Lunar Adventures: exploring a little bit of everything
Blog post [Displaying post and comments]
Friends of LunarAdventures:
Mavericks finally get past Spurs, face Suns
There’s so much to say about the Mavericks these days that there’s no use in trying. National and local writers are pouring out words online and in print trying to keep up with all the story lines — and gleefully I soak up each article.
I’ve been at every playoff home game for the Mavericks, and the crowds have been great — making my job that much easier at games. The only challenge is the crowd comes out with such a fury that there’s a second half lull during the 3rd quarter while everyone re-energizes for 4th quarter craziness.
And the Spurs series was filled with craziness. In game 7 alone, in no particular order, a clutch Dirk Nowitzki and-one drive to the basket to sent the game to overtime (secured by an arguably even more clutch blocked shot on Tim Duncan’s putback attempt that would have ended the series at the buzzer), the referees once again participated in what I lovingly refer to as “creative officiating,” Devin Harris managed to get called for a foul on an inbound play where he bumped a Spur — an action that happens on every NBA inbounds play in every game but never gets called except in Mavs vs. Spurs in overtime, DeSagana Diop broke his nose and shrugged it off to emerge as a hero with stellar fresh-legged defense on a tiring Tim Duncan, and the Mavericks finished with an 8 point win.
And that was just the final 5:something minutes.
It felt great celebrating that win, but there’s a real window of opportunity here for a championship — and the real celebrating won’t happen unless that’s accomplished. San Antonio was playing after a championship year, with aging veteran role players, when they’re known for not repeating; Phoenix has missed Amare Stoudamire (a real stud) all season after a severe knee injury; Houston battled with a weak supporting cast and injuries to Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming; and Detroit looks vulnerable after struggling to dispatch LeBron James and Cleveland and losing to Miami in Game 1.
Windows of opportunity wherein all the pieces seem to fall together rarely happen — and I really hope it ends up with a Mavericks championship.
The Suns might be weakened without Amare, but they’re still a very strong and formidable team. They beat the Mavericks quite handily in last year’s playoffs, and although they are without Stoudamire, they still present unique challenges. When they start stroking three-pointers, look out. Raja Bell, Tim Thomas and Steve Nash are sharpshooters from the outside with Shawn Marion (no outside shooting slouch, despite his bizarre shooting technique) cleaning up the boards and getting putbacks while Boris Diaw slashes to the lane. They spread the floor like no one else and can rack up the points.
The Mavericks can still be successful against them, though. They need to really attack the outside shooters and rotate quickly, forcing the shooters to put up either bad shots or get funneled into the interior defense. Devin Harris will need to step his game back up — after a couple of masterful performances against San Antonio, he struggled at the end of the series. He’ll be a key in this series, as well as Josh Howard continuing to step up. Howard gets off to fast starts but has a tendency to get in foul trouble and fade toward the end of games — he’ll need to be on his game for all 48 minutes in the Phoenix series. Luckily, Phoenix is the league-worst at drawing fouls — they shot an NBA fewest free throws this season.
And of course, the big German will have to continue to be a hero. But he’s shown that’s something he can do with regularity — and his reaminers doubters are few.
I know I believe he and the Mavericks can win it all this year. Go Mavericks!
Wed May 24th, 2006 2:30 pm