March 22, 2007

Topping-off ceremony for Prudential Center

The Devils are moving. From the Continental Airlines Arena to the Prudential Center. "The Rock," if you will.

Mavericks 98, Cavaliers 90

Dirk vs. LeBron.

Except....not really. They got their points, most of them late, but this was again the difference between the DALLAS Mavericks and the LEBRON Cavs. Dirk can have a bad night, as he did for most of three quarters and the Mavs can wait until he figures it out and play well regardless. The Cavs watch LeBron struggle and it makes them struggle, too. They just aren't build to handle that, and it must be a mental thing. You can see the teamwork and team style of play with the Mavs, who have bounced back wonderfully from that tough loss to Phoenix in double-overtime.

Nowitzki did end up with 23 points, leading the Mavs. And LeBron ended up with 31 points, leading the Cavs. But most of the points came late and didn't factor much into the actual game. Dirk had good points, but was just 9/24. Josh Howard was worse, putting in 7 points. Dampier had 13 and 9 and it was good to see him put back-to-back solid games together. Jason Terry had 21 points, and Stackhouse had 10. But I thought the player of the game was Devin Harris. Harris ended up with 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Every time he took the ball up high, he burned somebody and scored a layup. Whether the layup was easy or difficult, it went in the net. The offense was flowing through him a lot more than it ever has, with Jason Terry playing more of a minor role or a shooter's role. It was nice to see Devin create and function and he even made a couple jumpers! He took over the flow of the game at several times and it was fun to watch. Hopefully it wasn't just a blip on the radar screen, but something that can keep building and growing.

As a team, the Mavs shot better from the field but shot worse on 3-pointers. This has been the case for the past several games. They are taking too many 3's and they are missing most of them. Not shooting well in that regard. The incredibly positive thing was the free throws. The Mavs as a team didn't attack the basket very much and shot significantly less free throws (17 to 29) but they made them all! 17/17. That was extremely impressive.

Maybe what's even more impressive, and I hit on it earlier, is the Mavs recent success after the very tough loss to the Suns. Whereas the Suns lost two in a row to far inferior teams, the Mavs have won four in a row, including beating the #1 and #2 teams in the East. Well done, Mavericks.