It was not only a heart-breaker, it was a battle of the ages for the Dallas Mavericks in Utah. This made the 12 loss in 14 games and the Mavs are still in the 12th spot in the Western Conference.
How many of you are old enough to have witnessed the “Fight of the Century”? The Thrilla in Manila as it was called, was the third of three fights between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier and was emceed by Howard Cosell and when Ali hit the crap out of Frazier, all you could hear was Cosell saying, “down goes Frazier, down goes Frazier”. Well that’s what I was hearing a lot of during the game between the Mavericks and the Jazz.
When Dallas travels to Utah, it’s always interesting as to what will play out in the game and this one was no different. Utah doesn’t like the Mavs and especially Dirk and this was not different. All you could hear during the course of the game was “down goes Dirk, down goes Dirk”, and he was going down, several times to the court.
Dallas started strong in this game and even led 26-19 after the first quarter and was holding their own; but needless to say as it looked, the game was not going to be an easy one to take away from Utah.
When you look at the numbers, Dallas did very well in field goal and free throw shooting, but let Utah take the handle of the three point line and they let it rain all night long. Utah shot 52.6 from behind the arc being led by Gordon Hayward with 27 points on 5 of 14 shooting and hitting 4 of 5 from downtown. Dirk led the Mavs with 20 points, Chris Kaman had 14 points and 9 rebounds, O J Mayo scored 13. Darren Collison and Elton Brand both finished the night with 11 a piece.
Dallas had a hard time to an extent to contain Al Jefferson who finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds, Paul Millsap had 14 for the night, Randy Foye scored 10 and the shiner of the night for Utah was Alec Burks who had 13 points, but none better than the 3 he shot at the end of the 2nd quarter to tie the game at 53.
So back to the “Thrilla in Manila” fight. Throughout the night, Utah was bumping and grinding with the Mavs and when the Mavs bumped up against Utah, the whistle was blown, but then when it was the shoe on the other foot, as a complete take down of Dirk, well, a whistle was blown, but not for a flagrant foul, which should have been, but still the blatant take down was ridiculous, then later in the game when the refs wanted to take control and for the little crap, the Jazz got mad and they took their wrath out on the Mav players, especially Dirk.
Yes I am showing favoritism to Dirk because he is the player that will take a lot of crap from people without fighting back and is trying to stand up for himself, and he doesn’t get the respect of the refs nor other team players that he should get; prime example, the game against the Heat last week. Breathe wrong on Wade or James and a whistle is blown, but you slap someone up beside the head, take them down, sweep their leg, that’s ok, especially if it’s Dirk.
Now I know that Mark Cuban has let his mouth run a lot over the years about the officiating and has been fined a lot of money, but you really have to take stock in what he is saying, because it’s right. The Mavs don’t get the same just reward other teams get and I don’t know why. Dirk has been in this league a long time and all he wants to do is just play the game and win some games. He’s not a self-proclaimer of fame and fortune, he’s not a flashy type guy, he’s a professional basketball player who loves the game, loves the fans, loves the city that he represents and he has the utmost respect for the game, but yet he doesn’t get the utmost respect that he so richly deserves.
Why is this? If he was on the front of every magazine flashing his bling, proclaiming to be the best of the best, standing in chairs saying this is his house and making statements that he is going to win 1,2,3,4, etc. championships, then he’d get the same treatment that some of the other egotistical guys would get and that’s crap.
Here’s the deal Lucille, no one and I mean no one minds losing a game as long as it was a fair loss and trust me there are fair losses and then there are losses that you didn’t lose on your own. I have coached sports and have taught my players, as well as my kids, that you have to win as humbly as your lose and you treat the game with respect as well as the other players, and you will learn a lot and the wins will come to you.
Right now Dallas is in a heap of trouble and have got to find a way to get on the top of the heap and make everyone look up to them in a winning aspect. They now have to go to Los Angeles and face the Clippers who have beaten them twice this season and one pretty handily, so if they have any chance of gaining that winning momentum again, they have to work together and not take any crap; keep a level head and let the other team create the mishaps and capitalize on their mistakes.
So with that, Dallas can win and if they want to win, they can do it; and with that, I will bid you a good day and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!