I go into these Finals with a bias resembling that of everyone outside the greater Miami area – I hate the Heat. Whether that hate is rational is another story. In the face of my bias, I will nonetheless try to point out bawfulness whether or not it resides in a Heat uniform.
In a related story, Oakland Raider fans deemed "sane."
Hell, I might even point out awfulness on other channels. Did you know America’s Got Talent? Well, now I do. Think a LeBron James dunk is more thrilling than a man standing in water juggling 500,000 volt tasers attached to sticks? Well, what happens to LeBron when he misses a dunk? He just misses the dunk. You know what happens to taser juggler if he falters? Instant, public, humiliating death – on a stick. Literally.
Side note: Should the Finals loser be subjected to instant, public, humiliating death? Discuss.
Alright, let’s get on with it:
Erik Spoelstra has an opening interview in which he is finally starting to tone down the drama talk about all that his team has been through. Perhaps the Heat public relations folk have finally given him a talking to (after they read this blog of course).
In this Interview, Spo uses terms like “A little bit uncomfortable” “a little bit of adversity”…that’s more like it. Thanks, Erik, yes…a slow start and a five game losing streak a few months ago is does not quite equal the “a lot of heartache” you’ve been touting in the past.
5:46 remaining – teams combine for 4 for 19 shooting. Feeling each other out. Typical start for two teams shaking off the nerves.
3:26 left – LeBron puts his hand into Kidd’s forearm after a three-pointer is away. It’s almost like he does this to get into the shooter’s head. Still, it’s dangerous – while a look at NBA rules reveals nothing to prevent this, officials call it, altogether now…inconsistently. Still, LeBron is at home, so I think he’ll be OK.
37.3 – Jason Terry gets fouled trying to dunk on LeBron. Jeff Van Gundy (JVG) indicates it could be an offensive foul. “If anything that could have been an offensive foul, wiping away.” Replay shows Terry extended the off arm, but LeBron was all over him and an offensive foul call would have been absurd. I’m starting to think that JVG is addicted to contrarianism – whatever you have to say, whatever is the standard line of thought, he will question it, play Devil’s advocate, consider an alternative line of thinking. At times, this results in the most brilliant, insightful commentary. At others, it makes you wonder if he’s smoking the peyote.
:15 – James “almost” gets his third foul elbowing Barea in the face. Slow motion replay shows Barea was trying to sell it. Good no call.
Pictured: Stifling _allas _efense
11:26 – Bosh with a nasty slam off a Lebron miss. Miami up: 18-17
10:07 – Haslem and Miller double-team Dirk, earning a jump ball. Defense on Dirk has been solid, making the German seem out of rhythm.
10:02 – Chalmers steals the ball from Barea off the jump. While trying to secure the ball, Chalmers steps out of bounds twice. JVG starts with the peyote talk: “Here’s the thing…if his dribble is released when his foot is on the line, and then it comes up, and then he touches the ball, I don’t think that’s out of bounds. That’s very hard to see, certainly, but…”
For a second, I’m wondering if this is surprise brilliance in a bottle – I mean, has JVG just discovered a new basketball law in which you could jump out of bounds each time the ball leaves your hands during the dribbling motion? Then, of course, a little extra thought makes the whole notion come down like a house of cards – you’d have to reestablish both feet in bounds between each dribble, yada yada. God, what would it be like to live in JVG’s brain for a day?
Anyway, his comment on the dribbling-out-of-bounds argument is deservedly ignored – even by Breen, who is essentially paid to listen to him.
6:54 – Bosh acts his way into an over the back call, negating Haywood’s resulting hook shot. This strikes me as the first play that would qualify for consideration in my Actual Score champion idea. Assuming it’s in effect, Mavs go to +2.
America’s got talent alert: Amazingly the guy standing in water juggling 1.5 million volts has walked away unharmed. Some dude who just sings and dances, however, manages to almost kill himself falling off stage.
5:44 – Breen, Mark Jackson (MJ), and JVG discuss the way LeBron made his decision: From Breen: “[The Heat are] still a team the fans root against…you take away the decision, you take away the press conference, this is an unselfish team, hard-working team, they play defense, they do all the right things…all lot of people still look at them as villains.” Yes, they do, Mike. I wonder what JVG has to say on the subject?
JVG, quote machine: “You look at LeBron James, he’s never gotten in any type of scandal. All he decided to do was go to a different place to work, and it just shows you that we celebrate athletes that go through addictions, go through problems with the law…this isn’t what LeBron James has had problems with. He made a questionable decision at best to have ‘The Decision’ and I think maybe the Miami Heat organization did themselves a disservice by having that over the top celebration…If that’s all they’ve done wrong, I don’t understand why [the hatred] is prolonged, unless it’s because [fans] don’t like players who jump from one team to another. They like to see what Nowitzki did, stay with one team their whole career.”
JVG’s got me thinking again, that bastard brainiac. Yup, LeBron hasn’t had a whiff of a drug scandal, a misdemeanor, a sexual assault, and yet so many, including myself, despise him for what he did. My best analysis of this would be that we don’t really care what athletes do to themselves or to those around them, no matter how heinous it might be. We are a self-centered society, we are. And when LeBron decided to take his talents to South Beath, and not to my team, or yours – he insulted me, and you – personally. I mean, if he was going to slight his home state, he should have at the very least become a Celtic, right?
JVG has more words to put us all to shame: “Wouldn’t every working American want to choose where they work and who they work with if they could? And so we resent the thing that we would want in our own profession.”
Thanks Jeff, for making me want to kill myself for being such a selfish bastard. And then you have to go and be hilarious too:
JVG: “I think it does bother [LeBron], what other people think of him.” MJ: “I don’t think it bothers him at all. I think it motivates him to continue to be great.” JVG: “I disagree with that. I think he was already motivated.” MJ: “You disagree with everything I say.” JVG: “I disagree.”
2:18 – Dirk hits an unguardable shot off the glass
1:26 – Chalmers 3 ties the game at 38.
1:12 – Kidd alley oop to Chandler. Awesome. It’s not a Mavs game without at least one of those.
Nearing the half, someone mentions that Stuart Scott has cancer. I feel like I have been under a rock. A googling of “Stuart Sco…” prompts the following top Google suggestions:
Stuart Stuart Scott cancer Stuart Scott glass eye
Cancer is ABOVE “glass eye”? Damn, how do I not know this? My TV is on Sports Center all day long. They made a point to tell me Jalen Rose was arrested for DUI, but I missed the big C? See how selfish a society we are? Stuart Scott has cancer, and all I care about is that I didn’t know it. My personal shame meter has reached 8.
Halftime 44-43 Mavericks
Dirk is a pedestrian 4-10, but the Mavs are up one...not a good sign for the heat. Although nothing that seems to be a bad sign for the Heat has really mattered these days, given how they’re finishing games.
Dwayne Wade interview: When asked about all the people who seem to hate the Heat. D Wade takes it 18 intellectual levels down from a typical JVG conversation:
D Wade, Quote machine: “When you look at the letters that’s in HEAT, it equals HATE. You can take HATE right out of HEAT. It’s fitting.”
Dwayne then proceeded to list the rest of the words that can be made from the letter in HEAT:
EAT ATE HE TEA AT HAT
Made me think: Forget the basketball court, he might even kick my ass in Boggle.
Mavericks open the second half on a 7-0 run. Mavs 51-43, but no lead seems safe…
Fun fact: Graphic indicates that the average age of the Mavs starting five is 32.2 years. Is Jason Kidd 50 or something?
6:30 left – Haywood misses a dunk – Look for it on the "Not top ten."
5:48 – Marion puts Mavs up 57-53
WIRED with Erik Spoelstra:
ES: “This is gonna be a grind. Get into the grind.” I think he has said that over and over in each of the last three playoff series, has he not? Thank the Lord we have young minds like his to fill the coaching void left behind by Phil Jackson.
Haywood steps to the freethrow line: Stat shows his FT shooting at 36 percent in the regular season, 46 percent in the playoffs. How many guys are there in the league could have Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo jointly snicker at his freethrow shooting?
1:11 – James 3-pointer puts the Hate up by 1 – 60-59. And it begins.
0:00 – LeBron sticks another 3 before the buzzer. 65-61 Hate.
11:45 – Alley oop to LeBron broken up by...Chris Bosh. Apparently only the Heat can stop the Heat.
11:00 – Miller 3-pointer puts the Heat up 68-63.
Carlisle is upset at a guy in the stands waving a huge flag on Haywood’s freethrows. JVG with a nice quote about Haywood’s crappy FT shooting: “Maybe that’s a good thing, that [Haywood] gets disrupted at the freethrow line.”
10:31 – JVG with a George Bushism quote machine: “Jason Kidd is 38 and he’s playing with the energy and speed of a guard who’s, like, in his 30’s.”
9:28 – Bosh falls all over himself and gets 24 second violation. Ends on the floor hugging the ball. Pure Boshiness.
8:43 – Loose ball foul on Nowitzki. There is nothing there. Horrible call. Only thing the official could have been seeing is Mike Miller a few feet away lunging forward as if pushed. Breen “Didn’t look like there was a lot there.” Actual score adjustment: Mavs +2
7:32 – Ridiculous offensive foul on Chander. Haslem hooks Chandler, who is standing still for a pick. Haslem sells the bologna. JVG: “Dis-a-gree” MJ: “Ditto.” Breen “Haslem sold that pretty well.” Actual score adjustment: Mavs +2.
5:41 – LeBron hits arm after ball gone on a Terry three. No call. As I said earlier, technically not a foul, but risky. But not all that risky at home. Steve Javie ignores Terry flop. No point adjustment.
3:58 – Marion gets a foul call on Mike Miller. Breen: “That’s the right call” JVG: “Ho, ho, ho, [Marion] ducks his head and uses it as a battering ram on Mike Miller. What is Mike Miller supposed to do?” JVG apparently not counting the headlock by Mike Miller as relevant. No point adjustment.
3:44 – Dirk Nowitzki – Clean strip on Chris Bosh, who sells it with a flail. MJ and JVG agree it was a clean strip. Actual score adjustment: Mavs +2.
3:06 – 82-73 – D Wade three makes it 82-73 Hate.
2:48 – Filthy LeBron slam punctuates the finish.
Final - 92-84 With actual score adjustments: 92-92. Damn it. Imaginary overtime? Oh well, the Hate are consistently performing well down the stretch, so we’ll give them this one, grudgingly. Heat up: 1 game to none.
And now comes the news that Dirk has a torn tendon in his finger, so what's it matter now anyway? Heat in 6.