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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