Upper Deck: Can I Call These 'Bearclaws'?

Once or twice a season, I try to put together some of my observations of what has been going on, on the court. As a professional sportswriter it is incumbent on me to explain to the casual fan the nuances about the game of basketball that you may not have picked up in your casual -- though certainly sincere -- attempts at game-watching.

I mean sincere in the same way that Charlie Brown described his Christmas tree as being really sincere. I would call these "Donuts,'' but Fish already stole all the really good terms for these doughy nuggets. So I will just call these my version of "Bear claws,'' or "Moose claws.''

*The Mavericks are beginning to catch some attention; after all they are winning. It is somewhat interesting how people react to winning. It is obvious some people are very uncomfortable with winning, because when your team is winning, it is awfully hard to complain. Some still manage, "Yeah, sure we are winning but we are only winning by … um … uh … we aren't winning by enough. We should be winning by 50 every night."

*The focus in the New York media was not on the Mavericks beating the Nets in what can only be described as a matter-of-fact way, or the fact that Avery Johnson in his best impression of Donald Duck continues to throw players under the bus. (In reference to Travis Outlaw going to the bench, Avery suggested that it is not as if Dirk got sent to the bench.)

*No, the focus of the New York press was more on Mark Cuban mistaking the Nets owner -- apparently some made-up Russian dude -- for a feline of sorts. I may be the only one who finds himself wondering what exactly did Mark Cuban call Mike Fisher that was worse than the p-word? I am pretty sure it was not "catfish."

I know I have been called much worse at a church volleyball game, and that was by the pastor, but it was his own fault. I had the ball and if he had just gotten out of the way … and it is not my fault he flew that far into the bleachers … well, I guess it kind of was my fault but enough about me.

*Dirk has been having one of his best seasons, at least partially by the presence of an effective offensive threat under the basket in the form of Tyson Chandler. It is funny how a coach that I regarded a year ago as a "prickly, egotistical idiot of a coach'' now appears to be a "prickly, egotistical genius of a coach.'' Rick obvious learned a lot during the off-season, probably reading DB.com Boards and the Upper Deck.

*The hottest issue of discussion (pun intended) continues to be the Miami Heat, and whether they are or are not the best team in basketball.

I have always heard Coachspeak saying, "We are what we are'' when referring to a record. A 12-8 team is a 12-8 team, no better or no worse. I believe it. The reason the Heat do not have a better record is because they have not played all that well against good teams.

Well, that and the fact that they are a bunch of doughy catfish.


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