Donuts: Top 12 Cases Of Mavs-OKC 'Idiocracy'
DONUT 1: OKC didn't do anything to deter Dirk.
The beauty of the internet age -- not to mention the cooperative nature of Mavs players and coaches -- is that information is available ... information that ought to educate people as to who Dirk is and what he does.
We can lead the uneducated horses to water, but ...
Oklahoma City played a vastly different defense against Dirk in Game 2 (when he scored 29) than it did in G1 (when he recorded his historic 48). More doubles. Lots of fronting (and not enough of Dirk asking for over-the-top lobs). Less reliance on hand-checking him on the perimeter.
"Yeah, they tried to keep the ball out of my hands a little more," says Nowitzki. "I thought Collison actually was trying to front me a little bit, and that's why in the fourth quarter I actually got a lot of my catches at the high post because it's impossible to front there."
Which brings us to the Mavs end of the problem (if you call 29 points a problem): Maybe Dallas should've adjusted to putting Dirk in the high post earlier. And maybe that lob would've curtailed the fronting. And one more thing: When Dallas ran a pick-and-roll, maybe this time Dirk needs to move to a spot with some determination.
Throughout the third in G2, Dallas tried to pick-and-rolls. OKC clogged them up nicely with clutching and grabbing of Dirk. Nowitzki's response? He let himself get caught up in the mixmaster.
OKC's defense on Dirk WAS different. And Dirk's reaction to it was -- albeit with 29 points -- subpar.
DONUT 2: This Westbrook thing ain't no thing.
Maybe it's a sign of their embryonic pedigree, their blissful lack of experience on the Western Conference Finals stage, or the fact that most of them probably don't have journalism degrees. But the Oklahoma City Thunder seems sincere in its belief that the benching of All-NBA point guard Russell Westbrook is a non-story.
"It's nothing,'' says OKC coach Scott Brooks.
Listen, not even Nowitzki's 48 and 29 points in the two games takes precedence over the Westbrook story … so let's be clear:
It might not be a Westbrook controversy or Westbrook problem or a Westbrook decision going forward …but it is a Westbrook story.
Brooks' decision not to play his budding superstar at all during the fourth quarter of Thursday's game was a brilliant (because it worked) move that seemed boneheaded at the time.
Eric Maynor is being put in charge of winning a championship-level road game against the likes of Dirk and Jason Kidd? Why? Because young Westbrook made an impetuous decision or stared down a teammate or pouted comically on the sideline after the benching?
Hey, impetuousness, emotions and comic relief have been part of Westbrook's persona all season – and that persona is part of a package that placed him just behind Derrick Rose and just ahead of Chris Paul in the voters' judgments this year.
And yes, OKC won, so all's right north of the Red River. But if Chicago benched Derrick Rose for an entire fourth quarter … or if New Orleans does the same with CP3 …
It's a story.
"It sounds good...but it's nothing, I haven't even talked to the group about it," Brooks said on Friday. "Today's practice was just about Game 3. He's competitive. That's what makes Russell good.... He wants to play, no doubt. If he didn't feel a little frustrated in the fourth quarter, I would have a problem with that."
Chances are Brooks will reinsert Westbrook into his normal role on Saturday and hope that he matches his output from Game 2's first three quarters, when he had 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting and four assists. The Mavs, of course, are hoping he struggles as a shooter as he in Dallas' Game 1 win, when Westbrook made just three baskets.
But either way -- and trust me on this, because I am a paid professional -- it is a story.
DONUT 3: It was the refs' fault.
Oh, Tony Cubes, why must you tempt Sternian fate? You pop off about the officiating at halftime -- to a league official, within earshot of press row -- during a Game 2 in which the free throws attempted evened out at OKC 26, Dallas 24?
Tonight's Zebra Trio: Scott Foster, Marc Davis and Bob Delaney. I say lay off 'em. Doing so has gotten you this far, Mark.
DONUT 4: Losing Game 2 renders winning Game 1 meaningless.
Really? Oh, then Dallas shoulda just gone ahead and lost Game 1 as well, inasmuch as it doesn't matter.
Oh. Then Dallas would be down 0-2?
DONUT 5: There just isn't much good, insightful, fun Mavs radio/podcasty stuff out there.
You are wrong, Dear MFFL. Freshly-baked for your pleasure and individually wrapped for your protection, the DB.com Mavs Podcast:
DB.com Podcast May 20th by dbmavs
Want more Mavs media? I'm on ESPN Radio today at 12:45. We've got Kevin Brolan and The 75-Member Staff on the ground and at the game in OKC tonight. And I'm joining Ric Renner to co-host the postgame show on TV, right after the game, on FS Southwest!
DONUT 6: OKC is a "surprise team.''
Jason Terry's grinning confidence is one of his great charms. But I hate to see him (and Mavs fans) fall into the trap ...
"They surprised us because their shots were going in," said Terry. "But other than that, they made some tough ones. Give them credit."
Ah, the backhanded compliment! Coming from a guy who is coming off his lowest scoring output of the playoffs with eight points.
Dallas won 57. You know how many OKC won? The Thunder won 55. Why would anybody be "surprised'' at them experiencing some continued success?
Quote from TY: "'I feel like we took these boys lightly.''
How can that be?
DONUT 7: There is nothing/something/everything going on with Caron Butler.
Here at DB.com, we keep saying that when Caron Butler (out for the year after knee surgery) is ready to do anything at all that hints at progress, we will bring it to you.
Now is that time.
Here's a (very) quick piece of DB.com exclusive video that shows Tuff Juice making cuts on the court on Thursday.
He did this repeatedly, and with what we gauged to be a fairly high level of intensity. We're not in any way suggesting this hints at a miraculous comeback. We'll leave the regurgitation of fantasy to others.
But there's the latest. On video.
DONUT 8: The Dallas Mavericks don't get the coverage they are due!
If you are a DB.com reader, you already know how idiotic that statement is. Want to stay in touch with the Mavericks at all times?
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Check us out. Take the 7-day free trial. You will be pleased! Go Mavs and Go Premium!
DONUT 9: James Harden cannot do that again.
OKC disagrees. They think Jason Terry is at least as ill-equipped to guard Harden as Harden is to guard Jet. ... so they take their chances on a push between Harden (usually OKC's third scorer) and Jet (usually Dallas' second scorer.)
If you get a push between two guys on different spots on their team's respective totem poles, OKC wins.
James Harden for 23 points again? Hey, if Jet doesn't foolishly give him a four-point play in G2, it probably never happens. But Harden's ability to score 20? It's only a shade behind Jet's ability to do so.
DONUT 10: There is a New Dirk.
Pish-posh. There are subtleties. Nuances. But most of all, semantics. He's always adding tools to his toolbox. Holger helped him fill it, then Nellie put lots more in there, then Del added some defensive stuff, then Avery convinced him to include some post-up stuff ...
But consider this: In Round 1 of the 2002 playoffs, working against Kevin Garnett, he led Dallas to a sweep while averaging 33 points. In the WCF Finals against Phoenix he scored 50 in Game 5. And now we have his 48-point Picasso.
There might be some different brush strokes over the years, but there is no "New Picasso.'' Picasso is Picasso. Dirk is Dirk.
DONUT 11: The layoff hurt the Mavs.
"I'm not going to make any excuse about a layoff," Mavs coach Carlisle said, being quizzed after Game 2. "That was light years ago now by NBA standards."
But wait. The nine-day layoff occured before Game 1 -- which Dallas won. And then came a day off before Game 2.
So how could a layoff have an impact once the layoff was over?
DONUT 12: Man, did Kevin Durant punk ol' 'Brenda' on that dunk!
That's how the Idiocracy is going after Brendan Haywood for his involvement in KD's spectacular slam in G2. You saw it, right?
Of course, the Idiocracy thinks that play is somehow the fault of Brendan (or "Brenda,'' as Twitter immediately took to calling the Dallas center, because as we all know, when a center steps over to provide help defense, rises in the air to take on one of the longest and springiest athletes in the world, and then hard-fouls the superstar to the floor, that makes said center a woman).
I promise you, the next day in the film room, when the Mavs watched that play, they oohed-and-aahed at what KD did while also "atta-boy''ing Big Wood for what he did.
In that film room, there is no Idiocacy allowed.