Thursday, May 25, 2006
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.