DONUT 1: Allow me to explain why it's fair to note that going into Saturday's Game 4 at Portland (and with us at ThreeSheets for our Mavs Get-Together!) the Dallas Mavericks are 2-17 in their last 19 road playoff games:
It's fair because even though Jason Kidd wasn't there in Miami and Shawn Marion wasn't there in Golden State and Rick Carlisle wasn't there in New Orleans and Tyson Chandler wasn't there in San Antonio ... this same collection of today's Mavericks gets to benefit off the good vibrations of 11X50.
There are positive things that happen with this franchise every day that are of course, Cuban-driven and modern-era and up-to-the-second. But also ... Ro/Harp/Brad/Aguirre-related ... Reunion Rowdies-related ... Nellie-related ... Finley- and Nash- and Nick Van Exel- and Avery- and J-Ho-related.
It's all a link in a chain. In this case, a chain that has gotten kinda rusty.
The Mavs who wake up in their Portland hotel rooms this morning still up 2-1 in the series after this 97-92 loss, who go downstairs to the Birkinstock Cafe to be served their tree-bark-on-toast (or whatever they eat in Oregon) ... they are the beneficiaries of 11X50.
With the benefits come the burdens.
This Mavericks franchise has now failed in 17 of its last 19 tries to win a playoff game. Somebody doesn't like being saddled with that, because they weren't here to contribute to all of the failure? They'd rather point our that they are part of a 2010-11 Mavs team that is unsurpassed in regular-season road excellence? You don't like 2-17?
Good. Do something about it. See ya Saturday.
DONUT 2: The theory: Less Jet Is More.
Do we pull back from that now that Terry exploded for 29 points (after managing only 10 points in each of the first two games) on Thursday?
Nope. The point is only made more sound.
Jet scored 10 in the first. He made 10-of-13 shots. He did in the best possible way, driving early, not settling impatiently, and setting up the Blazers to have to stay with him on pick-and-rolls before working his way back outside.
This was his Pacific Northwest stomping ground and his show as he managed his highest-scoring playoff performance since Game 5 of the 2006 NBA Finals.
While the presence of Jet is a strength, the over-reliance on Jet is not.
The Mavs don't win this way. In fact, Dallas is 0-4 in its last four playoff games when Jet scores 20. That's not an indictment of him ... rather, it's an invitation for Kidd and Peja to step back up, for Tyson Chandler to have his first impactful offensive game, or even for Rick to go grab himself an X-Factor off his "deep'' bench.
DONUT 3: 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 4: Free throws. The Mavs work on them every day. Under the watchful eyes of so many staffers that there's one for each player.
Dallas was a top-10 team in FT percentage in the regular season (78 percent). Coming into Thursday, the Dirk-led Mavs were 44-of-55 in the series (82 percent). In the decade? Under the guidance of assistant Gary Boren, the "Dirk Era'' Mavs are one of the greatest FT-shooting teams of all-time.
5-10 guys missed FTs. Big Wood missed FTs. Dirk himself missed FTs.
You go ahead and gripe at the refs. If I'm the Mavs, I'm back at practice this afternoon at the Nike complex looking in the mirror ... and toeing the free-throw line.
"The free throws hurt," said Nowitzki, who was just 4-of-7. "I missed three today ... We had our opportunities. We had our opportunities."
A five-point loss. A final-two-possessions game. And the Mavs shoot 13-of-23 from the line? Forget the fact that Dirk didn't get there like he had previously (28-of-30 in G's 1 and 2). They got there enough ... and missed 10 of them.
That's a failure to execute the sport's greatest gimme and to flex the Mavs' greatest muscle. ... and the Mavs went flabby.
DONUT 5: Go Mavs ... and Go 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 ... our "Coach 'Em Up'' video breakdown of the Mavs-Blazers series!
Take my 7-day free trial ... Go Mavs and Go Premium!
DONUT 6: Was this Kidd's return-to-Earth game (or at least, his return-to-being-38 game?
The shot wasn't accurate. The toenail was too long. The perimeter defense wasn't effective.
But you sometimes live with that with J-Kidd because of the way he distributes/protects the ball.
When he doesn't do that, either? You've got what we used to call in my single days, "ZVA.'' Zero Value Added.''
I kept waiting for the Mavs to keep it close (which they did) and for Kidd to push the right button late. But by the time it was "late,'' Dallas had already gagged up the thing 16 times. And in total, Kidd had five turnovers.
"They don't turn the ball over,'' Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "Dallas does a good job of taking care of the ball. Tonight we were able to force those turnovers and convert them into points."
Kidd's season-high for TOs was six. He sunk to that depth just twice ... way back when KIDDIRK was just trying to get through the loooooong regular season.
I've said this repeatedly: Kidd doesn't have to score 24 or 18. He has to score eight ... but otherwise be substantially more impactful than Andre Miller in other departments.
That didn't come close to happening here. And now with G4 coming Saturday at 4, the quick turnaround will cause critics to wonder if down-to-earth is going to come too quickly.
DONUT 7: I'm a Pollyanna, so I'll give you the positive spin coming out of a night during which Tyson Chandler racked up six fouls in 15 minutes:
He didn't blow his top.
There is a reward in this league for petitioning the NBA. (At least when a coach does it at press conferences; I'm not sure what impact it has when a team announces with a harumph, "We're going to send film of this debacle to Stern's office!'' Not that the Mavs have announced that yet ... have they?)
But there is no reward for a player blowing his stack.
We've already seen multiple instances where stars of the Kobe ilk and the Duncan ilk are allowed to over-protest calls, openly violating the respect-for-the-game bylaws that apparently govern only the mortals.
TY is wise to not test that speed limit.
Let Carlisle call one anti-TY call "peculiar.'' Let the record show that some of the six were not fouls of aggressiveness but rather ticky-tack fouls -- that were the fault of Chandler and Dallas' sloppy execution.
Twice, TY set high screens for Kidd, and the timing was so rough that Chandler ended up leaning into the Blazer ...
That's the Mavs' fault. And dangit, here we go with "execution'' again.
"There are some things I think we can correct there," Carlisle said. "(Chandler) got a couple of fouls screening. Those are timing issues, and I think we can clean those up."
DONUT 8: 'The Brandon Roy Story' that seems to be playing on the NBA's "Lifetime Channel'' is heart-warming.
Can y'all turn it off now? Go back to Tori Spelling in "Mother May I Sleep With Danger?" or whatever your regularly-scheduled program is?
B-Roy is crying or he's not crying ... or he's worth of being gameplanned like an All-Star (Carlisle's claim) or he's worthy of just eight minutes. ... or the world hates him or ....
"Charles Barkley texted me on my way to the arena,'' Roy reported. "He just said, 'Keep your head up, have fun out there, and stay positive.' I appreciate it so much to know that so many people care."
Yes. NBA Cares. Heart-warming.
DONUT 9: I'm very much a supporter of Mark Cuban sitting wherever he pleases ... of shooting baskets with the fellas before the games ... of poking his head into sideline huddles.
My support isn't just due to the idea that "It's his team'' or "If I owed a team, I'd do the same.'' It's about something Tony Cubes has told me a skillion times:
"It benefits me in my ownership of the team, in our management of the team, for me to know the guys, to see their body language, to hear their interaction, and most of all, to know that they are being supported,'' he will tell me.
I'm in. But if the "classy'' Blazers crowd is reduced to throwing a projectile'' at Cuban (and striking him on the head, reportedly) while he's near the Dallas bench ... well, we better make sure that's helping the team. I don't want some asshat throwing a cup or trash or a bottle (or whatever it was) at Cuban ... and I damn sure don't want a thrown object hitting Dirk Nowitzki in the face.
Same thing with Mark's rivalry-fueling exchanges with the crowd. They yell at him, he yells at them, he motions for them to yell louder ... and then the Rose Garden crowd gets louder.
Fun! But ... does a louder Rose Garden crowd help the Mavs?
There is usually a method to Tony Cubes' madness. Being the rebel and basking in us-against-them noise is something he enjoys, and if the Mavs and Blazers "hate'' each other, that's good for revenue and good for the league.
But if Mark and the Mavs can come up with a way to SILENCE the Portland crowd, wouldn't that be even better?
DONUT 10: Part of Rick's "Be Ready'' is that when the pushed button produces no results, the person who must "Be Ready'' -- for criticism -- is Rick.
A sensible adjustment? Having Jet start the second half. Roll with that.
Less sensible? The belief that JJB was going to overcome being overcome in the post on the defensive end by doing magical things on the offensive end.
You know my feelings about The 3-PG Attack. It should be used in tiny doses and as a weapon of strength, not weakness. But here, JJ Barea's inclusion (especially late) smaked of either a) desperation or b) stubborness.
What was Dallas trying to prove? Even if JJB zips past defenders (as he did in G's 1 and 2), you're only trading buckets if Portland is going to pound him inside on the other end.
I won't even make this about JJB getting late-game layups blocked. He's 5-10. Comes with the territory. But I am ALWAYS an advocate of responding to the other team's SmallBall with your bigger lineup. That's an ADVANTAGE.
When Barea came in late in the third, Dallas was up. Minutes later, Dallas is down double-digits. Not all JJB's fault, obviously ... but there sat Marion (a better player than JJB, and bigger) and Peja (a specialist at least as good at what he does as JJB is, and bigger).
In the end, JJB essentially played the entire fourth quarter. ... and our analysis of Dallas NOT being smaller than Portland was ruined. Because Dallas ISN'T smaller than Portland when the game starts ... only when Barea is asked to be the long-term closer.
Remember my pre-series prognostication: Kidd would gobble up almost 40 minutes at PG, leaving JJB to play just eight ... about what half what he got in the regular season ... no risk of being overexposed.
JJB played more minutes in the fourth quarter than I thought he should ever get in any one game. JJB got overexposed.
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DONUT 12: "Who cares?,'' said Jet when quizzed about the 29. "Our only mindset was on the win.''
"Mindset'' is the right word. Dallas has established some superioriity, over the course of the full three games, in talent and experience. Now get the "mindset'' back to right.