Tag:Dwayne Wade
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: June 6, 2011 9:15 pm

The LeBronologues: Volume II

The LeBronologues are in no way, shape, or form, attacking LeBron James on the court.  The man is clearly an elite athlete who possesses talent that has never been seen before in the NBA.  That being said, James has a knack for making himself look like a knucklehead time after time, which will simply be magnified here, courtesy of yours truly, Primetime.

Miami leads 2-1 at a time when the previous 11 teams who won Game 3 with the NBA finals tied 1-1 have all gone on to win, and Bron Bron is under the microscope once again.  James contributed with 17 points, 9 assists, and 3 rebounds; certainly nothing jaw-dropping, but noteworthy nonetheless.  In this statline, however, is a glaring three shots in the fourth quarter, along with more turnovers (4) than rebounds

Superstar material?

CBSSports columnist Gregg Doyel called James’ out for his lacking effort after claiming he would go into attack mode (resulting in four free-throw attempts).  James’ fired back, claiming he was focusing on defense.

“I think you’re concentrating on one side of the floor,” James said.  “I’m a two-way player.  All you’re looking at is the stat sheet.”

Now, to James’ credit, he was making plays on the defensive end down the stretch, but for a guy so gifted to only put up three shots, while playing the entire fourth quarter, that’s nothing special.  Heck, that’s not even ordinary.

For those in defense of Bron Bron, sure, Wade had the hot hand and was dominant, as he was in Game 2, when you, the columnist, said Bron Bron was taking too many shots.  Besides, James had the mismatch against the Bulls last round and played closer.

Well, to that I say this: although he may not admit it, Wade was dealing with a bum shoulder, so naturally the onus fell onto James.  Let’s not forget he is more than capable of being “the guy,” he simply passed that up for the Robin costume. 

What exactly am I getting at you might wonder?

This is Dwayne Wade’s team. Period.

Which is fine with Bron Bron, isn’t that why he went to Miami in the first place? That being said, own up to it perhaps?

Nah man, I don’t even know what that means, to be accountable.  Remember, only after I had explicitly expressed a suggestion for the NBA to downsize from 30 to 24 teams did I claim not to know what the word contraction meant.

Right, what was I thinking.  While you were reading this, Bron Bron had been caught complaining about  a few more foul calls.

Should’ve known.

Primetime Thoughts

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Posted on: June 3, 2011 11:47 am

Going Gets Tough, LeBron & Heat Get Going

It had seemed to be a distant memory at this point; the Miami Heat were now closing out games.

Not so fast.

In a potentially series-shifting collapse, Miami gave away a 2-0 lead heading to Dallas after losing a 15-point lead with 7:15 remaining.  Dwayne Wade's 3-pointer capped a 13-0 run, giving the Heat an 88-73 lead.  And then it happened.

LeBron James and Wade basking in their success, prematurely celebrating with 7:15 left in the game.

Where have we seen that before?

The Heat let their guard down to a Mavericks team which has proven to be resilient in these times, just ask the Oklahoma City Thunder, who blew a 15-point lead to these same Mavs in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.

"We're a veteran team and we don't get too high with the highs and too low with the lows," Nowitzki said.  "The game is over when the final buzzer rings," Shawn Marion said.

On the flip side, Wade's extended follow through in front of the Dallas bench along with extensive basking on James' part may be inferred as getting ahead of themselves.

"There was no celebration at all," James said. "I was excited about the fact that he hit a big shot and we went up 15."

Maybe not, but as we've learned, James' perception and the rest of society don't tend to match up.

Celebration or not, Miami threw away a golden opportunity to take control of this series, and look no further than Bron Bron.  Wade was by far the most dominant player on Miami and he gets only three shots, one being a half-court desperation heave, in the final seven minutes?

The plan was to have a teammate to rely on to have less of the burden on himself, but yet he doesn't even use him?

Explain that one to me.

Wade was having his way, shooting 13-of-20 from the field as Dallas had no answer, yet possession after possession, all Miami could manage was one jump shot after another.  The closers had faded back to regular-season form, looking as dazed and confused as Bron Bron when cameras are nowhere to be found.

Miami's gaffe gives Dallas all the momentum in the world, stealing a game on the road.  Miami's lack of a killer instinct, a characteristic James has been oft-criticized for, cost them as they were unable to put away Dallas. 

It must've been interesting to watch Nowitzki on the other side, a man who walks a similar path as James, up until the part where Dirk continued pursuing a title with the Mavericks and not fleeing with a white flag in hand.  Wierd thing is, James could've avoided any backlash by giving the ball to Batman, excuse me, Wade, down the stretch.

Then again, what is James exactly playing for, the guy has already celebrated like a King (pun intended) back in July.

No, not a title, but himself.

Primetime Thoughts

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