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Doc praises the Butler deal

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  March 20, 2010 01:58 PM

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goodbutler.JPGSeeing the way Caron Butler's presence has improved a Dallas team that was already one of the best in the Western Conference, Doc Rivers called the deal that brought him in one of the best in the past two year, excluding, of course, the infamous deal that sent Pau Gasol to the Lakers for next to nothing. 

Butler, practically dying away with the Washington Wizards, 17 points and 4.4 rebounds, in with 14 games with the Mavericks, almost looking like he got a second chance at life, especially after enduring the Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittenton ordeal. 

Since bringing in Butler and Brendan Haywood, the Mavericks have gone 14-1. They ripped off a 13-game winning streak as soon as they the new additions hit the floor, tagging Phoenix, Orlando, Atlanta, and the Lakers in that stretch. 

The Celtics had interest in Butler, but obviously didn't bring him in. Rivers said:

It's the best deal made in probably a couple years. Besides the one in Memphis -- the Gasol Deal, which we won't talk about, it was just horrendous. Other than that I think this is the best deal we've seen in a couple years.

They were good before, but it just put them right up there to the top. You've got great players who have their fire back. Caron Butler looks like he's 22 again. It's great for him because he's always been a good guy. It's great for Haywood and all those guys. I'm glad it was done in the west.



... where we have a Texas-sized misunderstanding over something Rasheed Wallace said two months ago.

The impression out here in Dallas is that Wallace, the trash-talking champion of the world who had slapped handcuffs on Dirk Nowitzki for much of the Celtics loss to the Mavericks before drawing four fouls, apparently wants retribution on the Mavs star.

Where'd they get that idea?

You might recall the darts Wallace aimed at Nowitzki after the game. They cost him $35,000, but not because they were particularly threatening to Nowitzki. The league hit Wallace in the wallet for criticizing its officials, something Wallace doesn't apologize for.

The comments that got the Dallas press all worked up (they can be heard by clicking the player to the left thanks to WEEI's Mike Petraglia), were born out of Wallace's frustration with the way officials made Nowitzki almost untouchable.

“You know, they don’t like no tough defense on him so of course I get a whole lot of bull[crap] calls but that’s how the story goes,” Wallace said, before adding, “I ain’t worried about it. We’ll see them again. Honestly, I can’t remember which one the fourth foul was, there were so many bogus [calls]. I ain’t worried about it. Like I said, we’ll see them again. We go down there in about a month or so. There’ll be retribution.”

When Wallace left the game, Nowitzki went on an 8-0 run by himself, burying the Celtics. 

Here's how Wallace's comments played in the Dallas Morning News and on ESPNDallas.

ESPNDallas: Warning: Wallace coming for retribution

'Anytime you’re playing against a star player, hey, the referees are going to call it tight' [Jason] Terry said. 'You can’t put your hands on guys like Dirk, Kobe, Durant.'

Added [head coach Rick] Carlisle: 'The referees are going to call it the way it is. And if they don’t, they get in trouble with the league office.'

Whether the refs were right or wrong, it was Wallace who got in hot water with the league office after the last Mavs-Celtics meeting. If anything, his words then might make this officiating crew a bit quicker with the whistle when he's defending Dirk or complaining about calls."

Dallas Morning News: Rasheed Wallace seeks 'retribution' vs. Nowitzki, Mavericks

Last Saturday, Eastern Conference dreg New York came to Dallas and waylaid the Mavericks, avenging a 50-point January home loss.

Visiting tonight is Eastern Conference contender Boston, a team the Mavericks thumped during that same January road trip. Afterward, Celtics forward Rasheed Wallace promised "retribution" when the teams next met.

Of course, the Mavericks don't envision an 84-point turnaround by the Celtics. Nor do they expect an overt retaliation by Wallace, who was fined $35,000 by the NBA for saying that referees protected Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki in that game.

Chris Forsberg actually caught it on video, and Wallace didn't look anything like William Wallace.

When it comes down to it, that game and that stretch seems like it happened ages ago. The Celtics (plus Nate Robinson and Michael Finley) and Mavs (plus Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood) are both different teams. The Mavs are trying to chase down Los Angeles for first place in the West. The Celtics are trying to jell and also fighting for the highest possible seed in the final weeks of the season.

It's highly unlikely that you'll see Rasheed Wallace doing anything crazy like smack somebody with a championship belt.

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