Tag:NBA Finals
Posted on: June 7, 2011 3:23 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 4:36 pm
 

NBA Finals: Chris Bosh says he's dialed in

Posted by Matt Moore

DALLAS -- Chris Bosh said Tuesday morning before Game 4 that being in his hometown has not been a distraction -- because he hasn't let it be one. Coming into your hometown in pursuit of a championship can be an issue with friends and family clamoring for time,  tickets and favors. Instead, Bosh says he's locked himself away, to the degree he hasn't even been to his house. 

"I'm not even home. I haven't left the hotel," he said. "I told people that was my thought process coming into Dallas, that I'm going to treat this like a road game. I don't even want to see my house." 

Bosh said his preparation has been intense, that he's totally zeroed in on basketball all the time. The Heat superstar said he's been studying film extensively while not wanting to "overanalyze" and "trust his instincts." Bosh was having a difficult series when the Finals began, but has started to adjust. His shooting numbers are impressive. He is shooting 54 percent in the pick and roll and 47 percent in spot-up situations. He hit the game winner in Game 3. He's under constant criticism, and he's in the town he grew up in. 

There's so much noise in the NBA Finals, no wonder Bosh has turned himself into a hermit.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 1:26 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 2:09 pm
 

LeBron James, above the din, can 'taste' a title

LeBron James says the Miami Heat are "starting to taste" a title. Posted by Ben Golliver. lebron-james-wall

DALLAS -- The Miami Heat are halfway home, up two games to one over the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals.

For Heat forward LeBron James, two more wins will mean his first ring and validation for his decision to skip out of Cleveland to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh

"Of course we’re starting to taste it," James said following Miami's morning shootaround in advance of Tuesday night's Game 4. "But we’ve got a lot of work. This game tonight is going to be extremely hard, just like Game 3, just like Game 2, just like Game 1."

As that goal gets closer, the noise level seems only to increase.

On Monday, Mavericks guard Jason Terry publicly questioned whether James would be able to continue guarding him late in games and Mavericks guard DeShawn Stevenson called the Heat "actors"

James acknowledged that he had heard Terry's comments, but played them off.

"Those guys have a right to say what they want to say," James said. "For me and D-Wade and for our team, we just try to go out and play our game, let our game do the talking. It’s not about listening to clips, those guys have the right to say want to say."

Over the weekend, James made it clear that Mavericks forward Shawn Marion couldn't stop him individually on defense, that it would take a team concept. He used a similar line of thinking, but in reverse, to frame Miami's defense on Terry.

"It’s no one on one match-up between me and [Terry]," James said. "I don’t get involved in that. I just go out there and execute what we need to do.

"It’s a team game. Defensively we all have to be in tune. Not only on Jason Terry, but on Dirk, Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion." 

James' teammates scoffed at the notion that James, who is playing nearly 44 minutes per game in the postseason, would have trouble keeping up with Terry.

"He’s not going to wear down," Wade said.

"You gotta let sleeping dogs lie sometimes," Bosh added. "But maybe [Terry is] trying to get himself going, and maybe that's what he looks for."

But Terry isn't James' only detractor. Some here in Texas have questioned whether James' ring will be cheapened if Wade wins Finals MVP. That scenario would bolster the "James is only a sidekick for hire" argument that developed immediately after James decided to leave Cleveland.

"That’s ridiculous," James said. "I’m here to win. That’s all it’s about. Individual accolades take care of itself. I’ve got two MVP trophies sitting in my back house in Ohio. I haven’t won anything. It’s all about a team game, this is the ultimate team prize right here and that’s trying to win the NBA championship. I don’t really care, I could trade in my last two MVP trophies to have a ring."
 
James noted that he's been passed over for awards before.

"I would have started a long time ago playing golf or playing tennis if I wanted to be an individual guy. I’ve always loved team sports... Even though I was the best player on the team my little league coach gave everybody on the team an MVP trophy at the end of the year. That’s just how I was brought up."

Despite that strange and vivid flashback to an apparent childhood snub, James was ultimately convincing when he talked about his single-minded focus on the title.

"It’s here for us," he said without any trace of unnecessary excitement.

Posted on: June 7, 2011 12:52 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 4:36 pm
 

NBA Finals: Haywood game-time decision again



Posted by Matt Moore

DALLAS -- Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said backup center Brendan Haywood is "a game-decision" for Game 4 of the NBA Finals at shootaround Tuesday. Hawyood suffered a right hip flexor strain in Game 2 last Thursday. Carlisle said Haywood "has improved" and is feeling better. Carlisle said that he would go through shootaround and they would then "see what's what." 

Carlisle admitted Haywood is important for what the Mavs do but that he was "not the reason (the Mavericks) lost (Game 3)." The question that remains if Haywood is not available is how long Tyson Chandler can tip-toe the line avoiding foul trouble and exhaustion. Chandler played over 40 minutes in Game 3 with backup center Ian Mahinmi a. struggling with foul trouble and b. struggling with getting dunked on by LeBron James. Haywood's raw physicality and comfort in the Mavericks' system is invaluable. 

On Monday, Dirk Nowitzki defended Mahinmi's play, saying he thought the young French big man played well enough in limited minutes. But Mahinmi was plagued by foul trouble and missed a point-blank layup, not to mention getting yammed on.  Haywood is more capable of keeping his rotations and stepping in for the necessary foul, while also being able to stay on the floor by not fouling. 

Carlisle's correct that Haywood was not the reason the Mavericks lost Game 3. But if Haywood cannot go Thursday night, and Chandler cannot stay out of foul trouble, the Mavericks may find he's a big reason they're in a 3-1 hole, virtually ending this series before their time at home is through.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 12:40 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 1:00 pm
 

Playoff Fix: Moving closer to the edge

Posted by Royce Young



One Big Thing: Things are teetering for the Mavericks. Game 3 was going to swing the series in a big way for one team and because of Dirk's miss, the Heat have the upper hand now. The Mavs are down 2-1 and can't clinch the series at home anymore. And a loss tonight would back them up agaist elimination with two games to go in Miami.

It's not must-win as some are calling it because I think the Mavs, of any team out there, could climb out of a 3-1 hole. But putting themselves in that situation is playing with fire and that means you'll see a desperate Mavs team tonight.

The X-Factor: Words. After Game 3, the Mavs kind of started running their mouths. Jason Terry said the Blazers were "by far" the best defense they'd play in the postseason. Terry said the Heat's defense didn't have as much to do with it as it is Dallas turning the ball over. DeShawn Stevenson talked about the Heat being a bunch of actors. And even Dirk called out Terry for missing fourth quarter shots.

Kind of a weird thing to be doing when you're down 2-1 in a series and just lost. But maybe the Mavs have been saving this little mind game move to try and shake the Heat. You know darn well Miami heard it, so it's just a matter if it'll motivate the Heat more or if maybe Dallas gets in their head. Chris Bosh said you've "got to let a sleeping dog lie," so the Mavs might regret all this chatter. Between Dallas's talk and the questions that hit him after Game 3, I fear for the Mavs though, that you're going to see an angry LeBron.

The Adjustment: Mario Chalmers is outscoring J.J. Barea 33-13 in this series so far. That's entirely backwards. And because of it, the Heat bench is getting the better of the Mavs, which is a weapon for them. Chalmers is shooting the ball extremely well and running the team much better than Mike Bibby.

Miami's length and speed is giving Barea trouble, but he's missing a ton of shots. In Game 3, he duffed an easy layup. The Mavs need their X-factor weapons to get going so somehow Barea has to open up his game and add 10 points or so. He's a big reason Dallas is even here and now he's disappearing.

The Sticking Point: The Mavs know the importance of this game. The Heat know they've got Dallas backed into a corner. Somebody was going to be in this position after Game 3 and because Dirk missed a jumper, it's Dallas. They're backed up and it's about how they'll respond. Needing to bounce back in Game 2, the Mavs pulled out an incredible 15-point comeback.

Now they've got to get back into the series again. They're going to leave it all out there. They're going to play with a bunch of desperation. It's not must-win territory yet in my mind because they series will go on if they lose, but Dallas needs this game.
Posted on: June 6, 2011 11:38 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 5:51 am
 

Terry: Can LeBron guard me for a whole series?

Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry wonders whether LeBron James can guard him for an entire series. Posted by Ben Golliver. jason-terry-speech

As the intensity of the 2011 NBA Finals continues to ratchet up, so too do the one-liners and trash talk. 

First, on Saturday, it was Miami Heat forward LeBron James stating that Dallas Mavericks forward Shawn Marion can't guard him alone. Then, on Sunday, it was CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel writing that James was shrinking in the fourth quarters, prompting a retort from James.

On Monday, the Mavericks fired some shots of their own. CBSSports.com's Matt Moore reported that guard DeShawn Stevenson called the Heat "actors."

Mavericks guard Jason Terry joined the fray in a major way, calling out Miami's defense as a whole and questioning whether James can hang as well.

ESPNDallas.com quoted Terry taking a swipe at Miami's team defense.
Terry still seems hesitant to give too much credit to the Heat, even going so far as to say the Portland Trail Blazers were better on defense in the first-round series than Miami has been in the Finals.

"Portland, by far, has the best D," said Terry, who added that the Heat has a "great scheme" that is "working for them thus far this series."

The Palm Beach Post reported that Terry then took a shot at James, wondering whether the All-Star could continue to be effective against him throughout the course of a series.

Terry is shooting just 38.2 percent, and hasn't made a shot when LeBron James has been guarding him in the fourth quarter. 

"I'm welcoming the challenge," Terry said of James. "We're going to see if he can do it for seven games."

Neither the raw numbers nor the efficiency numbers offer much support to Terry's claims.

The Mavericks as a team are averaging 88.3 points per game in the Finals, down 3.5 points from their average of 91.8 points per game against the Blazers. Terry is averaging 14.3 points against the Heat, down three full points from his 17.3 points per game average against the Blazers. 

During the regular season, the Heat were ranked No. 5 in defensive efficiency while the Blazers were ranked No. 14. In the postseason, Miami has improved to No. 2 while the Blazers ranked No. 15 out of 16 playoff teams.

Chalk this up to desperate false bravado from Terry. If he truly believes Portland played better defense than Miami, he's insane. If he's trying to play mind games, he clearly overplayed his hand to the point that no one can take him seriously. 

The only possible saving grace? Some players, Terry included, find motivation in verbalizing criticism of their opponents. This could all just be a complicated way for Terry to get his swagger back. He clearly needs to find it, and soon, or the Mavericks could be facing elimination.
Posted on: June 6, 2011 4:10 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 4:44 pm
 

NBA Finals: The Mavs know they've had chances



Posted by Matt Moore


Dallas -- The Mavericks are in this thing. Yes, they are down 2-1 and lost the super-mega-pivotal Game 3. But in reality, you can point to missed opportunities in both games. The Heat have played suffocating, all-world defense, and still the Mavs have responded to every run the Heat have made, adjusted for the most part to everything the Heat have done.

In the first half of Game 3, the Mavericks had a deficit in offensive rebounds. They wound up controlling 30 percent of all available OREBs to Miami's 23 percent, a 12-9 advantage in a series where every possession is critical. They allowed super-dunks from LeBron James driving to the rack. They held him to the perimeter for much of the second half. The Heat rattled off runs. The Mavericks responded. The Mavericks are in this thing.

But what's costing them is turnovers. Missed opportunities are evening out the good things they're doing. On Monday after practice, the Mavericks talked about how it's not just the number of opportunities they're giving the Heat but the type. Both Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion talked about the need to make sure the Heat aren't getting those steals that lead to open-court dunks, a sign that the Mavericks have made it a priority.

"Sometimes our best turnovers, if we do make one," Kidd said, "(we need to) throw it in the stands so we can set our defense. Because if you don't, and they get their hands on the ball, they are laying the ball up at the other end."

Marion laughed about the need to make "good" turnovers.

"When you're turning the ball over to create baskets, there's no answer for that. You know, when you do turn the ball over, throw it into the stands or something."

Marion said that the changes the Mavs have to make are both in scheme and concentration, with both creating problems in the other area for a spiral effect.

"It all points to each other," the Mavs' wing said.

Head coach Rick Carlisle instead focused on how the Mavs are playing consistently in key situations but allowing too many runs. Instead of focusing on the dramatics of the fourth quarter, Carlisle said the first quarter was a problem.

"The runs that they made throughout the game at pivotal times are what hurt us. We got up 14-9, and then six of our next eight possessions were what we would consider to be subpar... The end of the first quarter was a period that really hurt us, because they scored seven points in under a minute. So we can't allow those things to happen."

The Mavs are doing some good things. They're correcting problems as they go. But up against a team as talented and loaded as the Heat, having turnover issues and short lapses create holes they can't dig out of. With Game 4 looming, it's Dallas' turn to figure out how to capitalize on the openings the Heat are providing them.


Posted on: June 6, 2011 4:01 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 4:37 pm
 

Bosh: eye poke lets you 'see what you're made of'

Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh says his eye feels better after suffering an injury in Game 3 against the Dallas Mavericks. Posted by Ben Golliver. chris-bosh-eye

DALLAS -- Up two games to one over the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat have their collective sight set on the second title in franchise history.

The only problem? Heat forward Chris Bosh was poked in the eye during the first half of Game 3 and his eye has swollen considerably. Speaking with reporters before Heat practice on Tuesday, Bosh was coy about whether his vision had been impacted.

"I can't remember if I could see or not," Bosh said. "I wasn’t really thinking about my vision or anything. I was just trying to play the best basketball possible. If I had the open shot, I had to knock it down and still make plays."

"He couldn't really keep it open without it watering," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. "He fought through it."

"All game, you could see it watering," Heat forward LeBron James said. "You could see him messing with it, just trying to keep a tissue during time-outs to keep it padded. But he fought through it, and you definitely respect that."

A night's rest did Bosh some good.

"It feels a lot better," Bosh said. "Last night was rough, really for the whole game for me. But it is what it is. That’s over and we just have to stay on top of it and make sure it’s not an issue for [Game 4] tomorrow."

Bosh said that his injury wasn't a direct blow, like a boxer might take, but a painful poke instead. Dealing with adversity like the eye poke, Bosh said, serves as a test of mettle.

"I was talking to my friends, saying how tough it would be to come in here [to Dallas] and win," Bosh said. "And it was a little tougher on my end just because of that. In situations like that, you really see what you’re made of. You have to go and get it done anyway."

During the game, Bosh said there wasn't time for official medical vision tests, but he was able to laugh when asked whether he administered a self-test by simply covering one eye and then switching it. He admitted he had tried that.  

"Every time I did that, I was like, ‘OK, that’s stupid.’”


Posted on: June 6, 2011 3:37 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 4:44 pm
 

NBA Finals: Stevenson says the Heat are "actors"

Posted by Matt Moore

DALLAS -- Joakim Noah said the Miami Heat were "Hollywood as hell" after the Heat eliminated the Bulls. DeShawn Stevenson said at practice Monday the day after a Game 3 loss to the Heat that the Mavericks are having difficulty taking hard fouls on the Heat because of just how Hollywood they are on the floor when they think they've been fouled.  

Stevenson was asked about giving hard fouls to the Heat like "90's basketball" and Stevenson explained that the Mavericks can't be too physical because of how the Heat react.

"We've got to take hard fouls.You touch them they make it so dramatic, you might get a Flagrant 2. Lot of guys are scared to take that hard foul or do things like that, because they're so magnified, with everything around them."

Stevenson described the Heat as "great actors," noting that they're supposed to try and sell those fouls. 

But on the flip side, Stevenson said the Mavericks are getting points while the Heat are on the floor "being dramatic." In Game 3, the Mavericks repeatedly pushed the pace when the Heat were complaining to officials. Chris Bosh's eye injury that left him on the floor for an entire possession was obviously legit -- he appeared in front of reporters after the game with severe swelling -- but that injury aside, the Heat have repeatedly taken time chirping at the officials, leaving open opportunities. Stevenson said part of the game plan for the Mavericks is to punish the Heat in those times, because they're not playing defense. 

"That's what we have to do. When they get to the bucket and then do that,  Dwyane Wade (and LeBron) aren't playing, they are not getting back on defense, we've got to take opportunity of that. We have a couple times where we get to the set and go through the set to try and get the ball to Dirk. "

The free throw advantage has been slighted in favor of the Mavericks, 80-65 in this series. The Heat need to get to the line to win, and the Mavericks' ability to survive runs is evidence of that. But it can't come at the cost of transition points for a team trying to take advantage of every opportunity the Heat afford them. Maybe in Game 4 the Heat will have more luck getting to the line if they just, you know, play.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com