Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mavs 112, Warriors 99 (Game 2)

- For about the 1st 30 mins of the game, the impossible idea of GS stealing this series was starting to become a realistic possiblity. It seemed like the Mavs & Dallas crowd were beginning to realize this in the 3rd quarter while the Warriors would not go away. The Mavs were starting to pull away slowly in later stages of the 3rd, then Baron got tossed and the Warriors began to fall apart the rest of the game.

- I'm sure some people will point to the fact that Avery went back to his normal lineup as the reason for the win, but that is an easy, simplistic conclusion. I thought the controversy over the lineup change was overrated at the time. That really was not the issue, it was that the Mavs' offense executed poorly in Game 1, especially Howard missing easy shots, Stackhouse not scring at all, & Dirk had no sense of urgency. The Mavs' poor showing had very little to do with that Damp & Diop played sparingly, it had more to do with the big offensive guns not showing up or simply missing shots more than usual.

-The first place the Mavs' bigger lineup should make a difference is on the boards, but the they were roughly the same on the boards as Game 1 (+5 in Game 1, +7 tonite), and their offensive rebounding was actually better in Game 1 (38%) than in Game 2 (31.5%). The other area where Damp & Diop should make a difference is defensively. But the Warriors actually shot the ball better than in Game 1, although they were cold from 3pt. Again, the lineup change was overrated, the Mavs should be able to handle the Warriors even if they go with Dirk at center.

-The real reason the Mavs were successful tonite was the same guys who played in the downsized lineup in Game 1 just executed/ shot the ball better tonite. They also finished near the rim much better. Josh Howard was 8/13 tonite as opposed to 8/21 in Game 1. Howard had a great overall game as well, was all over the floor on defense--Josh ended with 22, 11 rebs, 3 assts, 5 stls, & 2 blks. JTerry was banging jumpers from everywhere besides the 3pt line (1/7), he finished with 28 pts on 12/23. Stack went from 0 pts in Game 1 to 17, 8 rebs, 4 asst & 11/13 from the FTline. These 4 main guys shot a combined 30/60 after shooting a combined 18/52 in Game 1.

- The Mavs were also obviously helped by Dirk's return to normal--23 pts on 7/15--and got to the line 11 times which is about right. But even with this nice production, I just did not feel satisfied with Dirk's game. To me, he needs to get his rear down on the block much more in this series. I understand that the Warriors will look to double him some, but the Mavs can work off those doubles. Send cutters down the lane because the Warriors have no deterrent in lane when Biedrins is out.

- Warriors can't afford to turn the ball over that much (24) vs. a team as superior as the Mavs. I also don't think they can be succesful only hitting 4/20 from 3pt. The 3pt. is so vital to the Warriors' attack because they need the extra point per possession to up the point total since their defense & rebounding will always be at a disadvantage. Although the Warriors did another admirable job not totally getting mauled on the boards in Game 2, actually doing a somewhat better job on their defensive boards.

- Steve Jackson was an offensive juggernaut that the Mavs had no answer for. Steve Jackson was chucking up shots without much discretion but they finding their mark--30 pts on 9/16, 3/7 from 3pt. But maybe the most memorable part of Jackson's Game 2 performance was during the 2nd half scuffle. The funny part was Jackson was on the other side of the floor with his back turned toward the bench when the pushing began. Then he turned around & in a split second said to himself, "Wait, there is a skirmish and I'm not in the middle of it? Well, I have to rectify this situation.". Then he promptly sprinted over and placed himself right into the frontline of the fray, picking up a tech in the process. After that moment, Jackson's "unstable" knob in his brain was now pinned in the red area. So after Baron got tossed, I had a strong feeling Jackson wouldn't be far behind & would try to top Baron's ejection. Surely enough, a few minutes later he gets tossed and not surprisingly can't leave the floor peacefully like Baron did. You really have to feel for recently fired Rick Carlisle considering he had to deal with Jackson & Artest at the same time--those two guys had a big hand in ruining two promising seasons of Pacer bball. Let's say I won't be surprised if Steve has another incident in this series.

- The Warriors defense came back to reality in Game 2 (Dall shot 47.3%). I expect this to be the case the rest of the series, so G.S. is going to have to rev up their offense to their usual proportions; the Warriors have not hit 100 in 2 games, and it's imperative they get above that if they want any chance. Also, Harrington has to shake out of his funk. Warriors really need his offense & outside shooting from the 5 spot, especially since Avery is going to play Diop & Damp more. They need Harrington to take the Mavs' bigs away from the painted area, so all their weapons can go one-on-one easier.


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