Monday, May 09, 2011
It became abundantly clear on Sunday that the Dallas Mavericks were the better team this year than the Los Angeles Lakers. All I heard from Lakers fans during the first 3 games of this series was how the Lakers were tired and just gave the games away. To that, I say that conclusion in incorrect. When a team can hang around until 6 minutes left in the game and then outwork, outplay, and outshoot you to win the game, they are the better team. The Lakers couldn't execute in the final minutes not because they didn't want to, but the Mavericks had a better scheme and better execution of their gameplan.
A couple of observations from Game 4. To stop Dallas, you need to bother their shooters from the 3-point line. If you play the matador defense on the Mavericks, the penetration will have the effect of opening up the 3 point barrage that the Mavericks like to employ. Pressure the Point and having defensive rotation is necessary unless you hope the Mavs are cold in their shooting. The last 6 games that they have played, they haven't gone ice cold. They have won all 6. Might not be the best plan.
The Mavericks played around with zone defenses during much of the 1st half of the season and that has given them an advantage now. Why? Because of the less beating and banging of their bodies. If you are playing a 2-3 zone, your players aren't sitting there banging for position all the time with the opponent. It also made their team one of the most cardio fit teams in the league. You have the guards running from side to side, the Forwards moving in and out covering the corners and the post. How can you not improve your cardio in doing that defense.
The final thing for the Mavs is that the talent level on that team is outrageous. The rotation is one of the best 3 in the league. And that is without Caron Butler out for the season. You have 8 players on this team that could be stars for other teams. Not all would be the 1st scoring option, but they could be nice starters for playoff teams. And Rick Carlisle has them playing as a team, not like a bunch of individuals like the Lakers.
Speaking of the Lakers, way to lose like Chumps. Lamar Odom decided that he would revert to his early NBA days and forearm Dirk's chest. That got him tossed. Then the serial flagrant foul person, Andrew Bynum tried to break JJ Barea's ribs with a nice elbow right under the right arm. The NBA should announce on Tuesday that Odom has been fined $40,000 and suspended for the next 2 games of next year's regular season. For Bynum, he has a long history of doing this. give him $90,000 and 8 games. And I can't forget Kobe. Um, Mr. I am the greatest in the world, don't continue to say that the Lakers just handed games to the Mavericks. They came out and did what a champion does. They looked you straight in the eye and beat your ass out on that court. If you want to see how to react civilly to losses, use the Mavericks exits over the past 5 years as your guide.
Goodbye and Good Luck to Phil Jackson. I didn't like the teams that he coached and their dynasties, but you have to give credit to the man. He can coach and he walks into situations where the talent is there and just needs motivation. 11 titles is outstanding and he deserves to be on the Mt. Rushmore of professional basketball coaches. Maybe we won't hear about how the referees are calling it against his team if he is etched in stone.
Finally, I am sure that in the next couple of days we are going to hear the soap opera that is the Lakers ad nauseum throughout the news and all the problems that this team had. Great. Kobe and Pau don't like each other. Bynum feels like nobody likes him. Odom sulks in the locker room. Shannon Brown is convinced that he is a star. Same with Mat Barnes. Bring out all the stories and it doesn't change a thing. The Lakers had the talent to win the NBA Championship, they just didn't have the team.