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Good News Dallas
by Mike Fisher    Thu, Apr 24, 2008, 08:46 am
“You will see a different team in Game 3,’’ promises Avery Johnson in one of this team’s recent Hallmark greeting-card offerings.  And I’m half-hoping what he means is that the Dallas Mavericks we see on Friday are the 2003-…. Dallas Mavericks, who while completely capable of giving up 60 points a half, could every once in a while counter with 61.

As we await tipoff, let’s take a stroll down the aisle at the Hallmark Store and peruse some more work from the Mavs’ greeting-card-writing department:

   DIRK NOWITZKI: “I still think we’ve got what it takes to win this series, so I’m not going to throw everything out the window now. No matter how, we’ve just got to win that game and put some pressure on. I still think we have what it takes. We’ve just got to go out and prove it.’’

   Last year’s disappointment sent The UberMan on a soul-searching mission to Australia. How far would he have to go to escape this if-it-continues mess? The misplaced moon of Pluto?

   I doubt Dirk has a bag full of Tang already packed. Maqybe he does retain enough faith in himself and his boys to still believe. There is still a line in his greeting-card moment that resonates bad news (whether Dirk is aware of it or not). It is the suggestion that the Mavs must “put some pressure on’’ the Hornets, the suggestion that they make react unfavorably to a circumstance they’ve never experienced.

   Problem: They were down 52-40 at halftime of Game 1. And they never flinched.

   If the Hornets flinch in G3, I say it’s unlikely that they do so as a reaction to being flustered, and more as a reaction to being focused on playing San Antonio in Round 2.

   JERRY STACKHOUSE: “It’s not ideal, but it can be done. … We’ve been in worse situations.’’

   Really, Stack? When? The only situations worse than “down 0-2’’ are: a) down 0-3, which the Mavs have never been, and b), down something-to-4. … which means you start booking those flights to Pluto.

   I know what he is referring to, actually. Against Houston in 2005, the Mavs’ 0-2 deficit came in two home games, and the series was eventually won by the Mavs in seven.

Was that worse? Is this better? They feels pretty much the same to me.

   JASON KIDD: “It’s being able to have Dirk or Dampier look at the angles a little bit better. We have to get Dirk to understand a little bit about geometry and look at maybe an angle or two.”

   Kidd is talking about the angles a second defender should take when attempting to double-team the absurdly-quick Chris Paul. I’m the wrong guy to be critical of someone with intellectual failings in the world of mathematics, but I do feel qualified if wondering whether three games, three months, three years, is long enough to teach players the basics of the half-court double-team. Maybe we shoulda practiced this more?

   JASON TERRY:We just got out-played, out-fought, and out-worked.’’

   Hey, Jet, “Survivor’’ called. They want their slogan back.

   AVERY JOHNSON, BEFORE THE GAME: “You can’t just depend on historically what we’ve done at home.’’

   AVERY JOHNSON, AFTER THE GAME: “We need some home cookin’.’’

   This is Cliché’vry Johnson at his best/worst, spewing platitudes – even conflicting ones -- to politely answer questions when, really, there is nothing of substance to say. The Mavs on the road are a 1976 Ford Pinto afire. The Mavs always win at home and they haven’t been beaten by the Hornets in Dallas since. … well, almost since the last time you saw a Ford Pinto.

   The numbers provide some hope. The accompanying words just fill space.

   JASON TERRY AGAIN: ”We’re a good team, man, whether it looks like it right now or not.’’

   Well, in a word. … not.

   Readers of this space no how much I admire Jason Terry for some of the big things he does on the floor, for all of the little things he does behind the scenes to hold this team together, and for his overall joie d’vive. (Tony Parker, you got nothing on me, so shove it in your French pastry hole.) But the proof is in the pudding. … mmm, pudding. …. And French pastry. … home cookin’. … I’m starving! … and the proof says that we can whine all we want about how the Mavs were “better’’ than Miami and “better’’ than Golden State. But there is ZERO evidence that Dallas is better in New Orleans. The standings, the scoreboard, the series. …. They don’t all conspire to lie. 

   DIRK NOWITZKI AGAIN:”In basketball and life, it doesn’t always work out the way you want it to.’’

   Wow. I think that one really DID come from a Hallmark card. Or from Mick Jagger.

   AVERY JOHNSON AGAIN: “I love adversity. That’s just my whole deal. …’’

   No you don’t.

   Once again, this is an empty Cliché-vry Johnson platitude, the sort of pep-talky nonsense that once caused Cowboys veterans to quit paying attention in Jimmy Johnson coaching meetings, the sort of vim-and-vigor hooey that causes poor souls to buy seven-step self-help books, the sort of inspirational hokum that’s been spun by Hollywood to put in the mouths of characters from John Wayne to John McClain to John McCain, and everybody in between.

   See, we DO NOT LOVE ADVERSITY. We may be accustomed to adversity, we may have overcome adversity, we may not be frightened by adversity, but nobody LOVES adversity. That’s like saying “I love poverty, because it’s so thrilling to overcome it.’’


   No, you don’t love adversity. You love prosperity.

   And if you don’t believe me, go ask the New Orleans Hornets.

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