Today I got to watch my very first Mavericks game at the American Airlines Center.
It was awesome. Despite almost getting mugged in this great city, me and my brother had a blast. Well, I did. He was going for LA.
Anyways, that's neither here nor there. Here is what is important. Things I want to point out about the LA game. These are just my thoughts, but if anything I can back them up, at least with today's game.
I, officially, want to be the first to say that I hate Sasha Pavlovic. I do not like the guy. Not for his history, not for what he has done, for what he did. Tonight. He was a guy that seemed to help us in minor ways, and kill us with lack of intangibles. One thing that can not be taught in the NBA is hustle. This guy is on my list now, because he did not hustle. Like, at all. On several occasions he was beat on Defense, and gave up on the play. When the shots were missed, he would have been right there for the rebound, had he followed the ball after getting beat. On the topic of rebounding, he did not box out, and was responsible for (just what I counted, maybe more) 3 offensive rebounds for the Lakers. It was spiteful. To add insult to injury, on 2 separate occasions we tried to push the basketball, and we wound up with 2 on 1's or 3 on 1's. Sasha jogged down the court, and we lost our numbers and were forced to pull back the break. One play I remember particularly, is a play where Kidd had the ball in between our 3 point line and halfcourt after a steal. Sasha was level with Kidd. Fisher(or Brown) was the only man back. Kidd pushed the floor and ran, but Sasha jogged. So slowly, that as a matter of fact by the time he was inside the Lakers 3 point line, 2 other defenders (not counting Brown) had beat him down the court and stopped the break. This was a few minutes after being subbed in, so stamina was not an issue. The result? Rick yanks him out of the game and he sits for several minutes. Good job Rick.
Next, I want to point out how painful it was to see Dirk play. I don't know if it was noticeable on TV, but on several occasions Dirk moved very slowly, and on Timeouts and etc. he was reaching for his knee as if it was bothering him. He was a step slower, and it pained me to see him because you could tell he was trying so hard to play and his knee just wasn't giving him the support he needed. Also, on several occasions he was isolated and had a 1 on 1 against Odom (or any other defender he would normally school) and instead he just held the ball, with no aggressiveness or desire to score, and passed it away. After seeing him play for near a decade now, there is no doubt in my mind it was him trying not to overwork his knee. After all, we do have the Bulls in Chicago tomorrow. Oh well, a 70% Dirk is still a top 5 PF in the league. I'll take it. He played a good game.
Finally, I want to understand something about our team. I guess I have noticed this before watching them on TV, but seeing it live really made it stick out. Our team, sometimes, confuses me with sheer stupidity. On several occasions we would get down 9 or 10 points, and start pushing the tempo. It would work perfectly, and we would cut the lead down. A Laker timeout is called, and later we slow it down. It is not a lack of opportunities, it is a lack of desire. (Example: Kidd gets the outlet pass after a rebound and holds the ball for 2 or 3 seconds before walking it up the court, instead of pushing it) What happens when we slow it down? They get their lead right back. The one team we actually kept a high tempo for a long time in a row, look what happened? We attained and held a double digit lead practically the entire 4th quarter. Funny how that works, huh?
To close this out, I would just like to state how a)Proud I am of our team, and b)How disappointed I am with our fanbase. As for our team, we played a great game. It wasn't a lucky win, one where we go away from our gameplan in hopes to blindside an opponent. We played Maverick basketball, and won with defense and grit. As for our fans, I want to know why we let our fire die so fast? When we cheered, it seemed our team played with fire, with intensity. Then a timeout and 30 second break completely quiets everyone, and allows the Lakers to drive right past our now calm defenders. The intensity dies. I cheered my little head off all game. I had a blast.
Thank you Dallas,
PS: Sorry for lack of good sentence structure or grammar. I wrote this in about 15 minutes and don't have time to edit. Peace guys! good win!