The 08-09 Dallas Mavericks got their season started last night with about as much veracity as a limp dick. Despite hanging in for a good three quarters, the Mavs fell apart in the fourth to fall 112-102 to the Houston Rockets. Offensively, the team looked good. Dirk poured in 36, Howard had 28 and Kidd finished with 12 assists. They ran the floor well like Rick Carlisle said they would, though that dropped off quite a bit whenever the incredibly sub-par bench got involved.
What was noticeably absent all game was any sort of defensive presence. This is a Houston team that scored a grand total of 82 points a couple of nights ago against Memphis. MEMPHIS!! However, the Mavs managed to go out and make Yao Ming (30 points, 13 boards) look like Hakeen Olajuwon in his prime, and they let Ron Artest (29 points, 7 boards) run roughshot all over the court for the entire game. Better yet, Tracy McGrady didn’t even play in the fourth quarter and the Rockets still outscored the Mavs by 11 to clinch the victory.
Which brings me to main point: Why is the concept of defense so foreign to all of our local sports teams? The Cowboys suit up a defensive unit stacked with number one draft picks and high-priced free agents, yet they can make the Rams offense, arguably the worst in football, look reminiscent of the Greatest Show on Turf. Through eight games, they’ve managed to intercept two passes. The Stars, who are currently sitting at 4-4-2, have allowed a league worst 40 goals through 10 games. Everytime Marty Turco looks up, three members of the opposing team are bearing down on him as Sean Avery jerks it to a picture of himself. The 2008 version of the Texas Rangers managed to commit more errors and have a lower fielding percentage than every other team in the Major Leagues.
What ever happened to the credo that defense wins championships? Is that just something that coaches tell you during high school basketball practice so that the two kids with talent won’t dominate all of practice with their shooting skills? Or has the glitz-and-glam image of life and sports in Dallas gotten so pervasive that our athletes feel like they don’t need to do any of the “grunt” work?
Whatever the root cause is somebody needs to pull an Oscar Rogers and FIX IT!
You take it one step at a time:
1. Identify the problem. FIX IT!
2. Identify another problem. FIX IT!
3. Repeat as necessary until it’s all FIXED!