Everybody realizes the Mavericks have looked horrible, old and tired in their first two playoff games against the Hornets. I'm convinced the Mavs lost this series many months ago when they traded Devon Harris, the only person on this team with the speed and the defensive capabilities to guard Hornets superstar Chris Paul. I was a fervent critic of the trade when it was first talked about and my mind has never wavered on this subject.
But this is not "I told you so," it's about what the Mavs must do before Game 3 Friday night. Now, there's nothing they can do to win this series. All hope of that is gone. But at least they can make the Hornets work a little harder for their wins. But, in order to do this, Mavs coach Avery Johnson must make two changes in his starting lineup. First, he needs to start Jason Terry in place of Jerry Stackhouse. The Hornets are speeding around and through the Mavericks. Terry has the quickness to nullify some of that, at least some of it on the perimeter. He didn't earn the the nickname "Jet" because he makes loud noises.
Starting Terry probably can't be described as "radical," but my next suggestion will be viewed that way in many circles: start Brandon Bass in place of Josh Howard. That noise you might have just heard is the sound of me leaping off the Howard bandwagon. Howard has been described for too long as a player with a huge upside, a lot of potential. However, it is long past time that he lived up to that potential. Besides, Bass knows a lot of the players on the Hornets, knows their tendencies, knows how to guard them and knows how to get around them for good shots. The bottom line is Brass scored 19 points in last night's loss, Howard scored 10.
The playoff axiom is that a series really doesn't begin until one team beats another on the losing team's home court. By starting Terry and Bass, perhaps we can wait at least one more game before this series starts.