Blazers 84, Mavericks 82: My Top 10 Observer-ations
9. I was there on April 6, 1997 when the Mavs set an NBA record with two points in the third quarter of a loss to the Lakers in The Forum. Those two points? Derek Harper free throws. But this 23-point monumental Mavs meltdown was even more embarrassing.
8. We can talk about Brandon Roy's constant ravaging of Dallas on isolation plays, but to me the biggest possession of the game came with the Mavs up 67-44 late in the third quarter. Instead of a simple bounce pass to a wide-open and cutting Peja Stojakovic that would've pushed the lead to 25, J.J. Barea got lazy and his half-assed hand-off was poked away by LaMarcus Aldridge, who scored on an alley-oop at the other end. Killer instinct, make way for a colossal comeback.
7. If the Mavs lose this series, head coach Rick Carlisle will be fired. If you need a reason, look no further than the fact the Mavs neither double-teamed Roy nor tried a zone defense to slow him down.
6. I was also reminded that the Mavs once upon a time, in 2002, lost a game to the Lakers that they led 66-36 in the third quarter and 88-61 entering the fourth. Never a fun Saturday night when you're accessing the "worst ever" files of your Mavs memories.
5. Be careful what you ask for. I urged Shawn Marion to join the series and he indeed stepped up with a 12-point, 11-rebound effort. He also had the game's biggest gaffe -- a foul of Roy on a 3-pointer that tied the game with a minute remaining.
4. By my math, after taking its 23-point lead Dallas attempted perimeter jump shots on 15 of its final 24 possessions. The two worst: Kidd's 23-footer that sailed about 25 feet and touched nothing but backboard, and Jason Terry's long 3-pointer with the game tied at 82 and still 11 seconds on the shot clock. Why?
3. Everything had to go right for the Blazers to rally, including and especially Roy's 3-pointer at the end of the third. It hit the front rim, back rim, front rim, back rim and then hung on the front rim for a full second before falling in. Remind anyone else of Tiger Woods' famous chip-in on the 16th at Augusta?
2. Let's face it, the Mavs let up with a 23-point lead. Offense. Defense. Coaching. Everything. And as we know, premature evacuation is never good.
1. Despite Saturday's collapse I'm sticking with Mavs in seven. But more than ever, I'm certain their post-season road ends in the second round.