It’s true that the Mavericks have shot horribly, seemed listless, and been victimized by the no-shows of Josh Howard and Jerry Stackhouse (though I have argued that counting on Stack in this series was folly anyway). Why, then, would I be so hard on Avery Johnson? Once again – Avery makes in-game decisions that I can make no sense of. Last night’s Game 4 was no exception.
I read the Daily Dime on ESPN this morning, where most of the talk focused on Howard’s woes and the Hornets’ double-team of Nowitzki, effectively daring any other Mav to beat them. No one stepped up. What I’d like to focus on is a rather mind-bending sequence to begin the second quarter.
The Mavs led at the quarter, 30-23. Following a David West miss on the opening possession, Devean George grabbed an offensive board on the Mavs’ next trip down the floor and converted a layup to put Dallas up by 9. On NO’s subsequent possession, Bass blocked David West’s shot out of bounds. I literally began talking to the TV as I watched the following sequence of events unfold:
Avery subs Stackhouse for Howard (oh, boy)
Pargo makes a jumper (32-25 Mavs)
Wells misses a jumper, Nowitzki rebounds and is fouled
Avery subs Barea for Kidd (???)
Stackhouse airballs a 3, shot clock violation
Then, NO makes their next 3 shots while the Mavs miss their next three, leaving us…
…tied at 32 with 9:01 left in the 2nd quarter. Timeout Mavs. Avery’s next move? Sub Terry for Dirk, and Dampier for Barea.
Panic: set in
This whole debacle took place with Chris Paul resting comfortably on the bench.
Again, Avery – why? A 9-point lead with Chris Paul on the bench = foot-on-the-throat time. No worries about getting guys their rest, no efforts to save some legs for later in the series – it’s a must-win, man! Instead, in a critical stretch, we had this group defending the Mavs’ collective honor:
Then, after the timeout, this:
Timeout…let’s see here…9-0 in the last 2:30…hmm…I’ll go with the defensive lineup and remove my only viable scoring option.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Barea as much as the next guy. Every team, and every fan base needs a guy like him to root for. But in the postseason, he is in line behind the Mavs Maniacs for meaningful PT. I ask yet again – where is Ty Lue? He’s not hurt. Why isn’t he playing, Avery? I swear, you’re trying to get fired.
You’ll get your wish soon.