Friday Mavs Donuts: Unfolding And Folding
DONUT 1: What I thought/hoped -- Dirk Nowitzki's would give the finger to his critics and his opponent.
Can you win with Dirk as your best player?
Is he tough enough?
Or, even if you already recognize those doubts and trite and dunderheaded: Will that torn finger tendon render him non-UberManish?
How it rolled -- Nowitzki scored 24. And the last nine in the game. And the last bucket of the game. By going left and going to the rim, leaving LeBron and Wade and Bosh in his wake.
"That was a big play," Dirk monotoned.
"I played with Bird when he was the best player in the world," said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. "Guys like that don't feel pain right now. If you're feeling pain, you make yourself numb."
DONUT 2: What I thought/hoped -- Going back to Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, Jet came into Game 2 in a five-game slump of sorts during which he was averaging 13 points and shooting 32.2 percent. Terry's offensive production wasn't going to get much worse than it did in Game 1 of the Finals when he scored 12 points on 3-of-10 shooting. In short, we (and the Mavs) were counting on The Due Theory with Jet, regardless of whether LeBron guarded him.
How it rolled -- Well, it did get worse, for awhile there.
Almost six minutes into the fourth quarter, Terry was 2-of-8 for eight points. But for the final 6:18 he was 3-of-3 to put up eight points (giving him 16) … including providing a defensive spark to ignite the Dallas improbable 22-5 run to close the game.
"I have had games throughout my career where I've struggled,'' Jet said. "I've struggled throughout three quarters in the game and then, boom, in the fourth quarter the light comes on. Tonight was another one of those examples. In a game with this magnitude, to be down 15 points in that situation, I was just going to do whatever it took to leave it all out on the floor.''
DONUT 3: What I thought/hoped -- Tyson Chandler's Game 1 rebounding numbers were in part schematic ... but ...
Game 1 of the Finals marked the first time this postseason Chandler has failed to grab a single offensive board, and matched his low for total rebounds (four, his total in only 14 minutes of Game 3 against Portland).
We made a big deal of his other defensive responsibilities and trying to rebound while Dallas was in a zone. But in the Mavs' 16 playoff games, not to mention the regular season, when Chandler collected four or less rebounds only five times in 74 opportunities, four seems an anomaly.
It just had to be.
How it rolled -- To go with his 13 points, TY had seven rebounds. No member of the Heat had more than eight. He ended up with five fouls (something to watch now as Big Wood has a hip problem). And yet he grappled underneath all night, including on the Dirk layup, when if you watch the video again you can see him very cleverly making sure to throw his body in the way of Haslem and Wade so that can't help on Nowitzki.
DONUT 4: What I thought/hoped -- The Mavs can, will, must, win the 3-point shooting game. Not just because of Dallas' talents there, but maybe more, because Miami doesn't have talents there. Miami shot 45.8 percent in Game 1 compared to where it was before, at 33.5 in the playoffs and in that range during the regular season, too.
How it rolled -- Miami attempted 30 treys. That's twice their normal number. That's great for the Mavs.
Here's a more telling number, telling about both clubs: In the fourth quarter, the Mavs made two 3's. So did Miami.
But the Mavs attempted five. Miami attempted 11. Hmmm. ... which team was the one losing its cool, trying to hit a five-run homer, performing like a "jumpshooting team''?
Miami's final 3 shouldn't count against them ... but I do count it against them because of the Meryl Streepishness of Dwyane Wade, who launches the shot, falls to the floor (untouched), eyeballs the miss ... and then once he realizes he's missed, pretends he'd been poked in the eye. (thanks KentATM).
Dear Dwayne Streep: The Basketball Gods (and Chancellor Stern) already handed you a lifetime's share of free fouls in 2006. Now shove your detached eyeball back into its socket, motion for your chauffered wheelchair, and roll you and your Razzie Award into Dallas, 'kay?
DONUT 5: What I thought/hoped -- Game 1 was, in a sense, JJB's worst game since very early in the season. His 12.5 field-goal percentage in Game 1 of the Finals was his worst of these playoffs, and the worst of the entire season when taking at least eight field-goal attempts. In fact, he only converted a lower percentage of his attempts three times in 97 chances (81 regular-season and 16 postseason games). JJB got shots in Game 1. Good shots. Close-in shots. Dirk said he missed those due to jitters. No jitters allowed in G2.
How it rolled -- It's not there yet, in terms of the shot going down. JJB went from 1-of-8 to 2-of-7. But I promise you Barea and the coaches are encouraged because he continues to penetrate successfully to get the shots he wants.
I think a 5-of-8 or 6-of-8 JJB game featuring four or five layups is coming.
DONUT 6: What I thought/hoped -- Peja Stojakovic isn't a "slumper.'' He hadn't had more than one game in any series without draining a 3-pointer, meaning there shouldn't be too many more 0-for-3 games left on the docket, especially if inside-out attack frees him to more clean looks.
How it rolled -- Man, am I wrong. So far. Not a "slumper''? Cripes, he looks like Willie Mays in the outfield in the '73 World Series.
I don't think the coaches will bow to the public calls to see more Brewer or more of The Custodian in Peja's stead. But I understand the public calls.
DONUT 7: What I thought/hoped -- When Jet said, "We'll run more,'' I was apprehensive. When 'Trix said, "We called too many sets,'' I was unconvinced.
When the King of BBIQ Jason Kidd promised to push the Mavs' offense into a more uptempo gear?
OK. I'm in.
How it rolled -- Yeah, there was more "flow.'' In fact, Chandler says that in that final six minutes, Dallas rarely called a play at all. But the real pacesetter was Dallas' defense. The Mavs' defense set up the running game. It's hard run when you only get 36 rebounds, as was the case in Game 1. It's easier to run when you get stops.
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DONUT 9: What I thought/hoped -- The "Little 3'' -- the troika of Jet/JJB/Peja -- isn't going to shoot a combined 4-of-21 from the field (19 percent) for 14 points, as it did in Game 1. Miami's rotations aren't THAT fast. Those wings aren't THAT stiffling. That defense isn't THAT dominant.
Our pointy heads calculated that if The Little 3 was to do what it did in G1 while raising its conversion rate to a modest 43 percent ... without including 3-pointers or free throws ... a critical 10 points would be added to Dallas' side of the ledger.
Ten points. Left on the table. That needed to be pocketed in Game 2.
How it rolled -- Nope. It's not there yet. Oh, Jet and JJB combined for 7-of-18. But that's not good enough. And Peja didn't even get a shot off, so nothing there. But in a sense, this is a Dallas positive, because if the series is extended long enough, the Dallas bench believes its going to beat its counterpart.
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DONUT 11: What I thought/hoped -- The Mavs, with all their "resiliency'' (funny that both teams labeled themselves that way after Game 2), cannot afford to fall into holes, to give up lengthy runs, to allow the spectacular nature of Miami's style to inflate the Heat ...
How it rolled -- I still say it's dangerous ... but we now know that Miami WILL go on its runs (especially if there are turnovers on which the ball remains on the floor, in which case it's Wade and LeBron victimizing the fire drill that is what your transition defense becomes).
But we also know that Dallas WILL come back.
The Mavericks were down 16 in the third quarter of Game 1 against the Lakers in the second round of the playoffs and won.
In Game 3 of that series, they were down seven with 5:05 left and won.
In Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals they were down 15 with 5:05 left and won.
In Game 5 of that series they were down seven with 5:48 left and won.
And now this.
You don't choose to live like this. But if Miami's athleticism forces you to live like this? It beats dyin'.
DONUT 12: What I thought/hoped -- This one comes courtesy of Nancy Lieberman, as we watched the game together in preparation for the FS Southwest postgame show.
And Nancy says at one point in the fourth quater, "The Mavs don't have any swagger. The confidence they had against the Lakers and OKC isn't there.''
And I say, "So, coach, how do you 'get' swagger? Does it come before the turn-around play? Or do you get swagger after the turn-around moment?'
And just then, down 15 with 7:13 to go, the Miami Heat allowed the Dallas Mavericks to pick their choice of swagger from the menu ...
How it rolled -- Here. Watch for yourself.
"(Wade) followed through and left the hand up,'' Jason Kidd said.
"I was right behind them, so I saw the celebration,'' said Jason Terry.
"He's celebrating in front of our bench and I think it angered a lot of us,'' said Tyson Chandler, including the word "showboating'' in his description of the LeBron/Wade behavior.
Sudden swagger. And all the Mavs had to do was watch ... and naturally react.
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