Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Avery Johnson Fired

Hallelujah. The tyrant is gone.

You can't go 3-12 in the post season and expect to keep your job. It doesn't matter what your regular season record has been. It's all about the post season and championships. And unfortunately for everyone involved, we don't have one.

Avery will coach again, probably in Chicago. But not with this team.

Starting From Scratch

How to fix the Mavs? Fire Avery and I would like them to trade everyone with value, including Dirk. I don't think it would be fair for Dirk to go through another building phase and I would like him to get a championship. But that's highly unlikely. So, here's where I stand. The only people I value on this roster are Dirk and Bass. Acceptable players to return would be Terry and Wright.

The players leaving the team are Malik Allen, Devean George, Eddie Jones, Juwan Howard, Tyronn Lue, Jamaal Magloire and Antoine Wright. The only one worth keeping would be Antoine Wright. Purely for athleticism and defense.

The players I want are Shawn Marion, Mickael Pietrus, Josh Childress, Beno Udrih, Chris Duhon, Matt Barnes, DeSagana Diop, Chris Andersen, Jannero Pargo and Kurt Thomas.

As for coaches I would love to see here, Jeff Van Gundy is it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

2008 NHL Playoffs: Stars vs Sharks (Game 3 Postgame)

The Sharks played like a team down 2-0. Taking an early lead on a Zubov turnover. Everything was pointing toward a vital Game 3 win. But the Stars answered the challenge again. 

Methodically wearing the Sharks down, tying the game on a 5-3 power play, the Sharks fought for their lives to get the game into OT. Unable to sustain any consistent scoring threat, the Sharks barely fought off a furious attack from the Stars and forced the game into OT.  

Nabokov tried to keep the Sharks in the series. He denied several scoring opportunities by Loui Ericksson. But the Stars finally punched it through, once again making sure to close out games when they have the chance. Norstrom scored from the top of the left circle with 4:37 elapsed into OT. 

The Stars now have a deathgrip on the series with a 3-0 lead and four chances to advance to the West Finals. 

2008 NBA Playoffs: Mavericks vs Hornets (Game 5 Postgame - Series Analysis - Season Analysis)

The Hornets close out the Mavericks like the experienced team Dallas is supposed to be. Chris Paul, David West, Tyson Chandler and Jannero Pargo were magnificent. And the better team won. No doubt about it.

In the fourth, Dallas made a furious push as they desperately searched for a way back into the game and series. They were absolutely magnificent as they scored on 9 straight possessions. The Hornets matched it. As Dallas could not stop New Orleans. Whether it was West, Paul or Pargo, shot after clutch shot, the Hornets would not be denied their first ever 7 game series win. Within three points, Devean George plays Paul perfectly forcing him into a tough shot and Chandler comes up with the offensive rebound to put Dallas away for good.

This series, this season ended in February. Devean George tried to save it, but Avery would not be denied.  Insisting Kidd was the missing link, he trades Dallas' fastest player and our best defensive center on the team. The problem with the trade, which I adamantly objected, is losing Devin. My thoughts at the time were that Kidd would not be able to defend the point guards in the West. Facing Tony Parker, Steve Nash, Deron Williams, Rafer Alston and obviously Chris Paul was not something I felt Kidd could handle. Also, the loss of Diop was almost as bad. He's our best shot blocker, hands down. A faster, more athletic big man to face David West, Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, Pau Gasol and hopefully Kevin Garnett.

But it wasn't just that move, it's been a long series of decisions by Donnie to continually gain "experience". Losing players like Marquis Daniels, Josh Powell and DJ Mbenga was a series of mistakes in my opinion. Young energetic players that help you on the board and defensively.

Instead of being our savior, acquiring Kidd might be the move to push Dallas toward the rebuilding period. 

Sunday, April 27, 2008

2008 NBA Playoffs: Mavericks vs Hornets (Game 4 Postgame)

Let the rebuilding begin. The Hornets showed up and Byron Scott outcoached Avery Johnson again. The halftime adjustment, an in-game adjustment, caused havoc on the defense of the Mavericks and Avery never made a proper adjustment. Byron decided to take advantage of the West vs Dampier matchup and run his offense through West instead of Paul. It paid it's dividends immediately. 

West went on to carry the Hornets to a double digit lead going into the fourth quarter. Why, if one player is continually beating you, does Avery continue with the same defensive plan until his team is down by double digits? Why not try a 2-3 zone and force West to hit a 20 foot shot instead of a 7-12 footer? 

Another problem I have is the fact that Avery continually called Stackhouse's number at the beginning of the fourth quarter. I believe he tried Stack out three or four straight possessions. This put the Mavericks down 15-16 pts at the end of that experiment. What exactly has Stackhouse done to inspire such confidence from his coach? In the second quarter, Avery decided to try out Barea in a series defining fourth game. Barea promptly causes a shot clock violation. And the Hornets erased it's deficit in short order and takes the lead before Avery decides that strategy might not be working. 

Did you know that Josh Howard could have been traded for Pau Gasol? How is that mistake looking right now? Wasn't Kidd supposed to help close games? Diop on West? Diop on Chandler? Nope, we had to settle for Howard and Kidd in Dallas.  4-22, combined. Thanks for showing up to the game guys. 

What I don't understand at this point? How do teams lose to the Mavericks? All you have to do is make an in game adjustment and your team will take the lead before Avery even tries to adjust. And the adjustment he makes most likely isn't the right move. 

2008 NHL Playoffs: Stars vs. Sharks (Game 3 Postgame)

The Sharks brought a lot of pressure in the first period and forced the Stars into a lot of early penalties resulting in an early hole. The Stars responded, twice, to the Sharks attempts to build some momentum in this series. The Sharks posted 31 shots on goal and Turco stopped all but two shots. One goal resulting from questionable judgement by Turco. But the Stars continued their dominance on the Sharks' home ice. 

Brad Richards converted a turnover into an unassisted goal and you can feel the air suck out of the arena. When a power play goal by Modano was converted, off an absolutely gorgeous pass from Zubov, you can almost feel the Sharks' doubts amplify. 

The Stars are playing wonderful hockey right now and have taken a commanding 2-0 lead over the favored Sharks. Every night, it seems like someone new is stepping up. Not counting on one scorer puts a tremendous amount of pressure on opposing teams and Turco is playing brilliantly in net this post season. Hopefully, we can continue to improve on our ice.

2008 NFL Draft: Rounds 3-7

After a slew of trades, moving up and down, Dallas ended up with:

Round 4, Pick 122: Tashard Choice, RB - With only two RB's on the books, Marion Barber and newly acquired Felix Jones, I felt like this was a quality pick. He has a well rounded game and runs particularly well between the tackles. Considered a Heisman candidate earlier in the year, he'll give Dallas more depth at the position and the best rushing attack since Emmitt's glory years.

Round 5, Pick 143: Orlando Scandrick, CB - Although I really liked Tyvon Branch, who was essentially traded to Oakland, I applaud the pickup of this kid from Boise St.  He ran a 4.3 40 and he has enormous potential. With this addition, Dallas has added Pacman Jones, Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick. A position of weakness may have turned into a position of strength.

Round 6, Pick 167: Eric Walden, DE - The Sun Belt's top pass rush threat. He's being compared to Junior Glymph. I would have preferred a flyer on Tommy Blake from TCU. I understand that Mr. Blake has a mental condition to contend with but I don't see Eric Walden making this squad either. 

The Cowboys have definitely upgraded two positions that they needed to. But they neglected to fill needs at WR and OT. With Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn and Flozell Adams rapidly approaching retirement, an heir apparent at each position would have been an incredible advantage to maintain competitiveness

Grade: A

Saturday, April 26, 2008

2008 NFL Draft: Rounds 1 & 2

Round One, Pick 22: Felix Jones, RB - I'm not overly surprised given the Jerry Jones' connection but a little shocked given the fact that Rashard Mendenhall was sitting at that position as well as Mike Jenkins. I felt that picking Mike Jenkins at 22 would give you an option later on at 28 to pick the best of the remaining RB's. With that said, it's an upgrade over Julius Jones but still not an every down back. Barber and Felix will be joined together for a long time. But they got the thunder and lightning they were after. With all of that said, not picking Mendenhall was a mistake. Not as big as passing on Stephen Jackson, but still a mistake.

Round One, Pick 28: Mike Jenkins, CB - Although I am disappointed about Cromartie being taken, I realize that it was a bit unrealistic to get Dominique. Having said that, it was rumored that Mike Jenkins was the first corner back on the Cowboys' board. He has the tools necessary to become a very good corner in this league and the versatility to move to safety. 

Round Two, Pick 61: Martellus Bennett, TE - He's being compared to Antonio Gates. Obviously he's not at that level, at least now, but he has the ability to "box" out defenders and split out. 

Grade: B

2008 NHL Playoffs: Stars vs Sharks (Game One)

Where did this team come from? I don't recognize them at all. Scoring crucial goals whenever they need them.  Even when Turco gives up a tying goal near the end of regulation, the rest of the team steps up and picks up the slack. Morrow scored 4:32 into the OT period to lift the Stars to their first win in the series. 

We now have a 1-0 lead and continue to make a home away from home. 

Friday, April 25, 2008

2008 NFL Draft: Dolphins Trade


From Miami:
2008 4th Round Pick
To Miami:
Akin Ayodele and Anthony Fasano

Well, Bill loves Anthony Fasano. I don't mind losing Akin Ayodele with the acquisition of Zach Thomas. But Anthony's a former 2nd round pick. For one 4th rounder. How about a 3rd rounder Bill? You owe us at least that much. 

Grade: C+

2008 NBA Playoffs: Mavericks vs Hornets (Game 3 Postgame)

32 Points, 19 Rebounds, 6 Assists and 2 Blocks. Wow. Dirk played like an MVP tonight. He played well in all facets of the game. Playing Chandler very well and ultimately allowing only one alley-oop dunk. Although some of that was due to 2 early fouls on Chandler. 

With that said, I loved what they did on defense. Putting Terry on Paul and running under screens was a very good move. Terry played his best game on defense as a Maverick. And thank you so much for not continually trapping and pressing a natural born passer. Why Avery felt trapping a passer was a good move is beyond me? They shot 37.9% from the field. And Paul was 4-18 from the field. 

I'm a little concerned with the Hornets hanging tough despite Paul, West and Stojakovic struggling. I doubt Pargo's going to score 30 every night. Although he would be the one Hornet I would leave given the choice. 

Overall, I was impressed. Everyone came out with high intensity and they actually looked like the Mavs. J. Ho is still a little off. Hopefully, he'll start rolling soon.

Pacman's Coming To Dallas

First, the details of the trade.
The Titans receive our 4th Round pick tomorrow and a conditional 2009 6th Round pick.
If Pacman is not reinstated, the Cowboys will receive the Titans' 2009 4th Round pick.

Now, I don't know about you. But the fact that we can get the pick back makes this deal a no brainer for me. It's almost a no risk, high reward proposition. No one denies his talent, the doubt lies in whether or not he'll play. Even with a year layoff, if he hits the field as Pacman, he'll make this defense an elite unit.

It will allow the Cowboys to move Anthony Henry to the free safety position, shifting Ken Hamlin to his natural position at strong. The acquisition of Pacman doesn't solve all of our secondary issues (if he plays) but it gets us closer. Especially if it means the removal of Roy Williams from the field. The Boys would still need to acquire another CB in the draft tomorrow.

Grade: A

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Mourning After

Game 2 of Mavs vs Hornets is in the books.

Chris Paul looks like the MVP. Avery Johnson doesn't look like he can coach. Dirk and Bass seemed like the only two Mavericks who cared they were getting thumped. And the Mavs defense got worse from Nelly's run and gun team.

So, why did they get rid of Diop, Powell, Daniels, Mbenga and Harris? Take a long look at that list. What does every person on that list have in common. Each player brings youth, quickness, speed and energy to their team. Now take a look at the current roster, Kidd, Terry, Stackhouse, Jo. Howard, Nowitzki, Dampier, Jones, Bass, George, Ju. Howard, Lue, Magloire, Wright & Barea. Besides, J Ho, Bass and Wright. This is what the team is missing, youth and energy.

Does everyone have to be old and slow in order to get on the floor Avery? I'm guessing it was you who escorted Diop, Powell, Daniels, Mbenga and Harris to the door.

Regardless, going 2-10 in the last 12 playoff games is proof enough for me. It's time to break this team apart and start over. Starting with Avery Johnson.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

2008 NBA Playoffs: Dallas Mavericks vs New Orleans Hornets (Game 2 Postgame)

Well, there's still time on the clock, but before I completely lose my cool, I'll let you know what I thought...

63%!!!! Are you kidding me? In a playoff game. I said it earlier and I'll scream it now. DO NOT double Chris Paul!! No one on the current roster can guard him or effectively double him. It won't work, he'll get everyone and anyone an open shot if you double him. I'd rather make him shoot every shot for the rest of the series and make him beat me by shooting jump shots. Stay off of him and make him shoot. He's the worst shooter on the team. Would you rather Paul, Peterson, Peja or West shoot??

Offensively, I liked what we did. Everyone pretty much drove to the basket. We're getting free throw attempts. We're scoring enough points. The problem is on the other side of the ball.

With that said, the series is over. Thank you, good night. This team is simply not good enough. We traded away the one player that could have made a difference. Yeah, I'm going there again, Devin Harris. TNT put up some stats and against Devin, Paul averaged 7 less points, 10% drop in FG%, 3 fewer assists and 1 less steal. Just to let you know.

So, Donnie and Mark, do me a favor and trade Dirk to Phoenix. Please. I'm sick of getting my heart ripped out of my chest.

PS the game's over and they're still over 60%

2008 NHL Playoffs: Dallas Stars vs ??

Awaiting our second round playoff foe. Needless to say, it's been a long time since we've had this feeling. In my opinion, this season is already a huge success. Obviously I would love for us to go further but regardless, huge success.

What can I say that hasn't been beaten to death? I love how Modano is no longer the primary goal scorer. All of the defensemen have played out of their mind and exceedingly well, especially Stephane Robidas. And Marty Turco definitely stepped up. In my opinion, he stepped up last year but didn't get any help. This year, obviously, he got some help.

Go Stars!!

NFL Draft 2008: Dallas Cowboys - My Wish List

This a list of players I would like in the corresponding round. Given needs and value.

1st Round-
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie - CB (Tennessee State)
Leodis McKelvin - CB (Troy)
Mike Jenkins - CB (S. Florida)
Devin Thomas - WR (Michigan State)
Rashard Mendenhall - RB (Illinois)
Jonathan Stewart - RB (Oregon)
Ryan Clady - OT (Boise State)
Darren McFadden - RB (Arkansas)

2nd Round-
Felix Jones - RB (Arkansas)
Aqib Talib - CB (Kansas)
James Hardy - WR (Indiana)
Joe Flacco - QB (Delaware)
Jordy Nelson - WR (Kansas State)
Chris Johnson - RB (East Carolina)
Kenny Phillips - S (Miami)
Brandon Flowers - CB (Virginia Tech)
Desean Jackson - WR (California)
Jeff Otah - OT (Pittsburgh)

3rd Round-
Andre Woodson - QB (Kentucky)
Jamaal Charles - RB (Texas)
Early Doucet - WR (LSU)
Gosder Cherilus - OT (Boston College)
Sam Baker - OT (USC)
John Greco - OG (Virginia)
Jerod Mayo - ILB (Tennessee)
Tyvon Branch - S (Connecticut)
Quintin Demps - S (UTEP)
Josh Barrett - S (Arizona State)
Tracy Porter - CB (Indiana)
Charles Godfrey - CB (Iowa)
Terrell Thomas - CB (USC)

4th Round-
Kevin Smith - RB (Central Florida)
Ray Rice - RB (Rutgers)
Justin Forsett - RB (California)
John David Booty - QB (USC)
Alex Brink - QB (Washington State)
Kevin O'Connell - QB (San Diego State)
Malcolm Kelly - WR (Oklahoma)
Mario Manningham - WR (Michigan)
Earl Bennett - WR (Vanderbilt)
Andre Caldwell - WR (Florida)
Tony Hills - OT (Texas)
Brandon Keith - OT (Northern Iowa)
Eric Young - OG (Tennessee)
Chris Ellis - DE (Virginia Tech)
Jonathan Goff - ILB (Vanderbilt)
Jameel McClain - ILB (Syracuse)
Chevis Jackson - CB (LSU)
Zackary Bowman - CB (Nebraska)
Marcus Griffin - S (Texas)
Nehemiah Warrick - S (Michigan State)
Brandon Sumrall - S (Southern Miss)

5th Round-
Josh Johnson - QB (San Diego)
Dennis Dixon - QB (Oregon)
Ryan Torain - RB (Arizona State)
Chauncey Washington (USC)
DJ Hall - WR (Alabama)
Adarius Bowman - WR (Oklahoma State)
Shawn Murphy - OG (Utah State)
Chad Rinehart - OG (Northern Iowa)
Tommy Blake - DE (TCU)
Dennis Keyes - S (UCLA)

That's the extent of my knowledge so I'm stopping with the 5th round.

Mavericks vs New Orleans (Game 2 Preview) Part Two

Ah, the side of the ball no one in Dallas was supposed to worry about. Stopping the Hornets comes down to two players. CP3 and Tyson Chandler. David West is nice and Peja is a dead eye shooter but the two players that pump up this team are CP3 and Chandler. Every time Chandler gets an offensive rebound and dunks or CP3 makes an alley-oop pass, the team starts feeling good about itself. So....

Box out Chandler. Sounds simple and someone like Diop or even Mbenga would work wonders but my suggestion is to put Malik Allen on him. Juwan Howard and Dampier are too slow. Brandon Bass doesn't have the size. Every time we've actually done a good job containing CP3 and highly contest a Peja or West shot, Chandler rolls in and gets an offensive rebound and possibly flushes it home. It's extremely deflating and the Hornets know it.

Unlike everyone else, I don't think you should double or press CP3. He's going to beat anyone Dallas throws at him. The best thing Dallas can do is play him like opposing teams play Kidd. Play off him and dare him to make shots from outside. You can use the extra space to clog up Chandler or sag toward Peja. CP3 wants to pass the ball. He's more than capable of hitting the shot but eventually he'll press to get the ball to West, Peja or Chandler.

There you go, those are my adjustments for Game Two.

2008 NBA Playoffs: Mavericks vs New Orleans (Game 2 Preview)

So, we're down 1-0. What can we do to change our fortunes in Game 2? I've listened to people like Jon Barry saying we've played our best basketball and we have no shot at winning this series now. I would like to make a few suggestions on offense and defense that I think will help us out.

First, Offense-
For those of you who know me, I've reluctantly joined the masses calling for a coaching change. And I've done so with great enthusiasm. One of the main reasons is the overuse of the isolation and screen plays that Avery employs. I'm under the opinion that our roster has enough talent to carry this team to 50+ wins just by their talent alone. Which leads to the unfortunate conclusion that the only thing to recommend is to run more and to drive to the basket more.

You hear Avery, after every loss, telling us that we didn't go toward the hole enough or we didn't run enough during that particular game. The offense he wants to run, ISN'T a drive to the hole offense. His isolation plays and screen and pops (not even rolls) are run for a jump shot. At least with Kidd running point, because every one guarding Kidd drops down toward the paint. Harris was far more vital to the success of this team than even i realized.

Next, his substitutions. Everyone knows that Juwan Howard, Devean George and Eddie Jones don't have anything left in the tank!! Donnie actually got this team decent role players in Malik Allen and Antoine Wright. Two players that give this team exactly what it needs. Rebounding and slashing.

So, there are things you can change to make our offense more efficient, but it's not going to be done.