Thursday, May 25, 2006

Game 1: Suns 121, Mavs 118 (1-0)



Game 1 is very similar to Game 1 of the San Antonio series: The Mavericks let one get away. Except this was way worse because when you are ahead 114-105 with less than 4 minutes to play and you can not bring it home, that, kids, is a full fledged choke job. There is no nice way to say that. You can’t get a stop, as Phoenix goes scores on 6 of their 8 trips down the court, and you can’t get a hoop: The Mavericks over that same stretch get 2 scores in 8 trips. So, when you can’t stop them and you can’t score when the game is on the line, you lose. Don’t know if they all started congratulated themselves too early or it they just got ambushed at the finish line by Steve Nash, but either way, the Suns have to feel they stole one, and the Mavs have to feel like they gift-wrapped one.

Bob’s Blog exclusive Quick Hits:

• Last two seasons, the Mavericks have played 5 series, and in the last two seasons, the Mavericks have won game 1 just once. Against Memphis. Otherwise, when there is a Game 1 to be played, the Mavericks are losing it.

• Before we get into what the Mavs did and didn’t do, we should probably recognize an absolutely superb performance by Nash. Wow. You almost forget how he can dominate a game when you don’t play him for a while. I assume he ramps it up in Dallas to his top effort, but whatever the circumstances, that was awesome. What he does on offense is just amazing. Whether it is the momentum killer pass down court to get Marion a free hoop with the shot clock at 21 right after the Mavs score, or whether it is him deciding to will his team to a win in the final minutes with 3’s, he is just amazing. Is he the MVP? I may argue that, but there is no doubt he is the most unique point guard in the sport right now. And there is also no doubt that he wasn’t anything close to this in Dallas. This is absurd.

• For the Mavericks to win this series, they will need to do plenty of what they did last night; offensive rebound, take the ball to the rim, and stop the 3. They did all of those pretty well, so there is no confidence shaken here. But, you have to play 48 minutes. The Mavericks played about 30.

• Josh Howard = out. Raja Bell = out. That is a pretty close trade, really. If they both miss extended games in this series, the Mavs depth should be the winner again.

• Why do people wear sunglasses inside? I counted at least 3 fans last night with them on. My sunglasses exemption is this: If you have ever played Col. Nathan R. Jessep in a movie, you are allowed to wear (edit 9:38am) sunglasses at an NBA game. If you have not played Col Jessep, then you look like someone who is the president of your own fan club.

• With Josh Howard on the bench, more Marquis Daniels. This series should play into his strengths, but to me, his basketball judgment is just so suspect that I think I likely would have had someone else inbounding the ball with .5 seconds left in the game. Dude was nowhere close in his pass to Dirk, and had 4 very confused teammates looking at him when the play and the game were over.

• I know Skin told me that Dirk is far better against Shawn Marion than he has been in the past, but I still saw Shawn block and change many Dirk chances last night. Dirk told us himself that nobody guards him better than Marion. The man is so freakish athletically that Dirk isn’t comfortable against him. Dirk had nice numbers, but he got almost every point from 3 feet and in.

• The Mavericks also got sucked into the “hurry and hoist” offense of the Suns. Stackhouse and Terry especially have to control themselves from being lured into that run and gun game that suites the Suns so well. Play your game and you will be fine. Play their game and this is going to be a bear.

• Doesn’t it make you nervous when everyone is picking Dallas?

• When is Devin Harris going to start getting calls? For the third consecutive game, he gets called for an offensive foul that almost nobody in the league would get called for. The wipe away on Bowen in Game 6, the dead ball foul in OT of Game 7, and now I have no idea the call inside a minute of Game 1 on the pick and roll last night. But that call was huge. All the Mavericks needed was a hoop, but they gave it all back.

• Of course, Devin Harris made huge shots down the stretch all last night, and continued to dazzle all who watch. I cannot believe that the Mavericks really look like they have found their Tony Parker. Nash is one of a kind, but he also could not stick with Mike Bibby or Tony Parker in the playoffs over two weeks. I am banking that Devin Harris will do the same thing to him now.

• It is going to be almost impossible to get DeSagana Diop on the floor in this series. Darn shame, since he has a new face mask to show off for us all.

• How can I go this far into the notes without a Boris Diaw mention? No idea. Talk about a quiet 34 for most of the night. But, I must hand it to him. I expected him to front rim his shot at the buzzer last night, and he buried it. He may be the man the Mavs choose not to guard as tightly, and that may be a bad choice.

• Hey, you didn’t think this was going to be easy, did you? This is the Western Conference Finals. If you thought you scaled your toughest mountain, you were wrong. Prepare for 7 games of tense playoff basketball in this round, too. And, by the way, Game 2 moves up the list to a “must win” game. Ouch. That was quick.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Settle down Mavs fans. Don't worry 'bout a thing....
Teams that play no D don't go to the NBA Finals.
Just doesn't happen. In Avery we trust!

Anonymous said...

For the entire first quarter and the last few minutes of the fourth, the Mavs looked terrible. The Suns played great, and still had to have a last-second shot from their 3rd (or lower) option to win.

After seeing all the times the Mavs did well and the times that they didn't, I'm EXTREMELY confident that AJ will find a way to expand the good and shorten the bad.

Mavs in 6

Chuck in irving said...

What in the Hell happened?

Does anyone realize that we've lost home field advantage?

And, is Josh Howard going to be able to play? This guy is the key to both our offense and our defense. He's always given the toughest defensive assignment and like Dirk, he's can't be left alone due to his offensive potential.

I contend he is the Mavs best overall player, a perfect balance between blanketed defensive coverage and smart offensive decision making. Though Harris and Dirk are close defensively and, at times, more prolific offensively, Howard is never taken out of the game for mental lapses on either end of the court. We certainly can't say the same for his primary subs, Stackhouse and Daniels. Both are excellent players, but their heads are not always in the game when they are on the floor. Cerebrally, Howard is the epitome of everything that Avery is preaching.

Yes, I know Suns fans will say ‘no crying’, especially since Amare has been out the entire season, but the Mavericks really need Josh Howard.

DallasManUFan said...

Technically, they lost home court advantage.

Anonymous said...

Bob-

I'll partially agree with the Bell-Howard comment. But, I think Howard is a little bigger loss to the Mavericks. Luckily our bench is WAY deeper. I'll take our remaining 7-8 players and finish the series.

Now the Suns will HAVE to go deeper than 6 players, and there's no way the end of their bench can compete with the end of our bench.

Nash was sensational (he was obviously VERY UP for the Mavs) but let's remember how he plays with only one day off between games (adrenaline carried him last night). That may very well be the key to the series. I can't see him/them sustaining this for the series.

On the other hand, look for some changes from AJ for game 2. I believe we'll see a different Mavs team in Game 2, as well as the rest of the series. Was there a little bit of a hang-over from the Spurs series, maybe? In any case, I'm sure they'll have the Suns squarely in their crosshairs the rest of the way.

The only thing concerning me is the fact that there is almost NO panic in any of the Mavs fans. After game 1 in San Antonio we were all keyed up. Are we all just a little too confident? Time will tell.

I'll still say what I said on the blog last night-- Mavs in 6.

By the way, Bob, I think that Jack WEARS his glasses. I'm sure that your high-school grammar teacher wouldn't be real happy with you right now.

Finally, was anyone else hearing "Badger-Badger-Badger-Badger" in their head during the 4th quarter last night with every drive to the hoop by Harris???

I never listen to BaD Radio,
Kip in Burleson

Anonymous said...

Bob-

I'll partially agree with the Bell-Howard comment. But, I think Howard is a little bigger loss to the Mavericks. Luckily our bench is WAY deeper. I'll take our remaining 7-8 players and finish the series.

Now the Suns will HAVE to go deeper than 6 players, and there's no way the end of their bench can compete with the end of our bench.

Nash was sensational (he was obviously VERY UP for the Mavs) but let's remember how he plays with only one day off between games (adrenaline carried him last night). That may very well be the key to the series. I can't see him/them sustaining this for the series.

On the other hand, look for some changes from AJ for game 2. I believe we'll see a different Mavs team in Game 2, as well as the rest of the series. Was there a little bit of a hang-over from the Spurs series, maybe? In any case, I'm sure they'll have the Suns squarely in their crosshairs the rest of the way.

The only thing concerning me is the fact that there is almost NO panic in any of the Mavs fans. After game 1 in San Antonio we were all keyed up. Are we all just a little too confident? Time will tell.

I'll still say what I said on the blog last night-- Mavs in 6.

By the way, Bob, I think that Jack WEARS his glasses. I'm sure that your high-school grammar teacher wouldn't be real happy with you right now.

Finally, was anyone else hearing "Badger-Badger-Badger-Badger" in their head during the 4th quarter last night with every drive to the hoop by Harris???

I never listen to BaD Radio,
Kip in Burleson

Luis M said...

okay i'm glad to see no one is on here complaining about the traveling call. i knew we were better then that, that we wouldnt blame the refs. we lost that game because we had two huge turnovers in the final minutes. stack dribbling off his foot, man he is the coco cordero of the mavs. either he is going to clutch or he is going to F- it up.

go mavs!

Anonymous said...

Excuse me while I sheepishly apologize for the duplicate post.

Anyone else having issues in getting the comments to post? I tried to post it 4 times. Even cleared the cache and reloaded the page. Oh well, the novel is there now.

Awaiting a wet-noodle lashing,
Kip in Burleson

Luis M said...

correction: the non traveling call.

Brad said...

Adrian Griffin is a nice little guy. So is Daniels. I do not want to see the ball in their hands making decisions. Costly. And Dampiere...well he tried.

Their whole GD team can get hurt if it wants too. Steve Nash could be out there with 4 barely trained monkeys and dominate this Mav team.

Choke Choke Choke. Losing #1 in San Antonion was fine, you were IN SAN ANTONIO. You can't lose at home...

Why does Tim Thomas smile so much? There's no smiling in playoff basketball. Someone hit him. (No not you Jet)

Kneejerk. Start panicking. Don't stop.

Andy Douthitt said...

Oh man.. I sorduv thought this would happen. Phoenix is a team that I am scared of no matter what part of the game we are in.

They are so, street league "And-One Tournament" basketball, that you don't know if they are going to have structure or not. The good thing about SA is that you knew what they would do on offense everytime down the court. Allow Timmy to get position, give it to him and let him either back you to the basket or kick it out to a perimeter shooter. Phoenix has no structure. Whoever is around will just jump out of the gym and either throw it down, or just hit a ridiculous 3... Doesnt it seem like they rarely miss every trip down?

Take game 2, go to the rim and let's go. I am still feeling ok...sorduv.

No YOU'RE gay! said...

Get out the brooms... Mavs play like this for three more games and this blog will be 24-7 World Cup bay-beee!!!

BTW, great cliffhanger episode for Lost last night and England has a WC warm-up today on FSC.

Go sports!

AttnyDan said...

If it goes 7, Mavs are fine. I just don't know if they can get to game 7 right now.

WHY, WHY, WHY do we let Nash manipulate us into Phoenix's style of play. He does it every dang time.

AttnyDan said...

I seriously believe that the Nash-Dirk relationship somehow turns these games into a bigger version of the Larry Bird-Michael Jordan commercials. "Off the house, over the river, nothing but net" next "Over the grand canyon, off the Golden Gate Bridge, nothing but net".

Anonymous said...

How hard is it for the Mavs to GET BACK on defense?

re-pete said...

I was thinking Mavs in 6. Now I say Mavs in 7.

Why is there very little panic in Big D? Two words:

Avery Johnson.

If a Nellie team was lucky enough to get here, then blow this game, we'd all be running around naked in a panic, because Nellie never saw a playoff adjustment that would force him to put down his glass of scotch.

Avery is all about adjustments, and he will find the right one to take game 2 plus 3 more.

Remember, folks, "first one to four..."

Anonymous said...

No no no!!

My God, this is not "trust in Avery time" people. Not unless Avery can shoot the 3.

I say everyone is being entirely too calm about this.

The Mavs can't get any better on offense than last night, they can only get worse. The Suns didn't shoot the 3 like they can, so they can only get better. So the defensive adjustment for the Mavs has to be a HUGE one. 20 points or so worth.

And how can you make a defensive adjustment without Josh Howard?

Harris is inconsistent. We saw that last series. He can't score 30 a game, so forget about those points...

I just can't see anything positive from this.

I just talked myself into hanging myself. Goodbye cruel basketball world!!

Robert Bentley said...

If there's anything to be encouraged by, it's the fact that Phoenix seldom had fewer than four starters on the floor in the second half, while the Mavs seldom had more than two. If the sweet clean blue and green can stay alive long enough, their depth will be the difference.

Sturminator said...

wow- my spelling is great-

Bob

MrSimic said...

Good edit, but you missed one wear/where.

Anonymous said...

"The only thing concerning me is the fact that there is almost NO panic in any of the Mavs fans. After game 1 in San Antonio we were all keyed up. Are we all just a little too confident?"

Ummm...that really doesn't effect the outcomes of the games, buddy.

Brandon at GSR said...

To me, this loss last night reminds me of our win at San Antonio to open the 2003 Western Conference Finals.

Sans the 50 free throws, of course.

Point is, We surprised the Spurs that night and got the winning jumper, ironically enough, from Fin. Pop made the necessary adjustments and save for a Game 5 meltdown, completely dominated the Mavericks the rest of the series.

Now I don't expect us to completely dominate the Suns. But I do think AJ will make enough necessary adjustments to get us the win.

Just remember that for all of Boris Diaw's points and the Suns' layups, we still had an excellent chance to win this game.

It's not like we need to hold these guys to 15 a game.

Matt Mumm said...

I truly believe that M'Benga can offer something of value in this series. In limited minutes, I think he can frustrate Diaw offensively--keeping him out of the lane while also staying somewhat close on the perimeter.

Sometimes M'Benga is a foul-a-minute guy, and sometime he isn't. What he can definitely be, though, is a shot-blocking presence who has the athleticism to close down the lane while not giving up the perimeter entirely. The trick here would be to limit him to no more than 18 minutes while getting him to understand that he can't always try to come from the weak side on every penetration--he has to pick his spots on help defense.

I guess this is the part where you all tell me that I'm an idiot.

Fake Sturm said...

Idiot

Luis M said...

did you see how confused the mavs defenders where on the pick and roll. any defender. dirk to terry to griff to damp, they all looked confused.

you want to stick DJ in there who has gotten less then a full game's worth of minutes all season, in a playoff game. not going to happen.

Anonymous said...

Let's talk Hockey! This is why it's better (and why I wish I had CBC here in Texas)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky_djjHn6PU&search=oilers

Anonymous said...

There is one thing that bugs the heck outta me, I think because I distinctly remember one time I got called for this in high school, but... I swear after a Dirk layup last night, I saw Nash and one of the other Suns grab the ball out of the basket and take off without ever taking the ball out of bounds. They were both at least 5 feet away from the baseline and never took the ball out before bringing it up the court. Seems like I have noticed this with a lot of teams in the NBA lately. Does anyone watch for this? Or am I just seeing things?

Matt

Rick Bentley said...

Somehow I'm not worried at all about this one. I get the feeling Nash's legs will tire out, Diaw will fall back to earth, Marion will grow weary of being the Suns only offensive option, Phoenix won't be able to get a consistent defensive stop when the game is on the line, Dirk's white-hot must win attitude will conquer, and AJ can actually draw up a game plan (as opposed to the D'Antoni coaching style of "push it up the floor, try to get an alley oop, don't worry about the other end of the floor, lather, rinse repeat). We are seeing a new Dirk. One that refuses to lose. Mixed with Avery's basketball medula oblongata, that's a winning combination.

MAVS IN 6.

Mumm said...

Well, he had about 240 minutes all season, and had the best blocks per minute of any player on the roster.

The reason for the pick and roll confusion was the Mavs' insistence on switching on all pick and roll plays, regardless of the necessity to do so--creating an endless series of mismatches.

And no, he's obviosuly no savior in this series, but he can, for a few judicious minutes, be the athletic, mobile, annoying shot blocker that we need to keep the Suns from scoring every single time they step in the paint.

Anonymous said...

Hey Matt, you weren't the only one that thought it looked like at least Nash didn't completely get out of bounds before pushing the ball up court.

Shiffman's Blog said...

Don't be too woried about Game 1...keep the faith. The Mavs are the deeper team, and Avery will make the right adjustments. This is going to go another 6-7 games. Stay patient and don't let the knee-jerkers suck you in.

Luis M said...

i'm sorry, you are right he had 240 minutes...i said one game's worth of minutes, i'm sorry i should have said 5 games worth!

i'm not opposed to him coming in and trying to mix it up. he probalby runs the best of the big men. i think he can block some shots but he is an unproven player. i dont want to take my chances sticking an unproven player in the western conference finals. plus he is such a liability on offense. we cant afford with howard day to day.

mavs in 7

Mike said...

If you can get anything out of Mbenga, it's worth a try.

Let's not forget that Dampier and Diop are offensive liabilities, as well. If Mbenga can alter some shots, get a few rebounds, and get some easy put backs, he'll equal what you get out of Damp and Diop. Not that much of a stretch if he can stay out of foul trouble...

Luis M said...

oh i guess i should break the news by mbenga means foul prone in congo...congoian? congonese?

eric in keller said...

I posted this last night, and I'm going to post it again to make myself feel better.


Some key reasons why the mavs lost:

1. Josh Howard hurt in the first quarter. He already had 6 pts at the time, and is one of their better defenders.

2. Nash hits two huge 3's at the end of the game.

3. Ridiculous offensive foul called on Harris with 1:00 minute left. It wasn't a foul first of all, and even if it was, it's not the type you call with the game on the line in the playoffs. Nash clears with his off hand everytime to the hoop.

4. Stackhouse dribbles the ball off his leg out of bounds with under a minute left. The only time I've ever seen the guy be clutch was overtime the other night. I officially don't want him to touch the ball in the final 2 minutes of close games.

5. Most importantly....like game 6 of last series, the mavs still don't get respect from the refs. Against a team that shot fewer FTs than any other team in the NBA during the regular season you would think the foul and FT situation would go to the Mavs, especially at home. Not so. The suns were called for 20 fouls and the mavs 26, and they shot 29 FTs to Dallas' 23. During the regular season the Suns averaged 18 attempts per game, while Dallas' total was over 28.

6. With 4.5 to play, you have to have a big man down low. Damp or Diop must be in the game. You know they are going to try and go to the rim.

Mike said...

I was under the impression it translated to "Judo Master"...

Brad said...

I dont know about all this optimism.

If friday, the series is tied 1-1 and I see Nash laying on his back over at the bench because it's hurting him, We'll talk.

FBombAndy said...

I thought LeBron was the only player who could travel on a game-winning shot...

I mentioned it late last night. I don't care if it sounds like whining. Not calling a slight slap on the arm with less than 5 seconds to go is fine. But letting people take 3 steps is never ok.

Either way, minus a few turnovers by Griff and Stack, we outplayed them with their own style. And without our best defender.

KK said...

I think Boris Diaw looks like a black Dracula. Or does Dracula look like a white Boris Diaw? Either way, anybody else agree?

Big C said...

Can one of our big guys knock Nash no his ASS when he comes down the lane. Yes he's an ex-Mav, but I'm sick and tired of this little ass just doing whatever he wants inside and we just sit there looking at him. The dude is BAARELY 6' tall. I wish someone would just fould him like Tim Thomas knocked Terry down in game 1. Maybe that will slow him down a little bit.

Dirk is the man, but when you have Marion hobbling like a little girl on one leg, you need to drive the freaken ball inside and make him pivot and move on that leg instead of settling for 18' jumpers.