Okay, so my Saturday night completely sucked. I went to my friend's restaurant/sports bar in Half Moon Bay (I went home to the Bay Area for Thanksgiving) to watch the Notre Dame/USC game and the Irish got creamed. But I was expecting that, so it was okay. What wasn't cool was the poker tournament we held afterward. It was ten people, with a $20 buy in for 100 chips, and multiple $20 re-buys and a $20 add on after the fourth level. I never needed either of those, because I played well enough (and was lucky enough) to have accumulated 600 chips after all the re-buys and add-ons had been completed, and there was like $540 in the prize box. It was to be split up three ways, 60-30-10, so all I had to do was finish in the top three to make a profit.
I wasn't participating in too many pots for a while and there were plenty of big swings around the table, and before too long there were only four of us left, and I had the 2nd biggest stack. I got into a pot with K-8 Clubs, it was me and the guy with the 3rd biggest stack. The flop comes 10 Clubs, 6 Clubs, J Diamonds. I bet and the guy called. The turn was the 7 of Clubs. I made a King-high Flush. The guy bet, I raised, he went all in, and I called. I had maybe 250 chips more than him, but at this stage of the game, that really wouldn't be much to compete with if I had lost. But there is no way I could lose with a King high flush, right?
Wrong. On the river came yet another club, the 3, and the other guy pulled the ace of clubs to steal the monster pot. I was eliminated shortly after and out of the money. At least I only put 20 bucks into it...
Anyway, to top off the evening, I ran out of gas as I was driving home. Who loans you a car without telling you that it needs gas? I didn't even think to check. My car has this big yellow light that is impossible to miss to warn you when you're low, this piece of crap Caddy just had some lame LCD display in the corner that said "LO." So I was stranded past midnight, freezing my ass off in shorts (I'm so used to San Diego weather you see) t on the middle dark ass road with only my hazard lights to prevent somebody from plowing into me. Eventually the cops came by and used their push bumpers to steer the car over to the side of the road where it'd be less likely to get rammed into, but it still took another half hour for my friend to show up with a gas can. I got home by 1:15. And then the computer didn't work, so I couldn't write this. Until now.
And Friday wasn't too fun either...
What is it about the Mavericks transforms Pop, an otherwise top-3 NBA coach, into a guy not intellectually sufficient enough to be a contestant on Deal or No Deal? I don't know about the rest of y'all, but the epidemic clenching of Coach Wino Zitface's buttocks when going up against Emperor Commodus and that squeaky-voiced Judas is getting pretty damn tiresome for me.
I mean, how many mistakes can one person make in a 48 minute basketball game?
Why play Bruce Bowen for 38 minutes when The Big Bug hardly played and was largely a non-factor when he was in there? There's really nobody else on the Mavs for Bruce to guard. Either play him only when Howard's out there or stick him on the bench, because whenever he's in there, Dirk gets to take a break on defense.
Where was Francisco Elson? Did he not do an excellent job on Dirk in the opener? How come he only got six minutes of run, all in the first half? I know Oberto played real well, but why give 16 minutes to a useless Robert Horry? I know that even without scoring he's been contributing on the boards, on defense, and passing well of late, but Dallas is a terrible match-up for him because he has nobody to guard. And more importantly, they're familiar enough with us to just leave him as the open guy until he proves they shouldn't.
Why put Beno back in the doghouse? Pop has absolutely no patience with him. Yes, he played poorly and gave up back-to-back lay-ups, and yes Vaughn is probably our best defensive option at the point, but he cannot lead an NBA offense at this stage of his career, and really never could. I'm not trying to justify Beno's play, but if you're going to bench somebody for being awful, then why do Finley and Horry continue to get minutes night after night? Finley in particular takes less open shots than anyone on the team.
Why only 24 minutes for Brent Barry? He was our best player under 6-10 on this evening. It wasn't even close.
Why tease the fans with Gino's return to the bench? That was just cruel. Either play him or keep him in the locker room. At least have him return in street clothes or something. Fucking annoying.
Seriously, what was with that line-up to start the 4th quarter? Vaughn-Finley-Bowen-Horry-Oberto? Who was supposed to score? The past few seasons Pop never played a meaningful second without at least one our big three on the floor unless one of them was injured. This year for some reason there have been plenty of times we've had all three chilling on the bench at the same time. That might work with Beno - a passer - and Brent - a shooter - out there, but without them, it's a recipe for disaster, as we saw.
What I'm curious about, besides the extent of Manu's injury, is how long Pop will make Beno wear the dunce cap. Was it a one game deal or will we subjected to more games of Vaughn handicapping our 2nd unit? Just the other day coach said that the trio of Vaughn, Williams, and Butler would be rotating as the dressed 12th man for the foreseeable future. Are those plans scrapped now? Or is going to keep that rotation going with whoever dresses being that day's backup point? Because I'm sorry, I just don't think Jackie Butler can handle full court pressure any better than Beno can.
And when will his patience run out with Horry and Fin? How long before Barry is made the sixth man permanently and Bonner gets RoHo's minutes?
A couple other observations...
Our backcourt sucked. Even before Manu left the game injured, he was having a miserable night with five turnovers in only 24 minutes. He telegraphed a couple of passes and had a gruesome traveling violation. Also he was only 3 of 9 shooting, but to be fair, I thought the Mavs could have been whistled for fouls on a couple of his drives. Tony was just as awful, with five turnovers of his own. The Mavs really seem to have his number and it's getting old.
This game would have been a blowout if Devin Harris didn't singlehandedly try to keep us in it. The guy is such a joke. I can't believe Avery lets him handle the ball so much. When he's not driving to the basket against Nick Van Exel, he's pretty useless.
Their two centers combined for 47 minutes, 13 points, 17 rebounds, and didn't miss a shot or a free throw between them. Considering that mainly this is Tim's guy, this is inexcusable. We've got to rebound better against these guys.
Your 3 Stars (such as they were)
3. Tim Duncan - The 29 points looks impressive, but he had a down night defensively and on the boards, and even with the three big free throws at the end, he shot only 60% (9 of 15) from the line.
2. Brent Barry - Actually made three two-point shots in this game. I don't think he's had three the whole year until then. Most importantly he played smart and poised and didn't try to do too much, unlike most everyone else who suited up for us.
1. Fabricio Oberto - Does this guy like being on ESPN or what? 14 and 11 in 35 minutes, on 6-of-8 shooting. Had a nice dunk on Dirk's grill and even stuck his two freebies. He's really surprised me so far this year. He's been a godsend really. Still, I think Elson needs to play more. At Horry's expense, not Fab-Os.
Record: 10-3 Streak: L-1
Up Next: @ Seattle Sonics
Another challenge for our undefeated road record, because for some reason this building has always given us fits. We should be able to take these guys as long as Rashard Lewis doesn't go off, but I have no idea if Manu will play or not. If he's out then Finley will have to step up, or I don't like our chances. All I know is The Sickness better play on Monday at Oakland because I paid a lot of money for my ticket.