Very little irony to be had in Tuesday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks; the whole thing was as familiar as a rerun of Seinfeld. Everything went exactly as you would imagine: Dirk Nowitzki may be searching for freedom, but he’s not searching for a high shooting percentage, as he hit a ton of his usual awkward-but-effective fade-aways and pirouettes; Coach Avery Johnson ran frantically back and forth throughout, shouting orders like a high school drama teacher during the final dress rehearsal; and Josh Howard did everything for Dallas except authorize a Code Red on T.O. en route to 27 points and 8 rebounds.
If there was any serendipity, it’s that Jason Terry didn’t do that much, and as a result didn’t feel compelled afterward to declare how “clutch” he is (perhaps someone finally told him how ridiculous that sounds when you consider his 20-16 lifetime playoff record). The key to the game was Dallas’s airtight perimeter defense, which was so impassable that Raymond Felton couldn’t even penetrate deep enough to not get a foul call. I don’t even want to know what the final points-in-the-paint numbers were, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Lowe’s Home Improvement doesn’t call at some point to demand a refund for sponsoring that stat. Meanwhile, down low, Primoz Brezec went from high-fouling/high-scoring to just high-fouling, so Eric Dampier and DeSagana Diop had free reign to clog things up.
Doomed to shooting exclusively from long-distance, we actually held our own in the first quarter and led 26-24. But it caught up with us in the second, as we went without a field goal for the first…12 minutes it seemed—jeez, we did score a second quarter field goal, right? All I remember is Derek Anderson shooting some free throws. Oh wait, there was a Gerald Wallace alley-oop. And…ummm…well, Adam Morrison had 17 points, so I’ll just assume that one of those occurred in the second. But that was pretty much it.
The Mavericks stretched it out to 78-65 by the end of the third, and Coach Bickerstaff had Jake Voskuhl, Walter Herrmann, and Melvin Ely all on the floor at the same time for most of the fourth, which should tell you how serious he was about trying to mount a comeback. As for the Mavericks, we got to see a lot of the always electrifying Devean George and Greg Buckner, so as I alluded to in the opening paragraph, if you didn’t get a chance to see the game, don’t kill yourself trying to get a bootleg copy of it.
Boy, who did owner Bob Johnson tick off in the NBA front office? Two games against Dallas, Detroit, and San Antonio, and 1 each with Phoenix, Houston, and Utah…all before we’ve played anyone in our own division twice? Did Johnson block a donation to the scheduling department or something? And as long as I’m thinking about it, thanks a bunch to the Charlotte Observer for making Johnson’s veto of minority owner’s Felix Sabates stock transfer sound as controversial as humanly possible. For those who don’t know, Johnson blocked a proposal by Sabates to give his $1.34 million stake in the team to the foundation that supports Carolinas HealthCare System, a move that is purely business-related and downright uninteresting. But anyone who read the “Bobcats Owner Blocks Donation to Charity” headlines probably pictured starving children, too weak to even swat the bugs from their eyes, collapsing in a heap outside Johnson’s mansion, all while Johnson rolls cigars out of $1,000 bills.