“Some dumba– on a blog came up with it.” — Josh McRoberts on being called “McBob”
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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.
Ever since Mark Cuban bought the Dallas Mavericks back in 2000, the story has gone that you might hate his antics, but his players love playing for him. The private jets, the swanky locker rooms, the jerseys designed by P. Diddy for some reason — all of it was a way to show Cuban that he cared about his players and wanted them to only have to worry about basketball. Besides, all that yelling from the stands just showed how much he loved his team.
But this year’s Mark Cuban is a little different. He’s been quiet, for the most part, even when his team swept Phil Jackson out of the playoffs. Other than saying he wishes Phil wouldn’t retire, he’s kept his mouth shut, which is pretty unusual. And if you ask Dirk Nowitzki, pretty great. From the Star-Telegram:
“Yeah, it should be about the players and not the owner,” Nowitzki said. “We played a great series. We fought hard and battled. That was fun. I haven’t seen Mark since then, and that’s probably a good thing.” [...]
“He is still fired up,” Nowitzki said. “He is still such a huge fan. He is still in it with his heart. He is positive. Sometimes he yells. He picks his spots better.
“He is not as hands-on as he once was. He is still hands-on for an owner but not as hands-on as he used to be.”
Nowitzki said Cuban’s family life probably has a lot do with his change since he became a father.
“Family does that to you,” Nowitzki said. “He is not at every practice anymore. He used to be at all the practices. He used to go on every road trip. He is not on every trip anymore. The kids and the family have definitely slowed him down a little bit.”
This is probably good. Not only does less Mark Cuban make the Mavericks a thousand times more likable, it also probably helps that referees don’t have a guy affiliated with the team screaming at them for two-and-a-half hours each night. It’s one thing when fans do it, but refs will hold it against the Mavs when it’s Mark Cuban doing the yelling. At least that’s what he’ll tell you.
It’s also kind of funny that Dirk says “it’s a good thing” that he hasn’t seen Cuban since the Lakers series. He sounds like a son who’s embarrassed that his dad is cursing at an ump from the stands during his Little League game. “Dad, will you be quiet, PLEASE? Ugh. You always do this.” All the twist cones dipped in candy crunch in the world can’t ease that pain.
And he’s thrilled about it. Just look at him — beaming.
Jokes aside, totally a deserving win, even if there were about six other coaches who also would have been good choices. A 21-win improvement over last season, the best defense in the league and the No. 1 overall seed in this year’s playoffs is a pretty chill résumé.
Congratulations to Tom Thibodeau, who will now be fired within three years. That’s just how this thing works. Oh well, at least then he’ll have some free time to not do anything besides think about basketball.
Colm Heaney is a Belfastian basketball blogger for the UK’s Daily Mirror. Over the next few days he’ll be covering the first-ever regular season NBA games in London as the Raptors and Nets slug it out and talk trash in Cockney accents, guvna.
The NBA has been kicking the tires (or tyres if you want to really get in the mood) on European expansion for ages, but with the Nets and Raptors in London for a couple of days, the idea seems more relevant than ever.
Addressing the subject late last year, Commissioner David Stern said:
“I think we’ll have a division and I think the Heat will play in Boston one night and then they’ll go to Paris and spend a couple days on the Champs-Elysses shopping and relaxing. And then they’ll go and play five teams. And when they finish that, they’ll play them again. Then they’ll come home, having had a nice trip to Europe and they’ll be finished with their European obligations.”
Champs-Elysses? Please. They’ll probably just end up playing beer pong with the other Yanks in their hostel like every other American abroad. But that issue aside, there are several questions that need to be answered.
Join Holly MacKenzie and me from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET as we discuss all the happenings of the 2011 NBA trade deadline day. Unconfirmed rumors report that there may be punch and pie.
Posted by J.E. Skeets under Uncategorized on Feb 20, 2011
Hooped Up is right: First you get millions, then an NBA All-Star selection, followed by a bangin’ DJ Steve Porter remix made up of all of your highlights and interview sound bytes.
Blake Griffin wins.