Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mavs V. Blazers Game 3 Running Diary 4/21/11

I didn’t decide to do this until the game had started so I’ll get caught up real quick.  After Dallas hit the first bucket of the game the Blazers go on a 10-0 run due to Mavs turnovers and a ridiculously good fast break.  Normally I don’t go crazy over teams that run the fast break well in the NBA because pretty much everyone does.  Few do it as well as Miami but even that is a marginal advantage, especially considering how much of a detriment it is if a team can’t run a break (See: The Milwaukee Bucks).  The most dangerous teams are those that not only can run a break but also really are good at not allowing transition buckets and have multiple options in the half court offense.  This might seem obvious but that doesn’t make it any less true.  Just look at our champions over the past decade, the Lakers 5 times, the Spurs 3 times, the ’04 Pistons, the ’06 Heat and the ’08 Celtics.  The exception that proves the rule here is Miami, but even then sometimes DWade and Shaq is enough to get things done.  The Lakers are underrated defensively and by virtue of both talent and offensive system have an abundance of offensive options in the half court.  Ditto for the Spurs.  The Pistons and Celtics were/are both notorious for stingy defense all around and could make things happen in the half court offensively.  That’s why my NBA finals pick for this year is Boston over OKC.  Both are the best in their conference in transition defense and I think Boston has more options in the half court, not necessarily better scorers individually but I think Peirce, Allen and Garnett with Rondo facilitating is better, not by much but still better, than Durant and Westbrook with Westbrook having to both score and facilitate.

Alright it took me all of the first quarter to get that rant over with so let’s start things up in quarter number 2 with Portland up 28-26.

Wes Matthews has 16 points already for Portland.  Maybe it’s just a case of someone not being appreciated in his own backyard but I still don’t buy Matthews as all that good of a player.  I saw the guy play in high school and college and what I saw didn’t impress me all that much.  Between he, Jerel McNeal and Dominic James at Marquette McNeal was easily the best player but McNeal’s in the D-league now.  Just shows how different NBA and NCAA are.  Maybe Wes just works his butt off and gets that much better when all he has to focus on is basketball.  It might just be good NCAA guys are better time managers and when that advantage disappears, they lose their edge and the athletes emerge in the pro game.  Just a thought.

Second Quarter:

8:44: Geico commercial with Stevens Point again, still awesome.

8:00 Dallas leads 39-34, cut down on turnovers and hit some shots and that’ll happen.

5:26 Portland charges back at takes a 44-43 lead

5:05 I’m not sure if Tyson Chandler knows how to set a legal screen

1:11 Jason Kidd, why do you throw a pass to half-court with under 2 minutes left in the half?

:50 Cold-blooded shot by Dirk

:20 Matthews is up to 22, not sure what somehow clicked for this guy the pro level but it certainly seems like its working.

:00 Kidd jacks up another long jumper, too many of those tonight.

Half: The guys in the studio just broke down LeBron’s fast break mastery.  Simply unbelievable, to me he is the best player in the game right now.  My top five is LeBron, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose and Chris Paul.  I was debating between Dirk, Carmelo, and Kobe as well.  Dirk and Melo just don’t cut it defensively and Kobe is just too old. Remember this is a right now list not all time.  Kobe is in an interesting situation right now where he’s climbing the All-Time list but falling on the right now list.  If I were fielding a team of five to bet my life on to win a game against the Monstars it would be Howard, James, Durant, Paul and Ray Allen.  Again this is right now.  Same scenario but from players all-time at their peak would be: Magic, Jordan, Bird, Hakeem and Kareem.  That team couldn’t be stopped in the post.  By the way Jordan is on the team so we’d win by his force of will anyway.  That’s the Jordan effect.

3rd Quarter (I promise to pay more attention to the game rather than ranting)

12:00 Dirk starts us off with a dead-eye 3-pointer.

9:52 Terry gets a three to tie things up at 54

7:49 Chandler love taps Wallace going for the ball and gets whistled for a foul.  Complete homer call, that foul on Chandler is incidental contact.  Get him next time down the floor when he sets yet another moving screen but not on that.

6:19 Shawn Marion sighting

4:54 Dirk shows what makes him such a mismatch, just takes Wallace to the rack, draws the foul, textbook.

4:23 NBA refs are really bad at calling charge/block fouls.  They can attend a clinic on that while Tyson Chandler learns to set a solid screen. (Enough of that? OK.)

3:37 We head to a break with the Blazers up 68-66 on a jumper by Aldridge.  While my doubts about Matthews might be off tonight but my wariness about Batum is being substantiated by the fact that he is -12 for the night. Yikes.

3:36 A FG by Portland is disallowed due to a shot clock violation that happened quite a while ago. Back to 66-66.

2:03 Awful defense by the Mavs, no one within 5 feet of Roy when he laid it up.

:12 I don’t see why you’d have Dirk in but not Kidd at this point, either play the final 2 minutes of the quarter hard or rest your guys for the fourth, don’t go half way.

:00 We head to the fourth with the Blazers up 75-72. For the 4th quarter I think I’m going to add the score after the time.  A capital D following the score will mean Dallas is leading and P will mean Portland is up.

I’m going to take this break in the action to express my views on the other games that happened today.  

MIA 100 - PHI 94: Closer than I would have thought but outcome as expected
CHI 88 - IND84: Another close one here.  Not sure why Indiana is giving Chicago so many problems but a win is a win

4th Quarter

11:22 75-72 P: Terry just got hit-up with a BS technical, he was put in a tough situation with fans, refs and opposing players right on top of him and he just moved Batum out of the way so he could get out of that situation and he gets T’d up.  FYI the free throw was missed so as always, Ball Don’t Lie.

9:59 82-74 P: Batum hits a three, is still -6.  Everyone on the floor for the Mavs right now has a negative plus/minus, not a good sign for them.

8:47 85-74 P: Carlise calls a time out because apparently Jason Terry forgot that the ball scores in basketball.  I mean who can blame him, I don’t remember really basic stuff I learned in 4th grade either.

8:05 85-74 P: Another thing Tyson Chandler doesn’t know how to do, take a charge, gets foul number 5.

7:24 87-77 P: Dallas runs a terrible break resulting a missed jumper and Chadler fouls out on another Tiky-Tak foul 90 feet away from the hoop.  Clearly, the soccer moms in the rose garden aren’t affecting the refs at all.

6:00 89-81 P: Kidd shows frustration with officials, I don’t blame him, they’ve been pretty bad.  On a different note, why is JJ Barea in the Mavs crunch time 5?  They really need to find a small forward in the off season. (That might just mean Butler coming back)

5:22 89-82 P: For what seems like the 20th time the Blazers dunk after a foul is called and the play is over.  There are bigger fish to fry but I’d like to see the NBA cut down on this.

4:00 91-84 P: Just found out game five of this series will be on NBA TV.  I really wish all these games were on ESPN/ABC or TNT even if that means playing more games in one day.  If it could have more of a NCAA tourney feel in that way I think it would be an improvement.  I would also like to see ESPN do all Eastern Conference games and TNT do all Western Conference games. Once the conference finals roll around the eastern conference finals would be on ABC and the western finals would be on CBS (parlaying off of the NCAA partnership between turner and CBS).  Then once you get to the finals, the games the Eastern team hosts would be on ABC and the games at the Western team would be on CBS.  There are obvious hurdles to this system but I just think that A) all major championships should air on network TV and B) I’d like to see each station have a bias to their own conference to create some interesting discussion as to which conference is better. Again this would probably never happen but I can dream can’t I.

1:25 95-87 P: Portland took control over the past few minutes and look like their going to cruise to a victory.

:43 95-90 P: Dallas took way too long that possession to get a shot off.

:22 95-92 P: Kidd hits the longest of 2s.  In live action I thought it was a 2 but to me further review showed it was a 3 but they couldn’t overturn it.  Can’t blame them here, it doesn’t get much closer than that.

:13 95-92 P: If the refs from the Texas-Arizona game were calling this one there would have been a 5 second call here.  Alas Miller goes to the line to shoot 2 after a reach in foul.

:9.6 97-92 P: Miller hits them both and it will take a miracle for Dallas to win this one.

:00 97-92 P: Kidd misses a 3 and that will do it.

Final Thoughts:

This is easily my favorite series of the playoffs.  Every game is competitive and now so is the series (unlike the MIA/PHI and CHI/IND series).  After watching this game, I really don’t know how Dallas got the 3 seed.  I mean aside from Dirk the only players I like on this team are Kidd and Terry and I even have some reservations about Kidd.  To be clear I still root for some of these other guys, Tyson Chandler in particular, but I just don’t think they’re all that good.  When JJ Barea, Brendan Hayward or Shawn Marion is in your crunch time 5, it is not a good thing. In fact, it’s a really bad thing.  Dirk is clearly carrying this team more than any one other individual carries a team in this league.  Without Dirk the Mavs would be the Cavs, plain and simple.  As for Portland, they’re a very good team made up of a bunch of very good players.  When Roy is going this team’s depth just improves by leaps and bounds.  Heck, some cat named Chris Johnson played 4 minutes of +10 basketball and grabbed 3 boards in four minutes.  Patty Mills didn’t even play.  Here is this game in a nutshell: Dirk and Jason Terry combined for 54 of the teams 92 points. THAT’S OVER HALF A TEAMS POINTS FROM TWO GUYS. No one else scored in double digits.  On the flipside, Portland had 4 guys in double digits with no one scoring more than 25 points.  That’s team basketball, that’s winning basketball.  If Dallas doesn’t figure that out they will lose this series, plain and simple.


P.S. Inside Trax on the post game shows reveals that NBA coaches do absolutely nothing.  Doug Collins was preaching about teamwork and no one was paying attention.  During the game he and Coach Spo just traded generic encouragement clichés. Awesome.

1 comment:

  1. I forgot one other player who carries his team almost as much as Dirk, Dwight Howard. Dirk does it more on offense while Dwight does it more on D but neither has much support around him. I'd still give a slight edge to Dirk.