Game 5 -- Mavericks 93, Blazers 82: My Top 10 Observer-ations
9. Turns out Brandon Roy's fourth-quarter fury in Game 4 was indeed a one-hit wonder. His first shot in Game 5 was a hideous air ball and he finished with five points. In the three games at American Airlines Center in this series, he's now combined for seven points and missed 12 of his 15 shots.
8. Ran into franchise founder Don Carter before the game. Always good to see the man whose trademark stetson was on the Mavs' original logo. "Boy, we gotta get this one tonight," he exclaimed. He's been saying that since 1980.
7. Only game-plan tweaks were by Dallas, which pressured more Roy in the backcourt and on the perimeter and played more zone than in the first four games combined. Check marks by both ploys.
6. The night was accessorized perfectly by a Grizzlies' win over the Spurs, pushing San Antonio into a brink-of-elimination 3-1 hole. Now if Chris Paul can perform his magic again tonight it'll really get interesting out West.
5. Determined to drive the ball into the teeth of Portland's defense and not settle for one-legged fadeaways, Dirk Nowitzki had an ugly night. LaMarcus Aldridge blocked him a couple times and he had three turnovers. Still, his agression paid off as he got to the free-throw line 11 times, and the unbecoming effort resulted in 25 points, eight rebounds.
4. Having spent considerable time in both places, I can safely say that there are more hot women in the Platinum Club than in all of Portland. Most last night were proudly displaying their, um, assets. Portland = Rip City; Dallas = Nip City.
3. We knew Jason Kidd making all those 3s early in the series was Fool's Gold. Last night was more vintage Kidd. 14 assists, only two turnovers and -- nothing flashy -- but he got the ball where it needed to be with on-time, on-target passes. With his shooting in a funk and Kidd now reluctant to pull the trigger, he shocked Portland with a fourth-quarter drive and layup.
2. As embarrassing and humiliating as Game 4 was, the Mavs can still be good enough to prevent it from deciding the series and defining their identity.
1. This game was more about will than skill, and Tyson Chandler wanted it more than any other player on the court. His 13 offensive rebounds set a Mavs' playoff record -- hey, it's always good to wipe Roy Tarpley off the record book -- and were the most in an NBA post-season game since Shaquille O'Neal in 1995. Not sure if the Mavs have ever had a player dominate a playoff game taking only four shots.