The Dallas Mavericks lost to the New Jersey Nets 93-92. Brook Lopez had his way with the Mavs front-court, scoring 38 points on 17-28 shooting, and the Mavericks did their best to look as old and washed up as possible, while wooing the future face of their franchise, Deron Williams.
If your day was anything like mine, and I know it was, you too worked until 8:30 at night, came home to watch the Mavs game to find that a cavalcade of water had cheerfully exited the third floor apartment in our house through the roof of the room we like to call the Lincoln Bedroom , soaking most of the things in there with a liquid that smelled mostly of eggs.
Then I got to watch a game that also smelled mostly of eggs.
We're all just tired of this, aren't we?
If we had hoped that the (short) All-Star break meant our superstar was going to round back into form, Jason Terry was going to find his game (and not throw away six points in the last 40 seconds of roughly every quarter he’s ever played that wasn’t the fourth), Shawn Marion was going to start finishing shots again, etc.—we now can’t hope that.
It looks the same. It looks old. It looks washed up. It looks terrible.
Dirk, because there was nobody else, scored 24 points on 19 shots. He also can’t hit free throws any more, so that’s cool. And that’s all fine, sort of, because 24 points in 19 shots means you still found a way to be effective. But you know what he did that was fun? When the Mavs took a one-point lead with 48 seconds to go, and Kidd hit a three to go up by one, and Brook Lopez hit two free throws to put the Nets up one, he went passive and let Jason Kidd take another three, this one off-balance with a hand in his face, the kind Kidd has never hit in his entire life.
And then after Jason Terry had a fine steal to give the Mavs another chance at that one point lead , Dirk not only went passive, he actually passed it to Kidd with time running out to take another off-balance three with a hand in his face.
So that was pretty neat.
Brendan Haywood is the good news. On a night when the opposing center goes for almost 40, that’s not awesome. But he did go 7-10, grabbed 10 rebounds, and not only that but he scored the Mavs first field goal of the 4th with…oh, 3:30 left or so.
Also, the neatest.
Jason Kidd was 1-7. It was a big one. Had he stayed 1-5 the Mavs might have won this game.
Shawn Marion was 5-16. His offensive game currentl yseems to consist of giving Haywood opportunities for offnesive rebounds.
Vince Carter was 1-4 in 12 minutes. That seems like good news.
Jason Terry was 4-14 and 2-6 from three.
Ian Mahimni was 1-4 in his 9 minutes.
Beaubois was 3-10.
The Mavs, as they always do, managed to make it really interesting at the end. But again, as is so frequently the case of late, they left it till there was too little time left and needed one too many breaks to pull it out.
Charles Barkley can say Dirk is washed up, but he's not. Neither is Marion, and neither is Terry. You don't go from playing amazing basketball to playing horrible basketball in three months, you go from playing amazing basketball to slightly less amazing basketball. What's ailing them, as the Celtics, is that they didn't get a training camp. The old teams need that. The Heat and the Thunder don't.
But that doesn't mean they don't have to play the Heat and the Thunder. And that they don't HAVE to beat the Nets. They don't give you points for comebacks that fall short. They don't give you points for not getting to rest. They don't give you points for not getting the breathing space you need to cohere as a team. I'm still incredibly mad at David Stern for allowing this monstrosity of a season. But I don't get points for that. And for the moment, I don't get a team I like watching.
It doesn’t get better, folks. Tomorrow is a much better team that is, oh yeah, also beastly up front. Than another 7 before this hellish swing is over. If they don’t remember how to shoot a basketball, they won’t just lose, they---currently 3 games ahead of 9th place Denver—will miss the playoffs.
For now, in the words of Shawn Marion, that’s what’s up.
Also, "*#@$, I MISSED ANOTHER TWO LAYUPS".
(Also, "could somebody else on this team play defense on somebody, sometime? I'm like 33, you know?")