It’s never fun to lose. One of the most frustrating moments in a fan’s life is when your team shows incredible promise during the regular season, only to lose early in the playoffs. It happened to the Patriots this year (not winning the super bowl was considered losing early), it happened to the Suns this year and, for the past two years, it has happened to the Mavericks. 2 years ago, the Mavs were essentially 5 quarters away from winning the NBA Championship. Last year, the Mavs had the best record in the league and the league MVP but still lost in the first round. This year, the Mavs traded for a future hall of fame PG that was supposed to bring leadership, stability and a winning attitude to the team but still lost in the first round. As frustrating as that is for the players and the owner, it is arguably just as frustrating for Mavs fans.

I have always respected Mark Cuban. He went from nothing to being the owner of the Mavs. He worked hard and fulfilled his childhood dreams. Financial success aside, what amazes me about Mark is how he uses his blog to talk to Mavs fans. His readers get amazing insight into where the team is going, why decisions were made, and just how much Mark cares about this team. If you havent read any of his posts, i suggest you read his post from last Friday. In it he talks about the team’s struggles at the beginning of the season, why they traded for J Kidd and why the future looks bright. It’s simply a phenomenal post that should make any Mavs fan happy about the future and happy that Mark is the owner.

One of the title’s for this post is “I Wish Mark Cuban Owned the Knicks.” I wrote that because the Isiah Thomas Era was so frustrating for Knicks fans. Every move that he made as the GM and the Coach had little rhyme or reason. Trade for Steve Francis, sign Jerome James, trade for Zach Randolph, hire and fire Larry Brown in the blink of an eye, try out 52,000 difference starting lineups, etc. Knicks fans were kept in the dark about why decisions were made and how they would help the team. It was too much, too fast and it became clear very quickly that Isiah had no idea what he was doing.

The Isiah Thomas Era is thankfully over. The Donnie Walsh Era has begun. Before Donnie makes too many moves (he just signed Mike D’Antoni to a 4-year, $24 million contract), I would like to give him (and our owner Jim Dolan) some advice. Look at how Mark Cuban keeps Mavs fans in the loop and copy that model. Understand that fans in general are rational, passionate, and extremely knowledgeable. We understand teams go through ups and downs. During the downs, we just want an idea of what the team executives are doing to fix the problem, why they are doing it and how long they think it will take to see results. Combine that with players that play with heart every night and we will be ecstatic. We know that you can’t tell the future and that things probably wont go as planned. That’s fine with us. Just please be transparent and keep us in the loop. Use a blog, use twitter, create a social network with Ning – it really doesnt matter. There are tons of options out there. Just keep us in the loop and use the web to not only talk to us but to let us talk to you. I predict that if you do that the bad times wont be as bad, fan loyalty will only increase and the good times will be that much sweeter.

Mark Cuban understands the importance of talking to Mavs fans uses his blog as an outlet. Donnie and Dolan, I hope you copy his model. Go Knicks!

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Let me start by saying I have the utmost respect for the Spurs (except when they hack a shaq chandler).  Ginobli has been getting better and better every year, with some saying he was an MVP candidate this year.  Duncan is the best PF to ever play the game.  He is fearless, often taking and making the big shot.  Tony Parker could be one of the most underrated players in the game (even after his finals MVP).  He’s fast, has a nice shot, is fearless and, like Duncan and Ginobli, has a killer instinct when its time to close out a game.  He also has a super hot wife, which he definitely gets points for.  Last night, this was all neutralized by the Hornets.

Last night the Spurs played the Hornets in Game 1 of the Western Semis.  First thing that occurred to me was that the Spurs did not have home court advantage.  I knew this before the game started but actually seeing the Spurs surrounded by yellow shirts in game 1 of the semis was very surreal.  The torch is passing.

The game itself was close til the end when the hornets, not the spurs, went into kill mode and put the champs away.  It was an incredible site to watch.  Chris Paul single handedly picked apart their defense and slaughtered the Spurs.  David West had the game of his life offensively and helped hold duncan to only FIVE points for the game.  Tyson Chandler grabbed every loose ball possible.  Peja sank his jumpers.  The result – a 19 point blow out win.

While everyone played great, especially west, it still all comes back to Paul.  Barring injuries, Paul will go down as one of the greatest PGs to play the game. Last night, when he took over, the spurs had no answer for him.  It was like he was toying with the Champs.  He was far and away the best player on the court at the end of the game and rightfully deserved the MVP chants.

In game 2 the spurs will make adjustments and duncan will score more than 5 points.  I still think the Spurs win this series because I give points for experience and for having the best PF ever.  But it will go the full 7 and the hornets will start next season as one of the favorites to win the title.

I’m watching the 4th quarter of game 6 and its apparent that Garnett is afraid to shoot the ball in the big moment.  Garnett knows it, his teammates know it and the Hawks know it.  Its actually rather sad when you think that Garnett is a former MVP.  Think about it – the Hawks have no one that can guard Garnett but for whatever reason KG wont assert himself.  Its not for a lack of talent.  I chalk it up to fear.

Sports Guy wrote this year that Garnett should be the MVP but after watching this I really hope he doesn’t win the award.  MVPs cant be afraid of the big moment and KG clearly is terrified of it.

Today on PTI, the guys spent Five Good Minutes with Chris Paul, asking him to reflect on his series against the mavs.  Chris was given every opportunity to take a little bit of the spotlight but instead spent the entire time saying how great his teammates are.  After the interview I thought to myself that Chris is one hell of a class act.

For 3+ years I have had “Starbury” as my starting PG.  This guy has/had all the talent in the world but couldnt get past his ego and ultimately couldnt get past the first round of the playoffs.  I’ll admit that I was excited when Isiah traded for him.  Marbury was an exciting, talented player from NY that had the chance to resurrect the team.  But in the world of Starbury nothing comes before Stephon.  He put up some nice numbers but the knicks got worse and worse after every year.

Being a PG takes a certain kind of mentality.  Share first and make your teammates better.  Take over when necessary, when your team needs you to carry them on your back.  Chris Paul thinks like this and I can’t help but wonder if Chris Paul’s last name was Marbury, he would have nicknamed himself teambury not starbury.  yeah that was cheesy but you get my drift.

It’s not Lebron.  He is arguably the best player in the game and certainly in the top 5.  Its the team as a whole that just seems so underwhelming.  Lets look at their starting five

1. D. West – a pretty good PG with average scoring ability.  He’s a good role player but should be the 4th option at best on a championship squad.

2. W. Szczerbiak – not much of a player anymore.  in a close out game at home, he got 17 minutes despite the fact that he had only 1 foul.

3. Z. Ilgauskus – the 2nd best player on the Cavs which says it all.  Hes a good center with nice offensive skills but he will never be the 2nd best player on a championship team

4. Lebron – no words.  amazing player.  arguably still insecure about taking the game winner

5. Ben Wallace – is he really still in the league?  he hasnt been relevant since he went to Chicago.  his offensive liabilities were acceptable when he pulled in 10+ boards a game and had 2+ blocks.  the last time that happened, Lebron was at the jr prom.

So those are your cavs.  No wonder the Wizards wanted to play them.  Outside of Lebron, does anyone scare you?  Who is your x factor player?  who is your second star that steps up when lebron is off?

I think the Cavs win their series against the Wizards because Lebron is good enough to beat them.  The 2nd round though – no chance.  I dont have the bracket in front of me but I take the celtics, pistons or magic against the cavs any day of the week.

Other point
1. RIP Mike Dantoni as coach of the suns.  Classy coach that should be hired ASAP by the bulls (i dont think he is right for the knicks).  I would LOVE to see Shaq take this off season seriously and come into next season in the best shape of his life.  Work with those Sun’s trainers and step it up.  Even at 36+ he makes a difference.

2. RIP Avery Johnson.  I never drank the Avery kool-aide and I think he stopped drinking his own kool-aide as well.  When your players hold a practice without you, the writing is on the wall that they dont listen to you anymore.

Its half time right now in game 5.  The suns are down 3-1 in series that could have easily been 2-2 at this point had duncan missed that 3.  But its game 5 and the suns are facing elimination.  They are down by 9 at the half which isn’t a huge deficit to overcome.  The big problem – Nash has recorded 0 assists so far.

None.  0.  Its amazing but in a bad way.  Even the Big Aristotle has 1 assist.  This number worries me.  Some might argue that the suns are in good shape here.  afterall, nash wont got the whole game without having an assist so things should only get better.  I understand that point and I want to believe it but I have become jaded.  Nash is a 2 time MVP and 1 of the best PGs ever.  His teams window to win a championship is rapidly closing and each year its getting that much harder.  in this must win game he has to step it up.

call me a pessimist but it just doesnt look good.  its a damn shame too.

I haven’t written in a while, which is a shame because this has been the best NBA season of the decade bar none.  The playoffs have been fantastic and disappointing all at once.  I genuinely feel for the Suns.  They Spurs just have their ticket – how else do you explain 2 game 1 miracles leading to an eventual win in double overtime?  A 3 from Duncan – are you kidding me?  I think that duncan and the spurs are to nash and the suns what MJ and the bulls were to Ewing and the knicks.  Having lived through each agonizing bulls victory, I can say that I genuinely feel for the Suns and their fans.

Today’s post, however, is not about the Suns or the Knicks of the 90s.  Today’s post is about the Dallas Mavericks and Jason Kidd.  When the trade went down I blogged about how dangerous the Mavs had just become.  Kidd is one of the greatest point guards i have ever seen play and I thought he was going to bring some much needed toughness to a mentally weak dallas team.  He was going to make a difference.  I was horribly wrong.

What happened?  Well Kidd never got into his groove the last few weeks playing with the mavs and the blame will rightfully fall on Avery Johnson.  It was Avery that took Kidd out for the final possession of a critical game against the Spurs (i believe it was the spurs).  It is Avery that is an over controlling coach that slowed down the game and didnt play to Kidd’s strengths.

So now Dallas is down 3-1 to the Hornets.  Jason Kidd had 3 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in a must-win game 4 before getting ejected in the 4th quarter.  Pathetic.

So I was wrong about the Kidd trade and think Dallas was a better team with Devin Harris at the point.