DONUT 1: Has Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle's huggability level escalated yet?
Rick wasn't here for 2006 or 2007, of course. But he gets it. The giggles and the skepticism and the rep and the haunting.
He gets it.
"These guys have been here a long time," Carlisle said specifically of Nowitzki and Terry, two of the close-out heroes in Dallas' Game 6 in Portland, which allows the Mavs to move beyond the second round for just the second time since '06. "It is so meaningful for them both to help us move on right now. They've both been hearing about it a long time, as we all have."
I can already hear the next round of giggles and skepticism and haunting and taunting, because in the end, Dallas was a favored team (by me, anyway) that beat a No.6 seed. So what's the big whoop?
But doing so -- and then climbing a ladder alongside the Lakers -- is part of the process. And so is the bonding that comes along with it.
Said Carlisle: "I have grown to love these guys so much, and what they stand for and what they've been through over a period of time that extends long before I got here. These are good people, and they're great basketball players. Our team is a true team.''
I said it going in and I'll say it again until next year when L.A. tries again to disprove this: He can only DREAM of being what The UberMan is. Now, Aldridge might someday realize that dream, but not yet. Not now.
You want to argue that Dirk can't hang with Kobe in a series? We're about to find out, and you might be right. But don't give me that Dirk-passing-the-torch-to-LaMarcus anymore, OK?
DONUT 3: Impressions of the Round 2 schedule? No rest for the weary ... some room for team depth?
Game 1 - Mon., Dallas at L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
Game 2 - Wed., Dallas at L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
Game 3 - Fri., May 6, L.A. Lakers at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 4 - Sun., May 8, L.A. Lakers at Dallas, 2:30 p.m. (ABC)
Game 5 * Tue., May 10, Dallas at L.A. Lakers, TBD (TNT)
Game 6 * Thu., May 12, L.A. Lakers at Dallas, TBD (ESPN)
Game 7 * Sun., May 15, Dallas at L.A. Lakers, 2:30 p.m. (ABC)
That's games every other day. Potentially six long flights from here to there in the spand of two weeks. They say a basketball season "is a marathon, not a sprint.'' But for the next two weeks, for these two teams, it's both.
DONUT 4: Concerning Caron, and the suggestion that he'll be ready to roll for the Lakers: Nothing we've seen or heard at practice, as recently as Thursday, suggests anything of the sort. I love the note from Jet, who says he will take inspiration from an appearance from Caron even in "the layup line.'' You mean ... give a roster spot to an "inspiration'' who won't play? That would be ... unique.
No, I'm rooting for Caron to actually be able to PLAY. At some point. Not necessarily in the next two weeks ... But as always, we'll keep you posted on separating inspirational fantasy from the factual involvement in the rotation of a player who just underwent knee surgery a few months ago.
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DONUT 6: You need to understand how difficult this is.
The Blazers exist to help you understand.
Don't like the fact that this is just the second time since 2006 that Dallas has advanced into the second round? Don't think much of 11 straight 50-win seasons or 10 postseason series wins in the last 11 years.
Go be the Blazers.
For the third consecutive season, Portland is one-and-done. Since 2000, the Blazers have ZERO playoff series wins.
The Dallas Mavericks aren't good enough? I dunno. Maybe. I know they get counted out by people who call themselves "Mavs fans'' in a way that suggests they, the naysayers, are having more fun being right about their negativism than they would be seeing "their team'' win.
But it's hard to win. To win consistently. To win at all.
If you don't quite get that, go ask Portland.
DONUT 7: And in the end, there really was no "All-Star gameplan for Brandon Roy.'' There was, instead, the assignment of Jason Terry to him. And the belief that it would be enough.
Jason Terry as the stopper?!
Offensively, Terry got Dallas 22 points (and averaged 21 in the final four games of the series) and even pitched in with eight assists, performing at a pretty heady level for him.
Until the late-going, anyway, when he committed a trio of boneheaded turnovers, including two over-and-back violations.
Memo to Rick, Kidd and Jet: Jason Terry is a less-than-ideal top-of-the-key triggerman for your offense in tense situations. Running the pick-and-roll on the wing? His intensity is there. Top-of-the-key triggerman? It's a helter-skelter mess that makes you wish Kidd could inbounds the ball to himself.
Anyway, if you viewed Roy as a key to the series, then tip your cap to Jet -- who shut down the key to the series. Roy managed only nine points as his lack of quickness wouldn't allow him to move around Terry, or even to get a bunch of jumpers over him.
Turns out, this wasn't Shawn Marion's assignment at all. Dallas -- which believes Jason Terry has a great overall defensive series -- had confidence in Jet as the stopper of a go-to guy.
Said Terry: "Defensively, this probably was my best series since I've been a Maverick."
DONUT 8: The elongated stretches of playing time for JJB and Peja and Big Wood were, once again, nail-biting stuff. But the coaching staff probably deserves some faith on this (along with some questions about why Kidd sits until the six-minute mark of the fourth, which is obviously by design.
That same staff, though, deserves credit from anyone who believes "adjustments'' are the stuff of series wins.
Consider the adjustments that must have been made at the last three halftimes: In the last three third quarters, Dallas outscored Portland 84 to 53.
"Halftime adjustments and 84-to-53. If this was football, we'd be commissioning a Rick Carlisle statue.
DONUT 9: It's funny how supposed "issues'' that pop up over the course of a series drop by the wayside once basketball takes over ... once the better team takes over.
Remember Marcus Camby making a 3 in Game 1 and doing that Blazers "goggles'' thing? Whatever happened to Marcus Camby?
Remember the idea that Rudy Fernandez was going to dominate JJB, and do so with a ferocity that would elevate him to the top of Mavs fans "sports-hate''? Does Rudy even play for the Blazers anymore?
And remember Patty Mills vs. "The Custodian'' and Wesley Matthews vowing revenge? And then Game 6 comes, and both teams are setting backcourt screens all game and nobody has a problem with it because veteran players call out screens for each other and then the potential "victim'' simply dances around them?
There will be one lingering sidebar for Portland, though, which for a minute there in this series was touting backup-backup center Chris Johnson as a difference-making force.
Son, what are you doing out there?
Chris Johnson, choosing to foul Dirk and then object physically to Dirk's "And1'' yelp ... and then purposely clawing at Dirk's face on an ensuing play with a horsecollar that send the Mavs on a 13-2 run ... and then elbowing Jet in the head (probably an accident, but by this time, who knows?) ... I am stunned that Nate left this clown in the game.
He was threatening to hurt the Mavs. But all Chris Johnson really did was hurt the Blazers. This was almost Ryan Hollins-level stuff ... foolish chippiness that likely had players on both teams rolling their eyes ...
DONUT 10: Quote from TY:
"Going to play against the Lakers is something I've dreamed of since I was a little kid.''
Easy, Big Fella. I know you are an LA-area kid. But let's be "respectful'' without being "fawning,'' OK?
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DONUT 12: There wasn't going to be a miracle tonight," Carlisle said, reflecting back on the Mavs having lost that big lead in G5.
Good. No Round 1 miracles.
But, Rick, can you please orchestrate one for us in Round 2?