Boy that sure was fun! Any time the Mavs are in town the house is a rock'n. Well, at least in the fourth quarter it was. The team and the fans all kind of picked it up at the same time sparked by strong late 3rd quarter run by LB and punctuated by an Amare slam w/ Dirk foul kicker that brought the roof down. That pretty much put this one out of reach.
Question of the night: Does the team feed off the crowd's energy or does the crowd feed off the team's. I don't know how many times it happens that the two rise and fall together. Any shrinks out there that specialize in large group motivational forces?
I have to hand it to the Dirks though. Even though they were down J-Ho and D-Har and were playing w/ a cloud of on-again off-again trade issues (and their best bench player was Mark Cuban) they managed to come into town and at least refuse to roll over. They really stepped up and lost like men.
The big Schnizel himself was utterly unstoppable for a stretch there and the entire world knew it. After the Suns had some success with a timely double the Mav's just gathered on one side of the court with their knitting needles and let Herr Dirkenstein go mench v mench with Boris or Grant. I don't recall ever seeing clear out that blatant. That's one way to build confidence in your team play. I guess.
Anyway, as the lady says it takes a village and you generally won't win if you only have two guys on your team that can score. Especially versus a balanced Suns attack.
The only reason it was close at all given the huge 57% to 40% FG advantage was the...say it with me now...Mavs offensive rebounding advantage of 20-8 leading to 18 more FGA's. I guess the Suns might benefit from a big guy in the middle. Hmmm
Player of the Game:
Tough call here. Amare. Nash. Grant. They all played well. And let's not forget to award the Full French to you know who. He still passed up a few shots he should have taken and did he really hit Amare in the face w/ the ball? I will have to watch the replay. Regardless, he crossed the Maginot Line (10,5 and 5) and won himself the honor (if you are new around here and have no idea what this award is all about..well, I can't find the link right now so sorry).
For those dying to know - there was no Shaq in the intro video. They are still going w/ the old one with a sloppy splice of the Big White Kiwi where Shawn used to be. Oh, I did note that the Suns for the first time in years, didn't do their pre-game circle dance thing. They simply did the all hand's in "break!" I guess Shaq has already changed the way the team runs since I seriously doubt he would have been able to bend over and hold hands and move in a coordinated group motion to the right while maintaining some sense of rhythm and balance. At least without a walker.