That, is a very, very nice win. It can change the course of a road-trip completely, and frankly, it might not have been totally deserved.
Whatever the case, the Mavericks hung tough, got just enough stops at the end, some favorable officiating (including one butchered call) , and leave Sacramento with another win. It is the sixth win in eight trips to Arco Arena, and the Kings 4th straight loss overall.
What a wildly entertaining game, in which Dirk once again dominated at times. He continues his MVP bid, despite not being voted a starter to the All-Star game. The Kings have really evolved with their personnel. But like the Mavericks, those on the outside are not sure it is for the better. Gone are Vlade, Christie, with Hedo Turkoglu, Jim Jackson and Keon Clark coming off the bench, and injured is Bobby Jackson (again). Meanwhile, Cutino Mobley and Brad Miller certainly lend quality to their unit, but I find it debatable whether or not they are any better as a complete squad. They just don’t scare you as much. Nor do they seem as capable to drop a 17-2 run on your head in the crucial juncture of the game like they may have a few seasons back.
It kind of reminds you how difficult it is to get a title. Many assume that a team wins a ring “if it hangs around long enough”. The Kings might be a fine example of that being false. Maybe the Philadelphia Eagles are, too. The Utah Jazz of the 90’s is another. Rings are hard to get, and sometimes you can construct the most talented team in the league, and 5 years later all you have to show for it are some nice wins in the regular season.
Of course, will the Mavericks look back at Dirk’s career the same way? Or, has this Mavericks roster been adjusted enough to cure what ails them? Erick Dampier sure looks like a difference maker now. Even if he did goal-tend that Mobley lay-up, at least now the Mavericks have a player that will contend a shot in the final minute. The way this team plays on the road really encourages me. On the other hand, the way this team plays the cream-puffs at home really discourages me.
The good news is that it appears we have a team worth watching, because with the NFL gone, and the NHL dead, we need some good hoops this spring. Let’s hope they have a play-off run in them.
Read this from Al Stachan …He is dead on…
More than five years ago, in Dallas, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said, "I assure you when the times comes, and we need a new collective bargaining agreement, we will have a system that is sensible and will enable all our clubs to be competitive."
He also said, "I believe we have to have a league, long-term, where all teams are competitive and all teams can at least break even, if not make a profit."
The NHLPA's Dec. 9 proposal provided that system.
But by then, Bettman had moved the goal posts. Now he would no longer accept a system that was "sensible". Now it had to be foolproof.
Now, it was no longer good enough to have a system where teams "can" make a profit.
Now, it had to be a system where teams "must" make a profit.
But still, the PA kept saying what it had said all along. Even Daly knows their stance. As he said yesterday, "The union is never, ever, ever, ever under any circumstances, prepared to play under any kind of cost-certain economic partnership, salary cap -- you pick the term -- and as long as that continues to be their position, it's going to be difficult for us to resolve."
It wouldn't be that difficult to resolve if Bettman was willing to accept what he originally said he wanted. In the early stages of these negotiations, he steadfastly refused to use the term "salary cap" and chastised those who did.
…Maybe, somewhere far down the road, the PA will have to give in. Perhaps it will finally say, "Okay Gary, you've got your salary cap."
But by then, what will Bettman have attained? He will have ruined the future of the league's strong franchises and cost the competent owners hundreds of millions of dollars of profit. And for what? To make the world safe for the idiot owners in the group, the ones for whom a "sensible" system is not good enough.
If/when the NHL dies, at least the fact that Goodenow and Bettman will no doubt be fired will be a consolation…
Bernard Hopkins takes his shots at D McNabb …
Steelers have some cap questions to answer …
Revo wants voters to show their ballots …Sounds quite reasonable…
Race season begins tonight on Fox at 7 …
Above, Shaune Bagwell tattoos her cleavage …I kid you not…