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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
Filed under Dallas Mavericks