Observation Deck (cont.)
Posted: Wednesday May 9, 2007 12:51PM; Updated: Wednesday May 9, 2007 1:54PM
Third-string Golden State point guard Sarunas Jasikevicius is having himself quite the postseason. He's not playing much (just six minutes since the regular season ended), but his sheer on-bench exuberance in reaction to what has been an exhilarating postseason for the Warriors stands out. Jasikevicius doesn't appear to be an M.L. Carr-style self-promoter, either. He isn't waving a towel, fanning a fan or greeting his teammates at the timeout huddle with an elaborate celebration. His infectious energy likely stems from the fine time he's having just being around this Warriors team -- a sharp contrast to the dour-looking backup we saw go through the motions as a Pacer earlier this year.
Jasikevicius, who came over from Indiana in a January trade, was having no fun on a middling Pacers team that seemed to walk it up on every possession. The idea that he's enjoying his 11th-man status with the Warriors more than running the show off the bench for the Pacers speaks to the differences between the two teams.
It also, likely, says a lot about his future in the NBA. Jasikevicius can opt out of his contract this summer, and he's probably destined to finish his playing career back overseas. This recent bout of Stateside ebullience? He's enjoying it while he can. Pity, because he can still help an NBA team, and I just learned to spell his last name off memory alone.
Hearing some media types types blurt on about how Dallas needs to tear up its roster because of its "colossal meltdown" against the Warriors during the first round ... it just makes you wonder if some even pay attention the regular season. Even worse, some of these blurters are based in Dallas.
Look, the Mavericks stunk it up against the Warriors; they were never in control of that series. Jason Terry reminded me of Sedale Threatt, and Dirk Nowitzki reminded me of Henry James (the corpulent 1990s three-point chucker, not the writer). It was a pathetic showing.
But it wasn't a "colossal meltdown." It was the Mavericks, playing as they've played against the Warriors for the last two regular seasons (losing six of seven to Golden State), and getting their collective tails handed to them by a team that matches up well against their roster. Basketball is a game of matchups, and the Mavericks, for whatever reason, haven't matched up well against the Warriors for years.
Nowitzki could start barking at his teammates, demanding the ball and dominating the rock for 24 seconds at a time. He could have averaged 30 points and 15 rebounds (his averages of 20 and 11 weren't that bad, by the way) and made Terry cry at half-court. It doesn't make Devin Harris big enough to handle Baron Davis, it doesn't help Jerry Stackhouse (34.8 percent shooting in the postseason) find the bottom of the net more often, and it doesn't go anywhere near explaining Avery Johnson's love for Devean George (109 minutes in the series, 21 points). Matchups are matchups, and the Mavericks didn't match up. Dirk playing like Pat Garrity at times didn't help, but it was just one of the problems. Match Dallas with the Nuggets, and the series is over in five.
We all assumed the Mavericks would, somehow, be able to win four of seven games against a team it had lost six of seven to. We were wrong. Way, way wrong. But not as wrong as Dallas' front office would be if it decided to blow up things.