It's a sad thing to see venerable coach Dick Motta letting the Dallas Mavericks become the Loyola-Marymount of the NBA, bagging a conventional offense in favor of firing up scores of three-pointers.

In Dallas its called "MAVS FOR 3," and it started six games ago. They've already set NBA records for three-pointers attempted, 49, and threes made in a half, 12; and tied the record for threes made in a game, 18.Fans in Dallas like this three-point silliness, pointing to the fact the Mavs are 4-2 (not counting Saturday's game) since they started bombing away. What they overlook is that all four wins came against non-playoff-bound teams.

The reason Motta resorted to this is that forwards Popeye Jones and Terry Davis are hurt, and rookie big men Loren Meyer and Cherokee Parks haven't panned out as hoped.

"We decided that if we're going to go small, we're going to give up some offensive rebounds anyway, so we might as well give them up with the three-point shot with long rebounds," Motta said. "With a little quicker team in there you have a chance to get that long rebound."

Motta said this new approach has also had a positive effect on morale.

"We would rather be a traditional team, but the injuries have forced us to improvise a little bit, and as we improvise and do more and more with it, it seems like the kids are enjoying it more," he said.

Dallas point guard Jason Kidd says he likes it.

"It's a dream come true for any ballplayer to go out there and really don't have too many plays to call," Kidd said. "Any basketball player will enjoy having that freedom (to shoot)."

Forward George McCloud alone launched 20 three-pointers - he made seven - in one game.

"This is like streetball, or like playing in the park," McCloud said. "It's a lot of fun."

POSTSEASON JOCKEYING: Last season, the Houston Rockets made no secret of the fact they wanted to face the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs - a choice they probably regretted between Games 4 and 5.

This year, the Rockets and Lakers, who would face each other if the playoffs began today, agree they don't want a first-round matchup.

Houston guard Kenny Smith called the Lakers "a team nobody wants to play" and said the Rockets are "trying to get as far away from them as possible."

And the Lakers' Magic Johnson told Houston assistant coach Bill Berry, during a recent game in L.A., "You move out of the way or we'll move out of the way. We don't want to see you guys." To which Berry responded: "That's the same way we feel."

It looks like it's going to be tough for them to avoid each other, however.

The Rockets have the fourth-best record in the Western Conference, and they'll have a hard time doing any better than that because they are banged up and the teams ahead of them (Seattle, Utah, San Antonio) are all playing well.

The Lakers have the fifth-best record, eight and a half games ahead of the next team, Phoenix. They'd have to tank a lot of games to end up as the No. 6 or 7 seed, perhaps thereby earning a first-round meeting with - you guessed it - Utah.

BASEBALL KIDD?: Getting back to the Mavericks, Kidd said if he doesn't make the Olympic basketball team, he's going to take a shot at major league baseball.

"It's serious," Kidd said of his baseball plans. "I look forward to working out this summer - if I don't make the Olympic team - and trying to play professional baseball."

Kidd was a standout centerfielder in high school when he batted .333 with a .500 on-base percentage, three homers and 20 RBI as a senior. His team was 27-5 that season, and he considered playing baseball at Cal after the basketball season was over.

Motta, however, is not too thrilled about this baseball idea.

"I was going to be jockey," Motta said. "If I could lose 45 more pounds I was going to go and try to be a jockey. And in the offseason I'll be a world-class water skier. I have a lot of tricks up my sleeves. But one thing I learned a long time ago is to try and do one thing good, and don't spread yourself too thin or you'll get criticized too much."