Posted by edsalwaysright on 3rd June 2011
Down 15 points with a little over 7 minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Dallas Mavericks ended Game 2 on a 22-5 run to stun Miami Heat and even the series at one game apiece. With the game tied at 93 with 24 seconds left, the ball went exactly where everyone knew it would go — Dirk Nowitzski’s hands. A few seconds later, after Nowitzski skillfully went around Chris Bosh, Dallas had a 2 point lead, and now head home for 3 straight games with the NBA Finals all tied up.
So what was the bigger story: the Heat’s collapse or the Mavs’ incredible comeback? Or was it the inexplicable three-point contest LeBron James and Dwayne Wade decided to take part in once Miami had a commanding 4th quarter lead? Mike Bibby making a jump-shot? So many options. Here are my notes and reactions:
—Before we go any further, let’s all promise ourselves to not do what we did after Game 1 and think this series is “over” because someone won a game. The Mavs will not win this series 4-1. The Mavs won’t win this series because of this comeback. The series is tied. That’s what 1-1 means. It also means Game 3 is a huge game, but one that will be as unpredictable as who the Knicks will hire as their new team president now that Donnie Walsh is out. I just sent my resume in. You should probably do the same.
—If I take anything out of Game 2, it’s that the biggest mismatch of these NBA Finals is one that’s gotten almost no attention: Rick Carlisle vs. Eric Spoelstra. I’m no basketball expert, but I’m pretty sure the Heat were running exactly 0 offensive plays in the last 4 minutes of Game 2. It was basically get the ball to Wade or LeBron, set a bunch of crappy screens, and then have LeBron shoot a fade-away 30 footer with Shawn Marion draped all over him. On the other hand, the Mavs in the fourth quarter ran some great plays to get Dirk open, they got the ball inside, found the open shooters, all the things well coached and disciplined teams do in crunch time. And this is just when I was ready to write a “Spoelstra proves all the naysayers wrong and is actually a good coach” post. So much for that.
—Speaking of Shawn Marion (and not to take away from what Dirk did last night – the guy simply has ice water in his veins and is as determined to win as anyone I’ve seen in a long time), if I’m most happy for how well anyone is playing in these Finals it’s him. Marion has basically spent his entire career in the shadow of other players on his team, whether it was Nash and Amare in Phoenix or Wade with the Heat, and is hands down one of the most versatile and underrated players in the game. He can play anything from the 2 to the 4, rebounds defends extremely well, and is a huge part of why the Mavs are even in the NBA Finals. He’s been putting up lines like last night’s (20 points, 9-14 shooting, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block) for 10 years and still gets very little respect. So start respecting my man The Matrix.
—I’m not even close to buying the “the Heat players celebrating in the 4th quarter sparked the Mavs’ comeback.” Give me a break. Don’t get me wrong — it probably didn’t hurt. What also didn’t hurt is the Heat offense completely disappearing, the Mavs not turning the ball over like they did the first 3 quarters, Jason Terry finally making a few shots, and Dirk being Dirk. If the Heat make 1 or 2 of the shots they missed in the last 4 minutes the series would be 2-0 and everybody would be crowning the Heat as the champions of the universe. So while I can understand why some of the Mavs players would say that after the game was over, I don’t think it was what sparked their comeback. Like Dirk said in the post-game, Dallas has a bunch of veteran players that have seen everything and been in just about every situation you can be in playing the game of basketball. They’ve been down in the 4th before and have come back to win games before. Just ask Oklahoma City.
—Bosh is shooting 9 for 34 so far in the Finals… He also had a huge turnover in the last two minutes of last night’s game when the Mavs had trimmed Miami’s lead to 2. And then Nowitzski absolutely abused him to win the game. Not good. Not good at all. And I thought Bosh was the best option to guard Nowitzski… Again, not good.
That’s all I got for today. Thanks for tuning in and make sure to check back in Monday morning for some Game 3 reactions. Also, it’s getting down to the wire in terms of buying your Miami Heat or Dallas Mavericks goods and memorabilia so you can impress your friends and your girlfriend’s dad by showing them how big of a fan you are now that your team is in the Finals. So definitely get on that. Peace.
Tags: 2011 NBA Finals, Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, Game 2, Jason Terry, Lebron James, Miami Heat, NBA Finals, New York Knicks, Shawn Marion
Posted in Basketball Stuff, Dallas Mavericks, EdsAlwaysRight, LeBron James, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA History, NBA Playoffs | No Comments »
Posted by edsalwaysright on 2nd June 2011
The day has finally come. Call the press. Mark your calendars. Two years after being drafted 5th by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2009 NBA Draft, Rick Rubio has finally signed a contract with the team, and plans — for now — to play in the NBA next season. Under law, all babies born in the next 3 days will be named Ricky Rubio. That will be their first names. So their names will be Rick Rubio, and then their last names. So if a child’s last name is Smith, its name… Okay I think you get the point.
Rubio’s arrival to the NBA and the Timberwolves has been delayed by contractual issues involving a $6 million buyout clause Rubio would have had to pay out of his own pocket if he decided to leave his Regal Barcelona (I think that’s a basketball team) last year after he was drafted. It has also been fairly obvious that Rubio has had his doubts about moving to and playing in Minnesota. Now before you go criticize young Ricky, you should remember that he comes from a country that looks like this. And that he’s going to a place that looks like this. And yes, the title of that picture is “desolate.”
That being said, Ricky Rubio now has by far the best name in the NBA, and is surely going to be a massive hit with the good folks of Minnesota. In fact, Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love jumped at the opportunity of welcoming the young Spaniard after hearing the good news, tweeting “Rick Rubio, huh? I’ll believe it when I see it…” Great start. Hey, at least the Timberwolves shouldn’t feel bad about the guys they passed up in the 2009 Draft. I mean Stephen Curry isn’t really all that good, neither is DeMar Derozan or Ty Lawson or Darren Collinson. I mean look at Memphis, they picked Hasheem Thabeet ahead of Tyreke Evans.
Still have no idea who I’m talking about? Perfect. Then it is my honor to introduce you to a future star and one of the purest and rawest talents in recent memory. Move over LeBum. This is Ricky Rubio’s time. [Roll video titled "Born to be Wild"]. Classic.
Tags: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA, NBA Hall of Fame, Regal Barcelona, Ricky Rubio, Spain
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Posted by edsalwaysright on 1st June 2011
Shaquille O’Neal ended a historic Hall of Fame career on Wednesday afternoon, retiring from professional basketball at the tender age of 39. O’Neal steps away from the game with a truly incredible list of accolades to his name, including 4 NBA titles, 15 All-Star selections, 14 All-NBA selections, 3 All-NBA Defensive Team selections, an MVP award, a Rookie of the Year award, 3 Finals MVP awards, and 2 scoring titles. In the 1999-2000 season, O’Neal joined Willis Reed and Michael Jordan as the only 3 players in league history to win NBA MVP, All-Star game MVP, and Finals MVP awards in the same year. Shaq retires as the NBA’s 5th all-time points leader, and is 5th in field goals, 12th in rebounbds, and 7th in blocked-shots. To celebrate Shaq’s storied career, which will be remembered for his shear size and power, ability to electrify crowds and intimidate opponents, and colorful on and off-court personality, here is my list of Shaq’s top-10 nicknames. Enjoy.
10. The Diesel
9. The Big Shamrock
8. Dr. Shaq (shortly after earning his MBA)
7. The Big Leprechaun
6. The Big Banana (”because I peel the life out of the Nets”)
5. The Big Aristotle
4. Shaq Fu
3. The Big Cactus
2. Shaqovic (after he made something like 6 free-throws in a row)
1. Wilt Chamberneezy
Tags: Hall of Fame, Michael Jordan, NBA, NBA Hall of Fame, Shaquille O'Neal, Willis Reed
Posted in Basketball Stuff, Bloggers, EdsAlwaysRight, Hall of Fame, NBA, NBA History, Shaquille O'Neal | No Comments »
Posted by edsalwaysright on 1st June 2011
The much anticipated 2011 NBA Finals finally got underway Tuesday night, as the Miami Heat took Game 1 at home behind yet another strong performance by the Big-3, who racked up 65 points, 28 rebounds, and 14 assists. There was a lot to talk about pre and post game on Tuesday, and a lot of early questions about the Heat-Mavericks match-up got answered in Game 1, so let’s look at some quick reactions/notes from the opening chapter in the 2011 NBA Finals. (Which by the way TNT is trying to sell us as the apocalypse or something, and I’m not going to lie, it’s kind of working. Some of their promos/intros have been nothing short of epic. Like this one.)
—Boy was that first half ugly. 17-16 at the end of the first quarter? 27-26 with 5 minutes left in the first half? I guess it was to be expected with players’ nerves and both teams trying to get a feel for each other in the early goings. Both defenses obviously played a part in the low score — which I’ll get to later — but that was still a brutal half of basketball. When Shawn Marion is making the prettiest plays and shots early on you know things aren’t going well.
—It’s crazy to think that Game 1 was played at exactly the tempo Miami wants the game to be played at, and yet the Heat, who clearly have the better athletes, only had 7 fast break points. It’s also crazy to think that two of the Heat starters, Joel Anthony and Mike Bibby, combined for 0 points. So as much as the talk after Game 1 was about how “the Heat played the perfect game and completely dominated tempo,” let’s keep in mind that this Miami team can beat you in more than one way, and actually played far from a perfect game. So before you go ahead and think that if Game 2 is won in the 110-115 point range the Mavs are golden, remember that Miami has a few guys that aren’t too shabby in an up-and-down track meet type game. Even if only 4 Heat players score and Mike Bibby can’t make an open jump-shot for his life.
—Hate him or love him, LeBron James does things no one else in basketball today can do. That ridiculous fall away three-pointer at the half-time buzzer was inhuman. While any other player taking that kind of shot looks like they’re trying to heave a bowling ball 40-feet through the air, James looks like he’s taking a free-throw during warm-ups. Fact.
—Before I get crucified by the Mavs fans, let me say that Dallas is far from out of it. Everyone will want to jump all over the Heat and crown them champions (sorry they already did that after the Celtics series), but it’s still very early in this series, and as Wade would tell you from leading the Heat back from a 2-0 hole against these very same Mavericks, it’s not over till the fat lady sings. Or in his case it’s not over till the 40,000 people living in Miami who just this year started calling themselves “Heat fans” sing. That being said, the Mavs have a tough task ahead of them. Dirk Nowitzki’s finger injury on his left hand surely won’t make things any easier, and Dallas badly needs to find a way to crack Miami’s defense and get some better match-ups on the offensive end. Having Jason Terry going up against LeBron James is just cruel.
I’ll leave it at that for today, as I could very easily write a book or two on Game 1 and what we can expect to see the rest of this series. Make sure you tune in to Game 2 on Thursday at 9:00 PM Eastern on ABC, and order your jerseys and memorabilia before it’s all over so you can impress your friends and family and show them how you are a huge fan of whoever wins. And yes, that’s a direct stab at Heat “fans.”
Tags: basketball, Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Lebron James, Miami Heat, Miami Heat basketball, Mike Bibby, NBA, NBA Finals, NBA Playoffs, Team-Superstore
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