By losing the first three games of their season, the Dallas Mavericks had the worst start to a season for a defending champ in more than four decades. I’m sure that’s an accolade that owner Mark Cuban will cherish. But it didn’t stop him from spouting his mouth before Dirk Novitzki and company finally earned their first win of the season last night.
The loud-mouthed owner said, “I think we’re a better team than last year.”
Um, paging Mr. Cuban, you’re not. In fact, you’re a lot worse. Maybe you didn’t realize it, but Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler, J.J. Barea and Deshawn Stevenson were very important parts of your team last year.
Chandler was a borderline all-star last year. He played nearly 30 minutes a game and averaged 10.1 points to go along with 9.4 rebounds. On top of that, he is a very good defender and was key in clogging up the paint for the Mavs last year. Butler missed the second half of year and the postseason with a knee injury, but during his time on the court, he averaged 15 points in 30 key minutes. Yes, the Mavs won the title without him but he’s now part of a dynamic Los Angeles Clippers team that will compete with Dallas all year. Him not being on the Mavs doesn’t make the Mavs worse to be fair to Cuban and his quote, but it is going to make it harder for them to repeat as champions.
Barea is the Mavericks biggest loss in my book. While he wasn’t a starter, the little Puerto Rican was a workhouse on the court who found seems all over the place. Whenever he was in danger, he just always found a way to wiggle out of it. With the acquisition of Lamar Odom (who seems to have spent all offseason/lockout period eating chips on his couch), the Mavs have a solid sixth man to come off the bench and battle down low. He won’t be as effective as Chandler defensively, but he is more versatile on the offensive end. Continue reading “Mark Cuban Can’t Keep His Mouth Shut”
In an up-and-down game which had the Lakers blow a 19-point first half lead, Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson made the necessary moves to propel his team into a season-saving win. Criticized after Game 4 for not playing starting point guard Derek Fisher and power forward Lamar Odom enough in the fourth quarter, Jackson waisted no time inserting Fisher and Odom into the lineup in Game 5 as they played the final 6-plus minutes of the fourth quarter. Odom played 41 minutes, scoring 20 points, making eight of ten shots, and grabbing eleven rebounds. Fisher played 35 minutes and scored 15 points, including making a couple critical free throws down the stretch. While Jackson made the necessary moves to win, the Celtics’ players seemed unable to get the job done.
Kevin Garnett had his worst game of the postseason as he picked up fouls early and was visibly tired throughout the game. The most telling possession for KG during the game occurred with 20 seconds remaining in the game. Down by 5, Eddie House fired up a desperate 3-pointer from the corner, but missed badly as the ball launched off the bottom of the rim and into the air. As Celtic and Laker players madly converged under the ball, Garnett stood at the foul line, watching the scrum and refusing to get involved in the most important rebound of the game. KG played only 33 minutes and during that time played pretty well, scoring 13 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, but he made only 1 of 4 free throws in the final minutes of the game, costing the Celtics valuable points. While Paul Pierce scrapped for a every loose ball and fought furiously against double and triple teams, KG sat on the sideline, reduced to a mere cheerleader. Pierce played the entire game and scored 38 monster points for Boston, including making 16 of 19 free throws. Continue reading “NBA Finals: Game 5”
Wow. Really Wow. If you haven’t heard about the Celtics extraordinary comeback last night, you’re living under a rock. Down 21 after the first quarter and 18 at half time, the Celtics held the Lakers to 33 points throughout the entire second half to pull off one of, if not, the greatest comebacks in the history of the NBA Finals. After looking like an old, slow group of washed up veterans in the first half, Boston came out with intense defense that stopped Los Angeles right in their tracks. As the Lakers missed shot after shot, the Celtics became aggressive on the offensive end of the floor, drawing fouls, and making free throws.
After the first two quarters were completed, a Lakers’ victory was a forgone conclusion, but the Celtics refused to give up and it eventually paid off. Point by point, they chipped away at the Lakers’ lead until they were within two points by the end of the third quarter. When the fourth quarter rolled around, LA looked out of gas as they weakly strolled up and down the court, playing lazy defense and running miserable offensive possessions. On the few plays that the Lakers were able to get a good shot from they field, they missed. Role players such as Luke Walton, Jordan Farmar, and Game 3 hero Sashs Vujacic shot a combined 3 of 18 from the field. Kobe continued to struggle on offense as Ray Allen and Paul Pierce shut him down the entire night. He ended up making only 6 of his 19 shots, scoring 17 points and dishing out 10 assists. Continue reading “NBA Finals: Game 4”