Tag:Dirk Nowitzki
Posted on: June 13, 2011 2:13 am
Edited on: June 13, 2011 2:35 am
 

Dirk, Mavs Remind Miami There’s No “I” In Team

If you are not sure what to leave with from the NBA Finals, let me make it very clear:

It takes a team, not a group of individuals, to be a champion.

Public Enemy #1 since last July, Miami was the perfect punching bag, err, team, for the Mavericks to face in route to their first-ever title.  LeBron James and Chris Bosh viewed Dwayne Wade and his Miami Heat as an advance-to-go monopoly card; the best and quickest way to a championship. 

While we watched one of the better NBA Finals in recent history, we saw a group unified stand tall against a threesome with little to no supporting cast.  Wade put on the Superman cape and did his best, but couldn’t do it alone as even sporting a Robin costume was too much for Baby Bron Bron, who scored an impressive 18 points in six fourth quarters this series (That attack mode James spoke of, glad he teased us and kept it in the cage). 

This isn’t about Miami anyways, even if Bron Bron gives us plenty to mock and ridicule (mocking Dirk with the flu, another time for that discussion).  The moment belongs to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks.

Nowitzki had been receiving ample criticism for having yet won a championship coming into his 13<sup>th</sup> season.  A free agent as well last summer (Bron Bron in fact, wasn’t the only one), Nowitzki resigned with Dallas, remaining confident that the right pieces were in place to win a championship.  You know what they say, if you build it, the title will come.  Nowitzki and James were both without a title coming into this series, and now who is the one still waiting?

It’s not the guy who kept his talents in Dallas.

Dallas may have been out-starred in this series, with only one all star compared to three, but we saw a team that is eight, nine deep run down a team that is a bit top-heavy.

Nowitzki led the way and without him a championship is not in the discussion.  However, he had two defensive stoppers around the hoop in Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood.  He had a veteran leader in Jason Kidd, whose skills may have declined, but the man can shoot with the best of them and can make the smart play.  Jason Terry is instant offense off the bench while Shawn Marion was admirable in being a pest in James’ side while providing offense as well, averaging 13.7 points per game.  DeShawn Stevenson and Brian Cardinal too were valuable in spurts.

And there lies the anatomy of a championship team; players with particular skills, making contributions within their respective roles.  Take a look at the team Dallas took down.

Might you say a smidge different?

Three all-star players can certainly make up for many shortcomings.  That is, if they are all playing out of their minds.  Wade was, Bosh served his purpose, and James’ contributions are debatable.  His numbers may seem solid, but it seemed clear that the guy hid behind Wade once the fourth quarter came around, which is what he wanted when he left Cleveland, but everyone will still be expecting greatness.  Heck, I’m not sure if you can say James was good in these Finals post-third quarter.

But that’s it.

Mario Chalmers provided some space on the floor with his outside shooting, averaging 10 points a game.  The other five Heat players who saw the floor averaged a combined 17.1 points per game. 

That supporting cast will not win any awards under any circumstances.

These NBA Finals gave us more than we could’ve asked for.  We saw Nowitzki, the greatest international player in NBA history, lock up his legacy with a championship, the only thing left to accomplish along with another future Hall of Famer in Kidd win his first title.  We saw a series which was epic for almost its entirety with the exception of Game 1.  Dallas’ championship prevented the Heat from validating the circus act that was last summer, a victory for all outside of South Beach.  Lastly, and most importantly, we were reminded what it takes to win a championship.

A team, not a group of individuals.

Primetime Thoughts

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Posted on: June 10, 2011 11:40 am
Edited on: June 10, 2011 11:41 am
 

Case of Déjà Vu for King James on Biggest Stage

We’ve seen this before you know, LeBron James faced with a game of grand magnitude only to fall short despite a glamorous stat line.

Game 6 of the 2010 East Semi Finals against Boston.

Asides from that game later becoming James’ last (he took his talents elsewhere I believe), James’ Cavaliers were trailing 3-2 in that series, trying to fight off elimination.  James recorded a triple-double with 27 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 assists.  Yet he was criticized by many for not really showing up, for quitting on the team.  That came from fans all the way up to Cleveland Owner Dan Gilbert.

Is it me or is that the same feeling you have about last night, if not worse?

The scene was the same, actually bigger being the NBA Finals as opposed to the Semi Finals.  It wasn’t an elimination game, but going down 3-2 is not a favorable position to be in.  This time James played in a game he self-proclaimed, “the biggest game of my life” with what he may think is the three best friends that anyone could have alongside Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.  James recorded a triple-double yet again, with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Yet again I feel as if he was a no-show, at least in the fourth quarter.

Maybe I’m just not a fan of LeBron James so I tend to dwell on the negative.  Or maybe it’s the fact that LeBron James has 11 points in the five fourth quarters.  Sure he contributes elsewhere with 3 rebounds and 4 assists.  Sure he has Wade to take the onus of scoring down the stretch.  But this is supposed to be the biggest game of his life, and he managed only 2 points in the final quarter.

Sure seems like Bron Bron wilted once again.

It also didn’t help that Wade had left the game in the second quarter after a hard fall and didn’t return until late in the third quarter.  Wade was clearly struggling with the injury, giving James even more reason to take over, something he had claimed would happen earlier in the week when he promised “attack mode.”

James claimed the game was not lost on the offensive end, let’s revisit that.

James missed jump shot with 2:56 left tied 100-100.

James offensive foul with 2:27 left tied 100-100.

James missed 3-pointer with 1:52 left trailing 102-100.

James did manage to score his first and only basket with 30 seconds left and the game already decided.  Now James could unload in Game 6 and 7 leaving me to eat my words.  But I say that with much skepticism, because, well, what reason to I have to believe that he will break the trend.  In a series with three superstars bound for the Hall of Fame, Dirk Nowitzki continues to cement his legacy, Wade has only strengthened his with this series, while James’ has done nothing but continue to lessen his image in the public eye.

Could it be that the one that has no shame in endless self-promotion may be feeling the Heat (pun intended) under the brightest lights?

Perhaps, but to be fair, he has had to completely wing this, minus Jim Grey and all.

Primetime Thoughts

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Posted on: May 31, 2011 6:24 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 12:42 am
 

Why the Miami Heat Better Lose

We are almost a year removed from “The Decision” and the fact that the Miami Heat are in the NBA Finals seemingly makes everyone sick, myself included.  Baby Bron Bron and Chris Bosh bolted to Miami to form the most ridiculous concoction ever seen in the NBA. 

We’ve entered a phase where Kobe Bryant is nearing the end, signaling possibly the last of the strong-willed player, the one who embraces the role of being “the guy” (What’s that Bron might ask?).  Players grow tired of the losing and pressure placed on their shoulders, so they bail to team up with other All-Stars.  It seems that everyone else is doing it, and if you can’t beat them, join them. 

James and Bosh set the tone, Carmelo Anthony soon after.  James and Bosh along with Wade are attempting to win a title playing three v five, Anthony didn’t want to lose out on $20 million, so he forced the issue and made the Knicks give up four core players.  Not too far are stars like Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and Deron Williams.

Are we really seeing the NBA take a seismic shift ala the MLB?

I am an enthusiast of all four major professional sports, but let’s be honest.  Major League Baseball lacks the competitive parity that the NFL does and to extreme heights.  Out of 30 teams, realistically a handful are in the running to win the World Series.

Now you may feel the NBA is already there, with the Lakers and Spurs winning 9 of the last 12 championships.  However their competition varied over the years because there was a balance throughout the league.

If we see Bron Bron hoisting a trophy in a few weeks, not only will I be sick to my stomach (who knows how much more that man can gloat when he actually has something to flaunt), but a Miami Heat title will validate that whole charade which went down last July. 

Big picture, the NBA is screwed.

As mentioned, there are several stars who will potentially call a different team home.  They are all looking to follow in the footsteps of Bron Bron and Anthony; seeing Miami win will be the last push some of these guys need to bolt their current teams.

Does the NBA really need half the league to be lottery-bound before Christmas after all the star players have stacked up and comprised a handful of teams?

That doesn’t make for a very competitive league or a very enticing product.

It is this very fear which drives my plea for the Dallas Mavericks to whip the Heat.

Asides from the fact that Dirk Nowitzki is long overdue for a ring, Dallas needs to remind everyone what it takes to win a championship, that being a team, as opposed to three stars surrounded by talent that is underwhelming to say the least.

Primetime Thoughts

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