Discord In Dallas

Are the Mavericks falling apart?

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

The Dallas Mavericks are set to tip off for game 4 of the NBA Finals tonight and it's as must win as any game you can get seeing that the Mavs are down 2-1 in the series and a 3-1 hole would all but spell defeat for them. You'd think that, with this crucial a challenge ahead of them, they would be banding together and searching for keys in breaking the granite-like Miami defense.

You'd thing that, but you would be wrong.

Instead of gearing up and prepping for the next slobberknocker of a game, the Mavs are instead throwing their own teammates under the buss. More specifically, Dirk Nowitzki is throwing Jason Terry under the buss for his lack of fourth quarter production.

"They keep sticking him [James] on Jet in the fourth quarters and he's been doing a good job," Nowitzki said. "Jet hasn't really been a crunch-time, clutch player for us the way we need him to."

As far as teammate bashing goes, I'll admit this is pretty tame…and pretty accurate. With LeBron James playing clamp-down defense on Terry, he has went 0-7 in the closing period of the two games the Mavericks lost. That's including 0-4 Sunday night where Dirk put up 34 and the Mavericks fell just 3 points shy of victory.

"They know to take me out of the fourth quarter, which they didn't do in Game 2," Terry said of the Heat's choice to turn to James defensively, "then they got a good chance."

As tame of a call out as that was, however, doesn't change the fact that Nowitzki still came to the media with his complaints of Terry's fourth quarter disappearances instead of keeping it in the locker room. This is a clear sign of frustration and when you team leader is the one showing the frustration, then things are going south fast.

I have to give Terry credit though, his game may be off in the closing frame but he hasn't lost his positiveness and he hasn't let this public scolding get to him.

"It's a call to arms. One man's not going to win it," Terry said. "Obviously, the big-wig [Nowitzki] is going to need to get some help, and I'm going to tell you this — that we will be there in Game 4."

With 2 games in the next 3 nights, the turning point in these games are going to be who has the fresher legs. This late in the season, it takes longer to recover from a game and with just one day of rest, it's going to be tough on both squads. For the older Dallas team, that means relying on a much touted bench that has underperformed so far in these Finals. Without them, the Mavs can just hand over the Finals trophy to the Heat.

We're going to have to ride our horses. It's just going to have to be something we have to do," Terry said. "They're doing it on their end. Hey, you got eight, seven days, however many days are left in this series. If you can't go out there and play 40-plus minutes as a major cog in the wheel, then you shouldn't be here."

Photo Courtesy of: ASSOCIATED PRESS