Monday, May 11, 2009

Givers and Takers

The real culprits responsible for the Mavs' loss to the Nuggets Saturday...

This past weekend in the NBA gave viewers some pretty ugly basketball.

After a great game Friday night by the Lakeshow, the Purple and Gold, the supposedly "most talented" team in the playoffs, got out-hustled, out-muscled, out-rebounded, out-manned, out-balled, out-scored and flat out embarrassed against a team who's best player was just knocked out of the playoffs with a hairline fracture in his foot, who's second best player hasn't been playing since March, and who's third best player shot a putrid 4-19.

The "most talented team" in the playoffs lost by 12 after a "spectacular" fourth quarter from Pau Gasol who scored 18 of his 30 points in what commentator/former coach Jeff Van Gundy called a "meaningless quarter." After Sunday's loss, there is no such thing as Lakers pride. Even the most ardent, hardcore, biased Kobe lover couldn't defend his/her favorite team on anything that went on yesterday (except maybe on Kobe's subpar, but even-keeled game).

Throw in what was almost a game in Hotlanta Saturday (well, until the third) and that makes two awful 3-hour spots of television. This in spite of Lebron's eye-popping 47, 12, and 8 statline.

Then there were the buzzer beaters.

My cousin told me a few weeks ago that the Celtics were completely sunk without KG because they had the worst front court in the playoffs. This was WITH Miami still alive and kicking. I agreed they were sunk, but still thought they had enough to get out of the first round and knew Kendrick Perkins, at least, was waaaaaaaaaay better than all this "worst front court in the playoffs business." As much as I hate the dude for all his scowls and showoff two-handed dunks where he literally gets a foot off the ground, Perkins is averaging 12.5 points and 11.5 boards with nearly 3 blocks on 61 percent shooting. That is the opposite of sucking.

What we did wholeheartedly agree on was that Big Baby Davis sucked. I use "sucked" in the past tense, because the dude that KG made cry has been hot, especially in this series against the Magic, and seemed to put an exclamation point on this fact with his two clutch, Ray Allen-esque 17-footers in the closing seconds of Saturday's game. Talent-wise, he's still by far the worst power forward left in the playoffs, but effort-wise, and production-wise, he's out-playing Lamar Odom and Josh Smith (quite handily too) and for all the talk of how he can't gaurd Rashard Lewis, their statlines are eerily similar. Baby's posting an 18 and 7 with 1.3 steals on 46 percent shooting while Lewis is at 20, 7 and 1.3 on 48 percent shooting. Pretty damn good for a second round draft pick who was labeled as undersized and out-of-shape.

Finally, enough with the whining from Mavs fans about the last non-call in yesterday's game 3 loss. Was it a blown call? Absolutely. Was it the reason you lost? Hell no.

Hey, I’d be pissed for that non-call too. But, as I was watching the game unfold in the final minutes, watching Dirk and then Terry and then Howard all miss free throws, I couldn’t help but think…man, these missed free throws are going to come back and haunt them. If Dirk Nowitzki hits both of his freebies at the 5-minute mark, that would have put the Mavs up by 3 instead of 2. If Jason Terry hits both of his freethrows near the 2-minute mark, that would have put the Mavs up by 5 instead of 4. If Josh Howard makes both of his freebies at the 1:30 mark, that would have put the Mavs up by 4 instead of 3.

Any one of the Mavs three BEST players hits those freebies that the refs were giving to them, and the game either goes into overtime, or the Mavs win. Simple as that. Don’t blame the refs for that last non-call. The refs gave the Mavs plenty of opportunities to the tune of 49 free throws. The Mavs had their chances…three of them…from their three best players, and they all choked.

Ball game. Series.

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