After Game 2, I was describing the current status of this series to a fisherman trying to pick up a fish in his boat: The fish almost stood no chance of getting back in the water, but he wasn’t going to be easy to get a handle on until he was utterly exhausted.
It is quite possible the fish ran out of gas last night.
The Mavericks played one of their most impressive games of the postseason with a demoralizing pounding of the Suns in Phoenix. And now, they are on the brink of turning the screws Tuesday night.
This team is a championship capable team that now sits 6 games from that title that most Mavericks fans never believed possible.
Game Notes from me:
• That 2nd half was amazing, and I submit to you that the most impressive effort was put in by Gana Diop. What a difference he makes to this team. He competes at the rim. He changes shots. He pulls rebounds. And, you know what? He can even finish off plays on offense when they find him near the goal. Diop played 25 huge minutes last night and while people may point to Josh Howard’s return or Raja Bell’s injury as reasons this series turned so quickly, I happen to believe Diop’s ability to take the paint away from Steve Nash is as big a factor as any.
• This from Elias Sports Bureau: The Mavericks played the final 17:01 of their Game 3 win in Phoenix without a turnover -- the second-longest stretch without a turnover to close a game during the 2006 NBA playoffs. Back on April 26, Phoenix played turnover-free ball over the last 18:52 in a loss to the Lakers.
• I hate to agree with Barry Horn on anything, but geez, TNT, don’t be afraid to show us the game. I cannot think of anything I care less about than what Cheryl Miller, Craig Sager, or Tony Parker have to say about the game. If you can work that nonsense into a timeout, I don’t care. But, when you shrink the game to about 25% of your screen, so that you can interview a French guy about another French guy then watch the blood pressure of your viewers rise.
• Did Tim Thomas barging into the Mavericks impromptu huddle after the flagrant foul turn the entire game? From those free throws until the game ended, the final score was Mavericks 53, Suns 36. That dude is a spare. Sorry, but I don’t care what he does, no one has stolen more money in their career than he has. Do you realize since 2001 he has made more than $70 million? Makes Finley look properly compensated.
• Things are just different when you watch this team. At no point of last night’s game did it look bad for the Mavericks in my opinion. Sure, when the Suns get hot, they will go on a run. But, they could not play better and Dallas could not play worst in that first half. Yet, the Suns clung to a 5 point lead at home.
• Dirk since Game 3 of the San Antonio series has put up some pretty fair points/rebounds: 27/15, 28/9, 31/10, 26/21, 37/15, 25/19, 30/14, and 28/17 last night. I think he may be a star in this league.
• It is highly possible that Dirk’s desperation 3 did not hit the rim. I am not sure video evidence was conclusive either way. But, don’t be afraid to get a rebound, Phoenix. Jerry Stackhouse is taking on your entire team on the glass in the final few minutes and beating you. Jerry Stackhouse; hardly Barkley in his prime on the glass.
• This is only 2 wins. The game Tuesday is pivotal. But let’s not count chickens yet. I agree it surely looks great, and to hear Phoenix talk fatigue is wonderful given that there shall be no extra off days. But, do not let them breath on Tuesday.
• Marquis Daniels and Erick Dampier have wonderful seats for this series. So much for my theory that the style of this series suits Daniels. I think a trade this summer most likely suits Daniels.
• We would like to thank Jason Terry for joining the party in the 2nd half. If he is going to start playing like he did against the Spurs, then this thing looks even better.
• Remember when Shawn Marion looked like he rolled his ankle in Game 1? That was the last time he looked like anything more than a defensive rebounder. I have always feared the Matrix, so I am relieved that he has been a non-factor in these last two games. He just doesn’t look right.
• How did I get this far down the list without a Josh Howard paragraph? What a player. And what a steal to lock the game up with help from Dirk as they took the ball from Tim Thomas. And poor Nash, thought about trying to catch Josh Howard and then realized he has nothing left in the tank.
• It is Memorial Day, and not only do the Mavericks still have games left, but they actually look great in their series. Things have changed around here.
• 6 More.