What, Is There a Game Tonight or Something?

Posted by Rob Mahoney on April 15, 2009 under Commentary | 6 Comments to Read

You know the story by now: based on the outcomes of the Dallas-Houston, San Antonio-New Orleans, and Denver-Portland games tonight, the Mavs could be seeded anywhere from 6 to Z and will be playing either the Rockets, the Spurs, or the Nuggets.

Who do you guys want to see in the first round?  Against any of those three opponents the Mavs would almost certainly be underdogs, but at least they’re not the Lakers.

I’m not afraid of Denver necessarily, if for no other reason than a twisted psychological justification of this paper tiger vibe I’ve gotten from the Nugs all season.  Maybe somewhere, in my heart of hearts, I think Carmelo may be cursed.  Or maybe I just don’t like Kenyon Martin.  The Nuggets are drawing plenty of attention as a dark horse, but inexplicably, my gut says otherwise.  Chauncey Billups has turned the team around, Carmelo Anthony is a phenomenal scorer, and Nene has ben incredible this season, but something about that team doesn’t sit right with me.

Houston, on the other hand, is a bit frightening.  I’m not sure that anyone on the planet wants to play against Ron Artest for a playoff series, much less Artest with the likes of Shane Battier by his side and Yao Ming on his back.  They have all the pieces to dominate almost every Mav defensively, even if it does mean matching the merely average defender Luis Scola on Dirk.  It’s not that the Mavs can’t beat the Rockets, because they can.  I’m just not too sure they would.  Yao’s too tough of a cover for Damp, Jason Terry and Josh Howard could be smothered on the wings, and essentially the Mavs would be hinged on Dirk going hogwild.  He’s fully capable, but could he do it four times out of seven?

San Antonio, for me, is where the intrigue lies.  They’re a good team, but a wounded one.  On top of that, as I’ve said time and time again, the Mavs were built to beat the Spurs.  Dirk, Josh, and JET pose a lot of problems for the Spurs’ defense, and if Tony Parker’s penetration is halted in the slightest, the Mavs have a good shot.

Regardless, the Mavs have a shot at a series, which is more than we could have said if they were locked in 8th.  I’d prefer to steer clear of the Rox, but come what may.  Personally, I’m hoping for a Mavs win and a Spurs win tonight, setting up another Mavs-Spurs classic.

So, LET’S GO MAVS.  And, for once and once only, LET’S GO SPURS.

Heard It Through the Abbreviated Grapevine 2-27-09

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 27, 2009 under xOther | 3 Comments to Read

  • The Rockets defense is stupid good.  Ron Artest was already the best perimeter defender in the league, with Shane Battier not far behind.  You combine those two with a shot blocker in Yao Ming and an aggressive defensive gameplan, and you’ve got quite a powerhouse on your hands.  Losing McGrady for the season and Rafer Alston via trade was supposed to hurt the Rockets’ offense, but in the process they may have also ditched their two worst defenders in favor of more minutes for Battier and bullish point guard Kyle Lowry.  (EDIT: But don’t take my word for it.  Read Kevin Arnovitz’s redonkulous breakdown of the Rockets’ defense on LeBron James in last night’s game.)
  • It can’t ever feel good to be traded.  Even though on a lot of levels I’m sure it feels good for a Pau Gasol to go from a team like the Grizz to a team like the Lakers, it’s also a team giving up on you.  Whether you’re the star, a role player, or a bench warmer, the knowledge that the general manager and coaching staff that you trusted does not believe that you can help them win games (even if it’s not the case) has to hit hard.  Antoine Wright reflects on his feelings about his trade to the Mavs a year ago (Eddie Sefko, Dallas Morning News): “‘I felt betrayed a little bit because I wasn’t supposed to be in the trade,’ Wright said Thursday. ‘[The Nets] said ‘Don’t worry about it. Go on vacation.’ Then I’m in Miami [during the All-Star break] and I’m looking at the bottom of the screen and I’m going, ‘Wright? Is that me?’ That was the first I heard of being traded.’ Sure enough, that was Wright’sname crawling along the ticker. ‘That’s when it hit me that I was a throw-in,’ he said.”
  • Part 3 of Dirk’s interview with Five Magazine.
  • Rick Carlisle on Josh Howard, echoing my thoughts in this post yesterday (Eddie Sefko, Dallas Morning News): “His spirits are better. You can just tell the way he’s bouncing around the court. The game’s a lot more fun when you’re not in some kind of pain.”