Mavs Tipoff: Last-Minute Game 4 Notebook
Addressing the media for the first time since being fined $25,000 for publicly criticizing officials following the Mavs Game 3 loss to the Houston Rockets, Rick Carlisle told reporters, “I have strong feelings about how I feel about my team and I’m going to fight for my team, and that’s just the way it’s going to be. ... I’m a lot like my owner. I’m going to fight for my guys.’’
It’s that fight that the Dallas Mavericks will need to show tonight if that want any chance to avoid their first playoff sweep since falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder to end the 2012 season. In the history of the NBA, no team has ever rallied from a 3-0 hole to win a series.
When Game 4 tips tonight at 8 p.m. at the American Airlines Center (Fish on the TXA21 pregame show at 7:30 p.m.) the Mavs will once again be without Chandler Parsons (right knee) and Rajon Rondo (back) and now potentially without their replacements Raymond Felton (right hamstring injury) and Richard Jefferson (right calf injury). (We'll update their situations later tonight at FishSports and Michael Lark.
Felton has been one of the lone bright spots for the Mavs late in the season. In limited opportunities, he’s been able to prove that he’s something more that just than the 15th man on an NBA roster.
In the final six games of the regular season, Felton averaged 9.4 points, 4.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds on 51.3 percent shooting, having many wondering if he had finally carved out a role for himself in the Mavs rotation.
The playoffs rolled around, and on Friday night the starting point guard duties essentially fell into his lap. Just three minutes into his starting PG tenure, Felton pulled up lame with an apparent hamstring injury. He, along with Jefferson who was limited to just 12 minutes due to injury, have both been listed as questionable for tonight’s game.
After a career playoff-high 42 points on Friday night, Rockets shooting guard James Harden (30.0 points, 8.7 assists) hints the Rockets aren’t content despite a commanding 3-0 lead.
“Our mindset is, 'get greedy,''' he said. "Get greedy, don’t let up and just stay focused.''
Former Mavericks guard Jason Terry has made plans to wear all black, as if to signal the end for the opposing team’s season, when he arrives at the AAC tonight as he did during the Mavs 2011 championship run.
“You know my wardrobe,” Terry is quoted as saying in the DMN. “You know what it consists of when it’s time to close a series out.”
Dallas, which is just 3-11 since their June 12, 2011 championship-clinching in Miami, appears to be out of answers in attempts find its first win in the 2015 playoffs.
After the Mavs Game 3, Dirk Nowitzki (22.7 points, 9.7 rebounds) called the loss one of the toughest of his career. Despite a 34-point effort alongside a career-high 34-point output from his sidekick Monta Ellis, it still wasn’t enough as the Mavs fell 130-128 in the final seconds.
So, if the two 34-point performances from the Mavs' top two players aren’t enough to defeat the Rockets, then is there any real hope for the Mavs? Is it time for them to wave the white flag and surrender to the Rockets as the inferior team?
Make no mistake: the Mavs didn’t just grind through a seven-month, 82-game regular season games en route to a 50-win season just to get bounced in four games in the first round of the playoffs. At this point, the Mavs are looking deep into those now much-discussed "basketball souls'' ... Remembering every shot, every practice and all the preparation that has led to this point.
And, while history tell us the Mavs are almost certainly going to lose the series and should just give up now, a defeatist mentality has never been a part of the character that defined the Mavs organization since Mark Cuban took over the team in January of 2000. For the Mavs, they need to forget history. They need to forget about winning the series. Right now, it’s all about one game. They must get greedy. They must show fight or tonight, they could be attending their own funeral.
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