Monday, April 25, 2005

McGrady Dominates, Dirk Disappoints



A most disturbing start to the Mavericks playoff series with the Houston Rockets went down on Saturday and there are so many angles with which to approach it:

1) Dirk was just not very good; Tracy McGrady was amazing. I realize I have been a critic of T-Mac’s, and I will still suggest to you that he is much more “sizzle” than “steak”, but, that was one impressive start to the series. He not only proved unstoppable, but he also got his teammates involved plenty. His ability to find the open man and allow Mike James and Jon Barry to hit the critical shots down the stretch made this performance extra impressive. I think going forward the Mavs have to lay back, take away the drive and make him hit 3’s the whole series. Because in Game 1, he drove when he wanted and shot when he wanted. The Mavs gave him everything (or he took it) and there was no stopping him.

2) The Point Guard position was not in the Mavericks favor, and it should have been. I realize Steve Nash is no longer with them, but Jason Terry and Devin Harris need to be better than Bob Sura and Mike James. They were not. Not even close, as Terry and Dirk combined for 10 of the Mavericks 13 turnovers. Amazingly, they had more turnovers than Houston despite playing at home.

3) The High Scoring Mavs did not score more than 24 in any quarter. The Rockets, who might not have been properly respected when this thing started, had the 2nd best defensive FG% in the league and it showed Saturday. We can all rationalize this loss as the Mavs just not hitting their shots, but that is not giving the Rockets their proper credit.

4) Finley had 5 points, Van Horn had 5 points. That must improve.

Like I said on the blog on Friday, I expected Houston to get one in Dallas so this is not a great surprise. But, the way that McGrady schooled anyone who tried to guard him, while he also appeared to give Dirk trouble on defense gives one pause for Monday Night. Truly time to break out the “must win” label…

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As for the Cowboys draft, I realize they did not attempt to fill all of their needs, but boy, it was clear what the strategy was, and it was also clear that they appear to have accomplished their mission pretty solidly. Well done. I can see trying to land 2 studs in the Front 7 on that defense, but you could make the case that after adding Ware and Spears, that they added two more in Burnett and Canty (if things go very well). Wow. I am not sure who your long-term answers are at Wide Receiver (especially in the deep threat category) or your Free Safety (although the kid in the 6th round looks intriguing) but they surely are now prepared to run a 3-4.

I think they are one of the real big winners in the draft. And, now that you can consider Julius Jones, Marcus Spears and Sean Ryan the final haul in the J.P. Losman trade, I might suggest that Parcells and Jones look good when you score that Buffalo trade of 2004.

Things are looking up in Cowboys land.

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And Finally, a thought or two on FC Dallas who won again this weekend. They really appear to be a powerful soccer team this season. 3 times in 2004 they were able to score 3 goals in a game. That hardly demonstrates power, but already in 2005, they have done it twice despite playing only 4 games. They have also scored 8 goals in those 4 games (3-0-1), which should be compared to last year’s scoring impaired squad who took until June 5th before they scored their 8th goal of the season.

It is all about firepower. With Eddie Johnson, Carlos Ruiz, and Ronnie O’Brien, they have more firepower than anyone in the league (in theory). Now, it should be noted that they have played both expansion teams already, in fact that accounts for 6 of their 8 goals. But for once, it actually looks like Dallas is not playing with inferior talent. Now, they have 7 of their next 8 on the road, and we will find out if FC Dallas is the real deal.

2 things to remember:

1) If they are great this year, the MLS Cup is scheduled for Frisco in November, so there might as well be a local representative.

2) Enjoy Eddie Johnson while we can. After World Cup 2006, he is gone for Europe. That is a guarantee.

Links:

Goose gives his draft grades


Dallas A: Jimmy Johnson left the Cowboys after the 1993 season. With Jerry Jones running the draft room, the Cowboys have not carded an A for a draft since then. Until now.

Jones and Bill Parcells engineered the best draft of the post-Johnson era, receiving one of three A's on the NFL grade card. And that A could become an A-plus a year down the road if defensive end Chris Canty recovers from an eye injury that could force him to spend the 2005 season on the sideline. Because of the injury, Canty was a Top 40 talent that slid to Dallas in the fourth round.

The Cowboys had the best first day on this draft. Landing the speed of Demarcus Ware and the size of Marcus Spears was the dream scenario of Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells. The Dallas defensive front got bigger and faster overnight. Good players often come to those who don't trade down. Justin Beriault and Rob Petitti in the sixth round was a good way for the Cowboys to close the draft out. The second day is what makes a good draft great. For a change the Cowboys made some superb second-day draft picks in Canty, Beriault and Petitti.


As does Kiper …but you have to be an ESPN Insider…


Dallas Cowboys: A
One of the best hauls for any team thanks to a significant upgrade on the defensive front seven. Demarcus Ware is a terrific attack linebacker, end Marcus Spears is a great fit in a 3-4 scheme and linebacker Kevin Burnett is a solid, steady player. Running back Marion Barber III is bigger than current Dallas back Julius Jones and is a nice complement. Safety Justin Beriault was a steal in the sixth round and defensive tackle Jay Ratliff is versatile enough to play in a 3-4 or 4-3, depending on what the team needs.


Lebreton congratulates Parcells


Just when we thought Parcells had lost his once-Midas touch, just when we were convinced that, at age 63, he now prefers to nap through the draft, Parcells bellied up to the war room table Saturday and Sunday and drafted like a Hall of Fame coach.
He took one of these and one of those. And one of this one and one of that.

And when his draft seemed to be losing its steam Sunday, with three new defenders and a backup running back already in the fold, Parcells lifted his golden staff again -- actually, it may have been a 2-iron -- and parted the fourth round, picking a huge, talented defensive end from Virginia, who maybe would have gone in the first round had his head not gotten in the way of an oncoming glass bottle.

Chris Canty -- 6-foot-7, 279 pounds -- had season-ending knee surgery last September and suffered a major eye injury just three months ago.

But blessed are the patient. Parcells and the Cowboys waited, and they plucked Canty with the 132nd pick of the draft.


Big Unit blocks the Rangers sweep

Spurs miss 17 straight shots in 4th Quarter, drop game 1 …12 points in the final 12 minutes won’t generally cut it…



The Man with the impossible job: The heir apparent to Brett Favre …I would like to say the fans will give him a chance, but Aaron Rodgers is following a pretty good QB…

By the way, I think this will be the first Packer in #12 since the great Lynn Dickey (below)...I will try not to file a protest yet...



A fine time-killer: Call the Star Wars fans

Star Wars is all about Vader ….

In case you missed it, The story about Furries

Sadly, We missed National High-5 day

Kip, have you ever considered Time Travel?

Liverpool crashes the Champions League Party



Lee Corso story ….Who of course was the 2nd man to ever pose naked…

Fact vs Fiction: Deadwood

4 comments:

JIM said...

If you want to see greatness on the soccer pitch, come out to an FC Dallas game.

I realize that the new stadium will be opened to be public in August, but that's no excuse for the public to stay home.

This team is playing as well as a soccer team can after the fourth game of the season...

Eddie Johnson is a certified star. He will become a multi-million dollar icon in Europe in the future.

Carlos Ruiz is a pest. Thanks to Landon Donovan, FC Dallas now has 2 forwards that are international superstars. When these two start becoming familiar with each other's game, goals should be easier than ever.

Don't forget about Richard Mulrooney......
He has scored goals in the second and third minute of both of the home games that FC Dallas has played in the Cotton Bowl. If you want to come to the games, get to your seat early..... FC Dallas could take the early lead before the 5th minute mark......

This team could easily make a run at an MLS Cup, and only 19,000 fans have showed up to the Cotton Bowl so far......

Come out to the next home game on May 18th versus Colorado. You will be glad that you did.

tim said...

i dont question the greatness of the cowboy draft, especially given all of the experts opinions of what they did. but i dont really understand why. that's great; we have real depth at DE. Aren't you just taking one of your best players off the field at any given time, whether it be glover in a 3-4, ware in a 4-3, and where will canty fit in? depth is great, but you need a well-balanced team to win in this league, and this is a team that still lacks offense (WR, OL especially, not to mention, oh i don't know...QB!?). personally, i'd rather see them just commit to a 4-3 with ellis, glover, ferguson, and spears and get a high round offensive playmaker. you can't use 2 1st round picks for back-up depth. but then, what do i know? hey, that's why you're on the radio and i'm not.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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