Still stinging a bit from last night, especially because we just gave it away. Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie highlights the key possession of the final minutes: “To me, the key was one final sequence that saw Pierce nail a spinning turnaround jumper at one end, followed by Dirk Nowitzki given the opportunity to hit nearly the same jumper at the top of the key on Dallas’ next possession. Problem was, Dirk didn’t release. He pump-faked, his elbow caught Pierce, and whether or not you agree with the foul, the issue is the shot wasn’t going in. Should have taken the shot. Should have followed Pierce’s lead.Dirk, who the Celtics coveted in the 1998 Draft (they had to settle for the Truth), finished with 37 points, but on a limited team even playing at home, you have to play nearly perfect in order to beat the champs…Not going to rip on Dallas, though. They lost to a better team, even given the better team’s mitigating circumstances.”
Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News on the Mavs potential trade plans: “If the Mavericks do anything between now and the deadline, look for it to be for depth, with an emphasis on ballhandling or shooting. The Mavericks have positioned themselves solidly in the Western Conference and have learned how to play well with each other. Those are qualities that should not be taken lightly, because they’re not always easy to come by.”
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus, and that’s probably why I was completely caught off-guard by his choices for the Sixth Man Award. Terry seems automatic in my mind, but Pelton has him at 3rd behind Manu Ginobili and Andrei Kirilenko. Also, Pelton snubs Dirk from the All-NBA teams, but somehow includes Devin Harris, Jameer Nelson, Chris Bosh, and Danny Granger. (Position does play a part, but Pelton lists Kobe Bryant as a forward in order to put Chris Paul, Kobe, and Dwyane Wade on the first team. All three of those players are deserving, but is that reason enough to essentially give Dirk’s spot to the likes of Jameer Nelson?)
Eddie Sefko, with a quote that you would have never heard from Avery Johnson: “‘I told the players they fought their hearts out and really deserved to win,’ coach Rick Carlisle said. ‘I’m going to take the blame for this. When you sit in this chair, there are times you have to be man enough to say you blew it.’” Mike Fisher has a slightly more colorful quote.
This Jason Kidd discussion got me thinking: what would Mavs fans think of a swap of Jason Kidd for Steve Nash? Nash still has plenty of support in Dallas and his sudden deterioration seems more a product of a defeated spirit and incompatible system than a physical breakdown. The salaries make this trade almost impossible, so this slightly lopsided monstrosity was the best I could do. Supposing Phoenix goes into salary-clearing mode, I think they could do worse.