Saturday, May 21, 2005

Game. Set. Match.

11 seconds. Up 3, with 11 seconds to go. How many mistakes did they make with 11 seconds left in regulation time?

1) They did not foul Nash on the inbounds and insure he would not get a 3 off. This one is debatable, because I think I would have just opted for tight defense on the 3. Get a stop and the game is over, so despite this being a mistake, I cannot say I had huge issues with it.

2) They did not defend the 3 at all. How Jason Terry allows Nash to get free is inexcusable. You could not let that happen. Anyone but Nash. Anyone.

3) They inbounds the ball before the timeout. That means you cannot have the ball at half court after the timeout, which led to mistake 4.

4) Somehow, after Avery is waving Stackhouse to get it over the time-line and then call timeout, Stackhouse either ignores or misunderstands, because there is no timeout. Which leads to mistake 5.

5) Stackhouse, with admittedly very little time to decide, opts to take the shot himself, despite the fact that he was 2-10 from the field at the time, and had not hit a jump shot. The ball needed to go to either Terry or Dirk, but Stack felt it, and the game went to overtime.

5 mistakes, 11 seconds. Season Over.

I don’t know what to say about Nash and Nowitzki. Nash was amazing on so many levels; it is flat out impossible to describe his accomplishments in the last 3 games in particular. He might have been further fueled by his exit from Dallas, but to be offended is not unique in this sports world. But to level your revenge in such unmistakable fashion is seldom seen. He made Mark Cuban, his former mates, and this entire city pay for every doubt that was ever levied.

Then, Dirk. I shake my head in disbelief about the big German. He is easily my favorite metroplex athlete to watch, and I defend him at every turn. I have so many mixed emotions about him right now, I feel like I need a cooling down period before I make any snap-judgements. But, the yelling and pouting on the court has got to stop. Especially, if you are going to play at a level below perfect. You must be flawless if you are to show up a teammate in the battle. He has not been. It is not lack of effort. Rather, it may be trying to be something he is not. But I am sad to report that there can no longer be discussions of his spot in the Top 5 players in the sport. Sorry. He might not have been in the top 5 players involved in Mavericks playoff games. McGrady, Nash, and Amare are automatics. Then, Yao, Howard, Marion, and Dirk fight for the other two spots.

And, what exactly was that turnaround 3 pointer with :11 left in overtime? You had time to find a good shot. He panicked, and fired a ridiculous prayer, and the last chance slipped away.

So, now what? We will have plenty of time to sort through it, and I will begin to do so shortly, but this team has to ask questions about what future, if any, some of these players have with the team. What do you do with Michael Finley? Can Marquis Daniels and Devin Harris play? How do you shake this soft mentality? What is your PG situation? So much to sort through.

But in the end, this team could not overcome the coaching upheaval, nor the inconsistency of virtually every member of the team. A quality team for sure, but one that ended its season about where it deserved to end it. Not good enough. Back to the drawing board, Mr Cuban.


Lone Star Dead said...

Dirk needs to quit whining EVERY time up and down the court and do something productive! Calling out your own teammates is one thing when you can back it up but embarrassing when you yourself don't deliver. I assume the whispers that we were beginning to hear comparing Dirk to Larry Bird are forever laid to rest...Dirk can't carry Bird's jock! So now I guess Cuban can go and do what he has done every year...turn over 75% of roster and see what happens next year. The requirement that Cuban has for instant gratification will not be successful in this is chemistry that evolves amongst quality players that win championships and Cuban doesn't have the formula nor patience to make it happen. Wait till next year is the mantra around here!

Observer said...

I still think Avery is an enormous positive. I'd be glad to take these same guys into the playoffs next season with a year of Avery's coaching. Surely they could always use more authority in the paint, better defense, but I think these same guys could do that with the proper coaching.

Well, except for Bradley.

I wouldn't go nuts over Nash. Phoenix overpaid for him, but at the same time, he was obviously a *perfect* fit for them, so maybe they were smart to overpay him. But they could still lose to San Antonio and Nash could start to fade next year or the year after, and Phoenix will be in a salary bind.

After watching all of these Dallas games, I have to say it is a real jolt to watch anything in the East. They just look flat-out *MEAN* when anyone tries to abuse the paint like Phoenix did to Dallas. But the thing is, their guys aren't built any differently than our guys. They just need the kind of attitude that I hope Avery can instill in them.

Andy Douthitt said...

I'm already hearing it... Dirk and Daniels for Garnett? I've got tired head already and we are 10 or so hours into the offseason... I have been around the block about the Nowitzki force over this franchise on the court. It has been 7 yrs and have we seen what he really is? A nice player with great skills for a big man that are so unique.. But will the Jordan fire ever burn in him? I am so frustrated at our German.. McGrady owned him in Rnd. 1, Nash owned him in Rnd. 2.. The fact is we have maybe seen the peak of Dirk's play and we are stuck with what it is.. Great, obviously, but great enough for a deep title run? Not so much. A few more facts about our Mavs: horrible defense when it matters, can't defend the perimeter.. that's it. good effort from our team this playoff run, but we are missing something that a team needs to be champions. When does Cowboy training camp start....

Ryan Welton said...

Andy - right on. I'd do Dirk and Daniels for Kevin Garnett. Absolutely. I think that basketball fans fail to recognize what is becoming more and more to be an absolute truth:

With the exception of Hakeen Olajuwon, who was from Nigeria, foreign players without American pedigrees (and, heck, Hakeem played ball at U of Houston) are soft with a capital 'S.' Look at Amare play, and the look at Dirk.

I have never, ever, ever thought Dirk was a Top 5 player in this league. Top 25, yes. However, his on-the-court antics over the past few weeks turned me into a guy who doesn't believe in his potential anymore. He is Detlef Schrempf Jr.

With that said, I am not convinced Avery Johnson is the right coach. His performance was teetering on below average, in my book, for the playoffs and, personally, I just don't see that executive brio that other coaches have.

Who then? Does it matter?

Mark Cuban would be greatly served to learn a couple of NBA truths if he wants to guide us to a title:

1. Get off the Euro.
2. Get off the big white guy.



john said...

Did Avery have to win this series to stay put?

Phil jackson in town by the end of this week? yeah, I thought so also.

MR said...

Bob, your exactly right, this is the 5th best team in the NBA. Nothing to be ashamed of, but also distictly not championship caliber. I wonder if 3 or 4 games into the SA/PHO series, we will be saying,"how can the spurs keep nash out of the lane like that." Time will tell but a few weeks ago we were saying how Tracey Mcgrady was the best thing ever, and now its Nash. so is it the player or the defense. If the mavs would have won this series you probably would be saying the same thing about MANU here in a week or two. So back to the drawing board for the little Mavs.

MR said...

MR.....said about post.

Adam said...

The sick feeling I had from late in the third quarter on last night is starting to lessen a little. Not much, but a little.

The only two positives that I think we can take out of this series:

1) Dirk seemed to have learned how to pass a little. I don't know where it came from, but it seemed that his court vision and decision-making with the ball took a huge leap forward. He's not Sabonis or Vlade, but he seems to have be making huge strides in this department.

2) Josh Howard is the real deal. He solidified himself as the second-best player on the team, and those Scottie Pippen comparisons don't seem so ridiculous. I can't wait to see if he makes The Leap next season.

Anonymoose said...

So, we want to give away Dirk so he can come in and do what Nash did? Let's keep the team the same, let's get a center that can palm a basketball and dunk from two feet out, and let's get a point guard. If you keep a core group together, maybe you will learn to have some pride, and punch a guy like Amare in the throat when he starts dunking on you, or throw Steve Nash into the first or third row when he goes in for a lay-up. I want to see these guys nut up, and play.

Anonymous said...

Dirk is getting bashed in the media over his "crying" game. Losing to Nash hit him hard. Dirk is still learning how to be the leader on and off the court. On and off the court he has to stop or change the way he is getting after teammates (especially players he doesn't like that replaced his buddy Nash in Terry and Damp). On the court, he has to become a better passer and the offense has to evolve to adapt to the Dirk double team. He can't improve too much on defense physically but he has to learn to be a smarter defensive player. Dirk will no doubt work on some of this in the off season and be better next year.
As for Nash, take it as far as you can dude. You've worked so hard and have been criticized your whole career. This year you had to prove you're worth $65 mil. So far you have. You're 6'3'', Canadian, got a bad hairdo, and no doubt the most valuable player in the league this year. You've been here before in the Western Conference finals. This is basically the same Spurs you faced a couple years ago but you've now got different weapons. Good Luck.

Disco Stu

Ryan Welton said...

Anonymoose - Dallas needs a floor leader, a floor general. It was never my idea to get rid of Nash in the first place. However, I believe now - or I should say, my suspicions are in tact after this series - that Dirk will never be the heart-and-soul type of leader this team needs.

Not a knock on him. He will always be better as the No. 2 guy, which he really was behind Nash all those years. Some guys play better in a supporting role. Some players step it up when all the pressure is on somebody else.

I really don't want us to lose the guy. It's very knee-jerk to suggest we should start dismantling the team. So, I think you're right. However, I tend to agree with Rick Barry, who was on The Ticket earlier this week, and said that Dampier is misunderstood as a player. I agree.

We can look to Finley's disappearing act, and to Terry's woeful 4th quarter defense. In the end, I think your solution is pretty much spot on. However, I would encourage all of us to recognize or admit that Dirk might be best served as a No. 2 guy. That we might ought to consider a Garnett, a Kobe, a Duncan - whoever we can get in that upper tier to be our floor leader.

We might have to get rid of Dirk to do it, but - c'mon - couldn't we all come up with a list of 20-25 guys we'd rather have than Dirk? Amare, anyone???


kukheart said...

I will give Dirk a pass for the time being. Fin has got to go, it will be sad, but it will be worth it.

Anonymous said...

Those last 11 seconds were sickening to watch. Bob, I couldn't agree more. It is unacceptable to not contest an open shot to one of the deadliest shooters in the game. I don't know what was going through the heads of Terry, Dirk, and Stackhouse. None of the decisions made any sense to me, and I'm still strug-uh-ling to come to terms with what happened there. If Dirk could have gone into overtime and poured in 12-15 points, taken a better shot with the clock rolling down, he has every right to be upset. I have no doubt that the guy puts in 100% effort, but take a lesson from Nash, and lead by example a bit more.

Is there any liklihood of the Mavs getting Ray Allen here. Maybe package Seattle native Jason Terry, Daniels, and Van Horn? It might be ridiculous, but I think Allen wants out of Seattle, and the Mavs could use a guy like him, which would also ease the transition of Fin to the bench. This of course would mean that Devin Harris has to be the man at the point or you have to work out a deal for another veteran.

By the way, that was one hell of an FA Cup finals match this morning....

Robert Bentley said...

Okay. 24 hours later, I hope we can all realize that it's still entirely too early to give up on Dirk. He's 25, for crying out loud. This year (in the regular season, at least) he came very close to taking that crucial step from good to great player. Stevie is currently taking that step... at age 31. Let's remember that when Stevie was Dirk's age, he was considered a marginal NBA player, and now he's in the process of punching his ticket to the Hall of Fame. That fire that burns in all great players is burning in Nash this year because he's mad about being slighted by the Mavs. There's nothing to indicate that losing to his best friend won't instill the same fire into Dirk. Of course, it's going to be 11 months before we can get that question answered. It's up to us and Cuban to exhibit the patience required of championship-caliber fans.

Andy Douthitt said...

I want to make this clear... Dirk leaving may not be the answer. You have to look at it from a business standpoint.. Would there be anyone to want him? yes. Would what we get in return be worth it? probably not.. from a money standpoint and just who is out there, this is not a realistic deal anyway.. so..I think that if we keep this team intact for an entire season we can be alright (we need a consistent Damp both in the brain and on the court). by the way, we don't need to get rid of Fin. one, who wants him and where would he go at his age and his worth? nowhere. you just shorten his minutes a game, but you give him the respect of finishing his career as a mav because he was the one that started this climb up to elite team status anyway back in the day. defense and point guard is a major concern because jet doesn't play defense and he is a shooting guard, not a point. our defense is still horrible when it matters. i am throwing this out.. can Cubes leave it as is? is that the right way to go? do they really trust damp in the longrun? will Bradley be still a cancer on this team next year? will Avery, Daniels, and Harris ever see eye to eye? we shall see ....

Koyotee said...

Dallas lost to the "Best" team in the league. Phoenix was built for the regular season, not unlike Dallas teams in years past but their game will struggle against teams built for the playoffs. I mean do you really think the Suns can get by the Spurs. Dallas was just an example of a team clearly with both hands around their own throat. Choke...... It was a good season, maybe next year the team will get further in the playoffs with more time for the team to play together. Oh yes, bring Garnett in here to lead the Mavs just like he leads the Wolves. With our luck if we did trade Dirk for Garnett, Dirk would probably get MVP and a NBA title.

Anonymous said...

Hope you didn't break a knee cap or tear an acl during the
post game show. your top 5 players in the
NBA? Shaq, Kobe, Duncan, Garnett, T-Mac? The only top 5-er
to win a championship with out another top 5-er on his team
lately is Duncan. Shaq had Kobe and vice versa. Now Shaq
has Wade. Where r T-Mac and Yao? Garnett? LeBron? Kobe?
After Nash and co. lose to the Spurs what will they have
proved. Nothing the Mav's haven't already done, lose to the
Spurs in the Conference Finals. Let's evaluate Dirk's
Terry-a "tweener" who couldn't stick with the Hawks
Damp-a center from Golden State, a team that decided
Adonal Foyl is a better player and the rest of the league
allowed to sit on the free agent scrap heap for months.
Finley-an apparent past his prime jump shooter(a-la Steve
Smith a few years ago).
Howard-29th pick in the draft-no doubt he is a solid-but
young and prone to stupid fouls and a ball hog on the break.
Stack-let's be real, your opinion not withstanding, a
complete spare with Detroit and the Wiz. Have you heard the
glowing remarks from Doug Collins and M.J. He's a poor mans
Iverson(it's not how many you make, it's how many you take).

Am I being a little hard on the cast? Sure, but after you
and Skin got done undressing Dirk I thought I might try to
help put his clothes back on. By the way, Shaq and Kobe
lost last year. How does that happen? Shaq and Wade might
lose this year. So what is your gauranteed road to
success? Duncan. Who else. Name names and let's start
counting rings. I'll put Dirk's playoff victory total
against anyones outside of Duncan's, Shaq and Kobe excluded
due to the 2 5-er rule. Come back from the ledge Sports
Sturm and let's realize how slim the odds r of winning a
championship and be glad Dirk gives us a chance every year.
That's more than I can say for Garnett, T-Mac, etc.
Cum si Cum sa--Ryan