After next Sunday’s All-Star Game, the Mavericks will have just 26 regular-season games remaining.
While it used to signal the midpoint of the NBA season, this year’s All-Star Game certainly doesn’t. And that poses a problem, especially for players accustomed to playing a college schedule, like forward Dorian Finney-Smith.
“You can tell he’s dragging from time to time,” owner Mark Cuban said. “It’s hard to get energized.
“That’s why they talk about the rookie wall that Donald Trump is building.”
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So why is the All-Star game so late in the season?
“My understanding is it has a lot to do with when the Super Bowl is,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It was I think a week later this year than normal.
“I guess the Super Bowl’s gotten a little bit later. If it’s going to be like that, teams are just going to have to manage.”
The NBA won’t play its All-Star Game on the weekend before or the weekend of the Super Bowl
“The Super Bowl is an important event, our All-Star game is an important event,” Carlisle said. “Trying to crunch those two things together would be a big mistake for the NBA and it wouldn’t be any good for football either.”
Getting the All-Star game close to the midway point of the season – 41 games – could help fatigued players or those who need their body to heal.
“I remember when [the All-Star Game] was the first week of February, but things have changed,” Carlisle said. “Over the years the NFL has talked about increasing the number of games, and if that happens that could really create a shift, and then there may have to be a re-thinking of the whole thing, and maybe you could shift back earlier.”
And that shift back would be extremely beneficial to players like Finney-Smith, who played 36 games at Florida last season and has already played 52 games this season.
“He’s played two college seasons so far in less than a college season,” Carlisle said. “It’s an amazing difference between playing in the NBA and playing college, simply because of the schedule.
“And then you add the heightened level of the competition, strong guys, really higher level of intensity, and more games. It’s apples and oranges.”
Fab Melo dies
Fab Melo, the 7-foot center from Syracuse and a first-round pick of the Boston Celtics in 2012, died in his home country of Brazil, where he was playing professionally.
There was no immediate word on the cause of death.
Melo, 26, had signed with the Mavericks before the 2013-14 season but was waived before the start of the regular season.
No need for ban
New York Knicks owner James Dolan banned former Knick Charles Oakley from Madison Square Garden after an incident during a game Wednesday.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he’s never had to do anything like that.
“I’ve had a few dudes that thought they were players that I had to ban,” Cuban said. “But no, not a true Mavericks players.”