After the Miami Heat beat the Dallas Mavericks 88-86 on the road to take a 2-1 lead in the 2011 NBA Finals, Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade did their usual shared post-game press conference. A somewhat challenging question was posed by a reporter to LeBron, who gave a pretty solid response. Here’s how it went:
Reporter: “LeBron, three games in a row for you, fourth quarter. Not much. That’s the moment superstars become superstars. Seems like you’re almost shrinking from it. What’s going on?”
LeBron James: “I think you’re concentrating on one side of the floor. And all you’re looking at is the stat-sheet. Honestly, I’m a two-way player. Tonight, D-Wade had it going offensively, so we allowed him to handle the ball. We allowed him to bring us home offensively. You [could] just watch the film again and see what I did defensively. And you ask me a better question tomorrow.”
(LeBron then covered his mouth, possibly to hide some laughter.)
Wade was spectacular tonight and finished the game shooting 12-of-21 for 29 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. LeBron shot just 6-of-14 for a quiet 17 points, just three rebounds, but nine assists. And very good defense. The Mavericks shot just 40 percent in the loss. Mavs small forward Shawn Marion hit a mere 4-of-12 shots for 10 points and little else.
The basic premise of the question actually was legitimate in the opinion of InsideHoops.com, in that LeBron has not scored much in the fourth quarters of the three 2011 NBA Finals games that have been played so far.
Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that John Kuester will not return next season as the team’s head coach. The decision was made following a meeting between ownership and the head coach.
“Decisions like this are difficult to make,” said Dumars. “I want to thank John for his hard work and dedication to the organization over the last two years, however, at this time we have decided to make a change.”
Kuester, who was named head coach on July 9, 2009, tallied a regular-season record of 57-107 in two season’s with the Pistons. He served one season in Detroit as an assistant coach under Larry Brown in 2003-04, helping the Pistons win the NBA Championship that year.
Dumars: “As our organization moves forward and prepares for the future, the search for our club’s new head coach is a priority and will begin immediately. However, at this time, we do not have a timetable for hiring a successor. We’ll conduct our due diligence privately and announce a decision when we’ve identified that individual.”
The AP reports: Kuester was hired in 2009 after two seasons as an assistant with Cleveland. He was also a member of Larry Brown’s championship-winning staff in 2004 with the Pistons, but his familiarity with at least some of the players was of little help as the team began to look increasingly dysfunctional late in his tenure. Kuester and Richard Hamilton had a falling out that sent the veteran to the bench for most of a seven-week stretch. The two appeared to be on better terms toward the end, but there was plenty of other drama.
More from the AP: Every healthy player started at least one game this season, and all except Ben Gordon received at least one DNP-Coach’s Decision. Kuester benched point guard Rodney Stuckey barely a week into the season and benched him again with just over a week to go when there was friction between the two. The low point was probably Feb. 25 in Philadelphia. Seven players missed at least part of a team shootaround, and Kuester played only the remaining six that night in a blowout loss to the 76ers.