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Billy Packer, Legendary Basketball Broadcaster, Dead At 82: NBA Tracker

As the 2022-23 NBA calendar year progresses, stay up to date with the latest news happening around the league with our DallasBasketball.com tracker.

JAN 27 BILL PACKER PASSES

Legendary basketball broadcaster Billy Packer, who worked 34 Final Fours for NBC and CBS, has died at the age of 82, according to a Thursday night tweet from his son Mark.

Packer's career helped power the popularity of March Madness as he was the color commentator on every Final Four from 1975 to 2008.

Packer was an All-ACC selection as a player at Wake Forest before NBC hired him in 1974, as he eventually moved over to CBS, where he become a symbol of college basketball on television.

Said his son, Mark, who followed his father into broadcasting: "The Packer Family would like to share some sad news. Our amazing father, Billy, has passed. We take peace knowing that he’s in heaven with Barb. RIP, Billy.''

JAN 21 LUKA TANK COMMANDER?

The Dallas Mavericks might be against tanking, but that doesn’t mean superstar Luka Doncic can’t drive one.

Alright, so it’s not actually a tank, but it’s as close as it can get. Doncic’s new sweet ride is a loaded out Hellfire Apocalypse six-wheeler truck that set him back six figures at more than $250K. Given, when you’re on a five-year, $200+ million supermax contract like Doncic is, that’s just a drop in the bucket.

Doncic debuted this beautiful monster on Wednesday before the Mavs played the Atlanta Hawks at American Airlines center. As his on-court game continues to elevate, his vehicle game is doing the same, and we can’t wait to see the next one Doncic reveals.

JAN 14 NO HARM, NO FOUL?

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in a double-overtime thriller on Thursday night in what was an extremely physical game.

After Luka Doncic hit a step-back 3 with six seconds remaining in regulation, Lakers’ Troy Brown Jr. attempted a game-winning 3 that was blocked by Tim Hardaway Jr. After the game, Brown gave his thoughts on the play.

"At the end of the day, they're human. I thought there was contact, they don't call it. It is what it is. It's not my job to ref,” said Brown.

LeBron James gave his thoughts as well and was adamant that it was a foul that should’ve been called.

"No, it's a f****** foul. It's a foul. No matter what TB says, it's a f****** foul,” said James.

Well … the NBA apparently disagrees, as the Last Two Minutes report on Friday stated that Hardaway’s contact with Brown was “incidental.”

The league did admit that Christian Wood’s potential game-saving block on James at the end of the first overtime should’ve been called a foul, but that’s not really the call the Lakers were up in arms about postgame.

Regardless, the Lakers benefited heavily from the officiating throughout the first three quarters of Thursday’s came due to the football-like physicality that was allowed at times, so in our opinion, it all came out equal in the end.

JAN 13 'PLEASE SEND HELP!' Our buddy Preston Pannek has done it again.

"The House of Pannek'' - the creative bunch headed by Preston and Adrienne Pannek – alerted DBcom on Monday to their finished product, which MFFLs can now see in downtown Dallas on a wall outside of St. Pete's Dancing Marlin.

Depicted: The Slovenian star holding up a sign that reads "Please Send Help!'' ... a not-so-coy reference to Mavs fans wishing the roster was just a bit better. 

It's all in good fun. And like "The House of Pannek's'' previous work ... it's good stuff.

JAN 10 KD TO MISS TIME; NETS SELL HIGH ON KYRIE?

The Brooklyn Nets have completely turned their season around since Kyrie Irving’s return from his suspension, as they’re 18-2 in their last 20 games. However, that hot streak could be haunted soon as Nets superstar is set to miss “several weeks” due to a knee injury, according to a report from Shams Charania.

Irving has proven that he can be helpful in making the Nets a contender as Durant’s co-star, but given that he’s on an expiring contract, should Brooklyn try selling high on him if the team’s overall production slips in the coming weeks?

Irving is averaging 26 points, five rebounds and five assists per game while shooting 49 percent from the field and 37 percent from deep.

Everyone knows by now how much LeBron James would love to have Irving on the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite the expiring contract, at the level Irving is playing, Brooklyn might be able to squeeze those 2027 and 2029 picks out the Lakers. Or maybe some other blockbuster deal takes place.

Or … perhaps Irving is playing well enough to keep the Nets afloat in the East while Durant is out. We’ll just have to see. The NBA trade deadline is on Feb. 9.

JAN 7 LUKA, JKIDD WILL SUPPORT TCU

The Dallas Mavericks take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night to finish up a quick two-game homestand. After that, as well as a trip to face the OKC Thunder on Sunday night, it appears that Luka Doncic and coach Jason Kidd will be catching a flight to Los Angeles to support the TCU Horned Frogs in their national championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs on Monday … and they’ll apparently be doing it in style.

The NBA’s 82-game season can be a grind, so it’s nice to see Doncic and Kidd planning to get away for a little bit to support one of their local teams.

Speaking of horned frogs, Doncic recently received one as a gift after making a guest appearance on the popular show Dude Perfect. You can watch the entire episode here:

JAN 6 TYLER DORSEY, STERLING BROWN TO LAKERS?

After impressing the Dallas Mavericks in a summer workout, Tyler Dorsey signed a two-way contract with the team before having a productive EuroBasket run with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greece.

Unfortunately, things didn’t work out for Dorsey, as the Mavs recently waived him and signed A.J. Lawson to a two-way contract in his place. However, Dorsey is still trying to secure an NBA gig elsewhere.

According to a report from Yahoo Sports, Dorsey worked out with the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. LeBron James’ squad could definitely use a boost when it comes to 3-point shooting, so we’ll see if the Lakers can potentially offer Dorsey more of an opportunity than the Mavs could.

According to another report from Shams Charania, the Lakers are signing another former Mavs guard, Sterling Brown to a 10-day contract. Brown was traded from the Mavs to the Houston Rockets in a package deal for Christian Wood last offseason.

JAN 5 LONGHORNS FIRE BEARD

The Texas Longhorns have fired basketball coach, Chris Beard, Athletic Director Chris Del Conte announced on Thursday.

Beard was in the midst of his second season with the Longhorns and was arrested last month on felony assault charges resulting from a domestic violence incident with his fiance.

Beard was suspended indefinitely with pay following the incident, with assistant Rodney Terry replacing Beard in his absence as interim coach.

The Longhorns have now Terry as the acting coach for the remainder of the season.

Beard, 49, was in his second season as the head coach of the Longhorns and had led Texas to a 29-13 record.

Before his suspension, Beard had the Longhorns sitting at 7-1 overall and ranked as the No. 6 team in the country. 

JAN 5 LUKA AS ALL-STAR STARTER?

Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic missed out on being an All-Star starter last season due to the slow start he had by his extraordinarily high standards. This season, though, it doesn’t look like that will be the case.

With the first batch of fan-voting returns in, Doncic joins Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry as the top-3 vote-getters in the Western Conference. James leads all players with a little over 3.1 million votes, while Curry is edging out Doncic for the top guard spot in the West by less than 400,000 votes.

Here are the full numbers from the first All-Star voting returns:

JAN 3 MAVS NEXT TWO OPPONENTS STRUGGLING?

Many expected the Dallas Mavericks' next two matchups – both home games against the Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans – to be really tough. And that still might still be the case, as the Mavs are still dealing with several injuries and have barely squeaked by three of their last four games against inferior opponents. However, there is a chance that Dallas is catching Boston and New Orleans at a good time.

The Celtics are the best team in the Eastern Conference by a half-game, but they've lost two in a row – including a 150-117 beatdown at the hands of the OKC Thunder on Tuesday night – and are just 5-5 over their last 10 games. Boston had its way with Dallas in a 125-112 win at TD Garden on Nov. 23, so the Mavs should have some extra juice when the Celtics visit American Airlines Center on Thursday night.

After that, the Mavs will face the Pelicans at AAC on Saturday, and Zion Williamson will be sidelined for that matchup due to a hamstring injury that will keep him out for at least three weeks. Williamson missed the first Mavs-Pelicans game in the third game of the season on Oct. 25, but a shorthanded New Orleans squad still came away with a 113-111 win after a Luka Doncic 3-point heave at the buzzer hit off the iron.

Like Boston, New Orleans has also lost two games in a row and are 5-5 in its last 10 games. After sitting at the top of the Western Conference for a little bit, the Pelicans are now in third-place with the Mavs just 1.5 games behind them in the fourth spot. Although the injury-riddled Mavs are riding a seven-game win streak and arguably running on fumes at this point, they should still have a lot of motivation to extend the streak at least a few more games.

JAN 2 DONOVAN MITCHELL SCORES 71

The NBA has a new single-game season-high for scoring after Donovan Mitchell put up 71 in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 145-134 overtime win over the Chicago Bulls. 

Mitchell's scoring total is the most by an NBA player in 17 years, since Kobe Bryant scored 81 against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. Mitchell's scoring display was the eighth highest scoring total in league history. 

“To be there in the record book with guys like Wilt is truly humbling,” Mitchell said. “I always believed I could be one of the best players in the league. I’m speechless and blessed to be in the company of that greatness.”

Mitchell is averaging 29.3 points, 4.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 34 games this season. He's led the Cavs to a 24-14 record and the team ranks fourth in the Eastern Conference standings. 

DEC 30 MUST-WATCH DIRK TRIBUE

Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki has been celebrated tirelessly this week and for good reason.

Before the Mavs beat up on the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day, Dirk Nowitzki’s long-awaited statue was unveiled in front of American Airlines Center.

On Friday, the Mavs released an “All Four One” video tribute to Nowitzki, which is narrated by Brian Dameris. You can watch the entire heartfelt tribute here:

DEC 29 LUKA GETS HIS ‘RECOVERY BEERS’

“I’m tired as hell. I need a recovery beer,” said Luka Doncic after breaking records with his 60-point triple-double in the Dallas Mavericks’ improbable comeback win over the New York Knicks on Tuesday night.

Michelob ULTRA, which is the official beer sponsor of the NBA, heard Doncic loud and clear, and they hooked him up with many ‘recovery beers.’

“Luka, enjoy these recovery beers on us,” the note on the beer tower in front of Doncic’s locker read. “Congrats on making NBA history. Remember, it’s only worth it if you enjoy it. Cheers, Michelob ULTRA.”

Hopefully Doncic enjoyed himself without going overboard, because the Mavs take on the Houston Rockets tonight in search of their fifth straight win.

DEC 27 LUKA'S MAVS MIRACLE

The Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday took on the New York Knicks and won 126-121 in overtime, improving their record to 19-16 on the season.

But Luka Doncic's achievement is somehow bigger than all of that.

Doncic finished with 60 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists, which marked the second-ever 60-point triple-double in NBA history. He set a new franchise record for points in a single game, which was previously held by Dirk Nowitzki. Doncic also broke a tie with Nowitzki for the most 50-point performances in team history with three.

"How 'Bout That Luka's'' reaction to the incredible feat?

“I’m tired as hell,'' he said. "I need a recovery beer.”

DEC 25 LUKA CELEBRATES CHRISTMAS WITH COWBOY HAT

You can say Luka Doncic has fully embraced being a Texan.

Upon arriving at the American Airlines Center for their Christmas Day game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Doncic came in donning a cowboy hat and boots.

After scoring 50 in Friday's win against the Houston Rockets, Cowboy Luka is dressing for success and what will hopefully be a legendary Christmas encore.

DEC 23 PACERS COULD EXTEND MYLES TURNER?

Myles Turner has been linked to the Dallas Mavericks in trade rumors for many years now, but we've yet to see any official smoke about a potential Turner-to-Dallas deal this year. In fact, Turner might not be traded at all.

According to a report from The Athletic's Shams Charania, Turner and the Pacers are both open to contract extension talks. Turner is currently making $18 million in the final year of his contract.

“The Pacers can offer Turner up to $19.1 million more this year on top of his $18 million salary to get him to his individual max of $37.1 million for the 2022-23 season…and then drop his salary in the following seasons," Shams wrote.

He also mentions that the Los Angeles Lakers and the Toronto Raptors are the teams that have shown interest in Turner over the last few months.

Despite the annual trade noise that surrounds Turner and the Pacers, it wouldn't be a shock if both sides decide to continue their partnership. Turner enjoys Indiana, and the Pacers are currently sitting at eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, just two games back of the sixth-seeded New York Knicks. This leads us to believe that there is truth to the idea of Turner and the Pacers wanting to work out an extension as opposed to this news just being trade leverage from Indiana's end.

If a contract extension can't be reached in the next month, then the Turner rumors will pick up again. We'll continue to monitor the situation on the Mavs' end.

DEC 21 NBA FINES JKIDD

On Wednesday, ahead of the Dallas Mavericks’ second game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in three days, the NBA announced that it has fined coach Jason Kidd $25,000 after he was ejected from Monday night’s 116-106 loss.

After Luka Doncic said some not-so-nice things to Rodney Mott when he received a no-call, he received two technical fouls quickly and was ejected. Both Doncic and Kidd were appalled by the swift ejection. Kidd then went onto the court to confront the officials for what had transpired and used some choice language as well — which resulted in his pockets being $25,000 thinner.

“I’m here because I have to be here. I already gave up money, so I don’t want to give up anymore,” said a frustrated Kidd after Monday’s game. “No questions. ... They were the better team tonight and we’ll go from there. Thanks for showing up.”

Hopefully, Mavs fans can say “thanks for showing up” to the team they support if there’s a big bounce-back performance on Wednesday night.

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