DONUT 1: Who wants a chance to win Game 5 playoff tickets?
Today at 4 for Game 4 ... in out of the heat and the wind ... cool temps, cold drinks, hot pizza and a DB.com MAVS Get-Together at ThreeSheets!
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 in a bit!
DONUT 2: The Dallas Mavericks didn't necessarily lose Game 3 because of The 3-PG Attack.
Coach Fain offers up this quickie video review, a Coach 'Em Up of the slippery fingers (and toe) that kept The 3-PG Attack from being fully successful down the stretch:
With Coach Fain's guidance, maybe we can all see:
The Mavericks' 3-PG Attack held Portland to four points in the meaningful part of the last five minutes, forced Portland into two very bad shots, outrebounded Portland 5-4 (two of Portland's were on missed free throws) and had a 6-to-0 advantage on foul-shot attempts. However ...
Dallas failed to convert four of those free throws, had one completely unforced turnover, and lost a point to an apparently blown call on Kidd's jumper.
Portland had big games from Matthews, Miller, and Roy ... and the Mavs still put themselves in position to win the game at the end.
In other words: While there are arguments to have used Peja or Marion in the late-going (arguments I'll probably make again tonight if things don't go well with JJB on the floor), maybe it wasn't personnel at all that blew G3.
DONUT 3: Still waiting. The first alley-oop try to Tyson Chandler. Still waiting.
We can argue that he's not getting much defensive respect from the zebras ("He was third in DPOY voting! Respect him!'') ... but overall, I'm not concerned about what I know TY will do on defensive.
We're three games in, and Dallas either hasn't looked for the oop or Portland has somehow put the lid on it. It's easy-basket, it spreads the offensive wealth and an alley-oop would take the Portland crowd down a notch.
In other words, it'd be worth MORE than two points ... and Dallas hasn't even tried it in 24 quarters.
DONUT 4: Now to the other center ... Big Wood ... and something DB.com will examine in further depth when the Mavs get home and prep for Monday's Game 5:
Check out this photo from his Washington days, where he was an adequate FT'er ... (Thanks, RotowireATC!)
Now note this article from a few years ago in which Big Wood mentions something about his elbow movement ...
Now let's watch today (if, God forbid, Big Wood ever is pushed to the free-throw line). Does he still have that circle-around elbow hitch? Is the security blanket of that now removed? Does he now have better mechanics but, lacking his security hitch, worse results?
This I know (and I'm happy McMillan hasn't come to this conclusion yet): A shooting foul on Big Wood is a winning possession for Portland. I'll go further: a feed inside to Big Wood on a play he's not guaranteed to finish with a dunk is a losing possession for Dallas.
Bring back the Big Wood Hitch?
DONUT 5: Go Mavs ... and Go Premium! Take my 7-day free trial ... Go Mavs and Go Premium!
DONUT 6: Dirk and Rick are both providing exactly the right answers when asked about "confidence being shaken'' and all that. The Mavs know they ran the show in G's 1 and 2 ... and didn't execute well enough to seal the deal in a G3 that was the opponent's "must-win'' on their home floor ... featuring a Brandon Roy who has a game like that about once a month nowadays.
I'll take it a step beyond: Dallas could lose today and the confidence STILL shouldn't be shaken. That's why the whole idea of the regular season is to be a top-tier team, remember? Home-court advantage?
DONUT 7: How silly do Portland people sound when raving about Chris Johnson's admittedly impact few minutes of jumpin-out-of-the-gym in G3? Oh, the same way we sounded, I suppose, when we got all excited about Alexis Ajinca or Ryan Hollins or whomever ...
I'll say this: If the D-League defender is Portland's "secret weapon,'' Nate sure was a dope to keep it secret while going down 0-2.
DONUT 8: Don't you love Dirk's unguarded frankness?
"I feel like sometimes Jet – we all know him – he relaxes until the fourth quarter and then he decides to turn it on," Dirk says. "(In G3), that wasn't the case. I've never seen him coming into the game that focused, where he just wants to take over. He didn't like what he saw obviously sitting on the bench the first couple of minutes and really took it upon himself to change the game. That's what he did. ... To me, he needs that mindset more often, not only wait until the fourth quarter."
I wonder if part of the way to mind-trick Jet is to once again let him start the second half?
DONUT 9: TY is going with that "A series doesn't start until a team wins on the road'' cliche, which if true, makes me feel like a dumbass since I'm been staying up until 4 a.m every day watching, sweating and then writing about a series that hasn't even started yet.
DONUT 10: Rick Carlisle: Motivational-Poster-Speak:
"We've got to 'work the game,'" Carlisle says. "And the second you start thinking ahead to something in the future you take your mind off what's important right now. And a 48-minute NBA game is an eternity, there's so much that could happen. There's over 200 plays offensively and defensively. So, you've got to 'work the game,' possession-by-possession, and try to win segments from timeout to timeout, and then go from there."
"Work the game.''
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DONUT 12: Our man MArk Followill noted in his series-opening column the possibility that LaMarcus Aldridge gets tired late in games, the result of so much being demanded of him through four quarters. We've seen some of that, maybe, as Dirk has outperformed him in the late-going of games.
An extension of that: I'd like to see The UberMan get physical with L.A. Pound him, push him into the paint, purposely attack the rim (like Dirk's doing every time Batum ends up on him).
Granted, Aldridge is bigger, longer and stronger than most ... But this strategy serves two purposes: 1) the potential to get Aldridge in foul trouble, and 2) less energy available for LA in the fourth quarter.
Notice how often LaMarcus settled for jumpers late in Game 3? Sure, he made them ... but with more early game pounding, there's less juice left in his legs -- and that directly affects jump shots, even ones as sweet as L.A.'s stroke.
Aldridge is, like Dirk, a "finesse'' player. Today, I'd like to see Dirk continue to be even less-finesse, especially against Aldridge, so the better man's better team can win it late.