I will start this article by admitting that I only watched the last 11 minutes of this game, but that was enough to anger me into writing this aritcle.
When i turned on my television set the Mavericks were up by 11 points. It quickly turned ugly soon after.
As has happened often times this year, the Mavericks breakdown in the 4th quarter and give away a game they should win. One reason they have been doing this is the JSR, a ratio i made up tonight. I have always felt that Josh Howard is a ballhog and has no sense of team basketball, so I decided to make the JSR, the Josh Howard shots to touches ratio. In just the 4th quarter tonight, the JSR was 8 shots to 9 touches. Granted he did get to the free throw line a few times, even though he is not a very good free throw shooter (a 74% shooter this year and 77% for his career). I am sure the JSR through the 4th quarter is quite accurate if spanned over the entire game. Many times during a game, I can sit back and predict exactly what he will do when he gets the ball. It will either be a drive to the basket through four defenders or an ill-advised three point shot, which he is also not good at (15% this season and 34% for his career).
Enough of my rant on Josh Howard. Let's move on to the last 30 seconds of the game.
With 30 seconds left, the Mavs were down by 1 point. Dirk Nowitzki gets a defensive rebound, dribbles all the way down the court, makes a couple of moves, and puts the ball in to give the Mavs a 1 point lead with 26 seconds to go. After a timeout, Orlando tries to take the lead, but misses. Jason Terry gets the defensive rebound and, for some reason, begins to fall out of bounds (from what i saw, it looked like he could have stood perfectly where he had landed, but i did not get a good look at it). While falling out of bounds, Terry tries to thow the ball back in, but it lands out of bounds, giving the Magic another chance. On the second chance, Jason Kidd fouls Rashard Lewis and Lewis hits both free throws to put Orlando up a point, 101-100.
Now here is the kicker. With 9 seconds to go, Josh Howard is inbounding. Terry takes a straight line towards the back court. All Josh had to do was toss the ball over his defender's head and to Terry into the back court. Instead, Howard tried to whip the ball around the defender's body and it went straight to Jameer Nelson. There was not a Mav's player within 7 feet of the pass.
Dirk fouled Jameer and Jameer only made one of his two free throws, giving the Mavs one more chance to tie or win this game.
Before I talk about this last play, let me ask you, with the game on the line and one shot left, who should always take the shot for the Mavs? If you said someone other than Dirk Nowitzki, you are wrong. You always have your best player take the last shot of the game, not a second-tier player who looks like he has lost the touch he used to have on his shot.
Back to the play. With 7 seconds left, Jerry Stackhouse inbounds to Terry. The Mavs run an isolation for Terry and allow him to try and make a move on his defender (this is where my last paragraph comes into play) and take the last shot of the game. Terry gets within 12 feet of the basket and missed a jumper.
Another 4th quarter breakdown that leaves many questions for the Mavs. Can they overcome 5 losses in a row? Only time will tell.