You might think that after nearly 2000 words on last night's game, there wouldn't be a whole lot left to say.
However, there were a few things that -- now that I've had some distance from the events -- I would like to re-emphasize and/or re-evaulate. There are also a few things I'd like to say about NBA refereeing, since this has been a hot topic of late(and I recommend you read Andy's post, written prior to last night's debacle).
The Dallas Mavericks didn't lose last night's game because of the officiating. For me, blaming losses on bad refs is the cardinal sin of fandom. Anyone could do this. It's cheap, easy, and generally self-pitying. At some point in time every fan feels angry about calls, because it's their team. If the refs are screwing everyone, they're also screwing no-one. Poetry, I know.
The referees didn't call Shawn Marion for a foul on Jamal Crawford as some sort of retribution for the two questionable calls against New Orleans and Orlando Magic. I'd hope to quash this latest conspiracy theory before it starts. We're talking about three different referee groups, separated by over two weeks, and both a game and play that the refs couldn't have possibly arranged to play out in such a way that Crawford would drive into the lane, against Marion's body, with the game on the line in the final seconds.
Forget whether or not blaming the refs is wrong. For this team, right now, blaming the refs is dangerous. Because this is now the fourth game this year Dallas has held a lead of at least 17 points and lost. Rick Carlisle can write lists of missed calls if he wants to. Mark Cuban can wander out to half-court to yell at the officials if he wants to. At the end of the day, the players lost, and they lost because they allowed the game to end on a 23-4 run by their opponent. So, as one MMB writer noted in our very lively email chain last night, let's not miss the forest for the trees.
Tomorrow is another day, and if on that day Dallas goes into Phoenix and beats the Suns, we will very likely all feel much better than we do now. That is the up and down nature of the marathon 82 game schedule. Regardless, it remains painfully clear that there are adjustments to be made.
Dallas somehow outrebounded L.A. They got a combined 41 points and 18 rebounds from their center spot. They went 12-25 from three and committed just nine turnovers. To lose despite all that, to a team missing their best player, should be the number one story today. Not the refs. Not Cuban "wanting to be fined one last time by David Stern".
Lost in all this, sadly, has been that Gal Mekel is apparently going to be out for some time. Which brings me to a major bugaboo that the starting guard tandem of Monta and Jose have been playing probably more minutes(due to the absence of promising alternatives at PG) than they should and their defensive struggles have been at the heart of a lot of these blown leads. At some point, I wonder if Carlisle wouldn't consider a shakeup of the guard rotation, to at least afford that pair a little more rest.
Devin Harris will hopefully be back soon and in the coming days/weeks I am sure there will be much written about the specific ways in which he improves this team. It's hard to imagine a soon to be 31-year old journeyman combo guard making an enormous difference, but it will be nice to see what exactly Dallas has when they are at full strength.