Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Bittersweet End

There is no worse feeling as a die-hard fan than to see your team get eliminated, especially when the expectations are so high. I imagine it's worse for a player or coach. It's very frustrating. So many factors played into with why we lost: Dwayne Wade's unstoppable performance, great team-defense by Miami, Dallas missing so many critical shots, inconsistent showings from Dirk and Josh, awful officiating, bad decisions made by Stu Jackson, etc. I don't believe, however, that Mark Cuban in any way hurt the team. The press is having a lot of fun with this. They want to make it look like Mark Cuban ruined everything because he's this big huge distraction. Well that's all bullshit. The players and coaches don't have anything to do with what Cuban does or says about the league and the officials. It doesn't affect them at all. They're concerned entirely with playing basketball. If Cuban distracted the players every time he opened his mouth, this franchise would have fallen apart years ago. He is a blessing to this organization and he is incredibly passionate for the game and his players. I loved it when he called 103.3 FM today and ripped that redneck Randy Galloway for calling the Mavs "gutless." What an idiot! I have completely lost respect for Galloway. He completely disrespected all the Mavericks players, coaches, and fans. Mind you, this is a LOCAL radio broadcaster and writer for the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. He has no business insulting the Mavericks for playing their hearts out and leaving it all on the court. As frustrating as it is to have lost, I am extremely proud of the Mavericks. The team completely beat all odds this season. No one expected us to sweep Memphis, let alone beat San Antonio IN San Antonio, and many had their doubts about the series with Phoenix. This was the best season in Dallas Mavericks history. It was the first time this franchise has ever made it to the NBA Finals, and I believe that this is the best Mavericks team ever put together. There was no Steve Nash or Jason Kidd running the was Jason Terry and Devin Harris! There was no Michael Finley or Antawn was the scrappy players in Adrian Griffin, Stack, 'Quis, and Josh Howard that got the job done. I am glad to have heard that Cuban and Avery are committed to keeping this team together (i.e. re-signing Terry, and hopefully re-signing Griff). I'll write a blog about transactions as the summer progresses. But this is undoubtedly a championship-calibre team. How could it not be when a team beats the defending champions on their own floor AND shuts down one of the most potent offenses (Phoenix) the league has ever seen??? And just as a reminder: This was Avery Johnson's first full season as a head coach and he led us to the Finals...I'd say our future is quite promising. The guy's not going anywhere. He's staying in Dallas for a very long time and he will lead us to a championship. It's not a matter of if, but WHEN. Congratulations to our team for the best season, so far...

Friday, June 16, 2006

Mavs vs. Heat, NBA, AND ABC?

The 2-0 series lead is gone. All of a sudden Miami has tied it up, and they have the momentum. Jerry Stackhouse has been wrongly suspended for a hard foul against Shaq, who by the way didn't even complain about the foul. I would not have liked to been around A.J. today. He has decided to move the team to a hotel 45 minutes away from Miami Beach. This is to help make sure the players are staying in the hotel and are completely focused on the game. And today Johnson was lashing out at the league for Stackhouse's suspension, saying that there is no consistency in these decisions and that some players are clearly favored over others. I can't help but wonder if this has something to do with a bias by the NBA towards the more popular, marketable team. The Miami Heat, with Shaquille O'Neal, Dwayne Wade, Antoine Walker, Gary Payton, etc. is a team full of outspoken superstars whose jerseys sell, sell, and sell. The NBA and ABC want this series to be drawn out as long as possible for ratings purposes. And with the crew I just mentioned, the Heat are the preferred team to win. I don't want to get too hung up on conspiracies, because that's too typical of a team that's slipping. And I won't deny the fact that Miami outplayed us in every single way during Game 4. We stunk. Game 3 was in our favor until the last 6 minutes or so. So give Miami the credit they deserve. I thought their defense was outstanding in Game 4. And Dwayne Wade has been Jordan-like since the 4th quarter of Game 3. But I do question Stackhouse's suspension. That was not a flagrant foul worth suspension. It was a hard foul in the biggest series in the NBA. The whole Finals philosophy is "No easy baskets!" This is too critical of a time to be suspending players who really don't deserve it. Stu Jackson (the guy who decided to suspend Stack) is the one who needs to be suspended...for such a potentially devastating decision. I just hope it has nothing to do with the Heat being favored by the NBA and the ABC network.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Western Conference Champs!

I didn't witness Game 6...but I'm still happy we got the win and clinched the series. This is the Mavericks first ever trip to the NBA Finals. It was well-deserved by the entire team, including Coach Johnson and his staff. This is officially the end of the bullshit talk about Nash and Finley. Both have been eliminated by the Mavericks, and with all due respect, we're a better team now. Last night, with a 39-36 rebounding edge over Phoenix, the Mavs set an NBA record having outrebounded their opponents 17 consecutive playoff games. Was it Barkley that said earlier in the season that the Mavs weren't a good rebounding team? In any case, we're now the best rebounding team in the league. If I were a Phoenix fan, I'd really be pushing to get rid of that system they've got. You can win a lot of games only focusing on offense, but eventually you're going to run into a good defensive team like Dallas that will figure out how to stop you. Great job by Howard guarding Nash and screwing up Phoenix's pick and rolls. Now we have to focus on Miami. Just 4 more wins...