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.


At 4/30/2007 10:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darkofan: After three games it is still somehow shocking; That owner , thinking that he can hands-on busiess management his way to beating the Warrior; it seems like there are three or four {im}Pervious Short's out on the court; missing the half is better , makes it more dream-like.

At 4/30/2007 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also from postgame conference, Nelly claimed if Ellis and Harrington didn't show anything in practice, he would have to go in a different direction. He expanded on this not by saying he would find two more guys to play but that he would be forced to go to a six man rotation.

Don Nelson is claiming to be considering going with a six man rotation in game 5 of an NBA playoff series. SIX.

At 4/30/2007 11:13 AM, Anonymous WE ARE WHO YOU THOUGHT WE WERE said...

I actually think Nelly's act is more intended for the Mavs than his own guys.

He's well aware of how this team operates under pressure and he's more than happy to supply another dose.

At 4/30/2007 11:28 AM, Blogger nerditry said...

dlic: i hate to post my own site, but this speaks to what I was thinking before the game (http://nerditry.com/?p=33).

Nelly convinced them that it's worthwhile to go out and be yourself. The Mavs lost 17 in the regular season and no one should have ever thought the Warriors weren't full aware going in.

At 4/30/2007 11:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed how the Warriors are doing this with some god-awful stat lines?? They got out-rebounded by FIFTEEN last night, no one had more than 4 assists, and they only had 4 blocks. Yet they still look like they are the most cohesive unit in the West (rivaling the Suns at times!) and are up 3-1. Absolutely astounding.

At 4/30/2007 12:18 PM, Blogger Martin said...

To follow up on the point posted above. I did not realize till the end of the game that Al Harrington and Monta Ellis went scoreless all game.Two key starters went scoreless!! And I totally overlooked this because from watching the game it always seemed as though the Warriors had an abundance of people to put the ball in the hole.

At 4/30/2007 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So there ain't a soul who think a team that set a franchise record for wins in a row (17) can win 3 consectutive?

At 4/30/2007 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets not lose sight of a key revelation in this series. Stephen Jackson has finally found a home, he was never allowed to be himself in the straight-jacket draped over him by Gregg Popovich. The Pacers lacked the structure to channel S-Jax's madness to do more good than evil. But he finally found redemption in Golden State where he can flourish AND maintain his identity.

At 4/30/2007 12:37 PM, Anonymous grover said...

Anon 11:28: I feel that. I didnt catch the end of the game, and wished I had looked at the Mavs boxscore first before the score. I wouldve been like "oh shit, howard and dirk showed up for real, and stack even had 20+.
DLIC: Barnes is most def a lost member of the Time. He scares the shit out of me when hes on the court and theyre running.

At 4/30/2007 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There has never been an NBA playoff series officiated like this one. EVER.

At 4/30/2007 12:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DLIC- if you are argue that this series has exposed the Mavs, you must also include that it has exposed the teams foundation- Dirk. Watching last nights game made me realize that Stackhouse (who does not even start!) is best suited to be the Mavs leader unless Avery is willing to suit things up and play the point.

At 4/30/2007 1:12 PM, Anonymous baron davis is the new blogosphere prom queen said...

grover: Matt Barnes scares the hell out of me too on the fast break. You know why? his unquenchable desire to unleash the most ill advised, ludicrous dishes possible at all junctures. Of course that, his penchant for jacking up horrible (like, beyond old-school Toine' jackup bad) 3s at times [and hitting them!!!] and his "retro Minneapolis sound from the year 3000" style are all just part of the oeuvre. in other words that cat is just on some NEXT shit.

For anyone who somehow missed it Oakland and entire Bay is all kinds of ###### up b/c a freaking tanker crashed and burned parts of the Oak/SF bridge to slag. Thankfully I don't own or use a car but the whole joint was crazy. You could see the flames shooting into the sky from hella, hella far away. Aside from the fact that it sucks, isn't there some kind of analogy to be made between this and what the GSW is doing to the Mavs?

sidenote: has anyone else ever noticed that Chris Bosh strongly resembles an actual velociraptor???

At 4/30/2007 1:13 PM, Anonymous amphibian said...

Let's fast-forwards a month or two in the future. Can Nelson keep this up for another 82 games, or will the team get tired of his manipulations?

The thing that tempers my joy in watching the Warriors is knowing that Nelson will most likely not be able to do this again next year.

At 4/30/2007 1:14 PM, Anonymous parisikov said...

Stack played great last night. But best suited to lead? When crunch time came, he choked. Simple as that. Last few minutes, one miss after another after another.

Meanwhile, fantastic, joyful game to watch. Perhaps the best game I've seen all year.

That dude who wrote the soporific piece in Slate about skipping the early playoff action -- he's got some other kind of day job, right?

At 4/30/2007 1:15 PM, Blogger Martin said...

Anyone else think that right Cuban would not mind having to shell-out the extra few million in luxury tax to have Finely taking big shots given how he is scorching the Nuggets. Lets not even get into a discussion about losing Steve Nash.

At 4/30/2007 1:15 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

Dirk is damned either way. Two years ago, he yells at JET for not d'ing up Nash and takes a bunch of crap for it. Last year, he lets J-Ho, JET, and Stackhouse in on the action, and D-Wade says he isn't a leader.

At least last night Dirk became Dirk again. I blame Avery for not having dude post up more. Seriously, he is being guarded by guys half a foot shorter.

At 4/30/2007 1:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The little-mentioned outcome of all this is that Bulls-Pistons is for the 'ship now. I mean that.

At 4/30/2007 1:23 PM, Blogger nerditry said...

amphib: I don't think that Nelson has to keep much of anything up for another 82 games in regard to next season's success. I think his genius here is Seinfeldian in getting his players to believe in nothing besides themselves as a team.

More than any other team, you can see how tenuous the Warriors grasp on team dominance is in light of their reverting to 5 games of 1 on 1.

Don just needs to make sure there is someone to continue the message because the basketball part is seemingly taking care of itself.

At 4/30/2007 1:45 PM, Anonymous Aaron said...

Anon 12:46... are you referring to the fact that I have never seen an away team get as many calls as the Mavs got last night? Half the times Stackhouse got to the line, he didn't deserve it. Ridiculous. Whatever happened to home team advantage?

At 4/30/2007 2:04 PM, Blogger William said...

they were letting them play. seemed to shake the mavs.

At 4/30/2007 2:07 PM, Anonymous padraig said...

amphib, nerditry: I thought a huge part of the GSW appeal is the harshness of fleeting glory/success. One of the Suns' most intriguing storylines is that they are compelled to win now and Steve Nash absolutely knows it. also, the Warriors are such a concentration of volatility and impending disaster, like thawing nitroglycerin, that I'd be schocked if someone or something didn't implode between now and next year.

I mean, seriously, Nellie's a con man. Granted the dude's a genius (orginated the point forward, pretty much invented the suns 15 yrs ago w/TMC) but his teams have always been denigrated pretty fairly as all flash, no substance. I think this team is just so over the top, combined with Baron playing out of his mind and pouring years of frustration/wasted potential into this moment, that they are manually realigning the stars to create a wildly improbable run. crazier shit has certainly happened.

dr lic.: if matt barnes is a lost member of the time does that make Baron's girl Kate Hudson and Gertrude Stein ("there is no there there" pretty aptly describes the Warriors style as well) the Warriors' Wendy and Lisa?

At 4/30/2007 2:51 PM, Blogger Martin said...

DLIC there is some truth to your conjecture that Dirk is damned either way. However, I just cant shake the fleeting choking images in my mind when watching Dirk play.

One could argue that it hearkens back to the argument about whether a player should be judged by his expressiveness. Sometimes, even in loss a superstar can appear to have grasped the moment only to have it snatched away by a superior foe. A couple of performances that fit that description come to mind such as- Barkley in the 93 finals against MJ; Ewing during the 95 finals; Iverson's futile struggle in 2002 against the Kobe-to-Shaq juggernaut; both of J-Kidd's trips to the finals; Lebron's duel against the Pistons in last years playoffs.

In the aforementioned situations it always appeared that the MVP or MVP candidates were living up to their billing only to be hamstrung by inferior teammates or vanquished by a superior opponent. Yet even in loss they always appeared to be the best or at worst second best player on the floor. I just don't see that in Dirk this year or even in last years finals. In this series I would rank Dirk's performance at best fourth behind Baron, J-Rich, J-Howard and arguably Stack after last nights game.

At 4/30/2007 3:07 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Barnes definitely emits that "Jungle love"..."Oh-e-oh-e-oh!"

At 4/30/2007 3:18 PM, Anonymous neck of eackles said...

Gertrude Stein is from Oakland!

At 4/30/2007 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know why everyone is so surprisedd because Davis has always come out to play in the play offs, he just hadn't been there in a while.
Dirk is not the guy that makes the mavericks go. He's an amazing scorer on an amazing offensive team, who disappears at the wrong time. J-Rich and Pietrus took turns guarding Dirk... When your a 7 foot MVP that doesn't cut it. They're making his game look limited.
This series and the fact that his regular season averages of 25 and 9 aren't eye popping make me question how he won the MVP this year.

At 4/30/2007 3:57 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

b-diddy prom queen: Section that burned was the I-80/E-580 interchange, not the "Oak/SF bridge" AKA the Bay Bridge. In either case, it's completely fucking up traffic in the East Bay right now.

And the Warriors have always looked good when Davis and Richardson have played together. It's just extremely rare to have them healthy at the same time. Throw in S-Jax, who breaks an overall Warriors trend by making his freebies, and you've got some Town Business.

As for Nelson, let's not forget that he was responsible for breaking up a team that had: Hardaway, Sprewell, Mullin, Webber and Seikaly, with a pretty nice bench to boot. We coulda been a contender, etc.

At 4/30/2007 3:59 PM, Anonymous MaxwellDemon said...

In round 2, they best play some Too Short to represent GSW. I nominate "Cuss Words."

At 4/30/2007 4:12 PM, Blogger ox said...

nellie isn't playing games i dont think. we just think he is because of how things are turning out. He's trying to win the games but i dont think he believed they could, just dreams. his players are young and as state quasi-retarded enough to believe dreams can come true. But its not just that is taht Dirk is playing like crap. He's not the best player on teh best team, he's the best scorer on the best team, and he happens to score as a seven footer launching threes, hes not THAT guy.

Switch the focal point to Josh Howard. Not that he's all Kobe or Wade over there but I think he's got what it takes to lead the team right now. Then go back to Dirk next series.

At 4/30/2007 4:15 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

More than Howard, I think it's Stackhouse that needs to come alive for the Mavs to pull this one out. I *hate* the dude, mainly because he winds up being the guy who shuts the door on the scrappy team.

At 4/30/2007 4:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I co-sign on E-Zarko's point- Stackhouse's three pointer from 28 feet to beat the shot clock was the only dagger from the Mavs all game. It was pure- "Coooold blooooded!" ala Rick James. It drew subdued gasps from the crowd for a good 3 minutes. The Mavs need more Stackhouse or some other cold-blooded guy that can stomp at the jugular of a scrappy team.

At 4/30/2007 4:38 PM, Blogger scott said...

"sidenote: has anyone else ever noticed that Chris Bosh strongly resembles an actual velociraptor???"

HAH! YES! I think that every time I see him with that hair-style he has.

At 4/30/2007 4:53 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

Alright, I'm finally on the warriors bandwagon. Can we finally just agree that Nash is the MVP? I know it is not a post season award, but come on. Nash Vs. Dirk? No contest. 23 assists.

Why is Nash's performance not talked about more? Anybody know how many points Nash had a part in?

At 4/30/2007 5:02 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

I just said it in the last thread, but I'll say it again here: until Nellie or the Suns can pull this trick off against a solid team with a good/great coach, I'm still not a believer. Avery Johnson is still wet behind the ears as a coach, so I'm curious to see how Nellie will pull this off against Van Gundy or Sloan in the next round, cause those guys know how to make adjustments. Same goes for Phoenix against the Spurs in Round two: you know Pop is gonna be able to figure out the Suns the way Phil did last year (except that Pop's got a team to utilize). Odds are it's gonna be Rockets-Spurs in the WCF, disappointing though that may be.

While I'm waiting with incredible anticipation for Bulls-Pistons I can't help but feel all those Barkley-Wade commercials are gonna be a bit odd these playoffs now that the Heat got swept.

At 4/30/2007 5:14 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

iverson fan, I think Nash gets talked about too much, actually. How many All Stars does the guy need on his team before he actually makes an appearance in the NBA Finals? Look at who he was paired with in Dallas and who he's had in Phoenix. Hell, the Mavs weren't even relevant when Nash was there, despite having Dirk, Finley, Jamison, Walker, etc on his team. Has there ever been a player in league history to win more than one MVP without making even one Finals appearance? Nash going off against a hapless Laker team shouldn't impress anyone. If the Suns can run-n-gun against San Antonio, then we might have something to talk about; but my guess is that Phoenix is gonna have to play half-court ball against the Spurs, and for all of Nash's positives, half-court ball is his Achilles heel (which is, of course, why he's never been to The Finals).

At 4/30/2007 5:55 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

while i initially scoffed at the gertrude stein mention (i mean, it *was* a bit forced), i will concede that the following steinisms could all be freedarko mottoes:

"It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing."

"I do want to get rich, but I never want to do what there is to do to get rich."

"Out of kindness comes redness and out of rudeness comes rapid same question, out of an eye comes research, out of selection comes painful cattle."

At 4/30/2007 6:01 PM, Blogger Pooh said...

I co-sign on E-Zarko's point- Stackhouse's three pointer from 28 feet to beat the shot clock was the only dagger from the Mavs all game. It was pure- "Coooold blooooded!" ala Rick James. It drew subdued gasps from the crowd for a good 3 minutes. The Mavs need more Stackhouse or some other cold-blooded guy that can stomp at the jugular of a scrappy team.

Stack did hit the banker, but he also had 3-5 really good looks from the corner, plus the exceedingly obvious (even for the NBA) travel, down the stretch. Let's not crown his ass yet...

At 4/30/2007 6:12 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: I agree with some of your points, but I think you're wrong on some others.

For instance, half-court ball is not Steve Nash's Achilles heel. One of the most effective weapons the Suns deploy is the pick and roll involving Nash and Stoudemire.

Also, the last two years the Suns have been in the playoffs they've been missing key components and/or playing half-injured guys. In '05 they were missing Joe Johnson; in '06 they were without Stoudemire and were playing with a not completely healthy Raja Bell. So, I don't think it's completely Steve Nash's fault that he hasn't gotten his team to the Finals yet.

At 4/30/2007 6:33 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

It's funny how everybody thinks that the Spurs are just goint to walk over the Suns in the second round. Where's the evidence for this? The last the game these two teams met?

I may be wrong, but I don't think Mike D'Antoni isn an idiot. I think he's just as capable of making adjustments as Popovich and Sloan are.

At 4/30/2007 6:34 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Sorry for the grammatical errors.

At 4/30/2007 6:41 PM, Blogger crazylegsjackson said...

Odds are it's gonna be Rockets-Spurs in the WCF

I know this was a figure of speech, but I just want to point out that the odds actually favor the Suns to not only make the WCF, but win the West. Rockets are still a distant fourth, behind the 1-3 Mavs. Suns = Establishment?

Dallas Mavericks 7/2
Denver Nuggets 15/1
Golden State Warriors 7/1
Houston Rockets 17/2
Los Angeles Lakers 100/1
Phoenix Suns 3/2
San Antonio Spurs 9/4
Utah Jazz 16/1

At 4/30/2007 6:57 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

One more point: I don't understand the logic behind giving Dirk the MVP this year. Granted, I think he's a great player and all, but he (IMO) just doesn't have the same impact on the game as Nash, Kobe, LeBron, etc. do. I thought this even before the playoffs started.

In fact, I remember in the first half of the season Nash was still considered the favorite to win the award again. Then, he went down with an injury and was out for a week 1/2, and suddenly Dirk was the favorite. What the hell happened?

At 4/30/2007 7:12 PM, Anonymous Krolik1157 said...

I'm a huge Warriors fan, and I'm completely emotionally drained at this point. I was thinking of a suitable analogy for this team, and found that nothing in the history of basketball quite captured the glory of this basketball team; to properly put them in context, we must go to the beginnings of this great country. That's right, we're going to the Revolutionary War. The British just waltzed into this country after a hugely taxing and ultimately sucessful war with France, and expected us to fall to their superior army, which fought in rigid formation, with line after line of soldiers fighting other rigid formations in open fields. No army could beat them in that type of fight, so they thought themselves invincible. So the colonists improvised. They fought a guerilla war, coming at them from behind trees, at night, and in fractured formations that the British had no answer for. Despite their superior numbers and training, as well as efficient soldiers they had hired from other countries, the British ended up getting destroyed and retreating in shame.

Needless to say, the Warriors are going minuteman on the Mavs. Playing the part of George Washington is our own white-haired genius, Nellie. Baron Davis is Mel Gibson in The Patriot, which was that movie where Mel gets pissed off and essentially wins the entire war by himself.

In the actual war, the minutemen would have lost were it not for a timely contribution from the French. Michael Pietrus has fufilled that role admirably. Erick Dampier is Benedict Arnold. The stretches of time when Baron was injured was our Valley Forge, and our trade for Baron was our version of Thomas Paine's Common Sense, the moment where we stood atop the mountain and shouted that we were content to play the lottery no longer. And of course, Mark Cuban is King George.

Here's hoping my Warriors close out this team, Yorktown-style. Let Freedom Ring.

At 4/30/2007 8:17 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

So Yams, are you criticizing Nash for not beating the Mavs last year(without Amare) or for not beating the Spurs the year before(In his first year with a new team)? You really think that those Suns teams should have won? You think those losses prove that Nash is not as great as he seems?

Or are you saying that he should have willed The Mavs to win when Cuban fucked up team chemistry by adding Walker and Jamison?

I'm sorry, I just don't get the Steve Nash hate. What game do you think he has let his team down in? What series did he lose that he should have won?

Dude was responsible for at least 65 points last night, and he outplayed the most talented guy on the planet.

Are we watching the same league?

Who is your MVP?

At 4/30/2007 9:11 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Sean said - the last two years the Suns have been in the playoffs they've been missing key components and/or playing half-injured guys. In '05 they were missing Joe Johnson; in '06 they were without Stoudemire and were playing with a not completely healthy Raja Bell. So, I don't think it's completely Steve Nash's fault that he hasn't gotten his team to the Finals yet.

It's not just the last two years though, Steve Nash has been a member of absolutely loaded teams for years now, and people seem to think he's the second coming or something. Explain how his 2004 Mavs which featured Dirk, Finley, Josh Howard, Marquis Daniels, Antawn Jamison and Antoine Walker got eliminated in the first round in five games? People love to say that Nash makes his teammates better. I daresay it's quite possible his incredible teammates have fooled people into thinking Nash is the reason they look so good. Certainly Dirk's game hasn't gone down with the absence of Nash, and neither has Howard's, Jamison's, Walker's, or Joe Johnson's for that matter.

Meanwhile if you compare the three years Shawn Marion had before Nash joined the Suns with the three since you'll notice that while his blocks and rebounds have gone up (nothing Nash really would have contributed to) you notice his assists, points and steals have gone down. Stoudemire's tough to gauge because of age and injury, but he averaged 21 & 9 the year before Nash arrived at 21 years of age (then his numbers went up a bit the next year, due to his age or Nash, who can tell), and then recently they've dropped due to injury. Barbosa only played his rookie year w/o Nash and his numbers actually went down in his second season (though also due to his age, who's to say his recent ascension isn't just due to him not being in his early 20's anymore?).

So who definitively is Nash making so appreciably better? Raja Bell and Boris Diaw? Look at Bell's numbers in his two years prior to playing with Nash in Phoenix and you'll see his scoring went up about 2-3 ppg while his minutes also went up about 11 minutes a game. Similarly Diaw's scoring went up about 8 ppg in his first year with Nash as his minutes went up by about 18 mpg (his numbers fell off this year, presumably due to fewer minutes with the return of Stoudemire). Generally the area where these Phoenix players have seemingly been positively affected by Nash is in 3-pt shooting percentage; although since the Mavs' team 3-pt% has actually gone up each subsequent year since Nash left I'm probably more inclined to give D'Antoni's system the credit there.

Look, Nash is a great player, don't get me wrong, but I think he's really overhyped considering how little he's actually achieved with the absolute array of quality players he's had as teammates the last 5 or 6 seasons. If he could still get great production from his team without running fast breaks or if the guy could play a lick of defense then who knows where he might have led his former teams? I say until the guy actually leads a team to the Finals we should hold off on giving him more credit than he's already received.

Finally, to answer Iverson Fan's last comment, the MVP is for the regular season so I'd say you have to give it to Dirk. It was a crappy year as far as MVPs go, but that's who it was this season. Regarding yesterday's game, Nash having 23 assists and 1 rebound while shooting 6-15 automatically means he outplayed Kobe? Kobe shot 12-25 with 31 points, had 9 assists and 7 boards. Unlike Nash, Kobe doesn't have a C/PF combo who can get him 49 points and 32 boards, namely because both Kwame and Odom are badly injured (an excuse which in your book apparently works for Nash but not for Kobe); and Kobe also doesn't have the league's 6th Man Award winner coming in off the bench for him. You seem to be forgetting that it's the Suns vs the Lakers, not Nash vs Kobe. If you want to compare the two players you have to look at their teammates.

Make no mistake, that the Lakers have pushed the Suns so hard in this series is a testament to how much Phil is getting out of the Lakers and how much Kobe is carrying that team, rather than how Nash is pulling off some incredible feat. The Suns should be winning each of these games the way they won Game 2, but they're not, and that is a particularly ominous sign for a Phoenix team that is not going to face a team as tattered as the Lakers again for the rest of the playoffs. We'll get a better look at Nash in the next round when the Spurs can more effectively slow the Suns down and when Tony Parker will make Nash have to play some defense.

At 4/30/2007 9:31 PM, Blogger Barnesgasm said...

For the record, as the Internet's #1 Matt Barnes expert, I can assure you that the Morris Day and the Time comparison is dead on.

At 4/30/2007 10:03 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

Anytime someone has 23 assists, that means that he outplayed everyone else on the court. Like he is a failure cuz the shitty mavericks lost in the first round 3 years ago? When Nash and Dirk went head to head in the regular season, who do you think was a better player? You really think Dirk does more to help his team than Nash?

I don't know Yams, I think you are really stretching on this one. I've never seen Nash do anything but leave it all on the court. and that is more than I can say for most of the guys we discuss here.

At 4/30/2007 10:10 PM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

Yams: Nash has been the starting point guard for the highest scoring team in the nba for 6 straight years. That's not a coincidence, and there is not a single other player common to those teams.

Also, do you watch the games? Nash does things that are just a singular and amazing as what kobe does. MVP might be an open question, but anyone who thinks that nash is not far and away the best point guard in the nba right now is deluded.

At 4/30/2007 10:14 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yam: I think Nash's true impact cannot be truly measured by the statistics of his teammates. A better indicator of his impact would be the Suns' record before and after he signed with the team.

The season before he arrived, the Suns won twenty-nine games and missed the playoffs. They had Marion, Stoudemire, and Johnson, all of whom would comprise the core of the team the next season. After the addition of Nash, the Suns won sixty-two games and went to the Western Conference Finals.

As for your point on Nash's tenure with the Mavs, I have to say that maybe (and this pure speculation) there was some sort of chemistry problems with the 2003-2004 squad.
Also, the Mavs weren't that considerably better the year after Nash left. In fact, the Suns beat the Mavs fairly easily in the semifinals that year.

At 4/30/2007 10:20 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

As a Celtics fan, I would also just like to add that Antoine Walker sucks ass and he always has, from the beginning of his career to now.

At 4/30/2007 11:48 PM, Anonymous Andrew said...

Re: Chris Bosh appearance

I don't know how to post pictures in this. If I did I would post a picture of Bosh doing his familiar scowl adjacent to the Wikipedia picture of Littlefoot from THE LAND BEFORE TIME. Trust me trust me trust me.

At 5/01/2007 1:24 AM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

That was fucking heartbreaking.

God i hate the spurs.

At 5/01/2007 1:40 AM, Blogger richmindseed said...

I'm actually with Yams on this one.

Look, Nash is probably one of the top PGs of all time. That doesn't mean he doesn't benefit from a great team. DJ and Magic got incredible help from their teams, but that doesn't deny their magnificence in any way.

All Yams is saying is that Steve gets entirely too much credit for "making his teammates better," which the statistics seem to bear out.

You can argue that he's the MVP for a whole host of other reasons, and we'll debate it out (I'd give it to Kobe, personally, but I know that'll never happen). Just don't say "he makes his teammates better" as one of those reasons.

At 5/01/2007 1:43 AM, Blogger SilverBird5000 said...

last 3 minutes:
melo: no shots
iverson: 1 shot
motherfucking steve blake: 4 shots

seriously: WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?!?

i am broken

At 5/01/2007 1:44 AM, Anonymous Brickowski said...

DPOY doesn't know not to leave Horry open?

At 5/01/2007 1:52 AM, Anonymous the racoon said...

on Nash:

The gain in the Suns record his first year doesnt mean shit. Some of you have bad memories. The suns won 44 games and pushed the spurs HARD in the playoffs the year before (losing in 6 losing game 6 by 2 points).

The 29 win season started out 8-10, before Amare goes down. Without any bigs they stumble to 12-22 before marbury gets traded. At this point a 21 year old rookie barbosa and howard eisley are manning the point. A 29 win season does not reflect the quality of this squad. Joe Johnson blew up this season, and the Suns added Q. TJ ford could have won 50 games with that team teh next year. Nash being an all-star in his prime got them to 61. Not quite MVP calibar.

Also Nash has been dominated by other players in series repeatedly (not regularly but repeatedly). He does a decent job of getting over on Dirk, but Dirk's the only one of the two to have beaten Duncan. None of this makes Nash an MVP let alone a 3 time MVP. Nash also must be held responsible for each and every Dallas shortcoming during his stay.

You wanna see Nash's numbers in his last playoff appearance wiht Dallas?

14P 5R and 9A (3 TO) on 39% shooting.

the year before, 16, 4 and 7 on 45%

those numbers are nice. cute. theyre not Nash-ty.

D'antoni doesnt get nearly enough credit for this transformation.

Dirk was a legitimate mvp last year, He was legitimately a monster in the playoffs. He did drop 50 on Marion + help, thats a tough cover.

If he gets his MVP a year late fine.
But there isnt a serious argument for giving Nash another MVP. He probably doesnt deserve either of the first two.

At 5/01/2007 1:53 AM, Blogger Nate said...

You guys are late to the CB4 looks like a Raptor game. My man the Cavalier over at Yay Sports has been on that kick for a while. See:





At 5/01/2007 2:06 AM, Blogger shoefly said...

Before the playoffs started I said I thought Duncan was the MVP. I did this without looking at the statistics and to be honest I think the importance of the MVP is vastly overstated and they rarely get it right. However, I think Duncan is still consistently the best player in basketball. Even when he has poor nights he dominates.

At 5/01/2007 2:39 AM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

If the Warriors pull this off, TNT better roll with 5 Million Ways to Kill a CEO (Cuban Remix).

Thanks to Yams for reminding us of what Nellie tore down. Provides some perspective on what he's building now.

MVP last two seasons = KB24. No one has done more with less.


At 5/01/2007 7:36 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

the racoon said... :"Nash also must be held responsible for each and every Dallas shortcoming during his stay".


You know, you could also make the argument that MJ didn't deserve any of the MVPs he won. After all, the season after he his first retirement the Bulls won 55 games and were a bad call away from getting to the conference finals.

What I'm trying to say is this: a lot MVP winners have had "quality" players on their team. For example, Magic (Kareem, Worthy, McAdoo, Scott, Cooper), Bird (McHale, Parish, Johnson), Russell (Cousy, S. Jones, Heinsohn, etc.), and Jordan (Pippen, Rodman). To say Nash should be penalized because he has Marion, Stoudmire, Barbosa, and Bell is absolute bullshit.

At 5/01/2007 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

he guards horry close at the three point line and parker gets an easy layup like he been doing all series...pick yr poison...

At 5/01/2007 1:59 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Sean said - You know, you could also make the argument that MJ didn't deserve any of the MVPs he won. After all, the season after he his first retirement the Bulls won 55 games and were a bad call away from getting to the conference finals.

What I'm trying to say is this: a lot MVP winners have had "quality" players on their team. For example, Magic (Kareem, Worthy, McAdoo, Scott, Cooper), Bird (McHale, Parish, Johnson), Russell (Cousy, S. Jones, Heinsohn, etc.), and Jordan (Pippen, Rodman). To say Nash should be penalized because he has Marion, Stoudmire, Barbosa, and Bell is absolute bullshit.

You gotta read what I was writing again if that's your response. Jordan deserved his MVPs because his teams won championships (although it should be pointed out that Barkley won the MVP the year before Jordan's first retirement, MJ didn't win that one, so the drop-off the following season doesn't diminish some non-existent MVP of his). All I'm saying is that Nash has never even been to the NBA Finals. Not once. And I can't think of another player off the top of my head that won more than one MVP award before ever even playing in the Finals. The only guys I can think of in the last 20-30 years who won MVPs without playing in the Finals went on to play in the Finals the years they won it (Malone & Barkley). Are people really ready to give three straight MVPs to a guy who's never led his team to The Finals!?

I would argue that Nash has been surrounded by more talent than any single player in this decade, and yet he's never played in The Finals; and on top of that he's routinely lauded as a guy who "makes his teammates better". How can you realistically say that about a guy who's been teammates with something like 7 or 8 All Stars in the last 5 years and hasn't taken any of those teams to The Finals? How much better is he really making them?

Look, I can see how good Nash is, lord knows I've watched him play enough to not be able to deny his greatness. I'm not saying he's not the best PG in the league (or top 2 at least) and I'm not saying he shouldn't have been an MVP candidate the last couple seasons or this season. What I am saying is that the guy has rather glaring weaknesses to his game which should not be overlooked when assessing his greatness. His most prominent weaknesses are he can't play half-court basketball and he can't defend, and those two things are absolute hallmarks of playoff ball. Considering that, it's no wonder why his teams never win. If the guy was really so valuable and so great, wouldn't he have dedicated himself to learning those valuable skills? But maybe he'll prove me wrong in the next round against San Antonio and a Nash-led team will actually beat a tough team for once (have they ever before? EVER?). Until then though, and until he can actually lead his team beyond the Conference Finals, I'm gonna continue to say he's overhyped. And beating a Lakers squad that was a Kobe Bryant injury away from being Memphis-bad this year doesn't change that.

At 5/01/2007 2:32 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: The passage you quoted was a response to "the racoon said . . .", not you. But, in response to your point, all I have to say is that the MVP is determined by regular season play, not what happens in the playoffs.

Also, while it's true every MVP winner has made an appearance in the Finals (except KG), there are cases where the recepient of the award isn't on a Finals team until years after he's won it. For instance , Oscar Robertson won the award in 1963-1964, and he didn't make the Finals until 1970-1971, when he was teamed with Kareem on the Bucks.

Also, Wilt Chamberlain won two MVPs before he led a team to the Finals.

What I'm trying to say is this: the book is still open on Nash's career, and I think it's premature to suggest that he can't lead a team to the Finals when he still has quality years left to play.

At 5/01/2007 3:05 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Wilt Chamberlain is a pretty extreme case considering the numbers he put up, but otherwise any other people I can think of never won a second MVP award without ever going to the Finals. We're talking about Nash potentially winning a third straight MVP award without ever having gone to The Finals! Even Jordan never won three straight (only Bill Russell, Kareem and Bird have). To me that's just ludicrous, especially when you consider the incredible quality of teammates Nash has had.

Nash is almost like the anti-Kobe in this regard, in that Kobe is so readily dismissed by many simply because his teammates are so poor, yet Nash is given such a pass because his teammates are so good. The reality is that Kobe actually has helped elevate that band of misfits known as the Lakers to a much higher level than they would have reached without him, while Nash has not. If you take a team with 2-3 All Stars on it and you add a player who is an MVP candidate to it, that's a team that should at the very least make it to the Finals once or twice. Kobe's proved he could do that, so has Dirk, so has Wade, so has Iverson. But not Nash. Yet Nash is the one winning MVP awards. Does that make any sense?

At 5/01/2007 3:23 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: Remember, the Suns really only go eight men deep, and in the last two postseasons they've been either missing key pieces or have had important players only at half strength. In 2005 it was Joe Johnson; last year it was Amare, Raja Bell, and Kurt Thomas.

Also, you said earlier that you watch the Suns fairly often. Now, do you notice what happens when Nash leaves the game for any extended period of time? The offense stalls, and the players on the floor have to resort to going one-on-one. While I don't deny that Nash has great teamates, it's almost like the Suns are a Porsche without an engine when he isn't playing.

As for Kobe: I think if the Lakers had stayed healthy and he would have continued passing like he was early in the season, there would have been a very legitimate case for him being MVP this year. Last season, however, I think if anyone else deserved the award besides Nash, it was LeBron. He averaged 31, 7, and 6, led his team to fifty victories, and almost single-handedly beat the Pistons.

At 5/01/2007 4:56 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Like I said, Sean, it goes beyond just the last two seasons. Nash has been playing with lots of All Stars for more than just the last two years. Look at Nash's entire playoff career and find me one truly great series by the guy. Did you know that in Nash's career none of his teams has ever won a series against an opponent that finished the year with a better record? The only time a team with Steve Nash on it beat a higher seeded team was in 2001 when Nash's #5-seeded Mavs beat the #4-seeded Jazz (both teams finished the year with identical records, Utah getting the higher seed due to a tiebreaker), and in that series the Mavs pulled it off with a one-point win in Game 5 to win 3-2.

When you think of all the great playoff battles over the years, can you think of one in which Steve Nash participated and won? If so, was it against a team where you thought Nash's team was the underdog? To be the best you have to beat the best, and Steve Nash's teams have never done that. Shouldn't that have something to do with determining a player's inherent value to whatever teams he's been on?

Finally, in response to your comment about how the Suns "stall" when Nash comes out of the game, that's a reflection of the system they run. Are you telling me that if over last summer the Suns had swapped out Nash for LeBron or Wade or Kobe or Dirk that the Phoenix offense would have stalled all year? Of course not. D'Antoni would just have implemented a slightly different system and things would have run smoothly anyway.

At 5/01/2007 8:39 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: Do you think if the Lakers switched Kobe with Wade, LeBron, or Dirk they'd be any worse? Or if the Mavs switched Nowitzki with KG or Carmelo that they'd have won less games? I don't that this argument is a valid one.

Besides, the Suns' success is predicated on ball movement and getting open shots, two things Steve Nash is pretty damn good at. With the exception of Barbosa, none of Nash's key teammates are very good at one-on-one basketball, so most of the time they need to be open to get their points.

Essentially, my biggest gripe with your argument is that you're basically saying Nash makes teams worse, not better. Over the past six years, every team Nash has been on has led the league in scoring AND won over fifty games. Three of these teams have also made it to the Western Conference Finals, including two years in which his team was missing critical pieces.

Is Nash a perfect player? Of course not. But to say that it's all his fault that his teams haven't gotten to the Finals (yet) I think is a bit unfair.

At 5/01/2007 9:44 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

you're basically saying Nash makes teams worse, not better. Over the past six years, every team Nash has been on has led the league in scoring AND won over fifty games. Three of these teams have also made it to the Western Conference Finals, including two years in which his team was missing critical pieces.

Ok, lemme clarify then, cause I'm definitely not saying that. Put Nash on any team in the NBA and they're gonna improve. Same goes for Dirk, Kobe, Wade, LeBron, Melo, etc. I'm just saying Nash is overhyped. He's lauded as maybe the best ever at "making his teammates better" and is on the verge of winning a third straight MVP. I'm just saying let's all take a step back and recognize what's real about Steve Nash.

He's a good/great player, and adding him to a team as a free agent the way Phoenix did a few years ago definitely made them a better team (just as adding any MVP candidate as a free agent will make a team dramatically better). But the guy isn't exactly turning lead into gold. The teammates he's supposedly "made better" are pretty damn good on their own, before or after Nash. You put two or three All Star caliber players on any team and it's gonna open things up for the rest of the roster, with or without some mystical facilitator helming things. To wit, having Shawn Marion, Joe Johnson and Amare Stoudemire on the floor together is gonna open things up for Leandro Barbosa and give him a lot of open looks whether or not Nash is the guy feeding him the ball. Same goes for having Dirk, Josh Howard, and Antawn Jamison out there. Additionally, that's just a lot of talent to throw out there on the court together, and while adding Nash to the mix does seem to make it run better under Nellie's or D'Antoni's scheme, really that shit's gonna run pretty well anyway once they get some chemistry under their belt, even if Smush Parker is manning the one.

Look, the honest truth is that for me if Nash wasn't on the verge of winning a third straight MVP I wouldn't be thinking or talking about the guy this much. But when you're about to bestow an honor like that on a guy, I am bound to check their playoff record and see if the accolade is warranted. If you ask me, for a player to be considered the best or among the best they've got to demonstrate that individually they are great and they've got to make their teams great; and a big part of making your team great is demonstrated by how many rings you get, cause great teams win titles. Now Nash and the Suns may win the title this year and next year and on and on and I'll be like one of those people busting on Jordan in 1990; however, Steve Nash is 33 years old (not 27 like Jordan was then), and quickness is one of Nash's most potent assets. The window on his ability to dominate the way he does now has got to be closing, so color me skeptical.

I'm not saying it's all Nash's fault that his teams haven't won, but he has been the consistent element on all those failed teams so certainly some of it is his fault. And making it to the WCF while "only" having Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire to me rings about as hollow as trumpeting last year's "march" to the WCF due to the now-corrected atrocious seeding of the playoffs. They missed Amare for all of last year, so don't make it sound like he went down in the playoffs; but more importantly, the Suns benefited heavily from the fact that the Spurs and Mavs had to face each other in the 2nd round, even though they had the #1 & #2 best records in the West. Meanwhile, Denver (with 16 fewer wins than Dallas and 19 fewer than San Antonio) got the third seed, and once they were "upset" by the Clippers ensured that Phoenix would have an easy second round after having an easy first round. If the league had straightened out that nonsense seeding a year earlier then Phoenix's road to the WCF would have looked like this: Clippers in the first round, Dallas in the second round (while San Antonio would have gone Kings and then the winner of Memphis-Denver). Makes a difference, don't you think? So don't feed me that "Nash still managed to pull his team through" nonsense.

At 5/01/2007 9:57 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: But remember, the MVP is not determined by the playoffs. If it was, Baron Davis would be getting the award this year.

Also, it IS remarkable that Nash was able to lead the Suns to a fifty-four win season without their top scorer and second-leading rebounder. And it isn't Nash's or the Suns' fault that the seeding was fucked up last year; it's the league's.

I understand what you're trying to say, and I do agree with some of your points. And I do think Nash does deserve some blame for his teams' shortcomings over the years. But, he also deserves equal credit for those teams' succeses as well.

At 5/01/2007 9:58 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Oh yeah: who do you think should be MVP this year?

At 5/01/2007 10:15 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

The MVP is not for the playoffs, true, but Nash didn't deserve it last year either (nor did he the previous season). Two years ago it should have been Shaq, and last year it should have been Kobe. As I said earlier, this year it should be Dirk, and I arrive at that decision mainly through process of elimination. I think it can't be Kobe simply because the Lakers finished the year so poorly (Kobe was great, but his value to the team versus someone like Dirk's has to be questioned when the team stumbles as bad as it did down the stretch). Nash shouldn't win a third straight, so he's out; but even moreso, Nash's team won less with three All Stars than Dirk's did with only two (and Nash had the 6th Man winner and last year's Most Improved winner to boot). The Mavs won 67 games and their best player has never won an MVP. That's a pretty clear case in mind for Dirk as MVP. The voters have a hard-on for Nash though, so who knows who's gonna win it.

It isn't Nash's fault that the seeding fell favorably for the Suns last year, but it's not fair to prop him up for leading the team with the third best record past the #6 & #7 seeds en route to the WCF as a result of bad seeding. It's like saying LeBron grew as a player this year because instead of having a hard time with the Wizards in the first round they swept them - it's really got less to do with the player than it does the circumstances. I do agree that Nash deserves credit for his teams' successes, it's just that virtually all of his teams' successes over the years have come in the regular season, while virtually none have come in the playoffs. Just because the guy has won the last two MVPs doesn't mean that we as fans (or even worse, the broadcasters & sportswriters) need to believe the hype about the guy when the evidence is staring us in the face. I'm gonna wait till the guy actually wins something meaningful in the playoffs before I hop on that bandwagon.

At 5/01/2007 10:35 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Fair enough. I think two years ago Nash deserved to win (though Shaq was great, I don't know if he was any better than the years previous to that season). Last year, I think LeBron would have been the best choice; he led to his team to fifty victories, and he averaged 31, 7, and 6, all at the tender age of twenty-one.

As for this year, I have to say that I think Nash deserves it. Dirk has been great, but I just don't see how he has the same impact on a game that Nash does.

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