By Craig Kwasniewski
His Dirkness pulled a Manu Ginobili as the Mavs 13-game winning streak ended in last night's 101-98 loss to the Lakers. Did Dirk flop endlessly all over the court? Is he actually 10-years older than listed? Does he need a Propecia prescription? Did he flop all over the floor? Does he flop endlessly?
No, not the typical Ginobili traits. Instead he fouled and gave the other team's superstar a game-saving And-1. In this case, with 90 seconds left and the Lakers trailing by four points, Nowitzki fouled Kobe on a drive for a three-point play. Until then, the Lakers had rallied feverishly, but Kobe missed a big freethrow the previous possession and with Dallas seemingly never missing their freethrows, it looked like the Lakers blew their chance at stealing a win. That was until Dirk did his best Ginobili impression.
BTW - The Mavericks online shop is by far the best in the NBA. They have a t-shirt commemorating that HUGE And-1 from the 2006 Western Conference Semifinals for $24.99. Brilliant!
Anyway here's a few other thoughts from the Lakers-Mavs clash from my seats in section 316:
One word... Sasha Freakin' Vujacic: To give Mavs fans perspective on how outlandish it is to see this guy hit two clutch threes; imagine the worst player on your roster, who complains endlessly to the refs on every foul call, who commits dumb turnovers, who misses virtually every uncontested jumper and who's the biggest douchebag on your team. That is what Sasha Vujacic is to the Lakers. Basically he's what Devean George is to the Mavs. Believe me, I went nutzo when he hit those shots, but I still think he's a douchebag. (I even said it before here.)
Devean George: Speaking of Devean George, the biggest shock of the night was the video montage honoring LeDev's time as a Laker. Come on! This guy was worthless for years in LA and suddenly he gets a highlight reel along with a "Thanks Devean" on the video screen?!? Where were the clips of the ill-advised And-1's that he frequently gave up? The least they could have done was show that blown uncontested dunk in the 2003 playoff loss to San Antonio. Does this mean we'll see a video montage when Stanislav Medvedenko returns to LA?
Devean George, Part 2: I especially loved that the best shot the Dallas Mavericks had to tie the game was a three pointer from Devean George. Did anyone in the entire world (LeDev's family included) actually think he had a chance at that one? Exactly!
Dallas Defense: I keep hearing how much Dallas' defense has improved this year. Well, the experts were right. I was especially impressed with how quickly they rotate and switch on defense. Avery Johnson has done a great job de-Nellie-ing the Mavs.
Avery's Mistake: Avery Johnson made one key mistake that ultimately led to the loss. Avery Johnson put Nowitzki at the center spot in the last five minutes of the game. I'm guessing the move was to spread out the floor on offense and quicken the pace. This move backfired as the Mavs took out any shot-blocking threat on the floor thus enabling the Lakers to drive the lane without any defensive presence inside. Kobe drew that clutch three-point lay from Nowitzki as a result of the switch. I would have kept DeSagana Diop (had a nice block off an earlier Kobe drive) in and taken George out.
Phil Jackson Wins 900: Jackson became the fastest to reach 900, doing so in 1,264 games. Yet another feat better than
quitter back-stabber head coach Pat Riley, who accomplished the feat in 1,278 games. Shockingly some Laker fans still believe that Riles is a better coach. Could someone please remind me how he's doing these days?
Phil Jackson Wins 900, Part 2: I am sooo glad that Jackson didn't pull a George Karl and sport a #900 Laker jersey. Here's Karl in his #800 Nuggets jersey. WOW!