Tuesday Mavs Donuts: The Red River Rally
DONUT 1: Let's get you started on this classic by catching you up on what you might've missed because you went to bed when the Mavs were down 15 with five minutes left in Monday's Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.
Sleep well, ya dope, ya?
Here's how we did the deal this morning on FS Southwest: Fish, Ric Renner, Earl K. Sneed and Mark Followill, with some highlights and KD's sad backpack mixed in:
DONUT 2: Like hotcakes. Except they are neither "hot'' nor "cakes.''
They are two of the most popular t-shirts at the Mavs Fan Shop at the AAC, but you don't have to go to the game to get your "TAKE THAT WIT CHEW!'' and your "REUNION ROWDIES!'' ... The DB.com originals, produced in conjuction with the Mavs themselves (and the TAKE THAT WIT CHEW thumbs-upped by Dirk himself) are available right here right now!
DONUT 3: The Mavericks mounted a 17-2 run to close regulation to gain a tie and then continued the domination in an overtime that made it a 28-6 run to close.
There will be a lot of "team of destiny'' talk today. And that's OK. But this wasn't a situation where somebody sprinkled some fairy dust on the court. (That wasn't "fairy dust''; that was a cup of water that the OKC bench "accidentally'' spilled onto the floor to try to distract/ice Dirk at the line. What does OKC have planned for Game 5? Ty Cobb sliding spikes high into the paint?)
No, "team of destiny'' comes with work. This was work. ... work that resulted in 15 minutes of about the most "Almost Perfect'' basketball the NBA Playoffs have ever seen.
DONUT 4: ESPN "Notable Playoff Beards'' Report, Part II:
ESPN is so caught up in this "Fear the Beard'' ridiculousness that it is failing to notice that Harden comes off the bench … replacing starter Sefalosha, who plays due to his defense. … and that Sefalosha was quite effective offensively, with 12 points – and 10 of those coming by the beginning of the fourth quarter.
So how is Harden's absence a major story when Sefalosha, playing better defense than Harden and scoring 12 points, took/kept the 2-guard spot over Harden … who had just seven points?
I gotta tell you, kids, James Harden fouling out with almost as many infractions (six, of course) as he had points (seven) isn't one of the top 10 storylines from this game.
Dude scored 23 points in an earlier game. He's had an impact in one out of every four WCF games. Meanwhile ... We've got "The Red River Comeback.'' We've got OT in a WCF. We've got Dirk for 40. We've got Kidd's magnificent BBIQ + numbers. We've got 'Trix speaking truth when he says, "We took them out of any and everything possible they wanted to do in that last stretch. They couldn't get nothing." And on and on and on.
I will concede that Harden has the potential to do Jet-like things. But in this game, Jet outscored him almost by three. In this game, James Harden was less impactful than literally every Mav who got a minute of burn. Haywood, DeShawn, all of 'em.
Hey, Kendrick Perkins' elbow (which made violent and purposeful contact with the little d-shawns) oughta be immortalized. It did more damaged than James' "bin Harden'' facial hair. Indeed, as Reader Scott says, "The difference between the Mavs defense and Thunder defense is that they Mavs get their hands on a lot of balls while the Thunder only get their elbows on them.
Love ya, ESPN. Mean it. But you are forcing it. Let the Western Conference Finals come to you.
DONUT 5: "It's almost like watching an incredible movie and having an incredible ending in your favor,'' Tyson Chandler said. "We're on Cloud 9 right now."
Nice place to hang out -- today, as the Mavs players have the practice day off. But I hereby order you, TY, to by Wednesday night at the AAC vacate Cloud 9 for a trip to Game 5 ... and beyond.
DONUT 6: What sort of a world are we living in when Dallas is on a 9-1 playoff run, when 15-point deficits with five minutes left mean nothing, when 38-year-old men are out-athleting 22-year-old men, when the City of Portland is ordered to shut up, when Loud City goes Quiet, when the Lakers are swept and Phil Jackson cannot only not handle the Mavs, he can't even handle radio yuck monkeys, when Mavs fans are actually feeling sorry for an opponent and his nerd-cool backpack, and when Dan Crawford has a 2-0 record when doing Dallas games?
It's anarchy, I tell you. Anarchy.
DONUT 7: ESPN Mark Jackson quote I'd like to hear, especially when Dirk Nowitzki does things like ... score 40 total, 38 in regulation. Gets 17 in the second. Gets 12 in the fourth, 10 points in about three minutes as Dallas pulled to within three with 1:26 left. Serve as the hub of a wheel in the sense that at this point, the only time he doesn't score is when a teammate mistakenly doesn't feed him. ...
"Mama, there goes That UberMan!''
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And yes, as promised, the Shawn Marion "Matrix at the Movies'' piece is coming ... Good timing, too, as today in 'Trix' DB.com exclusive, he follows up his own superheroic effort with his video review of "Thor.''
DONUT 9: In the last 15 years, no NBA team has gagged up as much as a 15-point lead with five minutes to play in a playoff game.
You want to come back in that circumstance? You want to be the first of a generation? You want to make history?
*"It was almost over,''said Dirk. "If we mess up one more time (in the final five minutes), that would've been it. We couldn't afford any mistakes down the stretch ... We were almost perfect.''
DONUT 10: Kevin Durant had a chance in regulation (one of many, actually, as OKC made just one of its nine shots in the final nine minutes) to put the game away.
Two seconds on the clock, a chance to go from zero to hero. All 6-10 of Durant rises above the floor from 27 feet out. It'll be unblockable, that's for sure; who blocks 3-point jumpshots with two seconds left in a tie game ... from 27 feet out?
Shawn Marion does.
And it was shocking, in the literal sense. KD certainly couldn't have anticipated it. But in the sense that the Mavs told us they wanted to be ballhawks, that they might use some full-court pressure to trigger errors, that they thought they could force OKC into erratic decisions ...
Maybe we should've anticipated that.
Westbrook and KD combined for 15 turnovers. OKC totaled 26. Kidd and Marion and DeShawn were active in pressuring dribblers and deflecting passes and in the end, stealing and blocking balls.
'Trix: "We took them out of any and everything possible they wanted to do in that last stretch. They couldn't get nothing."
It's a rallying cry of success. But of course, Carlisle will also make it a teaching bark for motivation: Let's do it during times beyond "that last stretch,'' OK?
DONUT 11: Something to clean up: OKC had 55 rebounds to only 33 for Dallas.
Any reasons for this?
Allow me to go Alibi Ike on you: The numbers are almost unforgivable (OKC took 20 boards, compared to only five for the Mavs!) ... but only almost. I believe Dallas made a slight defensive adjustment to get away from ordering help defense from its bigs to working to keeping a body on everybody in the late-going ... and after being down in rebounding at one point 48-to-22, Dallas finished the game with a 11-7 rebounding run.
So So maybe strategy played at least a small role in the lopsided numbers. Or maybe I'm just giddy-stupid Alibi Ike.
DONUT 12: Teams that go up 3-1 win series 96 percent of the time, and only twice in NBA history has a team with home-court advantage lost a 3-1 lead.
Sleep on that. But when you carve out your next three-hour time period to watch your Mavs, now up 3-1 and a step away from a second NBA Finals appearance in franchise history, don't rob yourself of those 15 minutes, OK?