It’s safe to say that last night’s Game 5 win was the biggest in Mavericks history. By taking a 3-2 lead, this is the closest the franchise has ever been to winning an NBA championship. So how did they celebrate?
By ripping on each other in their postgame press conferences, of course. First, Dirk Nowitzki on Jason Terry, from the Dallas Morning News:
Q. Does he feed off of [talking trash]?
DIRK NOWITZKI: We all know Jet is a confident young man. He always has a lot to say to us in the locker room. He’s always talking. He’s just an energetic guy. He loves to talk and he loves to hear himself talk.
Yeah, that’s the best. Not only is Dirk snapping on Terry for being a blabbermouth, he also calls him a “confident young man,” despite the fact that Jason Terry is nine months older than Dirk is. Maybe Dirk thinks he’s older because that extra year of NBA experience, but I’d prefer it if Dirk didn’t realize how old Jason Terry is because Dirk is so much bigger. That’d be great.
But Dirk wasn’t the only Mav joking with his teammates. Here’s Jason Kidd on J.J. Barea:
Q. A couple of games ago your coach made a starting lineup change, got Barea in there, and it really paid off. Why do you think Barea was so effective for the first time in this series? What did he do?
JASON KIDD: I think he was aggressive. In Game 4, he was aggressive in Game 4 where he missed some shots that we all know he makes. And he hasn’t backed down. He might be … what is he listed at 5’10″? We’ll go with that. (Laughter). He enjoys that challenge of being a small guy and maybe being overlooked. And, again, he made some big shots, too.
This isn’t the first time a Maverick has ripped on J.J. Barea for being tiny, so you know this is one of the team’s favorite subjects. In a land full of giants, Barea’s a little guy, so it’s only natural that he’d get some ribbing for being so small. It’s nice to find out that his own team gets in on the fun. I’d bet they even made the same “it wouldn’t look so bad if he were normal-sized” jokes that we all made when Andrew Bynum tossed J.J. from the air. Seems like the kind of team they are, just a fun-loving group of bros who are down to rip on each other like any group of friends. They probably even call Brian Cardinal “Dad.”
You can tell the Mavericks like each other and want each other to succeed. And you can tell that the Mavericks understand the gravity of what they’re trying to accomplish, but don’t feel the intense pressure that the Heat are under, which makes sense since the Heat are the Heat and a lot of people picked the Mavericks to lose in the first round. Dallas is playing loose, having fun and trusting each other. A lot of times, that’s not the case with Miami, and it might be the difference in the series.
But really, the most important thing is that the Mavericks are all apparently postgame pros. All these old guys are so used to these press conferences that their zings flow freely, and that really makes things a lot of fun.