Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Done and Dusted.
Never has a team had such a crucial game, only to make matters even worse. Oh, wait; They did this last season in a “must win” game in Oakland.
As much as I try to hang in there with these guys in the face of people calling me a moron for believing in them, I feel that I have been duped. The honest appraisal of this all appears to be that they are diseased and dying. They are taking their last few breaths before they are put in their casket. Last night indicated to all of us how interested they are in delaying the inevitable. Not. At. All.
They don’t believe. They don’t fight. They don’t appear to care. And, even if they did, they don’t appear to know what to do about it.
I said last summer that they needed a heart transplant. They ignored me and everyone else that agreed. Then, in February, they made a bold trade to “win now”. It actually appears they made it even worse than it was. Or, maybe just more hopeless.
If last night wasn’t a true indication that the current mix isn’t close to working, I don’t know what would be. That was sickening. And, barring a completely unforeseen recovery in this series, that was more than plenty to fire your coach. Is it all Avery’s fault? Debatable, but in sports, when your team clearly doesn’t respond to you, you fire your coach.
After a night of having your hides tanned for all to see, here are the notes:
• So, the Hornets take liberties with the Mavericks on Saturday night, including the much publicized “touching of the face” of Dirk. Between games, Avery talks about standing up for yourselves. So, on Tuesday, in an effort to set the tone of how the Mavericks won’t be pushed around, they roll out and surrender a dozen dunks in the Hornets’ 39 point first quarter. There is nothing more demoralizing than not having any clue how to stop them. And it is quite obvious that the only thing worse than not double teaming Chris Paul as he lights you up, is poorly double teaming Chris Paul and allowing the entire team to light you up.
• Did you consider giving up on the game at the same time I did? Jerry Stackhouse drives to the rim, is soundly rejected by Tyson Chandler, who sends the ball to Chris Paul, who takes off on the right side, Chandler sprints down the left side and accepts another lob pass and throws down a power dunk 94 feet away from where the play began. That made the score, 8-5, and the route was on.
• Josh Howard made a jump shot with 8:00 to go in the 2nd Quarter. That would be his last field goal of the game. In game 1, his last field goal happened with :01 left in the 2nd Quarter. I am not sure what he does in the 2nd half of basketball games, but it isn’t playing basketball.
• Seriously, have any “between game adjustments” ever gone any worse? You had 72 hours to figure out the Chris Paul riddle, and that is what you came up with? I think we can all agree that wouldn’t qualify as a real precise adjustment. Avery may not have the personnel to handle certain complicated deployments, but by now, Avery should be aware of what he has to work with, and if he can’t make those pieces fit well enough together to hold New Orleans below 127 then you may need to fire your coach.
• By the way, Avery is signed through 2010-11, at $4 million per season. It would not be real cheap to fire your coach. Of course, it also would not be cheap to trade for Jason Kidd - that didn't stop Mark Cuban.
• Remember the premise that Dirk needs help? Well, that means Jerry Stackhouse, Josh, and Kidd need to step up and help. 4-10, 3-10, and 3-10 is not what we had in mind. By the way, Dampier went 3-6 for a starters-not-named-Dirk total of 13-36 (36%) Meanwhile, CP3’s mates in the starting line-up had shooting nights of 8-13, 11-17, 4-7 and 5-7 for 28-44 for 64%.
• The last 3 halves for the Hornets: 64, 67, and 60 points.
• And now for the obligatory Chris Paul is amazing entry: 32 points, 17 assists, and 5 rebounds? That’s great but he didn’t block a single shot. Seriously, wasn’t it fun to watch Dampier trying to guard Paul on the switch? Shockingly, Erick did not break an ankle, but CP3 had a pretty nice crossover that just about made the big man tumble. He is in another world. But, did TNT’s comparison to Lenny Wilkens miss the mark or what? You can show me those highlights all you want. Wilkens is not a similar player to Paul. Sorry. They are playing two different sports.
• David West may be in the running for most underrated player in the NBA. He certainly has a game that makes you notice his impact on a game. 27 points and another harassment of Dirk leads one to believe that the battle of the supporting casts is not going well from a Dallas perspective.
• Would it be too much to ask Josh Howard to win a matchup against Peja? Seriously. That is flat embarrassing. And if I hear one more time that he is having a hard time continuing on without his buddy Devin Harris, I might vomit. Seriously, how old are these guys? Something that should be assumed when you take $40 million from an NBA franchise is that they might – without warning – trade one of your buddies. At this point, you may have to correspond with your buddy nightly through text, phone, IM, or perhaps video phone. Somehow, we will ask that you still carry on and try to play basketball that is slightly above horrendous.
• When your opponent has 97 at the end of 3 Quarters, and 3 guys have over 20 points, I am guessing the stats generally indicate you are going to lose that game.
• This is too much to bear. I believe in being loyal to your team through thick and thin, but when you are actually happy that TNT switched away from your game, you obviously are having a hard time hanging in there. Is this thing over? There is still time, but no longer does this appear to be trying to climb out of a hole. It appears more to be delaying a sure death.
• When this ends, can we please blow this thing up? The Dirk-Terry-Stack-Howard-Dampier led Mavs era needs to end. I am sorry. I can no longer defend something that is so obviously broken. At least we have a #1 to look forward to…oh wait.