Sunday, November 1, 2009

Games 3 and 4, Dallas Mavericks visit Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers

Theme: God Module, "The Source"
Game Info: Lakers here, Clippers here.

I did not hold a whole lotta hope for this roadie. First of all, the Lakers -- defending champions, damn near unbeatable at home. True, they didn't have Gasol; the Mavericks are still doing without Josh Howard (and will continue to do so for at least another few weeks) and Tim Thomas. Then, the Clippers -- they were 0-6 when the Mavericks visited them for the first time last year . . . Dallas handed them their first victory for the season.

So, after some scrambling to get the A/V setup squared away, I started taping on Friday night. I expected that, couple hours later, I'd just have a game I needed to tape over -- I love my guys, but I'm not so self-abusive that I want to watch losses more than once. The worst case scenario had the Mavs crawling back to Dallas in the wee hours of All Saint's Day, with a 0-3 record and glowing tushies from two Staples Center paddlings.

Not even being up at the half helped -- we were up at the half all three losses last year. The Lakers were getting a shit-ton of offensive boards, I kept waiting for Kobe to start hitting shots, the Mavs weren't shooting it terribly well, the officiating was a mite ragged (to be fair, it was in our favor at least twice).

It wasn't until the last three minutes, when the Mavs had stayed in front for two full quarters and Coach Jackson was purging the bench, that I started to taste the hope. Reaction shots from the Laker bench -- Jackson looked like he was changing a diaper. Bryant scored 20 points on 6-19, and turned it over three times. Artest demonstrated, beautifully, why taking him on was a gamble; 1-4 from the floor, missed his free throws, five fouls plus a T, four turnovers.

Given that it was past midnight when the game went final, I had to do it quietly . . . but I was ecstatic. Still am, actually.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the Clippers. Their first-round pick is out until Thanksgiving or so with a broken kneecap and they're winless as yet. But, I learned the hard way last year never to take certain things for granted. So I accepted being late to The Church's Halloween party and stayed put in front of the TV.

Chris Kaman . . . if things wind up not working out with Drew Gooden, can we leverage his contract into getting Kaman to Dallas? He looked great on Saturday night -- tough, creative, a leader. He tried, I give him that. And the Clips were denied by our own Dampier. Wait, what? Damp was good for a double-double; 6-10 from the floor for 12 points, ten boards, three blocks and an assist. Chalk it up to Contract Year Phenomenon if you wish, but I'll take it.

All in all, an ugly game. Second night of a back-to-back for the Mavericks, fourth game in five nights for the Clippers; everybody looked a mite ragged. The Clippers staged a rally late in the third and stretching to the fourth to tie the game and keep it close. They had an opportunity, they did. Some strategic errors (why did Baron Davis only play 24 minutes?) and some good basketball from the Mavs (ten stops in a row!) killed it.

I'm very encouraged. It isn't just that we won the games; we won on the road, in a back-to-back, when we weren't shooting well and are still missing a starter. Everybody's starting to get with it defensively, meaning it's not a death sentence if Dirk and Terry aren't hitting lights out.

Final: 94-80, Mavericks!
Final: 93-84, Mavericks

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