Thursday, November 8, 2007

Mavericks-Warriors always a good watch


If I were NBA commissioner for one day...

I'd strictly enforce traveling...

And make sure the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors play each other at least eight times — all on national TV — during the regular season.

Yes, their games are that good, that dramatic. Even in November.

I didn't think Thursday night's battle in Oakland could live up to the six-game series that took place last spring, when the eighth-seeded Warriors stunned the team with the regular season's best record in six games.

And it didn't. But only because the game lacked in meaning. Dallas entered the contest 3-1. Golden State was a pitiful 0-4. But that didn't keep the teams from fighting each other as if it were May. This one was a TNT producer's dream.

High-flying dunks (thank you, Matt Barnes). Plenty of 3-pointers (thank you, Jason Terry ... and everyone else). Up-and-down action. Zillions of lead changes.

Dallas' 120-115 victory featured a little bit of everything. And it was just a November win. But also it cemented Dallas-Golden State as the NBA's new premier rivalry. No, it will never live up to the Lakers-Celtics and Pistons-Bulls rivalries of the 1980s, but with today's NBA struggling to reel in new fans, this budding rivalry is the bait.

Critics of the NBA who say players don't give their all during the regular season had no case Thursday night. Golden State's new Jason Richardson, a.k.a. Kelenna Azubuike, was all over the court, flying high for several crowd-pleasing dunks. Dallas point guard Devin Harris forgot about the ankle injury that kept him out of Dallas' previous game, relentlessly attacking Golden State's ill-matched defenders, creating open look after open look for Terry (who was on fire, connecting on 10 of 17 shots for 24 points) and the Mavericks' other outside shooters.

While the '80s had Bird and Magic, and Isiah and MJ, going head-to-head, the stars of this very young rivalry aren't so pronounced. Dallas has 2007 MVP Dirk Nowitzki, but he is willing to share the prime-time shots with players like Terry and Jerry Stackhouse, who hit the huge 3-pointer in the final minute that turned out to be the difference. Golden State is led by its fearless point guard Baron Davis, who — when he wants to — can get to the basket at will.

But Golden State is far from a one-man show. The Warriors are at their best when Davis is dishing to outside shooters such as Al Harrington, who knocked down four 3-pointers Thursday, and Barnes.

Golden State-Dallas is the epitome of a team rivalry in a league that's dominated by individuals. That's one of the reasons it's become, in the course of seven months, the best matchup the NBA can promote.

Unlike in most NBA games, stagnation is missing from Dallas-Golden State affairs. The pace is fast-paced, and even when the game slows down in the half court, the teams display an unselfishness and great ball movement that smells of college basketball. The players are so caught up in the rivalry, they forget about their individual statistics, their individual goals. All that matters is beating those guys in the other uniforms.

At the end of the night, the Mavericks were 4-1 and the Warriors were 0-5. The Mavericks are off to a great start and are all but certain going to finish among the top three teams in the mighty Western Conference. The Warriors can't wait until their voluble captain Stephen Jackson returns from his seven-game suspension after two more games. Then they'll attempt to turn this ship around and sneak in the playoffs.

But well before then these guys will meet again. On Jan. 2, to be exact. And the intensity that was palpable — just from watching on high definition — Thursday night will be evident once again, as the Mavericks attempt to prove that Thursday's result was no fluke while the Warriors look to show once again that Dallas has no answer for them.

It will be a back-and-forth engagement, that's for sure. Not decided until late in the fourth quarter. With Dallas' Avery Johnson and Golden State's Don Nelson pulling every punch they've got until the final horn.

Sound like a rivalry? It should.

Because that's exactly what it is.

Even if Dirk ain't Bird and Davis ain't Magic.


Pete Harvey said...

Great game last night! I hoped BD would hit that three to send it into OT...oh well maybe next time.

Cool, informative site. I've posted a link back to your site. Thanks for doing the same for me.

Pete Harvey said...

Great game last night! I hoped BD would hit that three to send it into OT...oh well maybe next time.

Cool, informative site. I've posted a link back to your site. Thanks for doing the same for me.

breatnyS said...

Good defense by the Dallas Mavericks drama boys, if only we could patch up the difference, this will be a Dallas good season. They are running, switching in defense, rebounding see those efforts. We don't have yet the Mavericks team down.

I which I could see some Mavericks games live. I was looking for tickets all the good seats on ticketmaster were taken I had to check broker. And man you don’t want to do that especially for the Dallas Mavericks. Thanks god there sites like Ticketwood which work as comparators here is the site
Mavericks Tickets

I like slam dunks that take me to the hoop my favorite play is the ally-hoop,
I like the pic n roll,i like the given goal its basketball yo, yo lets go!
Go Mavericks Go!!!

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