Dirk Nowitzki is humming David Hasselhoff. Steve Nash digs Nelly Furtado. And Michael Finley, well, he's singing the blues. Those three once had perfect harmony as the Dallas Mavericks' Big Three, but in a cruel act of irony it's Finley--the one forced out of Dallas--who'll be forced to watch as Dirk and Steve duke it out in the NBA Western Conference Finals starting tonight at American Airlines Center.
Finley, cut by the Mavericks last summer, signed with the San Antonio Spurs after eight and a half splendid seasons in Dallas. His reward? Booed at AAC. For playing his ass off for a crappy team? For getting cut? For getting punched in the nuts by Jason Terry? Still one of the dumbest, most nonsensical reactions to a player I've ever heard. Of course, this is a sports town that cheered Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers in his first start after punching a local cameraman, so go figure.
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Which, sort of, brings us to Nash. If you're gonna boo Finley, you'd better unload the chamber on Nash. In pursuit of greener paychecks, he skipped town voluntarily in the summer of '04. With Phoenix he's won consecutive Most Valuable Player awards and last year helped the Suns eliminate the Mavs in the playoffs by averaging 30 points per game. Nash says it's "ridiculous," "unbelievable" and "disrespectful" that Finley was booed by Mavs fans. One hopes he ain't heard nothing yet. --Richie Whitt