DONUT 1: In a sense, the Dallas Mavericks employ "a lot of Pejas.''
What did we all say when he first arrived here? Something along the lines of, "Hey, if he can help Dallas just win ONE playoff game, it's worth it'' ...
With 5-of-10 on 3's and 21 points, he just helped Dallas win one playoff game.
But, as The UberMan noted after Dallas' 101-89, which puts the Mavs up 2-0 in the series: "We've been doing that second-scorer-by committee all year.''
Dirk (two games, 62 points) and Kidd (two games, 42 points) have been offensive constants. A host of other second-banana Mavs remain due. One of these nights, Jet or Marion or TY will go off. Or some other guys on Peja's totem-pole level will do the same. There will be an echo of, "Hey, if he can help Dallas just win ONE playoff game, it's worth it'' ...
And now it just needs to happen two more times for the Mavs to advance.
DONUT 2: On Saturday, for Game 4, we've set you up in style: Our of our favorite sports bars, ThreeSheets (on Ross near 75) is the place. Here's how we'll roll:
*FREE Dirk UberMan t-shirts to everyone (while they last).
*The biggest TVs, the best ambience, the loveliest waitstaff, and ...
*Courtesy of MavCowTickets I'm giving away a pair of tickets to Monday's Game 5 at the AAC!
I'll have other big prizes, too (including a Jason Terry autographed Mavs miniball and a FREE year's Premium Membership to DallasBasketball.com) ... it'll be a huge Mavs-lovin' crowd and you … check it out on our ThreeSheets Mavs Party Facebook Page !
See you Saturday!
DONUT 3: I've been mystified by it all year: How can a team keyed by Kidd's unsurpassed BBIQ, featuring Dirk's history of high usage/low turnovers, and reliant on The 3-PG Attack, so often cough up 18 or 20 turnovers in a game?
"Oh, I think we've shown we can toss the ball out of bounds with the best of them," Kidd conceded.
But what if Dallas commits six TOs in a game? And zero in the second half?
The Mavs tied a franchise-low for a playoff game with six turnovers total. I'm going to argue that if Dallas plays a second half with zero turnovers, Dallas is going to win that half ... and that game.
"The big thing,'' Kidd said, "is that we appreciate the ball this time of year.''
DONUT 4: Meanwhile, what if Dirk uses the first three quarters to deke 'em into the final frames?
This is all a set-up, right? Some Holger-driven German mind-bang that tricks Portland into thinking maybe, just maybe, The UberMan is being contained?
And then comes the fourth quarter. Combine 'em: 32 points on 6-of-11 shooting and 19-of-21 from the line.
And this is physical stuff. He's taking on the big and the long and the strong -- Aldridge or Batum or Camby or Wallace or any of the other Blazers the disbelievers believed would solve Dirk -- and he is shredding them. He sets up in his familiar petspots sometimes ... but he's setting up in the paint, too, taking on the wrasslin' matches ... and pinning his opponents.
Not much ref-baiting from the TrailBitchers after this one. Dirk gets 13 FTs in the fourth quarter of G1, you can beg. Dirk does pretty much the exact same thing in G2, you must bow.
The ignorance regarding The UberMan's toughness and leadership is laughable. (Yes, I'm talking to YOU, anybody who picked Portland in 4 or in 7.) Let's allow a couple of his fellow Boys in Blue to edumacate people:
"I think he's one of the toughest guys I've ever been around, no question. I played several years with Bird, McHale, Parrish, Dennis Johnson, those guys-- he's right up there with those guys." - Coach Rick Carlisle.
"He's an unbelievable player. He puts in so much work on the off days and how much he's committed to this team, to the organization and he's doing a great job for us and in every way he's a leader on this team and hopefully he'll continue to carry us." -Peja Stojakovic.
Toughness and leadership. Dirk's way.
DONUT 5: On the floor. In the practices. In the postgame locker rooms. Every practice and every playoff moment and every piece of important info and analysis, with one-on-one Video Visits with the Mavs players … if you want it all, you want Mavs Premium!
What do you get for about a dime-a-day? Here, take a sneak peek or three ...
And of course, you get your Mavs Morning Donuts every day ... plus inside analysis from guys like Mark Followill ... fun stuff with the players like "Matrix at the Movies'' ... our DB.com Mavs Podcast, which is being brewed up tonight ... The Quoteboard ... and wait until you see Coach Fain's "Coach 'Em Up'' video breakdown of the Mavs-Blazers series!
Take my 7-day free trial ... Go Mavs and Go Premium!
DONUT 6: The Mavs t-shirt you are seeing bust out at the AAC -- even in the official Fan Shops -- is available TODAY in the The DB.com Store, too! Yeah ... You're among the Reunion Rowdies!
DONUT 7: One major storyline in this series is the ineffectiveness of a pair of backcourt Blazers who were supposed to give Dallas all sorts of trouble.
But not only are Brandon Roy and Rudy Fernandez contributing nothing off the bench (they combined for one point on 0-of-2 shooting in G2 and in G1 combined for eight points on 3-of-10 shooting), they look like donkeys racing against thoroughbreds when Jet and JJB are opposing them.
The struggles are such that Nate McMillan went away from even bothering to use Roy. Roy was a go-to guy in Game 1 in the fourth quarter (which had center Marcus Camby griping about why he didn't play). In G2, Roy played just eight minutes total ...
Which has him nearly in tears.
Roy tells the Oregonian that he had to tell himself, "You better not cry!'' during a game in which he was on the butt-end of the rotation while recording just eight minures of time with no points.
Roy went on to suggest he's being disrespected, the sort of talk that is not especially healthy for the bonding of a team trying to roll a boulder uphill.
DONUT 8: More likely to own a game one of these days: LaMarcus Aldridge, who got his stats in G1 but goes invisible during crunch time.
Forget the comparisons to Dirk. That level of excellence is something LaMarcus surely dreams of. He might even get there someday. (Maybe Thursday). But look at what is happening in the clutch: Nowitzki has 32 fourth-quarter points in this series.
Aldridge has nine.
And Tuesday? LaMarcus didn't make a FG in the fourth. And took only two shots.
While Portland is combing through its problems, consider this: Ignore what the morning sports-talk radio goofs say. The only Blazer who can REALLY guard Dirk is Aldridge. And he's rather busy on the offensive end.
LaMarcus' plate is full. And at game's end, he comes up empty.
DONUT 9: We know that Portland wanted to grind this thing down with its league's-slowest-pace gameplan. Well, Portland is having some success there in the sense that they've keep THEIR scores in the 80's. The Blazers managed just 81 in Game 1 and 89 in Game 2.
I lean to crediting TY (third in the Defensive Player of the Year voting) and the Mavs with stoppage. This is what they call "playoff defense.'' But at the same time, Dallas reached the century mark (the Mavs are 44-4 when they score 100) and in Dallas, that's what we call "playoff offense.''
DONUT 10: Hey, if you want to stay in touch with the Mavs at every moment ...
Follow me on Twitter at FishSports! Oh, and get hooked up with other DB.com staffers like Michael Dugat and Kevin Brolan, too! !
And come give the DB.com Dallas Mavericks Facebook page a like, will ya?
One more thing: There is a whole 'nother world, a whole 'nother level, of Mavs fandom on DB.com Boards . . If you haven't been ... you owe yourself a visit and a membership there.
DONUT 11: Where was Danny Crawford? Living in a van down by the river? Did he miss his flight? Did he not receive the communique from Chancellor Stern?
I've got a member of the Mavs organization who says, essentially, that a ghost has now been exorcised with Dallas winning a Crawford-reffed game. That jacks Dallas' record with him working to 3-16 ... it eliminates an excuse for the future, yes.
But it also eliminates a very real obstacle. And for that matter, the stink of scandal.
"I didn't even know he was out there,'' says Jet, and that's good, too because in the NFL, who can identify the "line judge'' and why would we want to?
DONUT 12: A sober-up thought: Yes, Dallas in this season and in this decade is the NBA's most consistently successful road team. But ... not only is the Rose Garden thorny (ha!) but the Mavs' postseason roadie failures suggest that playoff travel is different than regular-season travel. As Sturm reminds us, the Mavs have lost 16 of their last 18 playoff road games.
And no, Danny Crawford wasn't the ref in those 16 failures.
DONUT 13: So we're going to party, but there's no chicken-counting here. Yeah, this team has not had a 2-0 lead since June 2006 in Miami. But ... well, you know. And yeah, teams that go up 2-0 in series end up winning 94 percent of the time, but ... well, you know.