This was a hard game to go back and watch knowing the outcome and the events that transpired. Bennett Salvatore, known Mavs-hating ref, was calling the game, and Avery didn't just get kicked out of the game. He got his money's worth, charging on to the court in a full-on, bat s**t crazy type of tirade where he was barking so much at the end you would have expected him to start trying to bite off his own ear. Seriously. Try biting off your own ear while shouting at someone. That's what it looked like.
1. Danny Granger - 25 points, mostly from the free throw line with 11 of 13 from the stripe, 6 boards, 2 assists, 2 blocks and a steal. Solid line.
2. Jamaal Tinsley - 24 points, 6 boards, 6 assists, and 2 steals. I'm not extremely sold on Tinsley as a starting point guard in the league, and people shoot at him outside strip clubs a little too much for my liking, but on this night he had the right mix of distribution and scoring. And nobody shot at him outside a strip club.
3. Devin Harris - Devin shot something awful from the field, but he got to the line and scored 24 points on 13 of 14 foul shooting. That combines with 4 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal, not to mention some very manly sideburns.
- Dirk's Digits: Any other player, and you would be turning cartwheels for a line like 20 points, 11 boards, 5 assists and a block. Since it's Dirk, and the Mavs lost, the world thinks he's the biggest chump on the planet. For the record, I don't think that way, but I know what others are saying.
- Jermaine O'Neal missed this game, but it didn't matter. The Mavs were in a stretch were they liked to get down by 75 points and then act like they actually cared enough to win the game. They had made up some sizable deficits in the past few games, but it caught up with them in this one. It didn't hurt that the refs were awful.
- Trenton Hassell started in our never ending quest for a 2 guard. It does make you wonder why we had to let Michael Finley go, even though I understood why we had to let him go.
- I watched half of this game before it got deleted off my Tivo. The rest I caught on Sports Center.
- The 5 game winning streak the Mavs had working ended with this loss.
- Jerry Stackhouse was in street clothes. No explanation at all. I don't get that, because we could have used him. I understand giving a guy some rest, but at least suit him up if he's healthy as a "just in case" sort of thing.
- I don't blame Avery for going all ape-s**t on the refs. The crew called an awful game. The Mavs even filed a grievance after the game. Troy Murphy's heel was on the 3 point line, very obviously a 2 point shot, and the ref standing not 5 feet away from him called it a 3. There were phantom calls, non calls, fouls that should have been called but weren't, non-fouls that were called as fouls, clock malfunctions, etc. What sent Avery over the edge was when Devin Harris had a clear path to the basket and he was hacked on the arm. It should have been shots and the ball out of bounds, or at the least just shots. Instead, they said he wasn't in the act of shooting so they gave him the ball out of bounds. Well, it's hard to be truly in the act of shooting when you are wearing your opponent's ass on your forearm as if it's a pricey handbag. I'm not saying this is why the Mavs lost, but it didn't help matters. The fact that the league came back after the grievance and basically said "Screw you" to the Mavs shows how much this league cares about getting it right in the wake of the "referee betting on games" scandal.
- Dirk wasn't afraid to mix it up a bit with Troy Murphy. Murphy had no problem leveling a hard hack on Devin Harris earlier, but when Dirk returned the favor on him, Murphy took exception. Both were assessed technical fouls, but it would be like taking a crap on someone's lawn, but getting mad at them for doing the same in your flower bed. The double technicals were the pansy way out for the refs, when it was obvious that Murphy was the instigator. Another way the refs kept screwing up this game.
Just another game in a long season, but the Mavs need to get their stuff together if they are going to shake off the stigma that is last season's playoff failure. The one saving grace is that they have a similar record as they did last year at this point, and they went on to win 67 games. Go Mavs!