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Tag:Caron Butler
Posted on: June 3, 2011 2:10 am
Edited on: June 3, 2011 6:00 am
 

NBA Finals: Mavericks still kings of the comeback



Posted by Matt Moore

Down 15 with 6:32 to go, it looked over. There would be no drama, not against this Heat team, with their defense, with their stars, with their closers.

Right?

Down one with 1:37 to go, this wasn't happening again. It couldn't. You can't keep making these types of comebacks in the playoffs, and the Heat were a better, more experienced team than that. 

Right?

Tie-game, Dirk with the ball, a foul to give for Miami. The double would come, the Heat's defense would hold, and the superstars would have their say.

Right?

Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. Left-handed, no-handed, it doesn't matter. Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks are the Kings of the comeback, and long may they reign. The talk in the postgame pressers was about 2006 and how the Heat had done this exact same thing to the Mavericks. The Mavs aren't aware of that. 

"During the game, you don't think about anything like that," Nowitzki said. "You're caught in the moment as a player out there. You compete right there. You take every position like it's the last in The Finals. "

The Mavericks keep doing this because it builds off the experience that they have and the confidence they play with. The mighty Thunder were felled because eventually emotion is a crutch. The Lakers had their leg swept out because the Lakers were too used to success. And the Heat found out the hard way that eventually the tough shots don't fall and the answer isn't to take more of them. It's to make adjustments. Instead, the Heat elected to get away from everything that had worked. Doubling Dirk Nowitzki had been the answer all night, as they forced misses and turnovers. The Heat went into one-on-one defense against Dirk on the final possessions. He burned them. 

A comeback isn't some massive wave of offense. It's, as Erik Spoelstra would love to say, a grind.

"We kind of chip away one possession at a time" said the Big German. "We talked about getting stops. That was the big thing."

Rick Carlisle urged the players not to get caught up in getting it all back at once. 

"The key thing is to understand that there's no six-point plays. You're going to have to do it one step at a time with a stop, and then a good shot, and then hopefully a score, and then a stop."

The Mavs haven't been a great defensive team these playoffs, outside of these runs which have netted them so many wins. They lock in, they lock down, they lock out, and they walk out with the win.

But is this sustainable? Can the Mavericks keep counting on these kinds of performances?

That depends on if the bounces go their way, as Nowitzki suggested, and if the team continues to believe, which Rick Carlisle has been tattooing on reporters' heads this week. After Game 2, he was as vocal about it as ever. 

"If you're going to win a championship, you've got to have the wherewithal to hang in there when things are tough. You have to keep believing," Carlisle said. "All year our guys have believed. And tonight was another good example."

Posted on: June 3, 2011 1:47 am
Edited on: June 3, 2011 6:03 am
 

NBA Finals: Mavs stay responsible to take Game 2



Posted by Matt Moore

Beyond the finger, beyond the comeback, beyond the celebrations, beyond the collapse, Dallas didn't let this thing get out of hand. You want to make a comeback like that, you can't let it get away from you. Give up the lead too early and you'll exhaust yourself trying to recover. The lead ballooned to 15 in the fourth before the Mavs came storming back to take Game 2, but they would have been facing too steep a hill to climb had the Mavs not done their part to keep hanging around.

Dirk Nowitzki couldn't buy a bucket. Jason Terry couldn't find net. Jason Kidd was committing turnovers, for crying out loud. And the Mavericks hung in there. It's a formula that's worked in the playoffs time and time again with experienced teams. Because experienced teams are responsible to one another and are held responsible to one another. In a power structure like Miami, it's different. Not bad, necessarily. After all, we are talking about a tied series. Take for example the Mario Chalmers 3-pointer that tied the game before Dirk Dirked Miami. It was a blown coverage, no doubt. But there was no deflection postgame. Yes, it was a win, which makes it easier. But both Jason Terry and Jason Kidd both said "that was my mistake" on the play. It's not just about the leadership by example. It's about the example, especially down on the road. Dallas needed this win, and they got it because, when the stars were down, other players stepped up.

Shawn Marion's obligations in this series go about 17 different directions. Defend LeBron and Wade on the pick-and-roll. Control the defensive glass. Hit shots when open on the cut. Get in the passing lanes. Stay aggressive, stay aggressive, stay aggressive. Rick Carlisle's aware of what Marion contributed throughout the game when the rest of the team was trying to find themselves.

"Marion was great... He's got the toughest job on the planet right now guarding LeBron James, and you know, he just came off a series where he was chasing (Kevin) Durant around."

Marion isn't just playing a supporting role for these Mavericks. He's doing everything asked and then giving more.

"What we're really asking him to do is give us everything he can defensively," Carlisle said after Game 2. "And the offense he's given us is really helping as well."

Marion's floaters and odd hook shots helped the Mavericks in three key areas. They won the points in the paint, with Marion doing damage in the post and off the cut. Due to his size and athleticism, Marion is the Mavericks' only player who can finish off the catch, driving and with a defender closing. That's a big adjustment from Game 1, and the impact was noticeable. Marion was also out in transition, using that speed to finish including a layup with James chasing him down.

It was Marion's work offensively that put them in a position to close this game out, and his defense down the stretch that cut off the Heat's closers who had been so money lately. Marion was matched up one-on-one with LeBron James twice down the stretch. James went 0-2.

If Marion's offense and work on James wasn't the foundation for keeping the Mavs within range, it was Tyson Chandler adding 14 rebounds and keeping the Heat off the glass.

Dirk Nowitzki spoke about Chandler's impact after the game.

"We did a better job, I thought, with pick-and-roll coverage today. He really stepped out there and impacted the ball."

The Mavericks are so experienced, so solid, it's no wonder these comebacks keep happening, amazing as they are. For the Mavericks, they might be excited about their performance, but not surprised.

"We was poised," Marion said. "We didn't get rattled. And we knew we could take care of business and give ourselves a chance to win this game."

The Miami Heat have been running fun and games during these playoffs.

Welcome to the business of the NBA Finals.
Posted on: June 3, 2011 12:29 am
Edited on: June 3, 2011 12:56 am
 

Some words LeBron might want to eat

Posted by Royce Young lebron-cant-look

MIAMI -- “I don’t want to sit here and be the coach of Oklahoma City, but I seen a lot of things that could have been done better.”

That's what LeBron James said after the Thunder blew a 15-point lead in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals to the Mavericks.

Ahem. If I printed that off, would you like to eat that, LeBron?

Seven minutes left, Miami up 88-73. That's 15 points. Granted, Oklahoma City blew its lead in just five minutes (take that!), but I suppose the point is the same. Well, I don't think you need me to lay it out for you.

Now, I suppose you might be saying, "But Royce, shouldn't you eat your own words? You just wrote about how the Heat are a bunch of super-closers." And you'd be right. I can't decide what's going to taste better -- blue or black ink? But I also said this in that piece:

"They're closing games with impressive style. Now, it's about closing a series. They've got a leg up on the Mavericks 1-0. As goes anything with the Heat, one failure and all this good will flies out the door. One instance of not closing, and finishing poorly, and everyone is ready to write and talk about their problems."

The Heat totally blew this one, no doubt. Their possessions were poor, they didn't play defense and Dirk totally Dirk'd them. At the same time, though, they kind of did their thing. They just missed some of the shots that have been dropping. All of that closing stuff is still applicable. It's not like they just forgot how to do it. Like I said, they aren't going to finish every single time.

What's real, though, is that they have been finishing in impressive fashion. They did this exact same thing to the Bulls in game 5 of the Eastern Finals. This time, however, the Mavericks beat them at their own game.

The lesson here, as always: Winning is hard. Especially when you're playing Dirk.
Posted on: June 2, 2011 11:55 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 12:55 am
 

Dirk Nowitzki Finals Game 2 game-winner video

Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks hit the game-winner during Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki has been looking for redemption against the Miami Heat, and he got some in a big way on Thursday night.

Nowitzki capped off an improbable fourth quarter comeback during Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals by beating Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh off the dribble to hit a running left-handed layup in the game's closing seconds. Nowitzki's layup provided the winning margin of the 95-93 final score and finished off an astonishing 22-5 run in the final 6:20 seconds of the fourth quarter.

Mavericks guard Jason Kidd set up Nowitzki's big moment by finding him with a bounce pass near the three point line with the score tied at 93 apiece with roughly 10 seconds remaining. Nowitzki was being guarded solo by Bosh and he said in a post-game interview that he started his drive to the basket a bit earlier than usual.

"They actually had a foul to give, so I think I went a little earlier thinking they might foul," Nowitzki said.

Bosh didn't, electing to play straight up defense, and Nowitzki didn't hesitate.  

After a hard dribble to the right and a spin back to his left, Nowitzki used a hitch dribble to free his body from Bosh's and attacked the paint with his left hand. Heat forward LeBron James elected not to double-team, leaving Nowitzki a fairly clean entry into the paint.

Heat forward Udonis Haslem attempted to rotate over from the weak side, but was too late, and Nowitzki tossed up a running left-handed runner which banked in off the glass, rounded the rim and dropped with less than four seconds to play. The finish was particularly impressive given that Nowitzki tore a tendon in his left ring finger during Game 1 on Tuesday night.

"I made a move and the foul never came," Nowitzki said flatly. "I was able to get to the basket and lay it in. That was a big play."

Miami, out of timeouts, inbounded the ball and rushed up court quickly, but Heat guard Dwyane Wade could not hit a running desperation three-pointer as time expired. 

Here's a look at Nowitzki's game-winning heroics.



Nowitzki finished with a team-high 24 points, to go along with 11 rebounds, four assists and a block on 10-for-22 shooting in 42 minutes.

The NBA Finals series is now tied at one game apiece. The teams head back to Dallas to play Game 3 on Sunday night.
Posted on: June 2, 2011 11:33 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 11:36 pm
 

Top 5 Miami Heat NBA Finals Game 2 dunks video

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh throw down a number of spectacular dunks in these videos from Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals was an absolute dunk parade for the Miami Heat

Here's a look at the top five Miami Heat dunks against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night. 

5. Dwyane Wade steal & flush

Midway through the second quarter, Dwyane Wade takes off in transition and rises high to throw down with his right hand as Mavericks guard J.J. Barea does his best to simply get out of the way.



4. LeBron James isolation hammer

Near the end of the third quarter, LeBron James sizes up the Mavericks' team defense from the top of the key. He quickly decides that he is unstoppable and simply goes hard to his right, throwing down a vicious right-handed hammer dunk.



3. Chris Bosh putback dunk

The Heat's third wheel gets in on the dunking action in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of some lazy fourth quarter boxing out by the Mavericks to hammer home a putback finish. He punctuates it with one of his usual creepy screams.



2. Dwyane Wade behind the back & reverse

Here's Wade in transition yet again, this time in the third quarter with a little bit more flair. Wade runs out and sizes up Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki in transition, beating him with a simple behind the back dribble. With his path clear, Wade cruises in for a two-hand reverse flush.



1. LeBron James putback dunk

James rises high in the first quarter to throw down a vicious putback dunk after a Mike Miller missed three-pointer.


Posted on: June 2, 2011 11:06 pm
 

Creepy Bosh tongue is creepy

For really no reason other than it's terrifying. 

This is the tongue of an Eastern Conference Champion.


 

Via @bubbaprog on Twitter.  
Posted on: June 2, 2011 10:33 pm
 

NBA Finals: Free throw line dictating Game 2

Posted by Matt Moore

The Miami Heat at one point were down in FT advantage 11-0. Late in the second quarter, however, they forced the bonus and they took advantage. At the half, the Mavericks lead in free throws 13-11.

The bigger story is that LeBron James has three fouls. James was dominant at times, with 12 points and 5 rebounds, including 2-4 from downtown. But with three fouls, his impact could be limited. Then again, Dwyane Wade with 21 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists with 13 in the 2nd quarter.

The crowd was resless as you can imagine after the first half, particularly at the technical foul on Mike Miller. J.J. Barea dove for a loose ball Miller had also dove for and wound up kneeing Miller in the face. Miller reacted by shoving Barea off and picking up the technical. 

Beyond that, it's been quality shooting from everyone outside of Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry, particularly for the arc, that's keeping Dallas in this game. It's unclear if the hand is bothering Nowitzki, but the aggressive double from Miami defenitely is.

Can Miami survive between Dwyane Wade's heroics if James is in foul trouble? Can Dallas survive without Dirk? Questions for the second half.  
Posted on: June 2, 2011 9:26 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 9:30 pm
 

Heat ask fans not to throw seat covers

Posted by Matt Moore

At the end of Game 1 in Miami, fans at the AAA threw their white seat covers forward. Play was stopped when a few landed on the floor and the P.A. announcer (who you may know from such films as "The Obnoxious Miami P.A. Guy, Private Dectective," and "Two minutes, dos! Dos minutos!: A Love Story") warned fans there would be ejections for throwing anything on the floor.

Before Game 2, the Heat showed a promotional video on the jumbo-tron featuring Dwyane Wade reading a prepared statement warning fans of the same. For a fanbase that was so often ridiculed in the press and by other fanbases for their quiet and often absent presence, the Heat's fans in the postseason have had multiple run-ins with authority, including the incidents with Charles Barkley and Joakim Noah's slur-ridden problem. The fans are remarkably calm in the lower bowl at times, but the middle and upper decks, it's your prototypical, ridiculous drunken crowd. Miami fans are just like you! Okay, maybe not. 

It would be a real shame if the fans wound up affecting the game in terms of technicals. But I have to say from the top of the arena the affect of what looks like thousands of Heat fans throwing in the towel for the opponent did look pretty cool, even if they weren't actually towels. 

 
 
 
 
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