Follow Javi on Twitter: @PlaymakerJavi
1. The Dallas Mavericks beat the New York Knicks last night 95-85, but the game shouldn’t have been as close as it was. Up by 14 going into the 4th quarter, the Mavs didn’t score any points until more than seven minutes in. By then the Knicks had taken their first lead since the early minutes and Dallas had a game on their hands.
Luckily, over the next four minutes, Dirk Nowitzki poured in 11 of his 28 points as the Mavs pulled away for the win.
The Knicks were able to make their run on the 4th quarter because they beat Dallas on the boards and got out and ran early in the final frame. Also, surprisingly, it was Baron Davis and not Jeremy Lin that was the most effective point guard for the Knicks. Lin has seen much of his effectiveness evaporate over the past week and that was evident in Dallas last night as he shot just 4-13 from the field for 14 points while dishing out seven assists.
This was a pretty ugly game where both teams shot about 38% from the field, but Dallas made up for it by getting to the free throw line. We talked about this yesterday, how the Dallas offense needs slashers to get to the line so they’re not relying on a slow offense with just jump shots because they don’t have the big men to run an inside-out style. That’s exactly what Rodrigue Beaubois did last night as he had 18 points on 6-11 shooting. Jason Kidd was also aggressive as a shooter scoring 15 points while hitting three three-pointers.
The rebounding disparity and the way they blew their lead was troubling, but at least Dallas got the win. Rick Carlisle should really think about making Beaubois a bigger part of the offense with that 2nd unit too.
2. The Lamar Odom resurgence lasted all of one game. Odom performed well last week in his return to the lineup, but didn’t play as well in his 2nd game. Mark Cuban still had his back, though. Cuban says that Odom’s performance isn’t his concern.
But that was before last night’s game where Odom scored just three points on 1-9 shooting and only pulled down four rebounds in 23 minutes. I guess it’s a positive sign that Odom was aggressive and taking shots, but he still had a pretty bad game and didn’t contribute on the boards as much as they wanted him to. Rick Carlisle has talked about Odom being the kind of guy that makes a few key baskets but helps out on rebounds and defense, but so far we haven’t seen that.
It’s understandable that Mark Cuban doesn’t want to make a deal because the key to a great playoff run is Odom stepping up. But we still haven’t seen that out of Odom for more than a few games earlier this season. Cuban would be admitting failure by buying Odom out of trading him before the deadline, but taking a risk on a young unproven guy who would bring some energy is looking like a much better route than sticking with Odom for the rest of the season.
3. Speaking of the Knicks, they’re in San Antonio tonight taking on a healthy and rested Spurs team that (hopefully) shook off the rust of finally bringing everybody back from injury in their loss to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night.
The Spurs have actually done a great job of shutting down playmaking point guards in wins over Russell Westbrook with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chris Paul with the LA Clippers in recent weeks. This game isn’t as big as it was just a week ago when the country was still dealing with “Linsanity.” The Knicks appear to be a team that can handle the middle of the road teams in the NBA (and look good while doing it), but struggle to beat the teams in the upper echelon.
We’ll see if that holds tonight at the AT&T Center.
4. The 4th quarter in last night’s Boston Celtics-Houston Rockets game was as unpredictable as it gets in an NBA game. With more than five minutes left, the Rockets held a double digit lead and were in complete control. And then Boston starting hitting their shots. Houston couldn’t get a good possession in on offense with bad shots and a couple of turnovers. The Celtics grabbed the lead and should have sealed the game in the final seconds. But something crazy happened to give Houston one more chance.
It was a two that tied the game. Ray Allen missed a jumper that sent it into overtime, but that’s where Paul Pierce took over to close out a home win for the Celtics.
Houston didn’t shoot the ball particularly well and they gave up 18 turnovers. But they were able to stay in the game because they dominated the boards 57-38. The Celtics scored more points in the paint, but Houston was scrappy underneath and got a lot of 2nd chance opportunities and got to the free throw line often as well. Luis Scola had 18 points and 14 rebounds, but Samuel Dalembert pulled down 17 boards as well.
That’s the kind of effort Houston needs night in and night out from both of those guys if they want to hang with the elite teams in the West. It’s disappointing that they lost this game, but it was their toughness on the glass that kept them in it despite Kevin Martin (again) and Kyle Lowry shooting poorly.
Six players scored in double figures in this game, but that’s because only eight guys played. It’s a strange strategy that Kevin McHale used in this game. The major minutes may have contributed to the fatigue and sloppy play in the final minutes of the 4th quarter. It also hurts because the Rockets play again tonight in Toronto, so look for the bench to log a lot of minutes following an overtime game the night before with travel involved as well.
5. Finally, it’s championship week in men’s college basketball and some Texas teams kick things off tonight. Sadly, another missed it’s chance to get into the tournament as the North Texas Mean Green lost a thriller in the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game tonight. It’s the 2nd year in a row UNT has lost a close game with a tourney bid on the line.
Meanwhile the Texas A&M Aggies and Texas Tech Red Raiders get things started at the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City. The Aggies will play the Oklahoma Sooners while the Red Raiders take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys. It’ll be surprising if either team moves on to the next round.
Two conference tournaments with automatic bids are happening in Texas for the Southland Conference in Katy and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in Garland. For the Southland Conference, several Texas teams are playing for the Big Dance with UT-Arlington and Stephen F. Austin as top two seeds. UTSA, last year’s champ, is a #5 seed. SFA is already in while the other two will play later tonight. If both UTA and UTSA win, they’ll play each other in the semifinal tomorrow. As for the SWAC, only one Texas team is in that conference but Texas Southern is the #2 seed in the tournament and should make the final. The tough part will be taking down #1 seed Mississippi Valley State, who swept Texas Southern in the regular season.
Hopefully home court advantage can carry Texas Southern to an upset if they play each other a 3rd time.
Photo courtesy Stephan Wurth/Maxim Magazine
6. Jennifer Love Hewitt is the cover girl for Maxim’s April issue. In the interview she talks about how even she thinks that her boobs are her best feature.
Whenever Jennifer Love Hewitt talks about her boobs, it’s certainly going to garner attention. But the reason she’s back in the spotlight is the upcoming release of her new Lifetime Original Series “The Client List,” based on the Lifetime movie of the same name she made a couple of years ago.
It’s based on the true story about a group of West Texas women in the Permian Basin who run a massage parlor that’s a front for a prostitution ring involving some of the biggest names in economics and politics in the Midland-Odessa area.
Working as a sports anchor in Odessa for two years, I heard a lot about this story that had broken just before I arrived. If you’re interested in the real story behind everything that happened, here’s a collection of stories from blogs and media coverage that piece together how this woman was able to pull off something nobody would have every thought possible in a small town in West Texas.