Friday, May 04, 2007

Smile, Kids: The Warriors Won

The Dallas Mavericks, who told anyone that would listen their last two postseason exits (in six games to Steve Nash in 2005, in the Finals last year after blowing a 2-0 series lead to Dwyane Wade) were not the work of their opposition, but instead come collection of the Mavericks imploding while the refs screwed them over. Enter Game Six Thursday night against the eighth-seeded Warriors, who due to the ineffectiveness of Monta Ellis and Al Harrington and the hamstring pull in the first quarter by Baron Davis were playing with four a half quality bodies.

Bethlehem Shoals from FreeDarko takes it from there:

Anyone with an understanding of the recent Association knows that athleticism and hustle are generally at odds with each other. And that, speaking in cliches now, offense shacks up with the former, defense the latter. Of course this isn't true for individual stars, but across an entire roster it's exactly why modern roles have gotten so specialized. Nellie is able to play a bunch of crazed nether-ballers at the same time because he's convinced them to marry heaven and hell, to break down these walls that guide this day and age's basketball. It's hustle with a cocksure attitude, and brazen demonstration with the added credibility of hard work. The Mavs had no answer for the Warriors because this strategy goes against the very culture of the sport as currently constituted. Like the Spurs, the Mavs are reactive, set up to deal effectively with all known challenges. Those unknown unknowns, though, are the ones that'll get you.

The thing is, it's very possible that the Warriors' run is far from over. They might get the Rockets in the second round, which would cause one of the most laughable scenarios in NBA playoff history: Yao Ming trying to keep up with the pace of Golden State. I can't imagine any scenario where the Warriors lose in Oakland, so now it's just a case of stealing one game on the road per series and keeping on advancing. There's a dark corner of my mind that leaned to what would be nirvana for basketball fans who love players that know how to run: a final four of Warriors, Suns, Bulls and Nets. After the reign of the Spurs and the idea that nobody could win running, the revolution has started, my friends.

An interesting idea from TrueHoop: What if Dirk doesn't take the MVP? He's a guy who's going to take a lot of heat for the 2-for-13 performance and crappy series overall, so why not make a statement, leaving the record books to say "2007: Originally awarded to Dirk Nowitzki, who would not accept due to disenchantment with his effort in the postseason". That, my friends, would be FreeDarko.

I'm off to South Bend to spend the next week before settling in for summer, so updates will either come fast and furiously or not at all. Spiderman 3 tonight, and after initially not feeling so great about it, a few minutes spent on Wikipedia and YouTube the other night have me plenty ready.

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