The Miami Heat: Big shock. Dwyane Wade and his Titos would have -- and probably should have -- gotten swept if not for a crazy shooting outburst from Wade's hand. Apparently, that hand stayed in Miami. After going 4-for-4 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter of Game 4, Pookie's hand was a dismal 2-for-7 from distance in Game 5, including 0-for-3 in the final 12 minutes. Pookie's hand wasn't alone in it's shooting misery. It got plenty of company from Quentin Richardson (2-for-8, 0-for-3 from downtown), Michael Beasley (0-for-3), Jermaine "The Drain" O'Neal (3-for-10), Udonis Haslem (2-for-9) and Dorell Wright (1-for-5).
As a team, the Heat shot 39 percent, missed 15 of their 20 three-point attempts, and gave up 21 points off 20 turnovers. On the bright side, they scored 2 fast break points, so they have that going for them...which is nice.
Talk about a rough scoring / shooting series. Miami managed only 79.7 PPG while shooting 39.1 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from The Land of Three. The Heat also averaged 18.3 turnovers per game. Like I said, they really should have been swept.
Fair point: The Heat did at least trim a 21-point third quarter deficit to only three (73-70) with just over 10 minutes left in the game. And, as I like to say, the patient almost lived. Miami's cause would have benefited from a hand or two in the face of Ray Allen, who nailed five treys in the second half.
Here's some more Heat misery from Basketbawful reader Mike F.:
I am not sure if you remember me. I am the unlucky soul who covered news out in Lynchburg, VA for three years. Well, I finally moved out of the seventh layer of hell to Greensboro, NC. I guess you could call it a promotion since it is not WGN yet. Anyway, I finally got situated with cable and all, it only took me a month and a half. However, I wont complain especially since I was able to watch my first basketball game in quite sometime. Unfortunately, I may never watch again after the performance of the Miami Heat not named Dwyane Wade or Mario Chalmers. The other four starters (Arroyo, O'Neal, Richardson, Beasley) combined 21 Points (9-25), 10 Boards, 6 Assists, 5 Steals in 96 Minutes. Mario Chalmers off the bench nearly outscored those four scrubs. Not to diss Wade he showed up, but he did have 7 turnovers.
Please rank The Drain's failure as a human being paid to play basketball on a scale of 1-10. He shot 30% today and that was nearly DOUBLE his shooting percentage this series. Let that sink in...
On a scale of 1-10, I rank it this:
No. No, on second thought, I rank it this:
More from Greg:
It's pretty sad when shooting 3-10 actually RAISES your field goal percentage. What's even sadder is that The Drain is Miami's second best player. Think about that for a second...
And now, here are the Drain's series numbers: 5 games, 117 minutes, 21 total points (4.2 PPG), 9-for-44 from the field (20.5 percent), 3-for-7 from the line (42.9 percent), 28 total rebounds (5.6 RPG), 7 turnovers, 13 fouls, an Offensive Rating of 57 points per 100 possessions and a PER of 2.5. And did I mention he made over $23 million this season?
The Boston bench: Last summer, Danny Ainge re-signed Big Baby, and he signed Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels, and Shelden Williams. Then he acquired both Nate Robinson and Michael Finley. On paper, this is Boston's deepest team in decades. But the Celtic reserves were outscored 34-13 by Miami's pine riders. And the Heat are not a deep team. Oh, and Daniels, Williams and Robinson are received DNP-CDs.
Money well spent, Danny.
Dwyane Wade, delusions of hope machine: "This will be my last first-round exit for a while, I can tell you that. I'm looking forward to continuing to build, and being with some great players next year, continuing to beef up our roster. I think I put myself in a great situation three years ago, to sign this deal, to make sure my team stayed competitive. We've got some work to do, the front office has [work] to do. You just have to see things being done, being accomplished. If we see that, we'll be talking again."
The Chicago Bulls: Okay, seriously, when I just wrote "The Chicago Bulls," what I actually meant was "The officiating in the Bulls-Cavs game." Of course, David Stern won't let me comment on the officiating, so I'll just point out that the Bulls were hanging tough in the fourth quarter when Shaq drew four fouls in about a minute: Two from Brad Miller in a five-second span, one from Taj Gibson, and one from Joakim Noah right before Shaq spun Noah around for a dunk. And every foul was the same: The Big Geritol blasting his defender in the chest with his off arm and shoving his way toward the basket. Each time, the defender was just trying to remain in a standing position, which apparently is a violation in the NBA.
However, the most critical home cookin' moment came with 7:35 left in the game. With his Bulls trailing 80-79, Derrick Rose hit a tough leaning banker while being fouled by Shaq. However, after a short confab, the refs decided to take away the continuation. Of course, the Crabs weren't in the penalty, so the foul did them no harm whatsoever. Chicago got the ball back and after a mad scramble, Deng got fouled (but no call) by Andy Varejao just as the shot clock was about to expire. This threw Deng off, causing him to drive to the hoop even though time was running out. Shot clock violation, Cleveland ball. On the other end, King Crab drove in for a layup and a foul. Naturally, LeBron got the continuation.
That six-point swing was beyond huge.
Taj Gibson: The rookie was impressive on the boards, grabbing a game-high 11 of them, and coming through in the fourth. Unfortunately, Taj hit only three of his six free throw attempts in the final 12 minutes. How big were those misses? In a two-point loss? Are you kidding me? Kirk Hinrich also bricked a freebie in the fourth.
Vinny Del Negro: With his job on the line and his Bullies down 95-92 with 17 seconds left, Vinny called timeout and wrote up a play that ended with an ugly, off-balance jumper from Rose. After a forced foul and a 1-for-2 performance at the line from LeBron -- something was wrong with King Crab's right elbow, so he shot the second foul shot lefty -- Chicago was down 96-92 with seven seconds left. After a timeout, the Bulls ran a play in which Luol Deng held the ball in the post for about four seconds before passing to Flip Murray, who shanked a three. Deng snared the offensive rebound and layed the ball in at the buzzer.
But, seriously, those were the best plays Del Negro could come up with? Really?
I didn't know Vinny had a play called "Fire me."
LeBron James: This is a few days late, but I have to bust on LeBron for degrading a poor ballboy. Fuck you, King Crab. Thanks to Dooj for the link.
Update! Reggie Miller: Almost forgot this awesome Reggie-ism from last night's Bulls-Crabs game. At some point, Miller said Antawn Jamison was brought in to be the "Robinson" to LeBron's Batman. Man, I love Reggie.
The San Antonio Spurs: This game should be considered Exhibit A in the Case Against Putting Too Much Importance on the Previous Game in the Series. Everybody started writing off the Mavericks after they lost two close games in San Antonio, falling behind 3-1 in their first round series with the Spurs in the process. It's understandable, since some ridiculously small number of teams have ever come back from a 3-1 deficit. But, really, the Mavs aren't bad enough to get haplessly punked at home in an elimination game. And let's be honest, the Spurs probably aren't good enough to do it to them.
Pride is a pretty good motivator.
Against the backdrop, Dallas held San Antonio to 35 percent shooting while forcing them to give up 24 points off 18 turnovers. The Mavs outrebounded the Spurs 52-41 (including 14-9 on the offensive glass) while outscoring them 23-8 on the break and 42-30 in the paint. And get this: Caron Butler (35 points, 12-for-24) almost outscored San Antonio’s starting unit (36 points, 14-for-34) all by himself.
Said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: "Mostly it was the case of they came with the mental and physical toughness, and our starting group wasn't very good in either category."
Speaking of which...
Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan: Considering Bat Manu's near fatal run-in with Dirk Nowitzki's killer elbow in Game 3, you can kind of understand his poor showing (7 points, 2-for-7, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 turnovers). As for Duncan -- 11 points, 3-for-9, 6 rebounds -- it kind of looks like the wheels are falling off. After coming on strong in Game 1-3 (25.7 PPG, 59.6 percent shooting, 10.0 RPG), TD has struggled a lot in Games 4-5 (7.5 PPG, 22.2 percent shooting, 8.5 RPG). Remember when Duncan made spectacular nights seem so routine?
Dampier turned out to be Dallas' only player not to play. Najera wound up as the backup, but he won't be much longer if he keeps playing rough.
After getting ejected from Game 4 because of a flagrant-two foul on Ginobili, he was hit with a flagrant-one for a whack on Parker. With three flagrant "points" this postseason, his next will draw an automatic one-game suspension. His performance already has won over the fans, earning cries of "Ed-die! Ed-die!" in the second half.
"I'm not trying to hurt anybody out there," Najera said. "I'm just trying to prove a point that we can do the same things they are doing."
Really, Eduardo? Really? And since I failed to post this when it happened...
I can't help but notice Najera is going after smaller guys like Manu and TP. Nothing I like more than a wanna-be frontcourt enforcer going after guards. Man, I wish Charles Oakly was still around to lay some wood on Eduardo.
Erick Dampier: In the previous entry, did you notice that "Dampier turned out to be Dallas' only player not to play" part? A DNP-CD for a guy making over $12 million this season. Oh, and I have to mention yet again the when Mark Cuban decided not to re-sign Steve Nash prior to Nash's back-to-back MVP seasons, Cuban spent the money he refused to spend on Nash on Dampier.
I never get tried of pointing that out.
DeJuan Blair, foul machine: Blair somehow managed to pick up his fourth foul with 9:26 left in the second quarter. Which was nearly as bad as...
Matt Bonner, foul machine: Early in the third quarter, Bonner fouled Nowitzki while Brendan Haywood was making a free throw. That gave Dirk an extra freebie, and of course he hit it. It was just that kind of game for the Spurs.
The Oklahoma City Thunder: This game should be considered Exhibit B in the Case Against Putting Too Much Importance on the Previous Game in the Series. Everybody started writing the Lakers off after they lost back-to-back games in Oklahoma City, particularly after they got their butts whupped in Game 4. During the Bulls game last night, I was chatting on ESPN's Daily Dime Live, and people kept telling me the Thunder were going to upset the Lakers in L.A. in Game 5. My response: "My take: This is going to be one of those classic examples of a veteran ball club showing an unproven team how it's done in the playoffs."
And since I love saying I told them so...I told them so.
The Lakers held the Thunder to 36 percent shooting while shooting almost 54 percent themselves. L.A. outscored OKC 58-26 in the paint and coaxed 21 points out of 17 Thunder turnovers. Pau Gasol (25 points, 10-for-16, 11 rebounds, 5 assists) and Andrew Bynum (21 points, 8-for-10, 11 rebounds) dominated inside, Kobe Bryant (13 points, 7 assists) showed surprising restraint after a big loss that caused journalists and bloggers to start pronouncing him "finished." Mamba put the clamps on Russell Westbrook (4-for-13, 8 turnovers) while Ron Artest (14 points, 6-for-11) was putting it to Kevin Durant (17 points, 5-for-14, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers).
The Lakers played a nearly perfect game...and the Thunder looked shell-shocked. Said the Durantula: "I wish I could say why, but they kicked our butts from the beginning. They had some dunks early on and got the fans excited, and they just kind of cruised from there. It was tough to come back."
Kobe Bryant, orchestra conductor: C'mon, admit it: You expected Kobe to take, like, 25-30 shots last night, didn't you? Well, Bryant shocked us all by attempting only 9 shots and repeatedly deferring to or setting up his teammates. Maturity from the Mamba? Who knew?
Said Kobe: "It's like conducting an orchestra. You have guys that you can use and go to in certain situations."
Note the subtle way that Mamba was still sort of taking credit for everything. I'm just sayin'.
Bango, the Bucks' mascot: As AnacondaHL correctly said: FEAR THE DEER.
Lacktion report: And now chris provides a scrappy Tuesday night lactivity update:
Heat-Celtics: Michael Finley collected cash in celebration for Doc Rivers and the Anything Is Possible gang: 4.55 (4:34) trillion to be exact!
Bulls-Crabs: Brad Miller scrapped up a 6:3 Voskuhl ratio in 9:32 by negating a field goal and board with a rejection and foulout!!!
For the crustacean nation, JJ Hickson scratched off a winning ticket worth 3.55 (3:34) trillion!
Spurs-Mavs: DeShawn Stevenson bricked thricely from the Winspear Opera House in 6:09 and added two fouls for a +5 suck differential!