DONUT 1: THE LIGHT
There is a different vibe at the AAC this year, put on display in Friday night's preseason loss to the Bucks. (The game story, featuring what Giannis can do and what Dwight Powell cannot yet do, is here).
Part of the vibe cascades from the rafters and onto the court: It's lighter. Brighter. Stagier.
DONUT 2: THE DARK
Adding to the vibe: The lights that overlook the audience are darkened. Turned down to, oh, "3.'' You can still see your feet and your seat and the stairs and your beer(s), but the resulting atmosphere is, again, stagier than it's ever been.
"Like The Forum in L.A.,'' one of the AAC ushers said to me, and yeah, the fans aren't quite sitting in that much darkness ... nor are they sitting next to Jack Nicholson or Dyan Cannon.
But again, the total result: Stagy! In a good way.
DONUT 3: DIRK ON THE FLOOR
And one more touch: The Dirk Nowitzki Silhouette, one on each end of the floor, in a light-tan paint that doesn't scream at you from the similarly-colored hardwood; it's simply there ... quiet and dignified but at the same time proud and imposing.
The Dirk Silhouette ... IS Dirk.
DONUT 4: INJURY UPDATE
Dwight Powell's aforementioned injury will keep him out for the entirety of the preseason. Now Dorian Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson are also slightly hobbled. They'll not play tonight in the Mavs' 7:30 tip at the AAC against the visiting Thunder. But when Jalen returns? As we right here, we bet he returns with the arrow pointing way up on his role.
DONUT 5: KP'S SELF-EVAL
Kristaps Porzingis had his ups and downs in his home debut in Friday's preseason loss.
I just have to, like, organize everything in my mind ... And slowly, we'll figure it out,'' KP said. "We'll get this thing together and we'll be alright.''
DONUT 6: QUOTABLE
"There’s no reason to 'get ready' if you stay ready. So I just mentally prepare myself for anything.” - Jalen Brunson.
DONUT 7: LUKA LIFT-OFF
I think Rick Carlisle would like Luka Doncic to be a little more choosy in terms of launching jump shots as soon as he dribbles across halfcourt. But otherwise? Luka's self-directed tongue-lashing at missing too many "easy'' shots seems to have worked.
Over the course of his two games played, Doncic has scored 47 points in 51 minutes. I think he's alright. In fact, I dare say that in watching him operate on the same floor with "The Greek Freak,'' he very much "fit'' ... as if he's a first- or second-team All-NBA guy waiting to happen.
DONUT 8: STEP BACK PODCAST
This is a good'un .... DBcom's Dalton Trigg and Matt Galatzan are joined by old pal Kirk Henderson to discuss Kristaps Porzingis' preseason and MFFL hopes for the postseason ...
Good. But probably topped by the guest who is on-tap for this week's mid-week planned Step Back Mavs podcast. We don't want to over-hype it, but ... Stay tuned.
DONUT 9: BY THE NUMBERS
Justin Jackson is 5-of-11 on 3's this fall, good for 45.5 percent. How real is this blossoming weapon? He shot 38.6 percent on 3's over his last 20 games with the Mavs last season.
There's a chance this is a real thing. And a real good thing.
DONUT 10: MAVSCELLANOUS
Mavs PR boss Sarah Melton is retiring - this week. My story, and her words, here. ... The Mavericks over the weekend waived Japanese guard Yudai Baba.... J.J. Barea's on-court debut on Friday - nine months to the day after tearing his Achilles wasn't about numbers; it was about presence. And the presence was special.
DONUT 11: ON TAP TONIGHT
It's a rematch with the OKC Thunder, the club Dallas debuted against in the preseason opener at Tulsa a week ago. Here's a recap of that meeting ... And here's hoping DallasBasketball.com sees you tonight somewhere in the AAC .... in "The Light'' or in "The Dark''!
DONUT 12: THE FINAL WORD
"Somebody ask Rick Carlisle if we can panic about the Cowboys now.'' - Dalton Trigg on Twitter.