Squatting on Melo

The Dallas Mavericks: The Mavs shot 51 percent, compiled 23 assists on their 38 field goals (compared to only 13 turnovers) and were +7 in free throw attempts. Moreover, their star player, Dirk Nowitzki, had a big-time game (32 points, 9-for-17, 12-for-12 from the line, 10 rebounds, 7 assists) and they ended up with 110 points. Those numbers look great on paper, but Dallas lost by 14 and got eliminated from the playoffs 4-1 in a series that very well could have been a sweep.

So what happened? The better question would be what DIDN'T happen, to which I would reply: Defense. The Nuggets shot 64 percent in the first half and 58 percent for the game. They also won the rebounding battle 38-30 and were +3 on the offensive glass. Meanwhile, the Mavericks forced only 13 turnovers and blocked a mere two shots. Carmelo Anthony (30 points, 13-for-22), Chauncey Billups (28 points, 10-for-16, 7 rebounds, 12 assists) and Nene (17 points, 8-for-10, 7 boards) did pretty much whatever they wanted. For all we know, they also had a four-way with Dirk's monstrous ex-fiance/girlfriend/thing. (And, as Basketbawful reader dnach alerted me, they wouldn't be the only ones who have picked strawberries in that field...)

Dallas did put up a fight, though, and they were still within 6 points (103-97) with just under seven minutes to go before a crazy buzzer-beating three by Anthony and a foul shot by Billups (off a tech that was called on Antoine Wright) pushed the lead back to 10 and pretty much croaked the cowboys. Said Dirk: "That 'Melo three was a killer. We get the technical on top. Back to 10 points." I can only assume these simple words were punctuated by big, marshmallow-shaped tears. (Although, I've gotta give Dirk some props: He averaged 34 PPG in this series.)

So...now what? Dallas generally considered to be the hottest team in the league heading into the playoffs. Yet they were knocked out fairly casually by a Nuggets team that, while obviously pretty darn good, isn't really striking fear into anybody's heart (yet). Even assuming everybody (particularly Josh Howard) is completely healthy next season, it's hard to imagine the Mavs being any better. They're already due to pay out $69 million in salary next season...even with Jason Kidd's $21 million coming off the books. Speaking of which, are they going to resign Kidd? If they don't, they're screwed at the point guard position, and if they do, you have to wonder how much Kidd has left in the tank. I don't think Dirk has a "next level." Josh Howard is one big question mark. Jason Terry is a great sixth man who's earning $10 per year. The team has no cap flexibility, a shaky roster and no depth. At best, they're going to be a borderline playoff team unless Mark Cuban makes some seriously amazing offseason moves.

Hey, everybody has already poured dirt on the grave of the Steve Nash-led Phoenix Suns, in terms of their ability to compete for a championship. How are things any different for Dirk's Mavericks? Anyway, here's a little bonus fun with bad animation:

Allen Iverson / Joe Dumars: Check out this excerpt from the AP game recap:

The impetus for the transformation came when the team made its biggest trade ever, Allen Iverson to Detroit for Billups, who turned his hometown team from an afterthought into a championship contender after leading the Pistons to six straight Eastern Conference finals and the NBA championship in 2004.

"We love Allen, Allen's family," Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke said. "But as Allen has said many times it's still a business. Chauncey was right for us, with the different personalities we have on the club Chauncey was a really important part."

"He's a leader," Anthony said of Billups. "He came on this team and he brought a businesslike attitude to our team. He brought a defensive mindset we were looking for."
Hey, this subject has been beaten to death, but that pretty much sums it up: Dumars traded a leader, winner, and proven champion for a guy who...was not those things. And both Iverson (personally, professionally and in terms of his legacy) and the Pistons as a team were forced to pay a pretty steep price.

Erick Dampier: He scored 6 points in 24 minutes and finished with more fouls (3) than rebounds (2). Plus Nene made him look silly in this series. And guess what? He's got two years and $23 million left on his contract. AWESOME.

Lacktion report: Chris was simply agog over last night's epic lacktivity. Agog, I tell you.

Mavs-Nuggets: WOW! One night after the first non-lacktive evening of the playoffs, George Karl and Rick Carlisle decided to plug in their Nintendo 64 consoles for the first time in many years, resulting in the playoffs' first full-on MARIO PARTY!

Mark Cuban's top lacktator James Singleton (51 seconds) was joined by Gerald Green (34 seconds, and a suck differential of +2 via two misses from the stripe) and Mario Brothers Matt Carroll and Ryan Hollins (23 seconds each) for a soiree on Mini-Game Island.

(Green ended up with a +9 combined suck differential for the second round, the worst combined SD score of the playoffs so far!)

Despite the Nuggets' long run away from the conference finals, George Karl has made the team familiar with the process of lighting up celebratory tobacco (thanks in part to Joe Dumars's recurring nightmare). So he decided to bring out the trio of Renaldo Balkman, Jason Hart, and Johan Petro for a 34-second romp through a 3-on-1 Adventure Mode against Gerald Green, in which all of the Mavs' coins were panned away to the chagrin of the most famous unruly fan-owner man-child in the Association. Petro added a foul to his repertoire as well to give himself a +1 and a 1:0 Voskuhl.
Chris McKendry: And now for a little SportsCenter fail: Stotts Era pointed out that McKendry is, apparently, incapable of saying marijuana.

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Anonymous Shiv said...
Isn't Steve Nash supposed to be Dirk's best friend? Friends don'd let friends...whatever.

On the bright side though, Dirk and Kobe do seem to have at least one thing in common. Turmoil in their personal lives makes them play their best basketball.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
caveat to the dampier thing - second year isnt guaranteed, so the mavs will have a chance to turn his ridiculous contract into a decent player next year in the form of an 11 million dollar expiring contract

Blogger Mintz... said...
umm.. unless I've suddenly lost the ability to read correctly, Tony Banks said that "she was just gorgeous" regarding "Cristal Tayor" AKA Dirk's fiancee.

Are we sure we have the right photograph of this lady or does Bank's just have extremely odd taste in women???

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Is Melo starting an up-shorts website? Oooh...new slash fiction.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
It's like a script from Entourage. Crazy chick sends nude pic to young celeb, trouble ensues.

Not every athlete becomes a cassanova. They are normal guys like the rest of us, throwing reason out the window at the wrong times too.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Dude... is Melo trying to look up JJ's shorts in that picture?

Blogger anne said...
I saw this on TMZ and the first thing I thought was "Basketbawful has to see this".

http://www.tmz.com/2009/05/14/topless-chick-drops-2-on-chicago-bulls-star/Then the second thought was Joakim Noah dates hotter chicks than Dirk (Dear Dirk, if you date a psycho golddigger, at least date someone hot, I'm sure Hef will give you a free pass to the Playboy Mansion). Anyway I don't know why TMZ even posted it, Joakim always does shit like this... it's even expected. I did laugh my ass off at the some of photos.

Regarding Ericka Dampier's contract, I'm sure Cuban and Donnie will be sure to pay him for the whole two years, the whole franchise is a joke. I still like Dirk, and it's too bad that he'll never have a championship as long as he stays there. I'm actually supporting the Rockets (how can I not with the comedy gold that is Ron Artest) until the idiots working in the Mavs management figure out how to put together a decent team. Which won't happen, so... go Rockets (even the 2nd Round Virgin)!

Anyway I read the same article, Mintz, and I couldn't believe he was calling her hot. Even the other photos of her I've seen where she has makeup on, she is just a damn beast. I actually think she looked worse made up.

Anaconda, even though I joked about it, I know Dirk probably isn't the Playboy Mansion type, but generally, don't men lose their wits over someone extremely hot? I mean, I could see him overlooking certain character flaws if she looked like Megan Fox, but it's pretty much a consensus that this bitch is ugly.

Blogger Nick Flynt said...

Kelly Dwyer, the greatest article about sportscasting in history.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
they are effing baked, both of em

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
anne: Sure, hotness is one thing, but you underestimate the power of "I think I have a chance with this girl!", or "This chick will totally do me". Honestly tell me you've never scowled at another girl for acting all easy or floozy, and the guy target was totally just accepting it or not caring.

I'd atleast give him some credit compared to Luke Walton's stalker monster....

Blogger anne said...
Haha, yeah I have totally done that. XD I'm more of an eye roller though, lol.

I just think that there are enough normal, non insane chicks who are gorgeous who Dirk would definitely have a chance with. He could pick any random female fan out at the AAC, and chances are she'd be prettier and non insane (or mostly not insane). Anyway, what it is basically boils down to is me being catty over the internet like everyone else, heh. I don't really give a shit who he dates, but honestly expected him to date better looking women based on his profession, lol.

Anonymous AK Dave said...

We're all shocked. You're right- Dirk should- nay, NEEDS TO- do better than that snaggletoothed, horse-faced noutsnad (that was the WV, and it seems to fit).

The fact that Dirk is slogging around with this hose-beast means that more ultra-hot women are freed up for douchbags to prey upon.

So, you know, when you're browsing hotchickswithdouchebags.com, wondering "what's that hot chick doing with that douchebag?", just know that the very existence of that site should be blamed on Dirk. If he did his job as a mega-rich non-hideous superstar professional athlete, Jessica Sexypanties wouldn't be running around with that asswipe named "Cliff" who sports a barbed wire tatoo around his doughy bicep and grows a half-assed goatee.

It's all Dirk's fault. Damn Germans.

Anonymous RT said...
Luke Walton, Colonel (Captain just isn't high enough) Obvious: “If we can’t win a Game 7 at home, then we are not a championship team.”

Clap. Clap.

Blogger Dunpizzle said...
Does this Kobe moment qualify as superdickery?


Blogger Nick Flynt said...
Houston pulls it off easily. The Celtics choke. Two game sevens coming up.

Crazy Pill/Snake Eggs/Ron-Ron has yet to go off. If he can finally have his big game in Game 7, I'll guarantee victory. Scola will not get those points again, at least not as easily.

Word verification: astmenom

As in, ask me to om nom nom!

Blogger anne said...
I think I'm in love with Shane Battier after this quote: "Hey, we’re part of the NBA, too," Battier said. "We’ve got the NBA logo socks to prove it."

I'm loving the fact that he was a smartass after the game. I mean, Ron Artest's general craziness and now this? The Rockets are making me swoon. If they take game 7, I may have to elope with this team.

My word verification is challs. As in, the Rockets have the challs to beat the Lakers despite what Stern wants.

Anonymous hellshocked said...
If the Rockets pull it off, I'm so looking forward to the obligatory David Stern interview where he looks completely dejected but has to smile and talk about what an exciting team the Rockets are and what a wonderful finals it will be for the league.

The best one I can recall was either just before or during the Spurs-Pistons series a few years back. The man kept smiling so that he would not cry.

Blogger Will said...
RT- That rates a solid 10 on the Dull Negrometer

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Ok. I'll be debbie downer. As satisfying as last night was, I think the Lakers are as much of a lock can be possible in sports to blow out the space cowboys. Though I hope differently.

And AK Dave needs to get out of my mind.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Hey, we’re part of the NBA, too," Battier said. "We’ve got the NBA logo socks to prove it."

That's a great quote.

It sort of addresses something I've been saying for awhile now which is that I am never really overly shocked when one team beats another. All of these guys (99.9%) were all-american high level athletes somewhere at some time in their lives. If one team puts it (whatever it is) together for a stretch or just has that particular style of play that the "superior" athlete can't seem to match up against for some reason (injury, quirkiness, whatever) then hats off to the winner.

Also, the next guy who calls Bryant an "assassin", I may have to slap him around a bit. These highly contested jumpshots minus any real effort to attack the basket head on are not the marks of a killer. Maybe a mad bomber but certainly not an assassin.

Blogger Cortez said...
Quick Edit:

Bryant is an assassin of victims who aren't particularly capable of or willing to fight back.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Cortez -- Can I assume, then, that Kevin Harlan will be headlining your bitchslap list? Because he calls Kobe an assassin pretty much every time he hits a jumper.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Can I assume, then, that Kevin Harlan will be headlining your bitchslap list?"

Numero Uno.

Anonymous Wormboy said...
1) I think folks should lay off Dirk Diggler. I actually found evidence of grudging respect in my heart when I discovered that he wasn't dating the typical NBA bimbo. Of course, that was counter-balanced by the disappointment that Dirk would fall for just another gold digger. I'm sure Helen Gurley Brown is proud of her.

2) I think Joe Dumars, a basketball purist if there ever was one, decided to do the world a favor and reveal what a fraud Iverson is. We are all deeply in his debt, if only because we will never again have to sit through some idiot telling us yet again what pure awesome Iverson is.

3) The Battier quote is gold. I find myself actually liking a Dukie (balanced by the hate I feel for the entire Orlando franchise because of their association with JJ ReDICK).

4) Celtics offensive execution is pure garbage. People are blaming Jesus, when I've seldom seen such pathetic efforts to free up an elite shooter. The comparisons to Reggie Miller continue, but Boston rarely runs the crazy multiple screens that the Pacers routinely ran for Miller.

5) I'm not a praying man, but God I hope the Lakers choke on this one. I'd predict some serious home cooking to protect Stern's investment,but I doubt it's really needed. Nonetheless, keep an eye on the cheap ass fouls in the first two quarters as an insurance policy. That's how Shaq always got protected.