Sunday, April 20, 2008
Much like the Mavericks in game 1, I plan on starting this review with a lot of energy, but then about halfway through I will lose focus and completely end with a thud. So, enjoy the first 50% of this blog review, because the final 50% is going to make you pretty angry if it follows the Mavs’ lead.
What the heck was that? The “so sad it is funny” stat of the night? With 4 minutes to play in that debacle of a 2nd half, ESPN showed that the Mavericks had shot 6-30 since halftime with 8 turnovers. The Hornets had shot 21-38 with 1 turnover. I am not sure that is even possible. How are you so supremely outplayed when it mattered? In some ways, it reminds you of Wednesday, when the Hornets seemed in complete control, until the Mavericks stormed past in the late moments of the game. The only difference of course, is that this game mattered to both teams.
There is a long way to go in a Best of Seven series after game 1, but if we learned anything about these two teams, it is that Chris Paul has all of the unstoppable qualities of Dwyane Wade in 2006 and Baron Davis in 2007. And on a team that still lacks anything resembling a stopper, that makes for 2 weeks of Paul doing whatever he wants.
The good news is that the Hornets are still a team that plays well when it hits its jumpers, poorly when it doesn’t, and is crippled by foul trouble because of their lack of depth. The bad news is that you seem to have a real lack of depth, too, and now you have 6 games left to beat them 4 times or it is time for Cowboys minicamp.
The following constitutes a Game 1 blog of the Hornets tanning of the Mavericks hides.
• I swear I was saying Chris Paul was “Young Isiah” before it was cool to say it. But, regardless of everyone saying it now, I have to tell you that the similarities are uncanny. His runners in the lane, his quickness with the ball, his passing ability, his drives to the rim all scream the Pistons of the mid-80’s. By the time the Pistons won the Titles in 1989 and 1990, he had kind of slowed down into a different kind of player, but if you saw young Zeke in Joe Louis Arena you know what I am talking about. Paul is amazing. In fact, I am not sure what they got besides Paul, but they don’t need much. I can’t say I would vote him for MVP over Kobe, but what is bad about being the 2nd best player in the sport this year?
• Just when you think the Mavericks are back, they put out that absurd effort in the 2nd half. There were times where they were so lost on defense that they didn’t even bother running at an open shooter. And, when you score only 40 points in a 2nd half, and are outscored by 24, you clearly had nothing going at either end.
• New Orleans bits reviewed: The Rick Flair Public Address bit was stupid 20 years ago when Rick Flair was somewhat relevant. Now it is old and stupid. Meanwhile, the dude with the huge Peja head that runs around the arena when Stojakovic nails a 3 is nothing short of genius. Love it.
• Finally, a team that shoots more Jumpers and fewer Free Throws than the Mavericks. Trust me, these guys are not unbeatable. Good, yes. Unbeatable? Not even close.
• Does any team have more 24 second violations where the player with the ball looks utterly shocked when the buzzer goes off than Dallas? Seriously, have a little basketball presence, boys. They are not hiding the shot clock. Try to focus.
• The emails this morning demonstrate the state of the Mavericks fans these days. Game 1 of the playoffs is over, and people want to fire Avery or trade Dirk. Nobody wants to do both. It seems the e-mailers figure it is one or the other’s fault. The way I see it, it is just one game. Let’s assign blame when things get a little worse. All you needed was a split in New Orleans, and that can still happen on Tuesday.
• Josh was horrible again. 4-16? Don’t be afraid to move in and take a shot that someone might suggest is a “good shot” once in a while, Josh. Not everything has to be an off balance fall back prayer. He has Stojakovic trying to guard him half the time, and he still settles for goofy shots. What a frustrating player that is somehow getting worse with age.
• Of course, if Josh was bad, what was Stackhouse? Or, Terry?
• I know it is small potatoes so far, but it was clear that New Orleans was trying to knock Dirk off his game. And this year, he seems determined to push back. Chandler and West want to get in his head, and he looks ready for a fight. 31 points and 10 rebounds wasn’t too shabby either. Of course, the e-mailers want him to stop Chris Paul and score 41 and 20, but I don’t get how Dirk was the issue last night. I am sure they will comment below and explain it to me.
• For those of us who had plans for Jason Kidd’s arrival to really change things, last night was not a great night. Sure, he had nearly a triple double, but had no idea how to slow down Paul, and also couldn’t settle the offense down at all in that 2nd half. He better have different plans for Tuesday.
• So, Chris Paul is a “avid bowler”? He seems to have a different build from most bowlers I know.
• Eddie Jones has travel in the back-court, the Mavericks commit an over-and-back, Howard holds the ball at the 24 second buzzer, and Josh and Kidd combine for 8 turnovers. Not nearly good enough to grab a road win.
• When Dirk fouled Chris Paul, did everyone get a little carried away about the severity of the foul? Mike Tirico is claiming that showed how frustrated Dirk was. Judging from the reaction, I found it amazing that Dirk wasn’t led away in handcuffs. Simmer down, Chris Paul is allowed to be touched, I think.
• Of course, Tirico lost all credibility when he claimed “Zoolander was one of the worst movies ever”. Ok, I know it wasn’t great, but look at these and tell me that it is worse than 10 movies you have seen in the last year! I bet he has never seen Zoolander. Hubie would never say anything so goofy.
• Let’s understand that this Mavericks team has big problems. But, if the object of the game is to win 4 in 7, then let’s all simmer down here for a moment. I expected the Mavericks to win in 7, and although last night didn’t help my confidence, let’s allow for another game or two before the grave is dug. Tuesday night will show us again what they are made of.