Tag:Games We're Missing
Posted on: November 4, 2011 8:05 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 8:13 pm
By Matt Moore
The Mavericks and Spurs have had some titanic battles through the course of the past decade-plus during this time of contention for both teams. For the first time, we would be seeing the Mavericks as the defending champs, as the team that figured things out, while the Spurs are the team that couldn't put it together, who fell apart at the wrong time.
These battles are precious. We're only going to see Dirk Nowitzki go at Tim Duncan so many more times as both head towards retirement. Already Duncan is not the player he used to be, as Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker take more of a role. But it's still Duncan vs. Dirk, Parker vs. Jet, Manu vs. well, whoever the Mavs put on him. The Mavericks now have the bruisers inside, Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood, while it's the Spurs with the defensive sieves in DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner.
This game would still be a huge clash of juggernauts, though, especially with the shooters on each side. Both teams had titanic offenses last week, while it was only the Spurs who ran into the iceberg against Memphis.
Jason Kidd against Tony Parker is a smarter matchup than it seems, while Kawhi Leonard would be facing Caron Butler in a past-face-present. It would have all the rivalry that Texas teams demand, and the drama of a battle between two teams with five championships and six Finals appearances over the past twelve seasons.
And we get none of it.
Today is Day 127 of the NBA Lockout.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 3:39 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Nothing could compare to the hype and spotlight on the Miami Heat in their first season together. Right? The constant scrutiny, the microscope on every little thing -- the Heat were THE story in the NBA last season. Their second year together would've seen some of that fade away as interest in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh's experiment waned.
Wrong. Actually, it probably would've been worse this season. Which means like last year, the Miami Heat would've been the thing we all talk about all the time. Why? Because they choked away an NBA title last season. They haven't won. They haven't started to fulfill the promise of "not one, not two, not three..."
And they would've been kicking off Game 1 of 82 tonight. But not just anywhere. They would've been playing at Madison Square Garden. Oh man, this lockout hurts.
Both teams virtually would look the same. The Heat had some offseason decisions to make on their elderly players and the Knicks had a nice draft pick to unveil in Iman Shumpert, but it was going to be Melo, Amar'e and Chauncey versus LeBron, Wade and Bosh. Which was going to be a blast.
Think about it: The last game the Heat played was a heartbreaking Game 6 loss to the Mavericks in The Finals. The last game the Knicks played was an embarrassing beatdown in the sweep to the Celtics. You want to teams itching for opening night? Well, you got them here. And in The World's Most Famous Arena to boot.
Both teams are good, but it would be the individual matchups we'd salivate over. LeBron against Melo. Wade against defensive-minded Landry Fields. Amar'e against Bosh. I'm not sure if the Knicks are really ready to take that step into contendership, but this game would've at least made a statement one way or the other.
The Knicks topped the Heat in Miami late last season with Melo actually taking over the on both ends late. He blocked LeBron and scored a couple of late baskets to seal it. Would that happen again? Or would the Heat start off by asserting themselves as the dominant team in the East? Alas, questions we won't get answers to. At least for the foreseeable future.
Starpower, good basketball, good teams, great atmosphere -- it would've been a helluva way to follow up a great opening night.
Posted on: November 1, 2011 5:05 pm
By Matt Moore
Tuesday night would have been a reckoning if there were a season. It would be about more than just a good season. It would be about the past and the future. About a decade of tireless effort, of painstaking consistency and a drive to get it right, and it would be about the years to come, and how bright and hopeful they are.
If there were an NBA season, we'd be watching Bulls-Mavericks Tuesday night.
The Dallas Mavericks suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous NBA fortune more than any team short of the Trail Blazers over the past ten years. They built a championship core, and instead of rebuilding or tearing it down when it didn't work, they kept tinkering, adjusting, taking what worked and trying to make it better. Mark Cuban sunk hundreds of millions into the team in payroll, staff, training, promotion, everything. It's a massively powerful organization, that still didn't have a ring to show for it. Tuesday night would have been the night that Dirk Nowitzki could take a step back and appreciate how far he'd come, how all the work and the trust and the blood, sweat, tears, and teeth in his arm were worth it. For Jason Kidd it would be a sweet way to usher in the sunset of his career. And the Mavericks, a tighnit group of professionals, could savor entering the season as the top dogs.
The Bulls would just be hungry. Hungry to spit that taste of embarassing defeat from their mouths, hungry to show they still have the best defense in the league, show they were not a flash in the pan, that they don't need massive overhauls. Derrick Rose would be ready to ask "Why not me, again?" for MVP.
It would be a terrific matchup.
Jason Kidd's experience, bruising defense against Rose's blistering speed, which would require long stints from Caron Butler in help defense, along with every other Maverick between Rose and the rim, especially Tyson Chandler. We'd see a chess match between two of the best tacticians in the league in Rick Carlisle and Tom Thibodeau, as Thibodeau would seek to body and help on Dirk at every turn and Carlisle would seek to continue to do what the Mavericks did last season, punish teams for helping by burying them from deep, and collecting offensive rebounds for extra possessions. Joakim Noah vs. Tyson Chandler is some sort of future-present meet past-present. J.J. Barea (assuming he re-signed, along with Chandler), would be going at it with C.J. Watson. And Carlos Boozer, at least for some limited possessions, would be left on an island with the Finals MVP.
Oh, the fun we would have had.
It would have been such a great way to follow up from the most exciting season in over ten years, to embrace a team made up of stars of the past ten years who are in no way done versus a team of stars for the next ten years (plus Carlos Boozer) who are just getting started. It would have been fierce. It would have been fun to argue about who should get the shots in crunch time, whether Rose looks healed mentally and physically, whether the Mavericks really can make a run at a repeat.
Instead, American Airlines Center will be silent and dark Tuesday night. It is day 124 of the NBA lockout.