Saturday, June 24, 2006

Life Goes On

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Did you wake up on Wednesday morning? Thursday? Friday? Saturday? How'd you feel? I'm willing to bet you felt about the same as you did every morning after November 1, 2005 (obviously not the exact same since I know I have a drinking audience). Well, the Mavs lost in the NBA Finals. And we are all still going about our lives. It's pretty interesting if you think about it.

The city of Dallas got Mavs fever. Every dinner conversation was about the Mavs, people were selling Mavs T-Shirts at an insane premium, and the roads were empty between the hours of 8-11 on game nights. The Mavs consumed Dallas. And now that it's over, everything is back to normal, just like that. Do you know why that is? Because the only people who are truly affected by a Mavs victory or loss are part of the team. Whether it's players, coaches, or staff, those are the people whose lives are changed now that the Mavs are off. And you could argue mine is because I won't be writing this blog as much until the season begins. But let's be real, the season is over, and we barely noticed.

I used to be jealous of a city like Boston whose sports fans were so diehard that it took them a week to recover from the Red Sox being eliminated, but after reflection in these playoffs, I enjoy being around Mavs fans who don't take losses that hard. Do you know what it took me to recover from Game 6? 5 Beers. That's it. I didn't go on a binge starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday and ending on Sunday morning, I didn't sit in my room with the lights off watching old Mavs games while cleaning my gun, and I certainly didn't go out looking for fights. Nope, I licked my wounds, got up the next morning, and started preparing myself for the next phase of my summer.

A job.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6

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In case you just got out of solitary confinement (I know I have a big prison following), the Mavs are in Game 6. They are down 3-2. And they have the next two games at home. Let's break this thing down in question format.

Can Miami win Game 6 in Dallas?

Yes. They can win any game by having the best player on the court in Dwyane Wade. They have Shaq. They have hungry veterans. They have all the components that propelled them to their last 3 wins. So they can win Game 6. Dallas is not a lock to win tonight despite the 6 point line.

If the Mavs lose tonight, should we blame the sereis on Josh Howard, Joe DeRosa, or David Stern?

Trick Question! None of the above. And here's why we can't blame each person:

Josh: He made the inverse Chris Webber mistake. He flat out &%$#ed up. I've heard people say you can blame Avery for not bringing Josh or another player over to the sideline, but I'd blame Josh for the gaff. But I wouldn't blame him for the series. He didn't lose Game 5 for the Mavs, the Mavs lost Game 5 by not stopping the only productive Heat player.

Joe DeRosa: I may hate the guy, but I've said it before many times on this website that I'd never blame a single game on officials. The Mavs were put in an unfavorable position by DeRosa, but they could have won it. Not after all the hoopla, but before. There were missed free throws late and poor shot selection early. The bad reffing was just the nail in the coffin. But could the Mavs have won the game in 1.9 seconds considering their bad play calling in crunchtime since the Spurs series? Possibly. Bottom line: the Mavs lost. Time to move on.

David Stern: I've seen two interviews with him today, and he looked beaten. He appeared to be legtimiately upset with all the craziness going on. There are no conspiracies going on in the NBA. Why would Stern want the Heat to win more than the Mavs? Dallas is a bigger city and has a white superstar with a black coach. They have the NFL's dream team, but they're in the NBA. Stern isn't rigging anything. It's just bad luck.

What should we expect from Stack?

Do you remember Terry in Game 7 of the Spurs series? Coming off a suspension, Terry played an absolutely monster game. Stack could put his name in NBA lore by coming out with a HUGE game. Or he could implant himself in mediocrity. It's up to Stack. Personally, I think he'll be legendary.

How are the officials going to be tonight?

Dallas will get the benefit of the doubt on most calls for two reasons. One is that they are at home. Refs are invariably influenced by a raucous crowd, and they feel better putting their hands in the direction of the home team. That's not to say the Mavs will get every call. But luck will be on their side tonight.

Will Dirk ever break out?

People questioned Dirk after Game 4 of the Suns series. And look what he did in Game 5. Dirk will come out throwing haymakers. Dropping bombs. And sticking his tongue out.

Who, besides the top 4, needs to step up?

I'd like to see Devin take players off the dribble and draw contact on Shaq. It's the Finals! Give up your body! I'd also like to see Damp and Diop to block a few shots. Most of all, I want KVH to hit one 3-pointer. Just ONE!

What's going to happen?

The free throw discrepancy will not be as big as it has in the past few games unless the Hack-A-Shaq is used (don't count that out). Dirk and Stack should play well. And the Mavs will double Wade randomly throughout the game.

Why are the Mavs going to win?

Look at the organization minus Avery and Cuban. Everyone is calm, cool, and collected. These guys know they made mistakes that cost them two games. They are taking accountability for it, too. I'm not saying Avery and Cuban are wrong, but the players have channelled anger that will spillover into the arena for Game 6.

Dirk drops 40.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Rebound, Run, Slam, and Jam

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The title says it all. Do you remember those old commercials? How could you not? They had Emmitt Smith singing it and someone else. It was absolutely pathetic, but I loved the commercial; still do. It's interesting that the things the Mavs can't do this series is what has cost them the past two games... rebounding, running, and finishing (slamming and jamming).

What does that mean? Well, I'll tell you what it doesn't mean. It does not mean that Ross Perot Jr. is an oracle who can see into the future that the Mavs need to rebound, run, and dunk. It does mean that the Mavs need to get back to basics. And let me tell you why that will happen.

AVERY

I've worked around professional sports teams before, and let me tell you two things that I learned. First of all, players, no matter how good or bad they are, absolutely hate to share a hotel room with a teammate. And Avery made them do just that. And not only are they sharing, he stuck the oddest pairs together. Dirk's with DA, 'Quis is with Pavel, Stack is with Diop, and I forget the rest. Why did Avery do this? Because the players were on vacation. Now, I'll be honest, I was pretty surprised by that. I thought the players would be all business in Miami. But I guess not. Apparently, they were out all night partying in South Beach, which is awesome, as long as you're not fighting in the NBA Finals. So, this new roommate arrangement is more about making players focus on the goal at hand and not a punishment. When Dirk wakes up and sees DA in the bed next to him, he'll remember what he's doing immediately.

The second thing I've learned from working around a professional sports team is that to change plans is a big deal. Travel and hotel plans for teams are set very precisely, and for a coach to change them takes a lot. That's not to say that he shouldn't have done it, but imagine the conversation Avery had. He essentially asked the team to dump thousands of dollars worth of plans and add sink thousands more into a different plan. I give a lot of credit to the team for following Avery's directions. I shouldn't expect any less because these guys are playing for a title. But what they did, changing plans on a dime is no small task. And it takes something to request it. We can just hope it works.


So how is Avery going to help the Mavs rebound, run, slam, and jam? He already did. These guys have been engulfed in basketball for the past two days. They have probably watched at least 20 hours of film. Dirk knows how bad he has been, and he's going to turn it around. Josh knows he needs to make more hustle plays. And the whole team knows it has to take less 3's.

As for their missing comrade. Yes, it may be ridiculous. And yes, he will be missed. But it's time for other guys to step up. I'm sick of seeing the same guys come out gunning. Dirk, Josh, JET, and Stack. I want 'Quis and KVH to step up and do something. Anything. Whether it's strip a ball or hit a 3, just something. Stack gave the Mavs the fire they need by laying out Shaq then getting suspended. These guys need to step up.

Collect missed shots. Sprint down the floor. And I can't believe I'm saying this. Play like Mavs Man.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

It's A Combination of Things...

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Let's recount how the Mavs lost Game 3...

  • Up 13 in the fourth quarter, the Heat come back to win.
  • Dwyane Wade scores 42 points and makes some insane plays on the way
  • Shaq and Udonis go 4-4 from the line when it matters
  • Dirk misses a crunch-time free throw
  • Every questionable call goes the way of the Heat

And yet, the Heat only win by 2 at home. All those things plus homecourt equals a squeaked out Heat win. So what's the big deal? Why are people freaking out? I just don't understand that.

I wrote the same thing after the Game 1 against the Suns. It took a series of events for the Suns to win that game, much like Game 3. This game was the exact same as another Game 1... of the Finals. Look at what the Mavs did in that game and compare it with this game.

There wasn't a single Mav who played well consistently. There were spurts where Howard had it going. There were spots where Dirk was playing well. Terry even had a few decent possessions. Look back to Game 1. Terry played the best, just as Dirk did in Game 3, but even Terry was held scoreless in the third quarter. No one was in sync in Game 1.

Also, the pace of the game was all for the Heat. The Mavs were flirting with 100, but as the game wore on, they appeared to be heading for the mid-90's. There was even a comeback and big run in Game 3, just like Game 1.

So, what was the difference? I'll preface this by saying that it was painful for me to see it against the Mavs. But Dwyane Wade is the man. Best player in the league. Hands down. Don't even argue with me. In Game 1, he didn't come alive, and he more than made up for it in Game 3. I'll stop kissing Wade's ass right now, but he was the difference.

Now it's time for me to get on my high horse, so if you're sick of me always being right, you may as well just close this window.

For all you Mavs fans who are freaking out about a Game 3 loss, stop it. Right now. Don't be ridiculous. Did you honestly expect the Mavs to sweep Wade, Shaq, Riley, and the hooligans out of the Finals? Of course not. The Mavs were going to lose at least 1, or 2, or 3 games in the series. I understand that we expect the Mavs to win every game, but don't forget about how good the Heat are at home. And don't forget that no matter what happens, the Mavs still have homecourt advantage.

And then there is the most overrated statistic in all of basketball. The Josh Howard stat. You know the one I'm talking about. 25-0. No more. And to be honest, I couldn't be happier. I hate a stat like that. It means absolutely nothing, and I've been very impressed with Howard's understanding of it. The reason why the Mavs were undefeated in all those games wasn't because Howard was scoring but because the team was in sync so well that a side-effect was Howard scoring 20 points. I compare that stat to anything in football such as the Bills are undefeated when Willis has over 30 carries in a game. Yeah, No &%$# When you're winning in football, you run the ball to eat clock. When you're offense is running well, Josh Howard scores points. The ultimate destination of both? A win. Bye-bye Josh Howard stat. It was a good run while it lasted, but it meant nothing.

So what should we expect in Game 4? How about more of the same? More Dirk. More Wade. Where can the Mavs improve? On consistency. Nobody is playing consistently well. You need proof? Read Tuesday's Dallas Morning News, which praised and featured Stack, only to give Mavs fans hope for Game 3 (4 points).

Let's watch the Mavs step on the Heat's collective neck and put them in a position to fight or die.

Mavs win.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Let's Prove 'Em Right

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Mavs up 2-0. They won each game by double digits. Game 2 was never in doubt after Stack made his grand re-entrance into relevancy. As Mavs fans, we should be happy; everyone is writing off the Heat, much the same way the Mavs have been written off for the past 25 years, more notably in the past 5. But as Mavs fans, we know one thing...

It's not over yet. How many times have the Mavs been written off and proved the critics wrong? Let's count the times in the past 5 years since the resurrection.

2001: Down 0-2 to Utah, the Mavs come roaring back to force Game 5. Then down 17 in Game 5, the announcers were talking about the Jazz/Spurs series upcoming. I guess Calvin Booth wasn't listening since he made the game-winning basket.

2003: Mavs blow 3-0 lead to Blazers, and most analysts didn't think the Mavs could gut out a victory to stop the bleeding. But they did. No love, though, after a Game 1 loss to the Kings the next series, especially since Kings owned Mavs last year and throughout the regular season. And then the Mavs won in 7.

2005: After drawing the Rockets in round 1, Rockets became hot upset pick in the first round. When the Mavs dropped first two games of series at home, I think I was among six people in the world who truly believed the Mavs would win the series. Does a 20-0 run in Game 3 ring a bell? Cap it off with a 116-76 smackdown.

2006: Mavs blow 3-1 lead to Spurs and head to San Antonio for Game 7. No one thought the Mavs could regroup. But they forgot one thing. It's the Mavericks. We know what happened in that game.

If you asked me what the Mavs do best, I would answer that They prove everyone wrong. They even proved my Dad wrong last night, twice. The first time when he said that he didn't like the way the game was going after the first quarter. In the 3rd quarter, he said that the Heat couldn't even make the game interesting. And that's my Dad. If you ask him, he's never wrong.

Well, for once, how about these Mavs prove everyone right. People are saying American Airlines Center saw its last Mavs game of the season last night. People are saying Shaq is D-U-N, DONE. People are saying the Heat are simply overmatched. Yeah, that could all be true, but we still haven't seen a game in Miami where the Heat are significantly better.

I have always preached about the importance of Game 3's. This game will tell us the direction of the series. If the Mavs win, it would take a catastrophic collapse to let the Finals get away (though not impossible). If the Heat win, they are only down 2-1. So it's time for the Mavs to listen to the radio and watch ESPN and don't take to heart what everyone is saying because we have seen too many times that they try to prove those guys wrong. The only problem that this time, they're right.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Twosies

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There are two schools of thought about the NBA Finals after a bizzare Game 1. Some people think that the Mavs are head and shoulders above the Heat; others think Shaq will come alive, and the Heat supporting cast will begin to come alive keeping the series within reach. Well, let me say this about that: The Heat were overmatched in Game 1, and everyone wearing red not named Dwyane Wade played terrible. So everyone is right... for now.

If you're in the Heat's camp, here is what you have to be worried about. Your team lost despite the two best players for the Mavs playing horribly. The most streaky player on the Mavs may have found a hot hand that is nearly impossible to guard. And the Mavs played pretty damn good defense on Shaq.

On the other hand, you can look at the games like this. Shaq missed nearly all of his free throws, a statistic that should even out over time. You still have another game to steal home court. Dwyane Wade should be 100 percent this time around.

But what about the good guys? There are two things to hope for.

1. Dirk bounces back in a big way. I'm not asking for 50 points because that's just special. Over 30? Is that too much? Dirk played pretty good defense in Game 1, but he was hounded on defense. If you think the Heat defense is going to hold Dirk to a poor shooting percentage for the entire series, you are terribly mistaken. Dirk is so good that he'll find a way around the defense. Expect a big Dirk game.

2. Stay with me on this one. I have been playing this shareware craps program on my computer. I wait for a hot roll and then I walk away. Sometimes the hot roll never comes, sometimes I have to wait, and sometimes it comes in a big way. For instance, I was down 60 bucks and the next thing I knew, I was up 600, playing $5 craps (unfortunately, it's not for real money). Next thing I know, seven comes out and my fun is over. Why is this relevant to the Mavs? Because JET is just like playing craps. You get the board all set up, and you just ride the streak. His second-half in Game 6 and entire Game 1 has been a good roll. So I'm pressing all my bets and hitting the numbers. So I want to press more because the streak is going well. It's just a matter of time before it ends, but you don't think about it. You don't even say the dreaded words; you just keep on pressing and rolling. And that's what JET's gonna do. He's gonna shoot 'til he misses. And when he finally does, he's going to reset. But for now, the Mavs need to ride this streak all the way to the bank.

If the Mavs win tonight, we still won't know anything about the series because the old rule is that a series doesn't start until a home team loses. It will be interesting to see what happens in Game 3.

As for what Alonzo Mourning said about the Heat coming with things that the Mavs would be unable to defend. I laugh in his face. Not because I don't think they can do it; it's because he sounded so insecure in his assessment. He was talking just to be heard. The only change Riley is going to make in Game 2 is give Walker less playing time as he proved ineffective in nearly every facet of the game and give Shaq a few more touches. The Mavs may have to work harder since it won't be 6-on-4 with Walker off the court.

Mavs will win.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I Never Thought I'd Be Typing These Words: Mavs Finals Preview

I just typed up this whole thing about the series and then my internet sh*t the bed, and I'm left with nothing. I hate my life. Actually, I should love it since the Mavs are in the Finals, and I'll be at Game 1. Let's see if I can recapture the magic of my first preview.

Miami has three factors on its side that could win the Championship for them.

SHAQ

Should I say anymore? Well, I'm not going to since I have to leave my house in 30 minutes to go to the game. But I will tell you one thing. People are saying Shaq will get up to play against Damp. Or to prove a point against Kobe. No, Shaq is going to play to win a title. That's it.

DWYANE WADE

Best player in NBA. Wanna fight about it?

EXPERIENCE

Too many guys on the Heat have been too close to winning a title. Not that many guys on the Mavs have that same feeling. You could argue Stack does, but he's never been nearly this close. KVH is the only Mav with Finals experience. And Dirk once made it to the Conference Finals. Payton has been to the Finals twice. Walker's been to the Conference Finals and is a perennial playoff loser. Mourning has been so close so many times.

That's what makes this team so much better than that Laker team with Malone and Payton. It's a group of guys who want to win with the top guy who REALLY wants to win. In LA, he was more concerned with showing up Kobe than winning a championship.

As for the Mavs...

DEPTH

Mavs go 10 deep. Heat go 8, 8.5 if you count Shandon Anderson. The Heat may have the best top 2, but there is a significant drop-off after that. Antoine Walker? Gary Payton? James Posey? White Chocolate? How about Howard, JET, Stack, Devin, 'Quis, Damp, Diop? Do I need to continue.

CONSISTENCY

The Heat rely on guys like Walker, Payton, White Chocolate, Udonis Haslem. Those guys are incredibly inconsistent. I'm not saying those guys are going to suck throughout the series. But there will be games where Walker is just jacking up 3's, where White Chocolate tries to be too dark, where Haslem can't hit a mid-range jumper, and where Payton turns from shadow of himself to shadow of his shadow.

Quick Note: If your championship hopes rely on Udonis Haslem hitting 18 foot jumpshots, good luck.

FATE

Eric Neel compared the Mavs to Sydney Bristow. I should have seen that too. I'm a HUGE Alias fan. I watched all the shows this past semester, and I even hooked up with Jennifer Garner once (before she was pregnant, I have pictures to prove it). My theme for the Mavs in the playoffs has been "Light 'em up Michael Vaughn style." That's fate. And then there's this.

The Mavs have had 2 big winning streaks this season. A 9 gamer in November. And then 13 game marathon in January and February. Who was the last team the Mavs beat before the streak ended in both situations? The Heat. I'm not putting much stock in the victories, but I do believe in fate. And I do think there is something to that.


So where does the edge lie? Well, it's all in homecourt. The Mavs have 4 games, including 1 and 7 at home. In a 2-3-2 format, Games 1 and 7 are the most important. Also, it's nearly impossible to beat a team, especially the Mavs, three straight times, like Miami must bank on doing to hold homecourt. So I wouldn't worry too much if the Mavs drop one at home as long as they win Game 5. Just to ease your mind, look at this:

Miami: 8-1 at home, 4-4 on road in playoffs
Dallas: 6-2 at home, 6-3 on road in playoffs

Good teams win on road. Even if they home-court advantage. Miami plays 4 games on the road, and statistics may tell you that they win 2 games, but they were 1-2 against a beaten Pistons team on the road. The Mavs, meanwhile, have closed out each series on the road. An accomplishment, to say the least.

So, what's my prediction? Well, I'm pretty biased, as I am a Mavs fan, and I do have tickets for Game 7. I hope it doesn't go 7, but at the same time, I hope it does.

Sorry this was so crappy. I swear my first one was awesome. This was just an abridged version of it.

Mavs in 7.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Jack Bauer Wears #41

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In case this ridiculous blog hasn't tipped you off, I absolutely Love these Dallas Mavericks. And if the title didn't give you a hint, I am about to bestow the greatest honor on the Mavs.

A comparison of the team to CTU, the fictional anti-terrorist organization on "24"

To me, it's crystal clear. Let's see if I can prove it to you, the common reader.

Here's how CTU works: Jack Bauer is their best agent, and he consistently gets results. Whether he's interrogating a terrorist by shooting him in the knee-cap to find out where the Secretary of Defense is being held hostage or becomes addicted to heroine to keep his cover in a Mexican drug cartel, Jack Bauer knows what to do to get the job done. But he does not act alone. The wokers at CTU do a great job of backing Jack up. There's Tony Almeida who is Jack's #2, and more importantly, he is the second biggest badass at CTU (he did get shot in the neck and came back to work 4 hours later in Season 3). Tony's wife, Michelle, has always helped save the world by revealing moles inside CTU or helping Jack when he goes rogue. In Season 3, Jack had a partner named Chase who got his hand chopped off to save LA. There have been numerous computer analysts who have helped along the way like Chloe, Edgar, Adam, and Milo. I didn't forget about the imposing black bruiser, Curtis, who could probably bounce a bullet off his chest. And of course, there is President Palmer, the level-headed leader of the free world.

(Note: I have not watched Season 5 yet, as I am waiting for it to come out on DVD so I can watch it all at once)

So how does this compare to the Mavericks? Well, unfortunately, I have not had the time in my busy summer to compare each Mav to a different CTU employee. But the obviousness lies in Dirk is the Mavs' Jack Bauer. If you want to stop CTU, you stop Jack Bauer just as you would if you were playing against the Mavs. But here's the thing about stopping CTU. Everytime Jack is helpless because he is either in deep cover or has to go off the map to stop the terrorists, his co-workers come through for him in the clutch, even under the most dire circumstances, like Tony jumping out of a hospital bed with a bullet lodged in his neck to save Jack's cover in Mexico. Or Michelle giving Jack a play-by-play of infrared satellite while he's running an off the books operation.

So what happens when Dirk has an off-night? He has Howard, JET, 'Quis, and even Stack to help him get out of his funk by keeping the Mavs in the game. The best thing about the Mavs is that the other guys put Dirk in a position to be great, just as everyone at CTU puts Jack in a position to be great. Where would Jack be without Tony, Michelle, Chloe, and President Palmer? And where would Dirk be without Howard, JET, Stack, and Avery?

Dirk and Jack Bauer may dominate their profession, but it's their co-workers who give them those domination opportunities. And they seize their moments.

But what about the moles that always seem to inflitrate CTU? My cousin, Dave, gave me two words to complete the comparison, Antoine Walker. That guy tried to ruin the Mavs, but they flushed the mole out and sent him to prison (AKA the Atlanta Hawks). Well, he broke out of prison and faces them in the Finals. And it's up to the Mavs to exact revenge.

Meet The Heat

For years, people have been saying that some series was the most important in Mavs' History. Well, this is it, bar none. And there is no better way to kick the series off than to introduce you to the Miami Heat who we have only seen twice this season.

For each player, I will give his playoff statistics and anything noteworthy, any Mav relation, and a personal comment.

Enjoy.


Derek Anderson #5 6'5 Guard/Forward
Stats: 3 ppg, 1.1 rpg, .6 apg, .25 spg, 5-14 from 3-point range
Mav Relation: Never played for the Mavs, but he did have his shoulder destroyed by Juwan Howard in the 2001 Playoffs causing controversy over whether or not Howard should have been suspended.
Personal Note: The guy has underachieved throughout his career and has battled through injuries. He hardly gets playing time, but he could be brought off the bench as a three point shooter since he can occasionally light it up.

Shandon Anderson #49 6'6 Guard/Forward
Stats: .8 ppg, .6 rpg, .1 apg, 0 spg, .11 bpg, has only attempted 7 shots in 9 games played
Mav Relation: Part of a three team trade that brough Mugsy Bogues to the Mavericks for a brief period.
Personal Note: World-class stiff, if you ask me. May get some playing time in finals since he's a G/F.

Earl Barron #30 7'0 Center
Stats: Not on playoff roster
Mav Relation: None
Personal Note: Only guy I know with a name consisting of two feudal titles

Michael Doleac #51 6'11 Center
Stats: 2.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0 apg, .14 spg, 0 bpg, hasn't left the bench since Game 2 of New Jersey series.
Mav Relation: None, the Mavs only had room for one terrible white center
Personal Note: Not much to say about Doleac except that he's the third center behind Mourning and Shaq, which means he rarely plays, and when he does, his teammates probably think he sucks because they compare him to two hall-of-famers. Tough life for Doleac.

Udonis Haslem #40 6'8 Power Forward
Stats: 9.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg, .9 apg, .38 spg, .44 bpg, commits 3.4 fouls per game
Mav Relation: None yet, but he will be remembered my Mavs' fans forever after this series.
Personal Note: My mom believes he looks like a criminal. I think he looks just plain mean. He's inconsistent offensively but can mix it up on the other end.

Jason Kapono #24 6'8 Small Forward
Stats: Hasn't played in playoffs
Mav Relation: None
Personal Note: This is the token white guy on the end of the bench cheering for his team to win. Hopefully, his white boy cheering is a pathetic attempt to get his team to win.

Alonzo Mourning #33 6'10 Center
Stats: 3.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, .2 apg, .2 spg, 1 bpg, 10.6 minutes per game, 1 kidney
Mav Relation: Mavs tried to woo him to come to Dallas after he left Miami, and he led the Mavs on Kurt Thomas stlye. Bastard.
Personal Note: I was always a 'Zo fan until the Mavs situation occurred; his life went downhill from there, forcing two trades instead of accepting a reasonable buyout. But I'll never forget his feud with Larry Johnson. Ah, the memories of a time when players who hated each other beat the hell out of one another, literally.

Shaquille O'Neal #34 7'1 Center
Stats: 20.1 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 1.3 apg, .47 spg, 1.71 bpg, 32.2 minutes per game, commits 3.65 fouls per game
Mav Relation: Mavs nearly had him in 1992 when they won the last game of the season, thus switching lottery positions with the Magic who received the first pick in the draft. 12 years later, Shaq wanted to come play for the Mavs, but Lakers refused to trade him inside the conference.
Personal Note: I've always been a big Shaq fan, and my love for Shaq went to a new level when I found out he was leaving messages on Cuban's answering machine when the Mavs were pursuing him saying things like "Hey, this is Jesse James. My wife wants to move to Dallas. Bring me down there." Absolutely hilarious. I hope he loses.

Gary Payton #20 6'4 Point Guard
Stats: 6.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1 spg, .18 bpg, nearly 38 years old playing 25 minutes a game
Mav Relation: None, but I'm sure there are stories
Personal Note: Has mediocre stats for someone who plays 25 minutes per game. People may say he lost a step, but I disagree. I think he's lost 2 steps.

James Posey #42 6'8 Guard/Forward
Stats: 7.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.1 apg, .69 spg, .13 bpg, 43% from 3-point range (63 of 83 attempts have been 3's)
Mav Relation: None
Personal Note: Wears high socks and is probably their best man off the bench. Can hit an open 3.

Wayne Simien #25 6'9 Forward
Stats: Has played 8 minutes in the entire playoffs.
Mav Relation: Mavs could have used pick traded in Pavel Podkolzin deal on Wayne Simien. Yeah, I'd also rather have a 7'5 project than a solid backup for Dirk. If only I made those future seeing glasses.
Personal Note: He's got a nice 'fro.

Dwyane Wade #3 6'4 Guard
Stats: 26.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 6.4 apg, 2.06 spg, 1.18 bpg, 51% from field
Mav Relation: None but will after this series
Personal Note: My favorite non-Mav and only person I'm not afraid to admit having a man-crush on. If I were to start an NBA team, I would pick this guy first because he's talented and humble enough to trust teammates. Most dangerous player on Heat. It's not going to be tough to root against him, but he so damn good.

Antoine Walker #8 6'9 Forward
Stats: 13.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.12 spg, .29 bpg, 34% from 3-point range (111 of 196 attempts are 3's)
Mav Relation: Played one season on the Mavs and single-handedly got the Mavs embarrassed by the Kings in the playoffs.
Personal Note: I can't stand this guy. He jacks up 3's, and he can't make them. He is more effective as a post up player. He's one of those players that when he's hot, he is willing to pass the ball, but when he can't find his shot, he'll shoot it all night long. Having said that, I am somewhat impressed that he has accepted third banana role in Miami.

Jason Williams #55 6'1 Point Guard
Stats: 9.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.6 apg, .71 spg, 0 bpg, 1.65 TO per game
Mav Relation: Player Sacramento gave up to get Mike Bibby who tortured the Mavs for 3 years.
Personal Note: Not many assists for starting point guard on a Pat Riley coached team, and he does have a pretty high assist-to-turnover ratio at nearly 2:1. Best thing about Williams? His nickname is the most racial one since de-segregation: White Chocolate.

Dorell Wright #1 6'8 Guard/Forward
Stats: Hasn't played in playoffs.
Mav Relation: None
Personal Note: I'm older than him by nearly 9 months!


So, there you have it, folks. Those are the Mav' opponents. I will use this as a base for my Finals preview which should be posted on Thursday afternoon.

Go Mavs!

Monday, June 05, 2006

How Sweet It Is?

Game 6. In Phoenix. Was there ever any doubt? Honestly, were you ever worried that the Mavs would lose Game 6 and any momentum and come home with mounds of pressure to knock off their former teammate? Ha, me neither! Not when the Suns were scoring at will. Not when the Mavs couldn't hit a shot. Not when JET and Devin got into foul trouble. Nope, not me. I was cool as a cucumber. You wouldn't have walked in the room seeing me try every superstition I could think of, including putting a sheet over my head so I couldn't see a damn thing. And yet the Mavs were still down by 12 at the half. The turning point of the game wasn't the Suns' third quarter foul trouble or JET going en fuego all over USAirways Center. Nope, on the other side of the country, in Philadelphia, the game turned around.

Ya see, I was watching the game with my buddy, Brett, while visiting him in Philly. When the score hit 60-45, Brett promptly got up and said, "I can't take this &#%$. I'm going to the bathroom." Let's just say that, well, extenuating circumstances kept him in the bathroom for longer than intended. By the time he came back, the Suns were in foul trouble, and Terry was playing JETball. The score was 66-62, and the Mavs were back. As Ryan put it after the game, "Brett took one for the team."

Am I that stupid to chalk up a trip to the NBA Finals to my friend in Philadelphia? Not even close. But you also don't see me writing a post about how far the Mavs come in their history, or at least in the history that I vividly remember (AKA anything after Jan. 1, 1995). I was sorely disappointed when I opened up the Morning News this afternoon and saw the feature about how great a trip to the Finals is for fans. May be I missed something, but the goal for the Mavs this season was to win a title. Yeah, it's fun to celebrate, but the job's not done yet. The job wasn't done after making it over the hump and beating the Spurs, and it's not done now. If the Mavs were to go lay an egg and get swept in 4, would we look back and smile on this season Of course not. And we would feel the same way if the Mavs were to lose in a heartbreaker in Game 7.

The point is that we, as fans, should be happy the Mavs are in the Finals, but be mindful that this is not the ultimate place to be. Players and coaches find out about what's said on talk radio, and they read the paper. We, as fans, have a responsibilty, albeit a small one, to let the team know that this was expected. Are we happy that the Mavs are in the finals? Absolutely. Are we gonna give them a free ride if they lose? Absolutely Not.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Brutality

I'm not sure if anyone is going to read this post before Game 6. I'm on assignment. Not really. I'm in Philadelphia, and I'm not going to sign onto AIM to make this link available. So if you are one of my 8 loyal readers and you see this before Game 6, you truly are loyal. Now about that Game 5...

It wasn't until the end of the fourth quarter that I finally put it all together. Reggie Miller became my favorite player after he torched the Knicks for 25 fourth quarter points in Game 5 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals. After understanding more about the game, I never thought I'd see such a performance again. And if you asked me on draft day 1998 if the goofy looking German guy the Mavs drafted could do the best Reggie Miller playoff impersonation, I would have laughed in your face. Look who's laughing now.

Did the 50 point game come out of nowhere? Sort of. Everyone knew he would bounce back. After scoring 13 in the first quarter, I was feeling 50 points. After a modest 28 through 3 quarters, I wasn't even thinking about 50. I was thinking about 3-2. And then the fourth quarter.

It actually began before the fourth quarter. That's not news to anyone. When Avery called the timeout at 77-70, I was pissed. The Mavs were letting their greatest opportunity get away from them, and the catalyst was a player stuffed full of steroids in Tim Thomas. The Mavs' body language was pathetic; they looked beaten. During that timeout, all I could think about was how good of friends Dirk and Steve Nash are. I wondered how much Dirk really wanted to beat his best friend, or if he felt bad for Steve and lost the killer instinct he had throughout the season. Thankfully, I was wrong.

50 points? By a Mav? That's unheard of. The best thing I heard about Dirk's performance was from Dee Brown who said that Dirk should be proud of having the Mavs' playoff franchise record because of all the great scorers before him like Mark Aguirre and Rolando Blackmon. Yeah, those guys were good players, but Dirk just catapulted himself into the unquestioned top 5 players in the league with Kobe, Lebron, Wade, and Duncan. I dare you to argue with me that there is a better player than any of those 5.

About this upcoming Game 6... The last closeout post I had was about James Bond. This one is a little different, however, I still have a poor comparison. Game 5 was a beatdown game because of the point margin and the fact that a player dropped 50 on them. The Suns may not care about defense, but everyone cares if a player goes for half a hundred, even the Suns. So after taking it on the chin in Game 5, the Suns feel the wooziness that happens after defeating an opponent in Mortal Kombat. All I can hear are those famous words. Let's all say it together.

FINISH HIM!

Let's see it. I want to see blood, guts, a decapitated Shawn Marion, and all of Tim Thomas' muscles ripped out of his body. Game 6 isn't going to take a 50 point game from Dirk or even 9 dimes from JET. No, Game 6 is going to take hustle and defense. And the Mavs are riding high, and they taste the Finals.

Mavs Win.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Beginning of the End... For The Suns

Do you want to know why I write this damn blog? Because I can release frustration. It's that plain and simple. I get so upset after a stink bomb the Mavs drop that I need to do something. And since I have only recently been turned away from domestic abuse, I find writing very therapeutic. So here is what I have to say about Game 4.

By far the worst game played all season. I don't think you could ask for a more poorly played game. The only two guys who were contributing offensively were Josh Howard and Adrian Griffin. Yes, Adrian Griffin. Now, Griff can be a great offensive contributor if, say, the Mavs are clicking on all cylinders. But when Griff goes coast-to-coast and is not passing to an open, yet ice cold, Dirk, then your offense is ineffective. The Mavs were fighting the yips all game, and when they couldn't get on a run at the end of the 3rd, they just mailed it in. Very un-Mavlike.

So the Mavs played a terrible game. Big Deal. Every team plays terrible games, and superstars are not exempt from going cold. Ask Dwyane Wade or Shaq against the Bulls. It happens, and the best you can hope for is a regroup and a concentrated team effort. And it appears the Mavs are ready.

They were due for a bad game. And to be honest, it couldn't have come at a better time. They hadn't played that poorly in a playoff game yet this year, and I think they may have forgotten that in the playoffs, there is no such thing as an off night. So losing a road game and still maintaining home-court advantage isn't the worst thing in the world.

Look for the Mavs to come out firing. And not only on offense. I'm talking hard fouls and a lot of forced turnovers. And, I can't believe I'm going to say this. I currently have a gun to my head as I'm typing this with one hand.

Jerry Stackhouse will have a monster game.

Yes, the same Jerry Stackhouse that I bashed a few days ago on this site, and the same one who I constantly compare myself to when I make a dumb move on the court. Stack will come back with a vengance.

And Dirk is an obvious pick as well.

Mavs go up 3-2 and put the Suns on the ropes. Michael Vaughn style.