Game 1: final minutes of the 4th quarter. I’m watching the game in the master bedroom. My wife had the living room TV held hostage for Real Housewives of whatever. She fell asleep at about the 3rd quarter but there was no way I was leaving the comforts of the bedroom and switching TV’s. Not at this moment. What am I crazy? That’s Jinx 101. Never switch TV’s with a lead. Mavs take a lead with Dirk Free throws and I’m now off the bed and standing in front of the TV with sweaty palms and feet. I’m hoping that with all the bad luck this season that we finally make a stop. Inbounds pass goes to Durant… 6 seconds, 5 seconds…… Marion with the tough D….. 4, 3, 2…….Durant prayer goes up and my eyes grow big. The ball bounces off the rim…..I make a mouse like squeal….. Then the ball bounces off the top of the backboard and in. Devastation. So I do the usual thing where I yell quietly as to not wake my kids then progress to hitting the pillow and bed as hard as I can with my fists. The Anti-Stoudemire move. Mavs lose.
Game 2: Final minutes of the 4th quarter. I’m watching this game from my living room. I’ve already switched couches once and it resulted in our 16 point comeback so you’re welcome, Dallas. But then the game became too tight for me to just sit there. So I started my “playoffs pace”. This is where I find some things to do around the room and kitchen and just listen for the roar of the crowd or the exhausted sighs after an OKC turnover or Dallas made basket. I cringe every time I hear the crowd lose their minds after an OKC bucket. When Fisher hit the 3 in the corner to put OKC up by 4, I nearly had an aneurism. But by the time that Dirk pulls up for a wide open 3, I’m back in the living room with arms raised ready to celebrate a dagger!! Right? Nooooo, he missed it. I immediately pick up my phone and mass text about 5 buddies with, “Dirk, how did he miss that? That was the game”. At this point I’m sitting on the floor with hands covering my face. The intensity of the moment was so……..intense. It was either time to jump for joy after a defensive stop or find the nearest thing to throw. This was about the time that Terry fouled Durant on the out of bounds play to send Durant to the line for the ultimate game winners. I can’t repeat the words that came out of my mouth. Only I, Tony Clayton, will ever know what was said at that moment. The last possession was a mess and we lose again.
As much as it hurts to lose these games, I’m happy that these feelings and emotions were present. Yes, a win is always most important. But these Mavericks have played harder than most of you thought. It’s been the best series by far in these 2012 playoffs and I’m happy that our team is part of it.
With all that being said, its time to win and get this series back. It’s time to get back to the AAC and smack this OKC Thunder team square in the face. I want to see some rowdy fans in the lower section at the arena. I want to see less blazers, cocktails, and trophy wives, and more Mavs gear and painted faces. We need to at least attempt to match the intensity of the OKC crowd. At home I expect a few more Mavericks 3 pointers to fall and I also expect some home cooking. I cant wait to hear the boos for James Harden when he flops around the court like a dead fish and I cant wait for our crowd to cheer at a horrible shot selection from Russell Westbrook. I’m looking forward to Kendrick Perkins getting T’d up and our crowd going absolutely nuts.
Most of all, I’m ready for the World Champions to put a stamp on these 2012 playoffs and let the world know that we aren’t going out like a bunch of punk bit…… Let me rephrase. I’m ready for the Mavs to come out and show the NBA that this is no “rebuilding” year. This isn’t a year for “tanking.” This isn’t the “boo hoo, we didn’t sign Tyson Chandler” season that gives us a cop out for getting bounced in the first round. This will NOT be the “Lamar ruined the Mavs season” year. This will be the year where we proved the doubters wrong again. It doesn’t mean that we’ll win it all again. But it does mean that we’re going to go down fighting. Last I checked; no young, cocky, inexperienced team has ever won a title. What happened to respecting the team with seasoned vets and proven champions? I didn’t get the memo.
There’s not a single player in that locker room throwing in the towel. So why are you?