May 2007 - Posts

I've been contacted by the NBA several times this week, although I'm sure they're simply a result of signing up on the site and sending them a complaint about the Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw suspensions

Regardless, I find it very interesting to hear from them.  The communications would seem to indicate that the league is taking a serious look at what fans think, how recent changes have affected their NBA viewing habits, etc.

Here's communication #1
An auto-response from, regarding the suspensions.  Ha, ha, ha... this is such a big issue, they setup an email account specifically for the suspension controversy - congrats to every writer, blogger, radio personality and fan for voicing outrage at the NBA's stupid rule.

The NBA's email basically sums up everything that they've talked about since the official announcement.  While they do admit that its unfortunate for the Suns to lose two players for a critical game, they stand strong on the aspect of the rule being enforced to the “T“.  The teams “were warned“ before the playoffs to make sure an incident like we saw never occured - unfortunately, Greg Popovich knew the Suns emotions would keep them from staying calm and used it to his benefit.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us about the suspensions of Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw of the Phoenix Suns. Although we probably will not change your mind, we wanted to share with you the rationale for the rule and the facts requiring our decision.

The Rule

Rule 12, Section VII(c) of the NBA Official Playing Rules says: "During an altercation, all players not participating in the game must remain in the immediate vicinity of their bench. Violators will be suspended, without pay, for a minimum of one game and fined up to $50,000."
  • The purpose of the rule is to prevent an on-court altercation from getting worse by making sure that players on the bench do not become involved -- whether or not they intend to. The fewer the number of players on the court, the less likely it is that an altercation will escalate and the more likely it is that the referees and coaches will be able to restore order without serious injury to players or to fans.
  • The rule doesn't look to the intent of the players leaving the bench and it does not distinguish among the curious, the peacemakers or those seeking to become involved in the altercation. The reason for this is simple -- the players on the court have no idea what a player's intent is when he leaves the bench and in the heat of the moment they may well assume the player is approaching as an aggressor. Thus, the language of the rule is firm: "violators will be suspended."
  • This is not a rule that can be enforced on a case-by-case basis -- if a player were able to leave the bench and later argue his case and avoid a suspension, there would be more players leaving the bench. And because the rule has been applied consistently over the years, bench-clearing incidents have been rare. Overall, the leaving-the-bench rule, together with others, has succeeded in dramatically reducing the amount of fighting in the league and all but eliminated serious injury during fights that do occur.
  • Teams and players are reminded of the rule before every regular season and again before the playoffs. Teams try to ensure that their players comply with the rule by both reminding them of it and assigning assistant coaches the job of keeping players in the vicinity of the bench when incidents do occur.

The Facts Requiring the Stoudemire and Diaw Suspensions

  • As soon as Steve Nash was fouled, both Amare and Boris ran toward the scene, each ending up over 20 feet away from the Suns' bench and near the altercation. Despite what many have said, they didn't "walk" a few feet from the bench and they didn't "wander" onto the court. In fact, they engaged in the very conduct the rule was meant to stop.
  • No one knew what the players' intentions were when they left the bench and they could very easily have gotten involved in the altercation had it spilled over in their direction. And although you could say they were having a "natural" reaction to seeing their teammate go down, assistant coaches are supposed to stop bench players from acting on those kinds of reactions, which was the case with the 17 other players (active and inactive) who were on the benches at the time and did not leave.

As with all NBA rules, this one can be changed by a vote of the Board of Governors. Rules are typically changed following a recommendation from the Competition Committee, which will discuss the leaving-the-bench rule (along with several other items) at its next meeting. At this time, we don’t have a better rule to recommend.

One thing everyone can agree on: this was an extremely unfortunate circumstance. We never want to suspend players for any game, much less a playoff game, but for all the reasons described above, the facts dictated the application of the rule.

Here's communication #2
The NBA sent me an invitation to join an NBA Fan Forum at, which is basically a system setup to survey NBA fans and get feedback for the league.  It's not so much a forum, as it is a panel for collecting data for the league - at least that's what it was for me.  Again, I have to assume its because I'm signed up as a member on their site - if everyone didn't get an invite, then I feel lucky (thx NBA) :P


Hey Cory,

Have you ever wanted to tell us exactly what you think of the latest trade, or Phoenix Suns's uniforms, or even the cost of a ticket?

Here's your chance! We have created the NBA Fan Forum just for you. Join this important and exclusive panel now!

If you are selected to be a part of the panel, we will periodically send you additional surveys in the future that will consist of shorter sets of questions on various topics about the game of basketball and sports in general.

Thanks for your support!

I only hope that these communications from the league are something that they're seriously looking at and not just a marketing ploy to make everyone think they care.  The past few weeks of playoff basketball has helped point out several flaws in the rules and its a shame that an unwarranted suspension is the reason they're looking into changing the rules.
Posted by chowell | with no comments
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Clearance Sale @ Save over 40%

NBA Draft Lottery Results

  1. Portland Trailblazers
  2. Seattle Supersonics
  3. Atlanta Hawks
  4. Memphis Grizzlies
  5. Boston Celtics
  6. Milwaukee Bucks
  7. Minnesota Timberwolves
  8. Charlotte Bobcats
  9. Chicago Bulls (from Knicks)
  10. Sacramento Kings
  11. Atlanta Hawks
  12. Philadelphia 76ers
  13. New Orleans Hornets
  14. Los Angeles Clippers

NBA Lottery Winners

The biggest winner is a no-brainer - Portland moves up to the #1 spot and gets a guaranteed stud to go w/ Brandon Roy (2006 ROY), Zach Randolph, and a couple other young guys up in the great Northwest.  Seattle is also a winner, because they're guaranteed one of the top players - Greg Oden or Kevin Durant.  Despite picking #3 (who else is there to pick?), the Hawks actually won, because they get to keep their pick instead of Phoenix getting it as part of the Joe Johnson trade.  The Bulls are also winners, since they made the 2nd round of the playoffs and still get a Top 10 pick (from the Eddy Curry trade).

NBA Lottery Losers

The teams that tanked... Boston and Memphis both dropped out of the Top 3 picks, but seriously, after the #2 pick, they lose no matter what.  There's no one else that can help these teams out immediately.

Posted by chowell | with no comments
San Antonio Spurs

While you do have to give credit to the Spurs for their dominance in Game 6, its EXTREMELY HARD not to think of how the series would've been if Amare & Diaw played in a home, Game 5.  As it was, the Suns only lost by 3 points.  If those two players were on their homecourt, I find it hard to believe they would've lost at home.  Winning Game 5 would've put the Suns up 3-2, but because of the suspensions, they were unable to get the win and went into Game 6 with a 3-2 deficit.

I don't need to explain San Antonio's dominance at their homecourt, but having won Game 5, the series was a foregone conclusion - Spurs advance.

Tim Duncan was extraordinary in Game 6 on offense and defense, so its fitting that he gets the Spurs into the Western Conference Finals.

The Suns were too little, too late, despite a late run that reduced a 20 pt lead to under 5 pts late in the basketball game. Steve Nash caught fire in the 4th quarter, but the defense couldn't hold the Spurs (at all) and they continued to hit their shots and late free throws to seal the game.

I really can't argue that San Antonio played a better game to advance, but its hard to argue that the cheap shot by Robert Horry and the subsequent suspensions of Amare & Boris cost the Suns a chance to win the series. 

I'm not bitter about the hit, but it affected the series - point blank.  The Suns failed again in their attempts to win a title, so I can't imagine they'll just “stay put“ with the current lineup.  Suns fans should expect the team to make a move or two in an attempt to compete in the ever increasingly difficult Western Conference.

What might happen?  Expect any of the following Suns to be on the trading block:

  • Shawn Marion
  • Boris Diaw
  • and every other player not named Nash, Stoudemire, Barbosa, Bell & Thomas.

Face it Suns fans... the team is ill-equiped to compete for a title if the league is going to allow the more physical teams to control the outcomes of the games.  We must get more physical or we face another season of hope & elimination next year.  Do you think the Timberwolves would accept a Diaw/Marion/Banks deal for Kevin Garnett?  That's a pretty good group to build on if you're Minnesota...

San Antonio Spurs

There's really not a lot to say about Game 5, other than the Suns put together an extremely valiant effort to win without Diaw and Stoudemire.  San Antonio's starting 5 was just too tough down the stretch and Phoenix couldn't hit a shot.

Leandro Barbosa and Raja Bell both struggled from the field, something that they really couldn't afford to do.  Steve Nash played well, as did Kurt Thomas and Shawn Marion, although he virtually disappeared after the 1st half.  The Spurs switched up their defensive assignments on Marion, putting a quicker SF/SG type player on him instead of Elson/Duncan.

The only thing the Suns can hope for is that the return of STAT and Diaw pushes them over the top in Game 6 (& 7).  They nearly did it without them, so there should be no reason they can't do it on Friday night.

Overall.... Great game to watch. Suns fans should be proud for their energy at the game.

I think I'm going to be sick....

The NBA has mistakenly applied 1-game suspensions to both Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw of the Phoenix Suns, for walking on court during last night's game against the San Antonio Spurs.

Speaking specifically about the Horry-Nash incident, Suns owner Robert Sarver told reporters in Phoenix on Tuesday night: "The way this worked out for us, it was, I believe, extremely unfair. . . . The team that plays dirty should not be rewarded and the team that plays fair should not be penalized."

Sarver added that the "first thing on my agenda" for next season will be making a push at ownership level to have the leave-the-bench rule re-examined. Sarver also said that NBA commissioner David Stern has canceled a schedule appearance in Phoenix for Wednesday night's Game 5.

Controversy ???
I can't get a full look at the Spurs bench when the altercation took place, but it didn't look like their players even flinched.  From what I could see, the Spurs coaches certainly had hands on players very quickly, as if they knew what was coming. 

Robert Horry was also inserted into the game just before the altercation, leading further to speculation that he may have been instructed to deliver a message to the Suns.  He may not have been told to do it as bad as he did, but I would pay a hefty amount of money to have a microphone in the Spurs huddle right before the incident.

"It was just an end-of-game foul and Steve fell down," Popovich said before the penalties were announced. "I didn't think it was such a big deal."

EXCUSE ME????  Not a big deal... Your 7th man off the bench takes a cheap shot at a 2-time MVP when the game is already out of your team's reach and it's not such a big deal?  This is exactly the kind of cheap, dirty, egotistical attitude that the Spurs players have displayed in the series, no doubt from Popovich's tutoring.


Eye for an Eye ???
Earlier in Game 4, Tim Duncan and Bruce Bowen both left the bench and entered the court during an “altercation“ between Elson and James Jones, who btw was just coming back down the court and didn't intentionally cause Elson to crash from the rim.

The Suns countered by saying that Duncan and Bruce Bowen were guilty of a similar leaving-the-bench offense in Game 4's first half when San Antonio's Francisco Elson fell on the Suns' James Jones after a dunk. That play was also reviewed, but Jackson -- while conceding that Duncan "should not have been on the playing court" -- said that the league determined there was "no cause for the suspension rule" to be applied because the Elson-Jones tangle was not deemed to be an altercation.

The NBA ruled that there is no cause to suspend Duncan, but the video show's the proof. If you're going to apply the bench-clearing rule to the Suns, you also have to apply it to the Spurs. 

Suspension for Leaving Bench, but Not for Deliberate Flagrant Fouls ???
Twice in the Suns-Spurs series, the NBA should've suspended a Spurs player for their “deliberate“ actions towards Suns players.

  1. Bruce Bowen intentionally kicks Amare Stoudemire's achilles as he attempts a dunk.  What other motivation could there be other than trying to injure the player?
  2. Bruce Bowen knees Steve Nash in the groin.  NBA later issues a flagrant foul and fine, but no suspension.

The Jazz and Warriors have had a physical series as well, but two specific incidents stand out:

  1. Jason Richardson fouls Mehmet Okur hard on his drive to the basket (after game is out of reach), causing Okur to land on his back.  No suspension.
  2. Baron Davis commits a flagrant on Derek Fisher, again after the game is out of reach, but no suspension is issued.

HOW ON EARTH COULD A RATIONAL PERSON DETERMINE THAT TWO PLAYERS LEAVING THEIR BENCH IN THE AID OF THEIR TOP PLAYER, SHOULD BE SUSPENDED, but the same person won't suspend 3 players (Bowen, Richardson & Davis) for their deliberate actions against the opposition.  File a petition against the league (ok, so it may not get to them) or email the NBA directly.

Nationwide Outcry
This isn't about me being a Suns fan or my opinions of the Spurs... This is about me being a life-long NBA fan who's enraged about the complete lack of common sense regarding this situation.

I'm certainly not the only blogger who's dissappointed with the league's decision.  Many well-known bloggers, TV analysts and others have declared the ruling a travesty.  Here's a few good reads:

San Antonio Spurs

The Suns just wouldn't let it happen in Game 4... no way they were going to lose another game and go down 3-1 in the series.  Withstanding the Spurs slow, methodical play for more than 3 quarters, Phoenix took over the last half of the 4th quarter en route to a hard fought 104-98 victory, and a 2-2 series tie.

Despite 8 turnovers from Steve Nash and a late body-check from Robert Horry (on Nash), the Suns withstood the physical play all game and pulled out the “W”.  They played with a lot of heart, grit and determination in what we can only hope is a sign of better things to come.  This game could possibly be “the hump“ they needed to get over to win a title.  Winning the game on the Spurs homecourt, playing the Spurs way... nothing could be sweeter.

The Body Check
Roberty Horry elbow checked Nash into the scorers table with under 30 seconds in the game.  Nash got up pretty quickly and both teams are lucky it didn't escalate into something more... god knows both teams hate each other at this point.

Steve Nash crashes against the scorers table, caused from Robert Horry's unnecessary body check - (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)   Suns' Raja Bell scuffles w/ Robert Horry after Nash goes down - (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

It's a shame that the Suns season could come down to a stupid-ass move from a player on the other team.  If any Suns player gets suspended for coming off the bench to protect Nash, there's a serious problem w/ this league. 

Already labeled a dirty team, the late check on Nash only adds to the animosity that most “non-Spurs” fans have towards the Spurs.  They play tough, but they play dirty.

Some new nicknames for the Spurs' players perhaps:
“Bruce Knee“ Bowen
Cheap Shot Bob
Robert “Cheap Shot“ Horry

There are rumors that both Boris Diaw and Amare Stoudemire left the bench to help Nash, but team officials are claiming Stoudemire was on his way to the scorers table to check into the game.  Again, for two players on the team that didn't even commit the foul, it would be a shame for Horry's actions to result in any Phoenix player missing the next basketball game.

The NBA should do the right thing in this situation and let both players play in Game 5.  They did not cross halfcourt, they did not run, they did not throw punches or otherwise heat up the situation.

The Suns got a great effort from everyone on the team, including some great defense by Kurt Thomas on not only Duncan, but also on Parker late in the game on a few screen & rolls.

Suns' Steve Nash drives against the Spurs Tony Parker - (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Amare Stoudemire made an accusation today that the San Antonio Spurs' Bruce Bowen is a dirty playerThere was an easy dunk attempt the other night where Amare barely made it up to the rim and almost looked injured as he turned and ran back down the court.

Watch Bruce Bown try to hurt Amare's leg - steps on achilles while Amare trys to dunk. This is all you need to see in order to HATE the crap out of Bruce Bowen.  The league should review the video and suspend Bowen.

The league announced today the All-NBA teams, and the Suns were fortunate to have not one, but two players achieve the dubious honor. 

It's no surprise to see MVP-candidate Steve Nash on the list, but I don't think a lot of people thought Amare Stoudemire would also make the list.

Joining Amare and Steve on the All-NBA First Team were:

  • Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers
  • Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
  • Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

The first team announcements aren't too shocking, except when you start to think of the players that weren't named to the top group.  Among them: Lebron James, who led with the most votes on last year's team, and Yao Ming, who was arguably the best center in the league this year.

How Voting Works
The voting panel of writers and broadcasters in the United States and Canada voted for the three teams by position, with points awarded on a 5-3-1 basis.

The All-NBA Second Team is:

  • Lebron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards
  • Tracy McGrady, Houston Rockets
  • Yao Ming, Houston Rockets
  • Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors

The All-NBA Third Team is:

  • Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
  • Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons
  • Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
  • Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

While the second and third teams didn't show it, the first team certainly did - and that's that the Western Conference is so much stronger than the East.  No players from the Eastern Conference made the first team, but they did get 6 of 15 overall. Playoffs 2007
San Antonio Spurs

It's not that often that the Phoenix Suns can attribute a victory to the defense they played on the opposition, but Tuesday night's Game 2 win over the San Antonio Spurs definitely goes to the defense.  Not only did the Suns put a stop to the red-hot Tony Parker, they also limited the Spurs' other offensive weapons; Ginobili, Finley and Bowen.

Final score: 101-81

Kurt Thomas got the starting nod, as D'Antoni wanted to focus on defending Tim Duncan one-on-one.  The Suns tried doubling Duncan in Game 1, but it wasn't very effective and the other players benefited from the wandering defensive man.  Playing one-on-one, Thomas was extremely effective in allowing the other Suns defenders to stay on their man and limit the good outside shots that were available.  It also allowed them to close the gaps more easily whenever Parker or Ginobili penetrated the lane.  Duncan had his strongest game in several years, finishing with 29 points and 11 rebounds, but no other Spurs player scored more than 13 points.

Steve Nash returned to the lineup, despite requiring stitches in his nose from a collision in the previous game.  His return was also key to the Suns victory - he finished w/ 20 pts and 16 assists.  Also back on track were Amare Stoudemire (27 pts & 9 rbs) and Raja Bell (18 pts), who both struggled in the Game 1 loss.

And last, but certainly not least, the defensive efforts of Shawn Marion should not be overlooked.  Assigned to guard Parker for most of the night, Marion was very effective in limiting open looks and preventing Tony from driving to the basket.  The box score certainly doesn't show how good of a game Marion played (5 pts & 10 rbs), but the coach told him not to worry about scoring and that's exactly what he did.

Full box score from Suns/Spurs Game 2

The Suns/Spurs will not play again until Saturday, which should allow everyone to rest up and be ready for a big showdown in San Antonio for Game 3.

Watch highlights of the Suns/Spurs game on 5/8/07

More Suns analysis around the blogosphere:
Phoenix Suns vs San Antonio Spurs - Game 2
Suns Rout Spurs, Even Series at 1-1

San Antonio Spurs

Not a bad start to what looks to be a great series - Suns vs Spurs - round 1 goes to San Antonio 111-106, but just barely.  Had Steve Nash not been removed from the game because of the excess blood, the Suns would've stood a much higher chance of winning the game.

The Suns' players all did pretty well - Nash led the way with 31 pts, and four other players scored in double-figures. Amare Stoudemire grabbed 18 rebounds (Tim Duncan had 16), so it looks like he's on pace for another big series.  Had Stoudemire shot better than 6-19, you can be assured that his numbers would've eclipsed Timmy's.  Amare also had 5 blocks (Duncan had 3).

Steve Nash failed to reach 10 assists in a game for the first time during the playoffs.  Assuming he can stay in the game w/ a sore nose for game 2, you can expect him to eclipse the mark again.

There's a lot of talk about how the officiating changed the game, but it's hard to argue that the Suns didn't get any calls.  Tony Parker was fouled numerous times when we was driving to the basket, but nothing was called.  The refs did an ok job and righted any wrongs done to the Suns by giving them a few “make-up“ calls.

The Suns' Steve Nash Collided w/ Spurs guard Tony Parker, opening a gash over his nose. The injury forced Nash to miss several critical minutes of Game 1 - Copyright (AP Photo/Matt York)

Of course the big story of the game was Nash's injury...

An interesting issue regarding the injury to Nash. A doctor actually wrote in an email to me and suggested that had the Suns kept a suture kit on the sidelines, Steve could've been cared for and back on the court in less than a minute - and stayed on the court.  With the outcome of the game in jeopardy, the Suns should've had a better method of stopping the blood on Nash's nose.

“It would have taken about 35 seconds to put a little lidocane with epi in that wound and sew it up and stop bleeding. It is amazing to me that a suture kit and equipment is not there to do something like that when so much is on the line.  I took three minutes out of my ER shift to watch the end of the game.  I would have given anything to be there and spend the 35 seconds to do it right and get him back in the game.“ - P. Johnson (MD)

It's hard to argue with this doctor's assessment, especially with the game on the line.  The Suns would be wise to keep the tools & staff close by for the remaining games just in case Nash's nose opens up again, or another player needs to be repaired on the fly.  They're spending enough money on Nash and the rest of the team, they should definitely make sure they have medical staff on-hand to ensure their $$ isn't wasted like it was yesterday.

Dime had a good quote also:

“Will the Suns trainer still have a job this morning? Yeah, Tony Parker was doing his thing (32 pts, 8 asts) and yes, Phoenix had no answer for Tim Duncan down low (33 pts, 16 rebs), but a big reason the Suns dropped Game 1 is because Steve Nash had to sit out some crucial stretches of crunch-time with a bloody face. Nash and Parker collided late in the fourth, opening up a nasty cut on Nash’s nose that we would have sooner expected to see in the Mayweather/De La Hoya fight this weekend. The Suns’ staff couldn’t keep the bleeding under control, and according to the rules, Nash (31 pts, 8 asts) had to keep sitting down whenever his cut started bleeding...“  Full story

Posted by chowell | with no comments

Pardon this short post today, but I don't have a lot of time to write about the whole game or analyze it in too much detail.  For those of you who read this regularly though, I wanted to get the latest score up so you didn't have to go anywhere else to find it ;)

The Phoenix Suns appeared to have the game in hand right from he get-go, taking a 7-2 lead and really never looking back.  New papa, Raja Bell, was on fire in the first quarter, no doubt off the adrenaline & rush of being a new father - congrats Raja!

The team was led by the usual suspects - Amare, Marion, Nash and Barbosa all played extremely well in the victory.  The Suns withstood a 30+ point game for not only Kobe Bryant, but also for Lamar Odom.  If you'd asked me before the game if the Suns had a chance to win w/ those two scoring that many points, I probably would've said “no way”, but Phoenix got it done.

There won't be too much celebrating on the Suns part, since their reward for dispatching the Lakers is a showdown with the San Antonio Spurs.  Phoenix, and Amare Stoudemire in particular (his coming out party), played very well against the Spurs 2 years ago in the playoffs.  Look for Amare to try and duplicate the effort he put up before his knee surgeries sidelined him.

If Dallas ends up losing to Golden State, I think we're going to hear a lot of people asking for a change to the playoff seeding yet again.  In my opinion, the playoffs should be re-seeded each round to make sure that the top two teams don't face each other until the Western Conference Finals.  The Suns are the #2 seed and the Spurs the #3 seed, so it's a shame they'll play each other so early this year.

On a side note... Barkley was on TNT wearing a Suns jersey the entire night, something his good buddy and former Sun, Mark West, seems to have coerced him into doing.  Still, it was a nice jesture to see Chuck wearing the jersey of his local (& former) team.

Portland Trailblazers' Guard Brandon Roy Wins NBA Rookie of the Year

The NBA announced today that the Portland Trailblazers' Brandon Roy wins ROY... he won himself??  No, Roy won this year's Rookie of the Year award for his efforts on the basketball court.

Roy was the Pacific-10 Conference's Player of the Year his senior season at Washington. He was drafted with the sixth overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves, then traded to Portland for the draft rights to Randy Foye.

The 6-foot-6, 229-pound guard was named the West's Rookie of the Month in January, February and March. He also made the All-Star game's rookie squad. He scored at least 20 points 16 times, including a career-high 29 against Utah on April 4.

The voting wasn't even close on this one... Roy received 127 of 128 first-place votes from sports writers and broadcasters.  Toronto's Andrea Bargnani finished a distant second in the voting, and Memphis' Rudy Gay finished third.

Portland coach Nate McMillan had nothing but good words to say about Roy:

"It's rare to see a rookie step in, assume a leadership role and become a go-to guy as Brandon did this past season," Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan said in a statement. "Brandon is a phenomenal young talent and has a chance to become a very special player in this league."

More on this story from Playoffs 2007
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Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki celebrating the Mavs Game 5 win over the Golden State Warriors - Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Dirk Nowitzki powered the Dallas Mavericks to a must-win in Game 5 of their 1st round matchup w/ the Golden State Warriors.  Down six points with under three minutes to go, it looked like the likely-MVP winner would go down in the annals of basketball lore for failing to show up for his team when they needed him most.

At that moment, Dirk woke up and saved the Mavs from elimination... Devin Harris was key to the victory as well, but it was Nowitzki's two 3's, a block, and several free throws down the stretch that helped Dallas end the game on a 15-0 run.  Dirk only had 18 pts starting the 4th quarter, but the late surged pushed him up to 30 pts for the game.

Final score: 118-112

The beginning of the 4th quarter started like a wild west showdown, with both teams hitting big shots, and matching each other shot-for-shot for several minutes.  It seemed like the Warriors simply couldn't miss a 3-pointer - at least until Harris and Nowitzki started pushing the Mavs back into the lead.

Baron Davis fouled out late in the game on a pretty questionable call - which happened just after a non-call on Nowitzki, who hit Richardson on his 3-pt attempt.  Shortly after, Stephen Jackson started mocking the referees by clapping for a foul call on the Warriors.  The ref would have none of that, and immediately called a technical foul and ejected Jackson.

To be honest... If Davis had stayed in the game, it's possible to think that Golden State might've closed out the game and the series.  They had just taken a 6 point lead and looked poised to upset the #1 seeded Mavericks - they just quit playing their swarming defense and Dallas came back and ended w/ the win. 

I do have to say though, the refs appeared to be favoring the Mavs late - there were several non-calls on them and several questionable calls on Golden State.  Combined w/ Dirk's resurgence and Harris persistant drives to the basket, the Mavs were able to catch up and shut out the Warriors for the last few minutes.

Phoenix's Raja Bell defends the Lakers Kobe Bryant - Bell named to NBA All-Defensive 1st Team

The league earlier named the Nuggets' Marcus Camby the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year, and yesterday they announced the remaining members of the NBA All-Defensive First Team.

Joining Camby on the list were:

  • Raja Bell, Phoenix Suns
  • Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers (ironic these two both made it huh?)
  • Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs (10th straight)
  • Bruce Bown, San Antonio Spurs

This is the first time that Raja's been on the list, something that's he's probably deserved for a couple years now.  Kobe is a great defender, but he spends most of his time on offense and I'm sure they could've picked another guard for the list. Duncan is a regular on the list... no news here. Bowen finished second in the Defensive POY award voting, so it's no surprise to see him make the list either.

In related Suns news:
Leandro Barbosa named NBA's Sixth Man

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