The longer the lockout lasts, the longer Mark Cuban gets to bask in the glow of being the owner of the NBA Champions. Sure, the whole “I can’t talk about my players or David Stern will hammer me with fines” part is no fun, but Cuban is loving this winning a title thing.
And during that interview Cuban added another reason he thinks the Mavericks prevailed.
“I’ll tell you the interesting thing,” Cuban said, “after Game 3 of the Miami series, our guys said, ‘They aren’t making any adjustments. We got ’em.’ And so the confidence was through the roof.”
Rick Carlisle did a fantastic job coaching during the finals. He moved J.J. Barea and Brian Cardinal into the rotation, putting DeShawn Stevenson and Peja Stojakovic on the bench, taking advantage of matchups. Early in the finals the athletic Heat closeouts on the Mavs shooters bothered them, but the Mavericks adjusted, found spaces and by the end were raining down jumpers on the Heat.
Erik Spoelstra didn’t make the same adjustments — but he also had a lot fewer tools in the toolbox. Yes, he had Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh (and I still would have liked to see more Wade/James pick and roll) but after that what choices did he have? More Mike Bibby? More Joel Anthony? Do you really think Zydrunas Ilgauskas was an answer? Mike Miller had bad hands and Udonis Haslem was just coming off an injury, both giving everything they could but they have limits.
Carlise did better using the tools at his disposal in the finals because he had a lot more tools to use. Spoelstra wasn’t making a lot of adjustments, because what choices did he really have?
“I haven’t watched ESPN in a long time,” Wade said Wednesday morning, amid his youth basketball camp at Nova Southeastern University. “Sorry ESPN. I love the network and all. It’s still hard to watch basketball. I’m used to basketball coming on any time, I’ll have it tuned in.”
“The sting is always going to be there when you lose,” he said. “Obviously, it was my first time ever losing the Finals. The sting is there, no question about it. I joke with the kids. I said, ‘All right, I’m going to make jokes about it. You guys are not going to ask me the question.’ Because the first thing, when they ask questions, they want to know stuff. I make sure I shed some light on it in a sense-of-humor type of way, but the sting is there.
“But you’ve got to move on. As I said, at the end of the year, we learn from it, but life continues to go and we’ll have a lot more basketball left in our lives to play and we’ll get another crack at it.”
The Heat have steps to make — to start with they need better depth to go around the Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. More than that, it’s about tighter defense, better offensive execution under pressure, playing like a team and not reverting to hero ball. The lessons are there. We’ll see if the Heat learn them.
NBA’s championship DVD out, if you can’t get enough Dirk
Getting a call from the President of the United States (and getting to visit the White House during the next season) is one of the perks of winning an NBA title.
Traditionally the call is a pretty perfunctory thing — but with Barack Obama in the White House it’s a little different. He knows the game, he played, he gets it.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle got the call Friday. According to the Associated Press Obama was impressed (like the rest of us) with the team play and ball movement of the Mavericks. He also talked about the play Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and J.J. Barea. Again, like the rest of us.
As for when Dallas visits the White House, it’s during next season when they play Washington. If there is a next season. Which might be one area Obama could help with.