I told Shoals at halftime of the Mavs/Warriors game that I was going to bed. My reasoning was that it didn't/doesn't matter if the Warriors win. The damage has already been done. The psychological scars are too deep. Dirk, even in MVP-form last night, looks like he's on the defensive. Avery appears as though he has lost control. The entire Mavs squad is surprisingly swagger-less. Oddly, this series reminds me of the one-man near-beatdown LeBron put on the Pistons last year. Sure, the Cavs didn't win that series, but Detroit's immortality shield was destroyed. The Heat smelled blood, and the rest was history. We might see a repeat of this 60+ win team phenomenon this year.
And that was my rationale. It's been fun watching Baron and the boys muck things up. Pietrus is the hardest working man in show business. Matt Barnes looks like the lost member of Morris Day and The Time. Stephen Jackson is reminding me of 2004 Rape-Kobe the way he is playing so freely just to get some shit off of his mind. But it can't last forever, right? There has to be some moral structure to the universe, RIGHT? And it doesn't matter, because either way Dallas has been exposed.
But then...around 4 in the morning, I started tossing. Thoughts started racing. This shit was Hanukah, the 2004 presidential election, and my first HIV test all rolled into one. I COULDN'T SLEEP AT ALL. I had to get up and hit the 'nets to see what happened. Boom, there goes another angel. Dead. Immediately hit up NBA.com Broadband to watch the press conferences, and realized...Nellie is Jesus in mock turtlenecks:
a) He realizes his team is quasi-retarded enough to fall for the "We even have to prove our coach wrong" shtick. I love the way he's been handling interviews throughout this series, continuously stating that he thinks the Mavs will win, that the Mavs will come back, that the Mavs are a better team and will figure out a way to beat them, that it doesn't matter if GSW wins, because the series has already been a great moment for their franchise. I mean, who knows what he says to the guys in the locker room, but I'm sure guys like S-Jax just LOVE that little extra motivation...(i.e. "even coach doesn't fully comprehend what we can do").
b) What he told Baron Davis before the game: "Be dominant." Note, he didn't tell him to "Dominate"--that would mean overexerting, trying too hard. Dominate would be too Kobe, too desperate. "Be dominant" signifies an implicit understanding that our fate is in your (Diddy's) hands. Nellie's justification for this advice was that too often superstars do too much "for the good of the team." Do you understand how NOT "right way" this philosophy is? Juxtapose this with Walton gushing about "how fun it would be to play on the Spurs, a team where nobody cares about stats." In these types of remarks, ultimately a point is being missed: for teams like the Warriors, THIS IS A LIFE OR DEATH SITUATION. Or, in Nellie's words, "We are not a good enough team" for B-Davis not to be dominant.
c) Guy is always at a subdued emotional level. How incredibly important for a team filled with a bunch of headcases, Euros, and high schoolers. His whole style is making Avery look moronic, like someone who you would never want to play for. Like, while I imagine Nellie calmly telling his guys, "Do you," I picture Avery all, "PLAY BETTER DEFENSE!!! GUARD BARON DAVIS!!!!!" to which Jason Terry/Jerry Stackhouse/Dirk Nowitzki respond, "Chill, brah. I'm Jason Terry/Jerry Stackhouse/Dirk Nowitzki. Remember? I was never that good of a defender to begin with."
So, yeah...thanks for the memories Nellie. I have no idea what will happen next. Other thoughts from the weekend:
--I have to admit, I was kinda wrong in predicting that the Eastern Conference serieses would be a joy to watch. I mean, maybe the semi-finals and ECF will be better, but besides the Bulls' mashout and Jason Kidd, I find myself pretty disgusted with everything.
--Shoals brought my attention to T-Mac's trenchcoat piece. Allan Houston called him "Inspector Gadget." Under winning circumstances, I could really get behind this look on some "cool grampa" aesthetic. But when you just lost two straight to the Jazz, it really makes you look like a schlub. Also, what are you doing wearing a trenchcoat in Salt Lake City? It's like mid-60s out there. I'm calling SNAGL!
--Despite previous paragraphs, I kind of like the Spurs this year. That's all. They seem moodier, in a machismo way or something.
--One final thought on GSW/DAL. The Mavericks (and to a lesser extent, The Suns), I realize now, are the real reason this year's regular season sucked so badly. I mean, they were really the catalyst behind (Simmons'-coined term) Tankapalooza. All these teams were so shook by the sight of 60 wins, they figured, screw it, we don't have a chance in hell. Hand em the title and let's try to rebuild around Jeff Green and Alando Tucker. I hope if nothing more, this series is teaching everyone a lesson. I am being straight up when I say there is an extremely small difference between this year's Grizzlies and this year's Warriors. One of them simply decided that there was something worth fighting for.