Thursday, November 28, 2013

Golden State Warriors 99 at Dallas Mavericks 103 - November 27, 2013

I've been writing this blog for nearly 5 years now, and I find that it really helps me keep track of all the places I've been and games I've seen. For example, I forgot that I had been to Dallas back in February for the Mavericks, the first game on a great 3-week road trip. Well, I didn't really forget, I just thought it had been in 2012. With so much that has gone on in my life since then (marriage, leaving Asia, NFL Road Trip) this year has been a blur and things that happened 9 months ago seem to be far longer in the past.

This is my third trip to the Big D since 2011, when I did a Thanksgiving tour, seeing four games in four days. Having seen both NHL and NBA games at American Airlines Center, I didn't really expect to visit them again, but a couple of interesting matchups and very cheap tickets convinced me otherwise. Yesterday it was the Stars and Ducks ($15), today it was the Mavericks and Warriors. I had checked ticket prices beforehand on TicketMaster and there were upper level seats for $25, so that was what I expected to spend. After stopping by Dealey Plaza, I walked over to the arena, getting there quite early. There were few scalpers around, so I went to the box office, where I was surprised by a very long line, with many fans in town for the football game. I heard the guy in front of me mention that he is a Maple Leaf fan, which I found surprising. Turns out he and his friends are from Halifax and they were here for the NFL as well, but they had stopped by to see if they could add an NBA game to their itinerary. Always good to meet fellow Canadians on their own sports road trips.

Anyway, when I finally got to the box office 20 minutes later, I asked for the cheapest single. The clerk said "I think we have one for five dollars." I was a bit confused, I am old and my hearing isn't as good as it once was. He must have said $25 because that was the cheapest I saw online, and no team sells tickets for $5 any more. To test my theory, I handed him $20, expecting him to ask for a fiver as well. Instead, I received a single seat in 318, row J (one row behind where I sat for the third period in last night's Stars' game) and $15 in change. The view from the seat is below:

I had brought binoculars though, so it worked quite well. Again, $5 for an NBA game featuring one of the most exciting teams in the league is unbelievable.

The Game

Both clubs were 9-6 coming in, with Dallas boasting a 7-1 record at home, while the Warriors had won the night before in New Orleans. These back-to-back contests are de rigueur in the NBA and the Warriors were 0-4 in the second half of such games so far. They took a quick 4-2 lead and that was it. The Mavericks used some sharp shooting and a number of Golden State turnovers to take a 17-point lead late in the second quarter, but the Warriors got a couple of 3-pointers from Stephen Curry (below, battling with DeJuan Blair) to make it 55-46 at halftime.

Late in the third quarter, Golden State had drawn within 4 points, but a 9-2 run by the Mavericks, including a 3-pointer by Vince Carter and a buzzer beating runner from promising rookie Shane Larkin (son of Barry), had them up 82-71 at the final break.

The lead again increased to 17 points and it looked like Dallas would win easily, with a 99-82 lead and just five minutes to go. Time to leave, right? Not in the NBA!  Golden State went on a 13-0 run, helped by a Monta Ellis technical foul and a couple of three balls from Klay Thompson and it was 99-95, still with over 2 minutes to go. I took the opportunity to run downstairs and saw Samuel Dalembert dunk to restore the 6-point lead, but Curry responded with a couple of free throws. Without calling timeout, Dallas ran a play and Dirk Nowitzki made a jumper. Dalembert fouled David Lee on the next possession and Lee made his two free throws (above) with 46 seconds left.  Golden State did not foul and allowed Dallas to run the clock down to 23, where Ellis missed a jumper. The Warriors missed a 3, called their final timeout, and missed a couple of more shots and just like that, the game was over.

I find it interesting that the Mavericks took 17-point leads on two occasions, only to let the Warriors climb back within 4 both times before they stemmed the tide. So much of basketball is runs, where a 9-0 dash can take just 5 total possessions. The difference in this game was turnovers, with the Warriors giving it up 18 times compared to just 6 for Dallas. Curry finished with 29 points (a far cry from the 54 he scored in New York in February, another 4-point loss for Golden State) while Nowitzki led Dallas with 22, one of six Mavs to finish in double figures.

It was an enjoyable and entertaining game, and yet more evidence that you should never leave early, even if you paid only $5.


The Raiders are visiting the Cowboys, making it three straight California teams in Dallas this week. I believe this is just a scheduling coincidence, but it makes a great Thanksgiving sports road trip for those   fans living in California.

Although American Airlines has changed their livery, they haven't updated the model airplanes in the arena yet. I guess I'll have to come back one more time to see that.



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