Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wednesday Recap (May 24)

SUNS/MAVS (Game 1): Suns 121-Mavs 118

- The Mavs really blew that one. They had the game under wraps late, and all they needed was to make smart decisions, and they could not. They made a couple of unforced errors, did not get into good sets offensively, and let the Suns get good looks from deep late, after doing a great job defending the 3 all game. But what I think ultimately made the difference in this game was Dallas's inability to get back in transition--Suns had 32 fast break points.

- I bet the most common phrase that Avery is saying in practice today is: "We have to sprint back on defense after a make or miss!" (Make sure you say it imitating Avery's voice). I imagined he beat it into the Mavs' head before Game 1, but it did not seem to take. Dallas seemed perplexed that the Suns were flying by them, especially after some made baskets. Obviously when playing the Suns, cutting down fast break points is one of the main keys, besides discouraging 3pts.,--the Suns live on easy points. The Spurs did a great job of getting back in transition last year in the Conf. Finals throughout the series. Well, the Mavs did get at least 1 out of 2 of those big keys right--they did a wonderful job of getting the Suns off of the 3pt. line. When the Suns only attempt 15 shots, you're usually in great shape. Granted, this defensive strategy led to more easy shots inside the arc--the Suns had 72 points/paint--but as I've said before, I think you live with this and Avery should definitely stick with it. Some people seemed to think that Dallas did a poor job defensively cause they allowed the Suns to shoot 55.3%, but I thought they played the Suns pretty smart in the half-court, although they could have probably done a slightly better job cutting down the Suns' pts/paint. It was the transition points that killed the Mavs.

- I thought the best player for the Mavs last night was Devin Harris, and wasn't just cause he was the Mavs' leading scorer--it was because he was the one Mav who continuely attacked the basket. The Suns were letting a lay-up line happen anytime the Mavs even entered the paint (Mavs had 74 pts/paint), but I still thought the Mavs settled for too many jumpers. For me, you can not attack the interior enough vs. the Suns. I did not see enough post-ups for Dirk--if he wants consideration for MVP, he needs to get his rear down low more, especially in this series. What was Stackhouse doing settling for all these jumpers as well? Granted, he had 16 points, Stack is one of the best guys in the league at getting to the free throw line cause of his slashing--he was 1/1 from the line. His eyes should light up when playing a team like the Suns, who were giving up easy lay-ups all game. Maybe Avery does need to go to Damp even more--Damp shot 3/4--because if he's not using his size offensively, he's just a liability vs. the Suns.

- The Suns put up zero resistance defensively as usual, especially in the interior, but they lucked out by the Mavs not taking enough advantage of this. Nash had a super game, with some huge plays late in the game--he ended with 27 pts. & 16 assts. Diaw came thru big for the Suns as well, with a big shot and 34 points & 4 off. boards. Even though the Suns got outrebounded by 10 overall, they did a good job on their offensive boards--12 to 18 for the Mavs.