Well after game one of the NBA Playoffs there has been some very entertaining basketball that I have watched this weekend. Obviously the playoffs are a different animal than the regular season as refs tend to let teams get away with being more physical. I looked at the Mavs 89-81 win over the Blazers on Saturday night from two different sides. On one side I was pleased to see Dallas win a ugly game in which Dirk didn’t get anything going until the 4th quarter. Then I realized that once again Jason Terry was pretty much a non factor scoring only 10 points. Even with Dirk having a monster game, especially in the 4th, had it not been for the old veteran Jason Kidd the Mavs would have easily lost this game. The good thing is that they won with Jet not producing. The thing that concerns me is that the playoffs are here and again Jet is disappearing. In order for the Mavericks to win this series and to advance he is going to have to step up! Scoring 10 points at home when you’re one of the best sixth men in the NBA, and supposedly one of the vocal leaders on the team then it’s time to put up or shut up. Credit Kidd for a spectacular game but let’s be honest, if you’re expecting 24 points from him on a regular in this series then I think you’re going to be in for a major disappointment. He will continue to hit open 3’s, rebound and be Jason Kidd but other guys need to step up on this team. Just think had Jet or even Marion showed up and produced. I also think that Coach Carlisle should play Corey Brewer and Ian Mahinmi. While they may not be scoring threats they do give you better production on defense and every now and then Mahinmi will grab some boards and get you some putbacks. And Brewer isn’t to bad of an offensive player either with his ability to slash to the bucket or knock down open jumpers. I said before that game 1 was important for the Mavs psyche and they won, and now I’m saying game 2 is just as important if not more so. Going to Portland up 2-0 and a chance to steal a road game would be an ideal situation and also put maybe a little doubt in the Blazers mind as they were picked by experts and voters everywhere to win this series. There’s no time like the present for Dallas to prove the skeptics wrong.
Now let’s be honest, the Golden State Warriors are not making the playoffs so you would think they don’t have anything to play for and would be basically just out there playing to get the season over with. The thing after watching this game was that it seemed like the Warriors were the team gearing for the playoffs as the Mavs didn’t really play as if they wanted this game more. It seemed as if they were coasting along during the game while the Warriors never let up. Monta Ellis led all scorers with 32 and the Warriors won the game 99-92. The Lakers loss is acceptable although losing by 28 is unacceptable but this loss to Golden State was just as bad as that devastating loss. This was another game that the Mavs should have won. Obviously they are better than the Warriors and again you will have off nights but this is a veteran team in Dallas and with the playoffs so close you’d think they wouldn’t let games like this slip away. The sixth game, and finale of their triplets of back-to-backs ended in Portland versus the Blazers. This could very well be a first round matchup and the one matchup that I sort of worry about for the Mavs. Portland has a lot of length on their team and they are athletic and they would give any team fits, especially the Mavs. After Sundays 104-96 loss, the Mavs and Blazers ended up splitting games this season with each team winning 2 a piece on their home floor. A more favorable matchup for the Mavericks would be the Hornets, especially with the loss of David West but if the Mavs face Portland in the first round, they are going to have a hard time getting out of the 1st round. I do believe that Dallas is better than Portland but considering the last 2 games Dallas has played in Portland, i wouldn’t be surprised if the Blazers aren’t licking their chops for a chance to face the Mavs in the first round. Lately I haven’t seen the same level of intensity on defense from the Dallas that I saw earlier in the year and if they don’t get that straighten out it will be another early exit for the boys in Big D!
They say really good teams should win the games they are supposed to and those other games against other really good teams, well you plan to win those too. The Mavs took continued their road trip in Los Angeles. The second set of back-to-back games. First up were the Clippers and honestly with the Lakers being the second game of a back to back I figured the Mavs would have come out hard and strong and tried to put this game away at least by the 3rd quarter but Griffin and the Clippers were having no part of that. Mavs starters ending up playing in the the quarter and having to hold on to a 106-100 win. Although the game didn’t go as planned they still won. Next up were the two time defending champions. This game was never really close. In what was billed as a BIG game as whomever won may have had an inside track to get the number 2 seed, the Mavs had literally no chance against the Lakers. The Mavs were trying their best to claw back into the game and whenever they got it down to 10 or so points the Lakers would respond and in the 4th quarter after a few technicals and ejections it really got ugly as the Lakers beat the Mavs 110-82. The star of the game, no surprise, was Kobe Bryant, pouring in 28 points. This loss hurt in more ways than one. First it pretty much assured the Mavs of at best the 3rd seed and secondly it was the worst defeat of the year for the Mavs. As playoff time is near, you hate to see that sort of performance from your team. A loss to a good team is one thing but to get totally thrashed in every facet of the game is demoralizing. With the season near end, these Mavs have some serious work to do.
Spring is seriously one of the best times if not the best time of the year. Though I have been away enjoying all sports, such as March Madness, and the Rangers beginning their quest to defend their AL championship, I have remained observant on the Mavs. The Mavericks embarked on their longest road trip of the season, and the hardest part was that they were all back to back games. To be honest the Dallas Mavericks are not a young team so 3 back to back games in one week is brutal. The road trip began quite nicely for Dallas as they started off in Utah, in which they turned a rather close game into a rout in the 4th quarter and beat the Jazz 94-77. The second game was a little different. The Mavs played Steve Nash and the Suns in what turned out to be an ugly game. I can’t rip the Mavs to much because this is the NBA and every now and then you will have games where it just doesn’t look pretty and you have to gut out wins. And this was definitely one of those games in which the Mavs scored the last 8 points to hold on to a 91-83 win. Jason Kidd was huge down the stretch in the game, as he single handily won the game for the Mavs. These two games goes to show the nature of the NBA and sports in general. One night you look flawless and the next you’re not playing as well but some sort of way you find a way to win. I guess it truly doesn’t matter how you win as long as you win….right?
The Mavs, on the second night of a back-to-back game and continuing their 3 game east coast trip, dominate the Raptors 114- 96. Coming off a tough win in Washington Saturday night the Mavs flew into Toronto and started off sluggish as they trailed by 19 early in the first half. Good thing there are two halfs as the Mavs straight dominated the gamed on both ends scoring 64 2nd half points while only giving up 39 to the Raptors. The Mavericks have now won 16 out of their last 17 games, and again if not for a buzzer beating shot in Denver they’d be riding a 17 game win streak. This team has the length and a lot of veteran players to make some noise in the playoffs. The way it’s looking it appears that they could wind up meeting the Lakeshow in the 2nd round. It would be nice to see the Spurs start losing but as we all know it’s not about records come playoff time. It’s about which team is playing the best basketball and as long as the Mavs stay focused defensively, and their bench keeps producing at a high level then it would be no surprise to me if they shock some people all the way to the finals. But there’s still a lot of basketball left to be played, so stay tuned. Next victim up for the Mavericks is the 76ers in Philly Tuesday night.
Well it’s been three days since the NBA’s trade deadline has passed and it has been a long time since I’ve seen so many trades go down in one week. Usually when teams make trades it’s supposed to benefit both teams but from my perspective a lot of these trades didn’t really make any sense. But what I did notice is how the top teams in the Western Conference held tight and didn’t make any trades. The same players the Spurs, Mavericks and Lakers had prior to the trading deadline will be the same group of guys they’ll ride with into the playoffs. There were rumors that Dallas was trying to get Tayshaun Prince from the Pistons. I wouldn’t have been upset had they gotten him because of the type of player he is. He has length, can defend and can score a little bit but at the same time I like the way this Mavs team is already constructed. I mean when you’re one of only a few teams with 40 wins hitting the all star break you’re definitely doing something right. So there was no real urgent need to make a trade because you have team chemistry and sometimes when you tweak that with trades you mess up a good thing. Kudos to Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson for wanting to get a quality player like Prince but also for being smart in not giving up a player with such promise in Beaubois to do so.
The Mavericks ended their impressive first half of the season in Arizona with a 112-106 win over former Maverick Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns. The win was the 13th victory in 14 games for Dallas. Their lone loss for the entire month of February and only loss in those 14 games came in Denver last week off of a buzzer beater. Looking ahead at the Mavs 2nd half of the season I can see them winning 22 of 26 games. Right now they are 6 games behind first place San Antonio so it may be pretty difficult for them to catch and surpass them for the number one seed but I’ve seen stranger things happen. Right now Dallas is in 2nd place and as long as they stay healthy I can see them winning a lot of games here in the next few months. Caron Butler says he is getting better which is good news. He said he may be able to return to the team come playoff time. If he does then that makes Dallas an even more formidable team. Although the Spurs have been doing their thing thus far I believe Dallas, when at full strength, is a better team. At full strength they’ve beaten the Spurs and when not they have lost twice to them this year. We also can’t forget about the defending champs in Los Angeles. I’d be really surprised if Dallas, L.A., or San Antonio doesn’t come out of the West. Time will tell.
Finally the Dallas Mavericks are looking like a healthy complete team. Although Caron Butler is still out for the season, there was good news this week. After missing the first 54 games recovering from an foot injury Rodrique Beaubois made his season debut Wednesday night versus the Sacramento Kings. Not a bad night for Beaubois, totaling 13 points, 6 assists and 3 steals in only 21 minutes of action. I can definitely see the hype surrounding this guy. He is indeed a game changer. His speed, quickness and athleticism has to make opposing players and coaches scratch their heads. Roddy B is supposed to be 100% healthy but I like that the all star break is upon us as it should give him even and other Mavs more time to rest up and heal and get ready for the second half of the season. By the way, the Mavs destroyed the Kings 116-100.
The Dallas Mavericks were riding high, looking like the team that started the year with a 24-5 record. Seem like it had been a while since we saw glimpses of that team, a team considered by analysts at the time as the team with the best chance to take out the Lakers in the Western Conference. Dirk finally returned to the team after missing a few games due to injury and the rust showed. But over the past 11 games Dirk and the Mavs shook off the rust and has played some very good basketball. The Mavericks had won 10 straight games going into Thursday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets. To take it back even further, over their past 13 games the Mavs are 11-2, including wins over the Lakers, Atlanta Hawks, at the NY Knicks and at Boston. The Mavs were very close to making it 11 straight wins as they played the second of a back-to-back game in Denver. The Mavs led 119-110 with a few minutes left only to allow the Nuggets to end the game on a 11-1 run to win the game 121-120. For the past few years this team has been one of, if not the best road team in basketball. Hopefully this loss doesn’t comeback to haunt the Mavs. There’s enough veterans on this team and I’m sure they know they let one slip away. The good thing is they don’t have long to dwell on the loss as they head down south to face their in state rival Houston Rockets on Saturday night. With three games left before the all-star break the Mavs currently sit in 3rd place behind the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers in the West with a 37-16 record.