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Tag:Dirk Nowitzki
Posted on: June 12, 2011 1:59 pm
 

NBA Finals Game 6: Sleepless in Miami



Posted by Matt Moore

MIAMI -- The next day is the biggest game of their lives. That phrase is used so often, but, really, the moment is here. On Saturday night the Mavericks went to bed knowing that when they woke up, it would be the day the could concievably win a championship. For so many of the players, this is the moment they've worked for their entire lives. And that can lead to excitement, good and bad. 

Both Tyson Chandler and Shawn Marion told reporters Sunday morning that they didn't sleep much at all Saturday night. Chandler said he had barely slept in the playoffs, saying he only got about four or five hours a night. When asked if that was a good thing, Chandler smiled and said "It's been working, so I'm going to stick with it."

Marion on the other hand was a bit more blatant in not hiding his excitement.

"Not at all. You guys didn't sleep either. Y'all just as excited as we are."

Sleep has been a recurring theme of these Finals, with LeBron James saying he couldn't sleep before Game 1, and again before Game 5. In a series that has been as tight as it can possibly be, with every game coming down to a handful of possessions, it's no wonder both teams are caught up in the excitement and having long nights. It's been a "grind" as both coaches have said. If the Mavericks make good on their intention, they'll sleep late after celebrating, while the Heat will want to hibernate for the summer.
Posted on: June 12, 2011 1:29 pm
Edited on: June 12, 2011 1:31 pm
 

Brendan Haywood game-time decision for Game 6

Posted by Matt Moore

MIAMI -- Rick Carlisle nodded when asked about Brendan Haywood's availability, but said that once again Haywood would be a game-time decision for Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Haywood was injured in Game 2, sat out Game 3, played Game 4, sat out Game 5, so there's no telling about his availability.

Ian Mahinmi and Brian Cardinal both played well for the Mavericks in Game 5, with Mahinmi actually getting an and-one dunk and Cardinal being a presence defensively even in stopping LeBron James. It's not clear how much the Mavericks are going to need Haywood considering the likelihood of Tyson Chandler playing 45-plus minutes in Game 6. We'll keep you updated on Haywood's status in our Game 6 Experience.
Posted on: June 12, 2011 1:27 pm
 

It hasn't been all fun and games for the Heat

Posted by Royce Young



MIAMI -- They make sure to give the appearance of fun all the time. The joking, laughing, ahem, celebrating -- LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Heat try to enjoy themselves despite all the negative attention.

But it's not always good times.

"There's been times where we probably where we went through stages and didn't have fun with the game," Dwyane Wade said. "We've had fun, we haven't had fun. We've celebrated, we haven't celebrated, whatever the case may be."

LeBron jumped in. "Should you have said that?" he said, tongue firmly in cheek.

"There's three days left in the season, I don't [care]," Wade responded.

LeBron: "Well, it might get blown out of proportion."

Maybe it wasn't intentional, but the two clearly had a little fun right there in that exchange. But with the way the team has been hammered constantly with negative media attention and an eye on their every move, it would be natural to think that this whole thing might've had some of the joy sucked out of it.

That stuff though, the outside stuff, isn't what has really affected LeBron though. He repeatedly said he was prepared for it and understands that it comes with the territory. To his credit, he's never complained about what's been thrown at him. He takes it, and moves on. What gets to him is when things aren't going well on the court.

"Losing is never fun of course," he said. "Honestly the way we've gotten to this point in our career is by having fun with the game of basketball. I've always said once the game stopped being fun, there's no reason for me to be out on the court. That's the way I've always approach the game on and off the court."

That "fun" they have had though, seems to be what gets them in hot water at times. The so-called celebration in Game 2 that supposedly sparked a major Mavs comeback. The coughing incident before Game 5. Those are moments where it's kind of just boys will be boys, but have clearly backfired on the team. It's really just LeBron and Wade being themselves and trying to have a good times while playing a game -- remember these are grown men dribbling a ball while running around in shorts and tanktops -- but because of the situation, it's perceived as arrogance and ego.

What they do probably lack is a bit more self-awareness. Wade said yesterday that the coughing thing was just mean to be a prank on the media to see if they'd blow it up. Mission accomplished, he said. But not understanding the distraction that causes and how that sort of thing just piles on to the mountain is what frustrates people. They might just be having fun with stuff, but sometimes you've got to act like an adult, like a businessman.

Both LeBron and Wade have done their best to always keep perspective on their situation. Basketball is fun. That's why they play it. That's why they put in all this work. But like LeBron said, losing isn't fun. It's the opposite of fun. When he had to watch the Spurs celebrate a title on his home floor in Cleveland in 2007, he summed it up simply saying, "It sucked."

And if Dallas finishes out the Heat in Miami tonight and LeBron has to watch another team dance on his home floor, there will definitely be no joy in South Beach.
Posted on: June 12, 2011 12:37 pm
Edited on: June 12, 2011 12:48 pm
 

2011 NBA Finals: Game 6 Experience

Posted by EOB staff

Welcome to our Game 6 Experience, where you can interact with us as we bring you pregame thoughts, quotes, video, audio and the rest. We'll be tracking Game 6 material live from Miami and on the web throughout the day. 


 
Posted on: June 12, 2011 12:32 pm
Edited on: June 12, 2011 12:34 pm
 

Matrix didn't bring enough socks for a Game 7



Posted by Matt Moore

MIAMI -- Shawn Marion does not consider himself a role player, he does not consider himself a "reformed" defensive player, and Shawn Marion has no intention of seeing a Game 7 in Miami.

Marion told reporters at shootaround before Game 6 Sunday in Miami that he hasn't even brought enough clothes to see a possible Game 7 should the Heat win tonight.

"I only brought two pairs of socks," Marion said. When pressed on the question, Marion simply repeated, "I only brought two pairs of socks." 

The confidence of the Mavericks has been overwhelming in these playoffs, and no one exemplifies it more than Marion. In these playoffs, Marion has defended Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James, while also providing offense. He has hustled in transition, kept his head up and kept himself out of foul trouble, and approached each game as if it was the last, while also not burning out emotionally. He's set the bar as the rest of the Mavericks veterans have. With one more game to validating a career with a championship ring, his confidence doesn't read as false bravado, but as determination.

The only thing standing in Marion's way of a trip home to the washing machine with a title is the Miami Heat.
Posted on: June 12, 2011 12:10 pm
Edited on: June 12, 2011 12:15 pm
 

Sniffle-gate, day four: No comment

Posted by Royce Young

MIAMI -- On rolls the playoffs' most ridiculous story.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade spoke to the media after shootaround and it took about 10 questions for someone to finally ask about their response to Dirk Nowitzki calling their coughing act before Game 5 "childish" and "ignorant."

LeBron sort of turned his head as if to say, "Really? We're still asking about this?" and simply said, "We don't have a comment."

The reporter then asked Wade for his reaction.

"We don't have a comment," LeBron said again, speaking for Wade.

It's almost like they're trying to make this story go away or something. Or, maybe someone can go ahead and get fired up about them dodging the question. See, it's a no-win situation here for them. Which is probably why they really should've avoided this in the first place.

But I look forward to someone asking Dirk about LeBron and Wade saying "no comment" and then later asking LeBron and Wade about Dirk's response to the no comment. Really, I don't see an end in sight for Sniffle-gate.

Well, unless the Mavs go ahead and finish this up tonight I suppose.
Posted on: June 12, 2011 12:46 am
Edited on: June 12, 2011 1:04 am
 

NBA Finals Fix: Mavs looks to close out Heat

The Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat will play Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals in Florida on Sunday night. Posted by Ben Golliver.




One Big Thing: For the fourth time in the 2011 NBA playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks get the opportunity to close out a series on Sunday night, this time against the Miami Heat on Sunday night. In their first three opportunities, the Mavericks went 3-0, winning by an average margin of 108-93. In other words, when presented with the chance to put someone away, they've handled their business with the utmost professionalism.

Those numbers are spiked a bit by their ludicrous Game 4 performance against the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Mavericks also held off a late charge by the Portland Trail Blazers on the road and handled the Oklahoma City Thunder with extreme care down the stretch at home. All three closeouts came on the heels of emotional wins, much like Dallas' thrilling win in Game 5. Against the Blazers, Dallas won an important bounceback Game 5 after collapsing in Game 4. Against the Lakers, Dirk Nowitzki took over in Game 3 against the Lakers, frustrating them to the point that they totally melted down -- flagrant fouls and ejections in a blowout loss -- in Game 4. Against the Thunder, Dallas won a pivotal Game 4 in overtime that swung momentum in their favor for good.

In the Finals, the Mavericks are coming off of their best game of the series, a solid Game 5 win in which they shot the lights out, played excellent defense down the stretch and frustrated LeBron James for at least the third game in a row. Do those factors and recent history point to Dallas closing this one out in their first opportunity once again? 

The X-Factor: Who else could it be except for James? His pedestrian play in Dallas left the assembled media befuddled. Where was the stellar late-game play he displayed in Miami's earlier battles against the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls? Why was he so disengaged? The X-Factor in Game 6 is how often James gets to the line. He can keep Miami in games as a facilitator, but he can only push the Heat to their best performances and premier offensive efficiency levels when he parades to the charity stripe.

His free throw splits in the postseason are amazing. Against the Philadelphia 76ers, he averaged 10 free throws per game. Against the Celtics, 8.4 free throws per game. Against the Bulls, 8.8 free throws per game. Those numbers compare favorably with his regular season average of 8.7. In the Finals, James has averaged just 3.2 attempts per game. There's just no way that he can continue at that rate if Miami hopes to win both Games 6 and 7.

The Adjustment: Will Heat coach Erik Spoelstra make any adjustments? While Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has changed his starting lineup (adding J.J. Barea), shuffled his rotation (cutting down Shawn Marion's minutes), benched a player (Peja Stojakovic) and creatively dealt with an injury (Brendan Haywood) during the course of the Finals, Spoelstra hasn't done much. He's stuck with his guns, for better or worse.

With Miami's back against the wall, we'll see whether Spoelstra stays the course or if he finally gives into desperation a bit. The most obvious change would be to cut down point guard Mike Bibby's minutes, opting either to go with a bigger lineup or to lean more heavily upon (and perhaps to start) Mario Chalmers. Defensively, he could also re-think his late-game defense on Dirk Nowitzki, who has twice beaten single coverage to deliver a game-winning basket. Spoelstra also needs to get Chris Bosh back into the flow, pray that Dwyane Wade won't be limited by his hip contusion and hope James doesn't wear down after he's been ridden into the ground by playing such heavy minutes throughout the postseason. 

Can Spoelstra find a new approach to dealing with these problems? 

The Sticking Point: Miami's home crowd has been derided as a joke all season long. They show up late, wear goofy clothing, require sheets to be used to cover up all the empty seats and are about as unintimidating as a crowd can be. To this point, it hasn't really mattered. Miami was 30-11 at home during the regular season and 9-1 at home in the postseason.

But these are the games in which homecourt advantage mean the most. To fight off a veteran, experienced, clicking team like the Mavericks, the Heat need every possible advantage, and that includes a rowdy crowd that can get on officials, distract free throw shooters and make late-game communication in halfcourt sets more difficult. Miami doesn't really have that ace in its hole. Could that prove to be a fatal Achilles heel?
Posted on: June 11, 2011 9:23 pm
 

Stevenson denies dissing LeBron James on Facebook

Dallas Mavericks guard DeShawn Stevenson denies posting a disrespectful message about LeBron James on Facebook. Posted by Ben Golliver. stevenson-james
 
The assaults on LeBron James have come from every direction during the 2011 NBA Finals.

The local and national media have taken plenty of shots. Multiple members of the Dallas Mavericks -- Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, DeShawn Stevenson -- have sent barbs his way. Everyone from television commentators to casual observers have questioned his fourth quarter abilities. But there is one place James doesn't need to worry about hearing smack talk: Stevenson's Facebook page.

One day after ProBasketballNews.com reported that an anti-LeBron message -- "I told em Lebron is Overrated but did they listen? swag." -- appeared on a Facebook page bearing Stevenson's name, the Mavericks guard told ESPNDallas.com that he does not have an account on the social networking site.
“There’s like 37 people that are acting like me on Facebook,” Stevenson said. “I mean, if you look at me and look at all these tattoos, do you think I’d be sitting on the Internet and typing? C’mon, man. Sometimes you’ve got to look at a person. I would not be in my house on a computer typing nothing about anybody.

“I can’t get on there because I would say something reckless,” Stevenson said. “That’s why I don’t have nothing on there. That’s why really I can’t have one.” 
Yes, Stevenson really just played the "I'm technologically illiterate because I am tattooed" card, which is a new one, at least to me.

Stevenson made national headlines earlier in the series, when he said James "checked out" of the fourth quarter of Game 4. The two have exchanged words in the press for years.

James' response at the time was simply: "Talk is cheap." 

If talk is cheap, what does that make an unverified Facebook status update? Cut-rate? Broke? Bankrupt?
 
 
 
 
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