Monday, April 23, 2007

Did Dirk Get Benched?

No one has bothered to discuss the fact that Dirk sat for five minutes early in the third quarter. What happened there? It seems hard to believe that Avery was resting him, just two minutes after halftime. He must have been trying to send a message. Interesting.

By the way, even though Dirk didn't play well tonight, I feel that he redeemed himself by saying that the Warriors were out there "free balling."

[Edit: Apparently Dirk said that the Warriors were able to "free ball" out there, which is the same idea, but not a gerund. My bad. I have a real thing for gerunds.]


Dr. Trevis said...


Fernando Rodney said...

That is a funny line. Did he really say "free balling"? Also, any update on this story? I watched PTI and ran a Google News search with the words "Dirk" and "bench" and came up with zilch.

Adam Hoff said...

Fernando Rodney? The Detroit reliever? I'm honored.

I've noticed that submitting chat questions or blog comments as fake athletes and celebrities has become all the rage. How does something like that become a trend overnight? We might need to get Malcolm Gladwell on the phone.

Anyway. I think I had the Dirk quote wrong. He actually said that the Warriors were able to go out there and "free ball." Same idea, but I turned it into a gerund for reasons unkown. The original post should reflect the edit.

I still have no idea what happened. No one is talking. Either that, or Dallas has changed its rotation to get Dirk a rest at the 10:00 minute mark of the third quarter, but nobody has mentioned it. Seems unlikely, no? I think Avery was trying to send a message, personally, but now realizes that his star feels bad enough as it is, and is trying to bury the story.

Branden Higa said...

So I'm a couple days late in reacting to this thread because I was in Dallas over the weekend. While I was in the Big D, fate smiled upon me in the form of the very generous parent of one of my players who just so happens to be an NBA fan. He wanted to check out the game and he needed someone to go with. Needless to say, I was pumped.

From the outset of the game, I could clearly tell that something was either wrong with Dirk, or something was wrong with Avery. Probably a little of both. The Mavs started with a small line up opting to put Devean George in the the SF spot and move Dirk to the center. I guess Avery was concerned about being run on if Dampier was in the line-up. So they went small. Subsequently, Dirk was being defended by Al Harrington.

It seems a lock that this match up could be exploited with Dirk either posting or facing up and shooting over Harrington. The Warriors looked to prevent this by double teaming as soon as Dirk made a move in the post, and also by switching all screens. This gave us some big mismatches with Baron Davis routinely checking Dirk on the perimeter. The GS guards committed to making Dirk so uncomfortable that he couldn't drive, back down or throw up a shot. In short, Dirk could not or was not willing to capitalize on favorable match ups (which is strange, because isn't that the reason he is good in the first place?). To top that off, Al Harrington 2 fouls 9 minutes into the game and Don Nelson kept him on the court. Logically you would want to go after Harrington and try to draw the 3rd, but instead he stayed on the floor for much of the Half.

As soon as Diop was inserted for Nowitski, the Mavs went on a run. Led by Devin Harris, whose play could best be described as Barbosa-esque, and anchored in the paint defensively by Diop, Dallas looked like they were going to take control of the game. A wild 2nd quarter characterized by poor shooting ensued. We went to the break tied at 38-38.

The 2nd half was all about PGs. Baron Davis was looking to impose his will and Jason Terry was helpless to prevent him. It seemed as though Baron was attacking the rim every posession. It was clear that he is just too strong for Terry to handle. Dallas even tried to put Devean George on him for a series. The other shoe dropped when Davis started firing threes. He caught fire at the right time. That, along with JRich coming off the top rope on Devin Harris won the game for the Warriors. It was reminiscent of type of beatdowns Chauncy Billups gave when Detroit romped to an NBA title in '04.

In the meantime, Dirk struggled to find his game. His refusal to operate blow the free throw line was compounded when Jason Richardson's clean block of a Devin Harris breakaway resulted in Harris being stuck between JR's arse and the hardwood. Harris was done and so were the Mavs chances at a Game 1 victory.

In hindsight, I think the blame lies on both Avery and Dirk. Avery for reacting to the Warriors line-up (and not forcing GState to react to the Mavs... the #1 seed and owners of the best record in the league) and Dirk for not taking advantage of the mismatches that Golden State seemed fine with allowing. Hey Dirk, when you manage to have a 6-3 point guard switched on to you, you need to take advantage. If you forgot how to do that, why don't you call up your buddy Steve Nash. I'm sure he can give you a few tips on exploiting match-up problems.

Adam Hoff said...

Nice work with the Insider take. I fully expect the Mavs to go back to their normal/big lineup tonight. And given the way three of the four series have already gone 2-0, I also fully expect the Spurs and Mavs to win tonight to even those series up. If I see Bennett Salvatore officiating either contest, I will have no doubt whatsoever. Orchestrating a home court split is a Salvatore Specialty.