Blazers 97, Mavericks 92: My Top 10 Observer-ations

10. As we suspected, Portland's team is pretty salty. But their fans suck. Booing Mark Cuban is cool. Throwing shit at him is lame.

9. The Mavs are the NBA's best road team the last two regular seasons, but they're now 2-14 in their last 16 playoffs games away from the American Airlines Center. Go figure.

8. I witnessed Dennis Rodman shoot consecutive air balls from the foul line at Reunion Arena and Three J's Era center Lorenzo Williams was atrocious, but I think Brendan Haywood is the worst free-throw shooter in Mavs history. Two of 6 last night actually improved his series percentage, his shot has the touch of a bowling ball, and doesn't he always seem to miss way right?

7. Critics who claim the Mavs are going nowhere fast because they're too soft got more ammunition at a key point last night. Trailing 87-77 with 7:30 to play, the Mavs took a Blazers turnover and headed on a 3-on-1 fast break. That needs to be a finish at the rim, preferably an and-one dunk. Instead, Dirk Nowitzki wound up taking and missing an 8-foot banker. At the other end, Tyson Chandler fouled out of the game scrambling on defense. Without him, no chance. I'll repeat: The thing that I most fear in this series is foul trouble for Chandler. Last night he was a non-factor in 15 minutes.

6. Don't have this confirmed, but I heard that before Game 2, The Who's Pete Townshend actually contacted Cuban about the use of "Eminence Front" as part of the Mavs' long-standing pre-game introductions. I think Townshend wanted money. The song played as scheduled. Developing? UPDATE: Cuban tells me via email it never happened. "I don't know what idiot invented that story but it's not true." Dangit.

5. Not blaming the refs for last night, but there is something to the fact that after shooting a combined 30 free throws in Games 1 and 2, Dirk Nowitzki only attempted seven in Game 3. Just sayin'.

4. Jason Kidd: 5 turnovers, 3 baskets. Knew his resurrection was too good to be true. If Dallas was counting on him, it was asking for trouble.

3. Shawn Marion, please stop hitting "snooze." The series has started. And you are very late.

2. Not sure how the refs missed -- even after a review? -- how Kidd's toe was behind the line on his 3-pointer-turned-deuce with 12 seconds remaining. Didn't change anything really, as the Mavs still would've fouled and Andre Miller made both free throws. It especially isn't an excuse. Dallas was done in by 10 missed free throws, five in the fourth quarter of a five-point loss.

1. Game 4 tomorrow at 4 p.m. Guaranteed Game 5 Monday night at AAC at 7:30.


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