For anyone who thinks the lockout is over, it's not. Just like that crazy cousin who you aren't even sure how you're related to but ends up coming to every family reunion and drinking all your beer, you can't get away from it. The lockout is going to haunt the rest of this season.
That's why a championship team like the Mavericks can hold an eighteen-point lead in the second quarter and a fourteen-point lead in the third and still end up going to double overtime. That's why neither team could reach triple digits even though they had ten extra minutes to do so.
But the lockout didn't prevent Dallas from beating Portland this Saturday night, 97-94, despite the extra periods. Dirk Nowitzki struggled, but still put up twenty points, including a game-clinching fadeaway jumper from the foul line with 0:16 left in the second overtime frame. For the Blazers, LaMarcus Aldridge did what he does, scoring 33 with 12 rebounds, all on 50%+ shooting.
It was clear what Rick Carlisle had been preaching pre-game. The Mavericks started off with Vince posting on the block and got an easy two, then got another two from Dirk from a similar spot. They got Dirk cutting to the basket, they got Marion cutting to the basket, and they even got a layup from Brenden Haywood crashing down the lane. The Mavericks attempted only two twenty foot shots in the entire quarter, one three and one long two. Both were wide open.
But after that first buzzer sounded, the Mavericks drifted way, WAY off course. The Trail Blazer offense played about as poorly in the second quarter, but the Mavericks started turning the ball over while taking longer and longer shots. Eight turnovers and four missed threes in the second quarter, ten more turnovers in the second half, and all of a sudden, a game that seemed to be under control was tied.
Fortunately, the Mavericks were able to match the Blazers in the first overtime period, and five minutes after that were watching Jamal Crawford's desperation three pointer clang off the rim to close their three point victory.
Jump for bullets.
Look at LaMarcus Aldridge's statline, and you'll see an All-Star. This is legitimate superstar, who, for the most part, did his work against study defense. The Mavericks chose not to double team, so Brenden Haywood was tasked with playing him one-on-one for much of the night. Haywood has been criticized for just being another stiff, but he kept Aldridge in front of him all night. Now, limiting Aldridge to just his jumper and hook is not really limiting him at all, but Haywood contested well much of the night.
Speaking of Haywood, it was good to see him get a huge tip in to give the Mavericks the lead for good in the last overtime. Maybe he'll start shooting free throws better and actually get some consistent minutes in crunch time? Someone figure out how to do that, and grab me a pet unicorn while you'll at it.
Jason Kidd sat in for the last overtime, but he played very well. His passing was spot on, dishing eight assists to just two turnovers. The thing that is overlooked for him, though, is his rebounding. People talked about getting him back to help with the ball distribution, but he also helps prevent offensive rebounds on those long caroms. He had eight defensive ones tonight.
Buried in the overtimes is how good of a game Lamar Odom had. Not much of a statline, but his 10 points were timely and his effort was through the roof on a night where it appeared the Black Plague had struck most of the players on both teams. I'd take a game like this from him every night; he is not going to hit four of five shots all of the time but the effort he showed needs to stay.
I mentioned this, but seriously, STOP TURNING THE BALL OVER. Trying to thread a pass that would result in a sure layup, or getting the ball knocked off your knee on a drive is a turnover that is understandable. Throwing a bad pass or setting a moving screen is frustrating. Traveling in the BACK COURT, sixty feet from the goal, makes my eyes bleed.
Mahinmi played 14 minutes and I don't remember a single play he made. Brandan Wright played 6 minutes and I vividly remember a huge dunk he had. He makes plays, that is for sure.
This game does not feel all that good -- double overtime to best a team that it looked like the Mavs were prepared to blowout -- but it is best to move on. The NBA is not a league run on feelings. Take the win and be happy with it.
The Mavericks face the DeAndre Jordan show on Monday. Wait, that's not right. Oh well.