DONUT 1: Magic Says No Mav Can Stop Kobe
The 43.7 field goal percentage Kobe Bryant shot against the Hornets in Round 1 would be a playoff low since 2004, and the 22.5 points per game is his lowest scoring average in the postseason since 2000.
So, he's slipping, right?
The Drama Queen scored 36 on Monday. And starter DeShawn Stevenson didn't have much luck against him. Ah, but Corey Brewer secret-weaponed himself to some success. And at game's end, Jason Kidd was involved in three straight stops on TDQ.
Why was Kidd guarding Kobe at game's end?
"I'm a competitor,'' said Kidd, who asked for the assignment. "Maybe it's being old, being hard-headed and naïve and thinking I can slow him down."
Two turnovers and a missed 3. That's what Kobe did at the end. It took him 29 shots to get his 36 points. He made one basket in the paint, attempted no shots and the rim, totaled zero turnovers, and was in a sense being forced to beat Dallas as a perimeter player. Hmmm. Not aq bad strategy.
Before the game, Magic Johnson tweeted that Kobe would have a "monster'' series'' because no Mav can guard him. After the game, Kobe blamed the bench for the loss, suggested that none of his teammates belong on the floor with him, either.
Gosh, I love to hate The Drama Queen.
Here's the final play. (If you want to be a complainer, have fun trying to count extra steps and moving screens and stuff.)
Did Kidd "stop'' that one? Maybe not. But you know, this isn't a TV commercial where all the shots go in. Let the record show that TDQ actually misses shots, too ... even though he's "The Game's Greatest Closer'' and all that.
DONUT 2: Ah, But What Laker Can Stop Dirk?
Speaking of "The Game's Greatest Closer'' ...
I hear Charles Barkley has already contacted T-Mobile. He wants D-Wade replaced in the ads by Chuck's new best friend, Dirk Nowitzki.
The other TNT guys? Somebody oughta tell the network that it's NOT "Dirk v Gasol.''
It's 'Dirk vs. Kobe.'
Is Dirk truly superior to Kobe now, as Barkley argued before a game in which Nowitzki dominated with 28 points and 14 rebounds? Remember that Chuck's platform is faulty from the start because he asserts that Dirk is younger. (At 32, he's actually OLDER than Kobe, by two months).
We'll say this: They looked like peers. Good enough?
In their three regular-season meetings, the Lakers (featuring Pau, Odom and Artest) held Dirk's shooting percentage 5.4 percentage points below his season average. But last night wasn't the regular season, was it?
Dirk averaged 27.3 points per game in Round 1 against the Blazers. He just did the "vs. Gasol'' thing ... and his 2011 postseason ppg just went UP.
Oh, look, Barkley just called a press conference to announce that he's pretty sure Dirk killed Bin Laden.
DONUT 3: Keep Your Composure, Mavs. Don't Let It Get Crazy
Jason Terry is a beautiful man ... with an ugly BBIQ.
A few games back, he forgot the score. A few games before that he taunted an opponent after having lost to them by 50. A temper tantrum here ... some shot-hunting there ... and it's obvious that Jet's head isn't always buckled on tight.
He did it again, with a mindless shooting foul with 0.7 seconds left in the half, handing LA three points ... and then Dirk followed up with a mindless elbow that gave LA one more freebie.
On Saturday, before the Mavs left for this business trip, it was Dirk who stressed "composure'' and Carlisle who cautioned not to let things "get crazy.''
It's a credit to Dallas that it overcame those errors, which were in the middle of a 21-2 run, to rebound, go on a run of its own, and overtake the champs.
But it's a discredit that it ever happened.
DONUT 4: Dallas' Size Against Bynum, Gasol and Odom
Though the teams had not met in the playoffs since Dirk has been on the team, owner Mark Cuban and GM Donnie Nelson had continuously considered the Lakers when trying to construct their roster. With Tyson Chandler, Brendan Haywood and Dirk Nowitzki, they feel they have their best chance yet to match up with L.A.'s size.
If the regular season is the indicator, it wasn't going to be enough. Andrew Bynum's 16.7 points per game against the Mavs was more than he posted against any other team in the league this season.
But for one game, anyway ... Bynum couldn't move Big Wood. Gasol couldn't shoot over TY. (A matchup Dallas likes on its defensive end, by the way.) Odom and Artest sort of blended into the background.
Hopefully, the regular season ISN'T an indicator.
DONUT 5: Bench Vs. Bench
The Dallas bench scored 40 points while shooting 55.2 percent from the floor and 46 percent from the arc. Compare this to the 25 points on 43.5 percent shooting from the Lakers' bench, including 0-of-5 behind the arc, and you see why Dirk spent the postgame interview sessions praising not only Jet, but also Haywood and Barea and Brewer and the rest.
Nowitzki handles his Dirkettes differently than King Kobe handles his disloyal subjects, you see.
DONUT 6: Jason Kidd, BBIQ Master
Against the Spurs in last season's playoffs, Jason Kidd appeared worn down and straddling the fence between retirement and relevance. Later, we would find out he was playing through an illness, but few forgot what they saw: a player who did not appear ready to contribute in a primary role in playoff basketball.
This year, he averaged 21 points over the first two games against the Blazers, and quickly let us know this 38-year-old hadn't walked off into the sunset just yet. Those numbers wouldn't hold up for the entirety of the series, but he remained a factor and clearly separated himself from the shell on display last season.
And now, he's sorta done it again.
Kidd on Kobe. It worked for one game. Before we concern ourselves about whether it'll work going forward, let's tip our cap (because that's what old people like) to Kidd and the fact that this isn't the same guy who was in sickbay at this time last year.
DONUT 7: Physical Play
Let me make this clear: Dallas was very much allowed to play its game by the referees. Kidd's forced error on Kobe came due to Kidd essentially running THROUGH the Lakers' pick-and-roll attempt. Big Wood's was a physical style. Tyson was allowed to wrassle withous stockpiling whistles.
"We've got to get out there and be aggressive and bring energy for our team,'' TY said. "I think it's all about how hard you get out there and play, and when the other team gets aggressive, back down or you stand up and be more aggressive.''
Stand up, yes. Do the work, yes. But like a thoroughbred. Not like a donkey.
Dirk wanted more calls, but that doesn't mean he didn't get plenty.
We all spend a lot of time around here wondering when/if Dallas will get calls.
This morning, I bet it's the Lakers who are wondering that.
DONUT 8: Did Dallas Win This, Or Did LA Lose It?
Phil Jackson is now 48-0 in playoff series when his team wins Game 1.
So he goes kickin' and screamin' when one of his playthings is taken away from him.
"We went to the locker room and felt like we gave a game away," said Phil, not quite able to concede that Dallas won the game as much as LA lost it.
Ill-tempered old coat rack.
Get more quotes from Game 1 here in Quoteboard! ... also, check out our First Impressions report that details the just-before-halftime gaffes and how Dallas overcame them. ... plus the Player of the Game voting , Your All-Access Pass to the game and the Charles Barkley-led media picks for the series.
It's one-stop shopping here at DallasBasketball.com!
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DONUT 11: Who's Fresh?
Dirk said he knew that the Lakers, as veterans of this sort of thing, would come out ready. But aren't the Mavs just as seasoned?
Let's take a look at the ages of some of the players comprising the primary rotations for both teams. For the Mavs: Jason Kidd (38), Peja Stojakovic (33), Jason Terry (33), Shawn Marion (32), Dirk Nowitzki (32), Brendan Haywood (31) and DeShawn Stevenson (30) are all at least 30 years old.
For the Lakers: Derek Fisher (36), Kobe Bryant (32), Ron Artest (31), Matt Barnes (31), Steve Blake (31), Lamar Odom (31) and Pau Gasol (30) are all at least 30 years of age.
Their ages aren't just a matter of the aforementioned "composure.'' It's also about how they handle playing with only one night of rest between each of the first six games.
The Mavs family will certainly want to make it difficult for Gasol and the Lakers once they get here and go through the airport before retiring to The Crescent ...
DONUT 12: The Playoff Road Jinx Is Dead
Beginning with the 2006 Finals — where the Mavs lost three consecutive road games to the Heat, a road losing streak that would stretch to nine in the playoffs — Dallas had, up until late last week, posted a record of 2-18 in playoff games hosted outside of Dallas.
Then came the sealing G6 at Portland. And now this.
The Mavs have now won as many road playoff games in the last five days as they'd won in the previous five YEARS.
Yeah, it's been 23 years since Dallas played LA in the postseason and the Mavs have never won a playoff game in LA and oh, remember the 2006 Finals? But what about THIS team?
THIS team just turned a 2-18 road playoff record into a five-day 2-0 road playoff record.
LA entered Round 2 with home-court advantage. That's been teeter-tottered now. We knew that if the Mavericks wish to move on to the Western Conference Finals, they would be forced to prevail at least once on the road.
"I'm pretty sure we didn't play our best game, and I'm looking forward to the next one,'' Jet said.
That's right, fellas. You didn't. But hey, it's been a long, arduous five years. Now you have a chance to make it a short and joyous couple of days.