Fratello Telestrator


Gameday Dish: Mavericks vs. Suns

Copyright 2012 NBAE - Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks travel to Phoenix tonight to take on the Suns. One of the more interesting subplots in this evening’s contest is a first-of-its-kind fan promotion cooked up by Phoenix team president Jason Rowley to boost ticket sales.

If the fans aren’t completely satisfied with their experience tonight they get their money back.

The Suns (7-12) just returned from a six-game road trip in which they went 1-5, losing their last four in a row.

They played on Tuesday night in Memphis and took a tough Grizzlies squad to overtime before succumbing 108-98.

The Suns were led by PG Goran Dragic and F Luis Scola. Dragic had 19 points and 7 dimes, while Scola went for 16 points, 8 boards and 3 steals.

Phoenix has the difficult task of trying to rebuild after losing Hall-of-Fame PG Steve Nash. They’ve added nine new players to their young roster this season, and head coach Alvin Gentry is still trying to figure out which five guys deserve to start night in and night out.

Copyright 2012 NBAE - Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images
Dragic has done a solid job running Phoenix’s offense. But the Suns have been struggling with team defense, allowing 102.9 ppg, which ranks dead last at 30th in the league.

Meanwhile the Mavericks (8-10) have dropped 4 of their last 5 including last night’s loss in Los Angeles, where they got steamrolled by the Clippers, 112-90, and committed a season high-tying 22 turnovers.

One of the few bright spots for coach Rick Carlisle was the play of newly signed veteran PG Derek Fisher. In his second game with Dallas, D-Fish scored 15 points and went 3 of 5 from behind the arc.

With team leader Dirk Nowitzki still out after having knee surgery, the Mavs need someone to step up and provide vocal leadership while steadying the team for the long haul of 64 more games this season.

Tune in to TNT tonight at 10:30 PM ET to see if the Phoenix Suns put on a show for the home crowd and earn a win that will go a long way towards guaranteeing their fans a good time.

On the Road with Mike

Nets fell to the Thunder 117-111 at home on Tuesday night, but it was a hell of a game. I felt for the officials because they had to make critical calls down the stretch, and even with the use of video replay it was difficult to make determinations on a few plays. The refs had to rely on their instincts and best judgement.

Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: Antawn Jamison

Copyright 2012 NBAE - Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty ImagesThe Los Angeles Lakers have captured the lion’s share of NBA headlines so far this season. They added Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. They fired Mike Brown and hired Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson. And their record so far is a pedestrian 8-9, resulting in a steady flow of bickering and general uncertainty surrounding the team and fanbase.

This would be a difficult and daunting environment for most newcomers, but not for Antawn Jamison. The 15-year veteran has been around the league, and he’s seen it all. He knows how to adapt to and grind through less than desirable circumstances while being the consummate professional teammate.

The former Tarheel signed with the talent-heavy Lakers for the veteran’s minimum in the off-season hoping to win his first championship ring after years of toiling for average to below average squads.

The 6’9” combo forward boasted career averages of 19.5 ppg and 7.9 rpg coming into the 2012-2013 season. Having been around the block and then some, Jamison understood that joining LA meant a diminished role off the bench. In the first 12 games of the schedule, he scored just 45 points total. But with a recent ringing endorsement from coach D’Antoni and a thin Laker bench, Jamison has averaged 28.2 mpg, 16.2 ppg and 8.6 rpg over the last five contests.

Jamison has been given the green light to take threes, and he can make them. In a win against Denver on November 30th, Jamison exploded for 33 points and 12 boards, hitting 5 of 10 from behind the arc.

With a center like Howard, Jamison could be the perfect 4-man to spell Pau Gasol and give the team a different look with his ability to sink 3-point shots. While the heavy Hollywood spotlights of adulation and scrutiny fall on Kobe, Dwight, Pau and the injured Nash, look for ‘Tawn to keep filling up the box score.