Posts Tagged ‘Eddie Sefko’

Panic Time In L.A., Dallas Already?

HANG TIME TEXAS – So what do you think: Andre Drummond to L.A. with the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft and Harrison Barnes to the Dallas at No. 2?

After all, two days into a rapid-fire schedule already finds the Lakers and Mavericks a combined 0-4 and fans in two NBA cities walking toward the cliff.

In those old black-and-white monster movies, this is the scene where Dr. Frankenstein barricades himself inside his laboratory while the villagers come storming angrily up the path carrying lit torches.

But really, does anyone need reminding that it might be just a bit early to be reaching for the panic button? After all, though we’re talking about a couple of veteran teams that have made significant roster changes.

The defending champion Mavs are missing six different faces from the combination that was responsible for hoisting that banner on Christmas Day at the American Airlines Center, while the Lakers are learning to adjust to life without Lamar Odom, missing the suspended Andrew Bynum and mixing in a newc oach.

Count Kobe Bryant, for one, as not worried, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com:

“No,” he said after seeing the Kings finish the night on an 11-4 run to blow back open a game that Sacramento had led by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter before the Lakers cut it to just two with 4:24 remaining.

Bryant, who preached positivity Sunday after the Lakers had a different set of fourth-quarter difficulties as they blew an 11-point fourth quarter lead against the Chicago Bulls, did his best to maintain a sunny outlook.

“It will kick in,” Bryant said. “There’s a certain amount of repetitions I guess. I don’t read those damn books (but they say) there’s a certain amount of repetitions you have to go through and we’ll go through them and we’ll be better.”

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Dirk: ‘Could Be Worse’

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The scheduling powers that be didn’t do the Mavericks any favors with a late-game slate that saw them play six games in 10 days, while fighting with the Los Angeles Lakers for playoff positioning in the Western Conference.

A 3-3 mark during that stretch, including three straight losses, prompted these words of wisdom from Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki, “It could be worse. It could be in the playoffs.”

Those aren’t exactly the sort of inspiring words you’re looking for at this stage of the season from the catalyst of a contender. But reality hit the Mavericks square in the face the past six games, including last night’s loss to Portland (above) without Tyson Chandler.

More from our main man Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News:

“We got to get back to doing what we do on both ends of the floor,” said Jason Terry. “Obviously, we didn’t have Tyson out there. He’s a big part of what we do. And we’re not very good without him.

“You don’t have Tyson Chandler, so your defense is going to take a hit. He’s a big part of our success.”

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Is Chandler The New KG?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The two best basketball teams in Texas were back at it Monday night, ending and continuing win streaks.

Jason Terry and the Mavericks went to Miami and cooled off the Heat’s 12-game winning streak, while the Spurs took advantage of the shorthanded Suns at home for their ninth straight win.

The question was asked again late last night — which of these two teams poses the biggest threat to the Lakers in the Western Conference race? — and the answer is a bit murky right now, because both the Mavericks and Spurs appear to be legitimate challengers to the Lakers at this stage of the season.

There is a very good chance the team that reaches the NBA Finals from the Western Conference this season will have to navigate this treacherous Texas two-step to make it there. We’re just days away from Christmas and the Spurs aren’t showing any signs of slowing down, they continue to lead the league with their 24-3 record.

In rugged veteran center Tyson Chandler the Mavericks have added the one things we outsiders always felt they lacked, interior toughness. Dirk Nowitzki took it a step further, telling our main man Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News that the Mavericks adding Chandler is similar to a championship move made by another franchise in recent years:

“It’s almost like when KG went to Boston,” Nowitzki said. “I don’t think Ray Allen or Paul Pierce were great defenders before KG got there, but KG with his energy and influence and high-octane kind of changed the whole mentality of the defense.”

Nowitzki said Chandler has done the same for the Mavericks’ defense with his communication and his ability to play goalie, which allows perimeter defenders to be a little more aggressive when it comes to staying up on their man.

That’s extremely high praise for Chandler from a man that we don’t recall doling out these sort of kudos on a regular basis. He’s exactly right on at least one point, one player — the right player — can change the entire perception of a team.

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