As the regular season has concluded, in the midst of the playoffs, the regular season awards are being announced. Is it just me or does anyone else wonder why they cannot wait until after the Finals to make the announcements? The awards are kind of overshadowed by the playoffs. While I am not one who really cares a lot about who wins what award, the players have earned them. Why not wait until after the playoffs so that they can have their moment in the sun? But I digress
And just like the playoffs, the Mavs are in the thick of things. Tyson Chandler finished a very respectable third in the Defensive Player of the Year award. Not too bad considering the two guys who placed ahead of him, Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett. This shows that the Mavs made a good decision in signing him and that his efforts have not gone unnoticed. Chandler is going to have to continue to produce at the defensive end of the court if the Mavs are going to do anything in the playoffs.
He is going to play a key role in containing LaMarcus Alderidge and stopping the dreaded “Alley-Oop” of the Blazers. The Mavs consider points from Chandler as a bonus as long as he rebounds and blocks shots. He certainly has added some much needed toughness to the squad. They will need it tonight as the Blazers are guaranteed to come out with a lot of intensity.
In the Sixth Man award, Jason Terry finished second to the Lakers Lamar Odom. Terry, a former winner of the award, should have won this award. Lamar Odom stared just under half of the games this season. While this is under the cutoff, it is a joke. Odom is a great player but was he really a reserve? I think the cutoff should be much lower, like 20 or 25 games, to be considered a true sixth man.
But once again, this proves that the Mavs have talent and it is recognized. This should give Mav fans more optimism for the playoffs. They have talent on defense. They have talent coming off the bench. There is no dominant team this year. Spare me the “the Lakers are just waiting to turn it on” speech. They looked tired against the Hornets. Perhaps the media gave them too much credit this season. This is not a young team and Kobe Bryant is dinged up.
My point is that the West is competitive but it is also wide open. Tonight the Mavs must win to keep pressure on the Blazers and to maintain home-court advantage. I am sure that the Blazers are already feeling pressure to win at home, knowing that the Mavericks are the best road team in the league. I predict another Mavs win tonight, but it will be close.