Dallas was the best team.
The Dallas Mavericks got contributions from their superstar Dirk Nowitzki, but they also got a huge game from Jason Terry, solid play from everyone — even Brian Cardinal and Ian Mahinmi in Game 6 — and they won 105-95 to take the NBA finals 4-2.
Mark Cuban — who turned this franchise from one of the laughing stocks of the league 11 years ago to an NBA champion, who spent more money than any team except the Knicks in the last decade to do it — took the trophy from David Stern (well, from Donald Carter, the original Mavs owner who was up on stage). And then was humble.
Dirk Nowitzki was the series MVP. He started out shooting 1-for-12 in Game 6 but finished with key baskets down the stretch and had 21 points.
But why Dallas was able to overcome Miami’s talent was simply the level of execution the veteran team brought every game. They struggled shooting the first couple games as the Heat’s athleticism and close outs gave them problems. But they adapted, and in Game 6 they had a 115.4 points per 100 rating, which is 15 better than the Heat gave up in the regular season. On the defensive end, with Tyson Chandler leading the way, Dallas was able to keep Miami largely out of the paint. And they did a good job contesting jumpers.
Through the playoffs Dallas got contributions from everyone, everyone played their role and that was key.
For Miami, they learned some hard lessons about what it takes — both in terms of determination from the players and in terms of roster depth. Going into this season after getting the LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh they used a little money on Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller… then that was it. After that it was all guys for the league minimum. And on the biggest stage, the support cast looked like that.
But this win was more about what Dallas could do than what Miami couldn’t. That’s why they are NBA champions.
Chris Paul feels great starring for the Thunder.
So great, he might even take on extra workload.
Paul – who helped Team USA win gold medals in 2008 and 2012 but didn’t compete in 2016 – said he’s “very serious” about playing the 2020 Olympics. Paul:
I’m excited about the opportunity. My wife is sort of calling the shots on this one. She said she wants to go to Tokyo.
I’ve been blessed and fortunate to play in 2008. I had no kids then. In 2012, my wife couldn’t come, because, four days after the gold medal game, she had my daughter.
We often hear about players missing international tournaments due to personal reasons. But that can go both ways. Paul might compete due to personal reasons.
Paul faces steep and deep competition for making the team at point guard: Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, Russell Westbrook, Kemba Walker, Mike Conley, Malcolm Brogdon, Derrick White. Trae Young didn’t even make the list of finalists.
USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said players who’ve previously represented the U.S. will get favorable consideration. So, that’ll help Paul.
If he plays, Paul – who turns 35 in May – would be Team USA’s third-oldest Olympian:
Age for Team USA’s first game or, in 2020, first game of the tournament
John Beilein gave the Cavaliers problems mentally.
Did he also give them problems physically – especially Dylan Windler, who’s missing his entire rookie year?
Shams Charania, Jason Lloyd and Joe Vardon of The Athletic:
Warning signs for Beilein could be traced to the Cavs’ Summer League schedule, when the rookie coach ran a collection of (mostly) G Leaguers and non-roster invites through extended practices, multiple times a day. This is precisely what Beilein would have done at Michigan, especially with an entirely new batch of players, this early in a season calendar. But players not only complained about the work, they also were drilled in games by opponents who were clearly well-rested. And this was in Summer League.
There was at least one player, though, involved in those early summer workouts under Beilein who was expecting to make a major contribution to the Cavs this season. Rookie Dylan Windler, a late first rounder, was supposed to compete with Cedi Osman for minutes on the wing. But he never played a game this season because of a stress injury in his left leg — which could be traced back at least in part to being overworked during the summer.
Would Windler have missed the season under a different coach? It’s impossible to say. Counterfactuals are complex.
But there was legitimate reason to be concerned with Beilein’s approach. Teams have learned the importance of rest. Fatigued players are more susceptible to injury.
Beilein’s longest college season was 41 games. He coached 54 games in Cleveland – and left with much of the season remaining.
Handling the grind of the NBA season was always going to be an adjustment for the long-time college coach. It probably got understated amid concern about him relating interpersonally to his players.
The Cavaliers needed practice time. They needed work to develop. That’s clearly what Beilein prioritized.
But they also needed to limit the physical toll, and it’s reasonable to question whether Beilein did enough there. Even if he was learning that the NBA is more marathon than sprint, the several months Beilein coaches the Cavs were enough to cause issues.
Chase Buford, who coaches the Bucks’ minor-league affiliate, went on an epic rant after the Wisconsin Herd’s latest loss. He singled out referee Matt Rafferty as a “f—ing clown” and said the officials were “bad and biased and unfair and illegal and cheating.”
Ryan Rodig of WFRV-TV:
G League release:
Wisconsin Herd head coach Chase Buford has been suspended for two games without pay for a direct and extended public attack on the integrity and credibility of the game officials.
I can’t recall an NBA coach ever getting suspended for something he said during a press conference.
I also can’t recall an NBA coach ever saying something so inflammatory during a press conference.
In 2005, then-NBA commissioner David Stern threatened to ban Jeff Van Gundy from the NBA after the then-Rockets coach criticized officiating. That incident still led to just a $100,000 fine. Twice as large as any previous fine for a coach. But still just a fine, nonetheless.
The public memorial for Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant featured several unforgettable moments, including:
But I can’t overstate how well done the entire event was, how heartfelt the speakers and performers were. If you missed it yesterday and are in the right headspace, it’s worth watching to get a more complete understanding of Kobe and Gianna.