Tag:Shawn Marion
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.
Posted on: June 6, 2011 3:48 am
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Posted on: June 6, 2011 3:43 am

NBA Finals: Chalmers provides spark for Heat

Posted by Matt Moore

You can claim the shot shouldn't have counted. You can dismiss the performance in light of Bosh's huge second half or Wade's brilliance or anything you'd like, but the same thing keeps coming true. Mario Chalmers is taking advantage of the opportunities he's afforded and making the Mavericks pay for every shot they provide him by leaving him to double the Big 3. 

We thought Chalmers could be the difference maker in Game 3. And while he didn't have any of the dramatic type shots like the one he had at the end of Game 2, his impact was felt. Chalmers finished with 12 points on eight attempts, all from the perimeter, as he once again blistered the Mavericks from the corner. In an 83 pace game, Chalmers' efficiency was key. Chalmers has talked repeatedly this week about taking advantages of opportunities afforded him by the Mavericks' decisions defensively, and in Game 3, he once again made them pay.

"I don't worry about their defense," the man the Heat call "Rio" said, "It's about getting into a rhythm, finding your spots and then knocking them down."  

Chalmers is the youngest player in the active rotation for the Heat, and it shows. He's constantly being singled out by the superstars, constantly being talked to. After Chalmers hit the game-tying shot in Game 2, LeBron James was seen talking to him about his defense on a previous shot by Jason Kidd. When Chalmers picked up his third foul in the first half against Jason Terry and showed frustration, both James and Wade were in his ear. He is pressured to be experienced and make big plays, despite the talent around him and his relative inexperience. But you could tell after Game 3 head coach Erik Spoelstra was pleased with what Chalmers brought to the table.

"He's a tough kid. He's a gutsy player. We all know in big moments he doesn't shy away," Spoelstra said, "He gave us some big plays... He's not afraid of the moment."

After having his moment stolen from him by Chris Bosh in Game 2, Chalmers went right back to work. Little brother is putting in big minutes.
Posted on: June 6, 2011 3:39 am
Edited on: June 6, 2011 3:52 am

Chris Bosh responds, delivers Game 3 winner

Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh delivered the Game 3 win with a clutch jumper in the last minute of regulation. Posted by Ben Golliver. bosh-wade-hug

DALLAS -- Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade had it going in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night.

If someone was going to deliver a much-needed road victory against the Mavericks in Dallas, you would have guessed it would be him. Wade traded baskets all night with Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, finishing with 29 points on a collection of forcing dunks, silky lay-ups and clutch threes. 

But it wasn't Wade who put the finishing touches on the Mavericks. Instead, it was the other two of Miami's triad -- forwards LeBron James and Chris Bosh -- connecting on a gutsy pass and ballsy shot that gave Miami its 88-86 victory.

Bosh, in particular, was an unlikely hero. For the third game in a row, he performed below expectations. Early in Game 3, he took a blow to the eye that sent him to the floor in a heap. With his face swelling over the course of the game, Bosh struggled to find his shot, finishing with 18 points on 18 attempts while grabbing just three rebounds.

But Bosh didn't hesitate on the game's deciding sequence. With 39 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the game tied at 86, James found him wide open in the corner with a behind-the-back flick pass. Bosh caught, gathered and released smoothly, burying the jumper before a Mavericks defender could get out to contest. 

"I don't care if he missed 15 in a row, he was wide open and that's his sweet spot," James said. "He was able to knock it down. It's the trust in each other's ability, no matter what the point of the game is at."

Bosh said he expected the pass from James, even if it was a bit risky given the circumstances. "It was the right play. We've been making the right plays. We trust each other. Our guys have been doing a fantastic job of showing that trust, especially in crunch-time situations. This is as big as it gets."

The final shot provided the much-maligned Bosh with a bit of redemption, even if he did his best to remain level afterwards.

"It feels good," Bosh said. "I'm stuck in a place where I don't feel too good, I don't feel too bad. After every game I just look at the game and think about how I can do better and how this team can do better."

Bosh's game-winner came roughly 10 hours after Wade spent Sunday morning after shootaround talking about how he has reached out to Bosh to counsel him though his recent on-court struggles struggles. Wade compared what Bosh is going through against the Mavericks to what he went through against the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals and said the two often exchange words of encouragement.

"He seems fine to me," Wade said when asked if there was something wrong with Bosh. "Obviously Chris understands just like in the Chicago series I understood. When you’re struggling sometimes you understand that we need your aggressiveness on both ends of the floor to help us win this game. Every minute won’t be perfect for us. Just stay in it. Always stay aggressive. Always find a way to help your team win the ballgame.

"Chris has responded any time, all season, any time things have been said about him, or he’s played a bad game, or he’s said something about himself. He’s responded. We have that history on our side and we’re not worrying about him responding."

True to Wade's words, Bosh responded once again on Sunday night. It was the biggest response, and biggest shot, of his career.

Here's video of Chris Bosh's game-winning jumper courtesy of YouTube user TopNewMusic2011.

Posted on: June 6, 2011 3:16 am
Edited on: June 6, 2011 3:32 am

Dallas leaves Game 3 with laundry list of laments

The Dallas Mavericks left Game 3 with a long list of missed opportunities. Posted by Ben Golliver. dirk-mad-game-3

DALLAS -- A narrow miss is still a miss.

The Dallas Mavericks fell to the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the 2011 NBA Finals on Sunday night, with a Dirk Nowitzki missed jumper that would have forced overtime at the buzzer.

While the Mavericks were steadfast in asserting that they were more than happy with the look they got with the game on the line, the postgame locker room was full of laments from all corners. 

Here's a survey of some of the things the Mavericks were grumbling about afterwards.


Probably the biggest culprit on the evening was Dallas' turnovers. The Mavericks committed 14 turnovers on the night -- four more than the Heat -- and gave up 19 points off of those miscues. The Heat -- particularly Dwyane Wade and LeBron James -- capitalized in transition off of steals, finishing a number of high-percentage looks in the open court.

"Little things are what cost us tonight," said Mavericks guard Jason Terry. "We're a veteran ball club, that’s what we pride ourselves in. We didn’t get it done tonight. Give them a lot of credit. They took advantage of their opportunities. Every turnover we had basically turned into dunks for them."

Nowitzki said he felt the Mavericks showed improvement in terms of taking care of the ball, but still needed some work.

"We're going to turn the ball over against that team. It's just gonna happen. They're so fast, so long, athletic. They do a good job swarming the ball once we put it down. We're going to turn it over some. I already thought we cut it down from Game 2 to this one, so hopefully in Game 4 we can cut down a couple more and we'll be okay."

The turnovers upset Mavericks forward Shawn Marion because allowing easy points in transition undercut Dallas' solid overall defense. "Whenever we make them play halfcourt, it’s that much harder for them to score."

Terry echoed that point. "As you’ve seen, when we set our halfcourt defense, they struggle to score. That’s something that we need to do for 48 minutes. We have not done that and that’s why we’re looking at a 2-1 deficit right now."

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle agreed, putting a flourish on the point. "It's extremely difficult when you're watching [LeBron] James go down the court and dunk the ball with his head over the rim. That makes it tough to win." 

Critical Defensive Breakdown

Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh provided the winning points by knocking down an open jumper with 39 seconds left. Nowitzki wasn't happy with how Dallas defended the play.

"We messed up the pick-and-roll in the middle and left James wide open," Nowitzki said. "Tyson [Chandler] left the basket, had to rotate to LeBron, and he kicked it over to Bosh. I was over there with two-on-one, with [Udonis] Haslem and Bosh. Got to give Haslem credit. He set a good pick and Bosh was wide open. I don't really know what happened there in the screen-and-roll, but we definitely messed it up."  

Getting Down Early

The Miami Heat closed the first quarter up seven points and used an early third quarter run to push their lead out to double digits. The Mavericks battled back each time, but the effort needed to dig out of the holes proved to be too much in the end.

"We can't always fall behind," Nowitzki said. "I think we're always reacting. We did in the first quarter. We fell down big. Third quarter we came out slow, fell down big. Obviously it takes a lot of energy for us to fight back."

"One of the things that hurt us was we were digging out of holes all night," Carlisle said. "It's very difficult playing from behind all game."

"It was disappointing to get off to a start the way we did in the first and third quarters," Terry said. "They really came out and were more aggressive on both ends of the floor. And that’s what got them the lead. We were playing from behind. You cannot continue to play from behind in the NBA Finals." 

Lack Of A Second Scoring Option

Nowitzki led the way and continued to be a force on offense, scoring a game-high 34 points and scoring Dallas' last 12 points of the fourth quarter.

Only two other Mavericks finished in double figures: Jason Terry had 15 points on 13 shots and Shawn Marion had 10 points on 12 shots. 

"We didn’t give him much help offensively," Terry said. "I take a lot of that on my shoulders. That’s two out of three games where, offensively in the fourth quarter, I wasn’t able to come up with some big plays or big shots. I’m looking forward to Game 4. We’re going to play it like it’s Game 7."

Carlisle said that Nowitzki is capable of carrying a heavy load, but did admit that a better balance was needed.

"He knows that he's going to have to carry a certain load. Not just a scoring load, but he's going to have to make plays, he's going to have to facilitate, he's going to have to get guys involved ... I don't think this is anything he doesn't expect. We would like to make it easier for him, and at times we can give him some relief, you know, with some rest and some better balance. But tonight was tough. Tonight was not one of those nights."

Missed Open Shots

The Mavericks entered the Finals needing to win big at the three-point stripe. For the third straight game, Dallas was outshot by the Heat from deep. Dallas shot 8-21 (38.1%) and was held to 40.0 percent shooting from the field overall.

Mavericks reserve guard J.J. Barea continued his poor shooting in the Finals, going 2-for-8 for the game and 1-5 from deep. On the series, Barea is now a combined 5-23 overall.

"I had a lot of open looks I need to knock down," Barea said. "I had a lot of threes. They felt great. Some were long, some were short. They just didn’t go down for me. This team needs me to make shots. Everybody needs to make open shots. We kind of struggled with that tonight."

"We're going to have to play more efficiently," Carlisle said. "We're going to have to get the ball in the basket more."
Posted on: June 6, 2011 2:37 am
Edited on: June 6, 2011 6:04 am

NBA Finals: Grading LeBron's Game 3

Posted by Matt Moore

So LeBron James "shrunk" in the fourth quarter, supposedly. Let's play a little game of point-counterpoint. 

Point: LeBron James did not take a shot from the 5:26 mark until his attempted game-icing fadeaway with less than eight seconds remaining. He missed.

Counterpoint: LeBron James had four assists in the fourth quarter, including a behind-the-back, only-LeBron-can-make-that-play whip pass to Chris Bosh for a wide-open jumper to win the game.

Point: James himself said that his big contribution was defense in the fourth-quarter, and Synergy Sports reports that he held the players he defended individually to zero points on three shot attempts.

Counterpoint: LeBron did not guard Dirk Nowitzki, who was the Mavs' entire offense the last half of the fourth.

Point: James had 17 points, nine assists, three rebounds, and two steals. Not like he was invisible in this game. 

Counterpoint: A. All anyone cares about is the fourth quarter because they have the memory of goldfish. And B. He had four turnovers, took 14 shots to get that 17 points and missed the game winner!

Point: But it wasn't the game-winner. It was just the game-icer.

Counterpoint: Yes, and he was wide freaking open, but for some reason, elected to dribble and reset, allowing the defender to catch. Look!

Point: So he didn't have a great night. He only scored 17 points, had nine assists, locked down his opponent, made the game winning assist, behind his freaking back, mind you, for the bucket that, yes, won the game. 

Counterpoint: But can we let that go? Isn't he supposed to be the man? Isn't he supposed to dominate in ways never before seen?

Point: No. He's supposed to win. Which is what he did. Isn't that the only thing that matters in the traditional narrative?

Counterpoint: Not for LeBron. Don't ask me why. To answer would take some sort of logic. Tonight's game has somehow turned into a discussion about how a good player ... no, a great player ... no, a superstar player ... OK, probably the best player in this league, had an okay, not-great night while being defended as if the Mavericks were locusts and he were honey. That's it.

Point: Is that fair?

Counterpoint: Do you realize how much attention is on LeBron? Do you recognize how much he created with his ridiculous behavior and then continues to compound it with ridiculous attitude? He flaunts it every single night, which is why so many writers elect to take aim at him, even on a night where they could focus on Chris Bosh stepping up and responding when he was most needed. They could also point to a vintage performance from Dwyane Wade, marvelous defense from good guy and all-around role player Udonis Haslem, Dirk missing a game winner for once, the Mavericks' inability to hold on to the ball and all sorts of other really good angles. Everything is weighed through James, though. That's what he's created for himself.

Point: But even if James has done so, should that be the formula? Is that what we should really be talking about around water coolers and on Twitter tomorrow? How can we honestly criticize certain networks for over-covering LeBron James when we constantly turn the eye to him even when his game doesn't deserve a large share of the attention? James didn't have a bad game, he had a good game. He just didn't have a dominant game. That's not going to happen every night, especially against this defense and especially when he's got other guys who step up for him. Maybe that makes him less of an alpha dog, but it doesn't make him any less of a player and it doesn't make any difference in the 2-1 advantage for the Heat.

Counterpoint: But how do we escape the fact that he's asking to be judged with all these great players and not delivering?

Point: You mean like he delivered in Game 5 against Chcago or Game 4 against Chicag or Game 3 against Cicago or Game 15 against Boston? Like that? We always want to make the narrative about him because he's the hot button issue. He's what sells, and his arrogance is offensive to us. But the reality is that his arrogance is largely manifest in such a way that it's obvious, and that's his only crime. He's not breaking laws, he's not cheating, he's not hogging the ball. The man had nine assists in an NBA Finals game with a ridiculously slow pace! Did that happen by accident?

LeBron James played a C+ game. Good defense with some questionable shot selection after a hot start. He made the plays he needed to and got the win. That's all. There's no shrinkage, there's no failure, there's no great triumph. He was a big part the Heat won but not the biggest part.

And he's still the biggest story.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com