Monday, April 28, 2008

Game 4: NO 97 - Dal 84

Some quick thoughts after tonight's heart-wrenching, season-killing, morale-crushing, Kidd-ejecting, Hornet-stinging loss:

+ Jason Kidd's flagrant foul disgusted me. After looking at a few replays, I get that he was going for the ball, but the bottom line is he threw a guy down by the head. Thank goodness Jannero Pargo got his hands down to brace himself on the landing or he would have hit face-first. I don't think Kidd is a dirty player, but that was a dirty foul. It was ugly. It was unnecessary. And there are plenty other ways to foul someone hard and make sure they don't make the bucket without slamming them down by the head.

+ Kidd's foul gives a green light to any other team that wants to bodyslam a Maverick in a future game. I would never want to see Dirk get his head palmed by someone else and flung to the hardwood. Unfortunately, the Mavs can't complain about hard fouls in the near future.

+ As TNT went to Avery Johnson's press conference, Charles Barkley's comments said it all. "What's he gonna say? 'We're getting our ass kicked'?" Pretty much.

+ When Dirk hit that big three-pointer late in the third to bring the score to 63-68, I really thought Dallas would complete the comback and win. Nope.

+ Where was Brandon Bass in the fourth quarter? I think at that point you go with Kidd, Terry, Bass, Dirk and Dampier. Kidd runs the offense. Dirk and JET score. Bass and Dampier clean up the boards. I don't know why Bass wasn't on the court, but I know he could have helped.

+ Josh Howard, your career is in trouble. In the immediate aftermath of all this pot-talk, you play a horrible playoff game. Where there's smoke, there's fire, and J-Ho now finds himself facing some serious heat for his low scoring and high times. Don't worry, Josh. The offseason is one game closer after tonight, so get ready to light 'em up.

+ Things don't look good for Avery. He could do no wrong when he took this team to the finals and finished that up with a 67-win season. But since the franchise-destroying loss in Game 1 to the Golden State Warriors in Dallas, this entire organization transformed and is worse off as a result.

+ Stat sheet scares...

Just glancing at the box score from Game 4, there are a few things that are just plain horrendous if you're a Mavs fan - or even just a random basketball fan who has any functioning brain activity.

+ J.J. Barea (8 pts) outscored the following Mavericks: Josh Howard (6 pts), Erick Dampier (4 pts), Jason Kidd (3 pts), Devean George (4 pts), Jerry Stackhouse (2 pts), and Eddie Jones (3 pts). I realize they were all in garbage time after Kidd had been ejected, but come on, that's just horrible. Nothing against Barea, but if he's outscoring three starters and several role players - garbage time or not - the Mavs have bigger problems than the New Orleans Hornets.

+ Josh Howard's line: 32 min, 3-16 FG, 6 pts, 7 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk. Yuck.

+ Jason Kidd's line: 1-6 FG. Everyone said when the trade happened that Kidd wasn't much of a shooter, but he would come through when it mattered. It mattered Sunday. Kidd's best shot was the one he took at Jannero Pargo's head.

+ Mavericks in double-figures: Dirk (22), Jet (20) and Brandon Bass (12). Hornets in double-figures: Peja Stojakovic (19), David West (24), Morris Peterson (10), Chris Paul (16), Jannero Pargo (11), and Julian Wright (11). We're a long way from the run-and-gun days of Nellie-ball. I realize that those Mavs couldn't defend, but if these guys now don't defend anyway, Dallas might as well play a Suns '05/Mavs '03 style of basketball and light up the score board. I realize that doesn't win titles, but neither will Mavs '08.

+ Mavs shot 36% from the field. The Hornets: 50%. There's your ballgame.

The series is heading back to New Orleans. Game 5 is Tuesday and the Hornets can finish off the Mavs season in just 48 more minutes. I wonder if these guys have anything left.

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