Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dirk Nowitzki's Waterloo

Is Dirk Still Seven Feet Tall?
Tonight's Mavs - Rockets Game Two was all kinds of fascinating and enter- taining, but on the off chance that you didn't see it, let's get into the grist.

The story is that Rajon Rondo more or less looked like he didn't want to be there tonight, and the team more or less gave him a DNP-CD in the second half. This led to a long discussion post-game in which Charles Barkley threw him under the bus and said he would not play him anymore... and it's not as if Dallas doesn't have other options, what with JJ Barea, Ray Felton and Monta Ellis able to take the point guard role.

I don't like Rondo's game right now at all... and I'm not sure anyone but a Houston Fan would disagree with that. He's reprehensible at the line, so much that he shies away from contact. He gambles for steals on defense, and I don't think he's even very good there any more. Add that into the fact that the man's body language is just screaming out that he doesn't want to be here, and I completely get with Rick Carlisle can't wait to get him out of town.

As for the remaining 2 to 5 games of the Mavs' season, I get that Barea is a spark / benchie, and Felton is years past his not good enough height, but you just can't have a guy on the court that can't get out of his own head. But the real reason why Dallas isn't going anywhere is because...

Dirk Nowitzki can't play anymore.

This goes beyond a rough shooting night, and Dirk couldn't put it in the ocean tonight. And hes never been a particularly tough rebounder for a 7-footer, so much so that even he's joked about it when passing a recent milestone.

But man alive, Houston ran a dunking contest in the second half of this game, with Josh Smith looking like Magic Johnson. And you can't put all of that on poor Tyson Chandler, who basically spent the second half trying to guard the guy throwing the lob and the guy dunking the lob. because Dirk's not quick or strong enough to impede either the dunker or the passer.

Dallas might win some games in this series. Houston still has to rely on Dwight Howard and Josh Smith to be the second and third best players on the team. They aren't killing them at point guard (every other team in the Western playoff would, by the way). Howard and Smith might disappear on the road. James Harden could shoot them out of a game, and Dallas has had strong stretches of the first two games when they were just ripping off points, because Houston is filled with athletes with ADD. Similarly, Houston seemingly can't put five guys on the floor who all shoot free throws better than high schoolers.

But Houston just won a game, by double digits, when Harden was more or less a spectator. They did it by dunking them out of the gym, because the best player in the history of the Mavericks' franchise, the guy they owe their championship ring to, is now their worst rotation player.

It's sad beyond words, but it's what happens.

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