"Fear going to play a seventh game? That is what we signed on the dotted line for. You just don't sign when you make every shot. You sign up for adversity too, and that's why we are all here." – Avery
Well, what is left to say? Game 7 tonight brings us the finality of an epic. It will end tonight. It will send someone home. So Who will it be?
Spurs fans think it will be the Spurs. Just ask them. Just read my email.
Mavs fans think it will be the Spurs. It is kind of interesting how most Mavs fans have talked a good game, but when they lost Game 6, 90% of my feedback from that side of the fence began to get their post-series analysis ready. Blame or off-season discussion.
And honestly, you could tell in Game 6 that the crowd didn’t quite believe it. It was a good crowd, but when momentum swung to San Antonio, there seemed to be about 20,000 fans trying to convince themselves that the Mavericks could win. Everyone may concede that the Mavs have grown up, they still aren’t convinced that they are “all growns up”.
Fret not. This game is quite winnable.
Sure, the odds say the Spurs should close in Game 7 at home. But, if that is the case, why should we even play the game?
The Mavericks are better than they have ever been. They play better Defense than they ever have. They show more mental toughness. They show more resolve. They are not babies. They are not soft.
These are not the 2003 Mavericks.
We find out tonight. We find out if I have given them too much credit. But, I really think they have a better team than San Antonio does right now. It is by a close margin, obviously, because everything in this series has demonstrated that while one side has 3 rings, in this moment, both teams are incredibly close.
16 Days ago, I thought the Mavericks would win in 7 because they were slightly better. 16 Days later, I feel the same way.
Am I sure? Nope. The Mavericks must now show it. So far, they have only demonstrated to be close. Not better.
But, if it is going to happen, it will happen in hours.
Jason Terry, are you listening?
Sefko looks at recent NBA History …
Game 7 tonight at AT&T Center makes this a super series. The competitive nature of the teams makes it even better. These kind only come around once every decade or so.
By at least one barometer, you have to go back to the NBA Finals of 1998 to find a more competitive series.
The Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs have played five games decided by five points or fewer. The last time that happened, the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz were playing for the NBA title, with the Bulls winning 4-2. The margins in those games: 3 in overtime, 5, 42, 4, 2 and 1.
In this series: 2, 22, 1, 5 in overtime, 1 and 5.
Yes, there have been other hotly contested series since '98. Sacramento and the Los Angeles Lakers had a blood-boiler in 2002 that featured six games decided by seven points or fewer. And in 2000, New York and Miami decided all seven of their games by no more than eight points.
But if your criteria for a classic NBA series are ultra-close games and that it goes the distance, this is your brand of ball.
"It's a huge game," said Dirk Nowitzki, who has averaged 25.5 points and 13 rebounds in the series. "It's win or go home. I don't think we're ready to go home.
San Antonio Paper looks at the numbers, too …
Throw out Dallas' Game 2 rout, and the score differential for the rest of the series is 497-495 in favor of the Spurs.
"It's that close," Popovich said. "That makes the most important thing playing well (tonight). Because after that, it doesn't really matter."
Popovich even called the Spurs' home-court advantage "fool's gold." The Mavericks have won twice at the AT&T Center this season, including the 22-point pounding in Game2.
Not since Charles Barkley closed HemisFair Arena in 1993 with a late jumper over David Robinson have the Spurs been eliminated on their own floor. The home team has won 81 percent of Game 7s, including both this season.
Of course, if the Spurs paid close attention to the odds, they probably wouldn't have dug themselves out of a 3-1 hole.
"It might be in (the Mavericks') heads a little bit because of the fact we were 3-1 down, and it's not easy to come back from that," Manu Ginobili said. "But now it gets to a point where it's one single game."
The Mavericks acknowledged they treated Friday's loss as if it were a Game 7. But they also have had two days to recover, as well as the emotional — and offensive — boost Jason Terry should provide when he returns from his one-game suspension.
You think you are watching a match-up of two classic heavyweights tied together in basketball immortality for 15 days. You think you are watching Dallas v. San Antonio. But are we really watching Coyote v. Roadrunner? Is this just an elaborate plot to get the Coyote fans all excited that maybe, just maybe, this time their hero will finally win? Then, at the last second, with defeat seemingly imminent, here comes victory again for the Roadrunner. Just like every time.
I really hope I am wrong, but I must concede that has been in my head all weekend.
It is up to this guy.
Dirk pics from the good ol days in the Fatherland …
Game 7 in Detroit shows that defense wins …
The Cavs led 3-2 in the second-round series and had a chance to eliminate the Pistons at home in Game 6 largely because James, who didn't live up to the hype -- he surpassed it. But what the Pistons can do on defense -- when they choose to play with intensity, like in a closeout game -- probably is just as frightening for opponents.
Detroit held Cleveland to the lowest point total in any Game 7 in NBA history; the third-lowest total in any playoff game since 1955; and 23 points in the second half, which tied the fewest scored in a postseason half since the shot clock was introduced a half-century ago.
The Cavs made just 31 percent of their shots and scored fewer points than any other team has this postseason.
Meanwhile, in Ice Hockey, Oilers win both games in Anaheim …
On a night the desperate Ducks deserved a saw-off in the series on the balance of play, the Oilers prevailed thanks to 33 saves by Roloson and goals by Pronger and Pisani, whose eighth red-light celebration of this post-season was the difference.
When Peca hit an empty net with 18 ticks remaining, the Mighty Ducks knew they will be facing 16,839 crazed fans and have history against them in the bedlam of Rexall Place when the series resumes.
"It's nice to get some bounces and breaks when you maybe don't play your best game," said captain Jason Smith, who played despite a flu bug that's hit the team hard.
"That's the way the ups and downs go throughout the season and in the playoffs. You've got to grind through them."
Dismiss the history book stuff if you want, but the Oilers are heading home on a six-game winning streak - their longest in the post-season since 1990 - and they're 5-1 in their own rink in these playoffs.
The doctor said Barbaro "practically jogged" to his stall, but cautioned that his chances of survival were only 50-50. …
WARNING: While I endorse this as the video of the day, and while this may partially demonstrate why I love hockey I must caution you to only listen to this if you are not easily offended by incredibly shocking language…
Danny Almonte is married…to a 30 year old ….
Confusing, funny, shocking, and amusing: Japanese TV comedy …
Beat SA. (said in feeble, meek voice)...