Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:2011 Finals
Posted on: June 8, 2011 1:41 am
Edited on: June 8, 2011 2:23 am
 

NBA Finals: Mavs hard D stifles Heat 'athletes'



Posted by Matt Moore

DALLAS -- Dirk's "flu" game. LeBron James wilting in the biggest moment of his career. Wade not being enough. All those storylines, and do you want know the real reason why Dallas is right back in this series and we're going to seven games?

They played the best defense you're ever going to see on a LeBron James- and Dwyane Wade-led pick-and-roll attack.

They attacked the passing lanes and were successful. They made life hard for a Heat team that seemed taken aback at how difficult it was.

"We have to get into the ball," DeShawn Stevenson said. "They don't want to play a tough game."

Let's say you don't like numbers, that you don't trust them. Watching the game it was evident that the Mavericks were so far into the Heat's pick-and-roll, so deep into their movements shutting off angles, attacking the dribble and creating majestic failure after majestic failure, you don't need a calculator or video evidence to recognize it. Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion, and even, perhaps especially, DeShawn Stevenson, not only kept their position, but attacked relentlessly on the pick-and-roll. Often, they battled it all the way out to mid-court, and created abject chaos. Again, there's no screencap necessary to see that, no calculation needed as proof. The Mavericks drove the Heat offense, which seemed unstoppable after Game 1, into the ground. They buried it, and stuck a tombstone on it that read "You're athletic. We're many. We want it more tonight."

Let's say you do want the evidence, that you're fully prepared to embrace the facts, since they are inescapable. Synergy Sports had the Heat clocked at 34 possessions resulting in a shot or turnover from the ball-handler or roll-man. Of those 34 possessions, the Heat scored just 17 points. So, every time they went to the pick-and-roll in Game 4, they scored just .50 points on each possession, a half a point every time they ran it. They had eight, count 'em, eight turnovers out of those sets. They turned the ball over out of the pick-and-roll, then they scored.

How did they do it? Stevenson said it was a matter of getting "into the ball."

"We pushed the ball out further," Stevenson said after his best game of the series on both sides of the ball, despite being removed from the starting lineup. "And (we) stayed into the ball. We can't let them get into free space, they can split the screen. We have to stay into the ball."

Tyson Chandler who had a monster game controlling both sides of the glass, scoring, and helping all the way out in those situations said it was necessary with the kind of athleticism the Heat are throwing at them.

"They put so much pressure on you," Chandler said, noting how Dwyane Wade's dribble hesitation really created problems. "But we did a better job tonight of kind of stringing them out and making the rotations."

In a series where every possession is crucial, and with so few of them to go around ... With the defensive pressure so high, and every game living and dying with the final moments, it was the Mavs ability to turn the "skirmish" tables on the Heat and blow right by them. Coach Rick Carlisle isn't crediting any sort of great defensive scheme for the successes.

"We've got a team system, and the schemes we're using aren't very complex. It's just all about hard play."

Hard play and toughness. You know, the type of game that, in Game 4, the Heat wanted no part of. Now the series is tied, and we get to see what the Heat are made of.

We know what Dallas is.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 11:26 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 11:29 pm
 

Dwyane Wade blocks Tyson Chandler video

Video of Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade rejecting Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler at the rim during Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Posted by EOB Staff.

First, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade rose high to throw down an alley-oop pass from LeBron James.

Then, he rose even higher to swat a dunk attempt by Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler.

With roughly seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the 2011 NBA Finals, Wade rotated over late to contest a dunk attempt by the wide open Chandler.

Chandler went up with two hands to flush it, but Wade was having none of that. Using his right hand to reject the attempt, Wade swatted it cleanly out of the air, with the momentum of his block sending Chandler crashing down to the ground. It's worth noting that Wade is listed at 6-foot-4 while Chandler is 7-foot-1.

The Heat went down the court in the other direction, where Wade finished on the other end. The four-point swing gave Miami a 76-73 lead.

Here's the video of Dwyane Wade's block of Tyson Chandler during Game 4 courtesy of YouTube user DailyThunder.



Posted on: June 7, 2011 11:05 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 11:13 pm
 

LeBron James to Dwyane Wade alley-oop video

Video of Miami Heat forward LeBron James connecting with guard Dwyane Wade on an alley oop during Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Posted by EOB Staff.

With just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter of Game 4 of the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, the Miami Heat's superstar tandem of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade connected on a filthy alley-oop dunk.

James threw the pass from the three-point line with Jason Kidd pressuring him. He released the pass as Wade cut backdoor from the right corner. Mavericks big man Brian Cardinal attempted to rotate over to contest the pass, but Wade rose high, catching the pass with two hands at his apex and slamming it down with authority. Wade then strutted back to midcourt, emphasizing his handiwork.

Wade's slam gave Miami a 67-64 lead. 

Here's the video of LeBron James' alley-oop pass to Dwyane Wade during Game 4 courtesy of YouTube user DailyThunder.



Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:41 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 10:41 pm
 

Dirk is playing with triple-digit temperature

Posted by Royce Young

Dirk Nowitzki has been hot a lot in the postseason. But that's always been meant figuratively.

Now it's literal.

ABC sideline reporter Doris Burke reported at halftime of Game 4 that Dirk played the first half with a fever of 101. He went just 4-10 in the half for 10 points and after starting the game well (he hit his first three shots), Dirk cooled off, missing six of his last seven.

Obviously this isn't going to stop Dirk from playing any and all it can really do is increase the already growing legend of Dirk. A stong finish or a couple big shots and Dirk will have his own mini "flu game" to go on this building playoff resume.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 6:26 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 8:12 pm
 

Barea to start, Haywood active for Mavericks

J.J. Barea will move into the Dallas Mavericks starting lineup in place of DeShawn Stevenson and Brendan Haywood has been activated. Posted by Ben Golliver. jj-barea

The Dallas Mavericks have been playing from behind throughout the NBA Finals, or at least it feels that way. Trailing 2-1, the Mavericks are reportedly switching up their starting lineup in hopes of reversing that trend.

On Tuesday afternoon, HoopsWorld.com reported that reserve guard J.J. Barea would move into the starting lineup in place of DeShawn Stevenson.

Later Tuesday, the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram confirmed the lineup change, citing multiple sources.

In his pre-game media availability, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle would not confirm the move. 

"I'm not going to confirm that," Carlisle said. "Although someone has put themselves out there with that prediction. I can confirm that I have an assistant video guy that would like to date the T-Mobile 4G girl. That's not going to happen for him right now either.

"My policy has been the same as long as I have been here. I release lineups 16 minutes before the game, and I'll continue to do that."

In the locker room, however, Stevenson told reporters that Barea would take his place in the starting lineup. 

Carlisle did say that center Brendan Haywood, who missed Game 3 due to a hip flexor injury, will be activated for Game 4. 

"The plan is that he'll give it a shot and hopefully it will go well. We'll see. He's worked hard to reduce the swelling, he's had multiple MRIs, all that stuff. We've kind of worked up to this. We obviously need him. We're hoping it goes well.

Barea, a pint-sized sparkplug, has been a key contributor throughout Dallas' playoff run, but he's fizzled so far in the Finals. He's averaging 8.2 points and 3.2 assists and is shooting 40% overall in the postseason. His Finals numbers: 4.3 points and 1.7 assists on an abysmal 21.7% shooting.

The Mavericks have to hope his energy and the match-up problems his size pose can help jumpstart their early offense. The move will likely force Barea to guard Heat guard Mike Bibby, with Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd defending Dwyane Wade

Stevenson is a starter in name only, as the Mavericks give heavy minutes to reserve guard Jason Terry and Barea. Barea started just two games during the 2010-2011 regular season and has not started a playoff game yet this postseason.

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra did not announce any lineup or active roster changes.

Posted on: June 7, 2011 5:59 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 6:46 pm
 

NBA Finals Game 4: Miami Heat notebook

A notebook of Miami Heat quotes before Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Posted by Ben Golliver. dwyane-wade-grit

Dwyane Wade Shifting Gears
 

Nobody changes pace or shifts gears more smoothly than Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade. On Tuesday morning, Wade said that on-court silkiness doesn't apply to his leadership style.

"I’m zero to 60," Wade said. "It’s either one or the other for me."

During Game 3, Wade was quite vocal, yelling instructions at his teammates, including LeBron James.

"Last game it was 60. Today, right now, it’s zero. We’ll see what the game brings. Leadership style can’t change because of who you’re talking to."

"Dwyane is a very passionate guy," Heat forward Chris Bosh said. "Once he gets going, he’s in the moment. He’ll surprise you sometimes. Any time he’s going to voice his opinion, he’s right. He just wants to win, and he wants the best out of us. He demands it. We demand it out of each other."

Bosh said the tongue-lashings never bother him. He's used to it. 

"I’ve been getting yelled at since I was 10 years old," Bosh said. "It’s all because we want the best out of each other."

Heat guard Mario Chalmers, arguably the Heat player who catches the most grief from his teammates, said he is cool with all the yelling.

"They're just giving me constructive criticism," Chalmers said on Monday. "Telling me how to do better. It's nothing like they're trying to show me up. It's all positive things."

Later, he admitted that it can get tiresome. 

"Once they say it, and they keep saying it, you're like, 'OK, I get it.' But I love my teammates."

If there's a silver lining for Chalmers it's that Wade and James can take as good as they give.

"They're stars on the team, but you can still talk to them and give them pointers and tell them what they can do too," Chalmers said.

LeBron James Loves Defense

On Tuesday, James was asked whether the size and length that he and Wade present on the perimeter are what makes Miami's defense so great.

"We’re not the only team with size," James replied. "Honestly, you have to want to play defense. Me and D-Wade aren’t the only guys with size on the perimeter. We love to play both sides of the floor. You have to be dedicated to playing both sides of the floor.

"Defense, that’s what I’m about. I love to play that side of the floor."

Wade: LeBron Isn't Shrinking

Following Game 3, CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel asked James if he was shrinking from the moment during the fourth quarter. James replied that he was a two-way player and that Doyel needed to go back and watch the tape. The exchange led to all sorts of online chatter.

Wade was asked for his thoughts on the back-and-forth on Tuesday.

"My reaction to it? First of all, I thought he answered it great."

As for asking the question to James about whether he was shrinking from the moment during the Finals?

"Some people like to be on TV," Wade said.

Ready For War In Game 4

Winning Game 4 would give Miami a commanding 3-1 series advantage with three opportunities to close it out, two of them at home. As you might expect, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra wasn't about to look ahead.

"We have to come in with a tough-minded disposition tonight," Spoelstra said. "A series is about getting to four wins first. All we’re intent on doing tonight is taking care of this game. Concentrating on that. It will be a dogfight as we can expect every game to be. It will be possession basketball decided in the last few moments."

On Monday, Bosh said he too was ready for an all-out performance from Dallas. 

“It’s going to be two teams playing desperate basketball," Bosh said. "We can’t take our foot off the throttle."

Wade said the Heat needed to be prepared for Dallas' ability to score in bursts.

"This team is so potent offensively we don't want to give them too much confidence," Wade said. "Because when they start hitting shots, when it rains it pours around here. We want to make sure our defensive principles stay the same no matter what."

On Tuesday, James cautioned that a Game 4 win wouldn't be enough to put the Mavericks down.

"I don’t think the life will be out of them [if they lose]," James said. "Every game for us will be a must-win. We’ll be coming out with that same desperation we had in Game 3."

Spoelstra's Long, Steady Road

Spoelstra predicted another tight, grinding game on Tuesday night. His logic: The Heat hasn't known anything but that during the entire 2011 playoffs. 

"We’ve been through a lot of tough series already, where each game was contested," Spoelstra said. "We haven’t really had a game in the playoffs that we felt we were able to really extend. Even the games that we won, it was within the last three or four minutes of the game. So we’ve had all of our games against tough opponents playing possession basketball. Every shot, every rebound, every loose ball matters. And then you have to find some way to close it out at the end."

Tuning In 

Bosh was asked whether he thought Miami's Big 3 was responsible for the huge TV ratings that the 2011 NBA Finals are drawing. To Bosh, the event itself is bigger than the participants.

“It’s the Finals," Bosh said with a smirk. "I’d be watching.”


Posted on: June 7, 2011 3:23 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 4:36 pm
 

NBA Finals: Chris Bosh says he's dialed in

Posted by Matt Moore

DALLAS -- Chris Bosh said Tuesday morning before Game 4 that being in his hometown has not been a distraction -- because he hasn't let it be one. Coming into your hometown in pursuit of a championship can be an issue with friends and family clamoring for time,  tickets and favors. Instead, Bosh says he's locked himself away, to the degree he hasn't even been to his house. 

"I'm not even home. I haven't left the hotel," he said. "I told people that was my thought process coming into Dallas, that I'm going to treat this like a road game. I don't even want to see my house." 

Bosh said his preparation has been intense, that he's totally zeroed in on basketball all the time. The Heat superstar said he's been studying film extensively while not wanting to "overanalyze" and "trust his instincts." Bosh was having a difficult series when the Finals began, but has started to adjust. His shooting numbers are impressive. He is shooting 54 percent in the pick and roll and 47 percent in spot-up situations. He hit the game winner in Game 3. He's under constant criticism, and he's in the town he grew up in. 

There's so much noise in the NBA Finals, no wonder Bosh has turned himself into a hermit.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 1:26 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 2:09 pm
 

LeBron James, above the din, can 'taste' a title

LeBron James says the Miami Heat are "starting to taste" a title. Posted by Ben Golliver. lebron-james-wall

DALLAS -- The Miami Heat are halfway home, up two games to one over the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals.

For Heat forward LeBron James, two more wins will mean his first ring and validation for his decision to skip out of Cleveland to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh

"Of course we’re starting to taste it," James said following Miami's morning shootaround in advance of Tuesday night's Game 4. "But we’ve got a lot of work. This game tonight is going to be extremely hard, just like Game 3, just like Game 2, just like Game 1."

As that goal gets closer, the noise level seems only to increase.

On Monday, Mavericks guard Jason Terry publicly questioned whether James would be able to continue guarding him late in games and Mavericks guard DeShawn Stevenson called the Heat "actors"

James acknowledged that he had heard Terry's comments, but played them off.

"Those guys have a right to say what they want to say," James said. "For me and D-Wade and for our team, we just try to go out and play our game, let our game do the talking. It’s not about listening to clips, those guys have the right to say want to say."

Over the weekend, James made it clear that Mavericks forward Shawn Marion couldn't stop him individually on defense, that it would take a team concept. He used a similar line of thinking, but in reverse, to frame Miami's defense on Terry.

"It’s no one on one match-up between me and [Terry]," James said. "I don’t get involved in that. I just go out there and execute what we need to do.

"It’s a team game. Defensively we all have to be in tune. Not only on Jason Terry, but on Dirk, Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion." 

James' teammates scoffed at the notion that James, who is playing nearly 44 minutes per game in the postseason, would have trouble keeping up with Terry.

"He’s not going to wear down," Wade said.

"You gotta let sleeping dogs lie sometimes," Bosh added. "But maybe [Terry is] trying to get himself going, and maybe that's what he looks for."

But Terry isn't James' only detractor. Some here in Texas have questioned whether James' ring will be cheapened if Wade wins Finals MVP. That scenario would bolster the "James is only a sidekick for hire" argument that developed immediately after James decided to leave Cleveland.

"That’s ridiculous," James said. "I’m here to win. That’s all it’s about. Individual accolades take care of itself. I’ve got two MVP trophies sitting in my back house in Ohio. I haven’t won anything. It’s all about a team game, this is the ultimate team prize right here and that’s trying to win the NBA championship. I don’t really care, I could trade in my last two MVP trophies to have a ring."
 
James noted that he's been passed over for awards before.

"I would have started a long time ago playing golf or playing tennis if I wanted to be an individual guy. I’ve always loved team sports... Even though I was the best player on the team my little league coach gave everybody on the team an MVP trophy at the end of the year. That’s just how I was brought up."

Despite that strange and vivid flashback to an apparent childhood snub, James was ultimately convincing when he talked about his single-minded focus on the title.

"It’s here for us," he said without any trace of unnecessary excitement.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com