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Mavericks fall in game 1 versus the Suns

I have to admit I was pretty disappointed and frustrated at this loss — the Mavericks had a nice lead going into the final 3 minutes of the game and didn’t pull it off.

But before I go into the game itself, quick anecdote from the game:

I was in event level concourse before the game and ran into Craig Sager, the TNT sideline reporter who wears crazy suits. I expressed my disappointment to him that today, he was wearing a black pinstripe blazer with olive pants — a very tame ensemble by his standards. He laughed and replied, “Hey, you ****, I bought this here in town! I’m trying to support your economy!” Fair enough!

Unfortunately, the game’s outcome didn’t have me laughing.

Consecutive bad posessions and the inability to get key stops hurt them. The refs made an abyssmal call against Devin Harris, who was being held as he turned the corner on a drive against Steve Nash. Whistle, foul. Surely it’s on Nash for holding. But it’s actually on Harris for swiping Nash’s arm away. Huh?

A Jerry Stackhouse dribble off the foot later and Phoenix is set up for Boris Diaw on Stackhouse one on one near the Mavericks goal — and Diaw hits (after a blatant travel) for the 1 point lead with .5 to go that held up.

I’m beginning to get concerned about the Mavs blowing leads, but it is the playoffs — and good basketball teams always make a run. I’d just like to see the runs staved off more quickly.

Another concern — Josh Howard sprained his ankle, and they’re calling it a high ankle sprain. Not good — I’m going to bet this will cost him some time. Raja Bell of Phoenix also went out, which hurts the Suns since they already have very little depth off the bench, but I really would rather have both guys in the game. Howard is an important defender for the Mavs against Diaw, Tim Thomas, and Shawn Marion — the Phoenix big men. Mavs centers don’t match up well against them, but Howard does. His loss hurts.

But the glass is still half full!

After an emotional win two nights ago, I’m not surprised the Mavericks came out a little flat. The crowd did, as well — we need to do a better job of pumping the team up.

The Mavericks have some adjustments to make, and I’m confident they can make them — I think Avery Johnson has learned a lot since he lost to Phoenix in last year’s playoffs. And I think he will make the right adjustments, and get the team off to a rousing game 2.

The pick and roll that Phoenix runs really hurt the Mavericks. The Suns repeatedly had Steve Nash one on one with Dirk Nowitzki or Keith Van Horn — not good matchups for Dallas. He’s just too quick for those guys.

I think Dallas also needs to do a better job of clogging the middle. I know that that leaves the outside shooters more open, but Phoenix’s outside shooting didn’t kill Dallas tonight. The drives to the lane and fast break points did. Erick Dampier and DeSagana Diop saw very little playing time, with Dirk Nowitzki and Keith Van Horn playing a lot of center. I might try to have them under the basket more, and rotate the other 4 players around the perimeter to slow down the jump shooting. Maybe even try a zone. The big concern I’m sure that Avery has is whether or not those guys can run in the open court with Phoenix — at every turn the Suns were trying to fast break.

The Dallas Morning News had some information from Paul Mokeski, an assistant coach who scouted the Suns. The article said that after a made basket, Phoenix will try to get the points back within 3 seconds on a breakaway. As soon as the ball goes up, players are leaking out. Breakaway layups and dunks hurt the Mavericks.

And then there’s the Steve Nash problem. He had 16 assists and some huge three pointers at the end of the game. He didn’t look tired, as he sometimes does at the end of games — a sign the Mavericks need to bump him around some more.

All in all, the game wasn’t a disaster, with the exception of Josh Howard’s ankle. I think they’ll bounce back strongly in game 2.

Thu May 25th, 2006 12:18 am

4 comments

  1. james lee said:
    May 25th, 2006 12:41 am

    yeah, Diaw did “travel”…but wait, this is the NBA…oh, yeh.

    I thought Dallas was going to blow this one out but that was before I came to udnerstand how well Pheonix can guard the perimeter…and Shawn Marion (though obviously still hurting from his rolled ankle in the last series) did a devent job on Dirk.

    All in all, college basketball is better… even better? SMU intramurals.

    -JL

  2. Heathen Dan said:
    May 26th, 2006 4:14 am

    You have good eyes, cause no one else saw the alleged “blatant travel.” Not even repeated replays could uncover this elusive infraction. Funny thing is, this reminds me of a spectator in the stands during Game 1, when Stackhouse fumbled the ball off his knee in the dying seconds of regulation. The spectator shouted, “how is that not a foul?!” Phantom foul, phantom travel. It’s the Mark Cuban effect.

    You’re probably right about the offensive foul against Devin Harris, though. It should’ve been a let-go situation.

  3. Andrew Kaufmann said:
    May 26th, 2006 5:24 am

    James: Yeah, Marion started fast but faded — did the ankle get sore? And btw, NBA is better — except for SMU intramurals. I’m ready to run some point!

    Dan: Hey, thanks for stopping in and commenting! :) Pretty hard to debate whether or not it was a travel without standing in front of the same TV and arguing with you, but I can at least prove I wasn’t all alone in the opinion… first commenter James saw it (I know James personally, and he’s a Houston Rockets fan — not a Mavs homer), and doing some reading this morning on a regular non-sports Dallas-based site brought up some people that agreed with me: http://frontburner.dmagazine.com/archives2/015019.html http://frontburner.dmagazine.com/archives2/015038.html

  4. Lunar Adventures » Blog Archive » Lunar Adventures public service: Helping you find what you were Googling for (maybe) said:
    August 10th, 2006 6:10 pm

    [...] “paul mokeski” — Paul Mokeski has been popular this week.   I mentioned his scouting the Phoenix Suns in passing during a post about the Mavericks/Suns series this year.  I did a little research about Mr. Mokeski on Wikipedia, which reports that Bill Simmons, ESPN.com Page 2 columnist, sometimes refers to him as the least athletic man to ever play in the NBA.  Bill Simmons has one of the most-read articles in the world, I’ve concluded, since almost every male I know reads him — even non-sports fans.  I’ll theorize that his name is surfacing as people research the Bill Simmons name-drop. [...]

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