It could be mere hours now before the Suns' playoffs are extinguished and the great Shaq experiment is officially declared a big-time bust. The Spurs can sweep the series with another win in Phoenix coming up. The Mavs can't be eliminated tonight, but they can be pushed to the brink. A first-round exit is not what the Mavs envisioned when they traded for Jason Kidd. Dirk Nowitzki knows that, and he's also been keeping up with his little buddy, Steve Nash, and the Suns.
"It's never easy," Dirk said of making significant trades in February. "You'd love to through a training camp, get used to each other more, get used to the plays offensively and all the defensive calls, but you just don't have that time if you trade in February. I think both teams did as good as they could working through some stuff. I think early on both teams had some troubles, but once they got used to each other a little more, both teams started to play some pretty good basketball.
"It was tough to watch the Suns after that Game 1, a phenomenal effort, probably should have won that game and then they're down 0-3, so it's tough for them."
-- Jeff Caplan