Sunday, April 6, 2008

LiveBlog: Dallas at Phoenix

Lots of talk about Amare. Fun stuff.

2:36PM Nice recap of both teams. Mike Breen has really grown on me.

Nowitzki is wearing a brace that's molded into his shoes. I haven't bought new workout shoes in 7 years. Just saying. He's lucky.

Amare with terrific range. He's killer from everywhere right now.

Stoudemire fires again.

See, this is my problem with the Mavs lately. They just settle for jumpers at any opportunity. They just take what defenses give them. And that's never been their game.

Kidd passes up another three. he's afraid to shoot at this point, it feels like.

Nice footwork and move by Dampier. He's really been undervalued this year. He's done a great job for them.

4 all, 9:24 1Q.

Kidd with the layup.

Nice dish on the drive by Stoudemire to O'Neal for the dunk.

10-6 Dallas, Terry playing well, 7:55 1Q.

Nowitzki ain't a bad shooting power forward either. Cross court dish by Nash, Bell lobs to O'Neal, who can't finish, because he's older than dirt.

Tech on Shaq after Nowitzki trips him up on accident.

11-9 Mavs, 2 quick fouls on Dirk.

O'Neal with 5 and 3 to start.

Amare with a nice job to cover the pick and roll. Bass with a nice jumper. I like his game a lot. Also, very briefly, D-LEAGUE!

13-11 Suns, and the Suns crowd goes into their usual first quarter lull. They're a great crowd, but they're just quiet in the first every time for some reason. Howard with a nice drive off the back dish from Kidd, draws the foul. That's what Howard needs to do, not shoot 18 footers.

14-11 Dallas 5:30 1Q.

I love Amare's dunk. It's such raw power.

Raja Bell with an ugly three, his feet weren't set at all, but it goes, PHX leads 16-14. Kidd's going to the post a lot. Howard with a runner. I even like that shot better than a spot up for him. He's just better when he's moving.

Kidd again to the post. Bass nails another one.

Dallas pushing into the "Make Nash the Shooter" D. It's working. Five straight by Terry, 22-18 Dallas, 3:14 1 Q.

You can't stop Amare. You just can't. You have to accept he's going to score. He's got 10 already.
I can't figure Kidd drifting to Nash on the pick and roll there. Then I realized it. He didn't want to get posterized by Amare. Those are the things that make me not like him sometimes.

Amare splits the defenders on the drive for the bank shot.

26-23 Dallas 1:10 1Q.

Giricek in. Great battle right now between Bass and Amare.

Howard again misses the long range jumper.

Giricek with the three, 26 all. He's been great in this system.

Mavs hold for last shot. Nope, too early, and Giricek hits the turnaround!

Amare with 13 in the first! 28-26, Suns, end of 1.
Giricek with the dunk?! Off the strip of Nowitzki.

30-26 Suns, 11:00 2Q.

Hill with a funny release on the jumper, no good.

Nowitzki needs to post up more. Howard with a long jumper finally, he's got 9. If he starts hitting those, I'll back off. Nice steal by Howard. Bass with the finish, 8 points. He's got to be huge for them to stay in the playoffs.

Hill corrects his jumper.

32 all, 10:00 2Q.

NICE pass in transition by Amare. He drove wing to paint, drew theee defenders and dished left handed to Diaw.

Bass hits another! That away D-League!

I love Nowitzki's turnaround. We take it for granted, but it's a thing of beauty. Suns are bunching the middle and popping out of it. It's confusing and bruising the Mavs. 38 all, 7:40 2Q.

Barbosa burst of speed (2nd only to Monta, now), 42-38 Suns, 7:00 2Q.

O'Neal's size gives the Suns such a break of effort on defensive rebounds. It lets them use their energy in the right place.
3:18 48-42 Suns, 4:30 2Q.

Shaq loves to back down Dampier, still. Only, instead of forcing up a bad shot, he waits for the collapse, then dishes to Nash for the three. That's how to use him effectively.
48-44 Suns 3:50 2Q

Amare bangs up his finger on a strip. Amare's showing off his passing skills today, and Diaw is tearing it up.

51-46 Suns, Howard ahead of the pack. He's hustling today. If they can feed Shaq on the over the top, he's still automatic.

Amare scoreless in the second. Nice adjustments by Avery.

53-50 1:36 2Q.

Nash does his thing. I think the Mavs expected Kidd to be able to kill Nash in the post and it hasn't worked. Diaw's 5 of 6 for 12 points.

Nowitzki's jumper is still banged up from the ankle.

Yeah, betcha thought you were getting a complete point guard, Mavericks. Not so much. Kidd misses another three.

6.2 seconds, Suns ball, 57-52 Suns.

Nash and Hill both miss shots, Dirk with 13 and 5. Shaq doing what he's supposed to 9 and 6. Amare says nice thing about Dirk on D.

Holy. Amare's playing with three sprained fingers. Jesus.

Okay, break time. Back for the second half.

Grant Hill promo on at halftime. That sound you hear is Magic fans simultaneously vomiting and breaking their teeth from grinding them so hard.

Okay, we're back. 57-52 Suns.

Shaq to the low post, Amare around the outside on the dish, draws the foul. What are you going to do with that? How do you defend that? You leave Shaq to defend Amare, he's got the lob back. You stay with Shaq and he dunks it. You attack and he draws the foul. That's the big difference now with Phoenix. They have offensive sets where if they get them in position, they can't be stopped.

Amare abuses Nowitzki in the post. 61-52 Dallas. Yikes.

Dampier posterizes Nash, that's always fun.

Nash is running Kidd through picks every time down the court. It's like watching an emo kid bounce off a bouncer.

Dallas brings the double on Nash on the penitration. Haha, we have you now! Wait, who did we leave? No, it wasn't AMARE!

Jesus, Mavs, it's not like he hasn't done it twenty times this game.

Rotation is working, and there's nothing you can do. Raja Bell with the three.

68-56 7:58 3Q. 4 points in the third so far for Dallas.

69-59 Nowitzki hits a three, but gets caught on defense, and the ankle's hurting. Now he picks up the foul. He's battling through. It's time to stop calling Dirk soft. 16 and 5 for Dirk.

70-59 Suns 7:01 3 Q.

O'Neal rejects Dirk. He just doesn't have enough lift.

Aaaand we have our usual "Is it a foul or not" argument by Jackson and JVG. Enjoy them, we only have 10000000 more.

Shaq with the easy put-back, 74-61 Suns, 5:50 3Q.

Bass has 12, and they need to go to him more often. He gets better with more touches.

And he hits and one. Told you.

Amare, though, just abuses Howard down low, nails the bank shot, and one. So in case you were keeping track, his repertoire now has the 18 footer, the baby floater, the bank shot, the square up, the drive and dunk, the rebound follow, and he can pass.

So, yeah, he's pretty good.

Anybody else notice that Amare can't work the left side blog? He's not great at going to the middle from the left block. He's automatic on the right block, drive left, switch-hander, but he usually opts for the other block.

82-74 Suns, 2:31 3Q. The crowd acts like it's watching tennis. Sigh. New Orleans is trouncing Phoenix today for fan support.

Shaq's got a double double by the way.

Offensive rebound for the Suns, Diaw on the drive, and one.

I challenge anyone to find anything the Mavs are doing well on defense right now.

86-74 Suns. Dirk sits with 1:28 in the 3rd.

Raja and Diaw are both playing really well. Howard goes the shake and bake, and that's no good of course. If he's not hurt, he has no excuse for not driving.

I had avoided evil creepy Shaq/Kobe face out of fear. Now I've been faced with my nightmare and it is more than I can bear.


Also? I'm so friggin' ready for the playoffs.


91-80 PHX, Bass with another offensive board and the putback. That guy deserves a bigger contract.

Shaq with the flop, Bass has 5. That's unfortunate. And oh, man, Shaq was moving. Bad call. Mark Jackson, of course says it's a good call. O'Neal's getting tired, he's moving away from the basket.

"Congratulations to Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers and the Celtics..."

The praise being heaped on Doc Rivers makes me vomit. Do you realize how little he coaches? He doesn't have to do anything! If he wins coach of the year, I'm going to riot. Right here in my little parking lot. There will be blood!

91-81 9:004Q.

Uh-oh. Tyronn Lue sighting. I don't understand removing Barrea from the rotation, completely. You thought he was good enough to start earlier in the year, and now he's bench bait?

Dirk getting aggressive, that's what he needs to do. Slow down the clock.

JVG: Mark Jackson was my whipping boy, too, Mike.
Mark Jackson: What do you mean, was? I still am.


Dampier with the drive to the other side, 91-87 Suns, Mavs within 4 , 7:36. Here they come.

Nash is forcing it a little bit. Kidd's just egging him into bad shots.

Nowitzki with the drive, AND ONE! DOWN WITH THE HATERS!

91-90, 6:32 4Q. Crunch time.

Suns are lazy. It's like they killed them in the first, three quarters, and expected them to just give up. These guys are fighting for the playoffs, not seeding. You gotta put foot to throat, Suns.

Kidd with rebound, couldn't get the follow! Amare swats away the rebound like "Are you kidding me?"

STAT misses the Dunk, Howard's going to the line for the lead!

Nash blocked by Kidd! Nowitzki in the mid post, now the high post. Can't get the turnaround. Not enough lift off the ankle. No field goals in the last seven minutes for the Suns.

Wow, refs are randomly giving Dallas the ball after Howard knocked it out of bounds. Amare just lost the ball when he had Kidd posted up. You HAVE to score in that situation.

Terry with the drive, pulls Nash off, and Dampier follows with the dunk! Suns look tired and confused.

Amare ends that with a huge slam after Dampier flopped. If he hadn't flopped, he might have gotten the call.

Dirk goes at O'Neal after Shaq blocks it, 96-93 Mavs. 3:00 4 Q.

100-94 Mavs 2:13 4Q.

Unbelievable run by the Mavs. Nice job in transition shutting off the break.

Wow, Terry lost it out of bounds on a 3 on 2. That could be huge.

Oh, now the crowd's anxious. Nice timing. Mavs are killing the pick and roll, shutting off both ends and making Nash shoot.

Nash stems the bleeding with drawing a foul.

100-96, Mavs, 55.5 seconds, and you can hear individual cheers in Phoenix. Sigh.

Gotta get a stop here, if you're the Suns.

DIRK! Off-balance, falling down, crossover, GOOD!

We really need to appreciate Nowitzki. There will never be another player like him. There may be better, but not like him.

Amare scores, Dirk fouled, misses a free throw. Hits the second.

103-98 Mavs, 27.5 seconds.

Suns need a three here. They can't afford to get in a free throw race with Dallas, because they'll lose. But of course they go to try and get Amare and 1, which isn't bad, since he leads the league in them.

Loose ball on Dampier. Amare to shoot two. This is not going to help.

And Amare misses ANOTHER free throw inside a minute. The guy is automatic in any other time frame. MISSES THEM BOTH!

That will do it, folks.

Wow. Huge one for the Mavs. They needed it. Huge loss by the Suns. That does it for their hopes at the one seed. They're going to need some big losses by SA or LA just to get into homecourt first round.

This has been fun, kiddos. See you next time.

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