The Mavericks, unlike the local hockey team, decided to begin their playoff run during Game 1 of their series. Looking comfortable throughout, they did a fine job of setting the tone in against Memphis, and proving that while the Grizzlies will no doubt be competitive, they just don’t seem to have the horses to keep up through 48 minutes or 7 games.
Notes from Opening Night:
• Let’s start with the man who can frustrate when things don’t go right, but if Erick Dampier plans on playing like that in the playoffs (12 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks) then Dallas can plan on a lengthy run. He was active, he was emotional, and he was incredibly effective. Before we hang a banner for him, though, let’s remember he does this every so often. I will be curious to see if we can expect this from him as a matter of routine in the playoffs, but for now, props on game 1.
• Devin Harris returned, and played reasonably well. But the highest grades must go to Marquis Daniels in the backcourt. His play on defense was timely, as was Adrian Griffin. This team cranked it up a notch for the playoffs and it appears that every loose ball is a top priority for the home team.
• Dirk was dominating. Very MVP-like. I apologize for suggesting Pau Gasol is a “poor man’s Dirk”. Gasol’s game does not seem to offer the lethal 23 footers that make Dirk un-guardable. He tried just 12 and made just 3 3-pointers all year. And, somehow, Gasol has no idea how to counter being guarded by Dampier. Seems like Dirk struggles against small forwards like Tracy McGrady, but never a center. Gasol may be the better passer, but that is about it.
• What is with Gasol’s beard? Is there anyone that thinks that is a good idea? Not saying he is struggling in the girl department, but if he is, I have a suspicion what that is all about.
• And while we are wondering what people are thinking, what is with the old dude in the first row who is at every Mavericks game and insists on wearing his hair in the gayest fashion possible? If you know who I am talking about, then you know who I am talking about. But, if you don't, picture a dude with grey hair and pig tails one night, and a full fledged "80's hairdo on a highschool girl" look the next. He is rich, because he is in the front row, and he is there every game for the last several years, but someone needs to tell him what we are all thinking so he can reel it in a tad. Look for him right across the court from Avery Johnson in Game 2.
• If you read my work, you know my love for Dirk. But, this team needs Jerry Stackhouse almost as much as him, because without Stack, you don’t have the grit and gut to be willing to enter into a street fight if the other team wants to go that route. Last year, Stackhouse was ready to roll with any Rockets who wanted to dance, and the same goes for last night with Memphis when Eddie Jones or Shane Battier wanted to get physical. I love what Stack does to compliment Dirk’s weaknesses.
• Bobby Jackson might be good, but he is on my annoying list after calling Dirk the “softest in the industry”. Evidently, he thinks he is better than he is.
• Is it possible that we have found the new reigning “most white guys in the league team”? For a second, I thought Don Nelson was their GM.
• Not sure I have ever seen a team out-rebound another team 24-6 in the first half. Also not sure I have ever seen a team shoot over 60% in a half and still be well behind. It was an odd game 1, but a fairly simple Mavericks victory.