Mavericks 89, Blazers 81: My Top 10 Observer-ations
10. After all the experts made the Mavs the sexy pick to be upset in the first round, what happens over the weekend? Every road team -- except the Blazers, that is -- either holds a 10-point lead or wins outright. Dallas' win wasn't pretty, but it sure got more attractive Sunday afternoon after Game 1 home losses by the West's 1 and 2: the Spurs (to the Grizzlies) and Lakers (to the Hornets).
9. The key to this game, of course, was Jason Kidd's season-high 24 points. He was all over the court, blocking shots, making steals and even hitting step-back jumpers off one-on-one moves. Maybe the rest coach Rick Carlisle mandated last week was genius after all. He looked like the Kidd of eight years ago who led the Nets to consecutive NBA Finals. At 38, he's the oldest player to make six triples in a playoff game. Benjamin Button, anyone?
8. Biggest, luckiest play of the night for Dallas was a bad turnover by Portland's Gerald Wallace. Leading 72-66 with 5:50 remaining, the Blazers were on a 2-on-1 fast break when Wallace fumbled the ball trying to make a pass to Andre Miller for what would have been an uncontested layup and an eight-point lead. Instead Dallas took the turnover, Kidd made a jumper at the other end and the Mavs outscored Portland the rest of the way, 23-9.
7. Psst. You didn't hear this from me but there's a way to save $25 on parking on playoff games to American Airlines Center. Park on Harwood, just to the west of the Rolex building and east of AAC. It's free. One block closer to the arena: $25 parking. You're welcome.
6. The Mavs were outscored in the paint 46-18, surrendered five lob dunks to LaMarcus Aldridge and got only five combined baskets from Jason Terry, Shawn Marion and Tyson Chandler. Still not quite sure how they won this game. Guess a free-throw edge of 19-2 in the fourth quarter makes up for a lot of ills.
5. Not to be unpatriotic, but the U.S. Navy band playing such current faves as "Mustang Sally" on Victory Plaza seemed a strange pre-game musical choice. Maybe Le Freak, Emerald City, Petty Theft and even Independent George were already booked? Speaking of Victory Plaza, the only joint that can survive that ghost town is Havana, a "social club" kept alive by Channel 8's Dale Hansen.
4. Roddy Beaubois was shooting with what looked to be no pain after Sunday's practice. Still, I expect him to be an afterthought in this series. DeShawn Stevenson played Portland's Wesley Matthews strong in Game 1. Roddy's days of starting are long gone. Caron Butler was also shooting 3s after practice but still isn't cleared for cutting, much less contact.
3. I'm not a big fan of reality TV, but I think I'd be interested in a "Kiss Cam" TV show. Saturday night two hot blondes were about to engage in a lip-lock on the big screen when one of the men in the group literally grabbed his girl by the shirt and halted the show. And, yes, he was roundly and deservedly booed.
2. Yeah, yeah. Dirk is soft and Euro and yadda and yadda and more yadda. Don't look now but he got to the free-throw line 13 times in the fourth (and made all 13 by the way) and gave Dallas the lead for good with a corner 3-pointer. His 28 points and 10 rebounds are average for him in the playoffs. Which is spectacular.
1. Up 1-0 is
good great and all. But if the Mavs are counting on six 3-pointers and 24 points from Kidd to win this series, they won't. My pick -- Mavs in 7 -- looks good. For now.