I don’t fully get Derek Harper. For example, with a minute left in last night’s game at the Lakers the Mavs’ TV analyst’s breakdown felt a tad hollow.
Asked by play-by-play voice Mark Followill what he expected from the Mavs on the key possession of a tie game, Harper offered only, “I expect that they’ve called the right play coming out of this timeout, and now it’s up to them to execute it.”
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But the former point guard was spot on in his description of Dirk Nowitzki’s game-winning jumper in the final seconds. As Nowitzki sized up a Lakers’ double-team – and before the ball left his hands – Harper exclaimed …
“Let’s go home!”
As in, Dirk’s going to make this shot and win the game, so let’s head for the locker room and get outta here.
Done and done.
Putting a gorgeous exclamation on an otherwise hideous night, Nowitzki swished a 15-foot jumper from the right baseline right in front of LA’s bench with 2.1 seconds remaining. His reward? A 92-90 victory and a pat-on-the-butt acknowledgment from a Laker in a suit. Fella named Kobe Bryant.
While Harper was right and Nowitzki was relieved, the joy will likely be short-lived. Because tonight the Mavs play the NBA’s best team … under the worst circumstances. Consider:
*Golden State is 41-4, including 21-0 at home.
*The Warriors have won 39 in a row at Oracle Arena, where they haven’t lost in almost a full calendar year.
*Golden State is rested, and coming off 30+-point blowouts of the 2nd and 3rd-best teams in the league, the Spurs (30) and Cavaliers (34) in the past week.
*Since their last loss, the Warriors have won four straight by margins of 34, 31, 12 and 30 points.
*The Mavs were taxed in last night’s win over the 9-win Lakers, playing the second of a back-to-back after four of their five starters (including the 37-year-old Nowitzki) played 30+ minutes.
*As if those weren’t enough, the Warriors will be out for revenge. Remember, it was the Mavs who gave the Steph Curry-less Warriors their worst loss of the season – 114-91 back on Dec. 30 in Dallas.
Harper might have his work cut out tonight keeping this telecast entertaining. Because it could very well get ugly, and ugly early.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.