Theme: Mindless Self Indulgence, "Straight to Video"
Game Info: Click it. Click it good.
First of all, thank you Mr. Ory of the Mavs' marketing department. My free tickets were in the lower bowl, section 124, behind the Visiting basket. So I was able to show DFW's newest liberal menace -- my mother -- a terrific time.
Now we get to the game. Oh dear God somebody shoot me.
- Fish and others were right. With Crazy Pills (blame Matt at HP), the Rockets can kick our asses. That said, I hope I can get video of the game off of somebody, figure out what the hell Artest did to warrant a technical.
- I'm converted, halleluijah. Stack needs to be buried. Entombed.
- Guys, what the hell happened to the D? It was there in the first three and we were hanging pretty tough. Then it all went to shit. There weren't as many opportunities for defensive heroics as there were in the Pacers game, but they were there. Rebounding wins games, especially with this team.
- Seeing Yao Ming in person is a bit of a shock. For obvious reasons. And if I were a Rox fan, I'd be thanking God in my prayers every night he's on my side.
- What happened to the depth? It's there. Teams have drowned in it. Huge night from Dirk, great stuff from J-Ho, the triple-double threat lives . . . and it's all to cock if they can't step out and catch their breaths for ten minutes or so.
- Why didn't Green play? Has he not been shooting well? Was Stack that much better a choice?
- Manah Manah starring Desagana Diop? Genius!
- Please tell me that's not an indication of things to come; Coach over by the sidelines looking like a goddamn Rockette when things get tight.
In The Wash: Seeing as how this is Only One Game, I'm going to give my Mavs the benefit of the doubt in this; surrendering when Bad Guys are on a roll. I didn't see any evidence of it, other than Dirk walking off the court at 00:01.3, but I'll grant I was not an astute observer right that second.
Aforementioned walking-off? No I'm not okay with that. Dude!
(Unless you're walking to me; those of the reading audience with smutty minds can fill in the rest.)
It's. Just. One. Game. So, I'm calm. Perfectly calm.
Course right that second-- I was the fat lady in blue moaning "Oh my God please say this isn't happening!" as she exited the arena.
Final: 112-102, Rockets
Friday, October 31, 2008
Theme: Mindless Self Indulgence, "Straight to Video"
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
It's here! It's here! Thank you Jesus and St. Jude, it's here! The NBA Regular Season. All aboard, hit the road, all aboard, here we go . . .
The Bulls v. Bucks game, not really interested (though the score's a bit of a shock). Lakers v. Portland . . . what was that about the 'Blazers being contenders this year? Admittedly, this was against the LAL Traveling FunFair and Whoopass Parlour. Greg Oden out with an injury? What a shock.
Celtics v. Cavs . . . that I wish I could've seen. From the stats, it looks like it was a nifty game. The recap shows a Mo Williams assist to The Flying LeBron that's gotta make ya smile. Damn my lack of cable. Poverty's a bitch, guys.
Closer to home, it's been confirmed that Dallas will be hosting the All-Star Events next year. Background; the American Airlines Center doesn't have the seating capacity for all the spectators the All-Star stuff brings in, unless the Org bumps out season ticket holders and Mr. Cuban's not willing to do that. I don't know whose idea it was, but it's genius; hold the All-Star game at the new Cowboys Stadium that's being built in Arlington. Seating capacity is right around 50,000, more than double that of the AAC. Room for everybody! Definetely on my gotta-see list.
So 2008-2009 gets under way. The storylines blow wide open tonight, with most of the rest of the league having their openers. In roughly thirty hours, the Rockets draw nigh. I. Can't. Wait.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Theme: Nine Inch Nails, "Every Day Is Exactly The Same"
Game Info: If you can bear to look.
Before I get onto the game, I have something to share. The second live game I ever went to (back in March against the Celtics), the day was a long exercise in cumulative cluster-fuck. First, work was insanely busy. Even with postponing everything I could I got out of work a half-hour late. Second, I missed my bus, making me even later. Third, I had to wait until halftime to be able to get into the game -- I was still under the delusion that one could get tickets at the door. Finally, the Mavs lost.
Yesterday? The arc was eerily similar. Crazy-busy day, leaving work late, and my Mavs laying an egg. Complete with getting manhandled by a bunch of guys in dark uniforms.
- Defense. Yeah, Coach, you have my enthusiastic permission to kick everyone's ass square over this. I saw clear opportunities (defensive rebounds, mostly) for defensive heroics that were not exploited.
- JJ Barea (if he's six foot I'm a vernicious kenid) found his shot and did okay as a backup. Thank God, but the Mavs need to look seriously for a backup mark 2.
- Am I the only one who thinks Jet needs to mellow out? I saw one foul in the game agains the Bulls that probably could've counted as a flagrant, and another one that looked iffy last night.
- Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. The ball is not a pancake, guys.
- This one's hard to take, because this wasn't a matter of gift-wrapping a victory in order to give extraneous free-agents some playing time. The Mavs were out for this game and got themsevles shredded.
- I was looking at the scoreboard at the half and seeing the Mavs up in most categories -- more rebounds, less turnovers, etc. So, I asked myself, why are we only up by one? Then I looked at the three-pointers made/attempted line. Never mind.
- Stack was out last night with a foot problem (bad) and Devean George was out with an injured hand (less bad).
In The Wash: Well that does it for the preseason. T-minus six days, nine hours, and some-odd minutes before things get rolling for real. And we're going to need the time. The offense seems to be "give Jason Kidd the ball and let nature take her course." The problem with that is it puts a lot of playmaking pressure on the backup points -- JJ and Jet Terry. Plans B need to be hammered out and did I mention this team's got a wee bit of a turnover problem?
For the love of God, make the season start!!! Of the teams played in the preseason, the Kings are the only ones even in the conference!
I got faith. But you guys aren't making it easy.
Final: 114 to 91, Pacers
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The organization's waived Keith McLeod!
Didn't see that coming, not given how badly the Mavs need another backup point. Unless there's a free agent the Mavs have on the radar, or a trade scenario that's in progress.
For the Mavs, it's a matter of trusting Donnie Nelson. For McLeod, dude, that sucks. Fucking hamstring.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
That does it, folks.
Mavericks have inked in their official roster, as the Organization releases Reyshawn Terry, JaJuan Smith, and Cheyne Gadson. McLeod they're hanging onto because dear God do we need another decent back-up point guard.
I hope those three gentlemen find homes somewhere in the NBA. They seem like nice guys and good players. Similar to the situation that got us Brandon Bass -- there just isn't a place for them on this particular team.
There's the potential upside to a professional sports career (money and fame and all the accessories that go with vast shitloads of same), but goddamn. How do you deal? I mean, here you are, shoved around the world in twelve hours, having to audition for an extremely demanding job when you're jet-lagged out of your mind, might not even speak the language, you're probably barely out of school, missing your folks, terrified you won't make it and all that effort and money down the tubes--
What kind of person rolls the dice, with the odds jacked that high against them? Like Mom told me once about someone she knew who went to New York straight out of high school to pursue a Broadway career -- she asked their music teacher if her friend stood a chance of making it and the teach told her Broadway's full of cute blondes who played Eliza Doolittle in high school. But it can't all be teenage hubris . . .
In any event, travel safe and good luck.
Theme: Mindless Self Indulgence, "Bullshit"
Game Info: Use the power.
I think. I'm going. To cry.
Simmer down Beej, it's just the preseason.
Full recap later; I have the game taped at home and I'm going to use the opportunity -- now that I'm not in full nervous-breakdown-every-four-seconds fan mode -- to learn to read a play-by-play. (For the record, I was the fat lady up in section three-twenty-something, limping to the escalator singing the last couple lines of Auld Lang Syne.)
In The Wash: I will say this; the rook's got game (hard to argue with thirty fucking points!!!) but against a team that knew what the hell it was doing he wasn't getting shit done.
This was another mercy fuck, boys. Enjoy it, the team let you win because for now it has the luxury of using games for other purposes.
That said, somebody send Coach a memo. My Mavs are nobody's slut.
Final: 109-105, Bulls
Monday, October 20, 2008
Theme: Skinny Puppy, "Pro-Test"
Game Info: Make with the clicky.
Underrate this, you lazy-minded schlubs.
- Slow start again . . . a widening of focus is needed; whenever Dirk misses a shot I panic inside.
- To Reggie Theus, Head Coach of the Sacramento Kings. Simmer down Coach. And remember it isn't kosher for a coach to jump in and play the D his team's failing at.
- I think the Org is starting with the weeding-out process. The team's moving into more regular-season rotation, with the starters playing heavy minutes. (UPDATE: Confirmed. Charles Rhodes has been waived and Keith McLeod's contract's been restructured to "non-guaranteed." Not clear on the implications of that last bit. Will parse it out later.)
- By the way, Gerald Green. 29 points. One truly righteous slam. We got him; you didn't. Eat it, bitches.
- Sooner or later the Bad Guys'll take away those extra three or four seconds Jason Kidd needs to make those long shots, and there goes the triple-double threat.
- Turnovers still a major problem. Sticky fingers, gentlemen.
- Defensively, I can't make judgement calls. Offensively, I like our young Mr. Red Bull. I saw no evidence of ball-hoggery or bad judgement. If he tanks with the Mavs it won't be for lack of trying on the organization's part. I see Coach taking him aside a lot in games and the media guys've been impressed by his 'tude. Give it a year or so and he's got the opportunity to make some major noise.
- Depth at the 1 is a problem. Much as the organization likes JJ Barea, he's not a player of the calibur this team needs. Jet's decent at the point but is most useful when he can be the Sixth Man Everydude. The Mavs need a decent player at the point to relieve Kidd for ten to twenty minutes per game if Kidd's going to be useful all up through the Finals. I hate to say it, because JJ strikes me as being a good guy, but he's trade bait.
- At the 2 it looks like we've got something of an embarassment of riches. Williams, so far, not impressed. Antoine Wright, however, looks downright tasty. He's gotta be careful though; fouls are only a good thing if making them gives you an edge over and above the extra scoring opportunity they give the bad guys.
- There were some boo-birds up in my section trying to heckle J-Ho at various points in the game. They shut up shortly after the half.
In The Wash: Oh my God, the regular season can't get started soon enough. The Bulls are in town for another tushie-paddling tomorrow and the Pacers swing by on Thursday. In other NBA news, Deron Williams is down with a twisted ankle, no word yet on how long he'll be non-operational.
Final: 124-109, Mavericks
I hate Dallas traffic. I hate it with every cell in my body, with every beat of my heart. Why? Because of a traffic jam on 35E, the inability to find Victory Ave coming from the east side of town, two wrong turns and the longest stoplight in Dallas county, I didn't get to the AAC until ten to six. At which time, the line for autographs for J-Ho and Dirk had already been cut off. I begged. No dice.
Oh well, the item I really want signed -- a full-sized jacket patch of the MFFL vanity plate -- is still on the drawing board. And there'll be other chances for autographs. I hope.
So fuck it, I went into the lower bowl and sat down. Section 107; wasn't quite the smell-'em-sweat seats, but close. To my surprise, the seats down there are just as uncomfortable as the seats up in Section Never-Mind. The comfy folding seats are on the floor and were barricaded off. Pretty sure those're the ones that cost roughly two months of my take-home pay. Definetely something to add to the When I Become Rich'n'Famous list.
As the place filled up, Champ came out and started, pardon the expression, horsing around. The O on Champ's uni is a closed-off horseshoe. I never noticed that before. He got some kids out of the audience, played some shooting games, got a little one-on-one going, got some two-on-two started. That was fun to watch; one kid, looked about thirteen, was pretty good. Coach Carlisle made an appearance and got a round of applause.
The players hit the floor around sevenish and started warming up. That's gotta feel weird for the guys, having a studio audience for your basic work-out. Jog, sprint, high-kicks. Also some scandalous-looking floor stretches. In related news, Dirk's got a butt, it's just a small one in relation to his height.
The team was split into three squads for practise drills, White Blue and Gold. Coach welcomed everyone and took a second to introduce Assistant Head Coach TJ Kidd. On first brush I like Coach Carlisle. He looked comfortable as emcee without being hammy about it.
Practise drills. Like most things, it looks simple and silly when broken down into details. I can also see where dance training would be an advantage when it comes to developing foot and ankle strength. The highlight of drilling was something Coach called the 4:15 drill. I'm taking this from the Morning News; "With 4:15 on the clock, the Mavericks start a three-on-zero fast break for a layup, then the two wing players who didn't get the layup are fed passes for jump shots." The team tries to score 115 to 120 baskets; they got 107. Faster feet, gentlemen. And I now know why the earliest games were played in cages. If someone's hands had been a half-second slower I'd've spent the night pulling my glasses out of my face.
My respect for pro-ballers trakes a dramatic uptick after watching all that. As I remember -- painfully -- from middle school, this shit's harder than it looks. As a for instance, the court. Because the players are all big guys and because they all look absolutely at ease in what they're doing, the court looks smaller than it actually is. A three-point arc is 23 ft from the basket. To somebody like Dirk, who does this for a living and for pleasure, it's not that far at all. To me, it looks like a fuckin' light year. And one has to do all this while mind-melding with a constantly rotating cast of four other guys. And doing all that with five other lunatics trying to fuck your shit up. It's like playing full-contact chess at mach 3 with your hair on fire.
As drills wrapped up Coach called up and introduced the staff. When one face didn't turn up -- I think it was their strength guy -- Coach asked if anybody'd seen him. Dirk yelled from the floor, "Golfing!" Another guy's an Olympic gold medalist from a seventies-vintage Team USA; Jet started with some I'm-not-worthy! schtick.
Then we got to the players. Jet Terry got the mic. He's going to make ESPN very happy in a few years; the man's a showman. Jet called the rookies front and center. Jujuan Smith took us through the power circle; "Let's say we're playing," Jet thought a moment, "the Spurs." Took some coaxing, but we gave some solid boos. What's a Spur to a Maverick? Nothing. Nothing.
Introductions. JJ was there but didn't participate. Poor guy, I saw that knee hit. Yowch. If there were any boos for J-Ho I didn't hear them. Gerald Green is now Red Bull for instant energy. I think I can work with that. Desagana Diop welcomed back with cheers. Kidd was up second to last and Jet kind of skated over his name. All grins and taken in stride. And if I have to tell you who was last -- and got the screaming ovation -- you haven't been paying attention.
Scrimmage itself was somewhat more abbreviated than I'd been led to expect. Mavs win, naturally. The more I watch the team when Kidd's on his game, the more excited I get about the possibilities this season. And this is the Kidd past his prime? Jesus Christ. Dirk . . . I can see why he's not someone a casual fan would get wowed about. But the more I watch him, the more I love what he does and how he does it. I mean, have you seriously looked at that fadeaway jump shot? Watching him handle the ball's like watching the goddamn Jedi Mind Trick.
After scrimmage the players shucked their shoes and tossed them into the audience. Dirk went them one better and added his jersey. I started yelling the beat to The Strip, hoping he'd go barechested or (gulp) down to his drawers. Nope. Wah.
In any event, I had a great time. The lower bowl was mostly full-up and everyone was ready to go a little bit nuts. It's little things like that -- like keeping the cheapseat ticket prices low and cutting deals with DART and the T-line so you don't have to drive -- that build a loyal fanbase. And -- thank God -- the Organization knows it. I do wish it'd been on Saturday, but that would've been impossible because of the Stars game.
Friday, October 17, 2008
In Nerd World, one can easily waste months of one's life in a peculiar way; role-playing games. Sort of like solving a maze, reading a novel, and watching a movie all at once.
Say you're exploring a cave, lava rivers all over the place, looking for the @#$!%& switch to open the next cave, when the screen blanks and your party's face-to-face with some lizard-looking thing with little CGI flames coming out of its nose.
First thing you do? Get your Offensive Magic user to cast an Ice spell, because in just about every RPG ever made Fire monsters are vulnerable to Ice attacks. You might have your Archer (who's usually a woman even though women don't have the upper body strength to handle a longbow) switch to her Ice arrows before attacking, meaning your half-dead Melee character can use a healing item instead of attacking this turn.
Basically, you're exploiting a mismatch. And RPGers who don't learn to do that don't get to save the world, marry the princess, et cetera. By the same token, basketball teams who don't learn to do that don't win rings. And teams that don't look for that and plan for it don't either.
Look at the history. Dirk underperfoms in playoff series games because smart teams realize that making him underperform is a key to victory. The question isn't "why does Dirk disappear in big games," it's "where's the Plan B so we can get him back in and win anyway."
Back to Nerd World. This cave is under a volcano, which means you're probably going to see a lot of Fire monsters. Opposite magic damage (ice-fire, light-dark, etc) usually does more damage than physical attack. So let's say you set up a party of only magic users. Rip right through that silly cave, right?
Not so fast.
Let's take another look at the fight with the lizard thing. RPG enemies come in groups, so add a couple of ogre-like things. The ogre-like things have red accents on their armor to go with the volcano theme but to your horror they're not writhing in agony under the force of your best Ice magic. At the end of the first round the lizard thing is probably dead, but there's these two ogre-like things still in your way. And did I mention that magic-users are usually very weak in terms of physical defense?
Okay, so ditch the mismatch idea entirely. Sit out your mages and go with the bruisers. Then what happens is, after the ogres've been dispatched, the lizard thing nails you with a heavy-duty Fire spell that wipes out your team.
Most RPGers have a set of characters they like to use in hostile territory, based around the melee-magic-healer trinity. The trap there is making sure all your characters get enough experience to work through character-specific boss fights. RPGs practically beg you to outsmart yourself in that regard, making you throw your second-stringers into fights they can't handle to make up for hours and hours of only playing with your main guys.
After a while -- and with the help of strategy guides -- setting up a balanced party while still making sure everyone gets the experience they need becomes a habit. And heyhey! You've just completed a beginner's course on tactical thinking. Know your enemy, know their style, be flexible enough to get the most out of your team, make allowances for your weaknesses, commit to improving and upgrading, waste nothing, and never lose sight of your major goals.
Which, I think, is why the Organization had to make the trade for Jason Kidd. Physically he's hitting the end of his useful life but there's nothing wrong with his brain or his playmaking abilities. And those are what Dallas absolutely need. RPGers have the luxury of memory cards, strategy guides, a Pause button, and a game that doesn't adjust to keep beating you. Athletes don't have that. Of the active point guards, Jason Kidd's probably the best at Making The Most Of Everything (though Deron Williams might pass him this year).
And there's something else. I'll let you in on a Nerd World secret. Apart from healing magic, the most valuable spell you can have in a major fight is . . . Haste. Haste speeds up the clock for your characters. Depending on the game, it can amount to your party taking three turns to the boss monster's one. Jason Kidd is our Haste spell. Have a coach behind him that can spot and exploit mismatches -- jury's still out on that -- and . . . I think we've got a shot at it, I really do. Our seed won't be a high one -- this is the Western Conference and with the problematic exception of the Suns (Steve Nash is another Haste spell on sneakers) nobody's downgraded -- but we'll be there.
Theme: "Feel Like A Number," Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
Game Info: Again with the NBA.com
Not overreacting, though last night's loss to the Pistons called for another trip to Sonic for something Bad For Me.
- Terry had the night off (and should wear his suits tailored a bit slimmer, he's got the build). And JJ went down in the third with what looks like a rolled ankle and a nice jab to the knee. Word is he'll be operational on Saturday against the Kings, but won't participate in scrimmage tonight. Painful reminder of how much is riding on Jason Kidd . . . and how shallow Dallas is at the point.
- Poor JJ did not have a good road trip. This makes two games where he had to bail because of a hard fall. Get healthy fast, dude.
- Stackhouse . . . can you do that kind of thing on a more consistant basis? Pweeze, pweeze, pretty pweeze? He took a charge hard enough to hurt from here!
- Kind of a slow start, but then defense locked down. The Pistons shot under 30% in the first half. Is it yummy, NBA? Do you like it?
- Free-throw shooting's better, but not at the level it needs to be. And turnovers continue to be a problem.
- Four quick fouls with more than eight minutes to play, I knew right then we were screwed. That shit was not fun to watch.
- Rasheed Wallace is a drama queen . . . in a scary I'll-pull-your-throat-out-with-my-tombstone-grin kind of way.
In The Wash: Given that this is the preseason, I can understand why Coach kept the starters out when it became clear the second-third stringers weren't getting it done. I mean, this game was in the fucking bag, but the Pistons outscored us 36 to 19 in the fourth quarter. How? Simple; the starters came back in, drew some quick fouls, put Dallas over the limit early in the fourth, and pecked us to death.
Bottom line: if the starters had come back, we would've won. Is anyone in Detroit familiar with the concept of a mercy fuck?
Final: 84-81, Pistons
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Theme: Combichrist, "This Sh*t Will Fcuk You Up"
Game information: Nicked from NBA.com.
Overreaction in three, two, one . . .
OH MY GOD, PLEASE SAY THIS ISN'T HAPPENING!
- Anyone else want to ask how bad we need Jason Kidd? Or Dampier and Stackhouse for that matter?
- Let's be real. The Mavs went to the deep bench in the second half the way they've been doing for all the preseason games. If the starters had been available and played, we would've won. Hell if JJ had been available -- he took a hard fall and sat out the fourth quarter -- we might still've won.
- Winning isn't necessarily the object of preseason. Particularly for the Mavs, who have to make significant roster cuts before the deadline on the 27th.
- That said, isn't it always the object of the game, is to win?
- Crunch time execution = fail. Everything went wrong. Defense, weak all game -- it wasn't so much dribble penetration as dribble gang-rape -- broke down. Offensively, the guys started throwing up what looked suspiciously like panic 3s.
- And just as an aside, you know the big guy, right? Tall, skinny, tends to talk through his nose? Why was he wearing a knee wrap and why wasn't he on the bench in the second half?
- Something in the smiley-face column; Gerald Greene looks like he might work out. Probably not going to see heavy minutes over the regular season . . . at least not this year.
In The Wash: Free-throw shooting. Yes, let's have a talk about that, gentlemen. We can agree on this, right? There isn't a magic bullet or shortcut to decent free-throw stats. It's very simple; take 500 a day. Every day. After awhile muscle memory takes over.
Last night's FT percentage; 64%. Not good. Unacceptable, actually. It's called the charity stripe for a reason; those points should be a given. Not to mention . . . Indiana had seven more turnovers and twelve less fast-break points, and you still lost? Gu-uuuys . . .
I hope Coach got the data he needs, and that the gloves come off tonight. These're the Pistons, gentlemen.
Monday, October 13, 2008
No notes on the Bucks game. Is it being unfair to say the result was a foregone conclusion? Even with Jason Kidd taking a personal day and playing in the middle of nowhere? If you live in the neighborhood of LaCrosse, I'm not knocking your town. I'm from Michigan and I know how pretty the country is up there. For someone used to NBA-approved accomodations it probably feels like the Twilight Zone.
DLord crunches the dollars and cents of the Jones-for-Williams trade.
Okay, Mr. Nelson, I take back half the bad things I said about you over the offseason (you're not off the hook about Devean George).
This blows the season wide open. Williams's potential downside is considerable -- Pacman Jones has him beat in that Williams hasn't actually been convicted of anything -- but from a purely acquisitional standpoint we got him for loose change. Not as exciting as getting Ron Artest, but I think it's a safer bet. I have visions of Ron-Ron having to be taken out of restraints come game time.
Nnngh. Less than three weeks until the season opens. Meanwhile the preseason gets interesting with roadies at Indiana and Detroit. Of the two, I'm going to be obsessing over the Pistons game. Let's face it, the Wizards, Bulls, and Bucks were outclassed, under complement, and pretty much fucked from the start. Detroit, #2 in the Eastern Conference last year, are more like what Dallas should expect and fear in the coming year.
Oh, by the way, lineup on the floor at one point during the Wizards game -- Dirk at the 5, J-Ho, Antoine, Jet Terry, James Singleton. Hereby dubbed the Kentucky Fried Lineup; four wings and a biscuit. My phrase. Don't steal it.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Check it out, yo. The Mavs have cut a deal with the Indiana Pacers to acquire Shawne Williams. The word around the campfire is the deal includes Eddie Jones and a couple of second round draft picks.
Not sure what to make of this, unless this is the Big Sou-Prize Donnie Nelson promised us way back in July. Jones is bench-bait for the Mavs at best . . . but what is Williams, exactly? According to the Morning News, his off-court doings are a definete cause for concern. Hanging around murder suspects, something happening in his house that might or might not have been rape-- schtick like that.
I'm wondering if the Mavs are placing too much stock in Coach's abilities as a wrangler of psychopaths. Or if being on a team led by the most unselfish, least drama-queeny, arguably hardest working star in the NBA is better for players than one might think.
Suddenly . . . our bench is looking deep, the team doesn't look quite as old, and how many days is it until the 30th?
Well it looks like our favorite dwarf'll be in town on January 28th -- Golden State. Do me a favor, guys. Don't lose. In fact, could you please bitch-smack them into the Twilight Zone? Thanks, you guys're sweeties.
An aside into Cowboy-land, a place I don't venture often or willingly. But this is Dallas in the fall of the year. The Cowboys get mentioned in the news with the same frequency as God's name in the Bible. I don't like the 'Boys, I'm only mildly fond of football -- hey, you try getting excited about a sport when your allegience lies with the Detroit Lions -- and I only care about the whole shebang insofar as it takes attention away from my Mavs. As franchises to follow, give me the Mavericks. The tickets are affordable, win or lose live games are always fun, most of the players are men you might actually want your kids to idolize, and our potential Major Problem Child -- Jason Kidd -- has been behaving himself.
Not so for the Cowboys. Adam "Pacman" Jones was their big acquisition of the offseason -- an honest-to-God felon laboring under a season-long suspension and possible expulsion from the NFL if I read the release right. For the past few months everybody's been hearing about how he's reformed and oh by the way he's a superb ballplayer and we're getting him for pennies on the dollar or damn near.
Eeeent! Someone set us up the bomb, Jerry. Jones was arrested night before last, getting into a fight with his Cowboy-mandated bodyguards. And according to Randy Galloway at the Star-Telegram, Jones hasn't spent the past few months at home reading his New Testament, as the Cowboys PR department have painted him in not so many words. He's been out partying, and unlike yours truly he has the money to cause major damage to himself and others. Call to mind a scene from Lonesome Dove; Gus, a sucker for pretty girls, defends his caretaking of Lorena by saying the situation was an accident. Clara retorts with, "I notice you never have accidents around ugly girls." These things happen around Pacman, a lot. Accidents? Or a stupid, self-destructive man who's gotten cut a lot of slack because of what he can do with the oblong?
Well, it was a gamble. Now Jerry Jones is faced with a nasty decision -- can Pacman, proving there's depths to which even he won't sink where the team's concerned, or duck and cover and hope the NFL doesn't suspend him.
Put the season in jeopardy? I honestly think Hell will freeze first. I predicted slime, and slime we have. It's up to the NFL now. Dallas Cowboys, you are on the way to destruction.
Whoo! Detour through Cowboy-land leaves me feeling . . . unclean somehow. I'm sorry, Cowboys Crazies -- for me football will always be a confusing excuse to watch men crash into each other for two hours. If I want to get my homoerotica fix on, I've got fanfiction.
Theme: Ren and Stimpy, "Happy Happy Joy Joy"
Game Information: Courtesy of NBA.com
One of the reasons I hate the circumstances that prevent me from having modern television resources is not being able to watch road games. But that oft-forgotten, no-cost gem of broadcast media saves my ass -- radio. One problem; because of something in my apartment building -- can roaches cause signal interference? It would explain not being able to get Channel 5 -- the radio doesn't come in clearly.
So the Mavs are on the road up the west side of my favorite Great Lake, and I'm on the road up to Keller's for a supper of ooey-delicious hamburger and the car radio tuned to ESPN 103.3 FM. I missed most of the first quarter. Naturally, that's when the "OH MY GOD!!!" stuff happened. Oh well. I did catch Brandon Bass's dunk. I think Coop broke a vocal cord on that one.
- The starters didn't play very much at all after the first quarter. Unit 1 -- Dirk, Kidd, J-Ho, Wright, and Dampier -- opened it up and brought it to 36-22 Mavs. Unit 2 -- Jet Terry, Bass, JJ, Devean George, and 'Gana Diop -- played most of the second and the score at the half stood at 62-44.
- After the half, it was pretty much garbage time for the Mavs. The deep, deep benchers were playing serious minutes. Which is good. At least three of these guys will not make the team come regular season and they need every second of playing time they can get.
- Gerald Greene's justifying some of the hope placed in him by us fans; 18 points. That's reassuring. Some of The Boards are taking bets on when Jerry Stackhouse will start missing games because of injury.
- Speaking of, Stack missed the game due to family obligations. He'll be back tonight.
- JJ Barea scored ten? And he hit a three? And he had tasty assists? Can he do that against a good team? Please God?
- In the last minutes, the game must've looked pretty ugly. I didn't count, but there must've been at least five fouls called in the last minute of play time.
- I'll give the Bulls this; they tried to rally. They really tried. The Bulls actually outscored the Mavs by ten in the second half. But the last quarter the Mavs fought with one hand tied behind them. Five minutes from the starters and the Bulls would've been blown halfway to the moon.
- Everybody got play time last night, and of those sixteen, fifteen scored points. Yummy.
In The Wash: Last night marked the NBA debut of this year's #1 draft pick, Derrick Rose. 10 points in 27 minutes and he had problems getting his feet under him. As the Morning News points out, though, point guards tend to have long learning curves. Give it a couple years, no major injuries and no emotional meltdowns; we're going to be seeing his name a lot. For their sake, the Bulls would be wise to bend over all directions to make his maturing process as complete as possible.
Coach must be blissed about this; in the game against the Wizards the Mavs turned the ball over 24 times. Against the Bulls, 14. And 12 of those came in the second half. In other words, from players who are not likely to play much during the regular season. Happy happy joy joy.
Final: 110-102, Mavs
PS: Dirk as a personal favor to me could you put your tongue away? It makes you look silly. And it makes me have bad thoughts.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Theme Song: Mortal Kombat OST, "A Taste of Things To Come"
Game Info: From NBA.com
That was fun!
- Oh that's why the organization ponied up their immortal souls to get Jason Kidd. The triple-double threat lives.
- Kidd and Dirk only played for, maybe, twenty minutes. Good stuff to be had from them, but not needed. Why drag out the .50 cal when the M16's getting it done? Honest to God, official garbage time came with four and a half minutes left in the fourth; you probably could've declared it after halftime.
- Hihi! This is the first time I've seen Desagana Diop on the floor, and I think I like him. Splitting time between Dampier and Diop at the 5 makes sense to me, especially if he keeps playing good defense.
- I wasn't focused on the bench so I might've missed it, but it's something of a relief to not see Coach damn near drop dead of a heart attack eight or nine times. His huddles look like Story Time; "Come in close boys and girls, come on."
- JJ Barea . . . Fish characterizes him as the Mavs's pet rock, and I'm sorry but I didn't see much to refute the claim. Which makes Kidd's long-term endurance a worry again. Preseason, the eighty-two, plus post-season, and we need hardcore hero shit from him on a regular basis.
- I'm not a huge fan of the player parody vids, but making fun of Mark Cuban's a giggle. Diop's Welcome Back video was cute too.
- Antoine Wright. If he turns into a serious rotation player, the Kidd trade looks like much less of an overpayment.
- Ladies and gentlemen, Brandon Bass!
- The fanbase will forgive Josh Howard for behaving like an idiot this summer if this performance is an omen for the season. Though to be fair there were a few plays that probably reflect less on J-Ho's excellence and more on the Wizard's total breakdown on both ends of the floor. Serious, J-Ho got two or three fast-break layups in a row from some snatch-it-and-pass-it steals. Hey Wizards, wanna try for another one or do we see a pattern developing here?
- I love watching Jet Terry play. Lands neatly on his toes while catching a feed from Dirk, turns around, two points. Tasty.
In The Wash:
One thing the Mavs haven't lacked for me is The Potential. We can be really fucking awesome . . . which last year led to a few months of tantilizing glimpses of greatness bracketed by games in which the rest of the conference sharpened their claws on us. Lots of standing around looking confused. I saw that here too . . . but this time I have the hope of answers forthcoming. The preseason's for hammering out the rotation and game plans in real-game situations. In one sense, this game solves nothing. The Wizards didn't provide enough of a challenge. In another, the fans who've been hanging onto the wait-and-see perspective have gotten some returns -- a dominating win. And some good-looking basketball.
Bandwagon Bumper Sticker: Get in. Sit down. Hang on. Start yelling.
Final: 108-82, Mavs
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
After a summer full of full-time committment (and pay, thank God) for part-time work, prayers that The Boards would be interesting without being bitchy (riiiiiiight), lots of lol cats (because monorail cats are funny), and too much time looking for good pictures of the big guy (damn pajama uniforms), the off-season is nearly over. We're sitting in the theater, suffering through easy listening and mediocre R'n'B, watching the ads and movie quiz cards flip across the screen (and they've already gone through the set eight times), and finally, there's a click, the screen goes dark, the lights go down, and the talking starts to quiet.
It's been a long few months. And it's going to be an even longer few months as I watch my Mavs become what they're going to be in 08-09. Will the new coach be as advertised, able to balance running offense with brick-wall D? Will Jason Kidd have one more season of greatness before riding into a future rich with alimony suits? Will Josh Howard finally crystalize under pressure, instead of just cracking? Will Stack's body hold out? Will the Four-String Motherfucker give us all the gifts the Hornets were too stupid to take? Will our young guns grow into heros in their own rights? Will Our Dirk become, once more, a player who kills so cleanly you're in Hell five minutes before you realize you're dead?
And will it be enough?
We'll see. Binoculars, train ticket, victory cigarette -- I'm ready!
Friday, October 3, 2008
Gerald Green's not looking at serious floor time? That's disappointing. I'd hoped to see some good stuff there.
I'm not schooled enough in the game to get why this is a big deal . . . but I'll note it for future research; the Mavs are working up a lot of depth at the center position. Dampier and 'Gana Diop are taking turns starting at scrimmage, Brandon Bass is being cross-trained as a 5, and Dirk's played center before. Still not sure why that's getting emphasized. I'll figure it out as the season gets rolling.
There'll be more scholarly stuff soon, promise.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Put aside the potential problems in backcourt and perimeter depth (Hollinger, ESPN). Focus instead on those two little words everyone likes to throw around when competetive drive is aroused -- killer instinct.
The greats have it. Larry Bird eats baby kittens as snacks. Raw. Michael Jordan could've caused miscarriages with sheer force of mean. Michael Irvin (former Cowboy turned local sports blowhard), when his son points at his kid's league opponets saying "Dad they're my friends," barks "NO THEY'RE NOT!!!" Bill Russell writes, "No pussycats, please."
Killer instinct is about knowing where the other guys're weak and taking outrageous advantage of that knowledge. If that means making Shaq run his butt off when he's out of condition -- thereby making him look stupid -- you do that. If it means traipsing just this side of foul trouble manhandling Pau Gasol, okay. If it means making Dirk play on his toes when he's rolling on a bad ankle . . . if you're the bad guy (and may you burn in a Special Hell), that's a plan.
It's about fear. None for you, all of you. And it's something the Mavs have lacked.
Respect for this team is grudging at best, and nobody's really scared of us. Coach Carlisle is making a special note of that yesterday. "I’m looking for a few assholes here," said the coach. "Hating the opponent. Hating the opponent is a good start . . . Bird hated everybody."
Is that what we really need? A bred-in-bone son of a bitch? Or two? Or three?
Eagerness for the season just ticked up another notch. It'll be interesting to see what the players will do with permission to turn loose their inner bastards. I'm operating on the assumption that, in order to thrive in pro sports, every player's got one.
Meantime, I'd love to be a cat outside the gym there at SMU. Gauge the 'tudes of the players after practise. See if it's hit the "Somebody make the bad man stop" stage.
I'm evil that way.