Pretty much every article has the same theme today -- Dallas just wasn't good enough.
Dirk knows the defense wasn't what it needed to be.
"We weren't very good defensively all year long," said Dirk Nowitzki. "That's where a lot of our ups and downs came from. Even tonight, giving up 124 in an elimination game, it's tough to win. We scored 110, which should be enough to win the game. But we couldn't keep people in front of us."
JJT also writes that Denver is the better team, but Carlisle's postgame quote really sums it up.
"We couldn't beat them in the regular season. There's a reason," coach Rick Carlisle said. "In the final analysis, Denver is a better team, and they showed it in the series."
Kelly Dwyer recaps the game and series like only someone who actually watches games during the regular season can.
I love the Mavericks. I don't see how any right-thinking person couldn't. The team has holes, so many holes, but it gave you its all despite a roster that ... well, has "so many holes."
Dallas' perimeter defense, from the open until the end, was atrocious. Jason Kidd(notes), J.J. Barea, and Jason Terry(notes) were miserable at staying front of their men, or fighting through screens. And Terry had his ass kicked on the glass, giving up several offensive rebounds. And you know what? That's how it goes. That's the best this triptych is going to give you, in May of 2009. They stunk at it, but they also worked hard and tried at it. That's all you can ask for.
Dirk, still the most forthright player in the NBA.
"Whether I lose in the first round or second round or even the third doesn't really mean anything if you don't win the championship," Dirk Nowitzki said. "I'm almost 31. To me, I look at it as another opportunity that slipped away, another year went by where I didn't reach my goals. We'll stay hungry and try to come back again next year, and whoever's going to be here around me, I'll make it work."
Tons of stuff on the game in ESPN's Daily Dime today. Marc Stein wonders if Denver is the new favorite in the West.