All-Access Shootaround: Mavs & Maracas?!
Stay on Task: The Mavs come into tonight's Game 3 with a 2-0 lead over the two-time defending champion Lakers. It hasn't been the case in recent playoffs for the Mavs to enter a game with such unbridled optimism, but it's the case nonetheless and Rick Carlisle is preaching one message: Stay on Task.
The Mavs must do so with a supposedly motivated Lakers staring them right in the face, as well. Focusing on the task at hand is also as important as ever because the Lakers will be making adjustments with Ron Artest suspended for this evening's game.
"Rebounding is going to become a bigger and bigger factor," Coach Carlisle said, working under the assumption that Lamar Odom could start at small forward, bringing his extra size.
"We'll adjust accordingly."
A Face Only Miss Universe Could Love: JJ Barea's face was fine after his brief, face-scraping encounter with Ron Artest that led to the Lakers forward's suspension for tonight.
JJB's confidence seemed fine too, as he explained how he seems to be finding his playoff stride in this series …. which is good timing, according to my watch.
"I think Portland, they made us work a little bit," Barea said. "I think Camby and Aldridge, especially for me, were a headache."
Not sure whether that's a nod to the game plan of Portland or their talent level, but JJ had a few thoughts looking back as well as on tonight's game.
20,000 Boys (and Girls) in Blue: Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said it the other night, and it is obviously a theme to tonight's Game 3 at the AAC:
"We have to have the American Airlines Center as loud as Portland was," Carlisle said. "That's the loudest I've ever heard a building, and we're going to need every gun blazing and throw the kitchen sink at these guys when they come to our place."
With the U.S. government concerned about terrorist action following the elimination of Osama bin Laden, the request is being made of fans to arrive at the AAC two hours earlier than usual for the 8:30 tip. That will give security time to do its job ... but it will also allow Mavs fans to change into their 20,000 royal blue t-shirts, and to get into the "spirit'' of things, if you will.
Remember, of course, that "throwing the kitchen sink'' is figurative. No need to throw anything at the Lakers except for boos ... which they are of course used to having just left Staples Center with their 0-2 deficit.
Mavsellaneous: When you get up 3-0 in a series, you always win it. We mentioned this in Donuts this morning, and in case you are wondering, yes, the Mavs themselves are aware ... The Lakers were reportedly considering starting Shannon Brown at the 2, with Fisher at the 1 and Kobe at the 2. All that is the trickle-down of Artest's suspension absence, and suddenly the Lakers look far less deep and far less big. And yes, that's still so, especially on that bench, if Odom starts. ... The AAC is also giving fans the tools to succeed as in addition to the t-shirts, noisemakers and maracas (?) were already laid out during shoot around. ... After shootaround, DeShawn, Cardinal and DoJo made consecutive shots from half court and they all celebrated in their own way. Yeah, the Mavs seem rather loose … While waiting to come in for his team's shoot around, Phil Jackson was playing with one of the maracas set out for MFFLs tonight. Even he's excited by Cinco de ... well, March 6?! ... Kobe Bryant entered the Laker shoot around with sunglasses on and yes, he was indoors. Nice Unabomber-in-Winter look, sir ... Look for the Mavs to go uptempo tonight, even more than they did in Games 1 and 2 ... Ron Artest walked in to his team's shootaround in full practice gear. Uh oh, has no one told him yet?
The Final Word: Opportunity: Jason Terry has been through it all as a Maverick and he recognizes opportunity when he sees it. Tonight's game presents a tremendous opportunity and he feels that MFFLs can be a big part of that.
"It's gonna be a wild environment," Jet predicted. "Crazy atmosphere. For us, It's gonna be every single minute of the game."
How about compared to the Portland crowd? "Better, better," Jet said. "We've got a better crowd than them."
In other (fake) news: Jason Terry will soon announce his candidacy for Dallas mayor.