Saturday, April 26, 2008

Game 3: Mavericks 97, Hornets 87 (NO, 2-1)

Still Alive?

The Mavericks joined the 2008 NBA Playoffs last night, perhaps just in the nick of time. If they didn’t win on Friday night, their season was over. In a game in which they pretty much had the upper hand all evening, the Mavs demonstrated that just maybe they are interested in not going quietly into the night.

As David Moore wrote on Thursday, the key for the Mavericks was going to make the Hornets miss a few shots. That can come from added defensive pressure, or the Hornets just not knocking them down. But, if it doesn’t happen, then the tempo is slow, Jason Kidd cannot utilize his talents in a fast break situation, and the stagnant Mavs offense is revealed to be the unimaginative mess that it was in New Orleans.

Thanks to both better defense and the Hornets missing, the Hornets missed 54 shots. Allowing for many chances in transition for the Mavs. Meanwhile, Chris Paul proved to be merely human.

Notes and observations from a couch where I tried to watch the Stars and Mavs and pondered the NFL Draft all while hoping Ron Washington could survive the weekend:

• Jason Terry is now the glove? I doubt it, but if it slows down CP3 to have Terry chase him down, that is good. As far as I am concerned, the Mavericks definitely needed more Terry available because they need more offense in the half court sets. Jerry Stackhouse has been disappointing since returning from his injury, and I think Terry gives them a little explosive punch to compliment Dirk. He scored 22, had 6 assists, and outplayed Paul? At least for Game 3, the Mavericks did what was needed.

• Jannero Pargo. Can’t swear I knew anything about him before this series, but it sure appears he has plenty to offer. Happy he decided to miss occasionally last night.

• One under-rated element of Jason Kidd is the way he helps your team dominate the glass. When Kidd can get you 11 rebounds, which ties Tyson Chandler’s 11 who led the Hornets, you know he is helping you control the glass.

• It may not be fair, but after every Josh Howard mistake, don’t we all wonder what effect the bong might have had on things? Is he dumb enough to bring all of this on himself? Apparently.

• Peja is a one trick pony. It is a great trick, but still only one. And yet, he has made his money.

• I am sure Dirk’s 32 points, 19 rebounds, and 6 assists were soft, right? Last night, we saw how silly Dirk talk is around here. He gets his points, and makes his contributions every night. When his boys join him, he is part of a winner. When he does it by himself, he is not part of a winner. It really has little to do with Dirk most nights. He is a constant. It seems to be Josh, Jason, Jason, and Jerry who waver in their consistency if you ask me.

• Do you ever wonder why Avery starts the 2nd quarter with Malik Allen? 3 very memorable minutes.

• How little must Mike James have? The guy who the Mavericks were desperately bidding against Minnesota to get a few years ago now cannot play 1 minute in the playoffs? Is he hurt? I don’t know. Nobody even mentions him. Explain why the Hornets traded Bobby Jackson?

• I thought one key was definitely the willingness of the Mavericks to push back. They haven’t shown much fight in New Orleans, so then to see Erick Dampier mixing it up was encouraging. Perhaps they are interested in competing.

• This is just one game. The Mavs are neither in this series, nor out of it. If ever a 4th game controls the series, it is this one. It seems fairly obvious to me that the Mavs cannot afford to lose even a single game in Dallas, because that, in effect, forces them to win Games 5 and 7 in New Orleans, which seems to be fairly unlikely. If the Mavericks win Sunday, everyone will get their swagger back a bit. Should they lose Sunday, they will be preparing the casket again. I think we can call this a pretty large contest Sunday night at the AAC. Can they survive? I still am not convinced, but if they can rattle the Hornets twice in 3 days, I believe that little pain called “doubt” will enter the skull of the young team from Louisiana.


Bagger said...

Thanks for being the voice of reason in the midst of every arm-chair quarterback wanting to get rid of Dirk when the Mavs lay eggs like they did in Game 2.

Dirk's Willis Reed impersonation a few weeks back should have solidified it for everyone. Whatever the problem is, DIRK ISN'T IT!

How about some credit for Dirk for actually improving his game in the last few years. When he was criticized for being only a jump-shooter, he started taking it to the basked. When he was criticized for being soft defensively, he started comming up with big turnovers and blocked shots in the 4th quarter. And in the midst of an anemic team, Dirk still gets his points EVERY NIGHT.

Thankfully, despite Cuban's recent knee-jerk stupidity with regards to the Kidd trade, both he and Avery seem to recognize that fact about Dirk and aren't about to let him go anywhere else.

One other thought, wasn't the Bring Jason Terry off the bench idea tried at the beginning of last year's season too? Like when the Mavs started 0-4?

I think Jason Terry has to see more minuites and has to hit open shots.

Isn't Josh Howard's second half disappearing act blameable on coaching? However this team is blown up this off season, can't we get Del Harris back in here?

Josh said...

Great to see JET light up the score board. As you said, Dirk is a constant and can be counted on to get his points. When Jason Terry contributes significantly - like he did in Game 3 - the Mavs are a tougher team to beat. More JET.

I liked how Avery used - or actually didn't use - his bench in Game 3. The way Stack has been playing, either he's still got lingering effects from his injury, or he's really just lost it. Unless he somehow gets better, I don't mind him being used less and less. He's been a big part of this team the past few years, but until he gets back to that level - if he can, and I hope he can - he's not nearly as useful to Avery and the Mavs.

Four of the five starters played more than 40 minutes. Only Damp (25:00) played less. In a playoff series, there's no need to "have to" use the far end of the bench. The fact that Avery left Eddie Jones and Juwan Howard on the bench and sparsely used Malik Allen is a good thing. Just keep pushing your top 7-8 guys to pull the load.

- Josh F

Jay said...

Stack is done. Avery needs to play a very limited rotation of Dirk/Terry/Howard/Damp/Kidd/Bass and mix in somed Devean George and Tyron Lue. I don't understand how he can't get a few minutes. He can knock down 3's and is a solid PG. Terry should never run the point. I hope the Mavs can pull it together tonight.

Josh said...

Apparently Lue has been hurt tho the past few games.

- Josh