Saturday, January 10, 2009

Game 35, Dallas Mavericks host New York Knicks

Theme: The distant screams of about ten thousand fans.
Game Info: Clickity.

Halfway through the first, the audio in the AAC quit. No Humble, no Chris Arnold, no Ally D, no chant-guides (it's funny how you're a little lost without Humble Billy Hayes hollering in your ear), no amplified swish to let everyone know the shot dropped. The Drumline did what they could to provide us a backbeat. By the way, if you're going to a Mavs game and can afford lower bowl seats, get them as close to the back rows of Section 112 as you can. The Drumline alone is worth ticket price.

The audio's not the only thing that needed some jury-rigging.

- I went home mad from this one. Why? Because these are the Knicks. The marquee Defense Later team in the league . . . and they somehow managed to hold Dirk to ten points (only three field goals for God's sake!) and Jet Terry to ten points.

- However, I saw on the Morning News that Dirk's fighting a headcold. If it's the same virus I caught over Christmas, that explains a lot.

- It became clear fairly early that it was going to be another one of those nights. The charge that the Mavs don't move well without the ball is a fair cop just lately.

- Rebounding. Rebounding, rebounding, rebounding. Good things happen when you get greedy with the ball.

- I don't know if it's a referee blind spot when it comes to the Mavs or if it's bad decisions on Dallas's part, but why is it whenever the Mavs commit a foul it's almost always "in the act of shooting" but when we get fouled it isn't?

- Wright stuff! Antoine got the start and comported himself as a man. 13 points, two assists, and a steal. Coach's demands for the starting shooting guard slot are not extreme (I get the feeling he's downchecked his expectations somewhat); keep the spot warm for Terry and sub in for Jet when he needs a breather.

- Devean George, DNP. After the boneheaded Mega-Mario appearance in the Clips game (0.8 seconds of play time, committed one foul which resulted in four enemy points), all I can say is thank God and pass the Cheetos.

- There's the Bass we know and love. He was taking it in, getting fouled, making his free throws (mostly), rebounding, and blocking. He's the only Mav with double-digit boards this game. Also a couple of steals. Please say this is a harbinger and not a fluke.

- Interesting shakeup. Dampier came out with a couple of fouls in the second, and instead of getting spelled by Diop like he usually is, Singleton came in as the sub. I saw a couple of bad moves on Jimz's part, but by and large he did his duty. Coach going with a forward-center? Or another wake-up call for our 'Gana?

- J-Ho continues to tease. After kind of being there in the first half, he came alive in the second. Nineteen points, four boards, three assists, three steals. I wish I knew why he's being so inconsistent. I want to like Josh, I really do. There's a lot riding on him being able to get those twenty points and eight rebounds per night, every night. He can't restrict his superheroics to nights when Dirk is either out or present-but-not-there.

In The Wash: Like I said, I came away mad from this one. Because of what I saw as a lack of effort on the defensive end -- lots of uncontested shots. Reading and the Morning News, though, makes me wish I could get the video and rewatch it without a section full of lunatics at my side. Accepting that Dirk and Jet only combined for twenty points and we won anyway . . . I mean, that's not a bad thing. Right? Especially when I saw the Knicks stick a couple guys on Dirk like a set of bookends.

We can chalk this up to a Trust Your Defense win. When the other team struggles making shots, they start doing stupid shit. San Antonio's made that their raison d'etre; keep making it hard to score points and with not-as-good teams, their will dies.

Note the qualifier -- not-as-good teams. We're fresh out of those on the schedule. Other than a trip to Sacramento on Sunday, the next week's grueling. Phoenix tomorrow, then a nasty back-to-back in Denver against the Nuggets then straight back home against the Hornets. The Western Conference playoff picture boils down to the Lakers . . . and eight other teams. Right now Phoenix is the odd one out. I don't count on that lasting.

Final: 99-94, Mavericks

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