Saturday, April 30, 2011

ADS Round 2 Preview: Mavericks v Lakers

The Mavericks survived Round 1 against Portland and will now advance to meet the Los Angeles Lakers in Round 2 for the first time in the playoffs since 1988.

The Mavericks finished up their series in 6 games against Portland with an average ADS+ of 12.1 while allowing the Blazers to average an ADS+ of 10.8.

The Lakers also won in 6 games against New Orleans with an average ADS+ of 10.5 while allowing the Hornets to average an ADS+ of 11.3.

Now the two teams will square off with the Lakers holding a 2-1 edge in the season series . Throughout those 3 games, LA was able to post an ADS+ of 10.6 against Dallas, slightly lower than the Mav’s opponents regular season average of 11.41. Dallas posted an ADS+ of 12.7 against the Lakers which is slightly higher than their regular season average of 12.32.

The Mavericks hit a couple of key regular season ADS trends in Round 1 against Portland:

Trend 1: When the Mavs ADS+ was under 11 they were 8-1 and average 104 PPG

Trend 2: When the Mavs ADS+ was over 14 they were 1-5 and average 88 PPG

Trend 3: The Mavs were 15-4 in games they posted a lower ADS+ total than their opponent this season.

In game 4 they hit Trend 2 posting an ADS+ of 14 and the result was a unprecedented 4th Quarter collapse.

However, in game 5 they posted an ADS+ of 9.8 and a lower ADS+ total than the Blazers, satisfying Trend 1 and 3. To finish out the series in game 6, they were able to post a lower ADS+ than Portland hitting Trend 3.

In their 3 meetings with the Lakers this season, the Mavericks have not qualified for any of these trends thus far. If they are able to avoid Trend 2 and hit Trends 1 and 3 it will help their chances immensely against LA. While these trends are not automatic in their results, the numbers have swayed heavily one way or another over the 82 game season.

The reigning NBA champs will be a more than formidable opponent for Dallas in Round 2 and containing Kobe will not be an easy task. Mix that together with two legitimate low post scoring threats in Gasol and Bynum, a 6th Man of the year winner in Odom, and the wildcard Artest, things could get very difficult for Dallas.

Lets take a look at the positional ADS numbers and break down the Mavericks 2nd Rd matchup versus the Los Angeles Lakers.

Guards (1-3)


*Assuming Terry as the starter since he plays far more minutes than Stevenson

At first glance looking at the numbers from the season series, this does not appear to be an extremely difficult matchup for Dallas.

Fisher and Artest have not proven to be extreme offensive threats against Dallas thus far this season with a combined ADS+ of 15 and combined PPG of 15. Kidd and Terry matchup with a higher combined ADS+ of 18.8 but have combined for almost 30 PPG against the Lakers in the regular season. If Terry can force the issue in the paint and mimic his GM 3 ADS+ of 11.5 and 29 points from the Portland series, Dallas could be in great shape offensively.

Shawn Marion had great numbers against LA with his ADS+ at 5.9, which was right around his season average. However, his 18.7 PPG average against the Lakers was well above his season average of 12.5 PPG. The numbers would indicate a shockingly good matchup for him versus LA.

The real key to this series will be to somehow contain Kobe Bryant, which the Mavs have had some small success in this season. Against Dallas in the regular season, Kobe's PPG (21.7) and FG% (40.7%) are below his regular season averages of 25.3 and 43.7%.

It is worth noting that the Hornets allowed Kobe to have an ADS+ of 11.2 throughout their 6 game series, so maybe it is not a coincidence that the Mavericks are making him take his shots almost 2ft further with an ADS+ of 13.

If the Mavericks can keep these trends going from the regular season they may have a better matchup than most anticipate. That being said, Kobe is the ultimate trump card and the Mavericks must try to force long range jumpers instead of looks around the paint if they want to slow him down.

Conclusion: Slight Advantage Lakers

Bigs (4-5)


Tyson Chandler has had a rough time so far with the Lakers this season with his ADS+ well above his season average of 2.9 and his PPG well below his season average of 10.1. Dallas will need to see a Tyson Chandler performance more along the lines of his GM 5 (14 points and ADS+ of 1) because his counterpart Andrew Bynum has elevated his game to baller status.

Andrew Bynum's average ADS+ of 3.3, 16.7 PPG, and 65.5 FG% against Dallas this season are all well above his season averages (11.3PPG and 57%). If he is converting high percentage shots on a constant basis, he could be a nightmare for Tyson Chandler's efforts to stay out of foul trouble and in the game. This has been a scary matchup so far this season for Dallas and they may need to throw everything they have to him to try to contain him.

It doesnt get any better down the line for Dallas either. Pau Gasol's play in the paint and around the basket has caused trouble for the Mavericks so far in their 3 season meetings. He is also slightly above his regular season averages of 18.8PPG and 52.9% shooting when facing Dallas by posting a 20.3 PPG average and shooting 54.5%. Like Bynum, Gasol is making his living in the paint with a low ADS+ of 6.4 against Dallas.

Dirk's totals against the Lakers are about on par when compared to his season averages of 23PPG and an ADS+ of 13.1. In keeping up with this data over the coarse of the regular season and playoffs there is one trend that boads well for Dirk and the Mavs:

When Dirk's ADS+ is under 11, the Mavs are 16-1 including 3-0 in the playoffs this season.

When Dirk makes it a point to be aggressive and make moves to the basket resulting in high percentage shots or a trip to the FT line, the trend has been a Mavericks win.

Its hard to argue against the numbers on which group of post players have gotten the best of the season series. Bynum and Gasol have posted a combined ADS+ of 5.2 and 37 PPG, while Dirk and Tyson posted a combined ADS+10.9 and 28 PPG in the season series. Certain matchups play out in different ways for different players. Lets hope the Mavericks can flip these trends and dominate the game in the post throughout this series.

Conclusion: Advantage Lakers



The Lakers will roll out the best bench player in the league, 6th man of the year Lamar Odom. His PPG and FG% numbers against Dallas have been consistent with his regular season averages and his ADS+ of 11.9 against helps demonstrate his versatility. The fact that 26% of his shots taken against Dallas were 3 point attempts (23ft and beyond) yet he still was able to manage a low ADS+ is very impressive.

The Mavs enter another playoff series with an added luxury their opponent doesnt have- a capable 7fter. Haywood's offensive statistics against the Lakers this season of 2.3PPG and an ADS+ of 3.5 will not wow anyone, its the effect he has on the opponents ADS+ where his efforts can be shown.

For example, in the season series against Portland LaMarcus Aldridge was able to have an average ADS+ of 8.48 and 28PPG against the Mavericks. Brendan Haywood stepped in and played key minutes and helped raise LaMarcus Aldridge's average ADS+ to 9.4 and lower is PPG average to 21 in the round 1 series. This is purely opinion, but i thought Haywood was the tougher matchup for Aldridge over Tyson Chandler. Attribute the changed results to playoff intensity or antyhing else you may like, but lets hope this trend can continue against the Lakers.

Breaking down the big picture, the Lakers Bench ADS+ of 11.9 is better than the Mavs Bench ADS+ of 13.3. Even with one less player to contribute, they were also to have a 29 PPG bench total as compared to the Mavs bench of 27 PPG.

The ADS statistics and PPG totals say the Lakers bench has been the group thats been able to get better shots and put up more points collectively, it would be hard to argue they haven't been better.

Conclusion: Advantage Lakers


PlayerADS+ (Dallas)PPG (Dallas)PPG (Season)FG% (Dallas)FG% (Season)


PlayerADS+ (Lakers)ADS+ (Season)PPG (Lakers)PPG (Season)FG% (Lakers)FG% (Season)
*Peja only played 1 game- 4/10 for 13pts
** Stevenson is a combined 0/14 shooting

To reiterate, the season series ended up as Mavs ADS+ of 12.7 and the Lakers ADS+ of 10.6 when the two teams faced off 3 times this season (Lakers won 2-1). I believe the key to this series will be the same as it was last series against Portland, which is to win the battle in the paint.

The emphasis was clear coming off that horrible GM 4 loss in Portland. They lost the ADS+ battle (12.7 to 14) and the FT-A battle ( 23 to 10) in the game which feature the classic Maverick complacency to take long jumpers. GM 5 was a complete turn around in which the Mavericks won both the battle of ADS+ (9.8 to 10.4) and the FT-A's (35-19). Game 5 type efforts will need to be gutted out to have success against the Lakers.

The Laker's have the advantage in all aspects of the ADS+ and statistical breakdowns against the Mavericks so far this season. They have bigger and better offensive threats that will be constantly shooting inside the paint and taking high percentage shots. Oh and they also have one of the greatest scorers of all time as well.

Do not let the numbers be a slight to the current brand of playoff basketball the Mavericks finished with in Round 1. It was an extremely impressive performance overall and it was one of a true playoff contender. Instead let these statistics indicate the style of play and mentality Dallas cannot bring to this series against the Lakers if they want to advance ot the next round.

Kobe Bryant will get all the media attention, but the ADS numbers will show where Dallas must thrive to win this series. If they can stay aggresive then they will have an outstanding chance to take down the reigning NBA champs.

Thanks to Heath Huston, Tim Krajewski, and Ted Miles for help with the data.

What is ADS? Read the FAQ and find out.

Posted By: Adam Rosen

Saturday Morning Draft Thoughts

Unlike Thursday's 1st round, Friday's 2nd and 3rd round selections for the Dallas Cowboys were not met with approval from all precincts and therefore is on my mind as we try to sort out what the Cowboys decided upon for Picks #40 and #71.

As we talked about yesterday, it seemed vital for the Cowboys to continue to grab potential starters on Day 2, and fortify a team that has enough holes to go around.

As you know by now, the newest Cowboys are ILB Bruce Carter from UNC and DeMarco Murray, the phenomenal RB from Oklahoma.

Both are talented young men who have very impressive college resumes. Both also have major injury concerns that pushed them down the draft. There was a time where both names were projected to be 1st Round Draft picks, but in both cases, health issues took them out of that mix long before April of 2011 arrived.

I started discussing my issues with Bruce Carter this morning on Twitter, but quickly realized 140 characters was not going to be enough to clearly and concisely organize my thoughts.

So here they are:

After looking at his film, reading his reports, and talking to scouts, I can certainly understand the idea behind drafting him. Many suggest that it was a round too early, but regardless, there is no doubt that in today's NFL, you need sideline to sideline linebackers who can fly around and make plays and not be left in the dust if a RB tries to run a route in the flat.

The finesse label he has appears evident on the tape, but there is no doubt that players are not running away from him very often. Bradie James and Keith Brooking are not known for closing down the ball carrier with superior speed. Well, this guy has superior speed.

So, you have to love the wheels. You have to love the instincts on special teams that have allowed him to block kick after kick. You have to love that he is an athlete that can find the ball.

Concerns? There are plenty. Not the least of which would be that a "speed" athlete is coming off ACL surgery in November. Is he fully ready for camp in July (if there is one?) - well, I can't count on that.

But, really, my biggest beef is this. I am being told that he is particularly ideal in nickel schemes. He is a guy who should be able to be awesome in coverage - and if there is a dump off to a RB on 3rd and 8, Bruce Carter should make sure he doesn't reach the sticks. So what is my issue? Well, you won't believe this, but I promise you I have had this exact conversation with personnel experts after the 2005 draft (2nd Rounder Kevin Burnett), the 2006 draft (1st Rounder Bobby Carpenter), the 2009 draft (3rd Rounder Jason Williams) and the 2010 draft (2nd Rounder Sean Lee). So in 7 drafts since converting to the 3-4, the Cowboys have used a premium pick on an inside linebacker who can cover (not rush) 5 times!

And, for different reasons, they still need to select one in 2011. Is Sean Lee a bust? No, I don't think he is. I assume the plan is for Carter and Lee to form a duo for 10 years if we are lucky. But, how can anyone say that with a straight face after hearing similar projections for Carpenter, Williams, and Burnett?

But that must tell us they have a rather short leash projection for Bradie James (we already assume Keith Brooking will be slowly phased out this season). James, a long-time defensive leader, is in the final year of his deal in 2011 and I would imagine he has spent the last day feeling like the Cowboys gave him their intention about a contract extension with the Carter pick.

So, do I not like the pick? Well, I like Bruce Carter's upside. But, I am not crazy about taking another inside LB with a very important pick for the 5th draft in 7 years.

Now, let's move on to the exciting name in this draft class - Oklahoma's DeMarco Murray. Very few players have fluctuated in draft value like Murray. 2 seasons ago, he was thought to be "the belle of the ball" for the class of 2011. 2 months ago, there were questions about whether he would even be drafted.

But the Cowboys took him at pick #71. I find this interesting - not because of his value as a player or his talent. I find it interesting that the Cowboys feel they need a full-time RB again. Because, that is what Murray will have to be for this to be a worthwhile investment.

In choosing a RB at this spot, they passed on Will Rackley from Lehigh (Jacksonville - Pick #76) who many think could have started at LG on opening day. They also passed on Safety, CB, and DL options that remained.

More importantly, they told us what they think of their current RB set up with Felix Jones, Tashard Choice, and of course, Marion Barber (who is already out the door). Taking a RB in this draft is not a surprise. They needed a 3rd RB who could be a special teams ace. But, taking a RB who is known for his pass receiving and his potential to be a #1 RB should at least disappoint those who retained hope that Felix Jones is what we thought he would be when the Cowboys took him in 2008.

With so many pressing needs on the roster, they still want to fix RB? And they get Murray who is best known for his ability to catch the ball (he had 71 receptions in 2010). This redundancy with Felix's new-found catching ability is quite a statement.

So, do I not like the pick? Well, I like DeMarco Murray's upside. But, I am not crazy about taking another RB when there seem to be more pressing needs.

And that is the taste in my mouth after Day 2.

And one more thing...

Does Jerry realize that it is a really bad idea to tell us that Larry Lacewell, Barry Switzer, and Butch Davis signed off on these picks?

If you are like me, then you feel that the Cowboys are making picks to make up for previous sins. If previous OL picks could play, then maybe they don't need to address the OL. If previous cover LBs could play, then Bruce Carter is not a need because Carpenter is in his prime and Jason Williams is entering his 3rd season. If previous RBs were what Dallas needed, then they don't need Murray.

Previous draft disappointments haunt the Cowboys. And when Jerry tells us that he is not listening to his scouts, but more about how he listens to his old buddies about picks, then we should assume that the draft process has not changed very much. I needed Jerry to tell me that Tom Ciskowski and his staff have targeted this player and we trust them. Instead, he tells me that Switzer signed off on the Cowboys taking an Oklahoma RB.

It might be just a little thing, but that bothered me more than the picks themselves. You have scouts and personnel experts. Use them or fire them and find new ones you do trust.

The process seems to be the same. So, are we crazy for hoping the results to be different?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bruce Carter Tape

The Cowboys take Bruce Carter from Butch Davis' North Carolina in the 2nd Round at Pick #40. I will readily admit I don't know much about his work and therefore would not pretend to have much of an opinion on his work.

However, here are a few quotes from anonymous scouts who spoke to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal about Carter: "Good player. Active and instinctive. Nose for the ball. Not a bad hitter. Not a killer." and another said, "So non-physical". A 3rd indicated that he is "most decidedly a finesse linebacker". And a 4th said, "Undisciplined, athletic, but doesn't make the most of it. Not under control a lot of the time. He's not a downhill thumper, either. Not a big, heavy, blow delivery guy. He will absorb a lot."

Those are some disconcerting reports - especially the idea of him being a finesse linebacker. Bobby Carpenter had a similar rap.

It is clear that when healthy (he blew his ACL on Nov 20) he is incredibly fast. In fact, a Top 3 LB when it comes to straight speed (Dontay Moch and Martez Wilson) with a 40 time of 4.5 and reports that he once was close to breaking 4.4 which is insane for a LB.

He also is a special teams stud, with 7 blocked kicks - 6 of them punts.

And now, a favorite past-time of mine, searching for his youtube tape. I will tell you the tape says he is fast, but he seems to run around plays and over-run plays. And he almost kills Tyrod Taylor from Virginia Tech.

Interesting pick. Check it out for yourself.

He is #54 for UNC:

UNC vs Clemson


UNC vs Virginia Tech

And, check this out:

"How strict are you about diet?" I asked.

"Well, not very. I eat a lot of McDonald's and fast foods, but I do work out real hard."

"Like how much McDonald's?"

"Almost every day. I usually get three double cheeseburgers, medium fries, large tea and a six-piece McNuggets. I don't think eating healthy as far as eating salads and that stuff really works for me."


Cowboys Friday Morning Thoughts

As you can imagine, I was quite pleased with how the Cowboys made out in the 1st Round by selecting USC T Tyron Smith to be part of this franchise moving forward. Given his current ability and his amazing upside, I think we should all be rather pleased that the rebuilding of this offensive line is underway with 2 tackles who should possess the most important 2 spots on the line who could conceivably hold down their spots for a long, long time.

If you are not aware, I posted enough video of Smith to keep you busy for a while yesterday morning here on the blog. Click Here to check it out.

There were obviously 2 ways things would have gone better for the Cowboys.

1) - If they could have figured out a way to trade down and still get Tyron Smith.

I don't see anyway they could have pulled this off, but obviously, Washington was able to do a deal with Jacksonville and pick up another Top 50 pick. A few things to consider here, though. First, Washington needed to move down badly since they have no picks for over 100 slots before this trade after their pick in the 2nd round at #41. Now, they have 2 2nd's and Bruce Allen has be able to rally from the McNabb deal. Also, we must consider that it doesn't seem Washington was in love with a single player nearly as much as Dallas. I am sure we will all closely track Ryan Kerrigan's career now with this in mind, but from what I know, the Cowboys had almost no interest in him. They wanted Smith, and the only way to trade down was to sacrifice that. I thought maybe they might have been able to drop to #12 to swap with Minnesota, but now we learn that the Vikings were also trying to move down - not up. As is always the case, you need a partner. And if Jacksonville is the partner, then you have to be willing to live with what's left at #16. To the Cowboys credit, they did not think that was worth the effort.

2) - if they could have snuck back up and grabbed Cameron Jordan.

Around the 22nd pick, I started running numbers on the value chart to see if the Cowboys could get another of their main targets, California DE Cam Jordan. He was sliding and would fit another gaping hole on this roster.

Well, according to my sketchy math, the Cowboys could have flipped #40 and #71 for #24 (New Orleans) or #25 (Seattle). I assume the Cowboys were working the phones pretty hard because they had scheduled a press conference that continued to be delayed further and further. But, in the end, Sean Payton and the Saints wanted Jordan for themselves and the Cowboys went back to the drawing board. There was some speculation that Muhammad Wilkerson and Cameron Heyward were also targets and ideas for a jump up, but 3-4 teams snagged them both with Wilkerson joining the Jets and Heyward beefing up the Steelers line.

So, you rally and get ready for #40 and #71 today.

Key needs remain at DB (corner and safety), DL (DE or NT), and Guard. You could also make the case for RB, ILB, or 3rd WR.

The Cowboys have the 8th pick today, and with a run on QB's expected with Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick projected to go in the 30's, there is every reason to believe the Cowboys will be quite pleased with what falls to them at #40. However, if Aaron Williams from Texas (thought to be maybe the best corner/safety on the board) is a rare bird and you have him rated well above the others, you might want to pair #40 and say, #143, to trade up and get him.

I think we should keep an eye on DL or DB at #40 and assume that they would try to get a Guard, RB, or Safety at #71.

I do want to stress, though, that you start to slide into best player available. The contracts are reasonable and if Martez Wilson or Mason Foster are legit inside LB ideas, then you cover yourself for Bradie James in 2012, even though they would not start right away.

So, short list for #40 - as you can see, all defense for me here:

Aaron Williams, Texas
Ras-I Dowling, Virginia
Martez Wilson, Illinios
Mason Foster, Washington
Christian Ballard, Iowa
Rahim Moore, UCLA
Kenrick Ellis, Hampton

And then at #71 - you bring in some of those interior names, running backs, and assorted defensive talent:

Will Rackley, Lehigh
Steve Wisniewski, Penn State
John Moffitt, Wisconsin
Clint Boling, Georgia
DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma
Shane Vareen, California
Javis Jenkins, Clemson
Marcus Gilchrist, Clemson

Remember, the idea here is to get starters. On Day 3, we start to look for developmental and conversion guys, as well as special teams aces. This team needs a starter at #40 and it would be nice to grab another at #71.

Anyone can draft at #9. Now, this is where the Cowboys need a very big day.

Mavericks vs Trail Blazers 4/28/11 Game 6 ADS

I think Jay-Z put it best when he said "on to the next one". Despite all the doubt, the Dallas Mavericks persevered and took down the Blazers to move on to the next series. The ADS for both teams were almost the same in this game. The third was the only quarter that showed single digits for ADS as both teams were content trusting their shooters. Mavs had an overall higher ADS for the series and something they may want to keep in check when they play the Lakers who won every game in their respective series when having the lower ADS. Keep an eye out for the Mavs vs Lakers series preview.

Mavs vs Blazers Game 6

Side Notes
- Dirk tops Wallace by one point to get the game-high 33 points.
- Dallas made 8 of its first 30 shots.
- Nowitzki was 11/17 from the field and 11/11 from free-throw line.
- Portland as never won a playoff series when being the sixth seed or lower. 0-13 all time.

Click here to read Bob's Morning After for game 6.

Mavericks 4/28/11
Team Total
Trail Blazers 4/28/11
Team Total
Dal. vs Por. Series Total
Team Total
Opp. Total

What is ADS? Read the FAQ and find out.
Thanks to Heath Huston, Adam Rosen, and Ted Miles for the data.

The Morning After: Game 6: Dallas 103, Portland 96 (4-2)

Closing Time.

It is a bit early to say the Mavericks have completely rewritten their legacy and reputation.

It is a bit early to say that now the Mavericks are able to win on the road in the playoffs again.

It is a bit early to say that the Mavericks can no longer be bullied in the post season with physical and intimidating play.

It is a bit early to say the entire NBA is on notice.

But, closing out Portland in 6 games by demonstrating enormous tenacity and courage after a devastating loss in Game 4 that was enough to awaken any doubt in all members of the organization is a very nice start in that direction.

Winning a playoff series should never be minimized. And I am pleased that this team now has a few days to catch its breath and move along in an orderly fashion to Los Angeles. There is plenty of time to speculate how that marquee battle will play out, but for now, I think it is time to give due where it properly belongs.

As someone who picked Portland to win this series, it was certainly not a given in my mind that the Mavericks had progressed enough mentally to where they could suffer major adversity and respond in a way that you would expect a veteran team full of composed and experienced warriors to respond.

But, they obviously have quieted any of those doubts and doubters with their last 2 games. They looked calm and collected (save for 2 over-and-back calls at the most crucial moments of last night) and with great precision weathered the early storm and then answered with enough fury to quiet the normally crazed arena.

In fact, it is almost safe to say that the Mavericks have finally learned from their disappointments a bit. The game last night was set up to follow the normal scripts of perimeter shooting, paintless offense, and a loss of composure due to calls not going there way.

But, when you look at last night's game, you see the Mavs outscored Portland in the paint in their own building (44-42) and would not settle. Don't get me wrong, they needed some clutch tough shots from Jason Terry and Jason Kidd, but this was a much more determined and varied attack that knew they would need to take a few bruises to be successful. We have seen this attack on a regular basis in the home white uniforms, but when the Mavs go on the road this time of year, they generally have a far more meek attack that is not rewarded with free throws and dunks.

Not in Game 6.

And Dirk Nowitzki does it again. I would like to assume you are aware of his production on a nightly basis. In 6 playoff games he had no games of less than 20 points. 28, 33, 25, 20, 25, and 33. He scored 164 points in this series - 60 more than any other Maverick - and is proving that he is still as deadly a weapon as he was at any point of his career. Further, he now has that rare ability to make an entire arena groan with pain when he merely releases an open shot. There is no question how this league fears the big German and how when he gets rolling there is often no stopping him.

But, it takes more than Dirk. Heck, in my estimation, maybe his most dominating playoff series since '06 was the Denver series in 2009. In that series he had games of 28, 35, 33, 44, and 32. But, the Mavericks were not competitive, really, losing in 5 games. You see, no matter how many critics he has in his own city, the fact is that Dirk has delivered many times in many situations. The problem was that he could not always drag his entire team to victory (and neither could Kobe Bryant before he was given proper help in 2008). But, perhaps this year is different.

And maybe it comes back to trade that was made on July 14, 2010. A trade that frankly disappointed most locals (again, including myself) because the feeling was that Tyson Chandler was an interesting player when healthy - a rare occasion for the big man. It was Chandler and Alexis Ajinca for Eduardo Najera, Matt Carroll, and the Erick Dampier trade chip. Of all of the big ideas the Mavs told us about involving that trade chip, nobody thought it would be for a starting center who had only started 72 games in 2 years.

But, there he was in Game 5 and Game 6 realizing all the potential that Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson were imagining on that night in July. He not only provided post play on both ends of the court that no Dallas big man in the "Dirk era" could even dream of, but he is also very possibly the William Wallace element that this Mavericks team always seems to be missing. Is he the alpha male? No, that is Dirk. But, he seems to provide a level of courage and fight for all of his mates that is both contagious and imperative. Is he the guy that makes keeps the bullies away from his buddies? In effect, yes, he is.

That was a very big win. Not perfectly pretty, but that never matters in the NBA post season. I cannot stress enough how important this win is. If you beat Portland at home in Game 7, you still advance to play the Lakers. But, you do so with that road performance monkey on your back and that lack of confidence that you can close a deal when the opponent, crowd, and officials seem to all be against you.

That win took guts and some great moments on both ends of the court. It reminds you of some of those trademark road wins we saw back in 2006. Dirk is unstoppable and the team is resilient. A truly great win for the franchise that should really help this team to relax and go play with some renewed energy.

Other thoughts and observations:

* Clearly, it is tough to overlook the Chris Johnson moments of last night. For a guy who played 4:44 in the entire game, you do get the feeling that his name will be cemented into Trailblazers lore for his role in the game. With Portland up 33-22, Dirk drove by Johnson with a basket and a foul. Dirk yelled the customary "And 1" to whoever was listening, and this caused Johnson to leap to his feet and try to face down Dirk. To Nowitzki's credit, he seemed completely oblivious to the rookie's strut, and after hitting the free throw, Dirk went about his business on defense. He collected a defensive rebound when Johnson, now showing how angry he was, inexplicably grabbed Dirk's face on the way back down the court. This caused a flagrant foul and you could say provided the launch point for a very impressive Mavericks' show of force to end the half. The Mavericks went on a 30-10 run to finish the half in the final 9 minutes, and many will point to Johnson as the guy who "poked the giant". For those of us who fancy ourselves as Mavericks' historians, we have seen cheap shots that have caused the Mavericks to become more fragile and timid, so to see this answer from Dirk himself was another sign that he mentally is as strong as we have ever seen. He handles adversity like a seasoned veteran, and with help from his mates, the Mavericks went to the locker-room with a big lead and a bunch of confidence. Johnson did not return to the game.

* I think we all wished we knew a bit more about which Jason Terry will arrive from game to game and night to night. Heck, imagine coaching this team and trying to figure out what he can give you. But, where would this team be without his big moments? Gigantic shots last night at such key times and the thing about Terry is that almost all of his points are of the tough shot variety. 22 points and a monster 8 assists as well. This is why it is so tough for the Mavericks to move on without him. He is right at the heart of many of their big wins. Sometimes, you have to take the good with the bad.

* What a game from Gerald Wallace. I think many of us expected a much larger series from him, but in an elimination game he played far and away his best basketball. Relentless attack of the rim and 13 points in the 1st Quarter as that avalanche of momentum put Dallas on their heels. Despite missing plenty of time in that key Mavericks 2nd Quarter with back issues, he led the Blazers in scoring with 32 and rebounding with 12. When guys like me lament about Dallas missing out on an attacking wing player who competes with fabulous ferocity, that Game 6 was why. He seems to be a real X-factor some nights.

* 5:28 to go in the game, Mavs lead 86-83. Coming out of the timeout, they call a play where Dirk gets the ball inside and looks to kick it out for an open 3. Instead, Wallace is sitting on the pass like a Cornerback looking for a "pick 6". Wallace shoots for the pass and ends the play with a thunderous dunk to cut the score to 1 (86-85) after trailing by 17 late in the 3rd. Could it happen again? Could the Mavericks seriously lose a giant lead in the same arena to the same team? Next time down, Jason Kidd nails the biggest shot he has made as a Maverick. A 3 pointer to push the lead back to 4 and quiet the crowd a bit. Terry hit another tough shot for a long 2 and the lead was back to 91-85. At the time of those shots, the whole tidal wave was crashing down on Dallas again. And the guys who missed huge shots in Game 4 were ready, willing, and able to knock them out and send Portland to the summer in Game 6. Redemption is very nice.

* As a long time admirer of Marcus Camby's game, I am shocked at how little a role he played in this series. Perhaps my fear for his potential impact was misguided at this stage of his career.

* Who else in the basketball world would you want at the line sealing a game than Dirk Nowitzki? I only remember him missing clutch free throws in the playoffs one time - and I don't like talking about that game anymore. Last night, 11-11.

Well, it wasn't easy, but the Mavericks proved how much predictions matter. They simply took care of their business and played well enough to suggest they were the better team in at least 5 of the 6 games. That was well done and well earned.

Now, let's see.... About that 2nd Round....

BaD Radio - Recap - 4/28/11

Thursday 4/28/11

Episode: 2924

Location: Studio

The Mix: “You seem to be able to whip it out pretty quickly” - Dan

The Open: “It feels like someone took my heart and put it in a bucket of boiling tears.” Today is game 6 of the Mavs/Portland series, the NFL Draft and the last episode of the Office with Michael Scott. Grubes seems to be out of the 4 man lunch rotation, and Dan thinks that TC is pocketing the extra cash because it’s only a 3 man rotation now. Bob and his son have completed a journey, the journey of Whale Wars. Early in the season, Sea Shepherd Pete Bethune had his powerboat destroyed by a Japanese whaling vessel. He boarded the ship with the intent of getting arrested so he could get his voice out in Japan against whaling. Needless to say, he feels very strongly about conserving whales. Since that time, the Japanese have ceased all whaling because the opposition is not worth it. Peyton Hillis won the vote and will be on the cover of Madden 12. This is a big win for Cleveland Brown fans and white running backs everywhere!

12:40 – Draft Talk: The first round is tonight in prime time. It’s a big day for the Cowboys as they have the #9 pick. It’s possible that they move down if they think the price is right, and it doesn’t seem prudent for them to move up. The Cowboys have a lot of needs: OT, OG, RB and Slot Receiver. On defense: 2 Defensive Lineman, CB and Safety. Bob thinks that if they want Tyron Smith, they should stay at #9. If they’re ok with Costanzo, trading down is a good idea. The problem with moving down is you have to have a partner with a need. Rumor is that New England is looking to trade up and the Cowboys might be in the mix.

1:00 – BaD Radio Reports: Dan, Grubes and Tom attended the Charlie Sheen show. Charlie Sheen was 45 minutes late. There were about 4,000 people there (high estimate), and most of the people there were to see the trainwreck. There were a handful of hardcore Sheen fans. Dan says it was a 100% white crowd. The video montage of his old movies was the highlight for Dan. It seemed like it was a very “professional wrestling” crowd. Sheen had a guy on guitar that would punctuate every joke that he told with a weird guitar riff. Kidd Kraddick “had” to MC this disaster. The crowd wasn’t really in Kidd’s listener demographic. He got booed mercilessly.

1:20 – More Sheen: In Houston, Jeff Ross came out and roasted Charlie Sheen. Last night, Chuck Zito read those same jokes in a roast manner. That was the funniest part of the whole 2 hour event. The Q and A session was a disaster. There was no ending on a high. It was a disaster.

1:40 – Playoff Talk: San Antonio hit a 3 at the end of regulation to send it to overtime against the Memphis Grizzlies; extending their playoff lives by one more game. In overtime, Tony Parker took over and Memphis never recovered from giving up the buzzer-beater 3. Now the series goes back to Memphis for game 6. Oklahoma defeated Denver after Kevin Durant completely took over in the last 3 minutes of the 4th quarter. The Thunder have moved on to the second round.

2:00 – Mavs Talk: Game 6 is tonight in Portland and Dan thinks that the Mavs will close out the series tonight. His theory, he thinks that the Mavs have dominated the series except for one quarter and he doesn’t think that Portland can win 2 games in a row. He feels that the 4th quarter collapse in game 4 woke this team up. Bob isn’t too quick to jump on that theory because he’s seen this team get “wake up calls” before. The key for the Mavericks is keeping Tyson Chandler out of foul trouble. It has been pretty consistent that when they play in Dallas, he gets away with a lot but when they play in Portland, he gets fouls quickly. Keep in mind, the Mavs are 2-18 on the road in the past 20 games.

2:20 – Rangers Talk: The Rangers won last night on a home run in the 7th by Mitch Moreland; he’s proving that he really belongs on the Rangers roster. Darren Oliver got the save. Jim Knox donned the mascot costume of Davy Crockett and raced Sam Houston and Jim Bowie down the 3rd base line. He’s on top of his game. The same kid who caught a few homeruns in centerfield a week ago caught another one last night. He’s starting to become a Ballpark celebrity.

2:40 – Ranch Report: David Moore joins the show. In the draft tonight, teams are not allowed to trade players but they can trade draft picks. It doesn’t happen very often but tonight it’s against the rules because of the CBA disagreement. Trading up is highly unlikely, staying at 9 or moving down are the two big options.

3:00 – WTDS: On this day in 1789 the mutiny on the H.M.S. Bounty took place. Happy Birthday to Back Door to Buttsville, Tom Browning, John Daly, Barry Larkin, Nic Lindstrom, Jessica Alba and Jay Leno. Spares include Mark Bavaro, Ted Donato and Hal Sutton. RIP Sports Guitar.

Listen to BaD Radio everyday from 12 – 3pm on Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket. I do, and I has opulence.

Wes Bullard