The Dallas Mavericks have had everything that could have gone wrong, go wrong. Down 0-2 to the Houston Rockets and down two of their five starters going into game 3 the Mavericks are playing with fool’s gold at this point.
There was hope that Chandler Parsons would be healthy for the playoffs and for about a quarter he was but his knee has just not been able to respond and is now out for the remainder of the playoffs. The Mavericks most versatile scorer has now been shut down with the hope that his injury can me fixed this off-season with the long-term bigger picture in mind.
The Mavericks needed playoff Rajon Rondo and all they got was a player who quit on them and showed every other team in the NBA just how much heart, or lack there of, he really has. What type of player quits on his team in the playoffs when they need him the most, well all you have to do is pull up a photo of the All-Star point guard, Rajon Rondo. Is it a lack of effort or simply a lack of athleticism post ACL surgery for Rondo, perhaps a little of both but now it doesn’t matter as Rick Carlisle stated in this afternoon’s press conference he doesn’t believe Rondo will play in a Mavs uniform again.
The Mavericks needed a supporting cast to take off the load of Dirk Nowitzki’s shoulders but that hasn’t happened either. Without Parsons and with Monta Ellis struggling offensively the burden goes back on the Big German’s shoulders to carry this Mavericks team to daunting playoff series victory over the Houston Rockets who are already up 2-0. It isn’t fair to ask Dirk to carry this team again because he’s simply not that player anymore but the truth is Dallas needs vintage Dirk if they have a shot to climb out of this dreadful 0-2 series deficit.
The Mavericks also needed Tyson Chandler to minimize the damage Dwight Howard could inflict in the interior and that hasn’t come to fruition either. Howard looks as healthy and as fresh as ever and is absolutely manhandling Tyson Chandler and the Dallas interior defense. Amar’e Stoudemire has struggled both offensively and defensively and failed to make any sort of significant impact on this series thus far. Nowitzki can be added to the list of problems for the Mavericks interior defense as they might as well be a man down when Nowitzki is out there defensively. When Josh Smith is dishing out nearly 10 assists on you that says something about your lack of defense.
Al-Farouq Aminu, like he has throughout the regular season, has been a diamond in the rough with his energy and versatility. J.J. Barea has stepped up in the absence of both Devin Harris and now Rajon Rondo and been the Mavs leading scorer off the bench. But think about that for a second, Aminu and Barea have been are best players in this series? No disrespect to either player but that alone speaks volume of the caliber of play these Mavs have been playing at these past two games.
Now does all this mean the Dallas Mavericks can’t pull up a fight for the remainder of this series? Of course not. If these Dallas Mavericks have any fight left in them then the time is now to show it, let this be a rallying cry and maybe Dallas can tie this series with the home crowd in front of them and head back to Houston with the series tied 2-2.
It’s all about pride at this point for the remaining players on this Mavericks active roster, no one wants to get embarrassed on national television. It’s also about players wanting to show other teams what they’re worth money wise as the Mavs have so many pending free agents, guys like Richard Jefferson, Charlie Villanueva, J.J. Barea, Tyson Chandler, Monta Ellis and Amar’e Stoudemire playing on one-year deals.
It’ll be hard for the Mavericks to climb out of this hole they’ve dug for themselves but maybe just maybe they can make this series interesting and worth watching again. Let’s hope Rick Carlisle has some magic left in that old clipboard of his.