Round 4, Game 6 (Miami v Dallas)

Final score: Dallas 105, Miami 95

Before I forget everything I watched in the NBA finals and more specifically, game 6, I guess I should blog about it.  I’m sorry for my big layoff, but here we go.  Just so you know going into this blog, I’m not going to talk about the game specifically, but more in general about the finals and the future.  And I’ve got a bunch more blogs on the way, so I won’t cover too much in this one.

First, the Dallas Mavericks are the NBA champions and I feel stupid.  But it’s a happy stupid, so I don’t care.  If you remember way back to two weeks (almost 3 now, isn’t it) ago, the storyline was “Lebron chokes bigtime” (sorry Dallas) and people were up in arms as to how the media (a veiled term of contempt in this day and age) was giving Dallas no respect.  Well, here’s the only problem – I still 100% contend that Lebron and Miami lost the finals as much as Dallas won anything.   Here are 3 reasons why I still believe that Miami should have won:

1) Miami was the better team.  I know the regular season means very little, but look at it this way – through an 82-game season, Miami had the better record.  Yes, Dirk got hurt, but with all the pressure and hate being laden on the Heat game after game, it is easy to forget that there was a stretch during the winter where Miami looked absolutely unbeatable, defeating something like 12 straight opponents.  Oh, and then Miami marched through two of the other best teams in the league crushing both Boston and Chicago in impressive fashion.  Only once (game 4 vs LAL) during the season or playoffs did I watch a Dallas game and think, “wow, they look unbeatable;” I felt that way during at least 1 stretch of every Miami game I watched.  Sorry, but Maimi was the better team.

2) Dirk did not have a good series.  I think people really missed this because he did make a couple game-winning shots (also missed one, though) and won the finals MVP.  But in reality, he shot the ball poorly (under 42%) including 3 games under 40%.  Yes, Nowitzki came through in the clutch, but you’ve got to have a great first 40 minutes, too.

3) Lebron and Wade (when playing together and confidently) are absolutely vicious.  This goes back a little (okay, a lot) to point number 1.  Lebron and Wade are the heart and soul of the team and when they play well, the Heat play well.  So with the soul mysteriously absent and the heart hurting, it makes sense that Miami would falter.  But, again, every game I watched, there was always an inevitable stretch where James and Wade would get a steal or two coupled with another pair of stops and go on an 8-0 run with 4 highlight-worthy dunks.  The tandem looked at times throughout both this series as well as the season before, positively unstoppable.  It seems, then, that the only ones who can stop the Heat are, well, the Heat.

Honestly, I can’t remember if the game had a turning point.  All I know was that of the 6 games, this was the only one that I felt from the get-go that Miami was beat.  They really didn’t put up a significant fight.  Speaking of which, here are Lebron’s lines from the last 2 games of the series: 17-10-10 and 21-4-6.  Those numbers are so odd that I really don’t know what to think: they’re fantastic for a role player, just so-so for a super-star and downright boring for the best player in the league.  The fact is that in the last 3 games (really 4 if you include his so-so game 3 performance), Lebron looked comfortable in his own skin for about 10 minutes – the minutes where Dwayne Wade was in the locker room getting his back treated.  Other than that, even the “aggressive” Lebron was just a fake.  For one or two possessions he’s try hard, but only in the way a player tries to execute exactly what the coach says.  There was never any internal drive (or so it seemed).  Lebron looked afraid of the big stage and was more than willing to let anyone (even the non-superfriends at times) take the lead.

The player of the game was Jason Terry.  When your team scores 105, wins the NBA finals and your leading baller is riddled in a putrid 7-21 shooting night, you know someone else had to step up big for Dallas.  That someone was JET who lit up the scoreboard with 27, most importantly keeping the Mavs on track in the first half while Nowitzki was busing building a mansion out of his bricks.  Also, special kudos to Kidd, Barea, Stevenson and Marion who all played major roles in the game as well as the series.  Kidd’s defense may be the most underrated storyline ever considering he’s slow, old and… well, was facing one of the best offensive guards in the league.  Marion and Stevenson in their own ways, too, contributed immensely.  Both played necessary defense on the Wade/James combo and both scored plenty of points (Stevenson via the three-ball; 13/23 from 3; and Marion via the post game; 13ppg).  Finally, Barea’s offense, so missed in the first 3 games, was rediscovered by the end of the series giving Dallas the necessary potent threat from the guard spot.

Since going forward we have the end of the basketball season, a crazy-looking off-season and a bunch of other twists and turns, I’ll limit what I say here.  Next year (if there is a next year) I don’t think the Mavs will be favored in the West.  I still see Los Angeles as the best team, but many of the other Western powers (Thunder and Spurs) have been revamping as well.  In the East, I think we’ve seen the beginning of the decade of the Heat.  As much as I love D-Rose and the Bulls, I cannot imagine them beating a Heat team that’s supposed to keep getting better.  Then again I didn’t see Miami losing to Dallas so clearly I’m not much of a predictor.  However, it’s pretty clear to me that Boston is done as a power and that nobody else in the East seems to have their act together in any way, so I imagine we’ll be quite heavy on the Bulls-Heat matchups over the next few years.

Yours Truly,

Basketblogger

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