Picky Picky (Vol. 13)
04/23/08 10:25 AM
By ED BARK
Barring an immediate, season-ending injury to Chris Paul, the Mavericks' NBA championship window is pretty much slammed shut -- for this season and now for the foreseeable future, too.
Tuesday's embarrassing, nationally televised no-contest in New Orleans raises one big question -- who's most responsible for two double-digit losses to a team the Mavs supposedly wanted in the first round? Let's leave owner Mark Cuban out of it for now while we ask these further questions about three players and their coach.
Is it Jason Kidd, the mostly brick-shooting, lost-a-step defender who's become a walk in the park for the jet-quick Paul? At least Devin Harris could have stayed in his face. Old Man Rivers gets gassed too easily while Paul plays the entire second-half, save for garbage time.
Is it Josh "J. Ho" Howard, the often quick-starting penetrator who vanishes in second halves? It happened again Tuesday night, with Howard playing about as effectively as surname-sharing Juwan. And that's about as ineffective as it gets.
Is it Erick Dampier, the lumbering, foul-prone center who's let the Hornets' hip-hoppers sky over his block-of-cement frame? "Damp" can't run with the deer or pogo-stick with the kangaroos. And his only dependable shot is a point-blank dunk.
Is it the "Little General" himself, Avery Johnson, whom rival, savvier coaches have been busting down to private in the playoffs? Avery seems befuddled and unable to adjust to some very bad things happening on court. Should he be the first to go?
Jason Terry and Jerry Stackhouse haven't been gems either, but these are our four flies in the ointment. Your comments will get this ball rolling. To repeat:
A. Jason Kidd
B. Josh Howard
C. Erick Dampier
D. Avery Johnson