Friday, May 04, 2007

Good Fishin' That Way!

Emotional meltdown after blowing a 9 pt leadwith 3 minutes left? No problem!

Baron Davis playing on one leg? No problem!

Jerry Stackhouse starting on fire? No problem!

Say what you will about Dirk's performance or Dallas quitting in the 4th quarter, but you can't say I didn't tell you that this was exactly what was going to happen.

Stayed tuned to see if the last Dude team joins the Nugs and the Mavs on the lakes after Saturday night. This observer doesn't see that happening - after all, all the favorites according to my power rankings have won so far.


Head Dude said...

Dude, you're a clown. But I suppose that's why we love you.
It's a very odd feeling right now -- I'm not particularly bummed out, but maybe that's because it was so stunning, and because after the third quarter run, I was just kind of ready for it to mercifully be over. And once the season ends, as disappointing as it is right now, putting aside whoever wins the title, I still like our situation going into the offseason much better than most other teams, though there's more risk of it becoming a mental thing. At least I'm likely to get much better season tickets after some bandwagoners jump off!
And I'm 100% behind Golden State the rest of the way -- how can you not be?!

The Dude said...

How am I a clown? Why were you stunned?
Before the series started, I basically told DudeSpin readers exactly what was going to happen (GS in 6) and exactly how it was going to happen (Baron will dominate; GS will feed off the energy at home; Dallas will struggle offensively inside). The only way the result could have been shocking was if you just didn't lend any gravitas to what I was saying. Of course, I don't know why you wouldn't, as it was based on me watching more Warriors games this season than any of the so-called "experts." Perhaps now you know why I followed the Warriors - they are the extremely likeable version of the Suns who can actually d-up people.

Head Dude said...

Dude, other than agreeing with your last point, you're still a clown.
Baron Davis shot 30% from 3s during the regular season and hit over 46% in the playoffs, including a half-court shot that changed the tone in game four, and a pair of falling, one-legged threes in games 5 and 6. Stephen Jackson was been traded four times, and yet suddenly couldn't miss and hit his first seven threes last night, despite shooting 32% on them for the year. Likewise Jason Richardson, who went from a 41% shooter in the regular season to 51% in the playoffs.
This is a team that got red hot, sprinkled in a little bit of luck, and scored the biggest upset in the NBA playoffs. It was stunning.
In any upset, there are always a few fans here and there who get lucky and predict the outcome. But, eh, I wouldn't quit your day job.

The Dude said...

Head Dude,
We all know that a team's 3pt % is tied to the other team's ability to close out on the shooter. Dallas just didn't do a very good job of doing that. Richardson was also a 47% shooter through all of April after he fully recovered from off season knee surgery (of course, those are the things you pick up by watching the team). I'll grant you that Baron tossed in 3 lucky threes in the seasons. Even so, how do you explain Dallas getting pummelled in two games, and splitting the four relatively close games other than to say that Dallas was beaten by a better team?

If these two teams played a 99 game series, I'd still take Golden State if you can guarantee that all players on both teams would stay healthy.

Head Dude said...

I'd imagine in a 99-game series it would get old at some point! Here's a stat from Elias showing just how remarkable the upset was:

The Dallas-Golden State series was the 20th in NBA playoffs history in which one team had at least 25 more wins than the other in the regular season. Not only are the Warriors the first underdog to win such a series, but the previous 19 teams combined to win only six games, and none of those teams won more than one game in the series.

Marc Stein says we should get JKidd. A Morning News columnist says we should get Chauncey Billips. Dude, I guess you could say the Jet has crash landed!

The Franchise said...

We haven't even mentioned Dirk basically waving the white flag mentally during the series, then following his Game 5 last-minute heroics with... whatever that was last night. Hopefully he uses his MVP trophy to motivate himself to discover a killer instinct (in a "I'm not sure I deserve this" sort of way) because that was painful to watch!

Head Dude said...

Here's the thing with Dirk: it's unquestionably true that he can be made to look average in a series (and have below average games like last night). Of course, as ESPN reminded, through the first 5 games he was in the top 9 in PER, in the top 10 in scoring, and top 20 in rebounding for the playoffs. So he wasn't terrible, just not MVP level. Last night, of course, he was terrible.

The problem I have is the claim that he's never clutch. Last year, he singlehandedly beat the Spurs in Game 7 on the road, scored 50 against the Suns in Game 5 to turn the tide in that series, and then hit an extremely difficult baseline jumper in Game 5 against the Heat that would've been the shot of the series if Wade hadn't driven down the court, pushed Terry out of the way, and then gotten a questionable call seconds left.

So it's too simple to say the guy can't perform in the clutch. But as Houston successfully did against him two years ago, there are ways to reduce his impact in a playoff series. And no one knew how to do that better than Nellie. Plus, to be honest, one underlying truth about the Mavs, is that unlike the Spurs and probably the Suns, the Mavs always have been capable of getting blown out. And you kind of feel like once Jackson hit his 7th three last night, there was a collective sense of "we're just not going to beat these guys." That shouldn't happen, of course, but it probably did.

The Dude said...

Look, Dirk didn't lose this series. Dallas was a better team in the regular season, but Golden State has been playing better basketball than Dallas since April. It's easy to point fingers at various Mavericks, but the truth of the matter is that they were beaten by a better team who is peaking right now. Simply put, it wasn't so much that Dirk lost this series, instead, Baron, S-Jax, J-Rich & Matt Barnes won this series.

By the time GS is fighting tooth and nail with San Antonio in the WCF, people will realize that this result wasn't an upset at all - like I had told DudeSpin readers since the playoffs started

Head Dude said...

Dude, your arm must be hurting from constantly reaching around to pat your own back.

I do wonder, though, if the Mavs had not rested anybody in April and kept playing hard, they likely would've won 69 or 70 games and stayed in the groove, and who knows if things turn out differently.

The truth is, though, usually hot play in April means very little come playoff time. It's not like the NCAA, where the team peaking in February and early March has a chance to make a run. Think of the great runs Denver has made at the end of the year, only to be snuffed out by the Spurs. And the Rockets were blazing hot two years ago, but in the end it wasn't enough to beat the Mavs. So I think the Warriors are the exception rather than the rule -- they're peaking, and that was enough to overcome what had been a more superior team.

The Franchise said...

I think each of you is going to have to concede one point to the other. Head Dude is going to have to concede that the Warriors are better than he thought, better than the 42-40 regular season record simply because they didn't exist as currently constructed until after the trade deadline.

But Dude, you have to admit that Head Dude is right about one thing: it usually doesn't matter if you're peaking heading into the NBA playoffs because the better team usually wins a 7-game series... unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Could Nellie's supposed knowledge of the Mavs' weaknesses be the extenuating circumstance? Perhaps, but if the Warriors win the next round we may have to chuck that theory...

Head Dude said...

I think Franchise is right on all counts, though I wouldn't necessarily chuck the theory about Nelson if the Warriors win the next round, but certainly if they take the Suns/Spurs winner to at least six, then you'd have to do so. I think the Warriors should be competitive against the Jazz or Rockets, and it's ironic that the 8 seed gets a chance to rest a little while the "favorites" battle it out tonight. Still, I think fatigue is an issue the Warriors will have, and that the Mavs inexplicably failed to exploit.

The Dude said...

Just like I didn't see how Dallas could beat GS, I don't see how either Houston/Utah can beat GS.

Head Dude said...

You know what I hate the most? Reading all the quotes from Suns and Spurs players about the Mavs' demise. D'Antoni saying he's not surprised by what happened irritated me a great deal, but what I hated more is Tony Parker admitting they didn't match up well with the Mavs and are happy they're out.
Regardless of whether GS/Houston/Utah survives the next round, I'll be pulling for them 100% to advance to the Finals.