In case you weren't too mesmerized by that enthralling Brett Wetterich-Trevor Immelman showdown at the Byron Nelson, you might have caught Mavs-Spurs Game 3 Saturday night. If so, your heart is probably still racing. And your fist is probably still landing air punches aimed at Jerry Stackhouse. In this series Devin Harris has been fast, Dirk Nowitzki has been fantastic, and Stackhouse, the grizzled playoff veteran, has been, well, stupid. And scary. Scarier than even this.
In Game 1, with his team down two, he passed up an open 13-footer to force a three-point airball at the buzzer. And in Saturday's Game 3 he played like a rattled rookie. He took--and missed--a long jumper way too early in the final seconds, only to be bailed out by Dirk's offensive rebound and free throws. Then, with Dallas up one, he clanged a free throw, then--in possibly the worst free throw in the history of the NBA--intentionally fired the ball off the backboard, totally missing the rim in a lame attempt to graze the rim and leave the Spurs with only a 90-foot desperation attempt. Asked what he thought of Stackhouse's attempt, Dirk spoke for us all: "I was wondering what the hell he was doing."
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Tonight comes Game 4. Dirk's sprained ankle might not keep him off the court, but it will keep him from being Dirk. Someone on the Mavs--the guess here is Josh Howard--has to score a career playoff high. The Mavs will either head back to San Antonio 2-2 and backed in to a corner, or 3-1 with parade routes being planned. Whatever, do us all a favor and don't put that fate in Jerry's bad hands. --Richie Whitt