Nuggets/Mavericks Game 4 Recap
Team chemistry reigns supreme
Neutron, proton, mass effect, lyrical oxidation, yo irrelevant
Mass spectrograph, your electron volt, atomic energy erupting
As I get all open on betacron, gamma rays thermo cracking
Cyclotron and any and every mic
You’re on trans iridium, if you’re always uranium
Molecules, spontaneous combustion, pow
When the playoffs get narrowed down to eight teams as they do in the semifinals, it’s usually a safe bet that most of the teams still slugging it out have solid chemistry. Yes, there are the top dogs, the superstars who command the basketball more than their teammates might, but there is still that cohesiveness on the floor.
In playing another exhilarating game that came down to the wire (minus the controversy this time) Dallas and Denver exhibited this unequivocal balance that makes the playoffs so damn fun to watch. The Mavs once again were able to prevent the Nuggets from pulling away in the fourth quarter and this time made sure they were completely in the drivers seat when it came down to crunch time. Collectively, the two teams provided just the right balance of elements to make for another must see game.
El numero uno on the periodic table, hydrogen is one of two elements that makes up water and is responsible for 75 percent of the universe’s elemental mass. Long story short: without hydrogen we’re screwed. Enter Carmelo Anthony and Dirk Nowtizki. Both went for 40+ points and 10+ boards. Both were ridiculously efficient from the field and from the line. And both seemed to know that in this round they were the nucleus, everyone else was just an orbiting electron. ‘Melo got into the lane, he hit the offensive glass and routinely made defenders look silly by pulling up and draining a bevy of mid-range jumpers. Dirk was simply in one of his classic zones; the one where he looks like he’s playing a game of H-O-R-S-E with himself. There were the pull up jumpers in transition, the fall away shots that are released before he’s facing the basket, he even through in an up and under move on Anthony that could possibly be described as nifty. All of these shots had one thing in common though, Dirk’s signature snap of the shooting hand that left even the most hardened of Dallas supporters knowing there would be nothing by nylon. These two put the game on their shoulders and took off in a flurry of drained jumpers that left both men scorching the nets to the tune of over 50 percent from the floor. Dirk in particular really new how to pick his spots, after posting a measly 3.7 scoring average in the fourth quarter during the previous three games of the series, the Mavs big man pumped in 19 during the final twelve minutes of play.
Due to its lone valence electron Potassium is one of the most reactive elements in existence. Translation: it likes to get involved with everything. It is also necessary for the function of all cells, plant or animal, without they die. Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups proved once again that they like to be involved with whatever aspect of the game they can get themselves thrust into, while being immensely responsible for the survival of their teams offense. Kidd was ever so quietly within striking distance of a triple-double, needing just a few more assists; really is it any surprise when he has games like this even at his age? Perhaps the bigger surprise was on the defensive end where his lateral quickness certainly isn’t what it used to be, but it didn’t prevent him from swiping three steals. Billups was certainly more outspoken with his 24 points and 7 dimes, and proved to be a handful down the stretch. Kidd for all of his defensive effort saw Mr. Big Shot light him up for five straight points in the closing minutes, first getting burned off the dribble, and then watching Billups drain a triple when he opted to sag off him a bit. Neither team is within striking distance of a win without these two facilitators on the floor in this game.
The most unpredictable and unstable of the first 103 elements, Francium is highly radioactive. Enter Josh Howard, who at this point has proven himself to be the unpredictable wild card that the Mavericks so desperately need to continue playing well. His bum ankles are killing him. Every time he plants on his way to the basket the look of pain on his face makes even people watching at home cringe and squirm in their chairs. Still, there was Howard going for 21 and 11, giving Dallas a huge boost at various points throughout the game. Whereas he was certainly an x-factor in the San Antonio series with his actual production, in the Denver series Howard may be even more valuable as a psychological motivator for his team. The Mavs got solid contributions from Brandon Bass and J.J. Barea, enough to suggest that they could give even more in game five. It isn’t to say that Dallas doesn’t need Howard to produce like he did in this contest, but with a bevy of weapons capable of doing damage, the Mavs forward could still make an impact with just a few well timed baskets.
Astatine is the heaviest of all the halogen elements and is only found in trace amounts in nature due to it’s relatively short half-life. It radioactively decays quickly, meaning it only exists in short dynamic bursts. The Nuggets J.R. Smith has an uncanny ability to make a 19-point performance seem like a 30-point explosion due to his knack for scoring not only in bunches, but in dramatic fashion. In game four George Karl must have to Smith he wasn’t allowed to shoot with more than five seconds left on the shot clock, as the sharpshooting guard knocked home at least a handful of long jumpers with time expiring. He streaky tendencies were most definitely in the up switch position in game four as he shot 7-10 from the floor, including 2-3 from beyond the arc. During the TNT broadcast of the game Steve Smith commented that no team in the playoffs currently can put together 10-12 points faster than the Nuggets; having Smith on the floor certainly doesn’t hurt.
Give the Mavs credit; after the controversy and heartache of game three they had every right to fold up and call it an off season. They didn’t; but they stumbled early. Dallas got smacked in the mouth right out of the starting gates down 34-23 after the first quarter; then Antoine Wright got smacked in the mouth by Carmelo Anthony. Ok, upon reviewing the replay it was more like finger grazing cheek, but here we are again speculating over how much contact actually occurred between these two.
Dallas worked their way back though, ever so methodically, before seizing control in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. They did everything necessary to win. The Mavs killed Denver on the glass to the tune of 50-36, they hit their free throws (36-43) and when the game was on the line Dirk stepped up and put on one of the best second half performances of the postseason.
Is this game going to suddenly change the course and eventual outcome of this series? No. Denver will win, one way or another, in game 5, 6 or 7. But the Mavericks saved face in game four, they didn’t take the easy way out after the controversey of the “no-call”. It would have been easy for them to throw their arms up in disgust and sulk off to a summer of vacationing in Europe (or whatever it is they do), but they brought the right mindset and right combination of elements to put a notch in the win column.