Peter Fimrite of the San Francisco Chronicle reports in the arena after the game: "'I'm so excited, I'm going to pass out,' said Michael Johnson, 39, of Oakland, who was high-fiving every man and hugging every woman he ran across."
Even though I'm getting about ten emails an hour ripping everyone who picked Dallas to win this series, some of the hardest of hardcore Golden State fans admit that they didn't really see this coming. Please, someone, round up for me all of the predictions you can find, published before this series started picking Golden State. All you people emailing me? Praise those people, instead of ripping everyone who picked a #1 over a #8.
Kevin Arnovitz from ClipperBlog breaks down Dirk Nowitzki's defense on a pick and roll in the third quarter: "So what does Dirk do? Nothing. I mean it. He does nothing. As Baron moves right and Jackson sets up shop at the top of the arc, Dirk sags back into the lane where Diop has things under control. Oh, he must be picking up a slashing Richardson off the weak side, right? Nope. Well then, Dirk must sense that Jackson is going to work off the dribble? Wrong again. In fact, when Davis dishes the rock back to Jackson at his spot, Dirk doesn't close. He doesn't even set himself adequately for a potential Jackson dribble-drive, if that's what he really thinks Jackson's gonna do having sunk, like, 7 3PMs. Dirk just stands there. It's the weirdest thing. He doesn't attempt to trap...but he doesn't switch either. It's not a hedge, because he's put himself in position to guard neither Davis nor Jackson. It's a colossal, big, German brainfart. Like agreeing to the Treaty of Versailles. Jackson sinks his umpteenth three, completely uncontested, and the bleeding continues for Dallas. There isn't a worse crime in the NBA than dispassion, and that's why fans are turning on Dirk. It's not the losing, or the lousy shot selection, or even the historic nature of the upset. It's the close-mouthed manner in which Dirk absorbed the blow from GSW. That's the transgression."
Money talks, and it says the All-Star Game in Las Vegas was a bust. Casino operators blame a bad quarter on that weekend. MGM owns half the casinos on the strip. CEO Terry Lanni tells the Associated Press things did not go well: "'The gang-bangers and others who came for purposes other than attending the game, they weren't very good for Las Vegas,' Lanni told The Associated Press. Lanni said there was little action on the gambling tables the day of the game. 'In talking to our casino hosts, a number of people stayed in their villas and suites. They felt uncomfortable,' he said." Interestingly, Mayor Oscar Goodman, who once made the case the weekend had been fantastic, is now stressing that the crowd would be better behaved if the city had a regular team there.
Email from Anthony: "Dirk is suffering from the Samson effect, he needs to grow his hair again. The same thing has happened to Kaman, Manu, and was happening to Nash but he grew his back. Manu is still pretty good, but before he cut his hair he dominated the NBA Finals and was able to defeat Duncan, Popovich, Brown, Iverson, Marion etc. for the gold."
The Bulls wanted Ben Wallace, and Pistons deemed him not worth it. Who was right? We'll find out in the second round, says ESPN Insider Chris Sheridan.
To Dallas, from Seattle, with love from SuperSonicSoul: "You see, Mavericks fan, we know how it feels. At this moment, the entire country is in love with the team that took from you what was rightfully yours. This upstart #8 seed with raucous fans, a ragtag group roster of underachievers, has stolen your entry in the second round; kept you from traveling to the NBA Finals to reclaim what the officials took from you last June. Sonic fans feel your pain, Mavericks fan. We feel it every time the networks re-run that clip of Dikembe Mutombo clasping the ball to his chest while lying flat on the Colisseum floor. We know what it's like when the country gets enamored with the underdog, and roots for the lowly seeded upstarts to knock off the expected champion."
Bill Russell talks about Dallas and passing on his NBA.com blog, and I think it's a key point: "There are two kinds of passes, one pass to get rid of the ball and one pass to make a play. The attitude of passing is to make good passes because if you make good passes, then shots become easier." (Via Green Bandwagon)
The greatest upset in NBA history? Nonsense. Yahoo's Steve Kerr does a great job telling Golden State fans he was wrong. Me too. What he said: "I've always said that in the NBA, there's no such thing as an upset. Over seven games, the best team always wins. This is not the NCAA tournament, where one fluke game can propel a Cinderella over a powerhouse. To beat a club four times, you have to be the better team. And Golden State was by far the better team than Dallas."
Mark Monteith of the Indianapolis Star on former Pacers Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson: "I was in both of their homes when they played for the Pacers -- yes, they were there, too -- and traveled to both of their hometowns. One of Artest's AAU coaches drove me through his Queensbridge neighborhood on a Sunday evening, where we watched what appeared to be drug deals taking place on dark street corners. Jackson's mother drove me around Port Arthur, Tex., showing me the home he bought her, the home he grew up in and the church he attended every Sunday. I don't think of Artest as someone who went into the stands to confront a fan who threw a beer on him, or who's had domestic issues with his wife. I don't think of Jackson as someone who went into the stands to support Artest, or was run over by a convicted felon in the parking lot of a strip club. I think of two guys who love basketball, have used it to escape difficult surroundings, are routinely unassuming, engaging and generous, and have initiated grassroots charity efforts in the hometowns where they beat the odds. And, by the way, two guys who are coachable when coached by people who know how to utilize their skills and command respect. Artest witnessed domestic abuse and experienced divorce as a child, although he has a close relationship with both of his parents now. Jackson never had a relationship with his biological father and his stepfather was in jail for 13 years of his childhood. Who did you expect them to turn out to be, Theo Huxtable?"
Ivan Carter of the Washington Post: "The coolest moment of the game for me came in the second half when Davis was fouled pretty hard by Austin Croshere on a drive to the basket. Davis got up and stepped to Croshere and players from both teams crowded around. At that very moment, the entire crowd looked to Jackson, who was on the court but behind the action, and let out a collective: 'Nooooooooo.' Obviously they are aware of what a hot head Jackson can be and didn't want him getting tossed and maybe getting suspended for the start of the next series for doing something stupid. When Jackson turned and walked to the other side of the court, the place went crazy. Smart hoop fans."
Dwyane Wade getting praise for saying months ago that Dirk Nowitzki is a choker. I'd like to point out, once again, that sometimes he chokes and sometimes he's spectacular. It's not good enough for an MVP, perhaps, but it's far from terrible.
One of the greatest playoff experiences a fan can have is to be so amped up about your team that you want to go somewhere to be with other fans to watch all the games -- even the road games. I love it when teams let fans into the arena to show road games on the Jumbotron. How much fun is that? And that's a great crowd. Usually the tickets are cheap and general admission. People do not go to that to schmooze clients. These are real basketball fans. People cheer like maniacs. Fantastic stuff. The great news, though, is that the experience is about to get even more amazing, with news of 3D high-definition live game broadcasts in arenas. Possibly coming to Phoenix in the Western Conference Finals -- if the Suns can get there.
Adam emails with a good rememberance of an important moment from Golden State's win, which came
not long after Baron Davis headed to the locker room with an injuryUPDATE: (my mistake, not Adam's) early the game when the arena was a little tense: "Matt Barnes got a high pass in the corner by leaping into the air, snagging it with one hand, and whipping it (while still in the air) across the court to J-Rich for a three. It was such a wild and risky play that it really set a tone for the team and the crowd that Golden State would continue to play free and easy."
I totally agree with Dwight Jaynes: post-season awards don't mean much.
Basketbawful: "Only Josh Howard picked up his game (21 PPG, 10 RPG, 51 percent shooting) in the playoffs. The rest of the Mavericks sunk like a turd in the toilet, both offensively and defensively. The Mavericks had more talent, more depth, and more playoff experience than the Warriors. They also had that "we should've been the champs last year" swagger that underscored their desire to win the championship this year. Then simply got outplayed."
I feel sorry for Utah. They played a great game last night, and no is talking about it.
Danny Ainge begins the process of preparing Celtic fans for the reality that they might not win the lottery. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports: "Oden and Durant are very good, but we really think there are other guys who can be All-Stars.
Kevin Garnett's former teammate Maurice Evans says Garnett "wants out."
Sam Rubenstein of SLAM: "Looking forward, how is anyone supposed to win a game in Oakland? Their fans are the best. Last week I put the thought out there that they remind me of the 02 Angels fans. All of us with our East coast bias just assumed the Yankees would fly out there, throw the talent out on the field and take care of business. The Angels had stolen a game at Yankee Stadium, and then out in Anaheim there were thundersticks and rally monkeys and a rabid fanbase that I never knew existed. They smacked down the Yankees twice, played a forgettable series against the Twins that I have no memory of, and then in the World Series, Barry and the Giants had the lead late in game 6 until the rally monkey and the fans took over and the Angels were champions. The Oakland fans are a lot like that. I thought people from California were supposed to be laid back duders."
Dan Shanoff: "I'd fire Avery Johnson, too: If he can't get the best Mavs team in franchise history out of the first round of the playoffs, when, exactly WILL he do it? And, insult to injury, he was totally out-coached." Dan, he did it last year, when the Mavericks won -- depending who you believe, three or four series. He's one of very few coaches with a winning all-time post-season record. One series does not a coach make. More later on what happened to this team.
Don't expect big changes in the Mavericks organization. Although, you know what just occured to me? They could use Zach Randolph.
I just learned from Chad Ford's ESPN Insider blog that there's an international player in this year's draft whose first name is Stanko. Also, if you're into seeing potential lottery pick Tiago Splitter on TV, the Euroleague is on NBA TV this afternoon.
Another plea for Scott Skiles to play Tyrus Thomas.
ESPN's Ric Bucher: "It's hard not to think Mavs coach Avery Johnson was indirectly talking about his star as he praised Davis. 'How special was he?' Johnson said. 'You talk about a guy who refuses to lose. He refused to let us stop him.'"
Scott Brooks said to be a top candidate for the coaching job in Sacramento. I have heard he's a great guy.
UPDATE: SlyPokerDog points out every single sports cliche in one song.