3-pt Play: Time To Start Playing Like A Champion

Posted: February 20, 2012 by dontbeskerritt in NBA

I had the privilege of watching the world champion Dallas Mavericks live on Friday night in Philadelphia.   After a lethargic 1st half, the Mavs, led by Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki thrashed the 76ers in the 2nd half.  Nowitzki scored 28 points, 24 after the half, while the Mavs held the Sixers to 24 2nd half points.  An impressive, championship effort by the Mavs, who had been playing at a high level  This wasn’t the type of effort that you saw from Dallas at the beginning of the season, when Dallas started 1-5.

However, I cannot let the Mavs, specifically Dirk slide on this one.  A couple of weeks ago, Dirk admitted to being out of shape heading into the season and needed to take 5 games off to get into playing shape.  Most of the national media said that the lockout had disrupted his offseason conditioning and that it would take a vet like Dirk and the rest of the Mavs some time to get into proper playing condition.  Are you kidding me?  You are the defending NBA Champion and you can’t come into the season ready to defend your title?  Could you ever see Kobe ever not being ready to defend his title?  If LeBron came into this season not ready to bring the Heat back to the Finals he would be crucified.  However Dirk gets a pass.  He even got an invite to the All-Star Game, one that he said himself that he didn’t deserve to go to.  It’s amazing that an NBA Champion has disrespected his position as the Top Dog for a summer of drinking Heinken and who knows what else.

However, Dirk has gotten his game together.  Over the last 8 games he is averaging 24.8 points, up 6 points from his season average and even 2 points better than his career average.  His improved play has help the Mavericks get back into the contender column in the NBA.  They play great defense as is, Lamar Odom hasn’t shown up, and Delonte West is hurt for a while.  If they keep up their play and get their horses back and righted, they could be threat yet again.  It’s about time they started playing like the champs that they are.  Other thoughts going into this week.

– It’s Insanity to Say Melo Can’t Play With Lin: Jeremy Lin did it again on Sunday with a 28 point, 14-assist effort in a bounce back win over the Mavericks.  He displayed everything that America (really, the world) has fallen in love with, capped by his swagger when he lined Nowitzki up for a dagger 3-pointer.  The Knicks scored 104 points against one of the better defensive teams in the league.  They are back on track going into this daunting week (Nets, Hawks and Heat).  Even better, they will get Carmelo Anthony back.  That’s right, I said the Knicks will be better with Carmelo Anthony.

All you have been hearing is that Melo will ball-stop Linsanity.  That Melo’s game and Lin’s game will not mesh.  People need to stop basing basketball opinion on Sportscenter highlights.  Let me describe to you the Knicks before Lin: A team with no point guard (Melo played point-forward, eesh), no consistent outside shooters, and Amare who may have the same ups as me at this point in his career.  The squad was a mess on offense.  Now here comes Lin, who executes D’Antoni’s system very well.  He has great chemistry with Tyson Chandler on the pick-and-roll.  He is an offensive threat, especially when he gets in the paint.  He shares the ball and gets everyone the pill where they want it so they have the best ability to score.  So why would Carmelo mess that up?

The problem with Carmelo this season is that he hasn’t had someone like Lin to get him the ball where he wants it, where he can be the most dangerous.  Lin has been getting trapped by opponents, which has helped produce a lot of turnovers.  You think that’s going to happen with Carmelo on the floor?  How dangerous would a Lin-Chandler pick and roll with Carmelo on the wing for a jumper?  I can’t wait to see this show.

What has truly been annoying about the Linsanity is that people refuse to let things play out; they must guess after 1 game (or after one Sportscenter highlight).  In this case, Carmelo hasn’t even been on the floor!  Let’s let this situation play out before we cast judgment.  You may be pleasantly surprised.

We Watch So You Don’t Have To: What’s up with these jerseys this season?  From the Hornet’s Mardi Gras jerseys they wore in the Garden on Friday, the Heat’s ABA throwbacks with pink trim, to the Grizzlies ABA abominations, its been a bad year for alternative gear.  But can I get a Chicago Zephyrs appearance at least once for my Wizards?  If you can’t win, at least look bad in style, that’s all I’m saying.  But whatever J.R. Smith was doing on Sunday with his Full Force-haircut, that ain’t what I’m talking about.

 

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Comments
  1. LBC says:

    The Mavs have that Championship hangover. I see them being the next current Boston Celtics. One Championship and we won’t hear from them for about another 10 years. I am glad you wrote this. Dirk def deserved some slander for his awful performances to start the season. After winning a chip you should come back ready to dominate. One thing to look at is look how many players from that Dallas Championship team are no longer in Dallas.

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