Last night the San Antonio Spurs were unceremoniously dumped out of this year’s playoffs in the NBA. Having succumbed at the hands of their instate foe divisional rival the Dallas Mavericks. It has to be said that this was all foreseen the very moment they lost their indomitable super sub Manu Ginobli before the start of the playoffs. If nothing else this was as much a gut wrench to the team as it was for their fans.
However in losing the series outright (4-1) and the result of the game last night being so conclusive with an emphatic 106-93 win. The Dallas Mavericks move on with a no doubt happy owner in Mark Cuban smiling from ear to ear. For the San Antonio Spurs the ride while it lasted was a pleasant one for their fans and the community at large.
However it can’t hide the fact that the team underperformed. And much of that responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of coach Gregg Popovich and that of his bench players who failed to show up. It was left to the team’s erstwhile duo of All Stars in Tim Duncan and Tony Parker to try and carry the team on their shoulders. And as gallantly as they both performed the task was made all the more insurmountable by the ineptitude shown by the duo’s supporting cast.
Popovich in large part was outcoached by his counterpart Rick Carlisle throughout much of this series. But then again the Mavericks’ players also stepped up to the plate and answered the call of their coach to go out there and execute. And nowhere was this more apparent than with the play of Josh Howard who proved to be the catalyst for the Mavericks through much of the series when it mattered most. There were also valid contributions from Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd. For Nowitzki he may well be now cast off that name tag of being considered just a regular season player, instead of being a postseason performer.
And that if anything has proven to be the difference between the two teams. When asked for the contributions to be made in whatever way possible it was the players of the Mavericks who stepped and answered the call. For the Spurs it was the complete opposite but for the exceptions of Duncan and Parker. The Spurs were languid and slow to the touch and but for their sole victory in game 2 of the series. This would definitely have been a blowout for the Dallas Mavericks. The heroics of Tony Parker in that 105-84 triumph cannot be underscored. Parker himself single handedly willed the team victory and ended up scoring 38 pts in his team’s triumph.
The thing now everyone may well be asking is what now happens to the San Antonio Spurs ? Having won four NBA championships in the decade. They may well have been considered a modern day dynasty. And if nothing else theirs is a consistency that’s not often seen in the game over the decade in question. However with Duncan now viewed as an aged veteran no longer being able to perform like the player he once was in his halcyon days. It has to be said that this is no longer the team that once performed so methodically and whom about everything was admired as an organization within the NBA. Never viewed as one of the more glamorous franchises within the NBA. That spotlight is often shone on the Los Angeles Lakers , Chicago Bulls (Jordan era) and Boston Celtics because of the renowned history. Though now there are fans who believe that the Cleveland Cavaliers ought to be added to the mix. I beg to differ as having perhaps the game’s most celebrated player in LeBron James at present doesn’t give you legitimacy for staking that particular claim. You have to win something first be considered a perennial contender amongst the game’s elite.
Continue reading “The Writing Was On The Wall ……Somehow Some Didn’t Heed The Warning”
I’m Not Stylin’ I’m Just Wild About My Team …..
Is it appropriate that an owner ought to be calling his team out in public ? Even if they’re playing well or not ? I was always under the impression that sort of things is best left to the coaching staff. Or if anything the right course of action to be taken is for the owner to speak with the coach and his staff and relate to them his concerns.
My reasons for asking the questions pertain to the actions of Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban. In doing so once again he embarrasses himself and the organization. OK so they lost a game where their performance was less than adequate. And he may well have a right to be perturbed. As too have the fans but in all honesty denigrating his players whilst not apportioning any of the blame on the coaching staff does rather smack of stupidity and a great deal of immaturity as well. One statement that can be attributed to Cuban directly was that “ if the team continued to play in such a similar vein then he’d go ahead and gut the whole roster rather than have the fans endure anymore of the same”.
The lingering doubt that has always concerned the Dallas Mavericks is their lack of heart. They’re often viewed as one of the more softer teams within the NBA. And it certainly hasn’t been lost on many who’ve witnessed their play over the years. They’re gifted in the fact that they may well possess two of the more marquee players within the NBA in Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd. However the team as a whole though not physically imposing can play with a great deal of aplomb when they set their minds to it. However the fact of the matter is that much of the time they’re all too inconsistent in their play. And it certainly hasn’t helped their cause as of late that they’ve seen a resurgent San Antonio Spurs and a New Orleans Hornets’ teams that has rediscovered its desire. And within the Southwest Conference standing this hasn’t exactly bode well for the Mavericks at this juncture. They sit behind the Spurs , Hornets and the Houston Rockets at present.
Though now seated as the eighth seed in the Western Conference standings. Were the playoffs to start today their fortunes as it is would lay in their own hands. But having to take on the presumptive favorites within the conference in the Los Angeles Lakers would undoubtedly prove to be an ominous task. As well as they’re thought to be playing Cuban has felt that they’ve just not been playing well enough. If anything he should be questioning the approach of the coaching staff and their failure to communicate with the players. \
In Rick Carlisle he possesses one of the better but yet one of the more understated coaches within the NBA. His pedigree is one where he’s coached in Indiana and in Detroit . And as a former player in the NBA he does know what it takes to play at the highest level within the game. They say that a team does tend to take on the persona of its coach. So if that is indeed the case then Cuban’s tirade if anything ought to be directed at his coach. Albeit that it is the players who are on the court playing the game. It’s from the coach that the players indeed get their instructions and the strategy that’s entailed for a game. And even if the players aren’t always held accountable for the results . All too often in the end it’s the coach that often ends up baring the brunt of the blame.
Mark Cuban has often been known to direct his animus at the officials and at times directly at the game’s hierarchy. And the fines borne by him over the years have been enough to build several large family homes. And to a billionaire like Cuban money is afterall no option. When you’re said to be worth in excess of $2.6bn and ranked at #161 of Forbes’ 400 Richest Americans. A paltry fine of a couple of hundred thousand is minimal when it’s all said and done. And as his tirade isn’t directed at anyone within the game’s hierarchy this time around he hasn’t really anything to worry about . Other than that of his own gigantic ego and how he’s viewed as a whole by the fans and public at large. But in reality Mark Cuban has never really been all that worried what anyone thinks about him. His concerns are directed at the things that he can control and the empire he purveys. And if nothing else in Cuban’s fiefdom his word is final mo matter whether or not he’s right or wrong. The narcissist in him wouldn’t have it any other way.
Continue reading “I’m Not Stylin’ I’m Just Wild About My Team ………………”