Sunday, June 12, 2011

NBA Finals Game Six: Pregame thoughts and a (psuedo) Running Diary of the Rest

It's amazing what can happen in two weeks, five basketball games and five quarters of basketball. The last time we wrote, LeBron James was fresh off a complete takeover of the Eastern Conference Finals, proving that he had taken the next step and could succeed in the role of "closer" (or so we thought).
LeBron walked into the Finals on top of the NBA World

What has occurred in the NBA Finals through five games has been baffling. The same LeBron that had the killer instinct in knocking out the Bulls, went back to looking like a scared and uninterested player, scoring just a total of 11 points in five 4th quarters.

I'll admit, I stuck up for LeBron after Game 3, using the argument that Wade was the guy that night, and there was no reason for James to try and take over. He ended up making one of the biggest (and underrated) plays of the game with a tough no-look pass to Chris Bosh(face) for the game winner. After Games 4 and 5 though, its easy to see that LeBron still isn't the player we want him to be. We want him to be THE man. He is the most gifted athlete we've ever seen play in the NBA. He allegedly is "The Chosen One" and "The King". If that's the case, then put your team on your back (Wade included) and live up to your "Global Icon" status. And when you do record the quietest triple-double in NBA history, don't act as if you don't know why people are criticizing your performance.

With all that said, we have some basketball to play and watch. Some thoughts on Game 6 (currently in progress):

-Five minutes remaining in the 1st quarter and Dirk picks up his second foul. Brian Cardinal comes into the game, and the Mavericks go on a 17-3 run to open up an eight point lead right before the end of the first quarter.

-LeBron came out hitting a few jumpers. Definitely important for him to get going early, but no one will REALLY care what he does unless its in the 4th quarter.

-DeShawn Stevenson and Eddie House try to steal the spotlight in the 2nd quarter w/ a barrage of three pointers. After one of House's threes, Stevenson and Haslem start a little "fake tough guy" skirmish (Kevin Durant is smiling) going to timeout. Mario Chalmers came in from out of nowhere to get involved. His nickname should be "The Mosquito", because he is that annoying.

-Since the skirmish, Jason Terry scored 8 of the Mavericks next 11 points to give them a 2 point lead late in the 1st half. Jet has 17 points. Oh, and that guy named Dirk....he's 1-11 shooting. So for those of you scoring at home, the Mavs are up by 2, and Dirk only has only made one FG. If you have any involvement with the Miami Heat franchise, you can't feel good about that.

-At the half, Mavericks lead 53-51. Jason Terry, who was quiet (and called out for it) in the first three games, has now TOTALLY redeemed himself, Lloyd Christmas style. He's got 19, while LeBron has 11, and Dirk is 1-12.


-Dirk hits the first shot he takes. Chalmers makes a three and probably has an annoying little celebration afterwards. Normalcy restored.

LeBron's Disappearing Act in the NBA Finals
-LeBron passes up a 15 ft jumper, and then passes up a wide open 3 pointer only to turn it over on the drive. I don't get it.

-Wade hits a runner in transition to cut the Dallas lead to 65-62. Wade now has a 11, wouldn't be surprised if he goes into take over mode right now.

-And with that said, next possession James has 4-11 JJ Barea guarding him, and he gets called for an obvious offensive foul.

-Brian Cardinal with a hard foul on Chris Bosh. Cardinal's nickname is "The Custodian". Amazing.

-Two minutes later, The Custodian takes a charge on Wade. Wade gets a Technical. The Custodian is seriously having a huge effect on this game. A few plays later he delivers a hard foul on Haslem.

-With 1:49 left to go in the 3rd quarter, LeBron takes (and makes) his first shot of the quarter, a layup in the post. Dallas still leads 74-71.

-Jason Kidd is playing like its 2001. Just throws up a three and it goes in. Actually, in 2001 he couldn't make threes either....but you get what I mean. Dallas up 79-71 w/ under a minute to go in the 3rd quarter.

-Thanks to an Ian Mahinmi 15-footer at the buzzer, Dallas leads 81-72 going to the fourth. That's Mahinmi, number 28 in your program. Story of the game could be LeBron scoring a total of 5 points in the 2nd and 3rd quarter, or Jason Terry dropping 21 thus far, or The Custodian's. But if you really look at it, the Heat have missed 11 free throws thus far. Can't do that in any game, but especially in an elimination game.

-Wade with a STRONG drive to the hoop - gets it but misses the free throw (shocker). I'll say that "Wade is about to takeover" line again, just in case.

-PUERTO RICO......OHHHHHH. Huge three by JJ Barea. Mavs go up 7 with 10 minutes left. Oh, and LeBron is on the bench.

-9:30 left. Heat down 8. LeBron comes back into the game.

-LeBron drives, spins, shoots and hits the backboard and nothing else. That was the possession after D-Wade dribbled off his foot. Heat are falling apart.

-Barea w/ a nifty drive and layup. Mavs up 89-77. Does ABC have a camera anywhere in Puerto Rico??!? They must be going nuts for JJ right now.

-With 7 minutes left, LeBron makes a bucket in the 4th quarter. Cuts the lead to 91-82.

-With 6:30 minutes left, LeBron makes another bucket in the 4th quarter. Heat still down 8.

-With 5:00 minutes left, LeBron drives and turns it over. Heat still down 8.

-Tyson Chandler with a huge offensive rebound to give the Mavs a new :24....didn't someone once say something about rebounding and rings?

-DIRK!!!  WADE!!! Superstars exchange CLUTCH shots with 3:15 left. Anyone seen LeBron lately?

How you like me now? (nice touch w/ the tongue, Dirk)
-DIRK!!! with 2:27, Dirk drains a another  patented fadeaway jumper. Mavs up 99-89 under 2 to play.

-LeBron knocks down a 3 with 1:55 with the Heat down 12. Garbage points, Bron. They don't count.

-DIRK!! with some style points....Mavs go up 103-92 with 25 seconds left.

-The Mosquito hits a 3 to make the score 105-95 with 16 seconds left.

-Mavs dribble out the clock and knock off the Miami Heat. THANK YOU to the Dallas Mavericks. I would say, you have no idea what you've just done...but I think you know. Huge win for sports in general.

-Some final stats: Jason Terry finished with 27 points and one tattoo of the championship trophy on his bicep. Dirk had 21 and another clutch performance down the stretch to quiet the critics. The Custodian had 3 points, 3 hard fouls, took a charge and has a really cool nickname. For the Heat, Wade finishes with 17, while James finishes with a quiet 21, including 7 in the 4th quarter, and another disappointing performance when it counts.

-Congrats to Dirk, J-Kidd, Jet, JJ, and the rest of the Mavs. Huge shoutout to head coach Rick Carlisle, who has long been one of the more underrated coaches in the league. This playoffs, he took down Phil Jackson and the Lakers, took Scotty Brooks "pants off" when it came to coaching, and taught Coach Spo a thing or two in the Finals. With his new crew cut, Carlisle doesn't look like Jim Carey that much anymore, but he does look like an NBA Champion.

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