Monday, April 30, 2007

Game 4: Warriors 103, Mavericks 99 (GS: 3-1)

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.


monal said...

bob I was in the same boat as you last week , trying not to panic but this team has been outplayed for about 13 of the 16 quarters played this series so far. GS is far more hungry with nothing to lose, their too athletic , outhustling us at every point and making great plays. Baron Davis is far out doing what Wade did in the finals last year......he didn't need any free throws to bail him out.......

Andy D. said...

Wow... another loss to an 8th seed that completely owns us.

I have seen everything this team has had over the years, promise (80's mavs), nothing (early 90's mavs), promise only to end in failure (three J's era), promise again (Nellie Mavs), championship aspirations (Avery's mavs)... but I have never seen this.
Let's face the facts here, the country hates this franchise. Nationwide we are looked at as the smartass owner's bratty kids that have an excuse for everything. But now, we are going to lose in the first round of the playoffs after putting together a top 10 season in NBA history. It is very ironic that the man that brought this club back to life is the same one that is going to put doubt back into this city once again.
One more thing...
Nowitzki- proving once again that Euro players don't have the stomach for the fight to be a champion.

Joe said...

After that 3 from halfcourt by Baron Davis, I knew the basketball gods were not happy with the little Mavs.

I knew their was a great chance that the Mavs would lose this series. I laughed when all the experts expected the Mavericks to beat GS in 5. Does anyone watch basketball or follow history? Before Nellie got there, GS has owned Dallas, especially Jason Richardson.

GS is the worst matchup for Dallas in the entire series because they do not have a low post scorer to abuse GS. That's why Utah, Houston, the Suns, and the Spurs will sweep GS if and when they go to the next round. The only way Dallas wins this series, iss if Diop stays out of foul trouble. Diop is the key to this series. Avery needs to do everything in his coaching power to protect Diop and monitor his fouls. Never put Dirk at the 5 again, and roll with Damp or even Willis to give Diop a breather.

As far as Dirk, I'm done with him. I've defended this guy for a long time, but now everything his detractors have said is being highlighted right before our eyes. Soft, fades during crunch time (I don't care about the two worthless 3's), will not get on the block and says some of the most stupid things. How do you say "if we lose Game 4, we lose the series"? What kind of leader says those things? I wonder what players Stackhouse, Howard and Terry think about those comments?

Trade Dirk for KG or Jermaine O' Neal. I'm done.

TheDude said...

I never thought I could get a bigger kick to the nuts after last year's collapse, but stand back baby--the steel toes are coming.

The best consistent player was Gana Diop for his defense and rebounds. Dirk could not do anything last night. He would heft up these really weak-looking shots and let his legs flail around behind him, all the while watching the ball miss the entire rim. Dirk may have made his "gritty" reputation last year (and come to think of it, it was on ONE play where the defender made a bonehead foul), but he ain't got it now.

No one may be able to match what Dwuaiyne Wade did last year, but Baron Davis is doing nearly as much as Wade did but without the assistance of the officials and their BS calls. And as much as it pains me, I like the dude. If you look past his Gomer Pyle act in Game 2, he's seems like an all-around good dude. He's obviously making the plays, he brings the intensity and leadership, and his help to Devin Harris getting up off the floor was kinda cool too. I don't remember seeing that often between teams.

If Biedrins spent as much time practicing his free throws as he does on his hairstyle and fake tan, he might make more than half of his shots.

No annoying behavior from Stephen Jackson, that was a nice surprise.

Welp, our Mavs have won their last game of the season, and alas, I believe the dynasty is now in decline. We can say good-bye to Stackhouse this summer, and Devin Harris soon after that. Dirk will be known as the Neil O'Donnell of the NBA as his career winds down. It was fun while it lasted.

Rick Bentley said...

I won't go so far as to day that Dirk is worthless, but for crying out loud...PLEASE SHOW THE EFF UP SOMETIME DURING THE SERIES!!! Play with a little passion..a little fire..a little PRIDE!!! If this series ends up going to GS and Dirk is then announced as the MVP of the regular season, it's going to make me physically ill. It should him, too. But probably not. He has displayed a lack of balls the last week that disappoints me in ways I cannot describe.

Brad C said...

They brought this on themselves. They could have kept this team out of the playoffs with one win at the end of regular season. Bottom line. I don't care that Dirk is sucking, the team is not playing like they were, half court threes or whatever. Bottom line, they could be playing the soft sweet Clippers right now if they merely sacked up and said "yeah, you guys are playing pretty damn well, so we'll just go ahead and keep you out of the playoffs." But they didn't. Oh but they did bring the house against Seattle the next game so that makes sense(?)

So the Mavs, Bob & Dan, and all the other media that said "Bring 'em on, we don't care who we play in the playoffs. Why show them we care if we play them? They EARNED the right to sit their starters. It's totally different in the playoffs and we're the MAVS.", totally ignoring statistics, history, trends and any other factual data available can EFFING CHOKE on this situation for all I care.

Robert Stoops said...

So... Golden St. huh?


Welp, see ya later!

BACM said...

It's going to be a long summer.

Cap It said...

This team doesn't have the stomach to do dirty work in the playoffs.

Let's face it. IF the Mavs were to somehow get past GS in 7 games, is there anyone out there that thinks they can get past this years Suns? If you do, you're effing high.

This, my friends, is OVER. Either trade Dirk immediately, or get someone in here that's got the stones to carry a team when he needs to - not just in the regular season either.

Dirk is weak. He will shy aware from the glare of the national exposure. He's done it time and time again.

MVP award??? Man, wouldn't that be the final kick to the grapes...

I'm done. Two years and no money shot...

Jay, Christi and Andrew said...

Yes, Dirk is failing. Miserably. Not a leader, just a good scorer. Something Cuban obviously doesn't know about. Leadership. Anyway...

How can you not mention the Jet and his total failure to show up? Why can no one drive to the basket? These refs will give anyone except Devin the benefit of the doubt! And where is the knocking people on their A's instead of easy layups. Who cares if you get ejected? Someone on this team please act like you're not going to be pushed around!

All that said, just try and you can turn it around Mavs. Win at home. All those lucky shots and unbelievable field goal percentage from a jump shooting team won't last. But if you're not ready to grab this thing by the throat, you're gonna be choking on it all summer...

Wes Mantooth said...

Kill me. I can't take Rangers baseball for this long. No Stars. No Mavs. Only Rangers suckage to keep my sports pants on life support until Training Camp.

michaelandfaith said...

MVP's should have an iron will. A fiery determination that says, "I won't let us loose this game". And an mvp would never say if we lose we are done. If you had never watched the Mavs before last night's fourth quarter, I think you would have to come away with the impression that Stackhouse is their superstar.

Dirk=very good player, not a great one.

Andy D. said...

After we are eliminated, Cubes should make a call to McHale and get er done.

Right now, Dirk for KG.

IN A MINUTE. Someone that wants to prove to the country that he is a difference maker/superstar vs. someone that is "comfortable" with being a good player on a great team. which one would you choose.

DUSTY said...


michaelandfaith said...

BTW, Baron Davis is dominating on one leg.

Jay said...

I will watch Tuesday with my Diop shirt on, but I think we all know what the result will be whether in game 5 or possibly a game 6 (so we can see confetti drop again on our little 67 win Mavs)-- this thing is done short of a miracle. GS wants it more.

The only thing that will keep me interested I guess now is figuring out what is to be done with the Mavs from top to bottom. Did this team hit its ceiling last summer? Where do we go from here?

Drik for KG would be interesting but that's a trade scenario that's floated around for years and will probably never happen.

I wonder if we would trade Dirk. I think Josh Howard has proven himself to be less tradable now than Dirk. I feel like we can't win a championship without a star who will continually take it to the rack. So far Josh, Devin and Stack do that pretty well but none will take the game over. Stack tried but I don't think he has enough. I'm still hoping Josh becomes the superstar we all think he could be. If that happens maybe we don't have to shake up this thing.

I really wonder what will happen. I can't see Cuban sitting on his hands after this debacle.

RJ Peters said...

At this point, even if they pull this series out, what are the odds of winning it all? Can they really rally from these depths and win this series, plus three more? Seems unlikely. And then do you blow it up? Can they come back next year, play another 82 games, win 60+ and then have any confidence in the playoffs? Panic, on.

Dirk_is_my_homeboy said...

I would bench Dirk tommorrow night. Leave him on the bench the whole first quarter maybe even the whole first half. If I'm Avery I don't even talk to him or look at him or acknowledge him. Then I tell him at half time (or just before I put him in), Do you want to be remembered for being the leader of the biggest choke artists in NBA history? Get your @ss in there and SHOW ME SOMETHING!

People say this team isn't athletic enough, yeah if people like Austin Croshere are on the floor. Why is he getting minutes? watching him try to stay with the likes of Jason Richardson and Stephen Jackson is funnier than watching the Wylie coyote try and catch the Roadrunner, sheesh!

Devin Harris, Josh Howard, Desagana Diop, and Jerry Stackhouse are all athletic enough, especially Harris and Howard. I really blame Avery here for playing head games with Devin. To start the season all you ever saw was Harris get yanked after any mistake. Devin has the potential to be special. He should of gotten more opportunities to show what he could do this season even if that meant we lose 8 more games.

Also where in the hell was Desagana Diop the last 7 minutes of game 4????? Does Avery think this is college basketball and you foul out after 5? The guys on TNT said it best, with Diop out of the game Baron Davis and Jason Richardson took it as an invitation to drive the basket.

I still love the Mavericks. I sat through Donald Hodge, Mike Izzulino, Eric Mourningstar, and Cherokee Parks I can fight through this too. I'm just so disappointed in this team. They play like chicken S! This team is the embodiment of that scared little freshman with braces and tape between his glasses scared to get up and ask a girl out for the homecoming dance. This team pees itself everytime they get into meaningful games in the playoffs. I don't approach my life that way, and it's disgusting to call myself a fan of that poo poo.