Really, that game couldn't have gone much better. Erick Dampier plays well and makes you wonder what would have happened if he was healthy last year. He won't be sitting against them anymore.
"So, rather than us trying to overthink the whole thing, [Dampier was told], 'You just find a way to be competitive out there on the floor because I'm not taking you out. You've got to play 26 or 30 minutes against this team because we need your blocks, we need your rebounds, and when you're not in there, [Brandon] Bass or [DeSagana] Diop will be in there.'"
Brandon Bass does what he was brought in to do
and to the team many think he was brought in to do it against.
"We know Bass is great for us against these smaller teams," Dirk said. "He can guard smaller guys. He can rebound with the best of them at his position. And he can be a key factor on the break. That's why we got him here, to be a factor against these smaller teams."
that Don Nelson hasn't figured out some magical method of turning him into Keith VanHorn.
"He exorcised some of his demons," Jerry Stackhouse said. "It's something that needed to be done."
"He just refused to allow them to double-team him," added Jason Terry. "This was definitely his best game of the year. I liked everything he did."
"I think Dirk just played his game, like the MVP," said Stephen Jackson, who along with Baron Davis led Golden State's playoff upset. "I thought he played great. I think if I could put my hand on one thing it was that he was more patient on the block. I think he just stayed under control. He definitely carried them tonight."
"Dirk was aggressive. He wasn't passive," said Harrington, who scored 21 points. "He was determined to put his team on his back and play at an MVP level."
And that 4th quarter defense
The Mavs won the final period 32-14, using an opening 11-0 run that included consecutive three-point plays by Jason Terry and Howard -- part of 46 points in the paint -- followed by a Howard 3-pointer. They held a team that averages 108.5 points a game to three field goals and 18.8 percent shooting in the quarter, while forcing six turnovers. Nowitzki had consecutive blocks on Stephen Jackson to emphatically put the game away.