Saturday, May 27, 2006

Round 3, Game 2 Adjustments

Game 1 against the Suns fell totally in favor of their style of play. The Mavs got into a running game with them and the Suns came out on top, not to mention those costly turnovers at the end of the game. Avery decided to keep the two point guard lineup but start Erick Dampier...the former decision was okay, the latter decision...BAD. Dampier could not keep up defensively against Boris Diaw, and he's just not dominant offensively, so there's no reason to have him in there. Well come to find out, Diop should have played in Game 1 instead of Dampier.
Adjustment 1: Let Diop Play. Van Horn started at center, but he was awful offensively and wasn't getting it done in other areas. So Diop came off the bench and did well. He grabbed 11 boards, 2 blocks, and clogged up the middle defensively. He played nearly the entire second half and I should note that Steve Nash took only 1 shot during that half! Diop prevented easy layups and also did a pretty good job running and getting back into transition.
Adjustment 2: Get Back In Transition. Another major adjustment was the fact that the Mavs were not overly-aggressive on the offensive boards. Normally, it's great when you can get a bunch of offensive rebounds, but when you're playing against the Suns, they've already got 2 or 3 guys running down the floor ready to get a quick and easy basket. So not having everyone going after the offensive boards allowed us to get back defensively. As a result, I didn't see too many long passes over the court, and Suns only had 21 fastbreak points...(that's low for them).
Adjustment 3: Double-Team Nash. Normally I would have trouble supporting this because you're going to leave a guy open, and the Suns have some of the best shooters in the league. But if you can get them in a half-court offense and force Nash to give up the ball, basically take him out the game, that'll really mess up their rythym. And that's what it's all about for the Suns: an up-tempo, high scoring game where they control the pace. I felt the Mavs controlled the pace of the entire game 2 even when the Suns pulled ahead. Let's see what happens in Phoenix.

Monday, May 22, 2006

When You Think It's All Over

I have so many emotions going through me. I have never been prouder of this basketball team. I saw the game slipping away, and when Ginobli hit that 3 I thought that was it. But that's why these guys are professionals...they don't give up. The stats were all impressive on both sides. But what won the game were the intangibles. Damp started and did a great job, Diop had to come in at the end after Damp and Van Horn fouled out, Dirk drove it to the basket all night, Terry put on an amazing performance coming off the suspension, Van Horn hit those 3's, Josh got us off to a quick start. Everyone was great. I just can't put into words the heart the guys had tonight.
To be the champs, you must beat the champs. That's what happened tonight. The Mavs are the younger, hungier, more athletic team, and fortunately we came out on top. There are still two series left to win it all. But I think we're seeing the beginning of a shift in power in the West. The Mavs are the team of the present and the future. The Spurs' reign has come to an end. Like I said, the Mavs are younger and they're the more promising team. I'm just so glad the guys didn't give up at the end. To quote that Tears For Fears song, "When you think it's all over / It's not over / It's not over..."

I have never been prouder to be a Mavs fan.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Another Win And Further Griping By The Spurs

Last night's overtime win was maybe one of the best in franchise history. I'm still amazed at Terry's high-arc shot over Tim Duncan. This Mavericks team is showing so much heart and hustle. Avery's got to be proud. Meanwhile, the Spurs are acting so unprofessionally. This is no longer a team worthy of advancing. Duncan, Bowen, Ginobli, and others are constantly bitching and complaining about the refs. But here's some news: The refs do not decide basketball games! You cannot honestly say that the Spurs outplayed the Mavericks. Don't get me wrong; the Spurs were very good last night. Parker, Duncan, Ginobli, and Finley all had good games, but the Mavericks were better. Simple as that. And last night Popovich went completely off-topic after the game and insulted every Maverick fan in that building saying that it is wrong and incomprehensible to boo Michael Finley in Dallas. He discussed how much Finley has done for this organization and how he should be praised at the AAC. First of all, we Mavs fans do not need a lecture on what Finley has done for our organization. We know. We're grateful. But here's some other news: The guy now plays for our arch-rival, and it's the playoffs! Of course he's going to hear some boos. We love our team and we want our opponents to lose! If you want to talk about class, Pop, first look at how you and your players have been responding to the refs. Shut up and worry about your own team, who by the way is on the verge of elimination.
Just one more win to clinch the series...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Dirk's & Devin's Play...and Duncan's Bitching

Dallas 104 San Antonio 103

The two point-guard lineup worked again. They just couldn't stop Devin Harris. What a competitor! He's been so aggressive. It was also great to see Dirk refuse to leave the game after rolling his ankle. Normally, in the regular season, Dirk would probably miss the next few games. But this is the playoffs. We need him now more than ever. By the way, he shot 24 free throws last night. It's good to see him be aggressive and get to the line when his jump shots aren't falling.

I can't believe how much Tim Duncan bitches about the fouls he commits. It seems like EVERY time he's called for a foul, he has to complain about it. Nearly all of them are legitimate calls too. I'm not sure if he expects to be held to a higher standard because he's Tim Duncan, or if he's just a big baby. But he needs to shut up and just play the game. I'm getting tired of seeing him spread his arms and bug out his eyes to the refs every time he's called for a foul.

The Mavs lead the series 2-1.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dallas 113, San Antonio 91

Good win. The series is split coming back to Dallas. Of course you never can take being at home for granted with the Spurs. They are very good on the road. Good decision in starting Harris at point guard and moving Terry to shooting guard. Although there is a defensive risk in having an undersized shooting guard, it really helps the offense, especially for the Mavericks. Devin Harris is the best on the team at penetration. He attacks the basket with absolutely no fear. He's also a quick passer. Meanwhile Terry doesn't have to be a point guard. He can just do what he does best: SCORE. The Spurs are a tough team to score against. This new lineup helps with that problem. Obviously a different approach would have to be taken against a team like Phoenix. We would probably go back to the original lineup. But EVERY basket is valuable against the Spurs. Most importantly, there was no defensive liability last night:
"Their defense was excellent." - Gregg Popovich

It's time for a change. This needs to be the year of the Dallas Mavericks.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Round 2, Game 1 Thoughts

I am actually surprised the Mavericks lost Game 1. I really expected us to come out on top. We had the lead nearly the entire game. Unfortunately the Spurs' defense shut down our offense . That 3 by Bowen didn't help much either. The two biggest concerns I have with this series is the Spurs defense and their perimeter shooting. The perimeter shooting seems to be something the Mavericks can control. Simply guard the perimeter. Don't leave guys like Finley, Horry, and Bowen wide open. The Spurs only ended up shooting 23% from beyond the arc, so for the most part, it was under control. The Spurs defense, however, is a tough one. How do we score against them and get a rhythm offensively? Until the end of the game the Mavs were doing fine. Stackhouse really attacked their defense and ended up with 24 points. Dirk, Howard, and Terry were all in double figures. By the way, I still think Dirk can be more assertive against these smaller defenders they're putting on him. Bowen (6'7") mostly guards Dirk, and I saw Finley (6' 7") guard him for a while today. But somehow they messed him and the rest of the team up down the stretch. We've got to be able to close AT LEAST one tight game in San Antonio. If the Mavericks want to get all the respect they deserve, they must beat San Antonio in the playoffs. The Spurs are probably the biggest obstacle of anyone.