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2:42 AM ET, 5/10/06
Mavs make Spurs look old and grumpy
Posted by Kelly Dwyer
Let's get one thing out of the way -- Steve Javie may indeed suck (as Spurs fans expertly implied, through the inimitable medium of belligerent chanting), but tonight's sub-standard performance by the referees had little to do with Dallas' dominant win in Game 2. Among teams lodged in the upper echelon, this was as thorough a whipping as you'll see. Dallas put together its second straight decisive effort on defense; they were off the charts on offense, while making the defending champs look like an old, frustrated bunch.
Post-game reaction suggests that the Spurs were well aware of their shortcomings, acknowledging that the Mavs played close to a perfect game, but this hardly precludes us from picking apart a disturbing performance from San Antonio. The perimeter, help, weak-side, and interior defense was pathetic. It was quite a character turn -- no Spur could stay in front of the Dallas guards, the usual cast of rotating bigs was nowhere to be found, while Bruce Bowen turned in an abysmal performance.
Bowen made no effort to fight through screens, he continually switched defensive assignments off of pick and rolls (leaving his teammates confused and overmatched while trying to stop the ball-handler), and his help defense was severely lacking. We're talking Antawn Jamison-level help, here. The men that Jamison was once traded for, Dallas guards Devin Harris (starting his first game of the playoffs, Harris scored 20 points in just 32 minutes and 12 shots) and Jerry Stackhouse (19 points in 31 minutes), would not let up. Every San Antonio run was answered by a Harris drive or Stackhouse dagger.
San Antonio led the league in defensive efficiency this season, allowing about 101 points for every 100 possessions, but they gave up a prorated 121.5 points per hundred tonight. Travis Diener, with a hangover and one contact lens in, could have done a better job defending Harris than Tony Parker, Nick Van Exel and Beno Udrih. A beat-up Manu Ginobili couldn't muster a steal in 27 minutes (he had four in Game 1), and though Gregg Popovich is a master at making adjustments between games, there's only so much he can do with that backcourt.
Dallas should be proud of the way it kept up the attack; the team appeared focused and confident in Avery Johnson's plan, so everyone should get real huggy with each other on the team flight back to Big D. Everyone's a jolly good fellow tonight, y'know? Josh Howard was masterful, playing lockdown defense on one end, handling the ball, starting the break with defensive boards, while probing the middle on his way to 27 points. Stackhouse has been ultra-consistent -- this was his third game-changing gig performance in a row -- and Jason Terry will only get better as he adapts to playing off the ball.
How do the Spurs adjust? Well, Bowen will return to form -- he didn't have his best outing tonight and one look at game tape will be suitably embarrassing enough for him to regain his annoying touch off the ball on defense. During Inside the NBA Tuesday, Magic Johnson suggested starting Michael Finley in Game 3 and moving Robert Horry to the bench -- but I don't know if Finley can stick with these guys (he had trouble with Stack tonight), and although Horry hasn't been rebounding much (about four boards in 20 minutes a night) during the playoffs, the Spurs are getting killed on the glass and can't afford to banish yet another big.
So more than any gimmick or personnel change, expect a healthy dose of anger and effort to push the Spurs back into this series. The team knows it has to do a better job of showing off of screen and rolls, and communicating as the play develops. Because Dallas shows no signs of letting up its own defensive mastery (they allowed a prorated 101.1 points per 100 possessions tonight), look for a nasty little Game 3. I can't wait.
I'll have to, though. Game 3 takes place on Saturday, as both teams get three full days off to rest their bones. Great for the players, but as has been mentioned before -- the playoffs aren't for the players. They're for the people who fill up 20,000-seat arenas every night, just to chant "JAVIE SUCKS."
Addendum to the Addendum
Though the comment screed on this post will likely be littered with frustrations about the poor refereeing in Game 2, I'm imploring the NBA fandom at large to give it a rest. Yes, the refereeing stinks these days -- but it's an absolute waste of time to bash your head against the wall about it. It's an impossible game to ref, these guys are doing the best job they can -- and usually, that's not enough. Just something we're going to have to deal with until players learn to stop fouling each other, or lose the ball out of bounds, or stand over someone after blocking a shot, or ...
Old and Grumpy? Try exhausted and injured. Thanks David Stern for allowing the Spurs to basically play a back to back on Sunday. The Mav's played great, but there way were too many no calls and bad calls from the so called refs. The Spurs never had a chance to even make it a game. Everyone knows the TV Execs don't want the Spurs to go far.
how can you insinuate that the lousy refs did not influence the outcome of this came. Because of the horrible refs the game became a series of free throws and fast breaks, not exactly one that the Spurs thrive on. The refs consistently blew calls that favored the Mavs, including giving the ball to the Mavs on an errant pass by Ginobili that never went out of bounds and was never recovered by either team, the classic definition of a jump-ball situation.
Really, the refereeing was not all that bad. Or at least no worse than usual. I watched much of the first half with the volume down while eating dinner and chatting with my wife, and it appeared that San Antonio got most of the calls. Later in the half, the calls were going Dallas' way. You're right, refereeing NBA games accurately is near impossible. They just do their best to even out the mistakes (which disturbes me, but is understandable).
Why is it, by the way, that EVERY player called for a foul acts like someone just stole his diamond stud earring? The variety of protestations is truly comical. Tim Duncan's deer-in-the-headlights "ME?" glare. LeBron's baby-girl stomp-rants up and down the floor. Give it a rest, dudes.
I think it's rather odd the way everybody was all up in Ian Thomsen's ear after his last blog on the Mavs-Spurs series. Well, it looks like this series will pull us to and fro with emotion when all is said and done. The spurs looked lethargic in game 2, and I think self-doubt might creep in especially after a long fought round one.. Ironically, it was the very same fatigue that got the best of the mavericks in round two last year after having had to fight Houston through 7 games as Phoenix rested.. all I can say to the Spurs fans is.."welcome to the world of the confluence of beneficial/detrimental causes and effects"
You are 100% correct in saying that the Spurs got outplayed in every aspect of this game. Living in San Antonio and having to hear about how easy Dallas is going to be beat from the local media after game 1, I thoroughly enjoyed that good old fashioned butt whuppin. Hopefully this will be a wakeup call to the Spurs Nation seeing as how they easily could and should be down 2 games to the Mavs right now.
I dont get how any Spur fan can complain about the officaiting; when there was one more foul called on the Mavs than the Spurs, Avery Johnson got a T for doing nothing, Tim Duncan was getting to the line when Dirk and Diop got all ball a few times. Then only time a fan should complain is when one team shots way more ft than the other.
Isn't it ironic that the one guy everyone worried about in the regular season, Tim Duncan, is the only Spur that has showed for both games? The refs may have disrupted the flow a bit in game 2 but the Spurs just looked bad top to bottom.
Great article...Dallas was too athletic, and San Antonio was way too old, or hurt, or both. SA was fortunate to get a win in the first game, and Dallas completely dismantled them in game 2. The series will go 6, with Dallas moving on to play Phoenix. Coach Johnson deserves much credit for his game plan and passion. His team rose to the occasion, and they are just too good right now for the defending champs to handle. Dallas/Detroit in Finals....Detroit in 5.
As a Spurs fan, it was painful to watch every young Maverick drive into the lane and get a lay up, while it seemed like every other Spur not named Duncan consistently missed their own lay ups. What happened to Ginobili? Why is he missing so many shots? Why are Nesterovic and Mohammed not rebounding the ball? Why are the Spurs not making any steals, blocks or rebounding missed shots? Hopefully, the 3 days of rest will help Parker heal.
The Spurs got lucky in game 1. Had it not been for the Mavs' cold last 5 minutes and Bowen's lucky trey, SA would (and should) be 0-2 at this point. The Mavs thoroughly man-handled them. Dallas is a much hungrier, more agressive team this year than SA. I think this round is where the Spurs' playoff run ends.
How come with all this talk about the bad refs no one seems to mention that Dallas actually had one more foul called on them than San Antonio. Spurs fans were complaining because Tim Duncan was in foul trouble, but the Mavs were in more foul trouble early than him. Yes there were some missed calls and some bad calls but at least it was even and fair, the foul count shows that. Another thing, watch Duncan the next game, he gets fouled about 75+% of the time he touches the ball on offense. Shaq wasn't fouled that much when teams were trying to foul him in the hack-a-shaq era. Some people will say, 'oh that's because Tim is a great player and draws the fouls.' Yes Duncan is a great player, but when the defense stops you and all you can do is go up underneath his armpits and throw yourself up into his arms, thats not a foul, thats a desperation attempt of the offensive player. Tim is incredible when he actually makes a move to the basket or when he spins and puts it off the glass, but when someone is actually able to defend him or the shot clock is ticking down, the desperation comes out and his acting that he learned from Ginobolli comes out, always drawing the foul. Superstars get too much preferable treatment in this league when it comes to drawing fouls. Even Dirk gets the special treatment. Three years ago Dirk wouldn't get near the calls he does now.
The refs may be bad but I think they were bad equally to both teams. Remember, Dallas had three players having foul problems to Duncan's issue. The reality is that the Spurs, although talented, are a bunch of whiners. Their fans are too. It's the number one characteristic of this team. There isn't a call made against Duncan that he isn't shrugging his shoulders questioning the ref. And that's in every game,not just the one last night. Admit you got trounced and get back in the game.
The Spurs did indeed appear "old and grumpy" last night. The reality is they need rest and are probably not as "shocked" by the loss as everyone else seems to be. They know they can take the Mavericks, and they know they didn't have it last night. It's the NBA playoffs, fellas, not the NCAA tournament -- you know, seven-game series, etc. The Spurs have been here before and know some nights you just don't have it. I'd be more concerned if I were a Dallas fan, because up until the mid second quarter when Steve Javie decided the game was about him, the Spurs were right in it -- and playing horribly.
As a spurs fan i must say the Mavericks are playing good ball. They have exposed the spurs weaknesses and i thought they should have won the first games as they are the better ball club. I hope the Spurs players remember what Pop told them at the start of the season: They HAVE to repeat. Hopefully, they will wake up and take the Mavericks seriously.
Wow! I don't think I have ever seen a group of fans complain, whine and cry (enough tears to fill up the riverwalk) more than these bumbling idiots that call themselves Spurs fans. First of all, yes the officials dominated Game 2 which should NEVER happen in the playoffs. It is ridiculous that they ever become that big of a pressence in any game. Having said that, look at the stats. Fouls-Mavs were called for 27, Spurs 26, free throws-Mavs shot 43, Spurs shot 37-pretty even. Yes they did call EVERY ticky-tacky thing, but at least they punished everyone equally. Which brings me to the uproar in San Antonio about the scheduling of Game 1. Pretty sure Cleveland had to do the exact same thing but you didnt hear a word about it from them. If you want more "respect" when it comes to scheduling then dont be pushed to Game 6 by the #8 seed. When you play a long series, there are consequences. Period. And besides, as we saw in Game 1, these teams didnt need any time to get ready for each other. They already know each other inside and out and have been preparing the last 4 months plus for this showdown. By that point, it's all adrenaline anyways. Just shut up and play!
Refs need to let them play! Too many bad calls all night. If not for that the Spurs defense would have killed the Mavs. Avery is pulling a classic Cuban missle crisis and whining about calls from the last game with that Stupid Bear Hug Defense comment. If you can't beat them on the court, well lets do a little whining and see if we can get the officals attention...yeah that will do it. Bunch of mav coach and ownership whinning babbies!
I believe your comments are mostly correct. I think any team would look old if you put them into a situation where they had to land in their home city at 4a.m. and play another in 36 hours and play another in 2 days. But let't see how old they look with a full 3 days rest.
The Spurs will be fine. Just a terrible 2nd quarter where they lost their composure. It happens in the play-offs when it is nearly impossible to stay mentally up for every game. They will bear down and keep guys out of the lane next game. I am confident.
I agree about not harping on the refs performance as a reason why the Spurs lost - but the thing in general that bothers me about refs is when they make themselves too present in the game. And calling 2 T's about 5 minutes in insured that was going to be the case.
Not as old and grumpy as Shaq is looking these days. Speaking of days, I don't see Shaq being able to play for much longer. That's a big body to have to get in shape at his age. I think Rielly should have remade the team more to complement Wade this past off season; meaning he should have looked to the future.
I think Dallas will beat San Antonio in seven games but they had better hope that the Clippers beat Phoenix. Not only has Phoenix been on a roll since they overcame that 3-1 deficit (I was highly disappointed that the Lakers didn't do a good job of closing out that series) but Dallas really stuggled against Phoenix during the regular season especially against Steve Nash. I'm rooting for Dallas to finally make it to the Finals but I'm worried that Phoenix will prevent that from happening.
Clearly Parker is not at full speed and Ginobli has lost his game, though Duncan is dancing around the Diop/Dampier combo - the mavs are a better team - simple as that. What will happen now is this - spurs will play more agressive but get frustrated and foul more, lose thier composure and otherwise complain thier way through the next 3 games (yes, i predict a 4-1 series win by the Mavs). My only fear is that some of the spurs (van excel, bowen maybe, horry and the other hacks probably) will try to take out (or "kobe" them) some of the Mavs out of frustration (duncan, parker, finley and ginobli are too classy to do this..).
This is the Mavs year - deal with it walton, barkley, miller, celznik, and all other Mav haters!!!!!
Role reversal? the spurs have become the biggest whiners in the NBA. They even got the best Mavs whiner (Michael Finley)to go along with TD and TP. Watch carefully and realize when a call goes against mavs, they just walk away and play some more D. Just like in the animal kingdom, you get old you get to fight with the younger folks and whoever wins rules. Spurs fans, you see where am going with this? I bet you do
I'm a Mavs fan. I saw Game 2 and I admit that there were some questionable calls that went against SA (but not enough to change the outcome of the game). S.A. is nototrious for "working the refs" through properly placed whining, complaining and admittance of their mistakes to the refs. Game 2 showed that refs don't care if SA is the defending champ. They can't sweet talk refs or bully them anymore, pretending that they never did anything wrong. Also, did anyone else realize that this series has been the Mavericks vs. Tim Duncan? The Mavs have played like a real team, narrowly losing Game 1 (which thay should have won because Bowen fouled Dirk numerous times on the last 2 times Nowitzki had the ball) and got whooped in Game 2. For SA, only T.D. is showing that that he really wants to win this series.
I'm somewhat glad that Manu Ginobili is having a rough series against the Mavs. I mean, I like this guy to some extent because of his acrobatic plays and lefty moves. But he is the BIGGEST damn flopper on the league. He could probabaly make it look like a baby assaulted him. Why do the refs take this guy seriously when he flops after being pushed ever so slightly by any opposing player? Ginobili should stop flopping and start playing basketball. The real man's basketball.
I am tired of hearing about the Spurs playing two games in 36 hours, bad officiating, or the NBA trying to string this series out to make more money. All of that is just ridiculous and shows how sore losers the Spurs fans are, especially chanting that the ref sucks, because it was totally his fault they were blown out by 22 points. The spurs were thouroughly dominated in every aspect of the game and need to quit making excuses. This would be a very good series if it wasnt for all the excuses and scape goats. JUST PLAY THE GAME!
The Mavs dominated and won the game, no question about it. Pop refused to play the ref card and said so ("Mavs outplayed us")loud and clear like he always does. But Javie had a career-bad nite--an ego completely out of control. He didn't change the game, but he altered it significantly in the 2nd quarter. The league needs to rein him in quickly.
First of all Dallas played a great game and thoroughly beat the Spurs. No excuses. But let's remember that all fans from the 16 playoff teams make excuses and lay blame on everything from bad calls to El Niño for why their team lost. Spurs fans are no worse or more graceful in defeat than other fans. So we call or write in our opinions. For those who are saying that the Spurs fan complained too much, they are probably Dallas fans or fans that don't like the Spurs. If your team just lost you probably would be complaining too. And if you say you wouldn't your lying. Having said all that, 1st Playing 3 games in 5 days is not impossible but it is difficult to do (one of the games was a series clinching game against a very tough team on the road. Is it THE reason the Spurs lost? NO. Did it have an effect, YES? How much of an effect, who knows. 2nd Was the officiating inconsistent? YES. Was it the reason the Spurs lost? NO. Did it have an effect on the game? YES. Everybody says well the there was 1 more call against the Mavericks than the Spurs. About 12 fouls by the Mavericks were committed on Tim. When a great post up player is played one on one he is going to get fouled a lot. If any team singled Shaq, he would get about 15-20 calls a night. So that skews the amount of calls that the Spurs received. The more important stat is the amount of free throws shot. And clearly Dallas had the advantage (a total of 43 free throws). Now are the Spurs fans asking for more calls or foul shots for the Spurs? NO. Actually less calls. If you are going to let them play on one end, let them play on the other. If Dirk is allowed to body Tony Parker on a lay-up, then Horry should be allowed to body Josh Howard on a lay-up. More calls in a game favor an offensive team as opposed to a defensive team. The tighter the officiating, the less aggressive defensively you can be. It is not an excuse it is just a fact. Is that why the Spurs lost. NO. Why point all this out is because to say that fatigue or the officiating had nothing to do with how the Spurs lost is not true. Would they still have lost without those 2 factors, probably? The Mavericks played nearly a perfect game. To say the Spurs are old is just not fair. There are other reasons for the way they lost. By the way for all that keep saying Manu flops, well EVERY player in the NBA does it. Manu does it no more or no less than any other player. Does it look like he exaggerates it more? Yes. Why does he do it? Because as much as he drives down the lane, and as hard as he drives down the lane, he doesn't get the calls he deserves. You would think that all the teams just part the middle when he comes down with the amount of calls he gets. Kobe drives and you can't breathe in his direction without a call. Should Manu get every call? NO. But if you are driving down the lane relentlessly and you’re getting to the line for 6-7 free throws a night, you’re going to try and draw attention to the fact that you’re getting hammered and not getting the call NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE. It's funny that when I watch Dirk, he is always flailing is arms when he thinks he is fouled but nobody calls him a flopper.
TD's Spurs were 8-3 over Nowitzki's Mavs in last 2 playoffs. The Spurs were never eliminated in the post-season except by Lakers' Shaq-Kobe tandem or a TD injury (in 2000). SA won franchise-best 63 wins this season despite injuries to key players. And TD's peaking again at this time of the year. What the Mavs did was just even the series. Relax, sit and enjoy... The Mavs won't beat the Spurs 4x.
Funny how the Spurs fans are crying about the refs in Game 2. I didn't see the game, but I did watch Game 1 and saw "hometown" refs in action. While Bowen is tame compared to the '80s Pistons or early '90s Knicks, he fouled Dirk as many times as the Mav's bigs fouled Duncan, but only Duncan got the calls. I think the Mavs would have easily won Game 1 if that game was called more fairly. The refs really are pathetic and I think they do change the pace and momentum in games. Coaching in the NBA has become as much about managing and making adjustments based on the refs as it is based on the opponent.
I wonder if David Stern is giving them these 3 days of rest because of his scheduling mistake with Game 1 of the series. Regardless, 3 days rest and Spurs are at their best. Mark my words. Game 3 will be extremely close, but San Antonio will pull off a convincing win - regardless of the officiating.
There were some bad calls, but not enough to change the game. going back to dallas after dominating the spurs, the mavs and their fans will go crazy. Mavs will win both home games, go back to SA to win the series, and play phoenix in the conf. finals. Mavs beat Pho. and then Detroit in finals.
The only thing that SA does in game 3 and 4 is provide the drama of passing the torch to the mighty MAVS - it is Big D time in the hoops world - you know it is the Mavs year when we don't need Dirk to score 40 and carry the team. THe MAVS win in 5!!!!
Right now the mavs are one of the most durable teams in the NBA. Anytime Avery Johnson calls a timeout when they start playing again the Mavs will adjust perfectly whatever Avery called a timeout for. I think FOR SURE the Mavs are better than the Spurs and will win the series in 6 gmaes.
Granted the Spurs are defending champs, but you Spurs fans that have posted here are way too cocky right now. The Spurs ARE looking old, and they WERE exposed defensively by Dallas in Game 2. The Spurs have always won games with their defense and their defense was atrocious in Game 2. They cannot expect to play that kind of D and beat Dallas. I expected this to be a 7 game series coming in, when I expected the Spurs to play their usual great defense every night. Now? Maybe the Spurs' run is over...They were barely able to beat the 8 seed in the first round and they should be down 0-2 in this series. If they somehow, which seems inconceivable at the moment, find a way to win this series, they will be humilated by the Pistons in the finals.
I don’t believe in a conspiracy theory but you sure make it difficult. Instead, I believe that it is a prime example of the old saying “Don’t attribute to malice what should rightly be attributed to incompetence”. As a longtime fan of both the Mavericks and Spurs, I was finally looking forward to a series between teams capable of playing basketball dominated by skill, not contact. I was looking forward to a series that would not be decided by the 5% (yea, right Mr. Stern) of missed calls by the refs. Game 3 disabused me of that notion.
How do you explain these totals: 50 foul shots for the Mavs (24 for Dirk) vs. 32 for the Spurs? It must be the Mav’s powerful low post presence … who is that again? Dirk isn’t Vince Carter and he isn’t Dwyane Wade. Yet he has more free throws in a single game then anybody in the playoffs. 50 foul shots are the most for any team in the playoffs. Is the Spurs defense that poor? For comparison, in the last Detroit-Cleveland game each team got 16 fouls.
The closer the game got in the 4th quarter, the worse the calls got: 9:05 left – Foul on Ginobili … is this preseason or the playoffs? Is touching somebody a foul? 4:52 left – Dirk falls out of bounds and Brent gets called for tripping even though he is several feet away. Even the announcers were embarrassed for the refs. 4:22 left – Dirk draws the 5th foul on Tim Duncan. You gotta see this call to believe it. Again, the call is so bad that the announcers disagree. 2:54 left – One referee calls an offensive foul and one call a defensive foul simultaneously. 2:44 left – Tony Parker is tripped after handing the ball to Duncan – no call. What were the referees watching? It occurred 5 feet from the ball. Once more the announcers are in disbelief. 1:25 left – A foul is called on Howard after an extremely clean block on Ginobili. By now, the announcers are just mum. 1:05 left – Duncan’s 6th foul. It should have been his 5th, setting up a Dirk vs. Tim finish. That is why I watch basketball, for the rare game with the potential of this game. 7.9 seconds left – Once again, I wonder if this is preseason or the playoffs. Where is the foul here? Why are the referees deciding the outcome of the game?
Shame on you NBA …
The Mavs-Spurs series could represent the most exciting and closest games in the playoffs. The end of game 3 should have featured Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan battling possession by possession for the win. Instead, Duncan was sitting on the bench with 6 fouls. The only reason that the game ended up close was due to heroics by Manu Ginobili and an inexplicitly porous Mavs defense.
I don’t blame teams for taking advantage of the referees call tendencies. Without any changes in the way this series is called, I expect Dirk to get 40 free throw attempts next game. By the numbers, Dirk is must be more athletic then Vince Carter, Rip Hamilton, Dwyane Wade and Steve Nash. Twenty four foul shots without a single offensive foul. Or maybe the tone of the game needs to be changed.
Shame on you NBA …
Do you have any idea why you have trouble drawing the interest of the casual fan? Three young guys I work with play basketball twice a week and have no interest in watching the NBA (National Brawler’s Association as they refer to it). Why can’t you set a consistent level of acceptable physical play throughout the playoffs?