Mavs All-Access Practice: Game 3 Is Game 7
Jet on the staircase: The Dallas Mavericks are trying to go up the down staircase in terms of overcoming their 0-2 deficit in this Round 1 match with OKC.
Jason Terry? He stopped right in the middle of the Mavs practice-basement staircase -- and barked right in the middle of coach Rick Carlisle's presser -- to issue an announcement.
"Excuse me!'' Jet yelled. "Everybody listen! Game 3 is like Game 7. Thank you very much.''
I might argue that down 0-2, Game 4 is also like Game 7. And that approaching every game like it's Game 7 might be wise.
But the speech was made, the staircase was climbed ... and we'll see Thursday in the Game 3/7 if anybody was listening.
No more bull----?: Carlisle spoke further about the "bulls---'' that he believes marred Game 2.
"It's going to be physical," Carlisle said. "That's how playoff series get. Generally, they get more physical before they get less physical. We've got to have the right kind of disposition."
Delonte West discussed it briefly, too. And he's a good witness here, as he's Kendrick Perkins' pal from when they were in Boston together ... and his finger is fairly intimate with Gordon Hayward and the subject of "physical bulls---.''
Delonte said something about how he and Perk used to "breed grizzly bears.'' Sefko asked him if he meant "breathe'' or "breed.'' I'm not sure how it got clarified ...
So I'm going with "breed.''
What's gotten lost in the debate: Perkins was actually the third man in, in a sense. The mess was really started by Ibaka, with a rake of Dirk's face and a poke of his eye ... intentions to be judged by the observer:
What Trix deserves: I asked Rick if he felt fairly certain Shawn Marion would finally earn enough votes to merit a first- or second-team All-NBA selection -- which would be a first in his career.
"Well, my vote would go to Marion,'' Rick says, meaning no disrespect to Tyson Chandler, who will be named the league's Defensive Player of the Year. "I thought Marion was deserving. Tyson did a terrific job for New York and really helped change a lot of what they were doing, so defensively he's deserving. There were a lot of guys deserving of consideration, but I felt Marion, because of the diversity of which he's been doing it all year, guarding four, five positions, should have been in the conversation."
Carlisle notes that while the Mavs were an elite defensive team last year with Chandler, this year's team spend most of the season with similar rankings. In part due to that, he tells me, "Marion's got to be in the top one, two or three guys in the league.
Dirk Nowitzki says Chandler "deserves all the credit he gets. Last year what he did here, turning the team around and clog up all the holes that me and Jet create on defense, he did a great job for us and he was a big part of winning it all, so I'm happy for him and we wish him nothing but the best."
But Dirk, like his coach, wants to make sure Marion is in this conversation.
"I thought he had a great case," Nowitzki says of Marion's DPOY credentials. "'Trix is an all-around defensive weapon. He's guarded 1s, 2s, 3s and 4s this year. He's long, he can move his feet, contest shots, he's strong enough to guard some 4s. So, to us, he's definitely our Defensive Player of the Year."
In the end, Marion finished eighth in the voting -- in theory good enough to land him on either the first- or second-team All-NBA Squad when it comes out.
Here are the top 10 finishers in DPOY voting, with total points: Tyson Chandler, 311; Serge Ibaka, 294; Dwight Howard, 186; LeBron James, 112; Kevin Garnett, 44; Tony Allen, 36; Andre Iguodala, 33; Shawn Marion, 17; Luol Deng, 16; Josh Smith, 9.
Is Big Wood still the starter?! I didn't even know this was a "thing,'' but Carlisle got asked about it, so here we go:
Is Brendan Haywood -- who did not open the second half of Game 2 -- still your starter, Coach?
"He's started every game all year that he's been available," Carlisle says. "We're not going to change that now. The second half the other night, it's an outlier situation. It was a gut feel and I went with it, but tomorrow night Wood's going to be our guy again."
The Mavs believe Haywood has had a fine defensive season for the team in the wake of the departure of Tyson Chandler. They also believe he can win his matchup with Oklahoma City starting center Kendrick Perkins. But Ian Mahinmi became the center of record in G2.
What Rick did not and will not say: Psychologically, the veteran Haywood responds best to wearing the title of starter. And maybe psychologically, the younger Mahinmi is best suited to wear the backup label.
Mavesellaneous: Carlisle mentioned the possibility of assigning Marion to guard Russell Westbrook ... Brandan Wright spend considerable time working on left-baseline jumpers under the schooling of assistant Brad Davis ... Yi Jianlian competed in a 3-point shootout with Vince Carter and Delonte West, and fared well enough that assistant Darrell Armstrong yelled that he was "making shots from The Great Wall of China!'' ... Jason Kidd ... Carlisle notes that in his 28 NBA seasons as a player and coach, he's approaching the 260-game mark. "It doesn't change much,'' he says of playoff basketball. ... the Mavs are giving away 20,000 'All-In' t-shirts for Game 3. I've already promises Lamar Odom I'd grab him one.
Dirk's frustration: DB.com provided you the crunch-time numbers this week: In the final two minutes of these eight playoff quarters, OKC is outscoring Dallas 55-39.
Here's more: In the final three minutes of each game, the Thunder has a 20-10 advantage on Dallas.
"It's been frustrating,'' Dirk says. "Last year coming down the stretch, we knew we'd find a way to win. Get the big stop, get the big shot, get to the line. Whatever needed to happen to get the win, we did.
"This year for some reason, we couldn't. So it's been frustrating. But we're not going to pack it in. We're going to keep coming.''
Carlisle has a strategic solution for the problem: Quit playing from behind.
"That's got to be a goal of ours,'' he says.
The Final Word: Teams that fall behind 0-2 have a record of 14-226 in best-of-series. Bury yourself in that number and you've got no chance. Concern yourself with winning just one, though ...
Or, as far as a frank Rick Carlisle is concerned, go ahead and concern yourself with winning two.
"We need to win two games," Carlisle said. "That's our job now that we're back home. Game 3 is very important. There's no denying that."
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