The Mavericks' Crack-Up Has Started Ahead Of ScheduleS

ESPN Dallas has a tale of infighting, or something, that will send all you Dallas-lovers to the bookies. About Jason Terry, Dirk says, "They keep sticking him [James] on Jet in the fourth quarters and he's been doing a good job. Jet hasn't really been a crunch-time, clutch player for us the way we need him to."

Let's ignore Dirk's funky cadence for a second. He's doing something pretty silly here: namely, equating Jason Terry's inability to score on LeBron James to a lack of crunch-time clutchness, or whatever. It's bad for two reasons.

First, Jason Terry does not play basketball as well as LeBron James does. He is a better jumpshooter than LeBron, yes, but LeBron's so-so shooting does not matter when he guards Terry. All that matters is that a 6' 2" guy with high socks and a headband has to shoot it over a 6' 8" man-bird with the muscle mass and wingspan to match. The man-bird is also stronger and just as fast. The man-bird shall triumph.

Second, Terry scored eight of the first 12 points in Dallas's splendid run in game 2. He also assisted on another basket (Dirk's, oddly) on that run. But ESPN Dallas notes: "Terry is a combined 0-of-7 in the fourth quarters of the Mavericks' two losses in the NBA Finals." It's not that Terry hasn't been clutch, it's that Terry hasn't been clutch when Dallas loses, which is all of two games. On Dallas's last two possessions last night, Dirk threw the ball into the stands and missed a shot. He missed his only shot in the last minute of game one. Someone else might have a problem with clutch, no?

You never know the effect ill-informed venting will have on a basketball team. (Usually: not much of one.) We'll see an actual effect—and it's a bad one—if the Mavericks continue needing Jason Terry to beat LeBron James.

Dirk Nowitzki calls out teammate [ESPN Dallas]