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NBA Finals Blog: Mavericks and Heat, Game 1
One of the beautiful things about the internet and blogs is how timely they are. At a moment’s notice, you can get the latest news and updates on just about any subject.
The downside of this seemingly ideal system is that if you’re kind of slow, you’ll notice that a lot of people beat you to the punch. In my case, I’m a solid 6 days late in bringing you my thoughts from Game 1 of the NBA Finals. In my defense, I took a lot more notes than I planned and the Finals and the ole day job are keeping me busy. On the other hand, they’re not keeping me THAT busy.
At any rate, here’s my Game 1 blog.
- 8:16 1st: We’re coming to you live [Editor's Note: OK, so the notes were taken live, but the posting is almost a week late. Details] from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. I’ve been a bit of a seat nomad for the past hour, but I’ll be bringing details of the pre-game festivities during slow moments. I’m up in section 312, in front of the pressbox. I’m actually not sitting in my own seat, but near some buddies. The Miami Heat bought a block of four seats up here, but they’re only using one. So I’m here with fellow Mavericks Hoop Troop member Nic, his buddy Marvin, Hoop Troop Josh Y’s girlfriend Olivia, and Josh Y’s brother Ty.
- 1:42 1st: Kind of a slow first quarter is punctuated by Shaq going to the line and not just bricking his free throws, but actually hitting glass on one miss. That’s not easy to do. He’s clearly distracted by Hoop Troop guys Venu and Kris leading the crowd behind the basket.
- Wait, if there’s two Hoop Troop under the basket far from the tunnel… that leaves only 4 to run the flags! (You need 5 — Logo plus M A V S.) I’m worried. This is turning into a Hoop Troop blog, my bad. I’m not sure anyone on Earth other than me is worried about whether or not there are enough guys to run the flags.
- 0:12 1st: Mavericks are struggling a little on the boards, which is unusual to see. They’ve won the rebound battle in every game of the playoffs up to this point.
- 0:06 1st: Mavericks turn it over and then Antoine Walker drains a deep three. On the one hand, you hate to see the points at the end of the quarter. On the other hand, Walker might think he’s hot and start jacking up bad shots, which is the Mavericks’ best defense — letting Walker shoot at will.
- Hall of Famers Clyde Drexler and Bill Russell are in the house. Clyde the Glide was always kind of in Jordan’s shadow, but he was a stud in his day. Unfortunately, he played before the “shaved head” thing was really in, so everyone could see his receding hairline. My main memories of Clyde Drexler are him not beating Jordan while in Portland, and being fascinated by his hairline.
- The pregame was pretty cool. The Mavericks gave every seat a pompom with a flashing glowstick attached, so when the lights went down for the national anthem and the player introductions, the arena was aglow with flashing blue lights. Kind of as if a swarm of giant blue fireflies had nested inside the American Airlines Center. It was neat.
- Jack Ingram performed a slow and soulful national anthem. [Editors note: A much better rendition than Game 2's national anthem, performed by the 3rd place American Idol dude.] Jack brought out his acoustic guitar and provided himself some very gentle, subtle plucking backup. It was one of the finest national anthem performances I’ve seen this year, and I’m not a country music fan.
- 10:00 2nd: Back to the game. The Mavericks are really struggling but are only down by 9. Walker has hit two three pointers already — I hope that doesn’t keep up.
- 6:30 2nd: After taking a bit of a nap along with the rest of the crowd, we’re all brought to life by a Jason Terry dunk in traffic. Terry doesn’t dunk often, but when he does, the crowd always takes note with appreciation. It’s always nice to see the point guard dunk — if Steve Nash introduced a twice-a-year dunk into his repertoire, his popularity would skyrocket even more than when he did those commercials with Ali G.
- 6:25 2nd: The lady sitting next to me is the director of season ticket sales for the Heat. We’re sharing ideas that we have to improve game presentation for our respective teams. I told her the Heat are welcome to implement my ideas, as long as I get some sort of credit. For instance, if American Airlines decides that it doesn’t want arenas all over the country named after it and instead wants to spend its money on, say, pilots, I would like the arena to be named the Andrew Kaufmann Arena. AKA the AKA. Pretty clever, eh? I figure it’s a small price for them to pay, in exchange for my brilliant ideas.
- 5:45 2nd: Hey it’s Jon Arons, the dancing trombone guy! He was a hit in the Phoenix series. I don’t know what it is, but something about a guy with a trombone brekaing it down cracks me up. And I’m not alone — the crowd loves him. I have a lot of friends that are/were music majors, much like Jon. I don’t know if they all want a similar career path.
- 5:33 2nd: Dwayne Wade gets his first very generous call from the referees. I hope this doesn’t become a trend.
- 5:15 2nd: I just realized I didn’t get a rowdy towel when I came in, like many fans around me did. I am jealous.
- 5:00 2nd: Chris Arnold, courtside emcee for the Mavs (not to be confused with PA guy Billy Hayes), just pointed out his “friends” Mike Modano and Brett Hull of the Dallas Stars sitting in the front row. The camera pans to them suddenly, and they both look very surprised to be featured on the Jumbotron. Modano sits and stares. Hull tries to put on a happy face and waves at the camera half-heartedly. You can’t script this kind of comedy.
- 4:19 2nd: Walker, growing confident in his three-pointer, bricks one badly. That’s the Walker I remember.
- 3:56 2nd: I am reminded that I’m sitting there in a Superman t-shirt, because the line to get into the fan shop stretched well into the concourse. This was not a problem during the regular season.
- 2:48 2nd: Dirk is cold tonight, but luckily Jason Terry is hot. He’s looking like the JET we haven’t seen in the past couple of playoff series.
- 2:00 2nd: Stackhouse takes it hard to the rim, as he is often determined to do — and slams into the brick wall of Shaq. His nose is quite bleeding — but he stays in long enough to shoot his free throws.
- 1:34 2nd: A Terry pullup pulls the Mavericks to within 3, and the crowd is back into the game full force. It’s feeling like the Finals again.
- 0:00 2nd: Dirk drains a buzzer fadeaway — the crowd goes nuts as the Mavs go up 2 going into halftime!
- Halftime: I just paid $5.50 for a Sprite. And not even that large of a Sprite.
- Halftime: Ran into Dallas Stars play-by-play man Ralph Strangis on the upper deck concourse with his kid. You know it’s a tough ticket when Ralph Strangis is sitting in the nosebleeds.
- Seen while wandering the lower deck before the game — Reggie Bush, Deion Sanders, and just about every recognizable local and national sports media personality. And Gloria Campos, too.
- 10:40 3rd: Dampier and Diop are doing a splendid job of boxing out Shaq. And that’s a lot of man to have to box out.
- 9:41 3rd: Dirk grabs a rebound, hurdles a Heat player and runs the point on a fast break. And Dirk is 7 feet tall. Find me another 7 footer like him.
- 7:52 3rd: Insight from Nic: “Nothing goes better with Shiner than Twizzlers!” I’m not sure I agree, but he makes a compelling argument.
- 5:35 3rd: Stackhouse is back in the game, but put in a headlock fighting for a loose ball. Rough night for Stack.
- 3:25 3rd: Shaq’s difficult to watch free throws are contagious — Dwayne Wade is missing free throws, too. Time to start using fouls liberally and put these guys on the line. Their free throw coach is probably on the verge of getting fired as we speak.
- 1:24 3rd: The big board points out that the Heat are 4 of 13 on free throws so far. I’m betting that most of you reading this are not in the NBA but could, on any given day, go to the gym and shoot free throws better than 4 of 13. I’m betting that a lot of people could do better than 4 of 13 with their eyes closed.
- 3rd quarter break: DANCE OFF! Trombone guy Jon Arons faces off the famed Boogey Bob, Inflatable Champ (played by… Champ inside an inflatable version of himself), and some dude named Marshall. Boogey Bob is a longtime crowd favorite, Inflatable Champ is a professional, and Jon is the dark horse because he has a trombone as a prop. I’m going to put my money on Boogey Bob — hard to bet against crowd favorites.
- … but it turns out Marshall wins the dance off. The non-descript looking dude does some moves, pulls off a decent splits, then rips off his shirt and runs around like a maniac. Not to be confused with a ManiAAC, though — Marshall is ripped. The arena lets out a high pitched squeal. I’m reminded to go to the gym.
- 10:08 4th: Walker dribbles the ball off his foot. Feed this man the ball.
- 8:59 4th: For those worried that Thunder, the guy that sings/pantomimes along to Thunderstruck, might not have his usual seats for the Finals — worry not. He’s here and he’s doing his bit. I’d like to see him change songs. Maybe to something more sensitive, like some Celine Dion. Expand his range.
- 7:00 4th: Mavs building a lead and the flags come out! My favorite part! I wish I was down there running them with the gang, but it’s cool to see from the upper deck. The crowd responds well to it. Then Josh Y goes to center court (he was running the logo) and does a flag wave for a full 3 minutes. No easy task — it’s a very large and very heavy flag. Olivia and Ty are very proud.
- 6:50 4th: Huh. Jason Terry is on his way for a breakaway dunk… or maybe a breakaway layup… or maybe he can’t decide and just fumbles the ball away meekly. The crowd was about to go completely bonkers. Dohwell.
- 6:00 4th: Still a close game [Editor's note: I'm not sure how close, though, because apparently I forgot to write that down.] as Walker fires up another brick. Keep feeding him the ball. Keep feeding him the ball. He’s going to get Mavericks defensive stopper of the game.
- 5:12 4th: Doh. Walker hits a layup. No one’s perfect, I guess.
- 4:22 4th: Howard pulls down a big board but doesn’t see Wade sneaking up behind him Manu Ginobili-style. Howard keeps him from a layup on a couple of tries, but the Mavericks don’t get back to give him help, and he can’t get the board. He eventually fouls Wade, who is still taking free throw tips from Shaq and only hits 1 of 2 at the line. If Miami hits their free throws, this is an entirely different game.
- 3:56 4th: The offense is struggling. I say give the big German the ball.
- 3:25 4th: Walker misses a wide open three and jumps up and down in frustration before getting back on defense. He seems shocked that he missed it. Keep feeding him the ball, Miami.
- The game blog ends here. At this point, the Mavericks make a big shot and I stand up and spill my $5.50 Sprite all over my notes, camera, and Olivia. Not good times. But in sum, the Mavericks won by 10 and I was witness to the first ever Finals game played and won by the Mavericks. The Mavericks dropped confetti on the court and had the entertainers have a small celebration when the final buzzer sounded. Now, let’s do this three more times, shall we?
Wed June 14th, 2006 9:52 pm
Filed under Dallas Mavericks