Not Yet April

Posted by Rob Mahoney on March 19, 2012 under xOther | 3 Comments to Read

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A classic Vince Carter photo via Andy Gray of Sports Illustrated’s Vault.

The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 82, Philadelphia 76ers 75

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 18, 2012 under xOther | 5 Comments to Read

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Box Score Play-by-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FTRORRTOR
Dallas93.088.241.433.323.914.4
Philadelphia80.634.318.624.57.9

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • Only today, not so much. Forgive the lack of a proper recap treatment; business as usual will resume Sunday night/Monday. In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves: What did you think of Dirk Nowitzki’s jaw-dropping, second-half performance? How is it even possible that — even when accounting for the Sixers’ amazingly low turnover rate — Philadelphia turned the ball over six times in one quarter, yet only ended up with eight giveaways for the night? Why did the basket have a secret vendetta against Shawn Marion? And are we ready to start up the Dominique Jones hype machine

The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 97, Portland Trail Blazers 94

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 12, 2012 under xOther | Read the First Comment

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Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot Chart – Game Flow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FTRORRTOR
Dallas105.092.450.022.622.719.9
Portland89.538.719.620.312.5

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • There are games so good they’re worthy of extra minutes, and then there was the painful war of attrition between the Mavs and Blazers on this particular Saturday night. Dallas typically pens a loving letter to the game of basketball with each perfectly executed late-game possession, but the final touches of this particular victory were predicated on seeing how many jumpers Raymond Felton (nine points, 4-17 FG, three turnovers) could be tricked into taking and how many tough, pull-up jumpers Delonte West (10 points, 5-11 FG, four assists, four steals, three turnovers) could convert in a row. That ended up working out just fine, but not before both teams missed and fumbled and effectively blew possession after possession. This wasn’t at all an unwatchable game (the Mavs’ first-half offense was actually quite productive, and the Blazers’ pressure D in the second-half kept things pretty interesting), but neither team played well, and the ticking clock turned the entire affair into a pressure cooker. Dallas ultimately ended up managing the chaos a bit better than Portland did, but I have a hard time saying that the Mavs really played significantly better basketball than their opponents.

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To Better Men and Better Basketball Players

Posted by Rob Mahoney on December 31, 2011 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

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“It’s humbling. It’s a humbling game. It’s a humbling experience. Life is the same way. You can win the jackpot, and then lose somebody close to you. Basketball is life. I’ll continue to live, be a better man, and be a better basketball player as well.”
-Lamar Odom, being Lamar Odom

Happy New Year, everybody. Live and be better in 2012.

Champions at Long Last

Posted by Rob Mahoney on November 2, 2011 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

Now that we’re crossing off days and games from the formerly official NBA schedule, lockout remorse becomes a bit more concrete. Gone is the sense of dread, but in its place, one of actual loss.

With that in mind, Jesse Blanchard of 48 Minutes of Hell added some levity. Last night would have marked the Mavericks’ first ever ring ceremony and the illustrious raising of a championship banner…but apparently Mark Cuban had to settle for a smaller, more private ceremony:

Glowing Reviews

Posted by Rob Mahoney on August 8, 2011 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

NBA TV’s a bit light on programming these days, but if they’re looking to fill time slots deep into the lockout, they should seriously consider launching/re-launching a movie review spectacular featuring co-hosts Popeye Jones and Tony Dumas:

Gosh darn it if you don’t find Popeye’s optimistic ratings endearing.

Other classic reviews from these two: Apollo 13, Batman Forever, Clueless, Hoop Dreams, Old Yeller (spoiler alert much, Pop?), Dumb and Dumber, and — for some reason — In the Zone for the original Playstation.

Well Done

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

There are a lot of reasons to be proud of this team and its owner right now, but nothing even comes close to this.

Reflections of a Champion

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 17, 2011 under Previews, xOther | 7 Comments to Read

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Apropos of nothing, here are four vignettes of your NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks, some borrowed (and modified), some original. They may or may not have anything to do with basketball.

X: THE END

It’s hard to think three moves ahead as the entire planet collapses, but against a landscape of fire and brimstone, Rick plotted. He had never been the best, but he was always very good, and very much committed to his craft. He didn’t play chess. He was a chess player. The difference is even more profound than it would be with many other hobbies or occupations, if only because Rick’s endless obsession with the game within the game within the game within the game had made chess anything but a game.

He was not alone in that obsession; Rick wasn’t the only chess player. But he was always very good, and very much committed to his craft.

That commitment never wavered, but his relative status eventually did. Rick had honed his chess playing with careful study, long hours, and perfect practice. And then, as can occasionally be the case in all things, he went on a run. Every pawn he touched turned to a knight, as his already impressive army somehow transformed into an embarrassment of versatile riches. Sometimes a man can do no wrong, and for whatever reason — some cosmic return on all of his hard work, or maybe just flat-out luck — Rick’s sometimes came at a moment most opportune. He was the best, last; no matter how he might stack up to the great strategists of his time or all times, Rick had the talent and fortune to be the best chess player on the planet as Earth’s countdown neared zero.

E6. Portland crumbled under the weight of pounds upon pounds of volcanic lava. Bb4. The entire state of California drifted into the ocean. Bc5. The American Heartland was ripped to shreds. Qh4. Florida sank.

Qxf2.

This is the way the world ends: not with a bang, but a checkmate.

[Mahoney]

———-

11: INDUSTRY

Bee, my bee,
Your day and night
And your patience-industry
Have no respite.
Hard you endeavour
To bring the ball
To the hoop amidst the trees.
You always don
The robe of fruitful victory.

[Chinmoy]

———-

41: THE WINNING JOKE

It was his. After what seemed like an eternity, it was finally his. Dirk Nowitzki clutched the Larry O’Brien trophy in his hands. And against his chest. And rested it against his forehead. The cool metal offered relief to a weary warrior, though no more than simply holding that image of ultimate accomplishment ever could.

Dwyane Wade had put on a hell of a show, but it didn’t matter. This was Nowitzki’s day, and Nowitzki’s trophy. Doubt was no longer relevant; all of the trials and incredible comebacks were simply dramatic points leading up to the Finals’ ultimate conclusion. Nowitzki and the Mavs were NBA champions, even if they were crowned on the strength of a number of improbable victories. The Mavericks weren’t dominant, but they managed to stay alive. They milked their playoff lives for all they were worth, and took advantage of every point and every second and every step.

It was his. It was his champagne; Nowitzki didn’t drink during the season, but the taste of victory would dance on his tongue. It was his parade; the city of Dallas would scream his name as he floated by in exaltation. It was his moment; the criticism of his game wasn’t quite as intense as it had been earlier in his career, but there was nonetheless a satisfaction in silencing the endless questioning. It was his off-season in triumph; he was due an endless line of photo ops and high fives, and his phone would explode with texts from old friends. It was his trip to the White House; he and his teammates would head to D.C. to — fittingly — meet with a Texan president. It was his dream fulfilled; after all of these years, Dirk –

– found happiness…if only until he once again found consciousness. Nowitzki lay in bed, his eyes dried by the restless, blinkless hours. He wasn’t possessed by lost possessions, but driven to the very brink by the prize he had lost. Those summer months weren’t merely depressing, but tormented; Nowitzki lost himself in those sleepless nights, and lost what had tethered him to the world outside. All he had were the shadows on the cave walls of his mind, those visions of a remarkable victory, those false images of a title that was his. Nowitzki’s head was cocked to the side every so slightly, as he held the same twitching smile for hours upon end. He laughed. Slightly at first but then almost maniacally, as the little moisture left in those tortured eyes welled and then fell.

2011 couldn’t come fast enough.

[Mahoney]

———-

2.31: A CLEAN, WELL LIGHTED PLACE

“No,” the player who was in a hurry said, rising from pulling down the metal shutters. He adjusted his headband, his armband, his six pairs of layered socks. “I have confidence. I am all confidence.”

“You have youth, confidence, and a job,” the older player said. “You have everything.”

“And what do you lack?”

“Everything but work.”

“You have everything I have.”

“No. I have never had confidence and I am not young.”

“Come on. Stop talking nonsense and lock up.”

“I am of those who like to stay late at the gym,” the older player said. “With all those who do not want to go to bed. With all those who need a light for the night.”

“I want to go home and into bed.”

“We are of two different kinds,” the older player said. He was now dressed to go home. “It is not only a question of youth and confidence although those things are very beautiful. Each night I am reluctant to close up because there may be some one who needs the gym.”

“Hombre, there are bodegas open all night long.”

“You do not understand. This is a clean and pleasant court. It is well lighted. The light is very good and also, now, there are shadows of the leaves.”

“Good night,” said the younger player.

“Good night,” the other said. Turning off the electric light he continued the conversation with himself, It was the light of course but it is necessary that the place be clean and pleasant. You do not want music. Certainly you do not want music. What did he fear? It was not a fear or dread, It was a nothing that he knew too well. It was all nothing and a man was a nothing too. It was only that and light was all it needed and a certain cleanness and order. Some lived in it and never felt it but he knew it all was nada y pues nada y nada y pues nada. Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name thy kingdom nada thy will be nada in nada as it is in nada…

He smiled and stood at the free throw line.

“What are you working on?” asked a different player shooting at a different basket in a different gym than before.

“Nada.”

“Otro loco mas,” said the player and turned away.

“Just a few more shots,” said the old player.

He took them.

“The light is very bright and pleasant but the floor is unpolished,” the old player said.

The other player looked at him but did not answer. It was too late at night for conversation.

“You gonna hang around?” the player asked.

“No, thank you,” said the old player and went out. He disliked gyms such as those. A clean, well-lighted court was a very different thing. Now, without thinking further, he would go home to his room. He would lie in the bed and finally, with daylight, he would go to sleep. After all, he said to himself, it’s probably only insomnia. Many must have it.

[Hemingway]

Print is Dead, Long Live Print

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 14, 2011 under xOther | 9 Comments to Read

Following the Dallas Mavericks has been an insane ride over these last few weeks, and really, over this entire season. Maybe I’m just a loon swayed too easily by the validation of a title, but I see narrative intrigue in Dallas’ regular season that most of us had a hard time discerning as the events unfolded in real time. There’s a story there. There are likable characters, an interesting plot line, and for those on this side of the tracks, a happily ever after in which legacies were re-written and all of that rigmarole.

But I’m thrilled to announce that although many will surely attempt to capture that story in print, one of the many will be yours truly:

MavericksStampede_300Final

You can now purchase my first book, a retrospective look at the Mavericks’ incredible run through the regular season, the playoffs, and those amazing NBA Finals. It’s admittedly not a heavy read; there’s a lot of beautiful, glossy photo work filling the pages, pairing my imagery with, y’know, actual images. But it’s still a journey well with your time, and I hope, your hard-earned dollar. The book should be coming into Barnes and Noble and other select stores by week’s end, particularly for those in the Dallas area. Otherwise, consider buying the book online and reliving Dallas’ run from start to glorious finish.

UPDATE: You can also purchase the book through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, both of which should help out international buyers who hit snags with Triumph’s shipping options.

Reach

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 13, 2011 under xOther | 4 Comments to Read

Dirk Nowitzki will never hear the end of the question. In the ensuing days, weeks, months, and even years, he’ll be posed the same inquiry over and over, so many times that his answer will grow repetitive but never robotic. The very thought will always invoke the same emotion he felt on this night, this perfect June evening in Miami, when the work and the effort and the torment and the perseverance all manifested itself into something undeniably beautiful.

“Dirk, what does it feel like to finally win an NBA title?

Over at ProBasketballTalk, I wrote a piece on Dirk’s moment, and the empathy of sports fans.

Apologies for how barren this space has been today — that will be remedied soon. The Mavs deserve better, but there’s a decent reason for the silence, I assure you. Stay frosty.