Monday, April 30, 2007
I don’t know what to say, really. Three minutes till the biggest battle of our professional lives all comes down to today. Now either we heal as a team or we’re gonna crumble, inch by inch, play by play, 'til we’re finished.
We’re in hell right now, gentlemen, believe me. And, we can stay here -- get the s--- kicked out of us -- or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb outta hell one inch at a time. - Al Pacino, Any Given Sunday
The Mavericks are hanging on to a cliff. Below them, if they fall, is a chasm known as “the biggest embarrassment in DFW sports history”…Also, below them, might be “the biggest embarrassment in NBA history”. They are not sure they can hold on much longer. The arms are tired, and the fingers ache, and they are starting to realize it might be easier just to let go and end it.
The Following are the notes of Game 4’s loss – What might go down as the most disappointing loss since Game 6 of the 2007 NBA Finals:
• You knew they were going to respond. You knew the Mavericks were going to bring as much rain as they had. What is so concerning about being down 3-1 to Golden State right now is that they threw a punch last night that they thought was pretty hard. Trouble is, Baron Davis took the punch, smiled, and punched back even harder. Doubt is creeping in to the Mavericks head. As hard as it is to believe, a team that lost 40 games this season has the Mavericks terrified. How they allowed this team into their head makes you wonder what we saw all season long. Remember when we thought this team was on a mission? They were not going to be satisfied or sleep until they had avenged last season’s debacle. Now, they look as powerless and as hopeless as we have ever seen them. I cannot explain this any better than I can explain nuclear fusion.
• There is no excusing Dirk Nowitzki any longer. He is playing lousy basketball and you know what is going to happen, right? He is going to be announced as the MVP this week and that is only going to compound the embarrassment of it all. He doesn’t want the ball. He doesn’t know what to do with it. He wanders the court and doesn’t impact the game for several minutes at a time. He is lost. And as much a defender of Dirk as I had been, he is giving back every shred of credibility he earned last spring in about 1 week of M.I.A. playoff basketball.
• We will never match D-Wade ’06 in the category of “guy who would not be stopped by Dallas in a 7 game series”. But, McGrady ’05 was the reigning single player performance before that, in my opinion. But, Baron Davis is making a name for himself. Davis is making everything. He is willing his team to victory. He is clearly the MVP of this series.
• With 7:21 to go in the game, Jerry Stackhouse scored to put the Mavericks up 88-81. I then count 11 missed shots, 4 turnovers, and 1 basket - The rebound 2 footer from Dirk. Finally, inside the final minute trailing 94-90, the Mavericks hit 3 3’s, but since they also surrender 9 points in the final minute, they cannot make up the lost ground. 1-12 from the Field with 4 turnovers. I suspect that any reader could grab 4 co-workers and go 1-12 in that situation.
• Josh Howard was amazing last night. Until halftime. After the intermission, he scored on 2 free throws.
• Don Nelson is abusing Avery Johnson. Avery looks like he has no more answers than I do.
• Seriously, I am not trying to take anything away from Golden State, but are you kidding me? They are up 3. There is 30 seconds to play. And they decide to get Matt Barnes a 3? And he drains it? That makes no sense on any level. When you have Jackson, Davis, and Richardson on the floor, why would you ever consider the biggest possession of the game going to Barnes? And he made it!
• Greg Buckner and Devean George are proving to be worthless in this series. So much for those big offseason additions that were going to provide that little extra.
• I am not sure what he has in his bag, but Mickael Pietrus appears to have an impressive vertical jump. Although it is a given that most players in the NBA can leap, I would put him at the top of the chart.
• I admit I got this series wrong. Way wrong. But to the 5 people that keep emailing me and want a formal apology, wasn’t about 99% of the rest of the free world picking the Mavericks? Was it really crazy to pick the Mavs to beat an 8th seed? I admit I got it wrong, but with the evidence the same next time, I would do it again.
• Let me say this: It isn’t over yet. Yes, Johnny Cash may be clearing his throat, but let’s not act like teams never come back from 3-1. Phoenix did it last year. It happens. But can it happen with this team playing like it is playing? I wouldn’t bet my house on it – but let’s wait a few days before the funeral.
• I’m so scared, baby.