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Old 06-08-2011, 02:58 PM   #161
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DeShawn Stevenson Has Plenty Left in Reserve (Role) -
http://www.mavsfastbreak.com/2011/06...-reserve-role/
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Old 06-08-2011, 03:07 PM   #162
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DeShawn Stevenson Has Plenty Left in Reserve (Role) -
http://www.mavsfastbreak.com/2011/06...-reserve-role/
Great stuff - nice to see Stevenson getting the props he deserves from The Media.
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Old 06-08-2011, 03:59 PM   #163
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http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/maver...ak-down-game-4

It is not necessarily new, but skip bayless is a pr*ck : )
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Old 06-08-2011, 08:00 PM   #164
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Whitlock compares Carlisle to Bill Belichick. Wow.

http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/q...stments-060811

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If Bill Belichick coached basketball, he would be Rick Carlisle — quirky, aloof, underappreciated and well-traveled.

Belichick and Carlisle are like malt liquor, an acquired taste.

he truth is, Carlisle is probably best suited to be a football coach. The NFL’s military-style leadership model, sleep-in-the-office lifestyle and Xs-and-Os-centric coaching are perfect for Carlisle.

He’s short on people skills and long on X-O. He’s the antithesis of Phil Jackson and Zen.

Lucky for the Dallas Mavericks — they needed an X-and-O fix in the NBA Finals.

With the Mavs trailing 2-1 in their best-of-seven series with the Miami Heat and having been dominated in all three games, Carlisle was forced Tuesday night to empty his coaching playbook. He had no choice. He coached the Mavericks to a series-evening 86-83 victory.

For three games, the Mavs struggled with solving Miami’s defense, slowing Dwyane Wade and finding the right offense-defense balance and rotation.

Things were made worse when Dirk Nowitzki woke up Tuesday morning physically weak with a 101-degree temperature, a sinus infection, a bad cough.

The Mavs were toast. Carlisle was desperate.

He did crazy (stuff). He inserted J.J. Barea into the starting lineup. Barea has been a nightmare in the Finals. He can’t finish at the rim. He can’t knock down open perimeter shots. He left his game in the Western Conference playoffs.

Carlisle went with Barea to change his rotation and rest Shawn Marion. With Barea in the lineup, DeShawn Stevenson would come off the bench and defend Wade or LeBron James.

Carlisle also tied Peja Stojakovic to the bench. Peja left his shot in Los Angeles. The few minutes Carlisle would have wasted on Peja, he gave to Brian Cardinal. Well, at least “The Custodian” didn’t turn the ball over and escort a Heat offensive player to the rim.

The Barea and Cardinal moves didn’t really pan out. That’s fine. Down 2-1 and with Dirk sick, a coach has to try something.

And Carlisle did find minutes for Stevenson. In Dallas’ two victories, Stevenson has played a combined 48 minutes. In Dallas’ two losses, Stevenson has played 29 minutes. Stevenson played 26 minutes Tuesday. He knocked down three 3-pointers. He played solid defense on James and Wade.

Where Carlisle really made his mark Tuesday was in the fourth quarter, when he mixed in some zone defense. The Heat scored only 14 points in the final 12 minutes. The zone slowed Wade’s penetration, and it masked Nowitzki’s exhaustion.

Carlisle coached a masterpiece. He reminded me of one of the reasons I liked Dallas all year and in this Finals series. He’s one of the few coaches — like Jackson, Doc Rivers — who can make a legitimate difference on the final score. Carlisle is worth a few points.

As a lifelong Indiana Pacers fan, I’ve been an admirer of Carlisle for quite some time. I watched him do for Larry Bird what Belichick used to do for Bill Parcells.

Bird had the basketball intellect to “get” Carlisle. In the late 1990s, as an assistant coach for the Pacers, Carlisle coached Bird’s squad all the way to the NBA Finals. When Bird tired of pretending to be a head coach and stepped down, he couldn’t talk Pacers president Donnie Walsh into making Carlisle the next coach.

Walsh chose Isiah Thomas. A year later, the Pistons chose Carlisle. Although Carlisle led the Pistons to back-to-back 50-win seasons and an appearance in the Eastern Conference finals, and won a Coach of the Year award, the Pistons fired him after only two seasons. Based on newspaper reports at the time, most everyone in the Pistons organization hated Carlisle. He was smug and weird.

Detroit replaced Carlisle with Larry Brown.

OK, think about that. The Pacers and the Pistons chose NBA divas — Thomas and Brown — over Carlisle.

Again, Rick Carlisle is an acquired taste.

Larry Bird has it. Shortly after returning to the Pacers as team president, Bird fired Thomas and hired Carlisle.

In his first season, he led the Pacers to 61 victories and the Eastern Conference finals. In his second season, he was the leader of the squad that brawled with the Pistons and their fans inside the Palace. Two years later, with the Pacers struggling on and off the court, Bird had to fire Carlisle in a move driven by public relations.

Bird did Carlisle a favor. Mark Cuban and the Mavericks scooped up Carlisle. This veteran Dallas team is perfect for Carlisle. Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry are three of the smartest players in the league. They get it done with their heads, not great athleticism. They “get” Carlisle. His quirks and his aloofness don’t bother them.

Will Carlisle’s adjustments get Dallas two more victories? Maybe not. But his moves Tuesday night earned Dallas two more opportunities to adjust.
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Old 06-09-2011, 08:51 AM   #165
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Man these slo-mo looks are sweet...
http://www.nba.com/playoffs/2011/fin...m4_phantom.nba
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:16 AM   #166
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Originally Posted by dude1394 View Post
Man these slo-mo looks are sweet...
http://www.nba.com/playoffs/2011/fin...m4_phantom.nba
Chandler in the interview, such a great guy, same goes for Dirk, of course.
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Old 06-09-2011, 10:20 AM   #167
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You guys are lucky I did not start a thread from this thread-worthy material.

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Dallas's Secret Weapon: High Fives
Researchers Say Winning Teams Touch More, so We Studied the Tape; Miami's Chilly Hug Totals

The major plotlines of the NBA Finals to this point have been Dirk Nowitzki's shooting prowess and LeBron James's Game 4 disappearing act.

Nobody, for the time being, is talking about the Dallas Mavericks' total inability to keep their hands off one another.

But if physical contact between teammates has some bearing on the outcome of a basketball game (more on that later), this series—which is deadlocked at 2-2 heading into Thursday's Game 5—may be all but over already.


Based on a review of ABC's broadcasts of the first three games of these Finals, The Wall Street Journal logged every moment when two teammates could be seen touching each other on camera, whether it was a high-five, a hug, a chest pat or a butt slap. The results couldn't be more definitive.

The Mavericks, with 250 slaps, hugs, taps or bumps, are almost twice as touchy-feely as the Heat, who had only 134 instances of televised contact. In those three games, the Mavericks were 82% more likely to high five.

The concept of "chemistry" on a sports team has become the stuff of cliché over the years. Nobody seems to have the same definition for what it is, or what produces it. But last fall, three researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, took a serious look at one of the most obvious signs of camaraderie on a team—touching.

The study, which was titled "Tactile Communication, Cooperation and Performance: An Ethological Study of the NBA," was authored by Michael W. Kraus, Cassy Huang and Dacher Keltner. After reviewing broadcasts of games from the 2008-09 season, they concluded that good teams tend to be much more hands-on than bad ones. Teams whose players touched the most often were more cooperative, played better and won more games, they said.

While there's no evidence that an NBA team can touch its way to victory, the two touchiest teams in the study, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, finished the season with two of the NBA's top three records.

"I remember when we started doing the coding, we were watching a Golden State Warriors game," Kraus said. "They were pretty bad that year, and just watching them and their negative body language—I mean, we weren't seeing any touching at all even in the first quarter. We immediately thought, 'This is going to work.'"

No player over the three games collected more high fives than Mavs forward Tyson Chandler (90). He was followed closely by teammates Nowitzki (88), Shawn Marion (69) and Jason Kidd (69). "It's all about positive reinforcement," Mavs reserve Brian Cardinal said. "And we've got a bunch of guys who really get along."

James led the Heat with a mere 41 high fives. But the touchiest Miami player might be veteran forward Juwan Howard, who averaged 38 high fives per 48 minutes, good for the highest rate on the Heat.
Let's get touchy! Go Mavs.
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"I still go through it in my head," Nowitzki said. "One of my last nights in Germany [last month], I was trying to go to sleep, but I couldn't. I was thinking about the free throw I missed [late in Game 3], about different situations that happened in that series. I'll never forget it. It's going to stay in my mind until we win it all."
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Old 06-09-2011, 10:21 AM   #168
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Originally Posted by dude1394 View Post
Man these slo-mo looks are sweet...
http://www.nba.com/playoffs/2011/fin...m4_phantom.nba
Man that was so cool, loved it.

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Originally Posted by ty View Post
You guys are lucky I did not start a thread from this thread-worthy material.



Let's get touchy! Go Mavs.
God damn it. I'm so emotional after reading this, I don't know how much of this my heart can take. I can't even think of words. Man.. Lets go Mavs. It's time.

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Old 06-09-2011, 10:30 AM   #169
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http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/comme...ory?id=6641871

Dirk Nowitzki has answered questions. (Good article)
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Old 06-09-2011, 10:42 AM   #170
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melonhead View Post
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/comme...ory?id=6641871

Dirk Nowitzki has answered questions. (Good article)
Really solid article.


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Championships can be won in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, but they are often lost long before that.
Love that closing statement.
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:00 PM   #171
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Great find, Ty !
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:38 PM   #172
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http://mavsblog.dallasnews.com/archi...ade-prete.html

Apparently Wade & LBJ were mocking Dirk for being sick. What a fucking joke. Man I hope we merk those assholes on Sunday!
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:40 PM   #173
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Originally Posted by CadBane View Post
http://mavsblog.dallasnews.com/archi...ade-prete.html

Apparently Wade & LBJ were mocking Dirk for being sick. What a fucking joke. Man I hope we merk those assholes on Sunday!
Dirk would mock that bitch Wade for his "broken hip" if he wasn't so busy winning...
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:55 AM   #174
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has already been posted ...

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Old 06-10-2011, 11:43 AM   #175
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LeBron can't handle it, but who could?

http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/l...ressure-061011

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The crown is too heavy now.

It crushed Tiger Woods. Serena Williams rejected it. Peyton Manning only wears it when it suits his needs. Alex Rodriquez had it stripped from his head by performance-enhancing drugs. A rape allegation dethroned Kobe Bryant.

Michael Jordan is our last global sports icon, and even he couldn’t bear the weight of the crown in this era. Neither could Muhammad Ali, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth or Joe Montana.

LeBron James had no idea what he was signing up for when he accepted the nickname “King James,” tatted “Chosen One” across his back and teamed with Nike in pursuit of global-icon status.

There was no Facebook or Twitter when this all began. James had probably never heard of Skip Bayless or Stephen A. Smith. Cellphones didn’t double as cameras and devices to watch, send and receive porn. Hardcore sports fans weren’t in their parents’ basements dreaming of inventing Deadspin.

You want to understand LeBron James and why he is struggling in this moment, in these NBA Finals, despite Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh helping him with his crown? You must first understand the time we live in.

The crown is too heavy now.

It’s weighed down by the infinite voices with access to an athlete’s mind. It’s weighed down by our outdated insistence on viewing athletes as role models while scrutinizing their personal lives the way we would a politician. It’s weighed down by technology, the 24-hour news cycle, reality TV and the sports world’s embrace of celebrity culture.

The mountain LeBron James is trying to scale is much higher than the one Jordan, Ali and Ruth climbed.

Is James shrinking? No. He’s getting crushed.

In the self-described biggest game of his life -- Game 5 of the NBA Finals -- James recorded a harmless triple-double and a harmful, 2-point fourth quarter on a night when, because of Wade’s hip injury, the Heat needed James to perform Magic.

I’m talking Magic Johnson, the 1980 rookie who opened for Kareem at center and dropped 42, 15 and seven on the Sixers in Game 6.

In Dallas’ 112-103 victory Thursday night, James finished with 17, 10 and 10. Good numbers. Not enough. And not what Miami needed with Wade spending considerable stretches trapped in the training room receiving treatment on a hip contusion.

Of James’ 10 rebounds, only one was offensive. He missed all four of his three-point shots. He made a single trip to the free-throw line. He turned the ball over a game-high four times. On the offensive end, he left the low block in the fourth. At the defensive end, Jason Terry torched James.

James said he’s not bothered by the pressure of the Finals, of the fourth quarter. He’s in denial.

“We as a team, we played good enough to win again,” he said. “Put ourselves in position to win down the stretch. Everyone, guys made plays. They just made a few more than we did. That’s what it came down to.”

The final score says the Heat did not play good enough to win. Dallas closed the game on a 15-2 run. Miami’s penchant for late-game collapses and James’ penchant for fourth-quarter offensive disappearance in this series indicates there’s a problem.

“I don’t think it was a case of offense again tonight,” James said. “There was enough offensive play. We shot 52 percent. They shot 56 percent. We scored 103 points. They scored 113. The offense wasn’t a problem.”

It’s true: Defense wins championships. This is also true: Sometimes your best defense is a good offense.

In a single-platoon sport like basketball, when you’re blessed with unprecedented talent, you can beat up and demoralize an opponent so badly on the offensive end that you destroy his confidence on both ends of the court.

Dropping 40 on someone is intimidating and distracting.

Chris Bosh is a different player in this series compared to the Chicago series because Dirk Nowitzki is inside his head. Bosh has yet to clear his brain of Dirk’s left-handed game-winner in Game 2. It’s scary playing against someone better than you.

Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Shawn Marion are not afraid of LeBron. They don’t respect his moves on the block. They’re thrilled James is shying away from driving the ball and challenging Tyson Chandler at the rim.

James is lost.

The Decision and this marvelous NBA season vaulted him to global-icon status. Thanks to America’s fascination with James, the anticipation for Game 5 felt like an NFL playoff game. King James is must-see TV.

We shouldn’t be surprised he’s having trouble handling the moment. There was no Skip Bayless sitting on TV dissecting Jordan daily. There was no Stephen A. Smith going on national radio insinuating problems in Jordan’s personal life. Jordan never tweeted or gave millions of detractors easy access to rip him.

Jordan was prepared to wear the crown by two parents and Dean Smith.

It’s a different era now. The crown is too heavy and many of the kids haven’t been given instructions on how to wear it.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:49 PM   #176
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Does anyone have a link to "poetry in motion" for game 5????

I wanna see terry light lebron up with that three ball
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:22 PM   #177
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On Jason Kidd and "Win Time", and the Greatest Clutch Lineup on Earth

Long, so follow the link. Must read. Do it.

One tidbit:
Quote:
Certainly, Jason Kidd has performed exceptionally well in the clutch for Dallas, but take a step back, and an even clearer picture develops: the Mavericks lineup of Jason-Kidd-Jason Terry-Shawn Marion-Dirk Nowitzki-Tyson Chandler appears to be the greatest clutch lineup on Earth.
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Old 06-11-2011, 12:15 AM   #178
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http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playof...nstinct-110610


Looks like I finally have the answer to a question that has taunted me since the conference finals, a quest to find the most deranged participant remaining in these playoffs.

Before we get to the answer, we have to go back to the origin, back to a dinner in April when I was invited to join Isiah Thomas and Jason Whitlock at a restaurant on the Sunset Strip. Throughout the evening we kept an eye on a nearby television showing "SportsCenter," and when Tom Brady's face appeared on the screen, Isiah felt compelled to comment.

"That guy," Isiah said with great admiration, "is a killer."

He described the time he met Brady and the sense he got that Brady would do anything to win, even if it meant eternal damnation of his soul. That led to a fraternal bond, for Thomas belongs in that same category, a select group of athletes whom you'd want for the last drive, shot or at-bat, even if you wouldn't necessarily entrust them to watch your children.

To be the best, repeatedly, to sustain greatness and deliver in the clutch again and again, requires an abnormal mind, borderline sociopathic. As Thomas put it, "You have to be willing to go to dark places."

It means excluding friends and family if they are potential distractions. It means choosing your sport over anything else. Pete Sampras often talked about the sacrifice it took to stay atop the tennis rankings for six consecutive years.

"To stay No. 1, it's got to be your life," Sampras once said on "60 Minutes." "It really does."

To smash the competition in the NBA, you have to be the type of person who would make up an insult to create motivation or use his Hall of Fame induction speech to air a list of grievances for everyone who had ever slighted him. Yeah, like Mike.

I credit the HBO documentary "Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals" for revealing the shadowy side of the dueling superstars who lifted the league in the 1980s. Bird retained the anger that came from his father's committing suicide during Bird's college years. He also was perpetually driven to prove that he could triumph as a Caucasian in a sport that had come to be dominated by African-Americans.

Magic, meanwhile, admitted that he was done in by his dichotomy, that the attention-seeking, partying, womanizing "Magic" side of him led to the businesslike, Midwestern-valued "Earvin" side of him contracting HIV as well. Then he said he was OK with that, because without Magic, he wouldn't be a five-time NBA champion.

Think about that. He valued the championships that much.

I thought Tim Duncan was a huge exception to my theory, a four-time champion who always came off as very normal -- normal to the point of being dull. Then Bruce Bowen, Duncan's former San Antonio Spurs teammate and my current ESPN colleague, told me I had it all wrong, that Duncan was as strange as they come because of his psychology degree from Wake Forest.

"Tim's a psychological guy," Bowen said. "They don't see things the same way."

Bowen pointed to a sign with the number 7 on it.

"He might not say that's a 7," Bowen said. "He might say that's an upside-down L."

No doubt Kobe Bryant has that warped type of personality, and it's brought him that type of success. So I sought his opinion on whether an athlete could be both great and normal.

"It depends what you consider normal," Bryant said.

See, Kobe is so far removed from normal that he's constructed a world in his mind in which his mentality is normal. A couple of weeks later, he practically admitted as much after the Lakers fell behind the Mavericks 3-0 in the conference semifinals, yet he still held out hope for a comeback.

"I might be sick in the head or crazy or thrown off or something like that, but I still think we are going to win this series," Bryant said. "I might be nuts."

I truly believe that he truly believed. And don't you have to be nuts to think you can do something no team in NBA history has done?

But after Kobe and the Lakers were eliminated, it left no one of his ilk still standing in the NBA playoffs. The rising stars in the league, guys like Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose, are talented and dedicated and ... nice guys. Too nice, which is why they are home right now.

As hated as LeBron James might be this year, he isn't a dark, evil person. He's someone who wanted to go play with his friends in a sunny city. He broke Cleveland's heart, but if you watched the look on his face and the way he shifted uncomfortably in his chair when he made "The Decision," you could tell it was difficult for him to do. If he truly enjoyed the villain's role, he would have said it with a condescending smile.

The best closers thrive on breaking hearts. They live to silence opposing crowds. There's something anti-social about them.

LeBron's partner Dwyane Wade has delivered in the clutch, but he's also prone to getting injured or missing important free throws. In his thoughtful analysis of the playoffs during a practice-day media session this week, Wade sounded more honest about the pain one goes through in the course of a postseason, not the pain he loves to inflict. He came off as a guy who understands what the playoffs are truly about. He gets it. He just isn't the best at giving it.

What Dirk Nowitzki is doing during these playoffs isn't twisted, it's standard. (Note that I said standard, not average.) If you had to wait five years to redeem yourself after letting your only other chance at a championship slip through your grasp and you had Nowitzki's skill set, you'd be doing exactly what he's doing. Left to his own mentality, Nowitzki couldn't deliver in 2006. With the added ingredient of revenge, he is taking over fourth quarters.

Then there is the guy who has no place alongside names like Nowitzki, Magic, Jordan or Kobe. Yet he's forced himself into the conversation. He's the one, the guy who's warped enough to make a difference. He's Jason Terry.

His altered sense of reality is that he thinks he's better than he really is. He shouldn't anticipate outperforming the taller, more talented LeBron in any manner. The way Terry's shoulders and shorts hang straight down, he looks as though he's constantly losing a battle with gravity. Yet he's winning the fourth-quarter battles with LeBron, often head-to-head, and has outscored him 16-2 during crunch time in the past two games.

In the final minute of Game 5, Terry had the ball with the Mavericks ahead by four points and the shot clock dwindling to its final five seconds. Terry stood some 26 feet from the basket, LeBron giving him space out of disbelief that Terry would actually do anything from that spot. Terry calmly launched a 3-pointer that put the game out of reach. He gleefully provided the lethal injection.

To Terry, it was "just like being out there on the playground back in Seattle. ... Raise up, knock it down."

Would he have taken that shot even if there were more time on the shot clock?

"I definitely would have," Terry said.

"Dirk don't want to hear that. I may have in that situation."

Dirk and JET are constantly battling over Terry's mouth, with Dirk scared that Terry will talk beyond his capability of delivering but also aware that Terry thrives when his mouth is running. Dirk needs to embrace the imbalance.

The general formula for winning NBA championships is you need at least two Hall of Famers. That's the recipe the Heat tried to follow in assembling their team. The Mavericks' method is Dirk living up to his Hall of Fame billing -- and then Terry playing like a Hall of Famer, even if he'll never get called to Springfield. Terry thinks he's that good, regardless.

I told Terry what I planned to write, that the Mavericks are winning this series because he's twisted, with an inflated sense of his ability.

"I like that, though," Terry said.

He's warped enough to like being called warped. That's the level of dementia I'd been seeking.
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Old 06-11-2011, 09:58 AM   #179
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A couple of good articles for your attention:

A piece by Simmons at Grantland. I don't care what anyone says, I like Grantland and I like the footnotes.

Quote:
On Tuesday and Wednesday at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, in a massive conference room that could have doubled as one half of a basketball court, an eclectic group of maybe 40 people convened to determine whether the NBA would play next year. The combined worth in the room was roughly 10 kajillion dollars. There were owners, lawyers, players, league and union officials, and of course, David Stern and Adam Silver, the two men with the most to lose.

You may have noticed this, but the NBA is back. Not since Michael Jordan was coughing up mucus on Ahmad Rashad in Utah has the league been this compelling: personified by its incredible 2011 Finals, currently riding a four-game "Games That Will Be Shown On ESPN Classic" streak. The NBA has more marketable stars than every other American team sport combined. Its three biggest markets (Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago) feature three playoff teams, five of the best 15 players, the reigning MVP (Derrick Rose), one of the 10-best players ever (Kobe Bryant), and the league's most exciting young star (Blake Griffin). Its signature franchise (Miami) has been the single most polarizing American sports team since … since … (wait, has there ever been a more polarizing American sports team?). Even better, the league has gravitated toward an NFL-type model in which fans watch playoff games no matter who's involved, as we found out during the Oklahoma City-Memphis series.

Internationally, the league has never been stronger: It's the only American sports league that attracts stars from every corner of the world. Digitally, the league has been light years ahead of everyone else, embracing the revolution and staying ahead of the curve with social media and video content. It's also spent the past two decades carefully (and successfully) selling mostly black players to a mostly white audience, an ongoing conundrum that nearly submarined the league in the late-'70s and early-'80s. Throw in a killer 2011 Finals and everything looks fantastic on paper … except for the part that the league is losing money.

Unlike the NFL, they opened the books and showed everyone exactly how much: $300 million. Why are they losing money?

1. The economy tanked and fans don't have the same disposable income.
2. The secondary ticket market lessened the need to buy season tickets; you can just cherry-pick 10 regular-season games online and skip the other 31.
3. We're slowly learning that fans would rather stay home, watch sports on their crystal-clear HD widescreen and surf the Internet over hauling their asses to a stadium, then pay for (overpriced) parking, (overpriced) mediocre food and drinks, and (overpriced) mediocre tickets.
4. Every state-of-the-art arena built in the past 15 years was built to accommodate as many fans as possible, when actually we're learning this decade that things might need to shift the other way: You need fewer seats, you need as many good seats as possible, and you need to figure out a way to engage fans who aren't close enough to the court (like the Cowboys did with their obnoxiously brilliant video screen).
5. Typing this sentence makes me feel like I'm typing the words, "Michael Cera just beat up one of the Klitschko Brothers," but it's absolutely true: Billy Hunter beat David Stern on the last two labor deals.
You know how I know this? Because the players made $2.1 billion dollars this year … and again the owners lost $300 million. Hold on, I have their $300 million right here: Vince Carter ($17.5m), Richard Hamilton ($12.5m), Baron Davis ($13m), Jose Calderon ($9m), Gilbert Arenas ($17.7m), Rashard Lewis ($19.6m), Michael Redd ($18.3m), Matt Carroll ($4.3m), Mike Dunleavy ($10.6m), Jason Kapono ($6.6m), Andrei Kirilenko ($17.8m), Marvin Williams ($7.2m), Jared Jeffries ($6.8m), Vlad Radmanovic ($6.8m), Hedo Turkoglu ($10.2m), Boris Diaw ($9m), Marcus Banks ($4.8m), Joel Pryzbilla ($7.4m), TJ Ford (8.5m), Darius Songalia ($4.8m), Andris Biedrins ($9m), Yao Ming ($17.7m), Sam Dalembert ($13.4m), Memo Okur ($9.9m), DeSagana Diop ($6.4m), Jermaine O'Neal ($5.7m), Eddy Curry ($11.2m), Dan Gadzuric ($7.2m), Troy Murphy ($11.9m). Boom! Everyone on that list ranges from "violently overpaid" to "brazenly stole money and hasn't been arrested yet."1

You tell me: Should a professional sports league be stuck in a situation in which T.J. Ford is guaranteed $8.5 million, and Peter Holt (owner of the Spurs, the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference this season) is guaranteed to lose $8.5 million or more? Probably not. They need to fix it. Hunter's team agrees, to a degree: They're fine with shortening long-term contracts (you will never see one longer than four years again), and they're fine with making it more difficult for stars to jump franchises (even if it means abolishing the sign-and-trade rule). They're even fine with giving back a little money, as well as the owners' plan to frame Lewis and Arenas for murders so they can void their contracts.2 It's just about finding middle ground. If the players made $400 million less last season and the owners shared revenue with each other a little better,3 everyone would have made money. On paper, this seems really, really, really, really, really, really simple.

So why is it so hard? Why are we 20 days away from that self-imposed June 30 deadline with no real momentum? Where is the urgency? Why did Derek Fisher, the head of the National Basketball Players Association, decide that his family vacation was more important than a fairly crucial labor meeting in Miami last week?4 And why doesn't anyone realize that the league will absolutely shut things down on July 1 if there's no agreement? This isn't like what's happening in the NFL, where both sides are staring each other down like two assholes fighting over the last Maybach in a Mercedes dealership because they literally can't figure out how to split up the hundreds of millions they're making. The NBA infrastructure is fundamentally flawed right now: Superstars shouldn't be able to hold free agency over their teams' heads like an anvil; frauds like Eddy Curry shouldn't be able to cash eight-figure paychecks for six straight years with no repercussions; and idiotic owners and front offices need to be protected from themselves because teams knew we were heading for a hard salary cap and still splurged for the likes of Channing Frye, Drew Gooden, Josh Childress, and Mike Conley.

It's like a big jigsaw puzzle: You can see all the pieces, they all make sense, but it's impossible to figure out how to assemble them. I am cautiously optimistic only because this is David Stern's last rodeo; it's just seems incomprehensible that the final chapter of his legacy would be, "LOCKED OUT THE PLAYERS, LOST ALL THE MOMENTUM FROM A FANTASTIC SEASON, TURNED FANS AGAINST THE LEAGUE." He wants to set up Adam Silver to succeed in his place; he wants to make sure no franchises fold on his watch (a genuine source of pride for him, a streak that has extended to 27 years); and he doesn't want to be remembered by his owners like NFL owners remember Paul Tagliabue, who sold them out and left money on the table just because he wanted to get one final deal done and get the hell out of there. Stern also cares about the smaller market owners — particularly the Maloofs (he still calls them "the boys"), Peter Holt (the most respected NBA owner, as well as the head of the labor committee), Minnesota's Glen Taylor (the other bigwig on the labor committee), and Michael Jordan (no need to explain) — and wants to make sure they're protected going forward.

An underrated difference between the NBA and NFL: In the NFL, three greedy billionaire megalomaniacs (Bob Kraft, Jerry Richardson, and Jerry Jones) have controlled the owners' side of the labor talks, while Roger Goodell has been exposed as a glorified puppet, a talking Ken doll who plays the media brilliantly but has no real juice at all.5 Any time you have the selfish interests of three people representing 30, you're headed for trouble — especially in a league in which wealthy people buy teams for the same reason that they'd purchase an obscenely lavish yacht. You have to see my new boat, it's fantastic! The NBA works differently; its owners are more interactive, more accountable, more diverse, more available, more hands-on.6 They have more at stake because, unlike the NFL (where the money just pours in), you can never feel safe when you're owning an NBA team … not when the league dramatically ebbs and flows depending on the quality of its superstars, not during this economy, and not when it's becoming more and more unclear why anyone would want to attend more than eight to 10 regular-season games per year unless they had fantastic seats.

The NFL lockout concerns me more because the league's owners haven't put real thought into it. They're just greedy. You can't predict what will happen in a situation when the only motivating factor is greed; it's like trying to predict the weather. The reasons for an NBA lockout (or, the threat of it) feel much more genuine. For instance, let's say you had a son in kindergarten who wasn't reading at the same level as everyone else. That's a problem. But it's a fixable problem. You could read with him every night, find him a tutor, work on him with his letters … as long as he's not dyslexic, the kid will catch up to everyone else, as long as you spend the time.

Now, let's say that you didn't do anything. And let's say your kid is now in the fourth grade, and he still can't read or write very well. That's a real problem. You're going to have to work three times harder to get him up to speed, and only because you blew it by not taking care of it sooner.

That's where the NBA is sitting right now, in the kindergarten stage … and they have to take care of it now. Which is why we will have a lockout if they don't. And look, I hate bringing this up during such an astonishingly compelling Finals, but it's impossible NOT to think about this stuff. Professional basketball, potentially, is one or two games away from disappearing for a while. That's why those games are so important: The more momentum we have, the harder it will be for both sides to walk away on June 30. You never want to leave a hot blackjack table. Ever. Keep the cards coming, keep the drinks coming, keep the run going. It's the only way. You don't leave. And yet that's what they would be doing with a lockout in three weeks.

So as fans, we have more at stake with these last two Finals games than anyone in the series. We need one or two more killer games. We need more momentum, higher ratings, more drama, more everything. The better this goes, the harder it will be for everything to stop. Keep your fingers crossed.

As for the rest of the characters, here's what's at stake:

Jason Terry: After draining the single biggest irrational confidence shot by someone not named Ali Farokhmanesh (Terry's 3 to clinch Game 5 of the Finals), he's climbing up the all-time Irrational Confidence charts and breathing down Vernon Maxwell's neck. Just remember, Mad Max has a ring.

The Miami Welcome Party: We're one Dallas victory away from it becoming permanently funny.

Me & Cousin Sal: We went heavy on Dallas to win in six games (+450). As Sal points out, we are 0-344 in hedging situations. Should we let the wager ride? Should we hedge with Miami to win the series (+120)? Just know that, whatever we decide, it will swing the series in the opposite direction. We have these powers. Just ask our wallets. Speaking of wallets …

Mike Bibby: $6.417 million. That's what he gave up next season to chase a ring this season.

Erik Spoelstra: If they lose, I'd like to sum things up with the words of a rowing Fredo Corleone. Hail Mary, full of grace. Our Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb … (KAPOW!)

Dwyane Wade's "Eff You" 3:7 We're one Dallas win away from that becoming an iconic "don't count your chickens before they hatch" sports moment. You can't do that crap unless you know, with absolute certainty, that the series is over. For instance, Larry Legend iced the '86 Rockets in Game 6 by grabbing a loose ball with the shot clock winding down, dribbling through three people just so he could plant himself in front of Houston's bench, then draining a 3 with his ass in their faces. Game over. That's when you do it. Wade jumped the gun. If they lose, he will never live it down.

Peja Stojakovic: Wait, he's still alive?

Tyson Chandler: Actually, it's already happened win or lose — he's basically turned into 2008 Kevin Garnett but without a jump shot. Along with Dirk Nowitzki, James Harden, Dwyane Wade, and Zack Randolph, he's one of the five biggest winners of the 2011 Playoffs.

Chris Bosh: A decent lock to be traded this summer if Miami blows this series. There will have to be a scapegoat. You know, other than Spoelstra.8

Brian Cardinal: Balding/sweaty/doughy immortality. A role model and idol for a future generation of Haleys and Scalabrines.

Jason Kidd: A much-belated ring, a historical bump (from top 40 to top 35), the memory that he was an extremely rich man's version of what GP gave the 2006 Heat, and also living proof to Rajon Rondo that ANYONE can turn into a deadly 3-point shooter with some work.

Juwan Howard: There's nothing at stake; he already won. A friend of mine e-mailed me last night, "I can't believe Juwan Howard is playing in the Finals right now. I'm glad I taped this game on my Betamax."

Cleveland fans: Maybe they haven't won a title since the 1960s, but what's unfolding in this series is damned close. It's like when beaten-down Boston fans took pride in Ray Bourque winning a Cup in Colorado, only the exact opposite.

ABC & ESPN: Don't tell anyone, but if there's a Game 7, Disney makes an extra $110 billion (all numbers approximate). You might see everyone on Dallas foul out in Game 6. I think Tyson Chandler already has 2 fouls and the game doesn't start for another 48 hours.

Rick Carlisle: If he wins, no more Jim Carrey jokes as well as an overdue ascent to "best game coach alive right now." Nobody controls a game with timeouts better than Carlisle, nobody uses his subs better or more effectively, and few coaches make better adjustments within a series (even simple ones, like moving Dirk's high-post game from the top of the foul line to the left side of the floor, just because it seemed like Miami was getting used to it). He's really, really smart.9

Dwyane Wade: If Miami pulls this off and he's the hero (our most likely scenario), that puts the following things in play historically: (a) "Kobe vs. Wade" becomes an argument; (b) any "clutch Finals players" list has to include him; (c) any "best player alive" argument begins with him first; (d) he has to be mentioned in any list that includes the best 20 players ever from that point forward; and (e) we'll remember him forever as an evil genius who somehow convinced his biggest archrival to move to HIS city, play for HIS team, and become HIS sidekick.

Mark Cuban: Spent the right amount of money, hired the right people, brought in the right players, took the right chances (for the most part), made one tremendous decision (taking on Tyson Chandler's contract),10 and most importantly, kept a low profile and let his players do the talking for him. You can't do better as an NBA owner than Cuban did these past few months. Except for the part when he shot 3s while wearing a tank top before Game 4. Just a little Richard Simmons-y. Just a smidge.

Pat Riley: He's already a winner: What he pulled off last summer means he influenced the Finals in four different decades, something only Red Auerbach can say. (And he's dead.) Don't be surprised if, behind the scenes, Mr. Riley becomes a little more involved heading into these last two games. Miami needs to get a little bit tougher … and nobody knows how to motivate quite like Pat Riley.

Dirk Nowitzki: He's already propelled himself into the top 20 and a permanent "Barkley, Malone or Nowitzki?" discussion; he's erased any lingering scars from the 2006 Finals and 2007 Playoffs; and he's clinched "one of the best clutch scorers of his generation" status. But if he wins the title with a bunch of role players? That nudges him up a level; now we'd have to discuss him with Julius Erving, Bob Pettit, John Havlicek, and maybe even Tim Duncan as one of the Greatest Forwards Ever Not Named Larry Bird. However it plays out, he's already the biggest winner from this series. You can't say enough about Dirk Nowitzki.

German cars: No longer the best thing about Germany. Huge loss for Mercedes, BMW, and Audi.

LeBron James: You know, just the run-of-the-mill stuff … like his legacy as a player. I watched him pretty closely in Game 5 from my seat: He doesn't seem comfortable, as if he lost his identity as a basketball player to some degree.11 Is it possible that he's so talented that he never ended up concentrating on one great thing? He never developed a go-to gimmick like Dirk's high-post game, Wade's one-on-one game, Kobe's one-on-one game, Duncan's low-post game … he's like one of those fancy diners that has a six-page menu loaded with options, only when you ask the waitress what's good, she says, "I don't know, everything!" But wait … I asked you what's good.

When his erratic 3-pointer was falling against Boston and Chicago, it made him seem unstoppable. Now it's gone again. What's left? He's doing a tremendous Scottie Pippen impersonation, right down to his numbers every game … and I'll let that sentence speak for itself. What's really shocked me: LeBron's inability to adjust to however these high-pressure games seem to be playing out. When Jordan's shot wasn't falling, he got to the rim. When Bird's shot wasn't falling, he went down low and crashed the boards. Magic learned to morph into whatever his team needed from him: He could run fast breaks, go down low, get Worthy going, feed Kareem, whatever; he always made the right decision. LeBron? It's like he can't figure it out. There's never a Plan B for him.

Dallas made a key adjustment in Game 4, sticking Shawn Marion on Wade and Kidd on LeBron — with the implication being, "We can do this because LeBron won't make us pay by taking Kidd down low and torching him" — and it worked like a charm. In the fourth quarter of Game 4, they mixed it up by throwing a zone at Miami, hoping LeBron would get confused, stand around, avoid long 3s, and stop moving. That worked, too. To repeat: The Mavericks built their defensive strategy around LeBron's limitations and predictabilities. Not a good sign for someone currently finishing his eighth season. What's at stake for LeBron? He already lost. The emperor has no clothes. He needs to unleash two of the most phenomenal performances in Finals history — not one, two — to change my mind on that one.

Everyone Who Loves the NBA: We already won. What a series. Too bad we might be three weeks away from losing again.
From Stein:

Quote:
MIAMI -- Five games into these coin-flip NBA Finals, there's been no shortage of surprises. Everyone surely has their own list.

And here's my top five heading into Sunday night's Game 6:

LeBron and D-Wade have so little respect for the star on the other side
Hopefully you never bought into the quaint notion going into these Finals that this wasn't really a rematch because each team only had two holdovers from their 2006 encounter. Let's clarify something, America: This was always a rematch, no matter how much the rosters have turned over, since it reunited two stars from the respective franchises who've had an icy relationship ever since the Miami comeback/Dallas collapse in '06.

Or have you already forgotten the All-Star Game in 2007 when Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki were the only two starters on the floor in Las Vegas who didn't even bump fists?

But I was actually gullible enough to believe, as well as I remember D-Wade versus Dirk at full chill, that the way Nowitzki has played this postseason would quash some of the Heat hubris we've seen since July, when they staged their infamous laser-light show to celebrate the signings of LeBron James and Chris Bosh as a championship unto itself.

I was foolish enough to think, after a season of ill-conceived statements blowing up in their faces, that Wade and James wouldn't invite more of America's bile by doing something like mocking Nowitzki's recent sinus infection with news cameras rolling with every word and step after they finished up their shootaround.

Wrong and wrong.

You can bet that Wade and James will try to spin this as an episode of misunderstood humor -- another example of how they get no leeway from a voracious and biased national media monster that the Miami Herald's Dan LeBatard brilliantly dubbed an All You Can Heat frenzy -- but they'll deserve every ounce of the flak they get this time. They crossed a line with disrespect so flip and blatant.

Especially Wade.

His own rep for inflating/creating drama is such that folks all over American Airlines Center on Thursday night, in the stands and on press row, were questioning how badly that left hip was hurting in Game 5 ... even when Wade actually left the court twice for treatment. It makes no sense that Wade would fake an injury that cost him a huge chunk of game time ... but it makes far, far less for a peer of Wade's stature, as opposed to outside observers, to look straight into the lens and accuse Nowitzki of staging the wheezing misery that was broadcast worldwide in Game 4.

Given the chance to respond Friday night after the Mavericks landed in Miami, Nowitzki declined comment when reached by ESPN.com.

The safest prediction you can make in this impossibly hard-to-call series is that Dirk and D-Wade and LeBron are about to be besieged with questions on the subject at Saturday's media availabilities, now that the tension that has always lingered beneath the surface with these teams has been fully (and foolishly) rekindled for everyone to see.

Dirk 26, LeBron 0
It's true even if you're in the minority, like me, who thinks LeBron isn't getting enough slack for what the minutes he's logging and ground he's covering defensively are doing to his gas tank.

It's still stunning, making all those allowances, to see the disparity between Nowitzki's end-game production and what James isn't doing in the final five minutes of games.

Stunning.

In what NBA statisticians recognize as "clutch time," which equates to the final five minutes of regulation or overtime with the score within five points either way, Nowitzki has 26 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field and 9-for-9 accuracy at the line.

LeBron? After leading the league in this category through the first three rounds of the playoffs and finally chipping away at the skepticism about his ability to close, James has zero points on 0-for-7 shooting and is still waiting for his first "clutch time" trip to the line. Udonis Haslem (17) has scored more fourth-quarter points in the Finals than James (11), with Nowitzki out of sight at 52 and counting.

I repeat: I'm inclined to cut him more slack than most for the load he's carrying, minutes-wise (LeBron again played the entire second half in Game 5), and the way Dallas' peerless ball movement has James moving East-to-West as the Mavs hoped. Until it hits you, again, that Nowitzki doesn't have a Wade or Bosh to share the burden with at closing time.

There isn't a superstar in the league who carries a larger load offensively than Dirk, who's second-best teammate is, well, after 110 games this season we're still not sure. As ESPN's own Jeff Van Gundy told my man Howard Beck of the New York Times of the way Nowitzki is outnumbered: "How many times has the star power been stacked so much in one team's stable?"

So there's no way the gap should be this wide, even accounting for the world's growing appreciation of Dirk's unquestioned clutchness.

Fatigue works to only a degree as a James alibi. Since Game 1, when the smoothness of his 3-point stroke had me salivating, LeBron is 3-for-18 on 3s and looking shakier with every jumper. His confidence to launch or drive has clearly been sapped, with only two games, at most, left on the schedule to find it.

Miami hasn't been toeing the line this time
Jittery Mavs fans who still have nightmares about the 97 trips to the line that Dwyane Wade made in the '06 Finals were undoubtedly fearing another free-throw parade five years later. Especially since this incarnation of the Heat, at least in theory, has two rim-attacking stars now.

Yet it's actually Dallas and Dirk, five games in, that hold the aggression and free-throw edge. Which obviously makes it far, far easier for Mavs owner Mark Cuban to maintain his vow of media silence that began in earnest during Dallas' second-round sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Mavs, in these Finals, have shot 137 free throws entering Game 6 to Miami's 115. Nowitzki has shot a series-high 44 -- draining 43 -- compared to Wade's 42 attempts.

In 2006, Wade shot 46 free throws alone in the final two games of that series, but he's generally finishing plays in this reunion with the Mavs -- and shooting a heady 58 percent from the floor -- more than he's looking for bailouts. And when Game 5 was starting to have an '06 feel, with Wade racking up six quick free-throw attempts in the opening quarter, everything changed after Wade's collision with Brian Cardinal. The resulting left hip contusion required two trips to the locker room for treatment and seemed to rob Wade of his usual slashing prowess.

Eventually, though, as with most of the series storylines, we end up focused on LeBron and what's not happening for him. Through five games, James has earned a whopping 16 trips to the line, which computes to a measly 3.2 per game. He shot 8.8 free throws per game in the Eastern Conference finals against Chicago, but that James was turning corners with conviction and trying to get to the bucket. By mixing up its pick-and-roll blitzing and sagging zones, Dallas has discouraged James from driving in spite of all his between-games promises to attack.

Costly stuff in a series where the Mavs' margin of victory in their three wins in 4.7 points. The Heat have held a led inside six minutes in all three of those losses, but Dallas has outscored Miami by a tidy 65-41 in the final five minutes of fourth quarters.

The success of the Dallas D
The culture-changing impact and defensive improvement triggered by Tyson Chandler's arrival in Dallas has been well-chronicled. But the Mavs' resistance has gone to another level, intensity-wise, in this series, which might be the biggest reason besides Nowitzki's brilliance that Dallas has a 3-2 lead.

You've heard Nowitzki, even in victory, describe the Heat's collective length, footspeed and athleticism as the most troublesome he's ever coped with in the playoffs when it comes to double teams and fast closeouts on open shooters. But Dirk and Co. have risen to that challenge by countering Miami's D with some pretty stout stuff of their own.

The Mavs rely on a man-to-man scheme, orchestrated by lead assistant coach Dwane Casey, that requires quick and precise help to counter their age and corresponding lack of quickness. Yet it's a man-to-man scheme that allows for easy switching to a zone, which helps keep the Heat guessing.

Other key factors include Nowitzki's improvement as a team defender and signal-caller responsible for calling out what play the opposition is running, along with the scrappiness supplied by charge-takers like DeShawn Stevenson and Brian Cardinal.

But Chandler's presence and passion are the keys, as well as his crucial ability to avoid foul trouble for much of the series to lessen the impact of Brendan Haywood's hip injury.

Strong individual work from Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd completes the puzzle. As they did in the Western Conference finals, taking turns on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Marion and Kidd switch back and forth on Wade and James, constantly changing the looks they're getting from a team that has changed its identity.

The knock on the Mavericks of old, for much of Nowitzki's career, focused on their inability to get stops when they needed them. In these Finals, when Miami has put the clamps on the league's No. 1-ranked team in offensive efficiency this postseason, Dallas was still able to dig out wins in Game 2 and Game 4 when the ball wasn't going down like it did in Game 5.

Frequent references to the "Basketball Gods"
I realize that this is more of an interview-podium surprise that might have escaped even the most hard-core Finals consumers, but I've found it interesting, after Game 4 and Game 5, to hear both Wade and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle make a "basketball gods" reference, proving that it's not just us media types who spout this stuff.

Wade, after a crucial free throw in the final minute of Game 4 bounced in and out: "The basketball gods just had other plans."

Carlisle, after the Mavs had about four high-arching prayers from behind the 3-point line -- from a variety of shooters including Jason Terry, J.J. Barea and Nowitzki -- answered in Game 5: "Look, we threw in some difficult shots. But when you play as hard as we've been playing, the basketball gods tend to be kinder to you."

Confession time: I'm struggling these days to give any credence to the notion of hoops-focused higher powers when the prospect of a lockout in two weeks looms over one of the best Finals that I've ever attended and threatens to shut down the league when it's in its healthiest state since Michael Jordan retired.

Yet I suppose we can all be thankful, at the very least, that we're getting a really good show in the dreaded event this is the last NBA basketball we're going to see for a while.
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:14 AM   #180
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^I was going to make a CBA thread featuring that Simmons article, but I'm waiting for the season to end before I get into all that...

I guess I'll be re-posting it on Monday...
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:40 AM   #181
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^I was going to make a CBA thread featuring that Simmons article, but I'm waiting for the season to end before I get into all that...

I guess I'll be re-posting it on Monday...
I see what you did there.
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Old 06-11-2011, 09:58 PM   #182
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Five Years Later, Nowitzki's Game Elevated

By John Hollinger
ESPN.com

MIAMI -- In the 2006 Finals, Dirk Nowitzki averaged 22.8 points per game, but he shot only 39 percent as the Mavericks fell in six games.

In 2011, Nowitzki is doing a number on the Heat, just as he does everyone in the postseason. Not only is he scoring 27.0 points per game, but he's shot better (43.9 percent,) and done it in fewer minutes.

Moreover, he's done better in bigger moments. Nowitzki's lingering memory from the 2006 Finals will be the two free throws he missed in the fourth quarter of Game 3, fueling Miami's rally from 13 down. In this series, on the other hand, he had late layups to claim both Games 2 and 4 for his side.

Before we get too deep, we should point out that the differences stem, at least in part, from circumstances beyond his control. We might have a very different perception of Nowitzki's 2006 Finals, for instance, if the long-forgotten crazy fadeaway he hit over Shaq in Game 5 had been followed by a Miami turnover instead of by Dwyane Wade's two game-winning free throws. Similarly, Nowitzki's key layup with 14 seconds left in Game 4 of this series only attained that status with the aid of Wade missing a potential tying free throw of his own.

Those two plays heavily color the narrative -- Dallas is up 3-2 in this series and down 3-2 in 2006, rather than the opposite.

Nonetheless, there IS a difference. Empirically, Nowitzki is having a better Finals than he did five years ago, and the difference becomes even greater if you adjust for a) his shooting 6-for-19 while under the weather in Game 4, and b) for his playing fewer minutes than in 2006.

Saturday, I asked the protagonists from 2006 about it. Why is Dirk performing better against Miami in this go-round?

"Actually I haven't shot the ball as well as I want to," said Nowitzki. "I had some good looks, they just didn't go down."

OK, Dirk, but enough about your erratic jumper. Seriously -- why the improvement?

"I think my teammates are a big part of that [difference]. J-Kidd is able to give the ball in situations where I want it. (Side note: We seriously don't have a better nickname for a Hall of Fame point guard than "J-Kidd?") We got some good shooters around me. Tyson [Chandler] in the middle and [Brendan] Haywood have been great stepping in. So I don't have to force any shots if they're not there. Just swing it, run another pick-and-roll."

"So just experience, I guess, is a big factor."

"I think primarily it's the same coverages we were seeing then," said Jason Terry, the only Maverick who was with Nowitzki in 2006. "They try to take you of what you do and make you play to the weak side."

Dwyane Wade, the only Heat player besides Udonis Haslem who was here for the 2006 Finals, said, "He's 7 foot, he's going to get enough good looks. We're just trying to make it as tough for him as much as possible" (Wade, as Miami coach Erik Spoelstra did earlier this series, also amused the mathematicians by claiming that Nowitzki will get his average every night).

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, on the other hand, said the comparison has changed because of all the roster shifts by both sides. "The rosters are 95 percent different. A lot of the dynamics are very different. Haslem is still here, so he's still playing the same way he played then. [But] I don't know that there's a lot I can give you on that."

The most telling answer, however, may have come from Spoelstra.

"Some of the schemes we used back then, he's seen so often now that he picks those apart."

Bingo.

In the 2006 Finals, Miami essentially rewrote the book on how to defend Nowitzki after he'd torn apart San Antonio and Phoenix in the previous two playoff rounds. Play physical, push him off the free-throw line as much as possible, force him right, and make him a driver.

Dirk adjusted to all that a long time ago, as well as the different looks Miami showed him on the weak side. He's become a lot more comfortable with pushing and contact, and at the same time the league has become a lot less forgiving of defenders who do such things.

"He has much better poise now versus double-teams," said Spoelstra. "In terms of creating a shot, even in traffic, he's able to that much more efficiently. He's better in the post than he was then."

I'll add that a few variables have changed on Miami's side too. The uniform may say "Haslem," for instance, but the 2011 version that is coming off a six-month layoff and still struggling to explode off an injured foot is not quite of the same ilk as the 2006 version. And Miami also relieved Haslem with James Posey -- the kind of smaller, wiry-strong defender that typically has had the most success against Dirk. Now they're trying Joel Anthony and Chris Bosh as the alternate defenders, with less success.

Add it all up, and it's been a much more successful run through the first five games of the Finals for Dallas' star. Throw in a light sprinkle of good fortune, and Nowitzki is one game away from having far happier memories from this Finals than of 2006.
http://espn.go.com/nba/dailydime/_/p...612/daily-dime
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Old 06-11-2011, 11:16 PM   #183
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Thanks for all these articles, guys!

Regarding the Wall Street Journal article about how teams that are more touchy-feely are more successful, I went to this gallery of Game 5 pictures, and what did I see? This was the first picture:



Awwwww....
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Old 06-12-2011, 12:07 AM   #184
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Thanks for all these articles, guys!

Regarding the Wall Street Journal article about how teams that are more touchy-feely are more successful, I went to this gallery of Game 5 pictures, and what did I see? This was the first picture:



Awwwww....
That's a photo i was talking about in another thread. The respect, admiration and love these guys have for each other is beautiful.
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Old 06-12-2011, 02:22 AM   #185
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Think you know everything about the Mavs?

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Think you know everything about the Mavs?
By Jon Machota
FOXSportsSouthwest.com Special Contributor
June 12, 2011

Check out photos from the Mavericks and Heat in the NBA Finals.
After 82 regular season games and 20 playoff appearances, it’s easy to feel like you know everything about this Dallas Mavericks team.

Yes, Dirk Nowitzki is from Germany and Jason Terry’s nickname is Jet.

However, there is more knowledge to gain.

There are players with fingers pointing in the wrong direction and multiple guys that were raised on farms. A pair of teammates used to play the saxophone while another preferred expressing his musical side through recording a rap song.

Do you want to know which Maverick has the craziest tattoo or his name on a sign in his hometown? It’s all here. Heck, there’s even more than one German on the team.

So, to bring you up to speed, here are five interesting facts about each player that has taken the floor this postseason. And to add a little extra flavor, we even included Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle to the mix.

The players are listed in numerical order.

Shawn Marion, No. 0, Small Forward

-He is arguably the best dressed on the team. Marion is so detailed with his attire that he coordinates everything all the way down to his matching socks, which he calls his “sock game.”

-Nicknamed “The Matrix” for his amazing athleticism, TNT analyst Kenny Smith gave Marion the nickname during his rookie season. Marion has said in the locker room this year that he has the best nickname in the game.

-As a child, Marion grew up in a single parent home with his mother and three sisters. This summer, he is set to begin work on a reality show about his life and the women in it.

-He loves watching cartoons and his DVD collection is his most prized possession.

-His left pinkie finger is severely dislocated. Starting at his second knuckle, the digit stands more horizontal than vertical. He said it occurred when he was playing catch with a football around the age of nine. Marion has no plans to get it fixed.

Jason Kidd, No. 2, Point Guard

-At the age of 21, he recorded the rap song “What the Kidd Did.” Nowitzki has gone on record saying it's the worst song ever recorded.

-He enjoys bowling. Kidd participated in a league with Phoenix guard Vince Carter when the two were teammates in New Jersey.

-Kidd was raised in a middle-class home near the Oakland Coliseum. His family owned a few horses and he took part in the upkeep.

-His favorite movie is “A Bronx Tale” and his favorite actor is Don Cheadle.

-He chose playing soccer over basketball until the third grade. His talent on the court took significant steps around eighth grade and he never looked back. He occasionally participates in charity soccer games.

Tyson Chandler, No. 6, Center

-He spent several years of his youth on his grandfather’s farm. Chandler milked cows, rode a tractor and worked in the fields.

-Chandler stood 6-foot-4 at age 11. He was so tall that one Halloween a family refused to give him candy because they didn’t believe he was a kid.

-Entering his freshman year of high school, Chandler appeared on the television show “60 Minutes” because of his rising fame as a future basketball superstar.

-His grandmother is of German descent. Chandler occasionally jokes with Nowitzki that there are two Germans on the Mavericks.

-He enjoys painting pictures in his free time. He considers the artwork, "calming and therapy."

J.J. Barea, No. 11, Point Guard

-He is dating Miss Universe 2006, Zuleyka Rivera, who, like Barea, is a native of Puerto Rico.

-His favorite movies include “Wedding Crashers,” “The Hangover,” “Face/Off” and “The Notebook.”

-As a youth, he idolized Michael Jordan. He was able to meet Jordan a few years ago. “That was pretty cool,” Barea said. “I called my brothers and my dad right after and said, ‘I met Michael!’ They were stunned.”

-During his senior year of high school, Barea moved from Puerto Rico to Miami in hopes of attracting attention from college basketball coaches.

-Prior to the state championship game his senior year of high school, Barea came down with a severe case of mononucleosis. Despite losing 20 pounds and his doctor advising him not to play, Barea played.

Corey Brewer, No. 13, Guard/Forward

-He won back-to-back national championships as the starting small forward for the University of Florida in 2006 and 2007.

-Both of his parents are diabetics and his father has lost both legs because of the disease. Shortly after signing his rookie contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Brewer built a handicap-accessible house for his family.

-A highway sign in his hometown of Portland, Tennessee says the home of country music star Ronnie McDowell and 2007 Final Four Most Outstanding Player Corey Brewer.

-He is known for always smiling. His mother says she cannot find a picture from his childhood where he wasn’t smiling.

-As a youth, Brewer helped his father in the tobacco fields on his grandmother's farm in Tennessee.

Peja Stojakovic, No. 16, Small Forward

-He is married to Greek fashion model Aleka Kamila.

-His first name is Predrag (PRAY-drog).

-As a youth, Stojakovic idolized former NBA player Vlade Divac. The two became close friends as teammates with the Sacramento Kings.

-When he was 16, Stojakovic and his family fled to Greece after a civil war demolished their home in what is now known as Pozega, Croatia.

-Stojakovic owns two restaurants in Greece and has invested in a solar energy business there.

Ian Mahinmi, No. 28, Center

-He was born and raised in Rouen, France. His mother is from Jamaica and his father is from Benin.

-Mahinmi is comfortable with either the English (Ian) or French (Yan) pronunciation of his name. His father calls him Ian and his mother refers to him as Yan.

-His favorite movie is “Remember the Titans.”

-A significant reason Mahinmi signed with the Mavericks entering this season is because of his close friendship with reserve guard Roddy Beaubois.

-He enjoys traveling and lists Greece as being his favorite destination.

Jason Terry, No. 31, Shooting Guard

-He has a tattoo of the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy on the inside of his right bicep. Terry will have it removed if the Mavericks fall short of winning a title this year. He also has a tattoo of his hometown area code (206) and the cartoon character Underdog.

-A graduate of the University of Arizona, Terry would like to be an assistant coach with his old college basketball team once he retires from playing in the NBA.

-Terry and his wife have four daughters. He currently coaches one of his daughter’s AAU basketball teams.

-Always known for wearing a headband, Terry sports the look because his third grade P.E. teacher, former Seattle Sonic Slick Watts, wore a headband during each of his NBA games.

-Martin Lawrence and Halle Berry are his favorite actors and Richard Pryor’s Harlem Nights is his favorite movie.

Brendan Haywood, No. 33, Center

-He played the saxophone from seventh to ninth grade and attended music camp at UNC-Greensboro.

-Haywood idolized Magic Johnson as a youth. When he learned Johnson had HIV, Haywood’s mother said he was so devastated that you would have thought someone close to him had died.

-A fan of the Miami Hurricanes football team, Haywood considered attending the University of Miami because of his love for the football program.

-He recalls a game-winning shot against the New York Knicks as being his greatest career moment because he grew up rooting for the Knicks.

-One of his favorite hobbies is reading and considers John Grisham’s “A Time to Kill” to be his favorite book.

Brian Cardinal, No. 35, Power Forward

-He is nicknamed “The Custodian” for his willingness to do the dirty work on the floor. The nickname was given to him by Detroit Pistons teammate Jerome Williams when Cardinal was a rookie.

-Because his father had been the head basketball trainer at the University of Illinois for nearly 30 years, Cardinal was a ballboy for the 1989 Illinois team that reached the NCAA Final Four.

-Despite an average of only 5.0 points per game during his 11-year career, Cardinal has made nearly $38 million as an NBA player.

-He and his wife recently purchased a farm near Indianapolis and plan to grow fruits and vegetables when his playing days are over.

-Not sure if he would make an NBA team entering this season, Cardinal talked with Purdue basketball coach Matt Painter about a possible position on his coaching staff.

Dirk Nowitzki, No. 41, Power Forward

-As a youth he was interested in tennis and handball, but turned to basketball after his opponents called him a "freak" for being so tall.

-Close friend and mentor, Holger Geschwindner, is known for teaching Nowitzki the fundamentals of the game at a young age. Geschwindner works with Nowitzki throughout the season, often times at the Mavericks practice facility. The two are occasionally the last to leave the court following a team practice.

-He is Germany's second highest paid sports star behind Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher.

-He played the saxophone for a long time, but stopped after having his teeth knocked out during a game. “I couldn't really bite on it anymore, so I quit,” he said.

-Although he doesn’t have any children, Nowitzki would like to eventually have a family. "I want to raise a family and have a couple of small Dirks running around," he said in 2009.

DeShawn Stevenson, No. 92, Guard/Forward

-After committing to play college basketball at the University of Kansas, Jayhawks coach Roy Williams called Stevenson the "most gifted recruit ever." Stevenson never played for Williams, opting to enter the 2000 NBA Draft.

-Stevenson has more than 100 tattoos, receiving his first when he was 18.

-A few of his most noticeable tattoos are on his head and neck. Stevenson has a backwards Pittsburgh Pirates logo on his right cheek and a crack that begins at his hairline and works its way down his forehead. An image of Abraham Lincoln is on his throat.

-He has verbally sparred with Miami’s LeBron James on multiple occasions. While playing in Washington, Stevenson called James "overrated" and added "I don't like him." Stevenson has continued to be critical of James, saying recently that the superstar “checked out” in the fourth quarter of Game 4.

-During his senior year of high school, Stevenson averaged 30.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game.

Rick Carlisle, Head Coach

-Carlisle went from not receiving a single Division 1 basketball scholarship offer to starting for the University of Virginia team that reached the 1984 Final Four.

-He ranks Chuck Daly, Larry Bird, and Bill Fitch as being the people with the biggest influence on his coaching career.

-He never wears his championship ring from his days playing with the Boston Celtics.

-His favorite Dallas restaurant is Tin Star.

-The first date he had with his wife, Carlisle took her to a Grateful Dead Show in Washington, D.C. and the two sat on stage.

Mark Cuban, Owner

-His first job as a youth included selling garbage bags and powdered milk.

-Cuban has appeared on television shows like "Entourage," "The Simpsons," "Dancing with the Stars" and " Walker, Texas Ranger."

-He made headlines in 2009 for getting in a postgame confrontation with the mother of Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin. It was reported that Cuban referred to Martin as a "thug" or a "punk."

-After moving to Dallas in 1982, Cuban’s first job in Texas was bartending.

-His biggest payday came in 1999 when he sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo! for over $5 billion.
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Old 06-12-2011, 03:31 AM   #186
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Coach Carlisle is a Deadhead? No wonder he's so effin intelligent. Kids these days can't comprehend.

#realmusic
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Old 06-12-2011, 03:37 AM   #187
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCUuuNywpOY
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Old 06-12-2011, 03:47 AM   #188
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Ian yelling is hilarious to me
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Old 06-12-2011, 11:37 AM   #189
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http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/pos...alth-mavericks

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Then there are three guys who may or may not deserve to be mentioned next: Coaching consultant Tim Grgurich, director of sports psychology Don Kalkstein and director of basketball analytics Roland Beech.

Are some or all of them vitally important to the team?
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Old 06-12-2011, 02:04 PM   #190
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http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/nba...ory?id=6651707

Dirk calls antics "childish", "ignorant". Glad to see him comment on those two douchebags.
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Old 06-13-2011, 04:24 AM   #191
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http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...avericks&hl=en
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:13 PM   #192
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Stevenson glad they defeated classless Heat:

Quote:
MIAMI -- DeShawn Stevenson admitted that beating self-proclaimed king LeBron James made the Dallas Mavericks' championship even sweeter.

"It makes me feel good, man, to beat him, to beat that Miami team," Stevenson told ESPNDallas.com in an AmericanAirlines Arena hallway after the Mavs clinched the title with Sunday's Game 6 win. "The way they act, the way they treated Dirk [Nowitzki], all the things that they said were very classless. To win on the court the way we did it, it was wonderful."

The Mavericks thought James and Dwyane Wade disrespected Nowitzki, who earned the Finals MVP award, by mocking his cough in front of television cameras after the Game 5 shootaround. Nowitzki, who played Game 4 with a sinus infection that caused a nasty cough and a 101-degree fever, called the incident "a little childish, a little arrogant."

Stevenson's hostile history with James goes back much further than these Finals. Stevenson's Washington Wizards were eliminated by James' Cleveland Cavaliers three consecutive postseasons.

The last Wizards-Cavaliers series, in 2008, featured a feud between Stevenson and James that eventually involved a pair of high-profile rappers.

It started with Stevenson calling James "overrated." LeBron answered that responding to Stevenson would be like rap icon Jay-Z getting into it with one-hit wonder Soulja Boy.

And then it was really on.

Stevenson reached out to Soulja Boy after the Cavs took a 2-0 lead. After the creator of "Crank Dat" got the Verizon Center crowd rowdy by doing his famous dance as his song blared over the loudspeakers, Stevenson drilled five 3-pointers while harassing James into an off night during a lopsided Washington win.

James rolled his eyes at postgame questions about a rivalry with Stevenson. However, the Washington Post reported that James had Jay-Z record a song with lyrics that ripped Stevenson, a track that was played at James' party the next night at D.C. hotspot Love.

The trash talking didn't exactly help Stevenson's cause during that series. James averaged 29.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 7.7 assists while the Cavs won in six, closing out the series with a triple-double in D.C.

Stevenson, a rugged role player who averaged 7.0 points and made 13-of-23 3-point attempts in the series, got revenge in these Finals while making headlines with critical comments of James. He called James and Wade "great, great actors" due to their exaggerations to draw foul calls after the Heat took a 2-1 series lead. After Game 4, Stevenson said James "checked out" in the fourth quarter of Game 4.

"A series like this gets personal," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "It gets personal because we have guys that say things, and they do it to get themselves going. Then they have the incident with the camera and the coughing and all that stuff. You get to Game 5, Game 5 and it becomes personal. Our guys took it personally."

James struggled throughout the Finals, averaging 17.8 points, which was 8.9 fewer than his regular season average. That dropoff from the regular season to the Finals was the largest in NBA history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Shawn Marion, Stevenson and Jason Kidd took turns covering the two-time MVP.

"They did a great job defensively," said James, who scored only 18 points in fourth quarters in the Finals. "Very underrated defensive team. They took me out of a lot of things that I'm capable of doing or used to doing. ... Much respect to them."

Stevenson, like many of the Mavericks, did not feel as if the Heat respected them during the series. That added a little extra enjoyment to Sunday night's celebration.

"I think we did it with class," said Stevenson, who was involved in a shoving match with Miami's Udonis Haslem and Mario Chalmers that resulted in technical fouls for each during the second quarter of Game 6. "They tried all kind of different things and made fun of us and were on the go-karts laughing after Game 1, like they already won the championship. To beat them on their court, it feels good."
http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/nba...ory?id=6657084
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Old 06-14-2011, 06:03 AM   #193
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Overcoming 2006 Only One Of Many Stories For the Mavs This Season

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And then there's Shawn Marion, who has never been to the NBA Finals in his career. He fell short with Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns in 2005 and 2006 in the Conference Finals. You think he wanted to change that? He scored 14.2 Points per Game on 50.00% shooting in that series. He also averaged 3.2 Free Throw Attempts, 1.4 Blocks and 1.6 Steals. All series-highs for him in this years playoffs. If that wouldn't be enough, he also helped defending Kevin Durant who was held to 2-for-7 (28.57%) in the Clutch during that series. He blocked the potential game-winning shot by Kevin Durant in Game 4 that sent the game into Overtime and helped the Mavs overcome a 15-point 4th quarter deficit.
http://www.mavsmoneyball.com/2011/6/...vs-this-season

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Old 06-17-2011, 01:48 PM   #194
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Rick Carlisle: "Peja Stojakovic Saved Our Season" - Mavs Fast Break http://bit.ly/lUGH3J
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:49 AM   #195
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I thought this was interesting...In that one of the biggest reasons for success this year was RC getting both the dirkster and jet to buy into playing solid team defense..

Carlisle confiscating the robe....It says a lot about Carlisle and a lot about Jet...Accepting what the coach says for the good of the team.
http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/maver...e-is-back-baby

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DALLAS -- Jason Terry strolled down the stairs like a heavyweight boxing champion, proudly sporting a robe.

As always seems to be the case with Terry, there’s a story behind it.

“I used to have a robe,” Terry said. “I used to come to meetings, get on the plane, on the road I'd come to our breakfast meetings with the robe on. Ask anybody -- the robe was infamous for a while.”

Then coach Rick Carlisle confiscated it.

Terry said Carlisle banned the robe because he didn’t think Jet was focused. Terry was thrilled that a new robe appeared in his locker this morning, complete with Finals logos on the lapels.

“The robe is back, baby!" Terry said.
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Old 06-21-2011, 08:38 AM   #196
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http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/maver...ot-be-possible

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If it's a simple question of loyalty, those dudes will be Mavericks teammates for years to come. But the new CBA simply may not allow it.
That article really got me grounded. I think the most logical thing would be to part with JJ. We already got pieces on the roster to replace him. Maybe even Marion would be expandable if Caron was back at full strength. But no way we can afford to lose Chandler.
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:43 AM   #197
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http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/maver...ot-be-possible



That article really got me grounded. I think the most logical thing would be to part with JJ. We already got pieces on the roster to replace him. Maybe even Marion would be expandable if Caron was back at full strength. But no way we can afford to lose Chandler.
Um, Marion isn't going anywhere with another 3 years left on his contract.

If we let one of those guys go, it will be Caron.
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:47 AM   #198
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Um, Marion isn't going anywhere with another 3 years left on his contract.

If we let one of those guys go, it will be Caron.
The question on Marion had to do with the possibility of an amnesty clause.
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:47 AM   #199
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Um, Marion isn't going anywhere with another 3 years left on his contract.

If we let one of those guys go, it will be Caron.
Ouch. Thought Marion was an expiring like Terry. Well then it's even more inevitable that Barea comes off the books I guess.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:18 AM   #200
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Ouch. Thought Marion was an expiring like Terry. Well then it's even more inevitable that Barea comes off the books I guess.
Yeah, Marion expires at the same time as Dirk.
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