Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Game 7: Dallas 119, San Antonio 111 (OT)




You are going to have people remind you today that this is only a chance to advance to the Western Conference Finals. You are going to have people (especially Spurs fans) remind you that you haven’t won anything yet. This is only the Final 4, and only 1 of these 4 teams is going to end the season with a smile and celebration.

They are right. But ignore them for today.

That win was not for a championship. I contend that it may be for something more valuable than that in many respects. This win was for anyone who has called the Mavericks soft. This win was for anyone that said to wait for the playoffs and we will see the Mavericks exposed yet again. This win was for anyone who said that Mavericks would have to beat the Spurs in the playoffs. This win was for those who thought that Dirk was never going to be able to rise up and be the superstar that they needed. This win was for Jason Terry’s career. This win was for all those who wish failure on Mark Cuban. This win was for those who hung in there.

Now, there is still 2 rounds to go. And there is still a very realistic chance at a NBA Title hanging out there for the Mavericks to win. But that is something to worry about tomorrow. Today, is a day to finally enjoy the toppling of a very worthy champ. You have sent the Spurs fishing. Very few teams ever have the chance to say that. In fact, aside from Kobe and Shaq, nobody in the West can say they have taken down the mighty Spurs. And you can not undersell that.

Phoenix awaits, and you wonder if by 7:30 tomorrow night the Mavericks could be focused on a dramatically different opponent so that they do not squander away home court advantage in the first game. But that can wait. Soak in the journey today. Soak in what you just saw for the past 16 days.

Magical basketball. Amazingly close. If only it was the NBA Finals.

Exclusive Bob’s Blog Game 7 Quickhits:

• Dirk Nowitzki had two moments last night that seemed to demonstrate his growth in the NBA. One was in the first half when everything was going great and the Mavericks were already ahead by an absurd 55-38 margin. Dirk took the ball right in front of the Mavs bench, and after the ball started squirting away and the play looked like complete chaos, Dirk did what few of us have grown to expect. He put his head down and headed for the hoop. He then exploded to the rim and got the dunk and the foul. That was a strong move that he has added as he has grown. And of course, that set up the play you see at the top of this page. Perhaps the strongest, most important basket ever scored in Dallas: down 104-101, Dirk does not settle for a weak 3 pointer. He decides to not fade away. He drives the lane, gets to the rim, and of course, the basket and the foul. He made two incredibly strong moves to the goal that punctuated two distinct halves of basketball. This, friends, is a superstar. 37 points, 15 rebounds at San Antonio in Game 7.

• Now, speaking of performances that were worthy of mention, I do not wish to go further than here to address the life and times of Jason Terry. On Saturday morning, I wrote the following:
…But for getting yourself suspended, everyone can keep as brave a face as they want. The fact is that Jason Terry may have cost his team a chance of a lifetime based on 1 moment of losing his head.

But, redemption has a funny way of offering itself to those who need it most.

Game 7 Monday is Jason’s chance. To save his reputation around these parts, I suggest he play pretty well.

Well, Terry did what he had to do. Be awesome in the most important game he had ever played. In the first half, the dude could not miss. What a clutch performance for a guy who was the target of the crowd. And then in the second half, after he cooled off, he still hit a few monster shots down the stretch. His career could have gone one of two ways last night, and he showed that he is one of the more underrated players in the league.

• The Mavericks are the 2nd team in the history of the NBA to win a Game 7 in overtime on the road. Let that soak in.

• Tell me that you planned to see Desagana Diop as a key player in overtime last night. Key stops on Tim Duncan and what an offensive rebound.

• In the end, how do you not respect the San Antonio Spurs players? I find it absolutely laughable that the guys on NBA TV were trying to convince me that the Spurs may be facing the end of an era. Let me tell you something: Next season, Duncan will be 30. Ginobili will be 29. And Parker will be 24. That is not old, kids. I get that they were saying their bench needs to be overhauled, but that will be easy when they you have those 3 guys in their primes. San Antonio will likely be the favorite in the West next season regardless of what happens the rest of the way this season.

• The focus on the Dirk drive that tied the game up was the Manu decision to foul. In the post game press conference, it was clear that his coach and his teammates wondered why he did not listen in the huddle and DO NOT FOUL. But, live by the Manu and die by the Manu. He is a great player, who made a poor decision. But, no player gained status in my sports brain like he did in this series.

• Let’s be honest for a moment: I felt horrible when the Mavericks weren’t missing in the first half. At first, it seemed great. But then, I started to wonder if we were all being pranked. Was it another Roadrunner-Coyote episode, where this time the Coyote gets a 20 point lead and a 3 games to 1 lead only to have the biggest meltdown ever to end it with the Roadrunner winning yet again? Nope. This time, the coyote was victorious. But, in the first half, we all knew that the Spurs were coming back, right?

• On the other hand, there was no doubt in my mind when they got the stop to end regulation that the Mavericks were going to win in overtime. Sure, they almost had no players left, but it just appeared that they got their confidence back on the Dirk drive and were not going to be denied.

• Newsflash: Mike Modano appears to be able to pick up hot blondes.

• Bill Russell was 10-0 in Game 7’s through his career. That is pretty tough to nitpick.

• Jerry Stackhouse has taken his share of abuse throughout this series, but his tough hoops in overtime gave him a strong feeling of contribution as well. Make no mistake, I believe everyone who wore the uniform and got in the game played an important role. Look no further than Keith Van Horn’s back to back 3’s to prove that.

• Was anyone else wondering what Josh Howard was thinking when Cuban would not let go of him with that warm embrace from behind? Seemed like a nice moment that quickly turned uncomfortable.

• Enjoy this. You finally Beat SA.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Mavs fans! This was a great series between two great teams. But the better team won this series. It's hard for me to admit it but to win two games on the road and one in a game 7 proves that. Your team has the better players, better bench, better shooters, and better free throw shooters. Your team hit the big shots. Your team didn't make the stupid mistakes.

Hopefully we can do it again next year in the Western Conference Finals!

Go Suns Go! (you didn't expect me to root for you, did you?)

Mike said...

Okay, this has probably been brought up before, but what is up with Dirk's shaved armpits?

Way to go MAVS!

DallasManUFan said...

The only reason the Suns won last night is that Nash's tired legs got 4 days off. Now he has to go every other day and travel in between. And this is not even mentioning that they've played 3 more games than the Mavs. Suns are in deep deep dookie in this series.

Mavs in 5.

dwebb said...

Fret not Mighty Mavs Fans, Avery will not let this team forget who ousted them from the playoffs last year. That alone should be good for a win and some momentum.

Mavs over Suns in 5

Fake Sturm said...

Oh my god what a game. I nearly threw my beer through my 60 inch about 5 times in the second half. I am so glad that we wont have to see Tim Duncan again for a long time.

Diop was huge in OT. Why did he sit so long during the game? I heard Jet say something about a broken nose.

Dirk is my hero, but Modano is a close second.

rentz said...

Have to admit, i thought the mavs were done for going into game 7 in a hostile san antonio, glad that they proved me wrong.

and yes bob, i was wondering what was going through howards mind while cuban put a big gay bearhug on him....looked like a very uncomfortable moment.

Luis M said...

we did it fellas! we did it!
i was pumped last night, i was a little late this morning because i watched all the post game interviews, and began scouting the suns. YES! victory hasnt been this sweet since the cowboys glory days! when dirk made that drive to the basket and got fouled i jumped up and hit my hand in the ceiling fan, luckily i didnt seriously injure myself. before that tip off i got three messages from spurs fans saying get ready to get our asses kicked, and crapped like that. after the mavs won i let them have it! i know that we still have two series to go, but we deserved to give it to those dirty muddy spurs fans! YES! this is greatness! the love and hate of sports, there is nothing like it! BRING IT ON NASH!
we did it!

Anonymous said...

my head still hurts and my throat is sore.

this message brought to you by the brewers of Shiner Bock beer.

Arthur

Brandon at GSR said...

Bob,

How can you tease your loyal readers of you blog without at least linking the photo that appeared on Calvin Watkin's blog entry last night on From the Scene?

bigphil32 said...

Congrats to all Mavs fans....ditto to what the first note said about you guys...we would be one hell of a scary team if we could hit our free throws. Hope we do it again next year....3 championships in 7 years...not too shabby...
Go SUNS!!

Nick said...

This fed right into my Dan McDowell theory.

Whatever Dan says about the mavs is wrong. Last year he said they were done after dropping the first two to Houston.

This series he picked the spurs in 7 and we went up 3-1. Then he said the mavs were gonna win and we started to suck. it was 3-3 when he picked the spurs again in 7.

I was calmed when i heard it. It gives me a certain peace when he picks against the mavs.

Alright, mavs over suns in 3.

Anonymous said...

As a Mavs homer I should want it all, the NBA trophy. But beating the Spurs is almost just about satisfaction enough. But Avery will keep them focused. Dirk might be the biggest guy to play in this next series with the ultra small ball crap the Suns throw out. Look for more twenty+ rebound games by the German.
Disco

re-pete said...

Did anyone catch Kenny and Charles during halftime of Suns-Clippers? They were as stoic as if someone died.

Barkley made it a point to mention that Duncan was fouled at the end of regulation. But both of them reluctantly said "The Mavs were the better team." They fell over themselves acting like they saw it coming all along, since Devon Harris was inserted into the starting lineup.

Clearly, though, both guys were disappointed that they couldn't talk about the Spurs' greatness and the Mavs' collapse.

As for Manu, I usually hate his wheels-off freewheeling style, but I sure did love it when he wanted to be defensive hero last night and *CHOKED* instead.

Is it me, or is the Spurs PA guy just terrible? All he does is yell, and his yelling is actually monotone! How do you do that? How 'bout some inflection, some tonality?

Most revealing moment of the night on the TNT broadcast: During the moments leading up to Overtime, the audio was dominated by this Jabba-the-Hut-like woman courtside who was bitching mercilessly at the refs because no foul was called at the end of regulation. A telling portait of the SA fan - a fat-ass whining about officiating.

Put Ben Wallace in a Mavs Uniform said...

Cuban: Let me manhug you for awhile.

Howard: Ok, but you know, I'll be manhugging you when its time to talk about a new contract.

Cuban: It can't be that bad J. Ho

Howard: How much did you give Marquis?

Cuban: Awkwardness.

Anonymous said...

Dan McDowell sounds like the Lee Corso of pro basketball.

-JB

Nick said...

JB, we're having fun here no?

Anonymous said...

I actually like Lee Corso(other than the infamous radio interview), but he went on a streak for awhile where whatever mascot headgear he picked was invariably wrong. You almost didn't want him picking your team.

-JB

Anonymous said...

Avery racks Josh Howard video here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUHIfOicCbU

Anonymous said...

Congrats Mavericks fans. What a series it was. I hated losing, but ya'll played great and deserved to win. I can't wait till the first time the Mavs and Spurs meet up next year. It is now the best rivalry in basketball by far. Now go win a freaking championship.

Trey

rentz said...

HAHAH avery just flat out smack howard in the nuts... the look on howards face is priceless.

Anonymous said...

Seeing Duncan Whining again--$500
Seeing Bowen Whining again--$750
Seeing Ginobli miss that shot at the end of regulation--$1000
Spurs office hanging up on Dan--$Priceless

You have to call the barber. He called it right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mo
P1 longtime

Anonymous said...

I'm dying...dying...

I totally missed that shot of Howard getting racked last night.

My buddy and I were too focused on the total look of surprise on Griff's face when Avery grabbed him and threw him in the game. We watched that like 5 times, but I can't believe we missed this!

cracker1743 said...

Oops, sorry Ernie Johnson. I guess that chipmunk in your cheek is cancerous. Even though you've annoyed the shit out of me for years...sorry dude.