Monday, June 19, 2006
Well, I considered no game notes today, which, of course, win or lose has not happened the entire playoffs. But, instead, I am writing today’s notes under protest. Just like many of you are going to work or class under protest today. When Jim McKay opened Wide World of Sports for decades telling us of the “Thrill of Victory, and the Agony of Defeat”, we might have thought it was just good writing. But, no. Today, we have way too much invested in the Dallas Mavericks all know the true meaning of the “Agony of Defeat”.
Dwyane Wade is willing his team to victory. And there appears to be almost nothing Dallas can do about it. Incidentally, if there is something you can do about it, Dallas, please feel free to do whatever that is immediately!
The guy had 43 points last night, including 21 in the 4th Quarter and Overtime. After 3 quarters of relative normal play, the dude just went off. There were attempts to stop him, but it reminded us all too much of those teams back in the 1990’s trying to stop MJ. They could try anything, they could blame the refs, they could double team, they could not double team; but at the end of the night, they were cursing themselves for not keeping 1 guy from beating them.
More Game Notes from Game 5’s heart breaker:
• The Mavericks were guilty of many unforced errors last night. The most obvious is Josh Howard calling the timeout at just the wrong time, but let’s not forget the others: Erick Dampier throwing an outlet pass to Terry, despite Wade sitting on it. Wade then takes the ball right at Dampier which drew a 3rd foul on Damp before halftime, and stopped the momentum on the run. Also, The Mavericks get Shaq to miss two free throws, then Mbenga and Dirk both assume the other guy is getting the board, meanwhile Posey grabs it and hits Shaq for a dunk and a foul. And Diop fouls out because Avery wanted Devin Harris to foul Shaq, Devin did not, so Diop oddly takes the 6th foul on the most unnecessary foul in NBA history. This is not even mentioning Dirk missing a Free Throw with 1:26 left in regulation, and Josh missing two free throws with :54 left in Overtime and holding a 1 point lead that should have been 3. All I am saying is that these are things that get you beat that you do control. You cannot control what the refs do on the final play, but you can control all of these…
• Jason Terry appears to be the only person who regularly takes the ball right at Miami in the paint. I think the Mavs played courageously, and therefore I am not here to point too many fingers, but you are only going to get fouled if you play with courage in the lane, and the Mavs are taking many jump shots. Terry played with a venom that got him a huge night. It is a shame to waste that performance.
• That camera on the wire that ABC and TNT insist on showing us is the most annoying camera angle in camera angle history. Lose it!
• Seriously, at what point do you spend a moment considering trying something other than Devin Harris on Dwyane Wade? I love Devin’s effort, but don’t you get the idea that no one person is going to stop Wade right now? Shouldn’t you consider playing two guys on him at any point of crunch time until he proves he can beat that, too? Don’t you want James Posey taking clutch shots more? Leave Posey unguarded. Leave Payton open (except on a layup). Leave any human being open if it means Dwyane Wade will not beat you. I am bitter right now about that. But I am also reminded that a guard like Wade is the single toughest guy to stop because unlike a post player, you cannot keep Wade from getting the ball.
• I am getting a lot of Dirk emails this morning, and trust me, I am happy to ask “where is Dirk?” when it is necessary, but he had two monster hoops last night on very difficult shots, and he also had a huge assist on the pass to Dampier with :09 in regulation. Three world class plays that will all be forgotten since they lost the game, but nevertheless, Dirk was clutch at clutch moments last night. And then he destroyed plenty of furniture in the tunnel.
• I love Adrian Griffin, but dude, why are you trying to take a charge when you should be guarding Wade with 3 seconds left in regulation? Did you really think the refs were going to call a charge on him? Play straight up defense and maybe you could at least make him miss the shot.
• To the topic of the refs: I know around the water cooler, the blame rests with the officials this morning, but aside from being annoyed that the final call on Wade’s drive seemed very generous, I still come down where I always do. The Mavericks put themselves in a bad position by making way too many unforced errors. I see it like this: The NBA Refs are always going to favor the superstar, and usually always going to favor the home team. So, to act surprised when Wade gets a call in overtime in a game in Miami is evidence that you aren’t paying attention. He is always going to get that call, so you have to either, A) figure out how to guard him without any contact at all, or B) have a lead that can sustain 1 basket from Wade with a few seconds to go. I know this is not a popular stance, but it is mine. Refs do not control the outcome of games, you do. So, make your free throws, and get 1 freaking stop at crunch time, and you win the game.
• I still think this series has changed to Miami’s advantage because of the physical nature of these games. Miami has gone old school NBA, and turned the lane into a meat grinder. The officials have seemed to allow this, and therefore Miami has been smart to do it. The Mavericks have been competing hard, but it still appears that the more physical the game gets, the less the Mavericks succeed.
• Josh Howard was really, really good last night. Those two free throws didn’t help, but I thought he really played like a star last night, and his hustle is really admirable.
• That Hack-a-Shaq seemed about as half-arsed as I have ever seen. They did it once, then didn’t do it for a while, then did it again. Then, in overtime, they fouled him twice, despite Miami not having the bonus. So, all it seemed to do is get Harris cheap fouls, and give Miami back the ball at mid-court. Between that and the timeout situation, it really looked like Avery and his staff made some poor decisions late.
• Well, in the history of the NBA Finals, no series has been 2-3-2 format and had all 7 games won by the home team. If this is going to end right, this will be the first time. The Mavericks have lost 3 straight games, and now must dig deeper than they ever have. This is their first elimination game, except for the mutual elimination of that Game 7 in San Antonio, and finally, the backs are squarely against the wall. Is this where the fairy tale ends?
• 24 Hour Rule applies today. Everyone feel sorry for themselves today, but at dawn Tuesday, it is time to focus on getting out of this mess. This is not over. You have invested 9 months, do not give in now!