I'm still on a high from last night's game. I've convinced myself it was the best game of the season, in terms of quality of play, importance, entertainment, atmosphere (Blazers fans were great) etc... It had it all. Of course, Dallas has a chance to top it on Sunday afternoon.
But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. According to John Hollinger, Phoenix is poised to make a playoff push.
Clearly, the Suns would have to win the rematch in Dallas on April 5 -- which could cut the margin to a still-daunting four games. But if they do that, they project to go 11-6 in the other 17 games, while the Mavs' projected record is 8-9. That makes up three of the four games; even a one-game deviation from this projection would put Phoenix in the playoffs,
Now before you start sending him hate mail, Hollinger's current projections give Phoenix a 26.4% of making the postseason. The Mavs, just slightly better, at 86.3%
Phoenix certainly has the easier remaining schedule, but you would have to be crazy to predict them to make the postseason now, something which Hollinger didn't do. I think Mavs fans are still ready to jump all over Hollinger anytime he overlooks the Mavs becase of the 06/07 season when Dallas was chasing 72 wins but were never atop his formulaic power rankings. To be fair to him, Dallas got knocked out in the first round that year (sorry for bringing that up) and his number one team, the Spurs, won it all.
Speaking of Phoenix, they just lost to the Cavs. They are now six games back with 17 games remaining. Lets say Dallas really starts to stink it up and goes 6-11 to finish the season. Phoenix would still have to go 13-4 the rest of the way. They are 9-11 in their last twenty...
Jason Richardson was blocked attempting a 360 dunk in the fourth quarter of a must win game in which his team was losing. Your 08/09 Phoenix Suns...
If Dallas had beaten OKC without Durant and Green they would have won eight of their last nine. As it is, 7 of 9 is nice, but man that OKC debacle really uglies it up.
Fisher had a ton of good notes on the Portland game. I especially liked this.
The night before in Phoenix, the Mavs were sent to the line in the final minutes to prove their mettle. ... and hit eight of eight. Same situation here, with Brandon Bass and Jason Terry the guys Portland was forced to foul.
Bass is an 88-percent free-thrower. He made both of his.
Jet is an 88.9-percent free-thrower. He made one of two.
Some random stats based on stuff from the Portland box score.
+ Dallas is 20-5 when Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki both score 20 or more.
+ Dallas is 5-2 when Erick Dampier scores 10 or more.
+ Erick Dampier averages 13.76 reb per 48 when he scores in single digits and 19.39 when scores in double digits.
+ Dallas is 5-2 when Kidd has ten rebounds and 19-5 when he has ten assists. 2-1 when he does both.
+ Dallas is 25-11 when they attempt less than 20 3P's and 15-14 when they attempt more than 20. (yeah, I know that's a little skewed for jacking up three's when they're down big)
+ Dallas is 20-4 when Brandon Bass scores in double digits.
+ Dallas is 9-9 When The Devean George plays less than 12 minutes and 18-7 when he plays more. They are 13-9 when he doesn't play.
George said he felt his knee twist awkwardly when he was driving to the basket and was fouled by Blazers guard Steve Blake. After the game, George had virtually no range of motion in his leg.
JJ Barea is good to go after falling on his bothersome left shoulder. He will probably start again.