by Brett Edwards
After a year in which the Warriors completely dominated Dallas, both in the regular season and the playoffs, it appears that the Mavericks have finally figured them out. As Kenny Smith screamed repeatedly during the dunk contest where Vince Carter was doing ridiculous things, "IT'S OVER!" Dallas dominated from start to finish, and the Warriors must now be wondering if they'll ever win a playoff series again.
The "BALLGAME!" play in this one came late in the fourth, when Dirk blocked Stephen Jackson's shot attempts twice on the same possession, then Stackhouse finished with an acrobatic spinning layup on the other end to seal the deal.
By his teammates accounts, Dirk played his best game of the year.
"He exorcised some of his demons," Jerry Stackhouse said. "It's something that needed to be done."
"He just refused to allow them to double-team him," added Jason Terry. "This was definitely his best game of the year. I liked everything he did."
Even a couple of the Warriors, who are occasionally a little cranky in defeat, were nothing but complimentary towards Dirk:
"I think Dirk just played his game, like the MVP," said Stephen Jackson. "I thought he played great. I think if I could put my hand on one thing it was that he was more patient on the block. I think he just stayed under control. He definitely carried them tonight."
Warriors forward Al Harrington noticed, too.
"Dirk was aggressive. He wasn't passive," said Harrington, who scored 21 points. "He was determined to put his team on his back and play at an MVP level."
So I don't think the Mavs have anything to worry about anymore when it comes to playing the Warriors. But Golden State has plenty to worry about when it comes to thinking playoffs. Now that they have lost their edge on Dallas, who exactly do they think they can beat in the first round? Obviously not San Antonio or Phoenix, and we know what happened when they met up with Utah. The Lakers? Doubtful, considering they were very lucky to beat them last time, and before that one they had lost nine in a row to L.A.
Unless GSW can somehow get one of the top three seeds in the West, there's just no way they're winning a playoff series this year.