Without much hesitation, I think we can all see now that we most definitely have a series on our hands. Game 4 was putrid on many levels, and now the Dallas Mavericks must question themselves in the biggest of fashions after being crushed in a game that we all agreed was crucial.
Usually, up top in my game notes, I focus on one particular item in the game that was noteworthy and spend a little time elaborating on the story of the night.
Well, I just am so dumbfounded at finding a particular reason for last night’s embarrassing meltdown that I may just skip it.
They were horrible. Dirk could not play worse. Josh Howard was missing.
I have no interest in telling anyone “I told you so” when I issued the most serious “tap your breaks” warning upon our arrival in Miami. I think everyone knows now that we have a serious problem in front of us here in Dallas.
Again, the Mavericks are a mentally tough bunch who responds very well to adversity. And now they can sit and ponder their adversity until Sunday. Are they letting the chance of a lifetime slip away? Are they on the verge of the biggest choke in Dallas Sports History? Are they about to lose to Freaking Finland after beating the Russians in Lake Placid? Are they about to make Spurs fans and Suns fans very happy for the rest of the summer?
Adversity, welcome to the Dallas Mavericks locker-room.
Notes from Game 4:
• Dwyane Wade is amazing. He also should be forbidden from claiming any sort of injury or illness for the rest of his career. Who plays possum better than Wade who has sucked the media into believing his limps, and then drops 78 points in 2 games? Perhaps, the Mavericks are put in the odd position of having to leave Shaquille to more straight up coverage, and send the double teams at Wade. Something tells me that Shaquille would then explode and begin to dominate from the inside, but I am not sure I see much other choice. You cannot let Wade get 40 and just demoralize you like he has. I have no idea what you try in Game 5 defensively, but what you did in Game 4 is laughable.
• This morning, the Sportcenter boys are convinced that Stackhouse will be suspended for his hit on Shaq. Make no mistake; it was an overly physical play that appeared to offer no play on the ball. But, it would seem that a suspension might be a bit strong. I guess we shall see, but I thought a flagrant was proper, and we shall see what the league office decides today. In other news, it is nice to see someone push back at the Heat physically, because it sure appears that some of the Mavs shrink when the pushing gets going.
• Basketball is a very simple game. You cannot win when you cannot shoot. The Mavericks cannot shoot right now, and I have no real explanation for the reason. Are the Heat playing great defense? Or, are the Mavericks just missing shots they normally knock down? It would seem to me that the poor shooting is more the product of the touch being a bit off, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter “why”. It just matters if it is going in the hoop or not. And for the better part of 4 games, the Mavericks are not shooting the ball well. This better change in a hurry.
• And what about the German? I refuse to knee-jerk like many emailers are; Here is one example from my email box: Flopping Dirk is no MVP! MVP's don't disappear in the Finals. But let’s all be honest: He has to find another dominating performance in a hurry, or this thing may slip away. He is getting out performed by a mile when you compare him to Wade, and he also is looking uncomfortable with Haslem and Posey in his jock. He has built up too much credibility with me in this post season for all of that to be forgotten because of a few rough games in Miami, but this isn’t about credibility. This is about what could be his only chance to win a title in his career. He has to rise above the bumps, bruises, and critics. He has to find at least one more signature effort to close the deal. And it needs to happen quickly.
• 7 points in the 4th Quarter.
• Given that he was one of the few players to get to a loose ball last night, I may consider a bigger dose of Adrian Griffin going forward.
• Lest we give Dirk all of the blame, would someone please remind Josh Howard that he can get to the rim anytime he wants? This Antoine Walker impression which seems to include a steady diet of 20-foot jump shots is not what the Mavs need right now, Josh. Be aggressive with the ball and stop launching shots that are not nearly as high a percentage. In fact, the whole team needs to stop launching jumpers. 22 three point attempts? C’mon!
• What really stinks about this outcome is that there was a period of the game where the Mavericks had cut the lead to 10, at 80-70, and they had 3 shots at getting it closer, but nothing would fall. During this same time, they received many calls. The Mavericks were actually getting all of the calls, and could do nothing with it. I am not saying the refs were trying to keep it close, but…
• Nothing is more irrelevant than pointing out Marquis Daniels looked absurd during garbage time with a few air-balls and a goofy turnover, but I really can’t help it. I have never seen anyone look like they have never played before every time he steps on the floor, quite like Marquis.
• The Heat deserve a lot of credit. What a response to two horrible performances in Dallas which had them left for dead. They have showed a ton of emotion and resolve and have taken over the role of getting to every loose ball and every rebound that is up for grabs. Pat Riley has kept them together, and now the players are starting to rise up. Wade and Shaq are playing like a title is right there to be had. That should scare us all.
• DJ MBenga returns Sunday. Secret Weapon???
• It appears someone explained to Antoine Walker what they needed from him. He took almost no stupid shots until garbage time.
• Well, they only needed to get one in Miami, right? It seemed like an easy task when they had 3 shots at it, and a reasonable assignment when they had 2 cracks left. Now, with only Sunday left, they know what they must do. But can they?
• Do we need to start researching whether the home team has ever won all 7 games in a NBA Finals? Don’t assume the Heat cannot win a road game.