The Lakers are the Mavericks nemesis these days, and if yesterday is any indication, it isn’t because they have some magic mojo against the Mavs, it is simply because they are significantly better all over the floor. I enjoyed the ABC TV guys debating it, and I thought Jeff Van Gundy was spot on about this team when he suggested that this team isn’t inconsistent. “They just aren’t that good”.
Now, you can look at Dirk and suggest that the best player on the team, and one of the top dozen players in the NBA is the problem – but that remains a silly past-time if you ask me.
Isn’t the biggest problem with the Mavs the following:
At any given time yesterday, the Lakers had 3 mis-matches with which to attack yesterday – AND, at the same time, the Mavs had only about 2 scorers on the floor.
That is right. They have bad matchups on offense and defense. That is a rare double.
Here is how the Mavs opened the game defensively:
Dirk guards Odom
Dampier guards Gasol
Barea on Fisher
Kidd on Ariza
Wright on Kobe
As you can see, the most obvious mis-match is Damp trying to guard Gasol, but there is nobody else he could even consider guarding. I have no idea why he was on the floor to begin with, but both halves, Carlisle thought he would try it. Then, Barea gets posted up when Fisher decides it is time. Kidd leaves Ariza to help on Kobe and Ariza starts nailing shots.
Then, Barea and Dampier must sit down, and when James Singleton or Brandon Bass and Jet Terry enter the game, now, Dirk tries to guard Gasol (not very well) and Bass tries to cover Odom.
This doesn’t even mention Kobe. Kobe can destroy pretty much anyone in the league, and although Antoine Wright looks like he is doing pretty well, Kobe gets a quiet 28-8-5.
Here is an equally horrid part of the game. The Mavs have, at all times, at least 2 to 3 guys on the floor who are pretty much worthless on offense. Seriously. Barea, Wright, Singleton, Dampier, and Bass are 5 of the top 8 options right now on this team, and none of them can create any of their own offense. Barea and Wright can spot up and shoot 3’s. Singleton, Bass, and Dampier can occasionally hit an open 15-footer and put back a rebound.
So that leaves only 3 guys who can get you anything on offense above very basic levels of production. And Kidd cannot shoot unless he is left wide open off the pass. As far as creating things, he is great – but to whom shall he create this offense?
Dirk and Jet. Night after night. Dirk and Jet.
Let me ask you a question; Don’t you think the opposition knows this? Don’t you think the Lakers have some idea about this? They stick Gasol on Dirk and then help the whole night with Kobe and friends. Jet still gets one-on-one coverage, because he does most of his scoring from 25 feet. And yesterday, he did it very well.
That leaves Dirk to a) be the only scorer inside the 3 point line, and b) the key to the Lakers defensive efforts. Phil Jackson will do everything he can to not let #41 beat them.
You knew there were big issues again when the Mavs shot 48% in the 1st Quarter, held Kobe to 0 points, and were down 9!
The Mavs are short. Even with Josh Howard back, they are short a player or two.
And that isn’t going to change until the Mavs front office changes it.
Another loss to the Lake Show …
At least we know what separates the Mavericks from the Los Angeles Lakers this season.
For the third time, the Mavericks played gallantly against the Western Conference's top team and came up with another seven-point loss. They were outscored, 18-5, in the final seven minutes as the Lakers ended the Mavericks' once-promising road trip with a 107-100 defeat at Staples Center.
You can add Kobe Bryant to the chasm between the two teams, too. And the unlikely Trevor Ariza.
The two made all the big plays in the final minutes after the Mavericks had put together one of their best stretches of the season to take a 95-89 lead.
"This was a great opportunity," said Jason Terry, whose career-best seven 3-pointers and 29 points were a big reason why the Mavericks turned a 15-point deficit into a six-point lead. "We dug ourselves a hole and we had a chance to pull it out. But that's why he's Kobe Bryant. He does things in the fourth quarter that only a few players can do.
"Knowing that, we like our chances. We match up pretty well with that team. If it's a team we've got to face down the line, we're confident it will be a knock-out series. We're the underdog. You've got nothing to lose anyway."
If the season ended today, the Mavericks would be the No. 8 seed and play the top-seeded Lakers. But the Mavericks have 15 more games and nine of them are at home.
Sunday's meeting with the Lakers ended a 2-2 road trip that started out 2-0.
"We battled and we couldn't get it," Brandon Bass said. "To go 2-2 on the trip, that's OK. But we know we could have done great. We could have gotten all four or at least three."
The Mavericks showed they can make the Lakers sweat. But what they left on the proving ground all season was showing they can beat them. Back in November, the Lakers twice beat the Mavericks – 106-99 in Dallas and 114-107 in Los Angeles.
Apparently, not much has changed since then.
The scary part is that it wasn't even Bryant that broke their hearts. Or at least, not Bryant by himself. Ariza had 26 points, including six in a row that put the Lakers up, 98-95, with less than four minutes to go. The Mavericks used a 21-2 surge that started late in the third quarter to put the heat on the Lakers.
The Brackets are out. Enjoy. As in previous years , I watch the NCAA Tournament to simply see what the NBA lottery will look like this June. I want to see some good basketball, but I don’t really have a huge level of interest in college hoops, so I just need something like a mock draft to get me going.
So, with intern TC on the case, here is a list of players and their average ranking from 5 mock drafts:
Player Position College Avg. Draft
Blake Griffin PF Oklahoma 1.0
James Harden SG Arizona State 4.2
Hasheem Thabeet C Connecticut 4.8
Jordan Hill PF Arizona 5.2
Jeff Teague PG Wake Forest 6.0
Al-Farouq Aminu SF Wake Forest 9.0
Earl Clark SF Louisville 11.0
Gerald Henderson SG Duke 13.0
Greg Monroe PF Georgetown 14.2
Demar DeRozan SG USC 15.2
DeJuan Blair PF Pittsburgh 15.6
Patrick Patterson PF Kentucky 16.4
Ty Lawson PG North Carolina 17.6
Chase Budinger SG Arizona 18.8
Eric Maynor PG VCU 19.8
Willie Warren PG Oklahoma 20.0
Craig Brackins PF Iowa State 20.0
Stephen Curry SG Davidson 21.0
BJ Mullens C Ohio State 22.4
Darren Collison PG UCLA 23.8
Tyler Hansbrough PF North Carolina 25.8
Terrence Williams SF Louisville 27.8
Tyreke Evans SG Memphis 27.6
James Johnson PF Wake Forest 27.6
Sam Young SF Pittsburgh 29.0
Tyler Smith SF Tennessee 29.3
Jerome Jordan C Tulsa 29.5
Chad Ford’s mock
Draft Express Mock
Here is a long list of more mocks …
They all agree, Blake Griffin is going #1.
times-announced-for-firs.html> Games of local interest …
The times have been announced for the NCAA Tournament first-round games. Here's a look at the game times for area teams of interest:
11:30 a.m. -- Texas A&M-BYU
6:10 p.m. -- Texas-Minnesota
8:40 p.m. -- Oklahoma-Morgan State
11:15 a.m. -- Stephen F. Austin-Syracuse
11:25 a.m. -- Oklahoma State-Tennessee
11:30 a.m. -- Kansas-North Dakota State
2 p.m. -- Missouri-Cornell
Have courage …
Real fans don’t fill out brackets.
I watch sports in hopes of seeing the unexpected, not the predicted. I watch sports hoping to see something I’ve never seen before, not something I think may happen. I watch sports to watch my team win.
We watch the NCAA tournament to root for our alma mater, or our kid’s school, or our favorite team growing up. We watch it to root against a team coached by a guy who looks a little too slick, a team we think cheats or a team that just wins too often.
Here is the Cowboys draft list …
The Cowboys have 9 total draft picks.
No First rounder.
2nd round - #51 slot.
3rd round - #69 slot.
4th round - #97 slot, #113 slot.
5th round - #148 slot, #158 slot.
6th round - #184 slot.
7th round - #193 slot, #210 slot.
Sean Avery scores 2 in win …
Sean Avery shook up the Philadelphia Flyers with his grit and his gift of gab. And
just when they had enough of that, he beat them with his stick.
With a national TV spotlight on him, and a fired-up home crowd adoring his every agitating move, Avery scored two power-play goals and drew a pair of penalties to lead the New York Rangers to a 4-1 victory over the Flyers on Sunday.
"He gets the puck, and five guys on their team want to kill him," linemate Scott Gomez said.
Avery has scored in three straight games and has four goals in that stretch. As it was during his first stint with the Rangers, before he was banished by the Dallas Stars for crude public comments, New York performs better with him in the lineup (4-2).
"The first couple of games I was just so nervous, kind of playing a little too hard," Avery said. "I'm just trying to slow it down, think about the plays and where they're going to end up.
"I feel good as far as just being happy that I'm out playing, and trying to play hard and help the team win. I've gotten some good bounces and I've gotten some good passes. It's tough to explain. Obviously, the team playing better is something that helps a lot."
Liverpool destroys Manchester United ….
Very interesting essay on the clutch-ness of Michael Young …
Oak Ridge Boys honor Nolan Ryan …
Hitler – bills fan