"Parker got into the teeth of our defense and caused problems. Every time he drives the lane, we have to put him on his back. The first foul has to tell him he's in for a long night. My first foul Thursday night is going to put him on his back. I guarantee it." -- Erick Dampier
This bit of ineluctable clip board material, as you may have noticed, came from Erick Dampier in the wake of Monday’s 105-84 shellacking in San Antonio, during which Tony Parker scored an easy, breezy, beautiful 38 points.
This could spell trouble (more on this later), but it was also vaguely refreshing to hear one Maverick incensed to such a degree. Presumably anyone who watched Parker score his first 19 points, all in the first quarter, noticed that most of them came without the Frenchman being so much as breathed on.
On the occasion that Parker was fouled, it was light, generally impotent and served no purpose other than giving him three points on the play rather than two.
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This, of course, is a far cry from Dallas’ victory in Game 1, when Jose Barea and others pressured Parker into a frenzy, forcing turnovers and bad shots.
Now, if this was 1983, and Larry O’Brien was running the show, Dampier’s remarks would have ostensibly gone on San Antonio’s proverbial clip board and be forgotten about otherwise. But alas, it is 2009, David Stern is at the helm, and he (seemingly) has an itchy trigger finger when it comes to suspensions.
Dallas fans may remember Jerry Stackhouse’s flagrant foul on Shaquille O’Neal in the 2006 finals that resulted in a suspension and aided in Dallas’ playoff hopes sinking like the Bismarck. Whether or not the foul was worthy of a suspension is another debate; I would (still) say it wasn’t, and that it may have been (probably was) the softest suspension-inducing foul in history. But I digress.
The point here (I promise, I have one), is that now, post remarks, Dampier will have to watch himself in a careful manner that he probably wouldn’t have otherwise. In fact, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if Stern is preparing a statement now, forbidding Damp from touching his No. 1 jersey seller in France whatsoever.
Let’s assume that Dampier gets tossed on Thursday; Tim Duncan will most likely drop thirty or so boring and fundamentally sound points while Dallas loses and the maverick of Mavericks cools off in the locker room.
This is a loathsome scenario, particularly if you believe the Mavericks can bounce back and win the series.
Given the fact that Dallas shares the best post-All-Star break home record in the NBA with the juggernaut Cleveland Cavaliers, this isn’t at all a pipe dream.
The series will shift to Dallas for Game 3 on Thursday night.