Sports

/

ArcaMax

Mac Engel: The Mavericks will be on the wrong end of a historic NBA Finals for a 2nd time

Mac Engel, Fort Worth Star-Telegram on

Published in Basketball

DALLAS — Two weeks ago we here in North Texas had visions of a dual championship parade; the Dallas Stars celebrating their Stanley Cup, and the Dallas Mavericks partying with the NBA’s Larry O’ Brien trophy.

The Stars finished one round short of the Cup Final, and the Mavericks' appearance in these NBA Finals is all but over.

On Wednesday night, before an eager crowd desperate to cheer for anything to up and including the T-shirt cannon, the Mavericks were once again the inferior team as the Boston Celtics won, 106-99. The Celtics lead the series 3-0.

If you had to choose one word to describe the Mavericks performance in these Finals, “Barfbagish” works. So does “Embarrassing.” And then there is, “This is one of the worst NBA Finals ever.”

Game 4 is Friday night; the good news is that if you’re looking to attend an NBA Finals game, tickets on the secondary market should suddenly be “affordable.”

The Mavs nearly came back from a 21-point fourth quarter deficit in Game 3, and then Luka Doncic actually fouled out with a little more than three minutes remaining in the game. (One of Luka’s priorities this offseason will be to seek couples counseling with referees.)

“I don’t want to say nothing, but six fouls in the NBA Finals ... like this?” Doncic said after the game. “Come on, man. Be better than that.”

Are we talking about the refs, or Doncic?

It was the third time in his NBA career that he has fouled out of a game.

Kyrie Irving finally showed up in this series, and the Mavs did make a nice push to cut the deficit to one point late in the fourth quarter, but all of this should not fool anyone.

This series will be remembered only because it’s forgettable.

One play in the second quarter of Game 3 is the perfect visual sequence to describe the Mavericks’ series against the Celtics: Doncic delivered the pretty alley-oop pass to a waiting Derek Lively, whose slam dunk attempt hit the back of the rim and bounced to the floor.

Some things are not meant to be. The Mavericks may have been ready for the NBA Finals, but they are not built to beat Boston. Boston is the best team in the NBA, and the Celtics will have earned this trophy.

Back this up; the Mavs weren’t ready for this. There have been multiple sequences in these Finals where the Mavs’ effort looks like something more appropriate for Game 33 of the regular season than a Game 3 of an NBA Finals.

Luka is the superstar with room to grow (up).

For the second time in their history, the Mavericks will be on the losing end of an NBA Finals that will be memorable for the wrong reasons.

 

In 2006, the Mavs led the Miami Heat 2-0 before pulling off a historic collapse. When the NBA Finals format was still in 2-3-2 (home/away/home), the Heat ripped off four straight wins and celebrated their trophy on the Mavericks' home floor.

The Heat are one of five NBA teams to come back from an 0-2 hole to win a title.

In 2006, the Heat celebrated their NBA trophy all over the American Airlines Center arena, and nearly destroyed the visitor’s locker room with champagne.

“It’s not over til it’s over. You just gotta believe,” Doncic said. “It’s first to four.”

The Mavs had convinced themselves they could join the Heat to win a title after losing the first two NBA Finals games on the road.

As much of a blowout as this series has been on the scoreboard and the stat sheet, it’s worse in person. The home floor has nothing to do with anything. These teams could play in Mark Cuban’s basement, or in the middle of the Las Vegas Sands, and the Celtics would still kick the Mavs’ butts.

In case you’re wondering how many NBA teams have come back from an 0-3 deficit to win the NBA Finals, it’s ... something, like, 10. Wait, check that. The answer is zero.

In NBA playoff history, teams that take a 3-0 lead are 155-0. In the NBA Finals, they are 14-0.

There is one team to come back from an 0-3 hole to force a Game 7 in the NBA Finals. The 1951 New York Knicks trailed the Rochester Royals 0-3 and forced a Game 7 that they lost.

Maybe Mavs coach Jason Kidd can show some game footage of the ‘51 Knicks to inspire his team. Nothing else works.

The problems that hurt the Mavericks in Games 1 and 2 were present in Game 3. The Celtics have made the Mavs a one-on-five team; Kyrie and Luka combined for 62 points, but the Mavericks finished with 15 assists on 38 field goals.

“I feel like we’re getting great looks but we just have to convert them,” Irving said after the game.

No one has emerged as a reliable third scorer, and the role players have been out-classed by the Celtics' other guys. The Celtics didn’t even have Kristaps Porzingis, who missed Game 3 to injury.

Kidd’s bench is confetti paper thin. The type of confetti paper that will likely fall on the Mavericks’ court on Friday night during the Celtics’ title celebration.

So much for the dual parade.


©2024 Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Visit star-telegram.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus