Dispatches From DeAndre’s Dallas Experience

Last night I had the opportunity to witness the Clippers’ first visit to American Airlines Center in Dallas since the Great DeAndre Jordan Free Agency Fiasco of 2015. This date had been circled on my calendar since that fateful night this summer when Twitter emojis and rumors of a scorned Mark Cuban driving aimlessly around Houston briefly took over our collective lives. I knew the AAC would be electric, and a late-arriving crowd didn’t disappoint. The few that were there pre-tip off even booed DJ in warmups as he practiced clanking free throws. Here was his official introduction:

As the game got underway, we were amused that each time DeAndre touched the ball he was booed mercilessly. I was even more amused when another fan in my section lamented that he doesn’t really touch the ball all that much, so he couldn’t boo as much as he wanted. See DJ, you could have been the centerpiece here in Dallas!

For the record I think Jordan made the right decision for his career to stay in L.A., he just made it in the most clumsy fashion imaginable and hurt Dallas’ chances to land another big free agent in the process. But as the crowd booed every rebound and post up from DeAndre, it got me thinking of the irony. Perhaps Dallas dodged a bullet with Jordan’s change of heart. They aren’t going anywhere this season anyway. How much better could they have been with DeAndre? Not enough to make much of a dent in the West, and while he would have boosted Dallas’ porous defense, his one-dimensional offensive game doesn’t seem to fit the mold of a Rick Carlisle attack. I looked to Twitter for backup on these jumbled thoughts and it delivered. Here’s a tweet from Eric Freeman that perfectly captured the irony that was unfolding before me:

Eric Freeman (@freemaneric)

Mavs fans just cheered the failed DeAndre Jordan post-up that was supposed to be the focus of their offense.
DeAndre generally struggled all night, but did shut the crowd up with a sweet early dunk off a Chris Paul alley-oop:
Another thing I learned on Twitter during the game was that Jeff Van Gundy dropped a verbal bomb on the Dallas fans, essentially calling them hypocritical for booing Jordan then turning around and cheering for Greg Hardy on Sundays. I may need to stop going to Mavs games that are broadcast on ESPN so I don’t miss these JVG gems. Last season I went to see my Bulls play the Mavs, when Van Gundy famously crushed John Paxson on air, in defense of his buddy Tom Thibodeaux. Van Gundy is always inflammatory and his observation is interesting. It misses the point a bit, however. I agree with him that what DeAndre did pales in comparison to the misdeeds of Hardy, and at the end of the day we shouldn’t be throwing too much shade at a 27-year old making an 8-figure financial decision with the whole world watching. But the fans last night are not in the wrong for booing. I mean, c’mon. It was a Wednesday night in North Texas, just game number eight of an 82-game slog for a bad Mavs team. The DeAndre game gave people something to be excited about. It was a reason to care and be enthusiastic about basketball in November. It was a net positive. The guy who was relentlessly told he sucks may disagree, though.
Plus, it’s really incomprehensible just how bad DeAndre is at shooting free throws. So it was amusing to watch sequences like this (also listen for the guy calling Doc Rivers a douchebag):

The fans left happy as Dallas pulled out a close victory, led by Dirk Nowitzki’s 31 points. It was an impressive win for the Mavs, in what may amount to the highlight of their season. DeAndre and the Clips have bigger fish to fry, but for one night Dallas had the last laugh.

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