Whyyyyyyyyy?!The Dallas Mavericks:
Another year, another crushing first round exit for the Mavericks...a team that some people were predicting would make the NBA Finals. And in the process, Dallas became the first number two seed to be beaten by a number seven seed since the NBA went to a seven-game series format for the first round.
What a kick in the balls for Mavs fans. On the one hand, the team has won at least 50 games for the past 10 years. On the other, they've been whupped in the first round in three of the last four seasons. That includes early exits as both the first and (now) second seed.
What can I say? Fail is in this team's DNA.
Of course, it's worth noting that Dallas went down fighting. After scoring a franchise playoff low 8 points in the first quarter -- yes, you read that correctly -- and falling behind by as many as 22 points in the first half, the Mavericks went on a furious run and actually took a one-point lead in the third quarter. But it's hard to maintain that kind of back-from-the-dead momentum, especially after falling into a hole that deep...
...and of course they couldn't.
Said Tim Duncan: "I think we took a lot of their energy, a lot of their effort getting back into it after being so far down. Hopefully we used that against them and closed the game out."
And now all Dallas can do is wait until next season...and hope Dirk Nowitzki doesn't decide to opt out of his contract
Said Dirk: "Going into the playoffs as a No. 2 seed, it is all we could have wanted. We just happened to see a tough No. 7 seed that got rolling at the right time. ... I haven't really thought about my future. I guess I have some time now to think about my future and think about my options."
Added Jason Terry (2 points, 1-for-7): "To me, it's a failure, you don't win a championship, I mean we failed. That was our goal. Life's not over, you work hard on your game individually and come back next year hoping we can do it again. As of right now, it's a failure."
Countered Brendan Haywood (2 points and 3 fouls in 21 minutes): "The only reason (the Spurs) were the 7 seed is because they've been hurt all year. This could have been the Western Conference finals. The teams are that good. This isn't like a monumental upset or anything. You all are talking like this is the NCAA tournament and the 15 seed just beat the 2."
Whatever makes you feel better, Brendan.
Did you know: The Mavericks have the second-highest payroll in the league
?Mark Cuban, cryptic quote machine:
"I'm not proud of the NBA. I'm not proud of my inability over the last 10 years to have an impact like I want to have. So I kind of feel like I owe fans an apology. But that's just the way this business goes."
Cuban then "declined to elaborate." Probably because David Stern won't let anybody talk about officiating anymore.Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion:
I already paid tribute to the crappy performances by Terry and Haywood. Now how 'bout Kidd, who played a game-high 43 minutes but finished with only 3 points on 1-for-6 shooting and had nearly as many fouls (5) as assists (6). How did the Spurs shut down Kidd's offense in this series? By guarding his jumpers. That's it. That was the secret.
As for The Matrix, his 6/4/0 performance was a solid reminder why the Suns didn't want to give him a max contract a couple years back. And Dallas signed him through 2013-14!! Is that better or worse than the fact that they're paying Ericka Dampier (zero points and 5 rebounds in 21 minutes) more than $13 million next season? I'll let you decide.Reggie Miller, quote machine:
Basketbawful reader Greg with another awesome Reggie-ism: "The Spurs have one of the best coaches in George Popovich." A couple lesser Reggie-isms from last night that I jotted down: "A grown man professional," "the early on stages," and "the jubilee of Tim Duncan." I know, the last one is kinda-sorta okay, but it sounds pretty fruity, doesn't it?The Portland Trail Blazers:
There sure is plenty of blame to spread around in this one. LaMarcus Aldridge blocked some shots (5) and worked the boards (9), but he forgot which way the rim was (5-for-17). Ditto for Andre Miller (2-for-10) and Brandon Roy (4-for-16, 1-for-8). And remember: After the Frail Blazers lost Game 5 in Phoenix, Roy blamed his sour performance on his role as a reserve. Well, things didn't really improve when he was promoted back to the starting lineup.
Said Roy: "I was happy I was able to play. I wasn't able to play as well as I liked. I didn't have quite the bounce that I needed but at least I can go into the summertime knowing that I'm healthy and I finished the season out with my guys."
I should also point out that Marcus Camby -- fresh off his big extension!! -- finished with 4 points, 4 rebounds, zero blocked shots and a game-worst plus-minus score of -18 in 21 minutes. The team's former starting center -- Zombie Juwan Howard -- had a single rebound and 2 fouls in 16 minutes.
I'd also like to point a finger at the man defending Jason Richardson (28 points, 10-for-16 from the field, 5-for-8 from downtown), but I'm not sure anybody was. And did I mention Portland was outrebounded 40-35, with the ancient Grant Hill grabbing a game-high 12 boards? Speaking of which, Hill advanced past the first round for the first time in his 14-year career...so yay for him.
The end result was the Blazers' sixth straight first round playoff exit...the longest active streak in the NBA.
Said Portland coach Nate McMillan: "Seemed like every time we were able to get close we'd make a mistake. Whether it was a turnover or a bad possession, they make you pay. Nash has had that MVP-type season. Richardson was big this series. Amare came with his 'A' Game tonight."
Ah well. The Blazers can look forward to being an up-and-coming team again next season...until the next round of crippling injuries hit them.Alvin Gentry, quote machine:
"At the end of the night, they shot 38 percent. To me, that's a credit to our defense. Nobody really talks about it, but we like it. In the locker room, we pat each other on the back."Lacktion report:
chris is proud to present Thursday's Nintendo Power playoff lacktion report:
Mavs-Spurs: Ian Mahinmi and Garrett Temple are getting a few more 1-ups after sharing the spotlight in savoring victory through 16 seconds as MARIO BROTHERS!
Suns-Frail Blazers: Earl Clark ate a bowl of Nintendo cereal in just 52 seconds to crunch out a Mario, while Juwan Howard has made it to the infirmary in 15:50 with a diagnosis of a 2:1 Voskuhl by negating a board with a pair of fouls and a piece of masonry.
Labels: Worst of the Night