- Just wanted to give a general overview of what I see going wrong for the Mavs in this series. As I have been stressing from the start, the Mavs need to attack the interior of the Warriors defense. Primarily with Dirk setting up closer to the bucket, and secondarily, just by every Mav player making a concerted effort not to settle for jumpers, and attack the painted area.
- We all know Dallas is in trouble in this series, but if they can manage to re-adjust their offense back to reg. season levels they have a legit shot. Sure, Baron has caused major problems, but the misnomer about this series is that the Warriors' offense has been the problem for the Mavs. Really the major story is at the other end of the floor where GS is dictating what happens to the Dallas offense. No one really anticipated this. Most figured if the Warriors were going to have a chance, they would be doing it by scoring 110-115 pts, and the Mavs would have to try & keep up. But the Warriors are winning this series because they have held the Mavs to 35%, 38%, & 43% shooting in the 3 Mavs' losses.
-Basically the Mavs are too jumpshot-centric (something I pointed to last year), and this actually hurts them when they are playing downsized teams like the Suns or Warriors. You're playing right into their hands, almost what those teams want you to do. Where these teams don't want you to go is inside. And Dallas seems to historically play into this. They did this 2 years ago vs the Suns, where the 2 games they won they attacked the interior consistently, while the games they lost they stuck on the outside jacking jumpers. How you really hurt the Suns or the Warriors is you pound them in the interior. Ever wonder why the Spurs always give the Suns problems? The Mavs are just letting the Warriors off the hook by not going inside.
- What makes Dirk so scary is he's a mismatch nightmare. Might be the toughest mismatch in the NBA. You want to guard him with a traditional 6-10 or so PF, he will take him out on the perimeter. If you try to throw a 6-7 wing player on him, he can shoot over the top of him or should work him over in the post; notice I said "should". And this is biggest problem with Dirk & the Mavs: Dirk is not using the mismatch he has in this series. He has a distinct height advantage over the guys that the Warriors are putting on him. This is a team, much like the Suns, where Dirk has to look to punish the opposition closer to the rim. But the major issue is Dirk has always had an aversion to going down low. It just seems he has to be coaxed down there. I don't think Dirk is deadly on the block, but he has enough skills to take advantage of a guy like Steve Jackson. When he & the Mavs needed a must basket last year, he took the 6-7 Bowen to the basket.
- Part of the blame has to go on Avery as well. There is no excuse for the Mavs looking this confused & helpless for 3 of 4 games. Sorry, but I don't care what the Warriors are doing or how much Nellie knows about the Mavs. There is no defense, not even the Rockets, Spurs, or Bulls, that has the ability to make this Mavs' offense look this bad for 3 games. This team had one of the best offenses in the NBA, and you all know about that 67 wins thing. It looks like the Mavs are just telling Dirk to get post-ups when he can or feels like it. Not gonna cut it. Avery has to take the initiative to call "4-down" just like the Spurs do or the Jazz used to with Malone. Make no secret of what's coming. Dirk just has to run right to the block, set up shop & get good, wide post position. And I don't want to hear excuses that that's not Dirk's strength. I've seen him post in the past, and he has to do it in this series. I understand the Warriors will probably send doubles & give Dirk different looks, so Avery has to be prepared & set up plays off of Dirk in the post. Set shooters in open space or send some cutters down the lane.
- Also it would help if the Dallas guards would work a little harder at getting the ball to Dirk the few times he tries to post-up. In Game 4, Dirk did actually look to post a little more, but a few times if the guards could not make the initial overhead post-entry pass from a standstill, they gave up. Now this is a major pet peeve I've had for awhile, and has really come to a head in the playoffs--the lost art of post-entry passing. Entering the ball into the post is really not that hard. It seems nowadays if you can't get the initial pass from a standstill, the post-up play has to be aborted. How bout taking a few dribbles to get a better angle & using a bounce-pass or pivot into a wrap-around-type bounce pass. It's really not that hard, but you be surprised how difficult many NBA perimeter players make this process. This not is just a problem with the Mavs, either.
- We'll see if Avery & his squad can make adjustments on offense tonite. If they allow the Warriors to dictate what happens on that end of the floor again, the biggest upset in NBA playoff history will be complete.