| Sports |

Whoa, Nellie

It's all you, Erick Dampier. Even if you do have a man purse.

It’s all about Nelson. Not this one. This one. Like some of us have said before, Don Nelson is an entertaining clown whose unorthodox coaching gimmickry sometimes makes better teams look bad. But in the end, he can’t beat our Johnson.

The Mavericks aren’t out of the woods just because of last night’s 112-99 victory over the Golden State Warriors. But at least they’ve got their hands on the map. It reads like this: Discipline. And that starts at the top. Owner Mark Cuban needs to continue biting his tongue. And coach Avery Johnson needs to stick with the lineup that brung him.

I knew the Mavs would win Game Two before the opening tip, when center Erick Dampier readied for the jump ball.

Together with DeSegana Diop, Dallas’ two big men at least gave the care-free Warriors reason for hesitation before jaunting down the paint. And, despite his relatively atrocious two games in Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki needs to keep on keeping on when the series shifts to Oakland for Friday night’s Game Three.

Nellie is frustrating Dirk with a series of confounding defensive ploys -- like, for example, fronting Nowitzki 15 feet from the basket. Unconventional? Yes. Unbeatable? Nope. See, playing the Warriors is not unlike arguing with your 3-year-old. Get too emotional, and you find yourself in an hourlong exchange of Mine...No, MINE! Or you keep your cool, remember who’s the adult here and watch the kid wildly flail abount before eventually crying himself to sleep.

Evidenced by Wednesday night’s total meltdown, Golden State is athletic enough to scare the Mavs, but not nearly mature enough to beat them. Nellie’s bar closed down. So too will his team, if the Mavs are patient. --Richie Whitt

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