Friday, April 6, 2007


Just to mix things up, instead of saying positive things about the Mavericks, tonight I’m going to say a bunch of negative things (none of them particularly new or original) about the next best two teams in the league––who played each other in San Antonio tonight (the Spurs won 92–85).

Truehoop had a post today about how any real nba fan likes to watch the Suns play. My money says no one enjoyed watching them play the Spurs tonight. Halfway through the fourth, Bowen got a technical after Nash clubbed him and drew blood but Bowen got called for the foul. Steve Kerr commented, “That might have been the most exciting play of the game.”

The Spurs whine more than any team in the league. Bruce Bowen and Manu Ginobili sandwiched James Jones and threw him to the ground on a loose ball, after which both of them did the bit where they hold their hands out and look at the ref in disbelief when they heard the whistle.

Steve Nash pushes off all the time when he’s dribbling.

When Bowen guards a player face-to-face on the perimeter, he puts his entire body up against theirs with his arms outstretched around them; if everyone was allowed to do that, the game couldn’t be played.

Boris Diaw is my least favorite player in the nba. To my mind, he's the stereotypical frenchman with the perpetual sneer and utter contempt for everyone else on the court. Not that all french people are like that; Tony Parker, from what I can tell, is one of the classier players in the league.

Michael Finley has exactly one move. You know the one.

Raja Bell is a jerk.

With about four minutes left in the game, the Spurs’ offensive execution disappeared, and the Suns looked scary for the first time all game.

With two minutes left and the Spurs with the ball, Phoenix intentionally fouled Duncan to put him on the line. Duncan missed both, but he got a huge block against Barbosa the next time down the court.

With 55 seconds left in the game and the Suns trailing by five, Nash tried an awkward bounce pass between the legs of Tim Duncan. The ball made it through cleanly, but it completely surprised Amare Stoudemire, who turned just in time to watch it go out of bounds. The next time down the court, trailing by seven with 30 seconds left, Nash missed a wide-open 3-pointer. In addition to the late turnover, followed by the missed shot, Nash finished the game 6 of 14 for 20 points, just 7 assists, 4 rebounds, and 6 turnovers.

So by the standards Dirk is typically held up to, Nash can’t win the mvp now, since he had a mediocre overall performance and choked at the end of a big game. And it was a big game: the Suns’ lead over San Antonio is down to two games, and the Spurs have the tie-breaker.

After the game, Charles Barkley declared the Spurs the best team in the league, because they play the best defense and also rebound, but Kenny Smith made a nice point in response: he said that the Spurs match up well against Phoenix, the Suns match up well against Dallas, and the Mavericks match up well against San Antonio. So it depends who you play.

That’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but it works in the Mavericks’ favor for what it’s worth: Phoenix will probably get knocked off by the Spurs in the second round, which would put the preferable opponent of the two (the Spurs) in the Mavericks’ playoff path. I think Jeremy’s going to say I’m crazy to prefer playing San Anotonio over Phoenix, but we’ll see.

The most important thing about tonight’s game: Dallas is now 6.5 games ahead of Phoenix with a magic number of two.


micah said...

I'm a little confused. What was negative about that post? :) I thought it was one of your best.

Jeremy said...

I don't think it's crazy to hope for a Spurs rematch. Even though there’s no reason to think a Steve Nash team can win a late-round playoff series, these Suns do look scary.

On the question of whether MVPs must always show up for big games, the answer is: of course not. They're human. My point is that they must perform, more often than not, like superstars in the games that people are watching. Dirk has not done so.

How else to explain that despite dozens of games before national, primetime audiences, Dirk gets little respect? Is it because he doesn’t make the highlight reels? (Well, neither does Duncan.) Is it because he’s foreign and white? (Then what about Nash?) Is it because he hasn’t won a title? (See Nash, Garnett, Iverson, Malone, Barkley.). Is it because people hate Mark Cuban? Now that’s a stretch.

The reason Dirk doesn’t get respect is that he does not perform well enough when people are watching. That, in my opinion, disqualifies him as an MVP.