Any chance we could just keep these playoff match-ups? LAL-HOU, PHX-UTA, DEN-POR, DAL-SAS. BOS-CHA, ORL-MIA, CLE-MIL, and ATL-DET. Sounds like a pretty terrific playof to me, with even the bad matchups providing a bit of intrigue.
Rick Carlisle has his sights set squarely on Aaron Brooks (via Earl K. Sneed): “[Brooks] has had a great season up to this point, and so for us, it’s just to make him work on the defensive end and just try to take the ball out of his hands on offense — make him become a play-maker and not some much a guy who can score…[Brooks] is a priority,” Carlisle said. “One of the reasons that he’s so important is because he generates their tempo. He gets them playing fast — which leads to transition buckets, transition threes, chances to drive and get in the paint. It’s just important that we get everybody back and build walls so he can’t be taking runs at us and getting open shots.”
Ken Berger ponders the point of Tracy McGrady’s comeback: “Tracy McGrady returned to the Houston Rockets Tuesday night, and the fans cheered. T-Mac hit a 3-pointer, his only points during an eight-minute stint, and all was right in Rocket Land again. Right? No, not so much. McGrady’s comeback is only part of a larger plan to increase his minutes and prove his worth to a team willing to take a chance on his once-breathtaking ability to score and benefit from his $23 million expiring contract at the same time. The Rockets were 14-10 this season without Yao Ming and McGrady, and now the only question is how long they’ll have to keep up the charade until McGrady is in good enough condition to help another team.”
Head over to this ESPN SportsNation poll for assorted “best of the decade” awards. Not much Mavs rep, but do vote for Mavs-Spurs ’06 as the best playoff series of the decade. At the moment, it’s inexplicably trails the four other nominees.
Jason Terry is a much improved defender this year, in part because that was his point of emphasis in the off-season and in training camp. As open shot attempts have been fewer and farther between for Terry, that defense has kept him on the floor.
Rick Carlisle on JET’s responsibilities in the offense: “They’re double-teaming, both on pick-and-rolls and on pin-downs…When that happens, he’s got to be a facilitator for us and he has to have a level of patience. He’s got to stay aggressive to score when the opportunities are there. But when people commit two to him, he’s got to drag those guys, and then make the pass leading to a bucket.”
Marc Stein has plenty of Mavs content in the Weekend Dime, including a brief Q & A with Erick Dampier, an explanation of why Stein votes Mavs-Spurs as the playoff series of the decade, news that the NBA wants Mavs’ head scout Amadou ‘Gallo’ Fall to help run part of its Basketball Without Borders program, and mention of Mavs’ players in the numbers and the soundbites.
Sham Sports has come up with a nice nickname for the Milwaukee Bucks’ Ersan Ilyasova (who has been having a terrific season, by the way): Turk Nowitzki. (Link via TrueHoop, Bucksketball)
Gerald Narciso of DIME Magazine lists Rick Carlisle as the second best coach in the NBA this season (in terms of exceeding expectations), behind only Mike Woodson.
I have no objection to voicing my opinion, but I don’t like the idea of taking someone else’s work and breaking it down in order to poke holes and criticize. But in the case of Charlie Rosen’s piece on Dirk for FOX Sports, well, I’m just glad Fish got to it before I did, because the temptation may have been overwhelming. Dirk “once ran through a ball game like his pants were on fire, jumped to touch the moon, looked to dunk on every drive and dribbled freely from end-to-end?” Really? Rosen’s column may be the first I’ve ever seen to use “speed” and Dirk Nowitzki in the same sentence.