But, in this case, myopia may be good. Saturday Night is crucial. The Mavericks have the Spurs on the run, and they also have them doubting for the first time ever against Dallas. So, if ever there was a time to assert dominance and be as ruthless as an assassin, 7pm Saturday night will be a fine time to do so.
Expect the Spurs to throw everything in the world at them tomorrow night. And if the little Mavericks can stand up to that and protect the house, then Dallas fans have nothing to concern themselves with.
Mavericks circle the wagons and prepare for the assault …
"We're at home," Johnson said. "We know that doesn't guarantee a win. So I'm going to really look at our players' body language. It was OK in practice. It's going to have to be better tomorrow. We know we're probably going to get a better game from them. But we got to be better."
The same sort of determined effort the Mavericks had in their Game 2 win in San Antonio is exactly what Johnson expects from the Spurs on Saturday. The Mavericks must be ready for it or the same sort of blowout that San Antonio suffered could befall Dallas.
"With the Spurs, you can never relax," Dirk Nowitzki said. "They won 63 games. Good teams win on the road. We showed it in Game 2.
"To me, home court doesn't mean that much if you play great teams because if you have a great defense and are tough, you can win on the road. We have to keep attacking."
Therein lies the key. Thursday was spent not worrying so much about what San Antonio will do differently after losing at home for the first time in the playoffs, but addressing the still-plentiful problems the Mavericks had in Game 2.
The Mavericks weren't flawless, Johnson said. But if the scale of their worst game of the season to their best game ranges from 1 to 100, Tuesday's was 100.
"That was pretty sharp on both ends," Nowitzki said. "But we've been battling consistency all season long."
Nick the Quick vows to impact Game 3 …
"I just need to take the shots that are good shots," he said. "I'm not being aggressive enough. I'm passing first and attacking second. I've got to get my mind frame right going into the game, and that (shooting) will take care of itself.
"Four for 23? I'm not concerned about that. I haven't had good looks, so I'm not really concerned about that at all."
Van Exel says it has been difficult adjusting to sporadic playing time with the Spurs. Too often, he said, he has played "like a robot."
"I'm going out there and being aggressive when I'm out there, no matter how much time it is," he said. "I say that very easily, but most nights, I don't do that. I just go out there and play like a robot.
"On Saturday I'm going to go out there and just play."
It will be easier knowing he won't have to look over his shoulder for Javie, whom Van Exel contends once called him a "miserable person" while ejecting him from a game in 2001.
Meanwhile, in pucks The Ducks complete the sweep of the Avs …
The Mighty Ducks are a team that exemplifies what it takes to be successful in the New NHL. Speed, and lots of it, is Anaheim's strength. The Avs were not a slow team, but were made to look it by the Ducks, who never gave Avs skaters any time or space to make decisions with the puck.
The Avs put 41 shots on Anaheim goalie Ilya Bryzgalov in Game 4, many of them high quality. But only one puck went in, and the Avs' 0-for-5 showing on the power play was a final act of futility. Colorado's power play was 0-for-24 in the series.
0-24 on the power play? Sure fooled Stars fans.
Was it Theodore’s fault? …Sieve.
He wasn't good enough to carry an overmatched team, which is what the Avalanche was in this series. That was obvious long before the Avalanche season-ending loss Thursday night - so obvious that much of the discussion over the past few days already (and justifiably) had taken on post-mortem tones.
"I felt better every game," Theodore said. "In the playoffs, there are a lot of details. As a team, you have to play well on the (power play and penalty kill) and defensively and offensively."
Did his teammates, including his defensemen, let him down?
"No, no, not at all," Theodore said. "You have to give credit sometimes to the other team. Look at the way Anaheim beat Calgary. I knew it was going to be hard. I thought our guys did everything we could, and we left everything on the ice."
After the Avalanche acquired the then-injured Theodore in March, some players interpreted the move as a sign that Pierre Lacroix was making a bold move to bolster Colorado's chances of making a run deep into the playoffs this season.
I'm not sure it was that at all. There were no 100 percent guarantees that Theodore would recover from his fractured heel in time to play, and even if he did, how could anyone know that he could shake off the rust and the mental baggage his terrible play at Montreal this season added to his already extensive collection of potential distractions.
Sure, Lacroix wasn't giving up on this year. He hoped that Peter Budaj would hold down the fort and that the Avalanche indeed would make the playoffs and perhaps even a run, but the Theodore deal was made for the next two seasons. Theodore will take up $5.3 million of the Avalanche's available salary cap figure in each year, and that's significant now because risks no longer are just about budgets but about percentages of the cap.
The Boys blog looks at Tuna’s regrets …
Cole Ford’s incredible journey …including the attempted shooting of Siegfried and Roy's house….
Former Raiders kicker Cole Ford, who has been hospitalized for mental illness, pleaded guilty Thursday to shooting at the home of entertainers Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn in 2004.
Ford, who last kicked for Oakland in 1997, agreed to a felony plea that could result in a suspended sentence of one to six years in a Nevada prison if he continues mental-health treatment at a center near his family's home in Tucson, Ariz.
"We've come a long way with Mr. Ford, and he's doing terrific," Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass said as she addressed Ford's mother, Amy Ford, in the courtroom gallery. The judge, who last year sent Ford to a state mental-health facility in Sparks, also signed an order allowing a mother-son jail visit.
The latest on the $7500 baseball card …
But Gordon's card, which was mistakenly released in limited numbers by Topps, sold last week for $7,500 on Internet auction site eBay. Pretty impressive considering Gordon, a top Kansas City Royals prospect, is playing Double-A ball in Wichita, Kan.
"It's crazy," Gordon said Thursday. "I'm in shock at the price and still don't believe it.
"I think sometime soon I should give Topps a call and see if I can get one, just to put it in a frame."
Rick Sutcliffe vs. Beer …
But for possibly chemically enhanced and definitely slurred rambling, as reported by the Associated Press, Rick Sutcliffe's surprise appearance in the San Diego Padres' booth during a local telecast Wednesday night will stand the test of time.
At one point, talk turned to Sutcliffe's daughter.
Sutcliffe: ``She's on her way to Africa tomorrow. How about that? Over there on one of those missions, man. George Clooney -- you been reading about all that, you been seeing that?''
Announcer Matt Vasgersian: ``George Clooney?''
Sutcliffe: ``Yeah, he's up there with the Congress, he's trying to get everybody to go over there and solve that thing.''
Later, to analyst Mark ``Mud'' Grant: ``Mud, you're the best, man. Anybody on Earth that doesn't like Mark Grant, they've got problems.''
And to Vasgersian: ``Matty, what are you still doing here in San Diego?''
And to Vasgersian, who had tried to change the subject: ``No, no, no, Matty -- everybody on Earth has been trying to steal you -- the Dodgers, the Cubs, ESPN. What are you still doing here?''
Voice in the background, as Sutcliffe goes silent: ``They turned it off.''
Liverpool fights for The FA CUP Saturday Morning…
The Football Association Challenge Cup, commonly known as the FA Cup, is the main "knockout" cup competition in English football, run by and named after The Football Association.
The FA Cup is the oldest football competition in the world, commencing in 1872 (the Scottish Cup beginning a year later in 1873). As such, its reputation as the sport's premier domestic cup competition extends around the world. Because it involves clubs of all standards playing against each other, there is great scope for "giant-killers" from the lower divisions to eliminate top clubs from the tournament. A record 674 teams have entered the FA Cup in 2005-2006. In comparison, the League Cup, a lower prestige English football knockout tournament, can involve only the 92 respective members of the Football League (which organises the competition) and the FA Premier League.
Many nations also have similar competitions, inspired by this legendary tournament.
Arsenal are the current holders of the trophy, although they were eliminated from the 2005-2006 Cup by Bolton Wanderers. The 2006 final will be between Liverpool and West Ham United.
The Game is 8am Central Saturday Morning on PPV. And yes, Bob and Brett Sturm will both be in our jerseys.
Incidentally, this is one of only two games of significance before the World Cup next month. The other game is the Champions League Final Wednesday, the 17th, when Arsenal tries to take down mighty Barcelona and the best player in the world, Ronaldinho . And that game, unlike this one is on free tv (ESPN2HD)…