Monday, June 12, 2006

Game 2: Dallas 99, Miami 85 (2-0)

I am not here to knee-jerk or anything, but it sure seems like we can now begin to use the word “when” instead of “if” the Mavericks win a World Title this year. That total and utter domination of the Eastern Conference Champions was amazing on so many levels that you actually had to say to the human next to you last night, “Are the Mavericks really ahead by 27 in an NBA Finals game?” Is this all some sick dream that when we wake up in the morning we are going to be really pissed? Or are the Mavericks this good?

We almost don’t have any other choice.

But, what do we make of Mr. Shaquille O’Neal? I spent part of the pre-game show with Ben and Skin, and during that part, I boldly proclaimed that I expected nothing short of 30 and 20 from the big man. Why? Because, HE IS SHAQ!!! Shaq does this. Shaq does not get punked. Especially two games in a row! But there it was for all to see. Shaq was 2-5 for 5 points. I felt a little sad. Kinda like When Darth Vader was laying on his back asking Luke to help him remove his helmet at the end of Return of the Jedi. We surely have not seen the very end of Shaq yet. But, we have seen the end of the part of his career where he decides to dominate, and then does just that.

Also, do we start to admit that Dampier is worth the money in games involving his Royal Shaqness? There is no question that Erick is giving him big trouble. Whether Dampier is really affecting Shaq or just the right guy in the right place at the right time is a source for discussion. But through two games, we are left to assume that Dampier rested well during the Phoenix series, and is now fully serving his purpose.

And now, other notes from a Game 2 Domination:

• The Mavericks ability to dominate on defense, dominate the boards, and dominate all elements of hustle just shows how good the Mavericks are as a team. They did not shoot very well, and they certainly did not take good care of the ball (18 turnovers), but it was obvious that they were not going to lose the game. They were going to outwork the Heat, and the margin was amazing.

• Antoine Walker is so much fun to watch. He does virtually nothing for the first 2 ½ quarters. Then, Shaq is out of the game, and the Heat are down 27 and then Toine wants the rock. He starts raining shots from all over the court on his way to 20 points. Proving once again that scoring points in the NBA doesn’t mean you are a good player. Nobody fills up a boxscore without impacting a game quite like Toine.

• Flip Saunders and the Detroit Pistons have to be sick to their stomach that they are not in this series.

• There was a game in the Phoenix series when Jerry Stackhouse did not play real well, and the critics of Stackhouse emerged, even comparing him to Keith Van Horn. I said that is absurd, and that there will come a time when Jerry Stackhouse will demonstrate why you need him. I suggest it has happened many times during these playoffs. Last night’s display late in the 2nd Quarter was the most amazing. He nailed 4 three’s including the 4 point play and the 3 right before the half which blew the game wide open from 39-34 to 50-34. Just like Game 6 at Phoenix and Game 7 at San Antonio, Stackhouse emerges at the big moments and makes big plays. Sure, his shot selection is suspect, and his judgement comes and goes, but please do not compare him to KVH. Stack does his share of heavy lifting in this run, and to ignore his great nights is flat unfair.

• Udanis Haslem looks hurt after that hard foul on Jason Terry. The Heat have done well in defending Dirk so far, but if Haslem is lost for a few games, their primary defender will be gone. Think about it, they return home down 0-2, and Dirk still hasn’t played to his playoff level. Dirk had 26 and 16 last night, but in this season, it is pretty much routine.

• During the relative boredom of the 4th quarter last night I noticed that D-Wade spells his first name “D-W-Y-A-N-E”. I would like to apologize to his family for incorrectly spelling his name every time I have ever typed it in his career. My bad. I always assumed Dwyane spelled his name “D-W-A-Y-N-E” like the rest of the world. Sorry.

• Watching Shaq shoot free throws is excruciating. It feels a lot like watching Chuck Knoblauch try to throw the ball to first base a few years back. It should be routine, and yet it brings a star player to his knees. To suggest that his free throws are not even close is kind.

• In the 2nd round, we marveled at how weak the Spurs bench looked. Then in the 3rd round, we marveled at how weak the Suns bench looked. Now, we are amazed at how little the Heat have on their bench. Is it possible that all three teams have normal benches and Dallas just has an extraordinary one that many of us overlook because we see it all the time?

• In the first quarter, when neither team was playing well, didn’t you feel pretty good because Jason Williams was the Heat’s best player? I have watched him play for almost a decade, and I have never seen him win a game, so I wasn’t too worried about him going off.

• Devin Harris, in his youthful exuberance, has a confidence issue. Sometimes, he looks extremely confident, and other times, he looks horrible. Last night, he knew he could expose Payton or Williams, and he did. I hope he develops confidence on a more consistent basis soon.

• Pat Riley has no idea what to do.

• And just think, in 2 more games, D.J. Mbenga returns!

• 2 More to Go! Now, you have 3 chances to win one in Miami. And if you do, you will have 2 chances to win 1 back in Dallas. So now, merely must win 2 of the next 5 games.


steve said...

First! Suck it!

Jay Clendenin said...

forecast for coverage of mavericks' series win: lead espn story is "will shaq retire" or "will wade be ready next year".


F David Ortiz

Anonymous said...

Chuck Knoblauch? I always think of Mackey Sasser when I think of a guy who has trouble throwing the ball. He had a serious mental issue with throwing the ball back to the pitcher. He had to pump fake so many times it was hilarious. It was like the living incarnation of that guy from Major League 3(or whatever crappy sequel he was in) who had to recite Playmate stats to throw the ball back to the pitcher.

I said Mavs in 6 at the beginning of the series. I think I'll amend that to Mavs in 5, though Stern may end up sending Joey Crawford in to make sure this goes at least 6 games.


Anonymous said...

Not so fast on the Nobody fills up a boxscore without impacting a game quite like Toine.

I've got a four-letter word for you to ponder: A-Rod.

Sam said...

agreed regarding the mavs bench. it's a classic case of "mine's longer than yours" being a good thing. at some level, it seems so absurdly simple: if the mavs have more good players than the heat, the mavs are a better team, no?

Andy Douthitt said...

I must say, this is what I thought sports fans and I'm stikkin to it...

Mavs in 5.

I have never seen a team shoot as poorly in one game than Miami did. (Missing free throws, layups, etc)

If it wasn't for 'Toine, we would have won by 25 or more. This team just isn't that good people. This is getting ridiculous.

Lastly, the downfall of Shaq is sad to me. This guy will go down as the most dominate force in NBA history, and isn't it ironic that the place he has played so great in over the years, is the place where the end is becoming evident.

We will be holding the trophy soon, but the national media won't acknowledge that until Cuban is holding the trophy on his head while wearing his tighty whities during the post game celebration!!

Observer said...

Bob, Bob, Bob. I'm very disappointed in you. I would've lost good money by betting that the first line of your blog would read "It's not the first team to two."

It has been so long since the Mavs won consecutive games to take a big lead (back when we were up 3-1 on the Spurs), that I think we've all forgotten just how overconfident that can make us. You should look back at your comments after game 4 of the Spurs series, which I think set the right tone (here).

I hope Avery makes these guys think that every game in Miami is a "must win" so we close it out with no funny business. I'm rooting for the Mavs in four, and next year, it will again be the same three or four teams in the West fighting for the title.

mr. t said...

45 minutes to- is it called "kick-off"?

Doesn't this series so far so anti-climatic? The wins in game 4 and 7 over, the second-best team, the Spares was when my sportz weiner was going most crazy.
Pat Riley really looks lost.

Darin said...

How can D-WADE be the next Jordan when he travels five times a game? Don't remember Jordan ever doing that. The Heat are done, they live and die by D-WADE and Shaq and they have done almost nothing.

Just goes to show that any team can look awesome when you play a weak Eastern Conference...

This is the same team that lost two to the Bulls....THE BULLS, a .500 team! SPARE!!

Mavs + Finals = Victory at last! No one can ever disrespect the MAVS again!

P.S. Sturm, I am addicted to your blog, it is well represented and funny. Great Job

p1dean said...

Do you remember, just a couple years ago when the only chance the Mavs had against Shaq was Nellie's "Hack-a-Shaq"? This is why Avery is the most Sexy and Dangerous Coach of the Year...he has completely neutered the big guy.

Did you read Toine's comments the other day..."I ain't no support nothing..." He's right...he ain't nothing. A bigger bag has never been seen. I'd like to nominate him to the "All Bag Team" alongside KVH, Bob Sura, Tim Thomas, and Raef LaFrenz.

BTW...I had to spend the weekend in Houston...what a bitter and angry town that is!


AttnyDan said...

What is Barkley going to say if the Mavs sweep?

Down year in the league?

Houston.....a slightly cleaner Mexico City.....ugh.

Brad said...

Sam said..

"agreed regarding the mavs bench. it's a classic case of "mine's longer than yours" being a good thing."

Right you are dude. All Spring/Summer long it's been a "let's whip 'em out and measure them" contest.

And Avery's got the longest biggest blackest...uh...bench I've ever seen. Also KVH

I said Mavs in 6 and I stand by that. The heat will come out and as Hubie says over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, "shoot a high percentage."

Wes Mantooth said...

"And Avery's got the longest biggest blackest...uh...bench I've ever seen. Also KVH"

^5 Brad

Damn funny.

Mavs in 5!!! (just because sweep sounds too cocky)

Cap It said...

Most of me wants to tap the brakes on the 'Mavs in 5' thing. But after watching the first two games, my mavs weenie thinks it would take such a gargantuan swing of momentum for the Heat to win two games...(damn it, what's up with all the phallic symbolism today anyway?)

I can't do it, I just can't tap the brakes.

Go Vammer!

Anonymous said...

USA soccer = Miami Heat = done

some jerk said...

• There was a game in the Phoenix series when Jerry Stackhouse did not play real well, and the critics of Stackhouse emerged, even comparing him to Keith Van Horn. I said that is absurd

Nots so fast, my righteous sports expert: May, 27th, this blog..

If Jerry Stackhouse is going to make bad decisions and not score, what purpose does he serve? Also, If Keith Van Horn is going to make bad decisions and not score, what purpose does he serve?

Looks like SOME people were doubting Stackhouse, and SOME people were putting him at the same level as KVH... but I don't know who those people would be...

Brad said...

"...(damn it, what's up with all the phallic symbolism today anyway?)"

I dont know. We're having a very gay day.

Yeah USA is getting it handed to them early here...

Fake Sturm said...

Break out the brooms. This team stands no freaking chance. When Antoine Walker is your 3rd best player, you are in trouble. I really want the Mavs to win it at home, but I dont see any way the Heat can win even one game, much less two. I dont even see them staying within 10 points.

Dampier outplaying Shaq??? Seems like multiple times you would see Damp altering a shot or blocking Shaq out for a defensive board. I think a little bit of Shaq died after that violent block that Ben Wallace delivered last round. The only question is, when does Damp start with the Shaquita Oneal comments.

Mavs in 4!!

Anonymous said...

What is Barkley going to say if the Mavs sweep?

Nothing. That fat bastard is on vacation, fishing and eating chili cheese fries all day.


Luis M said...

ah yes these are good times...

steve said...

2 shots on goal, two F'ing goals


mr. t said...

so time of possesion doesn't translate in europe's football?

I can't tell you how disappointed I am in all you soccerheads that bug the crap out of me during the football season. Now that we have the friggin World Cup, not a word?

I need some analysis and breakdown on this stuff. Tell who on Guana is not letting the game come to him and stuff like that.

tx_gooner said...

"Soccer" Newbies... don't be shocked by the first half of the game against the Czechs. Contrary to what ABC/ESPN would liek you to believe, the USofA has a zero chance of advancing from the group stages. Don't believe the hype! The FIFA ranking for America was a joke, and Donovan is not on the same plane and the folks he is often mentioned with in the pre-game shows.

The only question left about the WC is one of determining how quickly ESPN scrapes all the games from their schedule once the the US gets eliminated in short order.

Rosicky's goal was a thing of beauty. Can't wait till he's doing that all next season in the Prem for Arsenal.

p1dean said...

I know that the Mavs want the title. And I know that we all want to see Stern hand naked Cuban the trophy...but wouldn't it be better to have that happen in Dallas?

So let me offer this...Mavs beat the crap out of Miami in game 3...and then games 4 and 5 give them a steady dose of KVH, Marquis, and, and...dammit the Dallas bench is indeed so long and black and sexy that they can't even spare their way to a home closer!

Anonymous said...

The Mav's Rounds 2 and 3 was some high quality s---! It was euphoric, great highs and lows. Heart was racing, palms sweating, then I crashed with a close win or lost. Then I was jonesing for the next game. Having strong withdrawals and cravings for some good basketball. However this Miami series is some real bad s---!. Not much of a high but plenty of lows, just makes me sleepy and nauceous. I just want to Kobain myself. No funeral....

ODed Disco.

steve said...

Awful. Shutout in the opening game. Where the hell was Beasley? And Eddie Johnson doesn't start?

Stress level - rising. We need a tie this afternoon from Italy-Ghana to have a chance.

AttnyDan said...

Why do we (the U.S.) suck at this fairly simple sport?

Not being a smart-@ss, just very perplexed on why we get KILLED by countries that don't have running water and get from place to place by water buffalos.

Wes Mantooth said...

Corby shows up in a Mark Stein piece on Shaq quotes:

10. The setting: Earlier this week, before Game 1 of the 2006 Finals
The situation: Shaq's favorite interviewer of all-time might be Dallas radio personality Corby Davidson, who always barrages O'Neal with a series of inventive -- and often politically incorrect -- questions whenever Shaq hits town. On this occasion, Davidson asks: "Let's just say that a snake bit your mom right here, right on the chest area, would you be willing to suck the venom out to win the title?"

The Shaq Smack: "No, but I would with your wife."

I have always loved Shaq. If he were playing against the Suns or Spurs I would be rooting for him. Watching the Mavs dominate him is a happy/sad event for me. Watching my little Mavs win it all makes me want to do things to my wife, but watching Shaq makes me sad.

gooner said...

"Why do we (the U.S.) suck at this fairly simple sport?"

Our athletes play Basketball, Football, Baseball, Hockey, Lacrosse, Tennis, etc etc and what's left over play soccer.

MR said...

because in the 4th grade or so, when you have to make the choice between being a HOMO or not, usually kids choose not.

p1dean said...

haha...that's funny!

Brad said...

It's because they care and we just really really don't.

mr. t said...

MR, that's the second-funniest thing I've heard today.
Jess, the Mavs usher, this morning on the Musers was the funniest.

When he was talking about he said he told some retarded kid inthe Mavs huddle, "this isn't part of your make a wish program". Talking about Cuban.

Jay Clendenin said...

i want to say that the u.s. sucks because we don't care. but we got our aces kicked in the baseball classic. and the euros are showing up yankee b-ballers now.

Julie Foudy's Sports Bra said...

Very funny - MR - so I am assuming you played soccer past 4th grade then?

Yeah, right, the reason that the US sucks at soccer is that "nobody" cares, right? "Our best athletes play _______", right?

Previous posters have talked about how the US is getting its ass handed to it in international competition in ALL sports; baseball, basketball, hockey, etc. It's not just "soccer" anymore.

The problem is not that our best athletes play sports other than soccer. The problem is that our best athletes are sh*tty teammates. The stars in American sports are rewarded for "me first" behavior. Look at T.O.. Look at Iverson... Bonds... A-Rod...the list is endless.

Landon Donovan has been put forth as the great soccer hope in the USA, but the selfish little p*ssy is too scared to play his game in Europe where the best players in the world ply their trade. He's selfish... we treat him like a star, he gets his money from sponsors, but he isn't willing to do the work necessary to become a star.

Soccer is not popular here in the US because it is a true TEAM sport. You don't kick the ball into the corner and then clear out the penalty area to allow your striker to back down into the spot and drill the kick in from 2 feet away. It takes a lot of teamwork to actually score in the game.

Now, go back to your soccer is gay jokes... if it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, go for it. But get used to being a freaking joke in international sports, because that time is here and now.

another gooner in tx said...

You know I can take getting our tails handed to us by the Czechs if we would have just put out some friggin effort. I realize that we are extremely overrated, but come on. What a gutless, heartless, chicken crap performance. Games like this make it easy for soccer detractors in this country to just rail on the sport even more.
Eddie Johnson looked liked he was the only one out there who wasn't intimidated...and he was a sub. Convey was ok. Julie Foudy's sports bra was dead on about Donovan. I did however, like that Arena called some people out, but he made some questionable decisions with the lineup, i.e. Beasley on the right. Damn that was embarrassing.
Here hoping we beat Ghana.

Anonymous said...

Nobody who knows anything about soccer and isn't on ESPN or USSoccer's payroll was surprised by today. It will be a major victory if we get a win in our group. Maybe we can pull off a tie against Ghana, but they looked far superior to us today.

The 2002 World Cup was a fluke--we beat superior teams by nicking some counter-attacking goals and then hanging on for dear life while we conceeded possession and territory for the rest of the match. Every class team now knows that if they stay organized and disciplined defensively we don't have the attacking creativity to break them down.

Italy will shut down our time and space with the ball far more than the Czechs. If we were to pull off a win against Italy it would have to be one of the ugliest wins in history. Ghana will let us play a little more wide open game, so we'll look better against them.

The US was out of this thing when they drew Czech Republic, Italy and Ghana months ago. But who cares? I mean, I'm American and I'll root for them everytime, but we play some ugly, predictable ball. If you're watching the World Cup just for the US team you're either ignorant of the game or a masochist.

p1dean said...

I agree 100% with Julie Foudy's Sports Bra!

I also still think soccer=gay jokes are funny...especially when it gets soccer fans all riled up!

Here are some other things I think are funny...
ice skating=gay