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Surveying the Damage

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4-22-08gameflow_medium

Box Score  | GameFlow | AP Recap | Highlights | Postgame Quotes

It's almost impossible to not feel like this is the end.  I know that all New Orleans did was protect home court, and the Mavs could still have two more chances to get the necessary road win.  I know it, but I can't feel it.

It's bizarre watching this team right now.  Avery Johnson is just in his third season as a coach.  He's only 43 years old and has coached a team to NBA Finals and to a 67 win regular season.  Yet somehow it feels like the league has already passed him by...

Or is it the players.  Avery had the right plan coming into the game.

"Early on I'd like to see us get some stops and run, hopefully get the ball to the basket, score some points in the paint.  I'd like to see us do a much better job than what we did on Chris Paul, individual defense, team defense; I'd like to see us do a better job on the boards and just -- I thought we had a lot of enthusiasm to start the game, we just couldn't sustain it."

"More than anything, our offense keys a lot of what we do defensively, we've just got to have better ball movement. We have to be in attack mode."

We know ho that worked out.  New Orleans scored 37 in the first half and took advantage of open looks to shoot 17-24.  Chris Paul finished with 32 points and 17 assists.  Dallas had just 13 fast break points the whole game and the defense forced New Orleans into just 7 turnovers that resulted in only five points.

So the players can't execute?  Or the coach can't get them too?

And beyond execution, the effort looked pretty awful.  The players couldn't even deny it.

"We just got out-played, out-fought, and out-worked. They out-worked us on both ends of the floor." - Jason Terry

"We just didn't go for it. They out-hustled us for some balls," - Dirk Nowitzki

So can Avery no longer motivate this team?  Should the players need him to?

 

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I read before the game that Tyronn Lue was out with back tightness and Antoine Wright was activated.  My first thought wasn't concern that Lue was out, but confusion on why it takes Lue being out for Wright to have a place on the bench.  In his 176 minutes as a Maverick I've seen enough that I think he can contribute more than Eddie Jones.

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The links are painful today...

Caplan writes about how Paul completely dismantled the Mavs defense .  I think it's safe to say that not only did the trap not work, but that the Hornets had expected it and prepared accordingly.

The Mavs attacked Paul above the 3-point arc immediately, but it didn't last long. The 22-year-old MVP candidate never flinched. With either Dirk Nowitzki or Erick Dampier popping out to trap with Jason Kidd, Paul countered with roof-raising alley-oop lobs to open center Tyson Chandler, or he anticipated the double-team, split the defenders and either scored himself or passed to wide-open teammates.

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Horrible end to the first quarter  last night.

With 1.8 seconds left in the first quarter, the Hornets managed to go the length of the floor with Chris Paul draining a floater from just inside the 3-point arc.

That play prompted Bob Ortegal to have a total freak out on the radio. 

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Brian Davis recaps the game quarter by quarter.  Why would anyone want to read that!?

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Byron Scott has a suggestion for our defense.

"I don't know. You can put an extra defender out there, I guess, but I don't know if they're going to allow that."

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John DeShazier of the Times Picayune doesn't think the Mavs should feel better just because they get to play at home for the next two games.

Dallas' prayer is that home will salve the wounds. But the cold reality is that even if the Hornets drop the next two -- and braking the skid in Dallas appears a lot more doable today than it ever has -- the Mavs haven't done a thing to suggest they can beat the Hornets in New Orleans.

In the last three halves, New Orleans has shredded Dallas for 64, 67 and 60 points. The crowd helps, but making plays matters even more.

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David Moore says the Mavs are too old and too slow.

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Dirk with some calming words after the game.

"We've been down 2-0 before," he said, "and we've even lost two home games before and came back to win the series. So hopefully that playoff experience will keep everybody level-headed. You've got to keep your chin up. That Game 3 is a Game 7 for us. We've got to find a way to win that Game 3, and I think once we got one win on the board, it's a different series."

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JJT has joined the Fire Avery crowd.

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Randy Galloway goes way too far and calls the Mavs gutless losers.  Not only is this totally stupid, but it's completely unfair to the Hornets.

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Mike Fisher is asking a bunch of questions.

Does Dallas have the wrong coach, the wrong scheme, the wrong players? Is chemistry overrated, is experience overrated, is Jason Kidd (barely a whisper in the boxscore) overrated, is this team’s talent overrated by its architects, is it just somebody else’s time?

He's not the only Mavs fan who doesn't know what to think right now.