Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on April 29, 2011 under xOther | 2 Comments to Read

Kevin Pelton, Basketball Prospectus: “That said, I’m open to the criticism that I’ve spent too much time talking about the Blazers’ offense in this series and not enough on their defense. Scroll back up and check out the offensive ratings in this game, both well over 120. That should be more than good enough for Portland to win at home. Why wasn’t it? In addition to the hot shooting of Nowitzki and Terry, the two key factors were the Mavericks’ offensive rebounding (12 second chances in 38 attempts) and their excellent turnover rate (nine in the game, but just three during the first three quarters). Both Zach Lowe of the Point Forward and Benjamin Golliver of Eye on Sports have noted recently that the Blazers were unable to force turnovers in this series the same way they did during the regular season, especially after dealing for Wallace. Not only did that mean fewer empty trips for Dallas, it kept Portland from getting easy opportunities in transition.”

Ben Golliver, Eye on Basketball: “His team was favored heading into the series so Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle isn’t likely to be showered in praise. He should be, though, as his team made all the necessary adjustments as this series unfolded. The Mavericks eliminated easys buckets for LaMarcus Aldridge, forced the Blazers to hit three-pointers, limited their turnovers and remembered to run their offense late. He threw wrinkles at the Blazers by mixing up his defensive assignments and was able to get production from his bench even though J.J. Barea had a forgettable series and Terry was a bit up and down. Most of all, he kept things together after a giant momentum swing following Portland’s dramatic come-from-behind Game 4 win. A much bigger test awaits in Los Angeles, but he aced this one.”

Dave, Blazersedge: “The reality of this series was that Portland always occupied the back seat while Dallas drove.  The Blazers came in as a 6th seed with 48 wins.  They played like a 6th seed with 48 wins.  If there’s a critique to be offered it’s that, aside from 13 magical minutes in one of the most improbable finishes in league history, they couldn’t rise above themselves.  Portland lost on the road against good teams during the regular season.  They did in the playoffs too.  Portland went through offensive dry spells in the regular season. Ditto here.  Portland had trouble handling the pick and roll during the regular season, also in the playoffs.  If anything, Portland appeared to play much of the last two weeks as if the games were a series of regular season matchups.  Dallas, on the other hand, brought intensity, fire, timing, and extra guts to go along with their skill.  The result?  Portland’s normal advantages barely applied whereas Dallas excelled at theirs.”

Brad Townsenend, Dallas Morning News: “Jason Terry , to put it nicely, is not known for his defense. What he mostly does for the Mavericks is score. He scored 22 points off the bench in Game 6, including several key fourth-quarter jumpers. But afterward, in a happy and relieved Mavericks locker room, Terry wanted to talk about the part of his game that’s usually best unmentioned. ‘Defensively, this was probably my best series since I’ve been a Maverick,’ Terry said. What was the difference? Terry cited coach Rick Carlisle’s, shall we say, encouragement. ‘Coach has been challenging me,’ Terry said. ‘Telling me, ‘Regardless of what happens offensively, defensively we need you, out, alert, really taking ownership in your matchup.’…They gave me a big assignment in guarding Brandon Roy three of the five games. I thought I held my own.’”

Jeff Caplan, ESPN Dallas: Jet wouldn’t be Jet without a little drama. So, with 2:55 to go and the Portland Trail Blazers trailing just 91-87 in an eerily similar comeback march as the Game 4 debacle, Jason Terry took an inbounds pass near midcourt and promptly dribbled the ball off his hip and into the backcourt for a violation. Eyes rolled incredulously. ‘I’m just thinking about tackling him,’ Mavs center Tyson Chandler said. ‘That’s my boy, though. You know I love him to death. He came down the stretch for us though. He’s the type of player that can make a mistake like that and for some reason or another it gets him fired up.’…Remarkably, Terry committed a near-identical turnover with the score the same and 46.2 seconds to go. This time Wallace missed a 3-pointer, and again the turnover didn’t come back to bite him. ‘It was unbelievable,’ Terry said of his late gaffes. ‘Hey, that’s part of adversity. In years past maybe we lose the game because of that turnover.’”

Ben Golliver, CBS Sports: “Terry finished with 22 points after a slow start, shooting 6-for-8 in the second half. Nowitzki had a game-high 33 points, scoring 14 fourth quarter points on an array of off-balance leaners. As he has done multiple times in the series, Nowitzki also iced the game with eight straight free throws. ‘Their two go-to guys, they did what they were supposed to do for their team,’ Blazers forward Gerald Wallace, who led Portland with 32 points and 12 rebounds, said. ‘Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki, every time they needed a basket those guys found a way to get them a basket. Dirk made some tough shots, some fadeaways … Jason Terry kind of picked us apart.’”

Brian Hendrickson, SI.com: “While the series had its dramatic moments, it never got as tight as the matchups suggested it would be. Dallas outperformed Portland at virtually every position, getting multiple memorable performances that kept them thoroughly in control all series. Dirk Nowitzki played like an MVP, Jason Kidd single-handedly won a game, Jason Terry outperformed Portland’s entire bench and Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood set a physical tone inside that the Blazers couldn’t match. Dallas had players come up with heroic performances each night, while Portland — outside of a magical Game 4 from Brandon Roy and a terrific closing performance by Gerald Wallace — mustered many good performances, but never competed at the level it seemed capable of reaching coming into the series.”

  • Mike Lane

    Last night's Blazers-Mavericks game was an offensive joke and embarassing. When the Blazer second team had the ball. it was alwas two Blazers attempting to score, and three TALL blazers over the other side BEHIND a Maverick just watching the game. They were even running back (on defense?) when the ball left one of the two Blazers working hard shot it. No one on the second team charged the boards. Coach you need to have a real good sit down with your coaches and management and remedy this type of play. Mike, Blazers Fan

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