One thing about NBA play-off series. As opposed to the regular season, there’s lot of time to analyze and over analyze each of every game of a best-of-seven. And many experts will chime in with their reasons why one team will win the series, and very often those opinions and predictions will differ. After all, everybody can’t be right. But rather than tell you how the Blazers will best defend Dirk Nowitzki, or how the Mavs are going to deal with LaMarcus Aldridge, I figured I’d break down some other aspects of Portland vs. Dallas, many in ways you hadn’t even considered.
“DALLAS” vs. “PORTLANDIA”
-These of course are two television shows focusing on the cities representing the teams in this series. In my mind, there was no greater villain in the history of TV than J.R. Ewing. Ruthless, cunning, and seemingly always a step ahead of his rivals, he could wiggle out of any tough situation, even if he created the mess he was in. Loved it when he’d had enough of someone who dared to challenge him. That person would know they were backed into a corner when he’d say in his Texas accent, “get the hell out of Dallas while you still can!” Most of the time, they took him up on his offer, and that’s why he was the villain we all loved to hate, or maybe hated to love. If the Mavs had him playing center alongside Dirk, I’d be more worried about the Blazers’ chances in this series. As for “PORTLANDIA”, it’s the relatively new show that has locals divided. Some hate it. Some love it. Most think it does reflect some stereotypes of living in Portland pretty well. But there’s no J.R. Ewing to get people really talking around the water cooler at work the day after an episode airs. For that reason and others, I have to give the nod here to “DALLAS”
MARK CUBAN vs. PAUL ALLEN
-Two very financially gifted and passionate owners of the two teams in the series. Cuban seems to relish the spotlight, though he finally seems to have given up fighting NBA commissioner David Stern, who over the years took more money out of Mark’s wallet than Dirk ever has. Cuban has been known to conduct interviews while on a workout machine at the American Airlines Center. Not sure if that’s supposed to impress us or not, but it is different I guess. He’s been known to bait or berate an NBA official or two, though he seems to have pulled back a bit on that over the years as well. As for Paul Allen, he has never sought the spotlight, but that makes him no less a fan than Cuban. He has kept the Blazers competitive over the years, and has always shown a willingness to spend his hard earned dollars to bring a winner to the Rose City. Don’t know if he’d be willing to do an interview while walking on a treadmill, but that probably isn’t important. I do know this. It was Mark Cuban’s suggestion to the league that radio crews get moved off of courtside to allow those seats to be sold at high prices to fans. For that alone, I have reason to dislike him. But more than that, I appreciate an owner who commits resources to his organization and then hires good people and lets them do their job without interfering. That’s why I give the nod here to PAUL ALLEN
SEAN HEATH vs. MARK MASON
-These are the two P.A. announcers for the respective teams. Heath handles the duties for the Mavs at the American Airlines Center. Listen closely in the background as you take in these games played in Dallas. See if you don’t get as annoyed as I do at the incessant prodding from Heath to the Dallas fans. You’ll hear plenty of “DEE-FENSE” or “Let’s go Mavs”. And I don’t mean a few times during a game. You’ll be hearing the chants in your sleep after a game in Dallas. Is there some perception from the Mavs that their fans wouldn’t know what to do unless they’re told to do it first? Now Mason on the other hand is the smooth talking voice of the Rose Garden. A talented and successful radio personality in town, he brings just the right blend of charisma and flair to the P.A mike, but without being overbearing. Behind the guidance of Director of Game Operations Todd Bosma, these guys know you Blazer fans don’t need to be insulted by being told what to do at all times. You’re pretty smart and savvy. That’s what makes you special. Maybe if the Mavs gave their fans a little more credit, Sean Heath wouldn’t be so annoying. But since he is, that’s why I give the nod here to MARK MASON
AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER vs. ROSE GARDEN
-Be honest with me now. When someone says there’s a team that plays at the American Airlines Center, do you know right away who that club is? I mean, the Heat play at Miami’s American Airlines Arena. And really, there’s not much that’s distinctive about the Mavericks’ home arena, over and above the confusion with its’ name. Now when someone says what NBA team plays at the Rose Garden, you know right away what the answer is, and so would any reasonably smart NBA fan this side of Dallas. And that’s not the only reason the Rose Garden is distinctive. The Blazers led the Western Conference in attendance, and would have led the entire league were it not for the fact the Bulls play in a building with a larger seating capacity. The Mavs sell out every game as the Blazers do. I’ll give them that, but like the team, the American Airlines Center is soft. Yeah, I said it! And on top of that, we broadcast on radio from the highest location away from the court of any arena in the league. One more reason why in this category, I give the nod to the ROSE GARDEN
So by my count, Portland wins 4 of the 5 categories I analyzed. That must mean I think the Blazers are going to beat the Mavericks in 5 games in the series. Listen, if it takes all the way to 7 to get it done, it doesn’t matter to me. J.R. Ewing’s a wily adversary, but even he would “get the hell out of Dallas” at the prospects of trying to subdue the Blazers. This is one fight even Ewing Oil can’t win!