Mavericks: Tyson Chandler
Both Miami and San Antonio have depth at their disposal. On top of that, their depth is versatile. Whether it is Kawhi Leonard, Ray Allen, Matt Bonner or Shane Battier, each team has multiple options who are solid at multiple facets of the game.
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Mavs coach Rick Carlisle isn’t very fond of judging players by the old, by-the-book way of thinking. “He’s a basketball player” is a phrase that often comes out of the coach’s mouth. The game is shifting away from defined labels for players based on position. Carlisle, as well as the two coaches involved in the NBA Finals, have recognized this and often try to find the best lineups that can be placed out on the floor, regardless of the traditional positions.
Now, Dallas has to try to find the right pieces that can bring true depth. The pieces they had this season didn’t amount to much, as they were depleted at the point guard and center positions. They have a relatively clean slate to work with. You have Dirk Nowitzki as the focal point and Shawn Marion and Vince Carter as the veterans. Those two could easily be moved in the offseason, but they also work perfectly in what the Mavs would need to do if they’re building a roster based on depth and versatility.
The championship team of 2011 provides an additional example of how the depth can be advantageous. The Mavs had players such as DeShawn Stevenson and Brian Cardinal who could provide tough defense and perimeter shooting. While Tyson Chandler was seen as the major big man, Brendan Haywood was a solid rim protector who could hold his own in the rebounding department. Like the Heat and the Spurs, the Mavs’ title squad had enough depth to withstand whatever challenges came their way.
Depth has delivered success to Miami and San Antonio. It clearly delivered to Dallas back in 2011. With a roster full of holes, the front office must choose wisely with their open spots.
Bryan Gutierrez currently covers the Dallas Mavericks for The Two Man Game, an ESPN affiliate blog on the TrueHoop Network. Gutierrez, who has covered the Mavs since 2010, studied journalism and psychology at Texas Tech University.
Miami and San Antonio aren’t one-trick ponies. It’s been established that they are skilled and efficient on the offensive end of the floor, but both teams are equally skilled on the defensive end. The “defensive rating” is an advanced statistic that measures a team’s points allowed per 100 possessions.
Miami ranked first in offensive efficiency with a rating of 110.3 and seventh in defensive efficiency with a rating of 100.5. San Antonio was seventh in offensive efficiency with a rating of 105.9 and third in defensive efficiency with a rating of 99.2.
When it comes to defense, neither team has a dominant big man in the post who collects all of the rebounds or anchors the middle, so they mask that weakness by putting a stronger emphasis on contesting shots. The downside is that fouls tend to add up and fewer rebounds are collected. The risk is worth the reward because the opposing offense is disrupted with contested shots.
This season, Dallas had the 10th worst defensive efficiency in the league with a rating of 104.0. That rating was the third worst defensive mark for the Mavericks in the last 10 years.
|Dirk Nowitzki joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett live in studio to discuss the moves he expects the Mavericks to make this summer, what his pitch would be to Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, and his upcoming Heroes Celebrity baseball game. |
During the 2011 title run, Dallas showed the defensive disposition that coach Rick Carlisle craves. The Mavs had the seventh best defensive efficiency with a rating of 102.3, their best during the last five seasons. While there were only three teams in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive ratings this season, there were only two teams in the top 10 in both categories in 2011: Dallas and Miami.
The Mavs had a true defensive anchor in Tyson Chandler. He was a solid last line of defense as his teammates gambled on the perimeter. The Mavs also played together on a string. By doing that -- which requires teamwork, coordination, trust and synchronicity -- they were a team with only one premiere defender but became a roster full of team defenders. It came down to the five players on the floor doing their job, being in position and being accountable.
Dallas’ flow offense is predicated on its ability to get stops. If the front office finds players who believe in playing on a string and bringing a strong defensive disposition, it will open things up on the offensive end of the floor. The Mavs don’t need a roster full of All-NBA defenders. They just need a set of players who will buy in to playing defense together as a team.
Bryan Gutierrez currently covers the Dallas Mavericks for The Two Man Game, an ESPN affiliate blog on the TrueHoop Network. Gutierrez, who has covered the Mavs since 2010, studied journalism and psychology at Texas Tech University.
The list of teams that can match the Lakers’ tradition is awfully short.
|Mark Cuban joins ESPN Dallas GameDay to discuss the Mavericks' plans, the free-agent market and what possibilities there are for Dallas. |
Of course, all-time great big men are a big part of the Lakers’ championship tradition. George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal set a sky-high standard for centers who wear purple and gold. That might not necessarily help the Lakers’ cause in trying to keep Howard.
There’s a ton of pressure that comes along with following that line of legends in the nation’s second largest media market. Shaq’s disdain for Dwight, which manifests itself in many nationally televised verbal jabs, doesn’t help matters. There’s a theory that Howard would prefer to create a different path instead of simply following Shaq’s Orlando-to-Los Angeles footsteps.
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How heavily will that weigh on the mind of a man who has made it clear he’s searching for happiness this summer?
If Howard goes to Houston, he’ll be constantly compared to Hakeem Olajuwon, a Hall of Famer and two-time Finals MVP.
To a lesser degree, there will also be comparisons to Moses Malone and Yao Ming. However, as dominant as Malone was during his Houston days, he never won a ring with the Rockets and isn’t a Houston legend. Ming only got out of the first round once during his injury-abbreviated career.
The Rockets have tradition, but it’s been years since Houston has been considered a legitimate contender. Over the last decade and a half, the Rockets have been a distant third among NBA franchises in this state. The scrutiny wouldn’t be anywhere close to as suffocating as it is in L.A.
All due respect to James Donaldson and Tyson Chandler, but Howard would be the best big man in Mavs history as soon as he tied his shoes. There could still be some unflattering comparisons for Howard when it comes to Chandler’s excellent intangibles, but there’s no question that Howard is the superior center.
While only one championship banner hangs on the Mavs’ side of the American Airlines Center, this franchise has established an impressive winning tradition during Mark Cuban’s ownership tenure. (Or during Dirk Nowitzki’s career, if you want to assign credit to the man who did more heavy lifting.)
The Mavs and Rockets can’t stack up to the Lakers’ tremendous tradition, but that might be a good thing in the Dwight sweepstakes this summer.
EDGE: That all depends on Dwight’s mindset … which infamously can change with the wind.
Ian Mahinmi is the last member of the Mavericks’ championship team left standing in these playoffs.
With Mahinmi watching all but four minutes from the bench, his Pacers eliminated the Knicks in Game 6, ending a miserable series for two integral pieces of the 2011 title team.
Indiana’s Roy Hibbert dominated Tyson Chandler before the Knicks big man fouled out with 3:12 remaining. Jason Kidd was benched for the second half for the second straight game and went scoreless for the 10th consecutive game, dating to Game 2 of the first round.
Hibbert had 21 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in the series finale. Chandler had two points and six rebounds, limited to only 23 minutes because of foul trouble.
For the series, Hibbert averaged 13.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.2 blocks, compared to 6.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks for Chandler. The Knicks were outscored by 23 points with Chandler on the floor in the series, including 17 in Game 6.
The 40-year-old Kidd had a historically horrible offensive performance during these playoffs. He averaged 0.9 points and shot 12 percent from the floor, the lowest postseason field goal percentage for a player with at least 25 attempts since 1947.
This might not quiet the outcry about Mark Cuban opting to break up the Mavs’ championship team – that’d probably require signing a superstar this summer – but it definitely deadens the angry mob’s factual ammunition.
Here is what Cuban feared: The Mavs would look a lot like the Boston Celtics or New York Knicks, veteran teams who weren’t good enough to be true contenders and have extremely limited avenues to improve because of their bloated payrolls and the restrictive rules of the new collective bargaining agreement.
Imagine if the Mavs paid the price to keep all of their championship pieces. Chandler, Kidd, Jason Terry, J.J. Barea and Caron Butler will cost a total of $35.1 million next season, which would put the Mavs in luxury-tax territory, handcuffing them this summer. Only Butler’s $8 million salary would come off the books in 2014-15.
With a Dirk Nowitzki as the lone star surrounded by an supporting cast of players who are primarily also on the decline, do you really believe the Mavs would have been a threat to come out of the West?
You can make a strong case that it’d have been better for the Mavs to have kept the title core together and at least be a playoff team than the mediocre mess the franchise put on the floor this season. But this really isn’t a Chandler vs. Chris Kaman conversation. It’s a risk/reward discussion.
In Cuban’s opinion, the potential reward didn’t justify the risk of sacrificing roster flexibility if they kept the championship team intact. Finances were only a factor in the post-lockout decisions as they related to limiting the Mavs’ upgrade options.
Cuban decided to dream big, putting immense pressure on him to pull off a superstar acquisition this summer. That ultimately needs to happen to justify stripping down the title team as a good decision.
But if you think the Mavs broke up a dynasty, you clearly didn’t watch much of the first two rounds of these playoffs.
Jason Kidd: It’s gotten to the point that Knicks coach Mike Woodson is being widely praised for benching Kidd during the second half of New York’s series-extending Game 5 win over the Pacers.
Kidd failed to score for the ninth consecutive game, missing a layup in the second quarter. The missed shot was the only stat Kidd recorded during his 5:20 of playing time.
Woodson opted to play rookie Chris Copeland instead of Kidd. Copeland responded by giving the Knicks a much-needed spark, scoring 13 points in 19 minutes. Kidd has scored a total of 11 points in 11 games this postseason, shooting 12 percent from the floor.
Tyson Chandler: Chandler told reporters he’d be fine for Game 6 despite a nasty fall on his back when he got his shot blocked by Indiana’s Roy Hibbert.
Chandler didn’t put up impressive numbers (two points, 1-4 FG, eight rebounds, two blocks), but neither did Hibbert, who had nine points on 3-of-7 shooting and seven rebounds. Both big men got in foul trouble, limiting Chandler to 27 minutes and Hibbert to 31.
Ian Mahinmi: With Hibbert in foul trouble, Mahinmi played 17 minutes, his high this postseason.
Mahinmi had five points, three rebounds and a blocked shot, but his plus-minus illustrated Hibbert’s importance as Indiana’s defense anchor. The Pacers were outscored by 10 points with Mahinmi on the floor.
Jason Kidd: The drought continues.
Kidd went scoreless for the eighth straight game. He’s 0-of-16 from the floor and 0-of-10 from 3-point range over 177 minutes during that span. The Knicks have been outscored by 25 points with the 40-year-old future Hall of Famer on the floor in those eight games.
Kidd’s numbers in the Knicks’ Game 4 loss to the Pacers: three assists, one rebound, one steal, two missed shots and a minus-9 plus-minus in 16 minutes.
Tyson Chandler: The Knicks gave him a lot more help, but Chandler more than held his own in the big man matchup after being dominated by Roy Hibbert in Game 3.
Chandler put up his first double-double of the postseason, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He also matched high during these playoffs with three blocks.
Hibbert’s line: six points on 2-of-8 shooting, 11 rebounds, three blocks and two assists.
Ian Mahinmi: Mahinmi gave the Pacers 10 energetic minutes off the bench, grabbing six rebounds, blocking two shots and scoring two points.
That’s become a meme that’s often repeated in discussions about Mark Cuban’s bold plan to create ample salary cap space by stripping down the 2011 title team. Never mind the facts.
The fact of the matter is it’s difficult to sign free agents if you don’t have salary cap space. That’s not exactly unique to Dallas.
The Mavs whiffed on Deron Williams last summer, although Cuban’s effort in that recruiting pitch resembled some of Josh Hamilton’s final at-bats in a Rangers uniform. Being 0-for-1 doesn’t constitute a trend.
The point isn’t to predict that the Mavs will land Chris Paul or Dwight Howard this summer. The odds are against Dallas simply due to the rules that allow for their current teams to offer an extra year and larger annual raises.
However, from weather to a winning culture, Dallas’ attractiveness as an NBA destination is an advantage to the Mavs. Being a top-five market without a state income tax is a bonus. The days of Kiki Vandeweghe refusing to play for the Mavs are ancient history.
The Mavs have earned a reputation as a first-class franchise during Cuban’s 13-year ownership tenure. That’s why Jason Kidd’s agent helped orchestrate a trade to bring the point guard back to Dallas in 2008. That’s why Shawn Marion’s agent played a key role in making a complicated sign-and-trade deal go down the next year. That’s why Tyson Chandler was crushed when Cuban declined to offer him a long-term deal. That’s why Howard had the Mavs on his very short list of acceptable trade partners when he was forcing his way out of Orlando.
That’s why there will be plenty of free agents who will want to talk to the Mavs in July, a list that perhaps includes the two biggest prizes on the market.
“Who wouldn’t want to play in an environment like this every night?” restricted free agent Brandon Jennings said during the Bucks’ trip to Dallas in February. “You’ve got an owner who’s so into his team and everything like that. Every time you see the Mavs, you see him cheering or going crazy. They won a championship. They’re about winning.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Mavs will win this summer. But if they don’t, it’d be foolish to blame a mythical aversion NBA players have for joining the Mavs.
Tyson Chandler: The Knicks are in trouble if Chandler keeps losing the big man matchup in such lopsided fashion. He had nine points and five rebounds in New York’s Game 3 loss, compared to 24 and 12 from Indiana center Roy Hibbert.
A sample of ESPNNewYork.com's take on the Chandler-Hibbert matchup:
Mike Woodson hardly ever criticizes his players in public.
But the New York Knicks coach broke protocol following Game 1 of the Indiana Pacers series.
After he watched Indiana's Roy Hibbert outplay Tyson Chandler in the series opener, Woodson said, "I've got to get Tyson (Chandler) playing better than Hibbert."
So far, Woodson's fallen far short of that goal.
Hibbert's been one of the best players in this young series. And some of his success has come at Chandler's expense.
In the Pacers' Game 3 win, Hibbert poured in 24 points and pulled down 12 rebounds (eight offensive); the Pacers outscored the Knicks by 20 with their big man on the floor.
"He kind of had his way," Woodson said after Game 3, "and that's got to change."
The Knicks say that they failed to execute their defensive schemes against Hibbert in Game 3. They intended to trap Hibbert and the other Pacers bigs, just as they had in Game 2.
Instead, they left members of their front line vulnerable in one-on-one matchups and left the rim exposed thanks to poor rotations.
The Knicks' lax approach helped Indiana dominate the boards (53-40) and beat New York on second-chance points (20-10).
"We’re not trapping (the Pacers' bigs), then we’re in a tough spot," Chandler said.
That's a big problem that the Knicks need to handle heading into Game 4.
But they also need a better effort from Chandler if he gets matched up against Hibbert.
Hibbert scored on at least three post moves in which Chandler was matched up with him, one-on-one, in Game 3.
It was hard not to notice Hibbert scoring directly over Chandler, the 2011-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
Jason Kidd: The scoreless streak is up to seven games and 31 quarters after Kidd missed his lone shot in Game 3.
Kidd had six rebounds, two assists and two steals in 20 minutes, but it’s hard to make a case that the 40-year-old future Hall of Famer helped the Knicks with another doughnut in the points column. Kidd matched Carmelo Anthony for the worst plus-minus (minus-16) in the loss to the Pacers.
Ian Mahinmi: With Hibbert dominating, the Pacers didn’t need much from their backup big man. Mahinmi only played six minutes, scoring two points and grabbing four rebounds.
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Kidd, who hasn’t scored since the first quarter of Game 2 in the first round, did manage to make an impact on the Knicks’ series-evening win over the Pacers despite missing all three of his shots. Kidd’s contributions aren’t reflected by his unimpressive numbers (four assists, two rebounds, two steals in 24 minutes).
The Knicks were plus-20 with Kidd on the floor. He made a few critical hustle plays to help the Knicks go on their 30-2 run in the second half that put away the Pacers, including an offensive rebound and pretty feed to Tyson Chandler for a dunk at the end of the third quarter.
Tyson Chandler: Like Kidd, Chandler didn’t put up impressive numbers, but his presence was felt in the Knicks’ Game 2 win.
Chandler had only eight points and four rebounds, but the Knicks were plus-21 in his 31 minutes. He played a key role in holding Pacers center Roy Hibbert to six points on 3-of-7 shooting.
Ian Mahinmi: The only statistic Mahinmi recorded in five Game 2 minutes was one turnover.
Jason Kidd: The Knicks didn’t sign Jason Kidd for his scoring, but it’d sure help New York’s cause if the 40-year-old point guard put the ball in the basket every once in a while.
Kidd went scoreless for the fifth consecutive game in the Knicks’ Game 1 loss to the Indiana Pacers. He was 0-of-1 from the floor in 17 minutes, grabbing two rebounds, dishing out one assist and committing one turnover.
Kidd’s last points came on a 3-pointer in the first quarter of the Knicks’ Game 2 win over the Boston Celtics in the first round. He has played 137 minutes and missed 11 shots since then.
Tyson Chandler: ESPNNewYork.com described Chandler as “practically invisible” in Game 1.
Chandler’s line in the loss to the Pacers: four points, three rebounds, two blocks, two turnovers and one steal before fouling out after 28 minutes. Round 1 of the heavyweight battle between Chandler and Roy Hibbert (14 points, 6-9 FG, eight rebounds, five blocks, four assists) was a knockout.
Ian Mahinmi: Maybe the most stunning stat of the Pacers-Knicks series opener was that Mahinmi didn’t commit a foul in his nine minutes.
He didn’t do much else, either: no points, no shots, one rebound, one block and one turnover. The Pacers did outscore the Knicks by eight with Mahinmi on the floor, though.
Tyson Chandler: This looked like the Chandler who played such a critical role in the Mavs’ title run. This was the Chandler the Knicks envisioned when they signed him to a rich four-year deal.
Chandler came up with nine points, 12 rebounds, two blocks and a handful of clutch plays that didn’t necessarily show up in the box score to help the Knicks close out the Celtics for their first playoff series win since 2000.
“I felt 100 percent tonight,” Chandler told reporters. “It’s absolutely the best I’ve felt the entire playoffs, obviously coming off the neck injury. Tonight was the first time I came in the game feeling 100 percent and being able to go through my regular routine.”
Jason Kidd: Kidd’s scoreless drought reached four consecutive games. He averaged only 1.8 points per game in the series and hasn’t scored since hitting a 3-pointer during the first quarter of Game 2.
At this point, Kidd is the Knicks’ third point guard behind Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. The Knicks were outscored by nine in Kidd’s 16 Game 6 minutes, with him contributing three rebounds, one steal, one assist and three turnovers.
Jason Terry: JET at least went out with his pride intact.
Terry got off to a slow start in his first playoff series with the Celtics – including a scoreless Game 1 – but he finished strong. He scored 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting in 24 minutes in Game 6. In three elimination games, Terry averaged 16.3 points on 53.1 percent shooting.
However, Terry and the Celtics weren’t able to pull off a historic comeback. Not from an 0-3 series deficit or from a 26-point hole in Game 6, but they gave the Knicks a serious scare in both cases.
“That’s what the definition of a true Celtic is. Never say never, never say die. I’m proud to wear this uniform.”
Caron Butler: Butler scored 14 points on 7-of-16 shooting in the Clippers’ season-ending Game 6 loss to the Grizzlies.
Butler had a pretty disappointing series, averaging 8.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and failing to dish out a single assist in six games.
Ian Mahinmi: Mahinmi had no points on 0-of-3 shooting, three rebounds and two blocks in 10 minutes off the bench as the Pacers closed out the Hawks.
DeShawn Stevenson: He was DNP-CD’d as the Hawks’ season ended. Stevenson played a total of 61 seconds in the final four games of the series.
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Terry followed up his Game 4 overtime heroics with a 17-point, four-rebound, three-assist, no-turnover, multi-wing performance in the Celtics’ win over the Knicks that forced the series back to Boston. Terry’s 5-of-9 shooting from 3-point range was critical to the Celtics building a double-digit lead that was too large for the Knicks to overcome.
"I'm a 14-year veteran," Terry said on TNT moments after the win. "If you don't know who I am by now, you will after this series."
That was apparently in response to Knicks sixth man J.R. Smith, who was suspended for Game 4 because of an elbow that connected with Terry’s head and stunk it up in Game 5, claiming that he didn’t know who Terry was.
Of course, JET has always been one of the league’s best at jawing. Case in point: He repeatedly referenced the Red Sox’s comeback from a 3-0 deficit against the New York Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series, quoting “the great Kevin Millar” about the pressure shifting with a Game 5 win.
Jason Kidd: Mouthy sixth man Smith’s miserable performance got a lot of attention, but Kidd didn’t exactly bring much off the bench, either.
In fact, this ranked among the worst playoff performances of Kidd’s Hall of Fame career.
The 40-year-old went scoreless in 21 minutes, missing all four shot attempts. His only other stats: two rebounds, one block, one turnover and one foul. No assists. His plus-minus was a team-worst minus-14.
Tyson Chandler: Having chipped off rust and worked his way back into shape after a neck injury caused him to miss 16 of 20 games entering the playoffs, Chandler came up with a typical Chandler outing.
The big man had eight points on 3-of-5 shooting, 11 rebounds and three steals in 34 minutes. The Knicks were plus-8 with the 7-footer on the floor.
"I felt great," he said. "This game is probably the best I've felt. I felt lively, my legs felt good."
DeShawn Stevenson: Stevenson played a grand total of 16 seconds in the Hawks’ tie-breaking Game 5 loss to the Pacers. He did manage to get up a shot that he missed.
Ian Mahinmi: Mahinmi played only 9:27 in the Pacers’ win. He probably would have seen more minutes if he didn’t pick up five fouls. He finished with two points, two rebounds and a block.
Jason Terry: We’ll just use an excerpt from ESPNBoston.com colleague Chris Forsberg’s column to sum up the vintage JET performance in his first playoff win since the title-clincher in Miami.
With the Celtics on the brink of being unceremoniously swept from the playoffs, Terry delivered a rarity this season: One of his familiar big-game efforts, scoring nine points in overtime as Boston held off New York 97-90 in Game 4 of the teams' first-round playoff series on Sunday at TD Garden.Tyson Chandler: Chandler scored five points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked one shot in 31 minutes. The Knicks were outscored by six with him on the floor.
The Knicks own a 3-1 series lead as the only things they put away Sunday were their brooms. Game 5 is Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
"I had every intention of trying to make an impact on the game, some way or another," said the 35-year-old Terry, who scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting with four assists over 41 minutes. One game after shuffling to a starting role to help with ballhandling, Terry returned to a bench spot and provided a much-needed spark, accounting for all but four points of Boston's reserve production.
"If I wasn't making shots, I wanted to get a steal, get a rebound, any little thing to keep it going," Terry said. "Again, I'm going to coach AAU, but I don't want to do that right now."
The quintessential Terry postseason performance was highlighted by the quintessential Terry shot. Sneaking out in transition in a tied game late in overtime, Terry found space as three Knicks defenders shaded toward Paul Pierce on the opposite wing. Jeff Green fed Terry, who pulled up in transition on the left side and splashed a 3-pointer -- his lone triple of the game -- before Jason Kidd could get out to contest.
The trifecta broke the game's final tie and Terry added a 13-foot fadeaway, two free throws (after craftily drawing a loose-ball foul call boxing out for a defensive rebound) and a layup before the final horn.
Terry's struggles this season have been well-documented. Celtics coach Doc Rivers had made Terry his first phone call when free agency opened in July and there was hope that the former Sixth Man of the Year would provide a long-missing bench spark for Boston, particularly after Ray Allen defected to the rival Heat.
But Terry, playing the first season of a three-year, $15.7 million contract, slumped throughout the regular season and straight into the playoffs. At times his defense eroded to the point that, unable to convert on the offensive end, he was a liability on the floor. He admits his trademark soaring jet celebration has been stuck in the hangar for much of the season.
Despite taxiing for much of the season, Terry picked a heck of a time to get off the tarmac.
"I've just been patient," he said. "As long as there's time on the clock, as long as there is another game, it's an opportunity for me to do something special. That's just the type of player I am. Whether I've made every shot or missed every shot, I have the same focus, the same confidence."
Jason Kidd: Kidd was scoreless in 37 minutes during the Knicks’ overtime loss, going 0-for-3 from the floor. He grabbed nine rebounds, dished out two assists and committed two turnovers.
Corey Brewer: Brewer had 14 points on 3-of-9 shooting with one rebound and one steal in 29 minutes as his Nuggets were pushed to the brink of elimination by the Warriors.
Jason Terry: At least JET got on the board after a scoreless Game 1 performance. It looked like he might give the Celtics a big boost off the bench after he knocked down three 3-pointers in the first half.
That, however, accounted for all of Terry’s scoring in the Celtics’ loss. He finished with nine points on 3-of-8 shooting (3-of-7 from 3-point range) and dished out three assists in 34 minutes.
Terry certainly wasn’t the only Celtic who struggled offensively in the second half. Boston scored a grand total of 23 points after halftime.
“In the second half we didn’t show up, so we look forward to going home and getting this first one,” Terry told reporters after the Knicks took a 2-0 series lead. “I never get too high or too low. So, I’m always even keeled. It’s a long series. I always say that. We’ll see what adjustments we make going forward.”
Tyson Chandler: The Knicks were plus-21 in Chandler’s 22 minutes, which is by far the most impressive number from his statistical line.
Chandler did get his first bucket of the series, scoring three points on 1-of-4 shooting. He grabbed five rebounds and blocked one shot.
Jason Kidd: The Knicks didn’t need Kidd to play heavy minutes in this win, so he should be fresh as the series goes to Boston. He had three points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in 23 minutes.
Corey Brewer: Brewer scored 19 points on 6-of-16 shooting off the Nuggets’ bench. He had nine points in the fourth quarter, but Golden State had essentially put the game away by then. Brewer also had three assists and two rebounds in 30 minutes.
Jason Kidd: This was classic late-career Kidd. He didn’t post a spectacular line (eight points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals in 35 minutes), but he was a significant force during closing time in the Knicks’ win over Boston.
All three of his steals came in the final five minutes. On the first steal, the 40-year-old Kidd deflected a pass and outhustled 26-year-old Jeff Green by diving for a loose ball to spark a fast break. With 2:20 remaining and New York up five, Kidd diagnosed a play that’s a Celtics staple and helped from the weak side to strip Green under the basket. Kidd’s strip of Kevin Garnett on a mismatched post-up in the final minute essentially sealed the win.
“He beats everyone with his brain,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said at his postgame press conference. “If you think quicker than a guy can move, you’re still quicker. That’s why he’s there first, because he thought what the guy was going to do before he did it. He’s just a valuable player to have on a basketball team.”
Tyson Chandler: The fiery big man was a nonfactor in Game 1 against the Celtics after missing 16 of the Knicks’ final 20 regular-season games due to a neck injury. He had five rebounds and one steal in 20 scoreless minutes, and the Knicks opted to play Kenyon Martin at center instead of Chandler in crunch time.
"I knew I would be rusty. I knew I would be a little winded. I knew at some point my legs would get the best of me," Chandler said, according to ESPNNewYork.com. "I just wanted to be out there with my team."
Chandler said his neck didn’t bother him. He acknowledged that conditioning was a factor.
“I should obviously be much better in Game 2,” he said.
Jason Terry: For the first time in his career, Terry failed to score a point in a playoff game.
JET was 0-of-5 from the floor in 20 minutes. His only contributions to the Celtics were three rebounds and one steal. Meanwhile, Boston’s bench was outscored by a 33-4 margin.
"You don't get too high or down too low," Terry said, according to ESPNBoston.com. "It's a long series. If I bet on myself, I know how this is going to end up. I'm going to keep grinding, do the things necessary to win."
Corey Brewer: Brewer scored 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting in 21 minutes during Denver’s Game 1 win over the Warriors. He didn’t have any rebounds, assists, steals or blocks.
Caron Butler: Butler, who was sidelined by a serious knee injury during the Mavs’ title run, had a terrific Game 1 to help the Clippers blow out the Grizzlies. Butler scored 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting, grabbed seven rebounds and had a block and a steal in 24 minutes.
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Play Podcast Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle gives his take on the NBA Finals, talks about the Nets' decision to hire Jason Kidd, the advice he'd give Kidd about being a head coach in the NBA and more.
Play Podcast ESPN's Scott Van Pelt joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to talk about the U.S. Open and the NBA Finals.
Play Podcast ESPN NBA insider Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Mavericks news, Jason Kidd's interest in coaching the Nets and the NBA Finals.
Play Podcast ESPN senior NBA analyst Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the NBA Finals and latest Mavericks news.
Play Podcast Dirk Nowitzki joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett live in studio to discuss the moves he expects the Mavericks to make this summer, what his pitch would be to Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, and his upcoming Heroes Celebrity baseball game.
Play Podcast Hubie Brown joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss every angle of Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals and whether he would want Dwight Howard on his team.
Play Podcast Galloway & Company discuss Chris Paul's situation with the Clippers. Paul is unhappy being linked to the firing of his former coach. Could he join the Mavericks?
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the officiating in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pacers' chances at beating Miami, the conspiracy theories surrounding the NBA and Mark Cuban's new two-year plan.