavericks shot nearly identically from the field -- 50.6% from Brooklyn, 50% from Dallas -- but the Nets picked up nine more field goal attempts, many thanks to those second chances created by Lopez.

  • I've said it in this space before, but it bears repeating: Deron Williams being great is starting to get mundane and I love it. He got a bit lucky hitting consecutive midrange jumpers in the fourth quarter, but Branch Rickey once said that luck is the residue of design. So, solid design, Deron Williams. A 31-point game in his hometown, a continued trend upward of shots at or near the rim, and another solid game from beyond the arc? Good start to this road trip.

  • Mark Cuban's struggle face is now my new favorite face:
    Mark Cuban Struggle Face

    I do not have the ability to make GIFs. I'm counting on you, internet.

  • Another exciting thing: the Nets were down 10 after the first quarter and won by 17. That type of comeback never happened in previous years. You could often tell the direction of a Nets game after the first 12 minutes, and if they went down 10 last season after one they'd basically pack it up. Not anymore.

  • Worth noting that the Mavericks attacked Lopez and Blatche inside -- as most teams do -- but shot a below-average mark from within five feet (14/26). Usually I think that Lopez is a good man defender in the post but struggles on help; last night I thought the opposite was true.

  • Andray Blatche scored 14 points, all in the second quarter on perfect 6-6 shooting, because Andray Blatche is an indescribable maniac. He hit a fadeaway over Dirk Nowitzki and the space-time continuum began to rip.

  • Mirza Teletovic and MarShon Brooks were the first two players off the bench (with Keith Bogans), played about a two-minute stretch in the first quarter... and then sat until garbage time. Neither player did anything of consequence in either stretch.

  • The Big 3 of Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, and Brook Lopez was a +13 in seven minutes when they shared the floor with Role Star Hip Hop and three-point/defensive wing specialist Keith Bogans. I'M JUST SAYING.

  • Reggie Evans rebounded 42% of all live rebounds and 66% of all defensive rebounds available when he was on the floor. The league average is 10%. Yawn.

 

Mark Cuban Dallas Mavericks

Mark Cuban (AP/Mark Duncan)

As you may know by now, the domain "Nets.com" was sold in the past week by original owners Cyber Mesa. After the domain was sold, the new owner set it to redirect to the official website of the New York Knicks.

According to NetsDaily sources, the company had been seeking seven-figure financial compensation for nets.com from the Nets, which the Nets declined. It is not clear how much the site was eventually sold for, but since the asking price was in the seven figures, it's a safe bet that the final price wasn't cheap.

I reached out to one of the people rich enough and close enough to the situation to fit the bill -- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban -- to see if he would discuss the domain. Rather than confirm or deny any involvement with the site, Cuban declined comment.

If Cuban did in fact buy the site, there's a good chance the Nets may never see it again.