Archive for the ‘Wha’ Happened?’ Category

Wha' Happened?: Dallas did it

Dallas Mavericks 105, Miami Heat 95
There is not a whole lot to be said about last night’s game besides that the Mavericks, yet again, made shots. 50 percent from the floor and 42 percent from three, keeping up the hot shooting that guided their playoff run. The Mavs made seven more field goals and four more threes than the Heat, negating Miami’s advantage at the free throw line. There’s a reason shooting is the most important of the Four Factors, and you can see that still held true last night.

And it came from everyone. Jason Terry was 11-16 and made three threes. DeShawn Stevenson made three threes. Your Dad hit a bomb from way downtown. Ian Mahinmi made two shots in a game for just the 14th time all season. Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion were the only bros who didn’t make at least 50 percent of their attempts, and even Dirk went 8-15 in the second half after making just one of his 12 first half field goal attempts. Dallas shot the milk out of the ball all playoffs, last night was no different.

As for the Heat, well, Mario Chalmers led them in fourth quarter scoring. That kind of says it all. For large portions of that final quarter, he seemed like the only guy who guy aggressively seeking his shot, as the Heat often seemed content to spend the last 12 minutes of the season whipping the ball around the perimeter. They were a defeated team, and you could see that well before the final horn sounded. Very weird way to end a very weird season. I am sure that they will figure out how to play together, win a bunch of championships and become the dynasty they expect to become, but last night they were the worse team, so they lost. Sometimes, basketball makes a whole bunch of sense.

So that’s it. The last NBA game we’ll be seeing for who knows how long. Nice way to go out, I’d say.

Dallas Mavericks 112, Miami Heat 103
It is kind of amazing that the most entertaining and best-played game of the series doubles as the largest margin of victory, but that’s how close this thing is. Dirk very quietly scored 29 points on 18 shots, but he finally got the help he’s needed, mostly in the form of Jason Terry’s 21 points, eight of which came in the final four minutes of the game.

56 percent shooting for the Mavericks, including 68 percent from three, making it very weird to see the Heat struggling on defense. Dallas made 13 threes last night, and that’s only the fifth time in 102 games that the Heat have given up that many from long range. The Mavs moved the ball like crazy, but they also hit some bananahands kind of shots that had no business going in. Sometimes, it’s just your night, and sometimes that happens to be in the pivotal game of the NBA Finals.

Oh yeah, LeBron James had a triple-double, but that seems kind of inconsequential now.

Dallas Mavericks 86, Miami Heat 83
To paraphrase David Foster Wallace, this was an entertaining game I never want to see again. No replays. No Hardwood Classic episodes. Leave it off the championship DVD. No, thank you.

42 percent shooting (and .143 from three) for the Heat, and sub-40 percent shooting (.211 from three) for the Mavs. An 8/9/7 line, with as many missed shots as points, for LeBron James. 10 combined minutes for Brian Cardinal and Juwan Howard. It was ugly, but it was fun.

Dwyane Wade was great (32 points on 13-20 shooting), Dirk Nowitzki was his typical awesome self in the fourth (10 points in the quarter), and Jason Terry actually did something. Might not have been the prettiest game, but with Dwyane and Dirk trading clutch shots in the fourth, it put some giggles in your brain. I’ll take it.

Miami Heat 88, Dallas Mavericks 86
The big thing about last night’s game that you’ll hear repeated over and over is that Dirk Nowitzki doesn’t have enough help for the Mavericks to win the title. People will point to his 34 points being the same as the Mavs’ next three highest scorers combined and that Jason Terry has been terrible all series. That’s fine and it’s true, but the Mavericks are still playing the Heat close and I think we can all agree that Dirk is good enough to win games on his own, even if his last two possessions were not great last night. That’s why Rick Carlisle sits him for half of the first quarter, so he’ll be fresh to carry the team in the fourth. It’d be great for Dallas to get something from someone else, but it’s not imperative.

As for the Heat, not much to complain about, except that they should probably stop blowing big leads. It’s really unbecoming. Never mind that, though, they still held the Mavs to just 40 percent shooting and 105 points per 100 possessions, which is pretty Milwaukee Bucks-ish. Keep doing that and things will work out.

Dallas Mavericks 95, Miami Heat 93
If you’re having trouble understanding how the Heat could blow a 15-point in lead in seven minutes, but want more answers than “The Mavericks were mad about chest punches,” then read these three articles and understand that this was just as much an incredible performance by Dallas as it was a Miami meltdown. The Mavericks went eight straight possessions without a score, only to end the game by scoring on 10 of their last 11 trips down the court. That’s unreal. Watching this one again on NBA TV is going to be a treat. A treat, I tell you.

Wha' Happened?: A win's a win

Miami Heat 92, Dallas Mavericks 84
Not the most thrilling Finals opener in NBA history, that’s for sure. Almost every Dallas player looked out of sorts for stretches, dribbling the ball off their legs like they were playing in an Old Man Basketball League at 6am. Outside of a couple of 7-0 runs to end the first half and start the second, the Mavericks just couldn’t seem to get things going, finally going cold and turning in their worst shooting performance of the playoffs. Big ups to the Heat for being able to withstand those runs and close things out defensively like they’ve been doing all postseason, but they’ll need to shoot better than 39 percent from the floor because the Mavericks will definitely bounce back. Still, winning ugly counts just as much as winning pretty, so way to go Heat.

Miami Heat 83, Chicago Bulls 80
First off, congratulations to the Miami Heat for doing what they expected to do and what everyone expected them to do. That’s not a knock, as playing up to expectations is hard. The Heat are clearly the best team in the Eastern Conference. It just took them seven months to show it. Haven’t really thought about who I think is going to win the Finals, but when you see a team that can blitz opponents offensively and defensively like the Heat can, it’s hard to imagine them losing four out of seven games. Incredible comeback that seems like a joke you make in a pickup game. “All we need is two threes and a four-point play and we’re back in this thing. Ha ha.” Actually happened and that’s bananahands. Big ups.

As for the Bulls — dag. I am sad that this season has to be over for Chicago. I am sad because if you told me before the season started that the Bulls would lose to the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, I’d think that sounds about right, but when it comes down to it, I’m disappointed. Why be disappointed? This is what was supposed to happen, what did happen. That’d be like being sad when you found out that the sun was coming up again. Duh, it’s coming up, it’s the sun. Duh, the Heat beat the Bulls, they’re the better team.

But still, it’s sad. And it’s unfortunate that the best Bulls season in 13 years had to come during the 20th anniversary season of the franchise’s first championship, which led to tons of comparisons to a team that featured Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. That’s not fair, man. But it was fun. Even as the Bulls were blowing fourth quarter leads like a bunch of Oklahoma City Thunder, it was still fun. (Not at the time, but overall.)

When I look back at this season, I’ll remember how much I enjoyed watching this team, probably my second favorite Bulls incarnation since the title years. Brian Scalabrine played meaningful minutes for a while. We got to hear Omer Asik talk. Kurt Thomas led the team in scoring once. Joakim Noah is him. Kyle Korver pouring hot sauce on people. Carlos Boozer’s yells became the greatest joke you can make in a pickup basketball game. Luol Deng grew a mustache. There was a lot to like about this team, especially the MVP, Derrick Rose.

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