Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Boom goes Barea: Mavericks 100, Clippers 98

Amazing win by the Mavericks last night. After an extremely disappointing loss to the Clippers early this season, the Mavericks needed to beat this team simply because if - if - the Mavs are truly a playoff-caliber team, then they absolutely must beat the teams they're supposed to beat. Especially at home.

And just as important as winning the game was how this team won it. Just as they did one week ago, the Mavs overcame a double-digit fourth quarter deficit to wrestle away a well-fought win. And just like last week - when Antoine Wright scored 24 points to help beat the Pacers, there was once again an unlikely hero: Jose Juan Barea.

Or as they called him on the Clippers TV broadcast, Juan Jose Barea. But regardless of which order you put his first names, the best comment of the night came from Clippers TV color man Michael Smith after Barea hit the game-winning three-pointer: "Who is this guy?"

I guess we now know why JJ Barea has been able to hang onto the bottom of the Mavericks roster the past few seasons. He has had big games before, but the perception has been that he's merely a JV call-up getting to play in a varsity game. And when coach Rick Carlisle had the smallest player on the Mavs roster on the floor down the stretch, I initially thought it was horrible.

But Barea made plays, including setting up Dirk for one of his two big three-pointers to open the fourth quarter. It's not like Barea was a complete nobody before joining the Mavs, but he's appeared as nothing more than a gimmick at point guard up until recently. Carlisle is really trusting the depth of the Mavs to make plays, and the young players are responding. Perhaps Carlisle really does know how to get more out of his roster, his players than Avery Johnson did.

Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Brandon Bass, and Barea. Those were the five on the floor to finish things off. Obviously when Josh Howard returns, he'll be on the floor in the clutch as well, and depending on if the other team has a big-time center, perhaps Dampier or Diop will be out there. But last night, it worked. Beautifully.

The Mavericks 100-98 win over the Clippers gives this team one more comeback to put in the bank. One more reason when they trail tougher competition late in games to believe they can come back. Yes, they came from 15 points down to beat the Clippers, but if you can't do it against them, how could you be expected to do it against LA's other team?

And really, isn't that what we need to find out about the Mavericks?

Avery unneeded as Stars extinguish Flames

Great win for the Stars last night, who won back to back games for the first time all season (the first consecutive regular season wins since February 26 and 28 last season). The 3-2 win in Calgary came just hours after newly acquired Sean Avery fulfilled the role many expected him to play: the distraction.

I don't think what Sean Avery said is as big of a deal as how he went about saying it. The guy essentially called a mini press conference, making sure everyone was focused on him before his sloppy seconds comment. If he had yelled this comment to Phaneuf on the ice during the game, in the heat of battle (or even after the game if the two got into it), I could understand that. But to go about making this announcement the way he did, he wanted to make sure he stole the headlines.

Only problem is that commissioner Bettman stole them back when he suspended Avery indefinitely. Does the punishment really fit the crime? Probably not. But sadly it does fit the perpetrator.

How long until Avery is back on the ice? And when that time comes, where will the Stars be? Last night, they took major steps forward with Marty Turco making big saves and Fabian Brunnstrom realizing he is in fact allowed to continue scoring goals. Dallas is still in the Western Conference basement, but it's great to beat a tough team like the Flames.

I'm hoping Garry Bettman takes his time to reinstate Avery. Not too long, but perhaps give the Stars a few more opportunities to take the ice. Perhaps removing Avery from the picture can allow this team to refocus on hockey and now his sloppy seconds.

Is it possible Sean Avery is now the biggest knucklehead athlete in Dallas? We've got quite a list of them now with Avery, Pacman, Vicente Padilla, Terrell Owens, Josh Howard...

Elisha Cuthbert

With Sean Avery's comments about Dion Phaneuf and other NHL players falling in love with his sloppy seconds, I figured I'd take the opportunity to show you just how "sloppy" those seconds are. Seriously, would you complain? I think Phaneuf will be just fine...

See more pictures of Elisha Cuthbert...


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