Tag:Shawn Marion
Posted on: June 2, 2011 10:33 pm
 

NBA Finals: Free throw line dictating Game 2

Posted by Matt Moore

The Miami Heat at one point were down in FT advantage 11-0. Late in the second quarter, however, they forced the bonus and they took advantage. At the half, the Mavericks lead in free throws 13-11.

The bigger story is that LeBron James has three fouls. James was dominant at times, with 12 points and 5 rebounds, including 2-4 from downtown. But with three fouls, his impact could be limited. Then again, Dwyane Wade with 21 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists with 13 in the 2nd quarter.

The crowd was resless as you can imagine after the first half, particularly at the technical foul on Mike Miller. J.J. Barea dove for a loose ball Miller had also dove for and wound up kneeing Miller in the face. Miller reacted by shoving Barea off and picking up the technical. 

Beyond that, it's been quality shooting from everyone outside of Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry, particularly for the arc, that's keeping Dallas in this game. It's unclear if the hand is bothering Nowitzki, but the aggressive double from Miami defenitely is.

Can Miami survive between Dwyane Wade's heroics if James is in foul trouble? Can Dallas survive without Dirk? Questions for the second half.  
Posted on: June 2, 2011 9:26 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 9:30 pm
 

Heat ask fans not to throw seat covers

Posted by Matt Moore

At the end of Game 1 in Miami, fans at the AAA threw their white seat covers forward. Play was stopped when a few landed on the floor and the P.A. announcer (who you may know from such films as "The Obnoxious Miami P.A. Guy, Private Dectective," and "Two minutes, dos! Dos minutos!: A Love Story") warned fans there would be ejections for throwing anything on the floor.

Before Game 2, the Heat showed a promotional video on the jumbo-tron featuring Dwyane Wade reading a prepared statement warning fans of the same. For a fanbase that was so often ridiculed in the press and by other fanbases for their quiet and often absent presence, the Heat's fans in the postseason have had multiple run-ins with authority, including the incidents with Charles Barkley and Joakim Noah's slur-ridden problem. The fans are remarkably calm in the lower bowl at times, but the middle and upper decks, it's your prototypical, ridiculous drunken crowd. Miami fans are just like you! Okay, maybe not. 

It would be a real shame if the fans wound up affecting the game in terms of technicals. But I have to say from the top of the arena the affect of what looks like thousands of Heat fans throwing in the towel for the opponent did look pretty cool, even if they weren't actually towels. 

Posted on: June 2, 2011 4:47 pm
 

LiveChat: NBA Finals Game 2 9 p.m. EST

Join us at 9 p.m. EST as we discuss Mavericks vs. Heat Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Royce Young and Matt Moore are live in Miami to bring you the sights and sounds of the AA Arena as the Mavericks try and even the series. Topics of discussion include:

  • Splints, are they a myth?
  • Mike Miller and whether Erik Spoelstra would classify him as "fine" if he caught the bubonic plague.
  • Your favorite Shaq nickname.
  • Pants
Join us at 9 p.m. EST:

 
Posted on: June 2, 2011 4:32 pm
 

NBA Finals Shootaround Notes 6.2.11



MIAMI- Potent quotables and other notes from Heat and Mavericks shootaround before Game 2 Thursday morning.

Heat notes from Matt Moore

Carlisle: LeBron guarding Terry is "a compliment"

No one saw LeBron James guarding Jason Terry coming before Game 1. It was a huge adjustment and one that worked to near perfection as James obliterated the Terry-Nowitzki pick and roll with his length and athleticism.

Rick Carlisle was asked about whether he thought James would have the assignment repeated in Game 2.

"He's going to see their best players. James will guard him for sure. It's quite a compliment that they put him on him, because he's a great defender, and he draws a lot of respect that way, and we'll have to be ready to get him in a position to make plays."

Yeah, it's a compliment. It's also an extremely difficult thing to counter.

Pants!

The Matrix was asked about pressure and the conversation suddenly devolved into an existential question of how everything in life is difficult in some regard. It was pretty incredible.

"Everything is tough. Nobody said anything is going to be easy. We try and do something, if you want something, you gotta work at it to be good at it. Sometimes it's hard to put your pants on in the morning. Some people try and put on both legs at the same time. They have real problems!"

That's Shawn Marion. Leaving you a lot to think about through a pants analogy. I spent the rest of the morning thinking about how difficult it is to put on pants. Instert blogger joke here.

Zone: A weapon not an answer

After Game 1, Rick Carlisle said he had to look at the tape but he thought the zone looked pretty good versus the Heat. I later noted the Heat scored 20 points on 18 possessions against the zone, which is not pretty good, so Thursday I doubled back and asked Carlisle about what he thought of how effective the zone was after watching the tape.

"I thought it was... okay. We're not going to make a living with our zone. It's something we can use during certain stretches. It's a weapon, but it's not a cure-all."

The big debate is whether you live with the damage the Heat did to the zone in Game 1 and dare them to repeat the performance or alter your strategy. That'll be something to watch in Game 2.

Cool Mav Cats

The Mavericks' demeanor on Wednesday was predictably a bit down, with the team having to deal with media and the weight of the loss. But Thursday morning they seemed to be back to their happy-go-lucky selves. There was an atmosphere of pleasant energy, with Shawn Marion ebullient and J.J. Barea feeling more confident. We'll have to see how that translates on the floor in Game 2. 

Heat notes from Royce Young

The unconventional side of history.

Erik Spoelstra was asked about a pretty unique stat that his team produced in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.  The Heat are the first team in some 35 years to have two starters not score in the NBA Finals, and win. Both Joel Anthony and Mike Bibby didn't add a point to the Heat's total of 94. That's pretty remarkable.  "We probably had a lot of things, statistically, that was a bit unorthodox," Spoelstra said. "Our team is built different. I don't really compare it to other teams." Bibby missed all four of his shots, all being of the 3-point variety.   "He's due," Spoelstra said. "It could be just the time for him to knock down a couple big ones for us." Mike Miller, totally cool you guys.

Mike Miller has had some shoulder issues this post season to go along with a list of other injuries. Funny how Dirk's getting all the attention though right?  Miller wore a pretty obtrusive-looking shoulder brace in Game 1 and appeared to be in some pain during the second half. Nothing to see here though, says Spoelstra. "He's fine. Occasionally, it gets tweaked during the game and it'll look worse than it is," he said. With the Mavs zone, Miller is a pretty important part to breaking that because of his outside shot. But that's if he's healthy and has no tweaks to speak of, I'd say.  Going home isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Chris Bosh is a native of Dallas so naturally when Game 3 rolls in next week, it'll be a homecoming for him on the biggest NBA stage.  But he's not all that excited about it. He mentioned the headaches of people wanting a piece of you were you're home but also that he's been back so many times that it's not all that special anymore.  He was asked about whether he likes playing in Dallas.  "Pros and cons. Pros, and cons," he said.  The way he said it, it really seemed like there was a lot more to it. What are some pros and what are some cons?  He thought for a minute and almost exasperated even thinking about it he just said, "I don't know. I really don't know."
Posted on: June 2, 2011 3:44 pm
 

Mavs' plan of attack on Heat is "containment"



Posted by Matt Moore

When LeBron James and Dwyane Wade only took seven combined free throws in Game 1, the Mavericks had to feel pretty good about it. After all, these are two of the biggest stars in the league and they get calls comensurate with such a status. Especially after 2006, the Mavs have to be thrilled with how that worked out. Rick Carlisle's never thrilled about anything with the media, but he did describe the fact that the two superstars were limited at the free throw line as "a good sign."

Carlisle attributed to the low foul total in part to Dallas' defense, which has elected to attack Wade and James by staying in front of them and bringing help, encouraging those long-range and mid-range jumpers. 

"Someof it was the kind of defense we were playing," Carlisle siad Thursday morning, "we were in a containing mode. But they jumped up and hit some shots, which they can do."

That's part of what has to frustrate the Mavericks so much about Game 1. James and Wade were 7-11 at the rim in Game 1, which is a decent amount but to be expected. But they were 8-14 from beyond 16 feet including 3-pointers. That's a difference of 1.57 points per possession from longer range shots compared to 1.27 points per possession at the rim. Both were effective. But if what you're giving the Heat isn't working, and what you can't give the Heat isn't working, how do you adjust

Carlisle's answer is rebounding. If the Mavericks can't get back their defensive identity, it's going to be a long flight back to Dallas, and Carlisle knows it. 

"It's important for us to play our game better," Carlise said. "We do that, we get our rebounding shored up, we play better defensively, we'll put ourselves in a good position."

Posted on: June 2, 2011 1:25 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 3:59 pm
 

Rick Carlisle's concern: boards, boards, boards

Posted by Matt Moore



MIAMI -- Rick Carlisle said or referenced rebounding nine times during his eight minutes and ten seconds speaking to reporters Thursday morning at shootaround before Game 2 of the NBA Finals. So you might say he was a little concerned. 

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Carlisle said affording additional opportunities against the Heat offense is not something the Mavericks can live with. Nearly every angle discussed returned to the question of rebounding and how that part of the game has to improve. 

"It's important for us to play our game better. We do that, we get our rebounding shored up, we play better defensively, we'll put ourselves in a good position." 

The Mavericks were outrebounded 46-36 in Game 1, with the Heat grabbing nearly 35 percent of all available offensive rebounds. Against a team with Miami's star power, those are extra possessions that make it that much harder for you to control the game and wear down on you trying to defend the Heat onslaught. That's in part why Carlisle said the stats don't tell the whole story of the game, despite Dallas having more points on second chance opportunities. 

The Heat got major contributions from players like Mike Miller, who's nursing injuries in both thumbs, his left shoulder, and other minor ailments. The amount of attention Tyson Chandler had to play on help defense led in part to the problems on the glass, as well as issues with details.

For more on the importance of Carlisle in Game 2, read Gregg Doyel's column on CBSSports.com on what the Mavs coach must do.
Posted on: June 2, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 3:15 pm
 

Dirk Nowitzki's finger not bothering him yet

Posted by Matt Moore



MIAMI -- Dirk Nowitkzi described the pain in his injured middle finger as "not bad at all" Thursday morning and said it should be "ready to go." There is no question Nowitzki will play Thursday night in Game 2. 

Nowitkzi said he "tore a tendon" in his off hand after Game 1 Tuesday night, and planned to wear a splint on it for the remainder of the playoffs. Thursday he spoke more about the wrap on it. In particular, Nowitzki is worried about wrapping it too much on the top, which would impact his dribble. Nowitzki said he had tried two different wraps on it Wednesday. As far as Tuesday's game, he thinks he has the solution.

"I'm trying to try something tonight. The main thing is I want to be able to feel the ball in my left hand, so I don't want to overwrap it on top, because I like to drive with my left."

On Wednesday, Chris Bosh made reference to how that could impact Nowitzki if a defender were to swipe at it. Bosh said he would never do such a thing, with a grin, while Udonis Haslem made it clear he wouldn't do such a thing under any circumstances, as he's not that type of player. 

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle made it clear that Nowitzki's injury is not something that's going to be factored a lot in their decision making, because of the type of player Nowitzki is.

"He's going to play and he's not going to complain about it."

The question is whether his shot is affected by bracing the ball with an injured hand, or the impact of constant contact on it. Nowitzki, though, didn't seem worried in comments during shootaround. 

"It'll be ready to go."
Posted on: June 2, 2011 11:05 am
 

Since when did the Heat become super-closers?

Posted by Royce Young



MIAMI -- The Miami Heat are absolutely terrifying closing out games.

That's something my colleague Matt Moore said Tuesday night as the Heat steamrolled past the Mavericks in the final five minutes of Game 1.

But that's also something no one on this planet was saying four months ago. At that time, it was about how Miami couldn't close. It was all about how they were something like 2-17 on shots with the game within a possession in the final minute. It was all about their sub-par record in games decided by six or less.

Now look at them. Closing games like they're Mariano Rivera. Amazing how talented people committed to their craft and willing to work hard can, you know, improve and stuff.

They've found an incredible rhythm and a superior confidence in what they're doing. All five players walk to the same beat in those crunch time minutes. LeBron has sort of elevated himself to the closer role for the Heat, handling the ball and finishing out games. But still there's nothing about who should be taking the shots or who should be controlling the offense. It's just about getting it done.

And lately, man have they been getting it done.

Twelve-point deficit in Chicago? No problem. Five-point game with four minutes left? Let's double it. In February, all anyone could talk about is what a disaster this was in terms of finishing games. The Heat didn't know where to go with the ball, they didn't know roles. Now, they're figuring it out.
And it makes them terrifying. 

Here's the thing though: Why are the Heat being praised for this seemingly selfless deferral to one another? It's simple: Because it's working. The times back in February where LeBron was hoisting shots while Dwyane Wade stood idly by, the outrage of not letting Wade close was overwhelming. But it's clicking now, it's producing results. And so instantly it becomes the model when in reality, nothing was ever that different.

A lot though is stemming from a more visible willingness by Wade to step aside. He's not intent on being The Closer anymore. He just wants to be part of a team that closes. Which is what it takes to win. Which is what is most important.

"Obviously myself, Chris and LeBron are going to be the focal point of the offense at the end," he said. "You can see guys getting more comfortable in their roles. Normally I was the guy here in Miami that at the end of games I always had the ball in my hand. So it took me time to get comfortable with that and get comfortable saying 'all right, LeBron, you take it.' And that's part of wanting to win and wanting to do whatever it takes to win. That's another part of putting pride and ego aside, figuring out what's best for the team."

The Heat, for all the criticism aimed at them all year, have absolutely sacrificed. They aren't selfish. It's about winning by whatever means necessary. There isn't any talk among them about who should take this shot or that shot. No talk about the box score and that LeBron took nine more shots than Wade. It's about winning. No alpha dog battles. That team said they were going to sacrifice and do whatever it took to win. Well, they're three wins away now and it looks like their plan is working.

That didn't come overnight though. That came through a lot of hard work. And a lot of failure. Here, it's better if LeBron says it.

"It comes from failure throughout the season," he said. "Having games where we felt like we could or should have won and we just didn't execute ... Once we figured out how we were going to do it together for the better of the team, we started to close games out, figure things out, figure out certain sets that would work for us in late-game situations."

Said Erik Spoelstra: "It took time. I think the more time you're in these experiences, and we have been in a lot of close games, particularly in the playoffs, the more confident the guys get."

Spoelstra's quote reminds me of a quote from Thunder general manager Sam Presti's the other day. Improvement isn't a result of time elapsed, but it’s actually what’s been accumulated, what’s been experienced within that time. The Heat experienced a crapton of stuff this season. It was a crash course in playing together and figuring out what works and what doesn't. And really, considering the circumstances, I'd say they've done a pretty remarkable job.

They're closing games with impressive style. Now, it's about closing a series. They've got a leg up on the Mavericks 1-0. As goes anything with the Heat, one time of failure and all this goodwill flies out the door. One time of not closing and finishing poorly and everyone is ready to write and talk about their problems.

But right now, they're terrifying. And that's the truth.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com