Monday Mavs Donuts: Check Your Foolhardiness
DONUT 1: "Look, it's seven games. Any notion that it was going to be easy would have been foolhardy by us or anybody else. Every game has been extremely difficult."
That's Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. Instructing you to guide yourself from the ledge. Hug your loved ones. Go hit some golf balls or something.
And avoid being foolhardy in your overreation.
DONUT 2: The Mavs need everybody to be better. Game 3 was a team loss, especially on the offensive end, when you add up the 14 turnovers (and how Miami takes advantage of ball-still-on-the-court turnovers) and the missed shots (Mavs shooters not named Dirk shot 34 percent)and the FT gags.
But there one more guy who's got to be an inch closer to perfection, too.
Ridiculous, I know. In a postseason during which he's topped Aldridge and Roy and Kobe and Gasol and Westbrook and Durant and is now outplaying LeBron and matching Wade ...
Nowitzki's got to be tad better than he was in Game 3, when he scored all 12 of the Mavs' points in the final half-quarter and totaled 34.
That's not "fair.'' But it's true.
DONUT 3: The Mavs trail in the NBA Finals because a lot of guys failed. But the final score of 88-86 on Sunday leaves just enough room for somebody to be better ... somebody to not involve himself in a mixmaster of a decision on defense on Chris Bosh's game-winner, somebody to be more precise on a pass through a triple-team to Shawn Marion that didn't connect, and then finally, on a 17-foot One-Legged Euro Lean-Back in the middle of the floor ... Dirk's shot! ... that was an inch from tying the game.
"I think it was as good as you can get," Nowitzki said of his final shot.
DONUT 4: There will be no indictment in this space of Dirk being a one-man show late. Nowitzki scored 15 points in the last quarter and the ball must go to him and through him. This isn't a case of "Dirk needs help!'' in the final minutes. (Though Jason Terry's 0-of-4 in the fourth sucks.)
For the most part, Dirk's got the final minutes handled; he now can all but be counted on to score at least nine points in the fourth quarter of a title game.
No, the "Dirk Needs Help!'' portion of the proceedings comes in the first 36 minutes or first 42 minutes of games.
DONUT 5: Simply put: Dirk needs to make that final shot.
"He makes that nine out of 10," Jet said. "This was the one that he missed."
That's all you can ask for in terms of odds -- as exaggerated as the claim is. But the point is made: For the Mavs to win this game, somebody needed to score two or three more points.
Over the course of a season during which this team has won 70 games, a lot of different guys have taken turns scoring two or three more points.
But on Sunday night, like most nights, it came down to Dirk. As it should.
It came down to Dirk but didn't go down for Dirk.
DONUT 6: No ref-bashing today, please.
They missed the backcourt violation on Chalmers' buzzer-beating 3 to end a quarter. But there is no more Danny Crawford Curse. His crew wasn't the issue. Dallas got calls. ... got enough calls to miss enough FTs to be the difference.
DONUT 7: I'm going to be hospitable to our out-of-town guests, OK? But the number of national media members who laughed at Big Wood's hip problem, laughed it off as a non-story either way, should be required to go on down to the sportswriters version of the DMV and make sure they are eligible for those press credentials.
Without Haywood, Chandler stepped way up with 11 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end (only two less than the entire Miami team). He had three blocks. He is giving Bosh fits. He played 40.
And playing behind him, in Big Wood's place, was Ian Mahinmi. And The Ianimal wasn't quite ready for this stage.
Is Brendan Haywood and his hip health important? TY was overburdened with minutes. Ian could do nothing but foul. Dallas lost by two.
Quit laughing for just a moment, fellas, and do the math.
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DONUT 9: Speaking of DB.com Boards and how it takes all kinds: There is a thread there right now pondering "what excuses'' Cuban and Donnie will make once Dallas has lost this NBA Finals.
Kids, you are making a mistake there, on two counts. One, as Rick said above, your presumption is "foolhardy.'' And two, you are mapping out the apology you deserve if your favorite team is determined to be the second-best team in the NBA? Really?
DONUT 10: Frustrating to watch JJB in this series, as he continues to earn perfectly good looks, from the paint and last night from the arc -- and continues to brick the opportunities.
For the series, Barea has now made 5-of-23 field-goal attempts, a conversion percentage of 21.7.
It's not quite right to put JJB under the same huge 7-foot-high microscope I used above on Dirk, but I will say this: Tight games. All of them. Momentum being sucked back and forth. And JJB has been open, essentially, 23 times.
And has missed on 18 opportunities.
No, I'm not calling for FREE RODDY B! here. Beaubois' earned his way out of a true chance, I suppose. And the Mavs wouldn't be in the NBA Finals if not for the crafty work of Barea. Though I wonder what would be the result of Roddy B was allowed to take those same 23 shots?
DONUT 11: So it's on Dirk, but here we are again spending time on The Little 3 and how little they've done. Jet with nothing late. JJB with so many blown chances.
And Peja ... when did Peja turn into Willie Mays in the outfield in the '73 World Series?
With 5:11 to go in the first quarter, Peja did score his first points in the Finals, but it continues to feel as though the Heat quickly begin runs as soon as Peja enters the game. He's also being run off some 3's, which marks the end of his contributions. And Miami's rotations are so quick (and those wings so studly) that he just doesn't have room to operate.
And don't even start me on the sacrifices Dallas must make on defense to have Peja in the game on offense.
Folks, this isn't about the acquisition of Peja. The acquisition of Peja was clever and free and he's been useful. This is about whether he is useful NOW.
I keep saying yes. The results keep saying no.
DONUT 12: Quote from Magic Johnson on ABC: "This is the best Dallas can play."
Maybe Magic's seats at the AAC only allow him to see the end of the floor where Dallas is playing defense. Because down there, yes, limiting Miami to 88 points is primo.
But I'm going to personally escort Magic to a better viewing position on Tuesday. Because while consistently daring to flirt only with the 40-percent shooting mark, this is decidedly not the best Dallas can play on offense.
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