the warriors have to be feeling good about themselves at the half after trailing by 18. they trail 60-52 with baron davis and stephen jackson combining to shoot 4-of-18. so how did the mavs' lead get to single digits? 1. jason terry running the offense. mavs really need a true backup point guard. 2. too many ineffective forced postups when the halfcourt offense stagnates. 3. too many silly turnovers.
still, the mavs lead by eight. better than being down by eight.
andris biedrins has given the warriors a little boost, but they are simply not in a groove. They only have six assists, compared to 12 for the mavs, who are getting the bulk of their offense in a nice rhythm. and the warriors have been kind of a mess defensively.
some things to look out for while watching tonight's mavs-warriors tilt:
1. how the mavs cut off the lane and how they funnel penetrators. 2. will the mavs make the right defensive rotations and be able to step out on 3-point shooters? 3. dallas' ability to run an efficient offense and keep their identity. 4. can the mavs force the warriors to play dallas basketball, or will they have to play the warriors' style?
The Mavericks apparently have a some sort of efficiency rating system they use to gauge players throughout the league. Wednesday evening, coach Avery Johnson declared that Warriors point guard Baron Davis is playing at an MVP level:
"In our rating, he's like No. 2 in the NBA behind LeBron," Johnson said. "That's pretty good company there."
Davis is averaging 22.3 points, 8.1 assists and 4.9 rebounds, while playing nearly 40 minutes a game.
As everyone in the area knows, Don Nelson is an original. Players love playing for him and Nellie never has forgotten what it was like to be a player. Nor has he forgotten that despite the millions and millions of dollars players make, it's still a game.
The latest example was at the Golden State practice today. The players lined up after practice to compete in half court shooting. Stephen Jackson was the first to swish a shot for the first team and then former Maverick DJ Mbenga, whose range is dunk-to-two feet, shocked everyone by making a half court shot for the reserves. No one was more shocked than Mbenga, who raced down the court screaming with one finger held in the air.
Then Nellie came back on the floor after a TV interview and announced a shooting game from midcourt. If a player made the shot, he got nothing. If he missed it, he owed Nelson $100.
Two players, including Jackson, attempted shots and both missed.
"When we get back to the hotel," Nelson said, "I want $100 in cash from both of you."
Nellie then announced he was going to spend the money on fine cigars.
"These guys have so much money they don't know what to do with it," Nelson said, smiling at his own cleverness.
Jackson laughed about the contest.
"He's taken money from me all year long," Jackson said. "I've probably given you $400 this year because when he says the next person who shoots misses owes $100, I always shoot just to mess with him."
Old-timers say rivalries in football, like Cowboys vs. Redskins, just aren't the same anymore because the players don't really hate each other. Because of free agency, big money, etc., etc., all these guys seem to be friends instead of enemies.
Same could be said, it seems, for the Mavs and Warriors. You'd think there'd be a pretty good dislike for one another. And at Wednesday morning's shootaround, a TV reporter was trying to rile up Jason Terry by asking him if he took offense to G'State point guard Baron Davis calling the Mavs soft after the first meeting in November.
Terry didn't bite, saying that Baron can say what he wants, that it's not about who talks the loudest or calls who the worst names, but rather who produces on the court.
As Terry's answering the question, the Warriors enter the AAC court for their shootaround. Coach Don Nelson interrupts the interview to give Terry a hug. Then Stephen Jackson begins a playful chant directed at Terry of "Terry-aki." And as soon as Terry finishes the interview, he heads toward Baron, cheerfully says, "What up G?" and the two embraced.
Oh well. Fans might want rival players to hate each other all the time, but I guarantee there will be no hugging on the court. Of course, Magic and Isiah used to kiss...
The Mavs got a bit of revenge on one of their newest nemises in game 5 of the season with a 120-115 win in Golden State. It didn't quite make up for losing in the playoffs against the Warriors, but it did give the Mavs a little confidence boost that they could go into the Warriors home and get a win. Now, they'll be back on their home court to try and prove it was a fluke. However, the Warriors are a little different since the Mavs last met them...
Action Jackson returns The most intimidating force for the Warriors in the playoffs, and some say the biggest difference maker in that series, returns to face the team he helped best last season. You can rest assured he will be hassling Dirk all night and being as aggressive as the Mavs allow him to. He can score from all over and is playing the best ball of his career. He scores a lot, but shoots a low percentage. The Mavs need to force him into contested jump shots if they want to contain him.
Slow start, strong since After losing their first six games of the year, the Warriors have gone 18-7. They are 10-7 on the road for the season, so it isn't like they are much weaker on the road. The Mavs saw the Warriors take two games out of four at the ACC last season, and they'll look to get another one with their brash style of play.
No defense, but you knew that Everyone knows by now, the Warriors can't stop anyone from scoring and will try to outscore you to win. They are dead last in scoring defense and second in scoring offense. They are also the league leaders in field-goals attempted, three-pointers attempted and three-pointers made. They are also near the top in steals, which will lead to a lot of frustrating fast breaks and exasperated-looking timeouts from Avery Johnson throughout the game. The Mavs are going to need to watch their passing lanes and watch out for the trailer on the fast break who will be looking to take a wide-open three pointer very often.
When the Mavs beat the Warriors 120-115 back in November at their place, only one thing was missing -- Stephen Jackson. He was serving a seven-game suspension to start the season so he missed out on guarding Dirk Nowitzki, a job he did pretty well in the first round.
With the Warriors in Dallas Wednesday night, I'll have an article that morning looking at the matchup between Dirk and Jackson and the Mavs and Warriors.
While Jackson seemed to really irritate Nowitzki in that series, Jerry Stackhouse was adamant on Monday that it wasn't so much what Jackson did to Nowitzki, but rather what Nowitzki and the Mavs did to themselves.
Here's Stackhouse's take on Jackson's defensive role in the playoffs:
"I just think we didn't take advantage of some of the things that we should have. We weren't aggressive in our moves. We allowed him to play; up until that series, nobody had ever thought of Stephen Jackson as no hell of a defensive player. He was just a guy that could shoot the basketball. He made some big shots for San Antonio when they won the championship that year . But, he's not no defensive stopper or anything. I think it was moreso what we allowed to happen to us. Like anything basketball is a game of confidence. When they come out and for a game and tell him that he did a good job on Dirk, now all of a sudden he's looking for him. It's up to Dirk to get that back. What's a better opportunity to do that than Wednesday night?"