Friday, March 16, 2007

Take a deep breath

It's true it was only the Celtics, but still it’s nice to see Dirk take what was shaping up to be a disastrous performance and turn it into 30/12/4 on 50% shooting. In about 13 minutes of playing time starting with 3:41 left in the third, Dirk went for 26 points and 7 rebounds on 8/10 FG and 10/11 FT. His 13-footer sealed the win by giving Dallas a 5-point lead with 4.8 seconds left.

As to the other night, I don't find it that hard to forgive the missed free throws and the missed jump shots at the buzzer––those things just happen sometimes, and Dirk hits the big free throws at the ends of games far more than he misses them. (Buzzer-beating field goals are another matter.) Besides, Dirk came up with huge defensive plays and rebounds at the end of both overtimes that kept Dallas in the game. And for all his heroics, Nash missed a shot in the last 40 seconds of each overtime (the first blocked by Dirk!) that would have practically sealed the win for his team. Turns out no one's perfect.

What scares me about Dirk is the late tech, which means not only that he gave Phoenix an extra point with two minutes left in double OT, but also that he was running down the court yelling at a ref when he should have been getting back to play defense.

In appropriately symbolic fashion, Dirk’s 11/28 shooting against Phoenix dipped him just under (as in, 2 FGM under) 50% shooting for the season. My hunch is, if it’s back above 50% after Detroit, Dallas will have won that game.

The latest numbers on what is still a dream season:
  • Current winning pace is 68 games, a total Phoenix (since they lost tonight to the Pistons) can’t get to even if they finish out undefeated.
  • Dallas has still won 39 of 43 (90.7%).
  • Not counting the current one-game streak (no way to know how long it will go), Dallas’ average win streak for the season is an astonishing 8.8 games.
  • Dallas can top their best record in franchise history by finishing just 8–10.
Clearly, Sunday’s game at Detroit will be an(other) important test.


ryan b said...

Nice to see both San Antonio and Phoenix lose a game. Plus, it looks like tonight, San Antonio lost to Boston and Phoenix is down by 26 at halftime. A little more cushion on the first seed in the West would be much appreciated.

scoots said...

Wow! It's 29 now (Iverson just made a 3 to start the second half). But with Denver shooting twice as well (67%) as Phoenix (33%) for the first half, my money says that trend won't hold for long, and that the Suns will be back into it by midway through the fourth.

scoots said...

OK, so I was wrong. Let's just say that if you're going to let Anthony and Iverson combine to shoot 25/35 (71.4%) for three quarters, you'd better not also let the rest of the Nuggets shoot 18/31 (58.1%).

In consecutive quarters, Phoenix just got outscored by 12, 14, and 12.

scoots said...

Actually, if you go back to last night's Detroit game, Phoenix has been outscored by at least 11 in four consecutive quarters. And overall, they've been outscored (by at least 6 points in each case) in six consecutive quarters.

They must have had one gigantic emotional letdown coming off the win in Dallas.

It looks like the Suns are making a run now, but starting the fourth quarter 17-7 has only got them within 28.