Portland Trail Blazers v. Dallas Mavericks Running Diary (Game 2)

Starting from the end of the 3rd quarter, where the Blazers ignited a great run that trimmed a 7-point deficit to a 1-point deficit.

-I think the NBA is pulling commentators from the annals of the sports broadcasting field. I watched both this game and the Hawks-Magic game and only recognize the voice of Kevin McHale. I wouldn’t be surprised if the NBA started outsourcing their employees. I can hear the thick Indian accents butchering Dirk Nowitzki’s name already…

-J.J. Barea just got away with an offensive foul and Rudy Fernandez took the worst of it. I guess the referees really took offense to Nate McMillan’s harsh criticism of their performance in game 1. Oh, and the Portland defenders have been flopping all game. DAL leads 76-73 with 10:20 left in the 4th quarter.

-Barea drives into the lane and scores the easy 2 after the call. That’s why NBA refs really have to get the calls right. I wish the NBA kept track of teams capitalizing on missed/wrong calls. It’s simply too important to not get them right. The Mavericks just went up 3 instead of possibly trailing by 2 after that missed call. Turrrrible.

-Barea gets HAMMERED while venturing into the lane. Makes both free throws. 78-73, DAL.

-Brandon Roy looks awful. Such a sad story what happened to him. He was going to help the Western Conference keep up with the influx of talent that seems to only be residing in the East. Instead, he develops into a fantastic player, only to have his knees give out on him and shorten his career.

-Andre Miller gets called for an offensive foul because Barea flopped. Awful officiating. To his credit, he doesn’t say anything.

-On plays where Barea thinks he’s the only option on the floor, the Mavs scored once in four tries. On plays where the ball touches Dirk’s hands, the Mavs have hit 2 in a row. Dirk with an elbow jumper, then Dirk with a dish to Peja Stojakovic for 3. DAL 83-76, 8:24 left.

-Speaking of sad stories, injuries played a huge part in Peja’s career. For one solid year in Sacramento, he was a legitimate MVP candidate. He had great numbers across the board, averaging upwards of 23 points. He and Dirk were at one time rivals, leading their respective teams against one another. Now, Peja’s riding Dirk’s coattails in a last-ditch effort to get to the NBA Finals. He is money from downtown, though. Bringing a guy with that kind of three-point shooting ability off the bench is a definite luxury.

-Wow. The referees bail out the Mavericks again, with Barea drawing another offensive foul, this time on Wesley Matthews (he has to be on a long list of black players with white-sounding names). And McHale is touting him for being a little guy that “sticks his chin in there and takes one for the team.” Talk about your double entendres. I’m going to be honest: I don’t want to watch Barea take one for the team on primetime television. Just not something I want to see.

J.J. Barea giving a thumps-up to the officials, saying, "Thanks, refs! I owe you!"

-I’m starting to see McMillan’s side of this whole referee story. I’m kind of glad that I’m not an NBA head coach, otherwise NBA commish David Stern could fine me $35,000 for criticizing his officials. Mavericks kick it to Peja in transition, who nails a 3. Chalk this up to “blown/missed call that leads to huge change in momentum and alters score in game in a way that may be too large to overcome.” What? Too long a name? Maybe that’s why they haven’t introduced the stat yet.

– 88-80, Mavs. 5:43 left.

-Miller carrels the rebound and leads the break, then sets up inside against Barea. He posts him up and draws the foul on Barea. Funny. I could have sworn I just saw that exact same call go against Portland a few minutes ago. There was literally no difference in defense played. Maybe everyone’s right about this being a guard-driven league now. With all the guards in the league and the defensive rules altered so that you can’t touch them (unless their name is Kobe), the quicker guards in this league are impossible to guard. On top of that, they get to flop and get all the calls to go against the bigger players who try to exploit their size.

-Matthews takes the ball to the rack and puts it in for the score. Blazers trail 84-90.

-Wow. That girl from the T-Mobile commercials is gorgeous. I just looked her up. Carly Foulkes. Well, Carly Foulkes, you have successfully succeeded Catherine Zeta Jones as the face (and body) of T-Mobile. Congratulations-you may have singlehandedly saved cellular networks from an iPhone takeover. Sorry, Justin Long-there aren’t enough surgeries in the world that can make you look as good as her.

Sprint? AT&T? iPhones? See ya, suckers. Im switching to T-Mobile!

-Out of the timeout, Dirk hits a baseline stepback. Lead to 8. Blazers follow that up with a miss inside and Dirk takes Nicolas Batum to the post. Batum stupidly goes for a steal, putting his defense in a terrible position, and Dirk benefits with an easy lay-up. Mavs lead by 10.

-Blazers get the matchup they want, with Jason Kidd getting stuck with LaMarcus Aldridge, but they can’t take advantage. Instead, Miller drives into the lane and gets the questionable foul call. Makes both free throws. 86-94, Mavs, 2:26 remaining.

-Mavs set up Dirk in the post against Aldridge, who gets called for the foul. I don’t know what happened there. I’m still staring at my TV expecting the referees to not get involved as Dirk makes both.

-Blazers miss an opportunity to cut into the lead. Dirk pulls up in transition feeling hot and drains a jump shot. Dirk has 30 now. Mavs lead by 12. Game OV…

-This is why the Blazers aren’t going to win this series. When there’s a tie between two teams, choose the team with the best player. They’re most likely going to win. Dallas has two closers, one that can hit the big shot if setup properly in Jason Terry, and one who can get any shot he wants in Dirk. The Blazers? They have zero shooters. LaMarcus needs to be fed in order to score. Even then, Tyson Chandler has given him hell. Miller can’t shoot, and Gerald Wallace (another white-sounding name!) can’t be counted on to hit perimeter shots with the game on the line. This is where they miss the old Brandon Roy-a guy who could get his own shot, create for others, and make the game-winner (By the way, when are we going to talk about the curse of playing for Portland? Does it go completely unnoticed because they are in the playoffs each year, unlike the Clippers? Los Angeles turns in terrible seasons all the time, and their draft picks, despite their promise, get engulfed in the Clipper culture of losing. The Blazers? Sam Bowie-bust that cost them Michael Jordan; Greg Oden-bust/chronically injured that cost them Kevin Durant; Brandon Roy-severely injured in a way that he can never come back from. He has no cartilage in his knees. Blazers are cursed. I’m sure of it.) Anthony Burrola 1, mainstream media 0 (I’m purposely ignoring all the other predictions I botched).

-Mavs win. Dirk’s final statline: 33 points on 9/22 from the field, 15 of 17 free throws, and 7 rebounds.

Postgame interview. Dirk’s voice is awesome. I can’t believe he came into the league speaking only German. Hardly a trace of an accent left. Interview asking about Jason Kidd. In both games, Kidd has turned back the clock. It’s crazy how similar his game is to Andre Miller’s. Both PGs are better at scoring within 15 feet of the basket, both are spectacular passers, both love to operate in the post, both are pure point guards, both are unathletic, both get hardly any lift on their jumpshots, and both will never win a ring. Oh, that’s not determinable yet? Well, color me skeptical of either’s chances.

The Trail Blazers get a few days to lick their wounds and come home to the cold weather of the Continental U.S. Rip City has some of the best fans in the NBA, so expect the Blazers to come out and build a double-digit lead in game 3. Their fans can put some pressure on the referees (especially if Dick Bevetta is there). They’re going to get some favorable whistles this time, especially if they come out aggressive.

Blazers win game 3.

Till next time.


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