Tag: Heat Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Six

Video: Top 10 plays of the 2011 NBA finals

1 Comment

These were a damn good finals.

Close games, plenty of drama, dramatic comeback, some feistiness — these finals between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks had it all.

And they had some great plays. The fine folks at NBA.com compiled these for us and we bring them to you for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy watching what it looks like when LeBron James actually took on his defender and attacked the basket (it did happen a couple of times this series and we have the video proof). Also enjoy watching Dirk Nowitzki do his thing.

LeBron congratulates Dallas on NBA crown

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Six

LeBron James issued this statement on his Web site Tuesday afternoon.

Congratulations Mavericks on the championship
…especially Dirk, J.Kidd, & Terry who have done so much for our league and worked so hard to get here. They deserve all the credit for what they have accomplished. Thank you to all my family, friends and especially the fans for standing by me this year. Miami fans are incredible. A special thank you to my teammates, coaches and Pat Riley and Micky Arison for all of their support. A lot to learn from this year, a lot to build on, and a lot of work to do this summer.

Much like his press conference comments, what you read into that statement really says more about how you feel about LeBron than anything else. A lot of Mavericks players took things like him and Dwyane Wade poking fun at Dirk’s cough personally, and used it as motivation.

If I were LeBron’s PR person, I’d tell him after today it’s time to lay low for the summer. Work on your game, take a vacation but just lay low.

LeBron talks about haters, his play in finals

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Six

Say what you will about him, LeBron James did not shy away from the assembled media on Tuesday and took on the tough questions about his game and his post game comments.

It was those comments — saying about all the people who rooting against him “tomorrow they have to wake up and have the same life that (they had) before” — that drew a firestorm and suggested LeBron was the same arrogant guy from “The Decision” and the Heat’s pep rally.

LeBron said it was not intended like that at all. (Quotes via the twitter account of Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.)

“It wasn’t saying I’m better or superior than anyone else. I would never look at myself as bigger.”

“It was interpreted different than what I wanted…Everyone has to move on with their lives and I do, too.”

LeBron also took questions about his play in the finals, which late in the series seemed passive in the face of Dallas giving him any defensive pressure. Earlier in the day Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said that all the criticism of James’ play was unfair. (To me it seems discussion and criticism of his play is the thing that is most fair, the rest is the sideshow.)

“I didn’t play up to my own standards. Did that cost us losing the Finals? I don’t know. But I’m not satisfied with my performance.”

“I could have played better… I put a lot of pressure not to let my teammates down . . . maybe to a fault at times.”

These quotes are a Rorschach test of what you think of LeBron. People will see in these quotes what they want. LeBron’s backers will say that he is humble and learned lessons from the Heat’s loss. Those who can’t stand him will say it was all just PR. The quotes really say more about what you think about LeBron than having much other insight.

In the end, the only thing that can silence those who hate him are championship rings. And LeBron understands that.

How did all those Mavericks fans get into Game 6?

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Six

Mavs owner Mark Cuban said it best after the game: “Our fans punked the s— out of Miami’s fans.”

It was obvious in the building with a fair amount of blue shirts sprinkled in among the white, especially close to the Dallas bench area. It became louder and more obvious as the game went on — even on the television broadcast — as the Mavericks fans became vocal and louder than the Heat fans.

But how did they even get in a sold out building? The Miami Herald has the answer.

Michael Lipman, whose company helps resell Heat seats, said Heat ticket holders sold 150 seats to Mavericks fans after the Mavs’ premium seat department inquired. Dallas fans paid as much as $3,000 for first- and second-row seats by the Mavericks’ bench in Game 6, as much as $2,000 a few rows back.

“In Dallas, not one person sold to Heat fans,” Lipman said. “They have longtime loyal fans there.” In Miami, with some of the best seats, “you didn’t necessarily have only Heat fans, but wealthy individuals who are basketball fans and wanted to be a part of this. Some of the fans here said, ‘If I sell this game, it will pay for my whole playoff invoice.’”

That’s not “Fan Up,” Miami. Oh, this is too easy. Fish in a barrel. Just insert your own jokes about Heat fans and their bandwagon nature here, you can do a dozen off the top of your head, too.

Is Erik Spoelstra’s job in danger? It shouldn’t be.

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Six

In Miami, the blame has to go somewhere.

LeBron James is getting a heaping share. So are all the role players. But you can’t fire LeBron and in the NBA when teams don’t live up to expectations it is the coach whose job is on the line. Fair or not.

There are those wondering if Erik Spoelstra will be back with the Heat next season. He’s a young coach on a team that is as “win now” as it gets. David Thorpe of ESPN thinks that may pressure the Heat into a move (as he told Henry Abbott at TrueHoop).

I wouldn’t fire him. But I suspect they’ll think they can’t afford to wait another year to figure out of he’s the right guy for them. If he is fired, he’ll be employed again very quickly. I think he’s a terrific young coach, and he’ll get better and better.

A lot of NBA teams think that way, Thorpe is right. Pat Riley, however, doesn’t think and act like most NBA teams. Most likely Spoelstra keeps his job. And one thing Thorpe says I can verify — if Spoelstra were let go he’d be in instant demand around the league. Other GMs and basketball people speak highly of him. He is young, hard working, gets the game and considering everything he had to deal with this season he did a good job.

But next season he may well be on a much tighter leash.

One question is who would you bring in? Pat Riley is there but he does not want to return to the grind of being an NBA coach. Phil Jackson is taking a year off and might be an odd fit with that roster and front office anyway. Doc Rivers stayed put in Boston. Mike Brown is with the Lakers. Who is left that you really want to bring in? Larry Brown?

The Heat struggled early in the season but what should matter, what Pat Riley will likely take into consideration, is how they improved as things went along. By the end of the season they Heat were playing their best ball, against Boston and Chicago they had the off-the-ball action, the “big three” worked more in concert than next to each other. Things really were coming together.

On the biggest stage against a veteran team that fell apart. But that is not all on the coach — the roster is not deep enough right now, and it usually takes teams some hard losses playing together to learn how to win a championship.

Spoelstra also seems to have the backing of his players. His pregame white board in the locker room (detailing actions) is one of the better organized, more detailed in the league. And Spoelstra is figuring out how to motivate this team, Dwyane Wade told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.

“He’s good at analogies, using what we’ve been through, throughout this year, and stuff like that,” Wade said. “He’s actually getting better at speeches, though. He’s had a couple of good ones in this postseason and we were like, ‘Yeah.’ So he’s getting pretty good.”

What they have been through is key — Spoelstra is growing like this team is growing. They are doing it together, they have been through a season unlike one any other NBA team has dealt with in terms of media scrutiny and the feeling about them around the league.

Spoelstra is one of them. He shouldn’t be let go, he deserves a chance to grow with this team and help it take one more step.

But he might not want to get off to a 9-8 start next season.