Brian Cardinal's pick deserves praise

DALLAS – A legal pick has apparently caused an outcry – or a lot of crying, at least – in Portland.

The Trail Blazers have beef with Brian Cardinal, who might be the nicest bad guy in NBA history. He had the gall to set a textbook screen with seconds remaining that flattened Portland backup point guard/unofficial team mascot Patty Mills.

The Blazers’ bench went wild. Wesley Matthews mouthed off to Cardinal, leading to a brief postgame confrontation with DeShawn Stevenson, who could be considered the Mavs’ enforcer. The Blazers blogs are worked into a tizzy. Oh, and Mills is mad.

“Pick on the little bro and deal with the rest of the family,” Mills tweeted after the game, a statement that might be much more menacing if it didn’t come in the wake of the Blazers getting their butts whipped.

Let me offer a pair of suggestions if Mills doesn’t want to be flattened by a pick on the final possession of the game. First, he could opt not to play full-court, in-your-face defense on J.J. Barea during garbage time. Second, you can kindly request that somebody from “the rest of the family” inform you that a pick has been set.

Cardinal watched his teammates blow a 23-point lead the previous game after they started coasting 13 minutes too early. How can you criticize him for playing hard until the final buzzer sounds?

Mavs fans should have a ton of fun with this situation. The mean, ol’ Mavs are being portrayed as bullies. If anything, the pick is a sign of progress, and perhaps a statement to Portland.