Not playoff related: But Does anyone remember people saying Deron's assist numbers will drop with the Nets? Then he averaged 12.8 assist with us. I know he had a messed up wrist, but people knew this and they still felt they would drop.
i don't remember that being said, but i'm disappointed in the NBA and the fanbase for not giving d-will more credit for the great season he just had: how many PG's average 20 and 10 for a season? (especially PG's who aren't the focal point of the offense)
I missed most of the game yesterday because I was meeting with an old colleague I haven't seen in years.
I only caught the 4th quarter so this is what I have to say (and it only pertains to the 4th quarter):
-Miami for the 3rd game in a row looks like they have an easier time scoring than Dallas. This is sad because Dallas has more potent offensive structure and weapons. I'm not sure if this is a testament to Miami's D (which I give a ton of credit for), but if Dallas does not find a way to get a bucket outside of Dirk fading away off one foot.. They won't come back. You can see Miami killing Dallas in the pick and roll and finding open guys here and there. Dallas on the other hand can't get anything going outside of Dirk creating his own shot. While Dirk is a great player and for the most of the playoffs this strategy is working, it's the Finals.. can't rely on one trick.
-What's wrong with Kidd? He doesn't even look aggressive on offense. He's turning down shots and he doesn't drive to the rim when he has the lane. I remember Kidd in his Nets days. He'd go in and get a foul or create some sort of shot. He's a master layup player with great hands. It's sad to see him turn it down.
-Udonis Haslem is the hardest working player whenever he steps on the court. I love this guy. He plays in only one gear.
-Bosh finally worked the pick and pop right for that game winner. He can get that shot more than he does.
-Once again, can't say this enough.. Wade led charges are much better than LeBron led charges. Wade is calmer in the clutch and I think he eases everyone else's nerves to play their game. His ability to dictate teammate performance in the clutch is far superior to James.
-LeBron gets away with so many travels. I only watched the 4th quarter and I lost count of how many times he gets away with a travel. I'm glad they called some of them.
-After watching 3 straight series where Terry's shot was wet, he has been terrible this series. He can't make anything and he was taking away valuable shots for Dirk in the 4th. I know he's clutch and confident, but there were times he dribble into tougher shots.
i think his confidence is once again down in his shooting and driving, just like it's pretty-much been all season... so he's making a conscious choice to do less of those things and more of what he does best- which is to pass, rebound, steal, run the offense, and play defense on 2's and 3's. nothing new there, either, except that now he surely feels the vital importance of every possession, so my guess is that he's probably shading his game in those directions even further.
numbers-wise kidd shot poorly this season, even for him- 36% overall and 34% on threes. the first number, although low, is not very important in the scheme of things. the second number is a real setback, though, since a big part of his resurgence with dallas has been punishing teams with the 3-ball. but as an older player i think he's become especially reluctant to do anything which would hurt the team or make himself look like a liability.
after all, he's also under a microscope now in terms of 'when does he cross over that dreaded line of going from aging starter to backup for the rest of his career.' and i think we'd all agree that he's done a remarkable job of blowing everyone's expectations on that matter. but the line is getting thinner all the time, and that move -does- have to happen one day (unless he flat-out retires, which he might).
the origin of the problem is this- he's always struggled with both his shot and his confidence in his shot. he never was a natural shooter, and never will be, with that catapult-style release and the mechanical leg-lift. since i starting following him ten years ago i've noticed many times that he's gone to someone for publicised advice on how to correct problems with his stroke, which usually worked for a little while before he settled back in to his old form. he also did this very recently, getting some advice from dirk's coach about 'flipping his wrist down after the release.' you can also see him challenge himself sometimes to make a big shot, presumably to get his stroke going, like he did in game four tonight, in which he very-uncharacteristically tried to create a three off the dribble with a defender in his face. a terry or dirk-like shot, but not even close to a typical kidd shot.
i could try to put together even more examples, and ways in which i think that having a big game one (shooting) against a team like portland can sometimes backfire for kidd, but...
- dirk's 102-degree fever and 4th-quarter heroism aside, it still feels like miami can take this series whenever it wants to. meanwhile, dallas can't win if it has to earn four victories by late comebacks. simply not going to happen, and i think even the most hardcore dallas fans know that.
- great to see peja staying on the bench and more of deshawn destevenson's defense and ability to hit the three. true, he makes mistakes here and there, but his ability to play good defense on wade / lebron is critical IMO.
- marion has really stepped it up and turned back the clock, but terry and barea are getting exposed out there- when their shots aren't falling it's been brutal on the mavs. dallas may technically be tied and hanging in there, but they simply can't win the series like this. IMO carlisle is going to have to take a chance somewhere and go away from established routine, like he's mow doing with stevenson. i would think along the lines of activating butler, or possibly even beaubois. but beaubois is the only one who can move around the floor and create like barea and terry do.
indeed, this was supposed to be beaubois' breakout season, and very few people expected barea to be getting this much PT and for that to actually be working. right up until this heat series, that is, in which he looks like 'same old barea'.
Missed the game last night cause of a flight. But damn this series is awesome. Dirk is truly inspirational for battling through that cold. I don't think I want anything as much as Dirk wants this championship
-It's crazy how well the Mavs played and they were still down for portions of the game. The Heat are consistent and had Wade not been out for significant portions, I wonder if the Mavs would've still won this game.
-Finally Terry finds his shot in the 4th. Though I wonder if this will lead him to try to take those big hero shots in Miami and come up short. In any event, it's good to see Terry when he's hitting shots. He sparks them better than anyone else.
-Tyson Chandler is my favorite player on the court constantly. Guy just does work.
-When Kidd made that three at the end of the game, I said "Finally!" He had been turning down that shot for most of the game. Good to see him ante up and take the shot when they've been giving it to him for the entire series.
-I almost feel for LeBron. So many times I found myself saying "Come on man, you're better than this." But he shied away. I don't know what it is. It's almost as if he switched games with JR Smith. He was taking such bad shots and shots early in the shot clock instead of getting to the rim.
-It pains me to see how little of a post game LeBron has considering how big and strong and agile he is. When he was posting Marion or Kidd, it's as if he has no moves. Not even a fadeaway. He gets position but then looks to pass it everytime. Contrast that to Wade who can post up Kidd and get a bucket. LeBron's game needs more toughness to it. It's pseudo tough cause he will go in and dunk it on your center, but I mean the workhorse tough. The ugly, Ron Artest baskets. Ain't pretty, but gets results type of playing. Anthony Mason comes to mind. He needs to work on his post footwork over the summer.
-Chalmers is turning into one of those I hate him, but he's pretty damn productive players. The predictions of him being the next Derek Fisher are coming true. I see some Charlie Ward in him too. But I love Charlie Ward, so **** that.
- terry and barea fantastic, hitting lots of big shots, moving and distributing very well. couldn't believe barea took all those threes and MADE so many. they're also going to have to do more of the same for the mavs to win, so keep that fire lit under their asses, please. their play is still the x-factor and will be the difference between the title or a loss in seven games.
- when is haywood coming back? my god, the mavs need that man.
- carlisle and the mavs have done a real good job clamping down on miami runs. things have changed a lot since that first game, in which miami was wreaking havoc like those old nets teams from the finals. indeed, with every game, carlisle's overall plan seems to get a little bit more effective and the mavs' grip on the situation, better.
- miami can still win this series, easily. it's only two games on their home court. miami's role players keep improving, and if the superfriends play just a bit better, that's enough to win. none of them have really had monster games yet, although in bosh and lebron's case, i think it's because of the rising pressure.
- i thought the video of wade and lebron walking down the hallway, cracking jokes about dirk being sick, was pretty childish. i don't dislike either guy because of that, but james seems to be bringing wade down to his level more than wade has been bringing lebron up to his. '13-yr old kid mentality'. meanwhile, where's the eye of the tiger and desire to annihilate the opposition ala kobe, jordan, bird, and so many others.
lebron is not playing the game for the same reasons that the greats did, and that's not good for the game IMO. it seems like more of an ego-boost and popularity contest for him. i was just reading an article on sporting news about how the 'straight-to-the-pros' stars and superstars, like james, howard, j. o'neal, garnett, eddy curry, kwame brown and others, have badly underachieved as a group. kobe is the only exception. the training and discipline of college seemed to make a decisive difference for playoff and finals moments, such as these.
- zach lowe at SI has had the best game analysis i've read this playoffs. myself, i've been watching the games at bars and on crappy internet feeds at home, so it's hard to see the details well. so he's been a great read for slobs like me.
- last point: james has underachieved, true, but if the mavs go on to win, people need to remember something... that without his jump to miami, there was little chance miami was going to do anything in the playoffs. i mean, last season they lost in five games in the first round, whereas this year, they went to to six or seven games in the finals. that's no joke, no matter what the star power. so people might want to think about putting a sock in it and appreciating how far they've come. and even if james refuses to accept reality, that he has a second-fiddle mentality and that the team belongs in wade's hands, not his, the heat should keep improving anyway.
i haven't been able to watch these games because i was hella busy the past two weeks but from the highlights, i can tell miami is most often in the driver's seat and pretty much has dallas under control except for a 12 minute period called the 4th quarter.
In the 4th, dallas can't be any better and miami can't get much worse. One team is spreading the floor, penetrating the lane, kicking it out, swinging the ball, and getting open shots and MAKING them while the other team is standing around, playing hero ball, turning it over, and playing lazy defense.
Make no mistake, i want the Mavs to win this series, but allow me to take my homer glasses off for a moment and state the obvious: Miami is essentially giving this series away. And it all started with game 2.
Miami has the talent to steamroll through this series, but the men in blue seem to have more heart and desperation.