Early in the second quarter last night against Milwaukee, veteran backup Mike James slowly walked the ball up the court before getting his Dallas team into its offense. The possession’s first real action didn’t come until about 10 seconds in, a rip screen (angled back screen) by O.J. Mayo to bring Dirk Nowitzki to the back-side block.
When the Mavericks' star forward secured the post-entry pass from James, the shot clock had already dwindled near single digits. A well-timed dig (help defender dropping down to swipe at the ball) on Nowitzki forced a pass out to Mayo at the top of the key. A hasty drive-and-kick series between the two followed, and the big German was eventually forced to launch a tough, contested jumper that came up about 3 feet short of the rim.
When the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA title two years ago, they did so with an offense that relied primarily on brilliant half-court execution. A group that combined Nowitzki with two heady Jasons (Kidd and Terry), lob machine Tyson Chandler, and sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic posted an excellent offensive rating of 107.6 in its run to the championship.
An hour before the tip-off, Dwight Howard stood at the free-throw line and yoked up his burden. Three straight shots clanged off the back of the rim. Howard turned to the assistant coach who was standing beside him and raised his eyebrows. The coach raised his right arm and lightly touched his forehead with the back of his wrist. “Like this,” he said, pointing to his elbow. Dwight shrugged. Two more shots went long. On the far side of the court, Steve Nash drilled 18-footer after 18-footer. After hitting about 10 in a row, Nash began kicking his feet out as he shot, doing his best Reggie Miller impression. Howard missed three more, turned again to the coach and held his hands out by his hips, a muted gesture of frustration. It’s always comical to watch a great athlete struggle at something that can be mastered by a 15-year-old. When the great athlete looks like Dwight Howard, the effect is magnified. I know it’s mean, but it’s pretty damn funny when someone so goddamn beautiful misses free throw after free throw after free throw.
Following the most successful regular season in the history of the franchise, the Clippers won a playoff series for just the second time ever by beating the Grizzlies in Game 7 on Sunday. This series was already the most exciting first-round series in this year’s playoffs even before it went to Game 7, so I’m guessing that many of you had plans to catch the game. But with Sunday being Mother's Day, there’s a good chance that you ended up missing it because finding a store that had flowers and cards for your mom at the last minute wasn’t as easy as you thought it would be.
Well, don’t worry if that was you, because I watched the game for you and made sure to document all of the important things you missed.
We went back to simpler times on the BS Report today you know, those days when there were two winter sports to discuss and we needed to split a podcast up into two parts to properly cover both of them.
In Part 1, Yahoo!'s Greg Wyshynski (of Puck Daddy fame) came on to discuss Alex Ovechkin's mysterious disappearance this season, Sid the Kid's comeback, the rejuvenated Bruins, his hatred for shootouts, his fetish for Russian goon videos, whether it is smart to have two good goalies, Tyler Seguin vs. Taylor Hall, whether the Maple Leafs are for real, whether hockey fans are the best fans in sports, and how weird it is that I suddenly have opinions on many of these things. Here's the ESPN.com PodCenter link and iTunes link for Part 1.
In Part 2, we called my buddy Joe House to have our long-awaited Red-and-Andy/Mexico hug about the end of the NBA lockout, then tried to predict what the next three weeks might look like even though it's been so long that we could barely remember who this month's free agents are and what the new rules were. We also talked about whether we like the shorter schedule, whether there's a guaranteed "smart" title pick for Vegas purposes right now, where Nene and Marc Gasol might be going, which teams might be able to sneakily improve themselves with a couple of shrewd signings, and whether House was even qualified to be appearing on this podcast after calling O.J. Mayo "J.J. Mayo." It's an action-packed romp and we're delighted to have the NBA back, even if I'm still pissed off that the league went away for five months. Here's the ESPN.com PodCenter link and iTunes link for Part 2.
Greivis Vasquez knows all about the importance of a full training camp, which is why he worries about this season’s crop of rookies. Vasquez missed most of camp in his rookie year and was relegated to spot duty much of the regular season. But he shined in the playoffs for the surprising Grizzlies. Grantland's Jonathan Abrams talked to the Venezuela native about the lockout and the wait for a shot at redemption after Memphis’ narrow second-round playoff loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
What have you been up to during the lockout? I just got done playing with my national team. I was back home for a little while after that, but right now, I’m going back home and thinking about playing there if the NBA doesn’t start for a while.