Character Art Exchange

Vermette, Brooks Laich, Jakob Silfverberg

SALT LAKE CITY -- Before he even got the ball on the first play of the game, Dirk Nowitzki decided he was going to shoot. [url=http://www.officialllionsproshop.com/Youth-Jalen-ReevesMaybin-Jersey/]Jalen Reeves-Maybin Womens Jersey[/url] . When that went in, he just kept on shooting. "I didnt even wait to see if theyd double team. I was going to get a shot up regardless. That got things jumpstarted," Nowitzki said. Nowitzki scored 31 points and moved into sole possession of the No. 12 spot on the all-time NBA scoring list in the Dallas Mavericks 108-101 win over the Utah Jazz Wednesday. He made 12 of 14 from the field and all four of his 3-point attempts to help the Mavs snap a three-game road losing skid. "I was determined to set a more aggressive tone tonight," he said. "The way weve been playing offensively, something needed to change." Trey Burke scored 20 points and Enes Kanter had 18 points and 11 rebounds, but the Jazz struggled down the stretch against Dallas long-range shooting. The Mavericks converted 13 of 21 3-point attempts -- their best percentage of the season topping the last time they played Utah with a 10-of-18 performance on Feb. 7. Meanwhile, the Jazz went 5 of 26. On the first possession of the game, Nowitzki drained his trademark one-legged fade-away jumper, which moved him past John Havlicek for 12th place on the NBAs all-time scoring list. "He really led our team tonight," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "Dirk was great from start to finish. I mean, shooting 12-of-14 is ridiculous and 4-for-4 from 3, its hard to do much better than that." Havlicek scored 26,395 points and Dominique Wilkins is No. 11 in the record books with 26,668. With more games like this one, Nowitzki could possibly reach the top 10 this season by passing Oscar Robertson (26,710). "I havent been quite on fire lately, but I got out early and was really looking to get my groove," he said. Monta Ellis, on the other hand, started slow but finished strong -- scoring 13 of his 16 points in the second half and tallying 11 assists and seven rebounds for Dallas. "After a frustrating first half, Monta stayed patient, disciplined and aggressive. He took what the defence gave him and got the jumper going. Then he made a bunch of plays," Carlisle said. Nowitzki agreed and gave plenty of praise to Ellis. "Monta was spectacular in the fourth. I dont always need to grind and go to the post and try and make some stuff happen. He knows how to nick his guy and a bit and next thing you know hes at the rim," he said. Devin Harris, who was a game-time decision with a strained Achilles, scored 12 and kept Dallas in the eighth Western Conference playoff slot. Derrick Favours scored 15 points and Alec Burks had 13 points and a career-high eight assists, but the Jazz have lost seven of their past eight games in this rebuilding season. Neither team led by more than seven points until Ellis and Jose Calderon made back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead to 101-93 with 3:04 to play. Burke made a 3-pointer for the Jazz, but then Ellis made a jumper and then assisted Nowitzki for another shot beyond the arc to put the game out of reach. Nowitzki said he appreciates how easy Ellis can make it for him. "He is just so explosive off the pick-and-roll. Hes fun to play with ... and he just exploits any mistake the defenders make in their coverage," Nowitzki said. The back-and-forth game featured 17 ties and 18 lead changes before the Mavericks made all the key shots down the stretch. "Dirk, in my opinion, was spectacular. I tried a lot of different coverages on him and he still made tough shots. Thats what great players do in this league," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. Burke had his second consecutive 20-point game after struggling with his shot most of his rookie season. But he marveled at what Nowtizki has been doing for more than 15 years. "We tried to contain Dirk but you just have to take your hat off to him, when a guy has a night like that," Burke said. Notes: Dallas forward Jae Crowder sat out his second game with a strained abdominal muscle suffered Sunday against Indiana. . Dallas coach Rick Carlisle got a technical for complaining about Burke kicking out his feet on his jump shots. . The Jazz outscored the Mavericks 56-32 in the paint. [url=http://www.officialllionsproshop.com/Youth-Teez-Tabor-Jersey/]Teez Tabor Jersey[/url] .Cullen scored the go-ahead goal at 13:47 of the third period and Nashville beat the slumping Dallas Stars 3-2 on Thursday in a game that wasnt decided until the last shot of the night. [url=http://www.officialllionsproshop.com/Youth-Jarrad-Davis-Jersey/]Jarrad Davis Jersey[/url] . Jim Leyland, in his eighth playoffs, has never had a starting rotation he trusts as much as the grouping of Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister. [url=http://www.officialllionsproshop.com/Youth-Kenny-Golladay-Jersey/]http://www.officialllionsproshop.com/Youth-Kenny-Golladay-Jersey/[/url] . Gonzalez participated in his final game on Sunday, Atlantas 21-20 defeat at the hands of the NFC South champion Carolina Panthers, having posted four catches for 46 yards.As a fun NHL Draft exercise, I decided to go through each NHL team and re-configure their rosters, only allowing teams to include players that were drafted by the team. In order to keep the roster numbers up, those that were undrafted free agents were included with the teams for which they played their first NHL games. Take it easy, agents. This isnt about removing trades or free agency -- those are some of my favourite parts of the game too -- but its about how teams identify and secure talent and which teams have done these things more effectively. As you can see, by looking through these hypoethetical depth charts, there are teams that have provided a disproportionate number of the players throughout the league. Certainly, some teams have had and used more draft picks than other teams, so thats part of the reason why they bring so much more talent into the league, but theres probably a lesson to be gleaned from that as well. Take the defence picks of the Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators, for example. The Canadiens could, theoretically, have a defence that includes Ryan McDonagh, Francois Beauchemin, Mark Streit, Stephane Robidas and Ron Hainsey in addition to the guys they kept -- P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, Alexei Emelin (could have included Francis Bouillon and Mike Komisarek, too). Nashville has done very well on the blueline, drafting Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Dan Hamhuis, Roman Josi, Seth Jones, Cody Franson, Kevin Klein and Ryan Ellis (as well as Mattias Ekholm and signing Victor Bartley). On the other hand, there are teams that have had a hard time bringing in defencemen, like the Philadelphia Flyers, who have preferred (or been forced) to acquire their defencemen through other means. Dennis Seidenberg and Joni Pitkanen are the two best active NHL defencemen that the Flyers have drafted and Pitkanen missed all of last season due to injury while Seidenberg missed half the year. Of course, the Flyers have had brought in (and subsequently let go) some serious talent up front, including Patrick Sharp, Justin Williams, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, among others, but their hypoethetical forward depth chart is impressive. Sometimes, circumstances have made it that a team doesnt need to draft at a position. Think of the Boston Bruins goaltending situation recently, carried by Tuukka Rask (acquired in trade) and, before him, Tim Thomas (a Quebec Nordiques draft pick!), so -- at least prior to drafting Malcolm Subban in the first round -- the Bruins havent brought in a lot of blue-chippers in net. By contrast, the Toronto Maple Leafs have had Rask, James Reimer and Ben Scrivens, or the Washington Capitals, who have had Semyon Varlamov, Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth through their system. A few quick obserrvations: - Some lean resuls in Columbus, where they barely have an NHL centre aside from Ryan Johansen and Derick Brassard. [url=http://www.officialllionsproshop.com/Youth-Michael-Roberts-Jersey/]Michael Roberts Lions Jersey[/url]. - Tons of depth with Detroit, particularly after making call-ups this year. Joakim Andersson and Luke Glendening, who played regularly for the Wings this year, didnt crack the five-deep depth chart. - Crazy depth in Ottawa too, where so many forwards -- Marian Hossa, Martin Havlat, Daniel Alfredsson, Antoine Vermette, Brooks Laich, Jakob Silfverberg -- have moved on to other teams. - A few other rules of this "what if?" game: I allowed players that were drafted twice to be used by both organizations, so look out for Jarret Stoll playing both sides in the Battle of Alberta! - The Edmonton Oilers come by their defensive woes honestly. Theyve drafted four active NHL defencemen, including Martin Marincin and Oskar Klefbom, rookies they called up last season. - Using the Atlanta Thrashers and Winnipeg Jets franchise doesnt yield much up front, especially with Ilya Kovalchuk gone to Russia. Bryan Little, Evander Kane, Mark Scheifele, then who was the fourth-best forward in 2013-2014 that was drafted by this franchise? Patrick Dwyer? Dany Heatley? The story is better on defence and in net. Using only players that played in the NHL in the 2013-2014 season, I came up with rosters (Maple Leafs example below) that you can see by clicking here. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS LW C RW Alexander Steen Nazem Kadri Brad Boyes Jiri Tlusty Tyler Bozak Nikolai Kulemin Viktor Stalberg Matt Stajan Jimmy Hayes Jerry DAmigo John Mitchell Matt Frattin Josh Leivo Spencer Abbott Shawn Thornton D D G Carl Gunnarsson Anton Stralman Tuukka Rask Morgan Rielly Luke Schenn James Reimer Carlo Colaiacovo Jay Harrison Ben Scrivens Jean-Philippe Cote Mike Kostka Jonas Gustavsson Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. 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