Let's get the game notes out of the way from tonight's Dallas-Golden State playoff game:

  • Phoenix + Defense = Golden State at their best
  • Richardson has a block in the first quarter that reminded me that this Warriors team  can play some defense.
  • Josh Howard had an assist early in the first quarter.  As someone who owned Howard on my fantasy team - great player by the way - I can assure you that will probably not happen again.
  • Because the entire Warrior lineup can and will shoot a three (and hit), they spread out the Mavs' defense.  I mean, we know about Davis and Richardson, but Stephen Jackson has hit some early threes, and Harrington can shoot them, too.  That really forces the Mavs to go out to the arc, and allows for the smaller Warriors to fight for rebounds, and get into the paint.
  • Speaking of Jackson, he has 10 points early.  Monta Ellis has the other 13 points.  The Warriors are winning 23-18.
  • Super action by the Warriors on rebounds... even when they don't get them, they keep swiping at them.  At least three times in the first half the Warriors forced the Mavs into losing a rebound out of bounds because of their tenacity.
  • Thanks to 12 fast break points, the Warriors are winning 30-28 after one.  We feel pretty good about this game.
  • A big block by Barnes at the end of the second leads to a layup that makes the score at halftime Dallas 54, Warriors 52.

And now let's get into the second half.  Basically the Mavs were able to get turnovers, mostly because the refs decided it would legalize fouling on the Warriors.  Golden State then got "sloppy", and the end result was 33 points in the quarter for the Mavs. 

There was a little beefing between Matt Barnes and Jason Terry, which led to technical fouls on Terry and... Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson.  Explanations, anyone?   The technical makes it 69-60 Mavs, and ends an 11-0 run that put the Mavs into the lead for good.

Baron Davis got tossed near the end of the third quarter.  The message: "F*ck you, Dallas.  You didn't beat us tonight, the refs did!"  Stephen Jackson would later get tossed in the fourth for the same purpose.

So, the question is "Did the refs beat the Warriors, or was it really the Mavs?"  Honestly, I hate to blame the refs, it's so cliche and cheap, but... this was a close game the Mavericks were barely winning at the half.  In the second half, all of a sudden, the Mavs were able to play amazing defense (like they are known for their defense) and create all kinds of turnovers against a smaller team (that's contradictory to what one would normally expect)?  I don't know, it seemed like the Warriors were getting called for any contact foul against the Mavs (all legit, for the most part), but the Mavs were getting away with being very aggressive defensively on a better ballhandling team.  Seemed odd to me. 

But we don't want to rely too much on blaming the refs here.  The bottom line is that the NBA has an exciting series on its hands, and the next stop is Oakland for game three.  Let's see how it goes down in front of the Warriors crowd.

We still really like the Warriors in this series.  To this point, the Mavs can't adjust to the smaller team.  We all know the way to beat a smaller team in basketball - you post them up on offense, use your size to your advantage, and outrebound and oublock them.  Dallas can't do that.  They don't have a post up game (we noted this a long time ago that the Mavs are a pure jump-shooting team who gets the fewest "near" points of any NBA team - which is one reason we don't believe in them), they can't block the small Warriors because they are too fast, and they can't out rebound them, either.  Like we said, in the first half the Warriors were getting to every loose rebound, and being so active they were causing the Mavs to lose rebounds out of bounds.

For all these reasons, we are sticking to the belief that the Warriors will pull off the upset.

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[April 26, 2007 10:25 AM]  |  link  |  reply
TheLastPoet said

Yo SML, what up, holmes?

I was wondering how you'd respond to game 2, given your bold prediction for this series!

I'm kinda feelin you, I guess. Oaktown tryna convince the Mavs (and themselves) that only the refs can beat 'em. One reason why I can agree with this perspective has to do, actually, with my take on the Nuggs-Spurs series. In that one, San Antone is allowed to use their spurs like lil ninja throwing darts, impaling the Nuggs with regularity and impunity (how does AI not go to the line at all during the game?). In this series, however, Oaktown isn't given the same kind of respect that the refs routinely give to teams like San Antone and Du-tois.

Some might say that Oaktown hasn't earned the respect of those other teams, but damn that! It's the playoffs. Everyone starts out 0-0. I say let them play!

[April 26, 2007 11:08 AM]  |  link  |  reply
stopmikelupica said

The Last Poet! Always an honor.

Yeah, I'm not going to place all the blame on the refs, that would be cheap. But for the Warriors to win, they have to keep their confidence. And I think they feel they got robbed, which makes for a good chip on the shoulder to take with them back to Oakland.

The Spurs thing is interesting. I agree that AI and the Nuggets aren't getting their usual respect (aside from Melo) - AI didn't get a single FTA?!? But, then again, the Spurs were held to only 10 FTAs in the first game, so it seems like in the two games the refs have just let them play, and the Spurs adjusted to that in the second game. But I didn't see that second game yesterday, so that's why I didn't comment on it.

The Mavs, on the other hand - 43 FTA? Outstealing the smaller, quicker Warriors 14-7? And all that was mostly second half action, too. The Mavs were 12-16 on FTs in the 1st half; in the 3rd quarter alone they took another 16 FTA. The Mavs' aggressive defense got them 2 blocks and 4 steals that quarter, whereas the Warriors aggressive defense got them a sh*tload of fouls.

I don't think the Mavs stepped up, I think they were bailed out. Let's see what happens in Oaktown.

[April 26, 2007 1:50 PM]  |  link  |  reply
TheLastPoet said

The honor is mine, home boy.

Yes, I happen to think that these two series, Oak-Mavs and Nuggs-Santone, are the most intriguing of the playoffs - mostly because the "underdogs" pulled the game 1 upsets, but for other reasons, too. (Heat-Chi is intriguing, but only in the "rubbernecking at a trainwreck" sort of way, poor Heat are cooked and don't even know it. Same thing for Lakes-Suns, only difference is the Lakes know their cooked. And the only thing Nets-Raps is good for is to remind us all, as if a reminder was needed, that our friendly neighbors north of the border do not know how to properly hate anyone!)

So I'm right there witcha, sun. I'm an AI fan, as you may know, so naturally I'm pulling for the Nuggs, but I hope both Nuggs and Oaks pull the upsets. Like you, I won't totally blame things on the refs. I think both Baron and Jax deserved their ejections, for example. And in the other game, AI and crew simply missed a lot of open looks (the Cambyman even missed a dunk, and at a crucial time!). But it also seems true that, for Oaktown, they need to maintain that mental edge in terms of confidence (and they were walking a fine line last night). And for the Nuggs, they need to be given the same respect defensively as Santone, Detroit, and Big D.

On a broader note, I check in regularly over here, as I told you once before, although I don't comment. I'm not into baseball, but I have enjoyed your Knicks coverage a lot. You and me (and precious few others) are true fans. None of this whiny ass, fire everybody bullshid. Well, outside of Larry Brown, that is, because, yeah, he had to go.

Keep they heads ringin, my man! (Yeah, I know. But ain't nothing wrong with a lil ol school west coast flavor from time to time!)

I'll check for ya again after Oak-Mavs game 3 tomorrow night.

[April 26, 2007 2:22 PM]  |  link  |  reply
stopmikelupica said

Thanks LastPoet. I'm always impressed by the quality of your comments out there in the internets - you always come correct! Plus you are a true NYC head, so that's extra love.

I'm gonna try and check in on the Nuggets-Spurs more; if it was against any other team, I would be riding the Nuggets, but I respect Duncan (still underrated - how is he not a legit candidate for MVP?), and Manu, despite his flopping, still holds a spot for me, thanks to his 2004 Olympic glory. I still work my Manu national jersey once in a while, even if makes me look foolish.

But AI, Melo, and Camby are all that there is to like about basketball - superior athletes, great decision making, always in the right spot, lots of hustle and effort. If they win I'll be just as happy.

I think both Baron and Jax deserved their ejections

I agree. In fact, both of them went out of their way to get them - Baron didn't try to tone it down, he just kept clapping and was waiting for that 2nd technical. Again, I think they would rather get tossed and leave the Mavs believing that they were handed the game.

And like a commentator over at FreeDarko said, "they must just have been sitting in the locker room and planning what kind of heat they'll bring in Oakland". That makes game three even more exciting.

Keep their heads ringing. It's Dre. The man brought us NWA, Deep Cover, The Chronic, and much more. Can't hate for referencing him! And, for the record, that song (off some soundtrack) is on my i-Pod. No shame, I'll take the heat for all the "embarrassing" stuff on my i-Pod, just like I'll take the heat for unbashed support of Manu simply because he won a gold medal....

[April 26, 2007 6:31 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Barnesgasm said

This bandwagon is big enough for TWO New York sports websites!

Spring Training 08

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