Donuts: Diary of The Locked-Out Mavs Fan
PRE-DONUT: You're locked out of free agency rumors. You're locked out of NBA Summer League. Hell, the lock out means you're locked in to watered down NBA headlines like, "Kobe Bryant is considering thinking about the prospect of possibly shooting hoops overseas if there is no NBA season."
What does that even mean? That's not news, but that's all there is and we have to accept it if we want to get any kind of NBA fix right now.
I'm here for you, DB.com friend, hopefully with something that will help you waste time at work.
The thing is, I'm not ready to stop talking about the Mavs championship run, nor will I ever be. So for your non-lockout pleasure, here is a list of some of the finest, most glorious moments of the Mavs' playoff run that will take you down memory lane, and maybe even help you forget about the L-word for a few minutes.
Allow the Mavs Memories in My DB.com Diary to shower over you. (In no particular order of greatness):
DONUT 1: Dirk Nowitzki's And-1 bank shot over Portland's Gerald Wallace and Andre Miller from the free-throw line.
Over the long haul of a championship playoff run, certain great plays are bound to be lost in the shuffle. This is one of them. Remember the Portland Trailbitches after Games 1 and 2 in the first round? It seems months ago (was it?) but that series was a dogfight and the Mavs can thank Portland because it set the tone for the whole run. This play defined the toughness required to win that series, and it was the first of many clutch Uberman buckets during the playoffs.
DONUT 2: Corey Brewer posing as Captain Comeback in Game 1 versus Los Angeles.
Things were looking grim as the Mavs were down 16 points in the 3rd quarter, especially since former Lakers' coach Phil Jackson boasts a perfect record in series where his team won Game 1. No sweat, just turn the keys over to Corey Brewer.
The Mavs credited their teamwork and depth as the trump card in their championship run. Every member of the active roster had a moment in the playoffs where they helped win a game and this was Brewer's. The mid-season acquisition had 5 points in 8 minutes and almost single handedly pulled the Mavericks back from a daunting 1-0 deficit with his momentum shifting play against the 2-time defending champs. This moment was his.
DONUT 3: Dirk's shake/bake/and-1 from the foul line against Pau Gasol in Game 2.
With the Mavericks on the brink of taking a 2-0 lead back to Dallas, Dirk buried it. Since MavsVirus was still in effect back then, The Mavs had an "as-uncomfortable-as-an-11-point-lead-can-be" 11 point lead with 3:11 remaining. Then, The UberMan took Gasol to one of his many pet spots, shook him right, then left, rose up, shot, and got fouled as the ball sank through the net. Game over.
This marked a high point in confidence for the Mavs and a low for Pau Gasol. It was the beginning of the end for the Gasol's season as the Spaniard crumbled under the weight of trying to out-duel Nowitzki.
Remember when delusional Laker fans toyed with the idea that Gasol was better than Nowitzki?
DONUT 4: The late comeback in Game 3 to take a stranglehold on Lakers' series.
Dirk came out firing in Dallas, but the Lakers, playing without the suspended Ron Artest, weathered the Mavs' storm and played like a champion throughout the game.
It just wasn't enough.
Down 8 with 7:03 left in the game, Dirk, Jason Terry, and Peja Stojakovic lit up the AAC. The Mavs finished the game on a 25-11 run, highlighted by a left hook in the lane by Dirk to give the Mavs a 93-91 lead that they would never relinquish.
Dallas now had a 3-0 series lead and even though there was still another game to be played, the Lakers were dead men walking.
DONUT 5: Bombs away for the Mavs in Game 4 versus LA.
Put this one in the memory bank as the most perfect game you will ever see these Mavericks play. It was the perfect storm that included a team quitting (the Lakers), a team playing spot-on basketball (Your Mavs), a team shooting the lights out (Mavs again), and a guy flashing his B-cups to a nation (Andrew Bynum) after elbowing the smallest guy on the court.
All you really need to know about this game is that after going a perfect 7-for 7-from the field (6 for 6 from three), Peja Stojakovic was forced to answer questions about how hot another player on his own team was after the game (Jet). Peja wouldn't be as effective for the rest of the playoffs, but he had exacted his revenge on the Lakers after some emotional losses to them in the past. With this effort against LA and the eventual championship ring he would win, Peja righted the wrongs that had haunted his past.
…I'm looking at you, Donaghy.
DONUT 6: Dirk's right-handed shotput, One-Legged Euro LeanBack around Nick Collison in the middle of an epic 15-point 4th quarter comeback.
It's tough to single out a few single plays during that Game 4 comeback in OKC (which I witnessed in person thanks to the DallasBasketball.com private chopper we have on hand at all times), but in hindsight, that shot seemed to mean even more than contributing to a come from behind victory. Looking back, we should have all known that the Mavericks were going to win the championship after that absurd display of skill by Dirk. I've watched the replay dozens of times and I don't see Dirk really get fouled on the play. So, if he's dialed in enough to make that shot after such amazing defense… we should've seen this championship coming is what I'm saying.
Go back and watch Jason Terry on that play. He's mad at first because he's wide open and Dirk doesn't find him, but then Dirk makes it. His reaction is, "Uh…wow. Okay then."
My thoughts exactly.
Side note: I'm lucky there wasn't a water bottle or something around me on press row after Dirk made that shot… because I would've punted it.
DONUT 7: In Game 5 back in Dallas, Shawn Marion exclamation-point dunk, and-1.
With a minute left in the clinching game, and the Thunder on their last gasp, Shawn Marion came away with a loose ball, which he parlayed into a dunk and a made free throw after a Kevin Durant foul. With the Mavs now up 4 with less than a minute to play, the game was theirs. In my personal opinion, Durant didn't take enough heat for that foul. A three point deficit with 48 seconds left is nothing in the NBA playoffs, but that one extra point he awarded the Mavs after his bone headed play was the clincher.
I know the kid will be great, but that lack of BBIQ represented in a nutshell the vast difference between these two teams as currently constructed.
DONUT 8: Dirk's lefty layup to clinch Game 2 comeback in Miami.
As we move into the realm of rehashing 2011 NBA Finals memories, forgive me if I miss something because I spent most of those two weeks in a blacked-out cloud of emotion. Seriously, I walked around, generally in a daze, unable to focus on anything but the previous and upcoming game. I was like a dental patient still under the gas after a root canal. It was probably a bad idea for me to be behind the wheel or operating any heavy machinery during this series.
The whole comeback during Game 2 really is a blur, but the few moments that stick out are Dirk's clinching layup, Dwyane Wade's last miss, and Wade foolishly grabbing his eye afterwards as if he had been hit. Jason Terry blew an assignment on the previous play which almost ruled the comeback moot, but Dirk bailed him out. Jet would later return the favor.
Side note: Microsoft Word always thinks that I am spelling ‘Dwyane' wrong and suggests ‘Dwayne'. I couldn't agree more, spellcheck. I couldn't agree more.
DONUT 9: Coach Carlisle plugging JJ Barea into the starting lineup to start Game 4.
This must be mentioned because as great as Carlisle was throughout these playoffs, starting Barea was his ballsiest (shuddup, it's a word) move. Adding the second ballhandler alongside Jason Kidd turned the tide in this series, as Miami's defense had no answer for it.
Side note: Perhaps this was in mind when the Mavs made the move to acquire Rudy Fernandez on draft night. Because of Rick's reasoning for starting JJ during the Finals, I believe they intend to start Fernandez next year and use that same strategy, barring any unforeseen moves.
DONUT 10: Jet's 3-pointer with 33 seconds left in Game 5.
Other than Dirk and the Mavs lifting the trophy, this moment will be seared into my mind forever as the top moment during the playoffs. As much as this run was about Dirk, team work, and a veteran team wanting to more than anyone else, I will never forget crazy Jason Terry calling out LeBron James …seriously, LeBron F'ing James, by saying LeBron can't guard him and then completely and totally backing it up.
Before the playoffs, if someone would have suggested to you that these events would happen, you would've punched them in the face.
After Dirk called Jet out earlier in the series by saying he needed more from his right-hand man, Jet wasted no time in responding. From then on out it could be argued that he was the Finals MVP. And when Terry saw the shot clock was running low at the end of Game 5, abandoned getting the ball to Dirk, took his little hitch, and lifted up for the 26-footer (It looked like it was at least 30), I knew it was going in. It had to. It did. The AAC absolutely exploded and the Mavericks were one win away from a title.
That shot will be long remembered by this author.
DONUT 11: Dirk's jumper in front of Chris Bosh with 2:27 left in Game 6, aka ‘When I knew it was over."
Although it's against my rules when it comes to watching Mavs games, I couldn't help it. After Dirk caught the ball, leaned in, and buried a jumper over Bosh for the millionth time during the series, I knew it was over… even though I still wouldn't say it out loud. And it led to this…
DONUT 12: Dirk and the Mavs lifting the Larry O'Brien trophy in front of the world.
The culmination of everything, good and bad, that had happened to the Mavericks over the past five years (10 years, 30 years) was caught in one glory-filled moment after Game 6 when the team lifted the trophy. Legacies were cemented, history was rewritten, and one specific player took a step into the pantheon of all-time greatness. Demons be damned, the Mavs officially became the champions in a moment that will be forever remembered in Mavs lore.
Well, there you have it. I'm sure I missed a few, but I think I hit the main points, no? Look at it this way, there's nothing good about the lockout, but at least if you're a Mavs fan you can sit around and remember the championship that just happened. I can't imagine the angst NBA fans are going through after their team just lost and now they have to wait for something to happen with the work stoppage before they can make any progress. Must be complete agony…
Oh well, that's not our problem, is it, Dear DB.com Diary? Until next time.
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