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Sunday, February 27, 2005
Suns @ Mavs Part II
I was pleased that parking was only $5, although the walk in the rain wasn't that fun. The last Spurs game I went to parking equally far away was $20. I think that Rockets parking is still free at the Toyota Center (as it was at the Summitt) -- I'll find out on 4/3. Parking at Suns games ranges from about $0-$5 depending on proximity and timing.
Along the way, I talked to a few scalpers because I needed a ticket. I was a little discouraged when the first few only had seats in section 300+. Then I found a guy with a seat in section 109, row K , with a face value of $109. He wanted $200, but I offered $100. He countered with $175 and I walked away. A couple minutes later, he jogged up to me and offered $140. I probably could have got him down to $120 or so, but I just wanted to get my ticket quickly as it was raining and only about 20 minutes until tipoff. Then I saw why he was jogging: I was about to hit scalper central, where I'm sure I could have gotten a better deal. Whatever, I was happy with my seat.
The line to get in was long as everyone had to go through a metal detector. I don't recall seeing that at any other stadium/arena, and I've been to at least 15 since 9/11, including the Ballpark at Arlington. That sucked because it was raining, but all's fine as long as I don't get exploded [that's a King of the Hill reference].
Once inside, I worked my way to my seat, which was fairly close to where I entered. Not as centered as I would have liked, but a great seat nonetheless. Then I tried to take in the surroundings. The AA Center is huge. There are at least 6 levels (some are only a few rows for press or loge), and it seems as tall as a football dome. Certainly dwarfs AWA, the Erwin Center, and SBC (but still much smaller than Alamo). I also noticed how crappy the side Diamondvision screens were, although those in the center were good. There were plenty of LCDs for stats galore. One part of a level had the Mavs Maniacs (the fat dancers), about 5 drummers, and then a bunch of painted people (super fans?) all in a row. One guy in Suns apparel. A couple people in burnt orange, but I think they were Longhorns, not Suns fans. Cuban is wearing a Terry jersey (go Cats).
The Suns started at the other end of the court from me. During warmups, I was looking for Nash (ok, for a short white guy). Guy stretching a hamstring behind a rack of balls... Joe Johnson. WTF? Then I see Nash in grey sweats. Damn. If I knew that he was sitting out, I might not have made the trip. I bet a lot of Nash fans, many of whom where even wearing Nash Suns jerseys were also disappointed.
I didn't realize that the Mavs drafted the 7'-5" Russian dude, and I had to look at my Devin Harris poster back to figure out who he was. Too bad he didn't play, because a performance like Bradley's could have really helped the Suns.
The Suns introductions were subdued. The Mavs were typical NBA: turn down the lights, start the music. They started some guy named DJ [DI?] Mbenga at center. I wasn't ready for that. I cheered for Finley (wow, already 8 years ago that he was a Sun) and Terry (go Cats).
The first quarter was good and high scoring. Q went nuts and the Suns led 38-31. This also allowed me to be really obnoxious. The guy in Suns gear was quiet. Wuss.
I really have to commend the Mavs fans here. Every Suns dunk and 3 I stood and shouted. Every Mavs no-call or travel I stood and shouted. I told Dirk to learn to rebound after Amare got 3 offensive rebounds in a row. No one ever yelled anything at me, threw anything at me, or even said anything negative within earshot. Truly classy. I also talked to the guy and his son sitting to my right a little bit. Very nice people.
During one timeout, "Maskman" attempted to dunk. He missed, prompting me to say, "It's Chris Anderson!" Some laughter from nearby fans. Later the China Panda panda joined it, but he just danced like a robot. A real panda would've dunked; it couldn't be that much more than a gorilla costume. The Mavs also have some kind of dinosaur or dragon who walks around.
The second quarter wasn't as good as the Mavs came back to lead 71-68 at the half. Lots of Suns on the brink of foul trouble and they shot 62% in the first half, which is tough to sustain (even against the Mavs). This is also the quarter where I bought a beer. 16 oz. Bud Light for $5. I might be wrong based on size or whatever, but that seems incredibly cheap to me. Good job, Cuban. Also, it really soothed my throat after all the cheering.
The halftime entertainment started off as what looked like hip-hop square dancing. I guess they were just warming up because after a little while they were breakdancing like nobody's business. One guy spun only on his head for about 45 seconds, even taking his shirt off as he did it. With about 6 minutes left, I went to the bathroom and there was no line (at halftime - during a sporting event) -- sweet.
The Suns made some progress in the 3rd quarter, but were still down 97-95. This was the quarter where the PA announcer said "De-Fense" every time the Suns got the ball. The crowd didn't really join in, so he became more and more insistent, even scolding them during a timeout. Also talking about people that I couldn't see, the scoreboard operators are crazy fast. Every time I looked to see how many fouls someone had or what the score was, it was already updated. But since when are assists a hussle stat?
Mavs fans really hate Shawn Bradley, and for good reason. He couldn't guard Steven Hunter let alone Amare. At one point, someone yelled, "Take him out!" I responded, "Leave him in!." Good amount of laughter from everyone around. I waited too long to say, "Put in Bradley!" and didn't get to do it. Hard to believe he's been in the league 13 years. I wish he still wore number 76.
During the 4th quarter, the Mavs dancers stood in the aisle right next to me. That was a small distraction from the game, but I'll take it. They were also very nice. At one point, I was taking a picture of the group and one smiled and waived. A little later I got a picture with the hot blonde one (who was sweet even after I showed her my Suns undershirt):
I'm wearing an Amare shirt under the hoody, which I wore because it was raining, and didn't want to make my hair a fro, so I only flashed it a couple times.
The last few minutes were really intense. With about 1:30 to go, the Mavs were up 6 with the ball and had a chance to push it to an insurmountable 8 or 9, but missed two shots. Then Q hit a 3, Amare made some free throws, and JJ hit a wide open jumper with about 5 seconds left to go up by 1. Then Dirk drove to the hoop. I didn't have a very good angle because it was on the other end of the court (Cuban's was even worse because he was on my side of the court, but the other side of the play). The fans went nuts that there was no call, the Suns ran off the court, and Nellie and Cuban went nuts.
After the game, Nellie said that Amare got 8 calls in a row (despite his 10 total free throws). Dirk was more diplomatic, and replays were inconclusive. It's a win and I'll take it.
In all, a great mini road trip and a great experience. Beautiful stadium, nice fans, some originality, and good teams playing at a high level. I really hope that they play each other in the playoffs with both teams having a full compliment of players (Nash for the Suns and Stackhouse/Dampier for the Mavs). Ideally, the Suns would play the Rockets in the first round, the Mavs in the second round, and the Spurs in the third round (although that might bankrupt me and cause me to fail the bar).
Posted by Gel 11:25 PM Post a Comment
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