DONUT 1: Maybe it's Dirk's fault.
No, I'm not referencing Miami 92, Dallas Mavericks 84 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals ... though maybe that, too, is almost as much The UberMan's fault as anyone's -- despite his 27 points.
No, what I mean is, maybe it's Dirk's fault that the torn tendon in his middle finger on his left hand is already being grossly underplayed as a coming factor. Because he's the one who first grossly underplayed it.
'Course, what did you expect him to do? Follow up his injurious late-game strip attempt on a Bosh drive that triggered the tear by rolling into the press conference in a wheelchair?
That town ain't big enough for two Big Wheels. And D-Wade's already got his name stitched on the back of one.
Anyway, as watchers of The UberMan know, he's an ambidextrous weapon. Yes, LeBron, his left is "only his guide hand'' on jumpers. But his left is also how he shoots left-handed shots, how he dribbles left (a favorite), how he passes, how he rebounds.
Nowitzki shot 4-of-15 through three quarters with a full complement of digits. He was a mess shooting when double-teamed. I bet when he and coaches look at film today, they will see some lethargy as a rebounder and as a defensive rotater, too.
But his 10-fingered excellence is threatened now ... potentially compromised now.
Anybody who says otherwise can climb up there in the witness stand and offer their reaction to The Finger, which is this morning's Exhibit A of the Idiocracy.
DONUT 2: FOX takes us to the postgame press conferences of the Mavs -- Rick, Marion and Dirk:
DONUT 3: The hope fades. But it exists when you read between the lines of LeBron's self-congratulatory words.
"We always said we would figure it out," LeBron said. "We always believed in our abilities. We always believed as a team. Everything we went through, the pitfalls and the downs, was going to turn and make its course. ... We just stuck with it and understood it."
This quote is an echo from Miami's preseason victory celebration. It is premature. It is presumptuous. It's not billboard-worthy, but it's still enough to cause LeBron haters to seeth.
DONUT 4: Throw a bunch of numbers into two bags:
Dallas had more steals, more blocks, more free throws, and more fastbreak points. ... (yet scored an absurdly low number of points.)
Miami had more assists, rebounds, bench points, and 3's. ... oh, and they destroyed Dallas on the board, 46-36 ... and 16-6 on offensive rebounds.
And here's some hope: Don't those two bags seem like Bags O' Aberration? Aren't they, in most cases, exactly the opposite of what was expected?
Looking at it all that way, it makes this thing less predictable than it seems ...
DONUT 5: Men want to wear them. Women want to be with the men who wear them. And then wear them themselves.
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 6: There are some schematic issues that resulted in Dallas getting outrebounded as it did.
But four boards for TY? Tyson Chandler -- playing against a Miami lineup that is often 6-8 and shorter -- oughta get four rebounds by accident.
Again, to the scheme: As was the case against OKC for most of the series, Chandler's job is as a help defender; when the opponent drives, he's coming to meet him. This is going to result in fewer Miami layups ... but it also takes TY off his man ... leaving his man to collect rebounds. Additionally, TY on Bosh allows Miami to draw Chandler away from the basket. And finally, Dallas' zone means fewer get-a-body-on-a-body situations.
Having said all that:
"We've been rebounding in the zone all season long,'' Brendan Haywood said, pretty much dismissing the alibi opportunity.
In other words, let's talk scheme. But let's not talk excuses.
DONUT 7: No, panickers, you are not benching Jet and you are not replaing Peja with Corey and you are not shipping Mr. Universe back across the sea.
Jason Terry, Peja Stojakovic and JJ Barea combined to shoot 4-of-21. But no deportations are necessary. In fact, I'll argue that no strategic changes involving those guys are needed, either.
The inside-out game worked. Peja just didn't make shots. JJB's penetration worked. He quite obviously let nerves jangle him into misses. ("I thought he was rushing some of his shots in the paint,'' Dirk said.) Jet's shot was on ... for the first half, when he was 3-of-3 from the arc ... before the demands of keeping up with the Three Kings turned him into The Dreaded Shot-Hunter.
As I said last night on the FS Southwest postgame show (we'll do it again Thursday, with Nancy Lieberman, Ro Blackman, Mark Followill and me and the gang): This is no time to change hotels, call inappropriate timeouts, accuse the NBA of a conspiracy or move Devean George into the starting lineup at center.
Dallas has 69 wins this year ...69! ... The foundation that got them to that point can get them to 70.
DONUT 8: Want All-Access privileges to your Mavericks?
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DONUT 9: Jet wants the Mavs to run more.
"We will see it in Game 2,'' he pledges.
Wanna run more? Good. First get them more than 36 rebounds. Then you'll run more.
DONUT 10: They aren't engaged.
And she's not "African-American.''
But otherwise, media reports trying to get attention for themselves in a high-profile time for the NBA and one of its brightest stars NAILED it!
DONUT 11: "I actually thought coming in that our bench was going to be a key for us," Dirk said.
And of course, what Dirk was saying, in Germanglish, was ""I actually thought coming in that our bench was going to not suck for us.''
Here's a trick Miami has up its sleeve regarding Dallas' bench: LeBron can go and guard any of them.
Let the record show that the LeBron-on-Dirk thing never materialized (as predicted; it's just not necessary for Miami as long as Haslem is healthy). Let the record show that LeBron-on-JJB was a Spoelstra media creation.
Ah, but LeBron on Jet?
"They did a good job there on Jet,'' Dirk said, "LeBron was on him some in the fourth quarter, to go big on him, and I guess bother his shot.''
Yes. I guess.
Jet can be on the floor against Bibby and Chalmers and if his offense is cooking, he might even survive some Wade. Oh, and he might have his way with the 6-8 Mike Miller. But he's not going to have his way with the 6-8 LeBron, who is a different sort of 6-8.
DONUT 12: Game 1 winners have gone on to win 11 of the last 14 NBA Finals. That percentage (78.6) is the same for Game 1 winners in all playoff series in the last 15 years.
Let's not feign ignorance here. We trumpeted the same stats -- Yay, Seventy-Eight-Point-Six! -- every time Dallas won a Game 1, which up until this moment was every time. So we can't now pretend 78.6 doesn't apply because "we're different.''
We MIGHT be different. THEY might be different. These Mavs aren't those Mavs, but that doesn't mean these Mavs aren't like 15 years of second-best-team-in-the-NBA teams.
The Mavs might be different. But for the moment, they are Twenty-One-Point-Four.