Monday, May 08, 2006

Game One Was Just One Game

The title says it all.

No one is screaming that the Mavs are totally screwed. No one is counting the Mavs out. And the biggest optimist, myself, refuses to even alter his prediction of Mavs in 6. Here's why...

The Mavs lost to the Spurs at home in the playoffs by 2 points. I'm not going to say the game should have gone into overtime had Jerry Stackhouse driven to the hoop instead of dribbling away from the basket breaking every basketball rule I ever knew in crunchtime. The point is that the opportunity to win the game was there, so who's to say it won't be there on Tuesday night? I'm not.

Another reason for Mavs fans to be optimistic is that Dirk was manhandled all game by Bruce Bowen all game. And the game not only was in reach but very winnable. The other guys are stepping up, and the big guys from Game 1 were obviously Stack's offense and Damp's defense. I felt more comfortable when Stack had the ball than anyone else (something maybe I should regret, but he kept the Mavs in the game with his offense, so it's unfair to criticize his bonehead play).

Finally, the refs in Game 1 were deplorable. I'm going to give you my opinion on NBA referees. I think they should be able to do whatever they want as long as it's even throughout the game. Refs can vary from game to game on how much contact they'll allow, but if you're going to let Tim Duncan throw his body into Erick Dampier's under the bakset when Damp's hands are up and feet are set and call a foul, then call the foul when Jason Terry is driving the lane and someone hits his shoulder on the way up. The game wasn't one-sided, but I will say it was unfair. Having said that, it may have been better for the Mavs to be away from the free throw line since they shot below 70%.

The Mavericks were aggressive on offense and efficient on defense (you rarely saw someone take an uncontested shot, the only one I can think of is Bruce Bowen's game winner). The Mavs even had a pretty decent play at the end of the game to force overtime, so I see no reason to be worried about the series. We all knew the Mavs were going to lose a game or two or three if they were going to win, so it's time for the next game. And even if they go down 0-2, they can easily turn that back to 2-2.

Look for Dirk to be assertive in Game 2. And watch out for Jason Terry from 3. He seems to be a little upset about his performance in Game 1 (as he should be). Free throw shooting better improve. And pray that Dampier plays defense like he did in Game 1. Mavs should win in a nail-biter.

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