Tag:Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Posted on: May 31, 2011 3:19 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 4:30 pm
 

NBA Finals Shootaround Notes 5.31.11

MIAMI -- Notes from NBA Finals media availablity following Shootaround before Game 1 Tuesday, May 31st. 



Notes from Royce Young

Ribbing the Old Man. Jason Kidd is old, you see. He's 38 and is in his 17th NBA season. When he was a rookie with the Mavericks in 1994, LeBron James was nine years old and Dwyane Wade was 12. 

So LeBron and Wade were asked what their earliest memories of Jason Kidd were. LeBron said he remembered watching Kidd with his "box" high-top fade and said that he was Derrick Rose, John Wall and Russell Westbrook before they were except Kidd was a better passer. 

Wade though, no-to-subtly reminded us Kidd is old: "I think I was watching it in black and white."

Terry says Cuban trying to stay in background. Mark Cuban has always been the face of the Mavericks. His antics, his talking -- there's no missing him. He's always been vocal about officiating and has never shied away from the chance to speak on camera. But as every Maverick presser, shootaround or practice, he's inauspiciously been missing. 

Why? 

"I think this time it's more about us than anything else and I think this time he's tried to stay away from being a distraction and it's working out for us," Jason Terry said. "He's like a little kid right now. You can see him bubbling, his face, his expressions, his comments to us within."

Terry was then asked if he appreciate Cuban stepping back a bit.  

"Oh yeah, but in the end he'll have his time to shine." 

Especially if the Mavs pull this off. Then, I'm not sure "shine" will even begin to describe it. 

Dirk sees the double. While the Mavericks have to prepare and focus for a three-headed Miami monster in Wade, LeBron and Chris Bosh, the Heat are mainly intent on stopping on Dallas player -- Dirk.

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There's already been a lot of talk about potential adjustments Erik Spoelsta could make, with one maybe being that LeBron guards Dirk in some stretches. 

Whatever the case, the most often employed strategy with Dirk is playing him physical and making sure every catch is a chore. Nick Collison of the Thunder took that strategy to heart and despite Dirk having an excellent series versus the Thunder, Collison's defense was really good. 

And Dirk expects to see a lot of that from the Heat. 

"I think that's kind of the blueprint of how you've got to guard me. I see it all the time now. You can't give me space, you can't give me room. The whole league tries that now obviously. It's the only way to be successful, so I've basically seen that coverage through the years."

***************************
Notes from Matt Moore

J.J. feels at home. J.J. Barea said it's always great coming back to Miami because he went to high school here and with it being so close to Puerto Rico. He's expecting a ton of family in town for Game 2 Thursday. 

Barea also is trying to stay in the moment. Barea has had a long journey from playing in Puerto Rico, and then playing for the D-League, having made it all the way to pivotal role player in the NBA Finals, but Barea says he's just trying to enjoy what's happening now.

"It's been crazy, but I've enjoyed it."

Mavericks' big theme: More of the same. Rick Carlisle had the kind of theme you'd expect for Game 1. "Play our game" was the theme of the day. He talked about doing the things that play to the Mavericks strengths, and the things that got them here. He spoke about defense and rebounding being the sparkplugs for their transition offense, and said preparation didn't vary greatly from any other game. Carlisle was very clear that he didn't prepare any differently for this series than any other. 

Carlisle wasn't talking about adjustments built to specific players or in this series. Instead he's taking the Phil Jackson approach of "doing what we do." 

Carlisle did admit "the matchups are difficult.' 

"If we turn it over, they're going to convert, fast than anybody in basketball."

Barea thinks speed is his best weapon against the King. There's been a lot of talk about LeBron James possibly guarding J.J. Barea. But Barea was pretty confident that speed's his best option for attacking James. Barea admits the obvious physical advantage size-wise that James holds, but he thinks he can get the corner on the man who shut down Derrick Rose. 

"I think pick and roll is going to be big. He's taller and stronger, but I still think I can get by him." 

When asked about LeBron's wingspan, Barea said "I think LeBron and Westbrook are similar, but we'll see how it goes." 

Kidd talking it easy, but surprised it took this long. Jason Kidd has been in the Finals before and has been in the playoffs for, well, all eternity. Kidd was remarkably laid back and matter of fact about his previous outings, saying he really thought that New Jersey team in the early 00's "would get it done." 

Kidd also said he expected to be in the Finals sooner after being traded to Dallas.

More Zone. J.J. Barea was caught not knowing how to answer carefully when asked about whether Dallas would play more zone. 

"Maybe more than the other series, but..."

Barea kind of trailed off, obviously not wanting to get into a jam for talking about something strategic he shouldn't. Based off his reaction, though, don't be suprised to see that zone come out early. Unless Barea was sandbagging the few reporters huddled around him. Leaking information to the enemy through us is probably a flawed approach here.  

Attitudes. The Mavericks attitudes could best be described as laid back and confident, while the Heat seemed a bit more giddy, with LeBron saying everyone was so excited they didn't care what time the game started. 

"Let the games begin" James said.

+1 For the Road. Rick Carlisle always looks like Jim Carrey. He especially looked like him at shootaround today in shorts, a long-sleeve workout shirt and a cap. He looked more like Jim Carrey than himself today.
Posted on: May 31, 2011 2:33 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 5:24 am
 

LeBron James stands behind Tressel, OSU

LeBron James comments on the resignation of Jim Tressel at Ohio State. 

Posted by Matt Moore

MIAMI -- Yes, LeBron James is still being asked about things in Ohio. Following a shootaround Tuesday morning, reporters asked James to comment on the Jim Tressel situation at Ohio State. Yesterday, Tressel resigned in advance of a new set of allegations that trace recruiting violations back to 2002 and beyond.  James, being from Cleveland, and a known Ohio State fan, was asked about it, because if there is anything tangentially related to James, he will get asked about it. About six times. When asked about Tressel, James was supportive of both the coach and university. 

"He's done some great things for that university. It's unfortunate all the allegations and things that have come out in the past year," James said."Everyone in Columbus and Ohio knows how important, how great he was for the team and university.

James, for his part, is pretty supportive of the Sweater Vest and OSU: 

"I wish him the best, and the organization. Hopefully the university will come back.  It's one of the best universities we have in America." 

James understands what it's like to have everyone jump on you, but oddly, Tressel might do more to harm Ohio sports than James did, but Tressel will still be considered a God no matter what and James will still be the devil. That's what a difference a championship can make. 

Consider what Eye on College Football's Adam Jacobi wrote Monday about the question of Tressel being "worth it": 

The highest of highs. The lowest of lows. The situation's not quite over yet, but what amount of punishment would make Tressel's ten-year tenure not worth it to Ohio State? After all, the entire point of college football is to play for national championships and to beat the living daylights out of your rivals, and Jim Tressel did that in spades. Ohio State's on a streak of seven straight BCS bowl game appearances. Seven. Even if the NCAA hands down a postseason ban of a couple years--and there's not a whole lot about this situation right now that appears to warrant such a ban--is that really enough to put a cloud of shame over the Tressel Era forever? Would no college football fan endure two years' probation for 106-22 in the 10 years prior?
via Jim Tressel resigns; was his tenure 'worth it'? - CBSSports.com.

Makes you wonder if LeBron had won the title in 2009 or 2010 if the level of disgust, hatred, and envy would have been the same. We'll never know. But at least James isn't "repping 'The U'" or something.

Read more EOB coverage of the 2011 NBA Finals here. And here's more coverage of just the Miami Heat or Dallas Mavericks.

Posted on: May 31, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: May 31, 2011 9:59 am
 

Analyzing NBA Finals Headlines 5.31.11




Posted by Matt Moore

Here are your NBA Finals Headlines for Tuesday morning before Game 1. 


Ken Berger likes the Mavs in seven, but we here on EOB think the Heat take it. Most experts are leaning Heat, predictably. The most logical answer is that this will be a long series and it's going to come down to heart/a few bounces. Of course, after the season it has been, logic and reason can be tossed aside. 

KB also chimes in to let you know that even if Dirk doesn't get that jewelry, his legacy is secure. Nowitzki holds an extremely niche title: "Greatest 7-foot pure shooter in NBA history." But that just makes his standing that much more unique. There will be other players like LeBron James, just not as good. There will be other players like Dwyane Wade, just not as good. There will be other players like Chris Bosh... and probably better. But there will never be a player like Dirk Nowitzki again. A 7-footer with that kind of range, that kind of touch, and that kind of longevity? He's in a classification all his own.  We get to see him on the biggest stage for at least four more games (if not more). Enjoy it.

The Palm Beach Post goes over the Heat's drama-filled year through a review of the different "gates" they've gone through. A personal favorite is Bump-gate. Remember that one? A half-second moment of contact with a player coming off the floor is supposed to be  indicative of a lack of respect for a coach who Dwyane Wade has supported for three years. Got it. The Heat have certainly caused themselves the majority of their drama. But everything has also been overly analyzed not just by the media, but by fans. And they still managed to get to this point. Spoelstra told reporters that "Bump Gate" was influential in creating a bond between James and Spoesltra. 
 
Gregg Doyel takes a look at who's supposed to guard Dirk Nowitzki.  I've got a hint for you. Udonis Haslem did a much better job in 2006 than anyone is remembering and has the perfect size and skillset for it. Is Dirk going to get his? Absolutely. But Haslem will make him work for it, and that's all you can do. 

Dywane Wade opened up media availability yesterday by saying "I'm not hurt. Get that out of the way, move on."  There were a lot of questions about Wade's health due to his struggles in the last two games against Chicago, even with his late-game bursts. The reality is he probably is hurt, but just not with anything significant or at least significant enough to keep him out. Cameras caught Wade icing down his shoulder and being massaged on the sideline. That's nothing out of the ordinary for NBA guys, but it was the timing, urgency, and manner it was done that drew raised eyebrows. Something to keep an eye on, because the Heat need Wade to not only be healthy enough to score, but be able to draw contact. 

The Heat shot just 13-45 against Dallas' zone this year, according to ESPN. That's an interesting set of digits right there. The Heat aren't a great cross-court passing team, the best way to beat the zone, primarily because they get too flashy and try to do too much with the ball. They need shooters to knock down shots to get Dallas out of that. 

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel takes a look at some of the things that were said about the Heat, in a negative context, leading up to the NBA Finals, all the way since preseason.  

Zach Lowe of SI brings up an interesting point. If Barea is on the floor with Miller, he lacks the size to guard the Heat shooter. Will the Heat post Miller? It's an unorthodox concept but anything the Heat can do to get Barea off the floor will help and anything they can do to force a double off someone other than the Triad will create juicy opportunities for them. 

Jason Terry will have his trophy tattoo removed if the Mavs don't win the title this year.  That's just sad to hear. 

Ben Golliver notes in the Playoff Fix that the Mavericks struggled with LaMarcus Aldridge this year.  When you consider the damage that David West has done to them in the past, you start to notice the Mavericks have some issues with stretch fours. How's that going to jive with Chris Bosh doing damage from mid-range. Once again, as it has been all year, the pressure resides with Bosh to make some things happen for Miami.

We'll have coverage from shootaround this morning before Game 1 and our LiveChat kicks off at 8:30 p.m. EST. Join us! 
Posted on: May 31, 2011 9:09 am
 

LiveChat: NBA Finals Mavericks-Heat Game 1

Join us at 8:30 p.m. EST for our NBA Finals Game 1 LiveChat. Matt Moore and Royce Young are live in Miami and will bring you pre-game and post-game info here on Eye on Basketball. During the game, we'll be discussing topics like: 

Fun starts at 8:30 p.m. EST. 


 
Posted on: May 30, 2011 10:57 pm
Edited on: May 30, 2011 11:18 pm
 

NBA Finals Fix: Heat host Mavericks for Game 1

The Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat will play Game 1 of the 2011 NBA Finals in Florida on Tuesday night. Posted by Ben Golliver.



One Big Thing: Following Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah said that the Miami Heat were "Hollywood as hell." The entire world immediately agreed with him. Whether that's a positive or negative attribute, one thing is clear: The NBA Finals are basketball's biggest stage and the Heat give off the air of a team that is poised to seize that stage. Game 1 will be decided by whether the Dallas Mavericks can withstand the initial surge of momentum the home team possesses in such a long awaited game. The Mavericks have already won in tough environments during the playoffs, beating the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder in arguably the two loudest, craziest NBA arenas. They also walked into the original basketball Hollywood -- the Staples Center in Los Angeles -- and stole both Games 1 and 2 from the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. If there's a team in the NBA that figures to be ready from jump amid hostile mayhem, it's these Mavericks.  

The X-Factor: If Dallas hopes to beat Miami four times out of seven games, they'll need to win the three-point shooting battle, and win it big. The X-factor to watch in Game 1 isn't necessarily what percentage Dallas shoots or how often they chuck it up from long distance, but how Miami is able to defend the three-point line. Conventional wisdom dictates that the Heat have the athleticsm, quickness, basketball IQ and discipline to provide help to Dirk Nowitzki or on pick-and-roll situations and still close out hard to weakside shooters to consistently contest shots. The Mavericks' passing picked apart the Lakers and left the Thunder confused at times. Will there be a learning curve for Miami? Will they be able to effectively force spot-up shooters to create off the dribble? Will that be enough to throw a wrench into Dallas' fine-tuned offensive machine?

The Adjustment: Both teams face the same basic, huge adjustment: Defending a superstar caliber player who is producing at the top of his game. The Mavericks overcame teams led by LaMarcus Aldridge, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. All three had flashes offensively, but none was able to sustain consistent, volume production over the course of their series against the Mavericks. Aldridge was the victim of swarming defense; Bryant settled far too often from the perimeter; and Durant was regularly muscled off the ball and away from his spots. The Heat, meanwhile, arguably had it even easier on this point. First, they faced the Sixers, who lack an elite No. 1 scorer. Then, they defeated the Boston Celtics, who lost their best offensive weapon when Rajon Rondo dislocated his elbow, limiting his effectiveness and ability to create offensive opportunities for the Big 3 of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Finally, they faced an elite scorer in Derrick Rose who was overburdened by the lack of a consistent No. 2 and No. 3 scoring option. They were able to overload on Rose and then sic LeBron James on him, daring anyone else to make them pay. The rest of the Bulls came up very small.

The Mavericks must now deal with not one, but two, superstar high-end scorers in James and Dwyane Wade, both of whom are aggressive with the ball in their hands and have recently shown that they are focused on create high-percentage opportunities. The Heat will have to deal with Nowitzi, an elite, multi-dimensional scorer, but also keep track of secondary scoring options like Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd and J.J. Barea. Which team will handle their new defensive challenge more effectively?

The Sticking Point: 2006 lingers. There can't be a Mavericks-Heat Finals without some discussion of the officiating. While the Mavericks have gotten excellent contributions from their bench throughout the playoffs, guys like Stojakovic, Barea and even Brendan Haywood are going to wind up being major defensive liabilities if they see extended court time, especially simultaneously. Marion and center Tyson Chandler, in particular, will need to play defense very intelligently to avoid getting dinged for quick fouls. The Mavericks starters match up fairly well with the Heat's. Take out a piece or two unexpectedly for a six minute stretch, though, and Miami is more than capable of going on a quick double-digit run to wrest control of the game. Everyone expects James and Wade to get free points at the free throw line. The question is whether those trips take a second toll by throwing off Dallas' rotations. For the sake of this series, hopefully both teams are allowed to play.
Posted on: May 30, 2011 4:39 pm
 

Jason Terry to remove trophy tattoo if Mavs lose

Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry says he will remove his tattoo of the Larry O'Brien trophy if the Miami Heat win the 2011 NBA Finals.jason-terry-tat  Posted by Ben Golliver.

In case you hadn't heard, Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry got a tattoo of the Larry O'Brien Trophy -- the gold orb trophy thing that goes to the team who wins the NBA title -- on the inside of his right bicep. (Pictured to the right.) Terry got inked prior to the season as a way to motivate himself reports Star-Telegram.com.

"Everybody laughed and thought it was a joke at the time, but then when they saw me actually get it they were like, 'This boy's serious,'" Terry said. "And our whole conversation was about right now, about us getting to this point and winning it all.

With the Mavericks now poised to face the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, reality and regret regarding the tattoo is starting to set in for Terry. The obvious question: What happens if the Heat beat the Mavericks? It's going to be pretty awkard to have a tattoo of something you didn't win on your arm forever, right?

Indeed, Sun-Sentinel.com reported on Sunday that Terry said he will remove the tattoo should the Mavericks up come short. 
"It symbolized the fact we had a realistic shot of getting there." Terry said Sunday before the team departed for Miami. "If I didn't think we had a chance, I definitely wouldn't have put that on there. ... For me, it's something I have to sleep with, something I wake up with. I definitely know it's going to hurt worse if I have to take this thing off."

Yep, if Dallas doesn't win the trophy, look for Terry to get it removed.

"It means it was bad luck." Terry said. "I'm very superstitious."
That would be the single most depressing tattoo removal of all time. Maybe there's a way the artist could just alter it rather than remove it. Maybe a tweak to make it look like the Eiffel Tower or the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Or maybe the Space Needle -- an homage to Terry's hometown of Seattle?

It's a little disappointing Terry is already considering the possibility of removing the tattoo before the Finals has even started. What a perfect opportunity to guarantee a Dallas victory: "This ink isn't going anywhere!" Now that would have been awesome. 
Posted on: May 30, 2011 2:05 pm
 

Cuban or LeBron: A champion will be crowned

Posted by Royce Young




Think about this for a second: In two weeks or so, David Stern will be handing an NBA championship trophy to either LeBron James or Mark Cuban. My mind? Blown.

Someone's life and career is going to change. Someone will now have the tag "NBA champion" to hang around their neck for the rest of time. Either Dirk, Mark Cuban and Jason Kidd or LeBron, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade (for a second time) will be hoisting that shiny ball. That's an obvious thing at this point, I realize, but I can't get over it.

Cuban's Mavs had their shot in 2006, of course losing to the Heat in six games. That series is widely known more for the way the officials rewarded Wade free throws than it is for great basketball. Which naturally fits the Cuban narrative. Cuban has always been a bit of a nemesis to Stern and the league office with his crazy over-the-top antics and criticism of officials. For example: Cuban has been fined 16 times in his 12 years as the Mavs owner for a total of more than $1.5 million.

And now that guy is four wins away from the greatest bragging rights of all?

Then there's LeBron. He became the NBA's enemy No. 1 after his decision to play in Miami with Wade and Bosh. The preseason victory parade then set people off more. Then all the arrogance leaking out of South Beach took things to a new level.

Most saw LeBron's move as a total copout, as a guy running from the chance to become a legend in his hometown. Critics said, "Michael Jordan wouldn't want to join them, he'd want to beat them." Larry Bird actually did say that. So did Magic Johnson. There was the best player in basketball, painted as a coward for leaving his Cavs high and dry to try and chase a title with a couple friends.

Instead of battling through and leading Cleveland to the title he promised years before, LeBron ran away. It was always obvious that he lacked proper help with the Cavs. I mean look at what the roster did when you took him away from it. They flirted with the worst record in history for about three-fourths of the season and set a record for most losses in a row. And really, the only thing that would've been different about that team is LeBron would've been on it. They likely would've won 55 games, probably would've gotten to the Eastern semifinals or deeper and almost certainly would've come up short.

Now? It's almost like LeBron's decision could be entirely validated. He could be vindicated. He could win that elusive ring at the age of 26 and possibly start a run to multiple championship, which is again, a promise he made to his new fans in South Beach.

And now that guy is only four wins away from some career validation?

David Stern will be presenting a trophy to either the Mavericks or Heat in roughly two weeks. The fact that on one could be LeBron or Mark Cuban just makes this NBA Finals even more intriguing. And probably, for the fans of 28 other teams, kind of a lose-lose. But to me, it's win-win. I love when a legacy takes a turn. I love when it changes and we have to start re-thinking and re-writing how we feel about people. And after this series wraps up, that's exactly what we'll be forced to do with one of these sides.

Crazy to think about.
Posted on: May 29, 2011 11:36 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2011 11:48 pm
 

Miami Heat: 2011 NBA Finals nightmare scenario

What would a nightmare scenario look like for the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals? Posted by Ben Golliver.




Earlier, we took a look at the Miami Heat's blueprint for beating the Dallas Mavericks and winning the 2011 NBA Finals. This is the flipside: What's the nightmare scenario for the heavily-favored Heat? How does their dream run at the title in the first year since the triad was formed fall apart?

The Chicago Bulls hit upon the formula for taking down this Heat group in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals: dominate the glass, knock down tons of outside shots, win the bench scoring battle, get efficient scoring from your No. 1 option and keep LeBron James in check. The only problem? The Bulls were only able to put all of those pieces together once, in Game 1, and got run out of the playoffs in five games.

The good news for the Dallas Mavericks is that they are well-equipped to accomplish most of the things on that list. 

For starters, Dallas boasts the best overall offensive efficiency, the highest effective field goal percentage and the highest true shooting percentage. Put in simpler terms: The Mavericks have gotten to the free throw line and knocked down their three-pointers, two critical factors if you need to keep pace with the Heat during a halfcourt game. 

Leading the way is Dirk Nowitzki, who is a significantly more efficient offensive player than Derrick Rose. Without question, Nowitzki is the key cog in this machine. If he can regularly command double teams, even if James is matched up on him, all of Dallas' fringe offensive players become much, much more effective threats. Shawn Marion can cut hard to the basket with less interference, Tyson Chandler is more open for lob plays, Peja Stojakovic can set up in the corner, and Jason Kidd can have enough to set his feet and stroke the long ball.

Nowitzki being unguardable one-on-one, therefore, is absolutely the first chapter in Miami's nightmare scenario.

Deriving from that is multiple Mavericks getting hot from deep. Stojakovic and Kidd have already been mentioned, but neither of those guys, as good as they have been, boast the high-end scoring capability of Jason Terry. While Dwyane Wade figures to be a good individual defensive match-up on Terry, the Mavericks are able to get him loose in the pick-and-roll and as a release spot-up shooter too. The Heat will undoubtedly be very aggressive in defending Dallas' pick-and-roll plays. By this point, though, Terry and Nowitzki have seen just about every defense in the book. If Terry is effective enough to command blitz attention from Miami, the Mavericks have the ability to both swing the ball to the open shooters and have those shooters knock down the shots. Chicago, obviously, didn't have that capability past Game 1.

On top of that Dallas has a more potent bench: Stojakovic, Terry and Barea should easily offer more offensive punch than Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller. Miami has won by being top-heavy; The Mavericks need to prove, like the Bulls did in Game 1, that a balanced approach can counteract that skill level.

If Nowitzki is rolling, the Mavericks' shots are falling and the Dallas bench is showing up big, Miami's nightmare would deepen if James and Wade get frustrated, reverting to forcing shots in isolation, over-relying on their outside shooting, or settling too often for fadeaways. To their immense credit, Miami hasn't displayed these bad habits very often in the playoffs, but they were an issue at times during the regular season. With Heat coach Erik Spoelstra playing his superstars so many minutes and the Mavericks comfortable turning up the pace a bit, the creeping bad habits are certainly something to keep an eye on. For high-volume shooters like James and Wade, it only takes roughly five extra non-ideal shots over the course of a game to send the efficiency numbers plummeting. It might look like a lot in the boxscore, but one additional bad shot every eight or nine minutes of playing time from your primary ball-handlers and offense initiators isn't that much.

Whether those bad shots come from Marion and DeShawn Stevenson being physical, from a tough-to-crack zone defense or from Miami falling in a hole early and looking to score in bunches to get back into a game, dropping efficiency from James and Wade is not inconceivable. It doesn't feel likely, given how well they've played over the last two series, but again we're talking about a nightmare scenario.

To this point, the Heat have displayed an almost otherworldly focus and ability to execute. A nightmare scenario would also see that focus replaced by jitters, indecision or panic. Dallas has demonstrated in each of its three playoff series that it has a knack for striking at the moment its opponent is most vulnerable, launching monster comebacks and winning games on the road with ease. 

Always a tipping point issue: Foul trouble, and here it cuts both ways. The Heat, with their aggressive and athletic style, are used to getting to the free throw line regularly and often rely on those points to be difference-makers in low scoring games. So far in the playoffs, they've been able to play James, Wade and forward Chris Bosh extensive minutes -- even in overtime games -- without encountering too much foul trouble. A nightmare scenario here could go two ways. First, it could see one or more of those star players rotting away on the bench due to careless early fouls. Second, it could see Chandler playing heavy minutes in every game in this series, able to avoid fouling on Miami's paint attacks and during rebounding scrums. Surely Miami would much rather play smallball against the Mavericks given their talent advantage and the fact that they don't have anyone that can truly match Chandler's length and at-rim ability. 

Last but not least, there's the matter of homecourt advantage. Miami has yet to lose at home in the playoffs, but doing so in one of the first two games of the Finals could prove particularly costly. Why? Because the Finals switches to a 2-3-2 format, and the Mavericks would then have the ability to close things out by winning three consecutive games at home. Losing in five games is an unlikely scenario but it is a plausible nightmare for Heat fans given Dallas' own home dominance (the Mavericks are 7-1 at home during the playoffs).

To pull this all together, the Heat's worst case scenario sees Nowitzki getting loose and the Mavericks (including their bench) bombing away from deep while their offense degenerates to isolation, contested outside shots and unfocused play. It also sees the Mavericks bigs staying out of foul trouble while Miami's skill players made early mistakes or get called for charges that sideline them for stretches at a time. It would then see them drop a game early in the series and be unable to recover homecourt and momentum. Is it unlikely that all of these things happen at once? Sure. But that's why they call it a nightmare scenario.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com