The Dallas Mavericks: Well. The upper hand is on the other foot. Again.
One game after stealing homecourt advantage from the cHeat, the Mavericks gave it right back. Fortunately, Mark Cuban has more than enough money to repair all the holes he probably punched into his walls last night.
Game 3 was an awful lot like Game 2.
Miami built a 14-point advantage. Dallas came back.
The cHeat led 81-74 after Dwyane Wade hit a shot with 6:31 left and 84-78 after Wade drilled a three with 4:31 left.
LeBron "Attack Mode" James didn't play very Next Michael Jordan-y (17 points, 6-for-14, 9 assists, 4 turnovers) while Dirk Nowitzki looked pretty Next Larry Bird-y (game-high 34 points, 11-for-21, 9-for-9 from the line 11 rebounds). This was even more apparent down the stretch: LeBron scored only 2 points in the fourth quarter while Nowitzki had 15...including 12 straight to lead a Dallas rally.
Make that an almost rally.
Because King Crab had help in Pookie (7 of his team-high 29 in the fourth) and the Boshtrich (7 fourth quarter points including the go-ahead jumper with 39 seconds left). Meanwhile, Dirk found out that one really is the loneliest number.
How critical has Nowitzki been in the Finals? According to Jeff Fogle of Hoopdata: "In the 20 minutes that Dirk Nowitzki has been on the bench resting during the NBA Championships, the Dallas Mavericks have been outscored by 31 points. In the 124 minutes that he played, Dallas has outscored the Miami Heat by 23 points. As strong as Miami has looked earning a big riding time advantage through three games, they're WAY down when Dirk is on the floor."
Wow. Dirk has had to do almost everything. And he almost did.
Unfortunately for Mavs fans and cHeat haters, Nowitzki's personal 12-point run ended when he dished to Jason Terry for an open jumper with 58 seconds left. Terry missed and the score remained tied. Then, 19 seconds later, James dished to Bosh, and the RuPaul of Big Men hit to put Miami up a deuce.
On Dallas' next possession, Udonis Haslem's defense finally got to Dirk, and Nowitzki threw the ball out of bounds. James bricked a three with four seconds left and Dirk's forced jumper at the buzzer was off the mark.
The Dallas players who weren't seven feet and blond went 17-for-49 from the field (36 percent). Shawn Marion (10 points, 4-for-12) was the only starter other than Dirk to reach double figures. Tyson Chandler shot 1-for-4 and finished with 5 points in 40 minutes. Jason Kidd had 9 points on 3-for-8 shooting. DeShawn Stevenson scored 3 points in 14 minutes.
Jason Terry chipped in 15 points off the bench, but he went scoreless (0-for-4) in the final 12 minutes. And J.J. Barea (6 points, 2-for-8, 1-for-5 on threes) was outplayed by Mario Chalmers (12 points, 4-for-6 on threes...including one that shouldn't have counted). This is a trend that may be killing he Mavericks.
Through their march to the Finals, the Mavericks have been able to create vast acres of space in their offense by covering the floor with shooters. Few NBA players know how to exploit open space better than Jose Juan Barea, a good shooter who loves nothing more than to juke his man on the perimeter, put the ball on the floor, and sail into the wide open spaces of the Dallas offense.
From there, he has an array of floaters, runners and jumpers that are more than enough to get the job done.
Barea has been pretty bad against Miami, however. That's because when the Miami defense is loaded up with athletes like Chalmers spaces don't last long. Somebody long and strong is always rushing to fill the gap.
Barea has taken 23 shots over the Finals first three games. 18 missed. It's big letdown for a player who had made 51 of 117 playoff shots in the first three rounds. Watching Chalmers fight over picks to stay with Barea it's easy to see why he's finding space at a premium.
Over the course of a season, or a career, Chalmers and Barea are not so different -- decent NBA players who can hit open shots but hurt their teams if they try to do too much. Both players have career production a tick or two below average, with the slightly older Barea generally the more efficient of the two.
But in these Finals, whether by luck or quality of opposing defense, Chalmers has been the much more efficient shot maker. Barea has scored 13 points on 23 shots, while Chalmers has taken one fewer shot, but has scored 20 more points, with 33 points on 22 shots over the first three games.
Chalmers and Barea are bit players in this drama, but bit players who happen to be performing very differently in the final playoff series of the year. In a series that is turning on a point or two here or there -- the Heat have outscored the Mavericks by a total of eight points over the three games -- these are little things that matter.
Getting back to the fourth quarter, it may be worth comparing relative contributions to the Dallas cause. Nowitzki scored 15 points while going 4-for-7 from the field and 6-for-6 from the line. His teammates scored 7 points on 3-for-11 shooting.
After the game, Kidd stated the obvious: "We have to have somebody step up besides Dirk. We have to figure out how to get up front and play up front. The big thing is we've got to be able to make plays late in the game. Game 2 we made the plays, Game 3 we just didn't."
Dallas won the rebounding battle (42-36) but got outscored 40-22 in the paint and gave up 19 points off 14 turnovers.
Miami's two-point win also benefitted from a triple that should not have been.
The Dallas Mavericks and their fans can point to quite a few reasons for the team's two-point, 88-86 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. The team missed five free throws, shot 40 percent, turned the ball over 18 times [14 actually - Bawful], and clanged a series of solid three-point looks down the stretch. But Miami guard Mario Chalmers' buzzer-beating three to end the first quarter, one that should have been disallowed as Chalmers' foot was technically in the back court as he caught the ball, will sting the hardest.
The half court stripe is considered part of the back court, and the referees missed the fact that Chalmers had his heel on the line when he took the pass from Udonis Haslem in the front court. The rule is that you must be considered fully in the front court before you can receive a pass from the front court, and Chalmers' foot was still in the back court when he caught the ball. That's a lot of "courts" to consider, but all Mavs fans will look at is that two-point deficit on the scoreboard as the final buzzer sounded, while ruing the three-points that shouldn't have counted.
That bogus three-bomb capped a nightmare first quarter for the Mavericks. Basketbawful reader Factfinder said: "I bet Dallas wishes they could go back and contest all of those easy buckets they gave to Wade and Bron in the 1st quarter." Make that Wade, Bron and Bosh. Those three guys combined to convert seven dunks/layups in the first 12 minutes. Seven! In the first quarter of a Finals game!
Somewhere Bill Laimbeer is throwing up.
Chris Bosh denied: I'd be more gleeful about this if Dallas had won.
Jason Terry, quote machine: "A lot of my looks are contested, but hey, it’s the NBA Finals and they're going to contest every shot. And hey, we have to be more and more aggressive, and we'll see what happens."
J.J. Barea, quote machine: "I think had some open looks, especially [some] 3s, and they felt great and some were long and some were short. They just didn't go down for me. I'm going to keep shooting them. This team needs me to make shots, and everybody needs to make open shots, and we kinda struggled with that tonight."
Dwyane Wade, quote machine: "My teammates saw it. They can tell I wanted this game. ... I'm just trying to lead. My guys did a great job of following that lead."
Chris Bosh, quote machine, Part 1: "Open your eye like this. I'll poke you in it."
Chris Bosh, quote machine, Part 2: "I think [getting poked in the eye was] just symbolic of our season, everything. You just have to keep overcoming. If you lose Game 2 at home, blow a 15-point lead and you're out on the road and everything is against you, you have to get it done. I thought it was quite fitting that I got poked in the eye early."
Erik Spoelstra, quote machine: "There's so many storylines out there right now, the Game 3, all these trends and statistics. To simplify it for all of you, the game is not played in a statistical world. It is played between those four lines and 94 feet. Whoever plays the best and more consistent to their identity likely has the best chance to win."
LeBron James, quote machine: Total smackdown.
Chris' Finals Lacktion Ledger: Ian Mahinmi made two free throws in exactly eight minutes along with one board, only to foul five times for a 5:3 Voskuhl. Meanwhile, when your uber-short-stint-of-the-night is noted by the ABC commentating staff, it's clear lacktion has gone mainstream, in the case of Brian Cardinal -- whose 7 seconds of plugging in a DS to its charger at the end of the 2nd quarter garnered a Super Mario.
LeBron however just won't allow to let the Heat's douche-o-meter go below 10 (out of 10). Wow, what an asshole.
Dear God, should you allow this Heat team to become NBA champion, would you at least not let LeBron get MVP? Please?
From what I've read, whether or not it was a backcourt violation is not reviewable.
For that matter...that first quarter, not the end-of-game sequence...that was a team fail, from Cuban all the way down to the arena janitor. Seriously, when you have an entire country/planet behind you to try to stop the Nazgul, you kinda need to not wilt under the global pressure.
Especially when Miami got outscored the rest of the way entirely. LOL.
would copy and paste the pertinent section in here but it's too long.
Shot clock violations... there must be a complain from one team?... are there any written rules about that?
I'm not even a Miami fan or a LeBron fan or anything of the sort.
THANK GOD YES SOMEBODY ELSE NOTICED! I wasn't really expecting that to end up on WotN cause it hurt Miami, but those were some very questionable calls, especially the one on Haslem. No surprise no one else is mentioning it on here considering it doesn't fit the narrative of David Stern fixing the finals so the Nazgul win it all.
27-14 disparity in overall foul calls and a 27-15 free throw attempt disparity. It wasn't for lack of aggression on our part. We did outscore then 40-22 in the paint.
And yet somehow we won. If I were a Mavs fan, that would terrify me - That they'd actually lose a game where they gave a huge whistle advantage while at home with Dirk having a 34 point game.
RefCalls.com is right on this -- it wasn't a backcourt violation, because Chalmers wasn't in the backcourt when he caught the ball (contrary to what Kelly Dwyer says, his foot was not "still in the backcourt when he caught the ball"). He had crossed midcourt and was in the front court already, even if he hadn't yet established position in the front court with his feet.
The ABC guys made a mess of the analysis on this one; it seems like a pretty clear and correct no-call.
Lol @ someone here taking offense to what LeBron did to that asshole Greg Doyle. He gave a stupid question and deserved that response. Twitter pretty much blew him up after that.
The German God of Swish gave me at least 3 strokes last night. It was an interesting game. The Chalmers, Barea comparison was spot on. Was expecting Barea to really hurt Miami.
But nothing will ever be as epic as the Boshtrich's tears as he writhed around the ground for a good 90 seconds. I genuinely cracked up watching it.
That's not fair to LeBron. He was the definitive closer against Boston and Chicago. We wouldn't be in position if not for his brilliant play. This series, Wade has it going on offense, but LeBron has proven himself as a closer.
Also, Lebron is correct about how good his defense has been this series. ESPN Stats and Info reported today that Lebron has given up 5 points COMBINED through 3 finals games in the 4th quarter as a primary defender.
Riiight. The reporter's question was 10x douchier. He deserved that response from LeBron. LeBron has rendered Terry absolutely useless in this series.
It's not about the overall fairness of the calls, it's about the clear intention displayed by the refs to award free points to Dallas. Contrary to popular belief, calls are actually missed most of the times. But when you begin awarding loose ball fouls at any defensive rebound attempt then there's a clear intention behind.
40 points in the paint against 22 and yet they still only had 15 free throw attempts against Dallas' 27.
Never thought I'd say that Brendan Haywood might be the key to victory in an NBA Finals game, but there you go.
Face it, Miami's the better team and has been for 11 out of 12 quarters played so far. Anyone who thinks this will all of the sudden change because the world thinks LeBron is the Antichrist can go suck their thumb and go weep in a little corner. It's getting old.
In fact, I'm surprised it didn't, but hey, the Mavs lost and let down an entire universe.
I think the officiating sucks in almost every NBA game. I think the road team usually gets effed in most cases. I usually point out only what seems to be the most egregious of the bad calls because there are too damn many of them, and, frankly, I get tired of talking about officiating game after game.
Blizzard: Bosh crying for 10 minutes was pretty funny. The whole time, I was thinking, "Wow, he's going to force them to call a timeout, isn't he?" And yep. He did.
In other bulletin board material, Jet Terry and Deshawn Stevenson are laying down some serious smack talk.
I mean, if you can actually read it all without wanting to smash your monitor in disgust that someone can get paid for that.
Bonus link to Yahoo also calling out Doyle with a better explanation.
judging by the ball movement direction the actual contact between the ball and the chalmers is in the LAST frame. or rather last frame and one further. if you then look at him standing on his toes, 100% on the frontcourt - that does not look like a backcourt violation.
pinoy pride YES
You know you suck as a writer when most of America is compelled to agree with KING CRAB as to how annoying you are, and if this was CBS Sportsline's goal, well hey, congrats on putting out such terrible dreck in print!!!!!!!!!!!1
Fouling/not fouling in this situation is an area where the Mavs can't win. If they foul whoever is driving to the basket, then they pick up a lot of fouls and Miami lives at the line. But if they don't foul, then Miami (usually) gets an easy score. Either way, Miami scores in those situations. I guess the choice where you don't get the foul (and hope they miss) is the better one.
Erik Spoelstra's family?
But look. I love this blog. Even if the Heat are disliked immensely. But hell, I actually remember defending The Drain a few times last year. Many of you are older, wiser, basketball addicts and I appreciate that
Bonus Bawful - Vince Carter is gonna be on ESPN 1st Take tomorrow.
If you objectively look at how Bron has played all around, I don't see how you can say that LeBron is shrinking from the moment.
Through three finals games he's shooting 51% from the floor and his defense has been positively brilliant. Last game he gave you 9 assists too, 4 of which game in the 4th quarter (including the game winning pass to Bosh).
There can only be one leading scorer on your team in a given series. It's not LeBron this time, but I think you're really ignoring every other aspect of the game if you think him "only" getting 20 PPG so far this series as a sign that he's shrinking.
This conversation is a perfect example of how people overvalue scoring and undervalue defense and passing.
Where are the 'oops to Chandler and the ball movement? Also, felt Dallas made a concerted effort to play Haywood and Chandler, as well as Marion off of Dirk when the double came, but I didn't really see that last night.
Miami played well and deserved to win, and I also would like to salute all the Heat fans that have taken their lumps all season, but are still being pretty civil.
Pains me to admit I agree. He's definitely not "The Next Michael Jordan." But even though Wade has been the better scorer in the Finals, 'Bron's playing great D and setting plates.
As I've said, the three star system is working the way the cHeat had hoped it would.
I don't think the reporter was douchie at all, it's his job to ask the hard questions as well as the back-slapping you-the-man-style questions.
I expect LBJ's ego will come and and score 30+ in the next game.
Perhaps the tide is turning, LeBron is looking sympathetic and Dirk is now... turning heal on his teammates? Dirk called out Terry for not being clutch and carrying his weight (Dirk really has been studying Kobe). Dirk's right of course, but I think this is a mistake because Terry has always struck me as a guy who secretly knows he really isn't clutch which is why he goes out of his way to claim that mantle and relies on a bunch of superstitious nonsense as a crutch ("I made a deal with God that in exchange for all my 4th quarter shots going in I'll eat all my broccoli! Glad I don't have to worry about anymore... BECAUSE I DO ALL THE TIME"). My guess is calling him out will only exacerbate his Finals meltdown and hasten his transformation into John Starks by game 7.
+1 for the John Starks reference.
Remember Latrell Sprewell? I wonder how he is managing to feed his family these days...
He _COULD_ have avoided all of these if he had stayed in Cleveland and won! He couldn't win and didn't stay. So there should be no mercy for him. F him. Call me a hater. But F him.
The dude has taken so much abuse over the years for bogus things like being "soft" and "not clutch." And it's never phased him. He comes back every year, plays awesome, and never makes an ass out of himself.
If the Heat go on to lose the series, there will be a large part of me that will be happy for his sake (once I come out of my 2 week long sports-depression that's sure to ensue if we fail).
Anyway, bonus bawful: Kobe Bryant still playing basketball in staples center during the finals- unfortunately for Mamba, only on a PS3.
Highlights: DWade swishes a 3 against him; "that's not realistic at all :("
"[the AI Lakers] run the triangle better than we did last year." Maybe AI Citizen Artest isn't that realistic then?
Wonder what the two big franchises will do if there is a lockout, especially NBA Elite after not releasing a game last year.
@Jon L: Yep. Too bad that Dirk doesn't have a Chris Paul/D-will type of point-guard to rely on, or even better, a quality SG who could take over some of the scoring load. I mean, I'm rooting for the Heat, but it pains me to see the German playing so amazingly throughout the playoffs, only to have it go to waste.
Greg Doyel: wow. What a bitter little man, trying to make a name for himself by calling out, then getting completely pwned by a guy who probably didn't even really finish high school.
Sure Lebron's not the next MJ, but people who keep bringing that up are really saying more about themselves: ie, their inability to come up with any relevant analysis or comment on one of the best players in the NBA at the moment.
Dirk is just showing us all that it's difficult to win a game of 1 vs 3. Terry got a tat of the finals trophy...he should be putting his game where his ink is.
Haslem was super clutch. He called for the defensive assignment on Dirk at the end of Game 2 and didn't get it. He did so again in Game 3 and played perfect D on Dirk.
I am speechless at the stupidity of Stevenson and Terry giving two of the best players in the world erase board material. Terry said that Portland D is better than Miami's, and that LeBron's Defense is nothing special. That and DeShawn apparently trying to rekindle the rivalry by calling James and Wade 'actors.' This when, if you go to topflops.com Stevenson has 5 of the top 18 flops of this year's playoffs.
If Game 4 is a blowout with D-Wade annihilating Stevenson and James crushing Terry on both ends, we'll know why.
Basically they are the scions of darkness wreaking havoc on the land.
What was up with that weird LeBron 3 that could have iced it near the end? Chalmers was wide open to his left, although I have to say that I don't know what the shot clock was at that point. Chalmers was hitting open 3's like mad.
Or maybe he'll turn out to be a great coach and surprise everyone. Naahhh.
Jesus, you people are pathetic.
But when it comes to the intangible things that make a someone a hero that people admire,
rather than just a great player, things like guts, determination, and a never-say-die attitude, Lebron is clearly lacking. He'll never be comparable to Jordan regardless of how many rings he wins.
I love how LeBron is being a team player and working hard on defense. But you know what? He's just a ROLE player. Where is the comparison between Bruce Bowen and MJ???? Bruce Bowen has 3 or 4 rings.
1. LeBron is not shooting the balls at all but defending well.
2. LeBron is being compared to MJ but still has no ring (yet).
3. Bruce Bowen defends exceptionally well and has 3 or 4 rings.
Then the logic seems to follow that Bruce Bowen should be compared to LeBron and thus should be compared to MJ. This is a faulty logic. But if we can say LeBron is like MJ for being a role player, why not the other great role players that already have multiple rings?
All I am saying is that LeBron does need to be exceptionally great! I mean, where is the talk now that LeBron is supposed to stop Dirk? Why do we want this even though it is not a good match-up? Because we *want* to see LeBron take down the best offensive weapon on the opposing team then score points for his own team! That's what it means to be compared to MJ. When he is stopping Jason Terry and not scoring, that's being a ROLE player.