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Tag:Caron Butler
Posted on: June 13, 2011 3:36 am
Edited on: June 13, 2011 1:55 pm
 

NBA Finals: Mavericks legacies redefined



Posted by Matt Moore

MIAMI -- The season is over. NBA life (as we know it) is over (shudder). And the NBA Finals have come to a close. The Dallas Mavericks are NBA Champions.

As we sift through the aftermath of the 2011 NBA Finals and one of the best seasons, maybe the best season in NBA history, it's time to examine how the Mavericks' championship shifts the narrative of the careers of their players and staff. There will be time enough to tear the Miami Heat into tiny heart shaped pieces, stomp on them, set them on fire, and then bury the ashes. And it's coming. (Tomorrow, actually, from CBSSports.com's own Gregg Doyel!)

But for now, let's turn our attention to the Dallas Mavericks, and look at how their legacies shifted on Sunday in Miami.

Dirk Nowitzki: He goes from "the Best Seven-Foot Euro Pure-Shooting Power Forward" or "Greatest Scoring Power Forward to Never Win a Ring" to "Elite Championship Power Forward With Toughness, Resliency, and a Jumper You'll Never Forget." Nowitzki had a terrible night, until he didn't, stepping up and delivering "when it mattered." The talk of Nowitzki's lack of mental resolve, of being soft, of not being a player that could play defense or lead a team to a title? All washed away, forever. Nowitzki redefined his entire career arc, reshaping it from lovable loser and guy you feel for into NBA champion and one of the truly greatest players of our time. Of the players in their prime in the post-Shaq-Lakers era, he joins Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Dwyane Wade as guys who led their teams to a title as "The Guy." His resiliency and effort make up the new benchmark for NBA greatness.  

Bryant had the fadeaway, Duncan had the off-glass leaner. Wade the shifting layups. Nowitzki will be remembered for that elbow jumper, and more importantly, for doing what Shawn Marion told Dirk to do in these playoffs. "Take your ass to the rack," Marion told reporters this week he'd said to Dirk in the Portland series. Dallas never looked back. For one of the consumate teammates and most tireless workers in the NBA, there could not be a better ending, a better shift in the career narrative. 

"You start to see [opponents and teammates] watch Dirk on a day-in and day-out basis, how hard he works, how hard he practices," Cuban said with his hand on the trophy Nowitkzi had won him. "Then watching him in a game, guys would start shaking their heads, because you don't really truly appreciate who he is and what he does and how truly hard he works until you see him on a daily basis."  

Nowitzki could have gone star-chasing in the summer of 2010. He re-signed almost immediately with Dallas. And now he's not the same old Dirk.

He's Mr. Champion, Dirk Nowitzki to you.

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Jason Kidd:  For Kidd, this must in part be bittersweet. He came so close in his prime, always outmatched by teams with superior talent. In the back of his mind, he had to have the same concern about this series, especially after Game 1. But he's done it. He's reached the summit. He's home free. He was a Hall of Famer to begin with, but a title clinches it. While he'll be remembered for those years with Phoenix and New Jersey, he gets to cement his legacy in Dallas -- where it all started. Instead of basking in the moment, though, all Kidd could do was focus on deferring credit to the rest of his team. 

"Man, it's a dream come true," Kidd said Sunday, a satisfied smile on his face. "My teammates, their character and their will to come every day and work to get better they deserve all the credit. And I'm so just happy to be at the right place at the right time."

Kidd has always been what his teams needed him to be. Distributor, leader, playmaker, MVP, and now role player and, dare we say it, spot-up shooter. Kidd's improved 3-point shooting, adding it to his game late in his career, only serves as further testament to his adaptability. Kidd hit huge shots in the playoffs, and in the Finals -- in Game 6. He defended LeBron James. He served as a locker room leader. He provided the foundation of what the team wanted to do. 

He got the ring, the icing on the cake of his career. For him it must be like getting home after a long journey.

"To finally finish across the line of the marathon in first place is huge," Kidd said before limping his way to the party. 

Jason Terry: Smack-talking, contested-jumper-taking, enormous-stones partner-in-crime to Dirk Nowitzki to championship supporting player and one of the gutsiest players in the NBA Finals. The man they call Jet goes from just another sidekick for a contending team to a legend in Dallas and in Finals history. Terry's emergence as the series wore on was a huge turning point for the Mavs. As much as they pointed to defense in this series, it was their offense waking up that changed the terrain of the series. Terry started bombing from deep, which opened up his mid-range game. That gave him chances at the rim, in turn making him confident and leading to him being unstoppable. In Game 6 he took over for a struggling Dirk Nowitzki, blistering the notoriously stiff Miami defense with a series of pull-up-jumpers in transition which rendered the Heat's strategy moot. What do you do when a guy is knocking down shots like Terry did in this series? 

You watch him win a title and then pretend to fly around the room. That's what you do.

Tyson Chandler: So, he doesn't really seem like the injury-plagued former-Bull bust he was a few years ago. And we can probably put down that narrative about how he was only good because Chris Paul made him good, too. Oh, and that bit about him being nothing more than a guy with size and no savvy? Yeah, that's out as well.

Tyson Chandler won't be remembered like Dirk, Terry, or even Kidd will. But it was Chandler that changed the Mavericks' defensive attitude, their identity, and put them in a position to win this title. His brilliant work against the Heat's pick and roll while managing to divert cutters from the lane and avoid foul trouble should be the stuff that's taught in basketball academies. It was Chandler who brought the attitude of true toughness, not fake posturing but real, "I will give and take the hard foul, make the hard play, dunk the difficult pass to catch, stop the difficult player to defend." The Mavericks needed that guy for so long, and Chandler's arrival means that he takes his place in the lore of Finals Big Men as "The Man Who Snuffed the Heat."

Shawn Marion: Oh, Matrix. One of the truly funniest storylines of these Finals for the media was Marion's constant bristling at those who said that he redefined himself. Shawn Marion always has been an elite defender, in his estimation. Shawn Marion has always been a championship caliber offensive player, in his estimation. Whether these things are true (and they certainly are to some extent) is irrelevant. Marion said the same thing over and over again in a champagne-soaked locker room.

"Nobody can take this away from me. They can all kiss my ass."

Yup. That's the Matrix. Championship supporting player, offensive savior, defensive stalwart. 

J.J. Barea: Hey, guess who gets to be an NBA trivia question for the next twenty years? Answer: The same guy who is now a national hero to Puerto Rico. Jub Jub did well for himself and gets the distinguished honor of being "that little guy that beat LeBron James off the dribble."

Carlisle: Carlisle walks away as one of the modern era NBA's best coaches. So highly considered by his peers and yet never discussed as one of the best by media or fans, Carlisle changed all that with one of the best coaching runs in NBA history. Carlisle naturally deflected all the praise, crediting his players and the organization. But in the course of a single playoff run, Carlisle helped the Mavericks shed a reputation as choke artists by firmly kicking in the Blazers' teeth, then downed the defending champions in a sweep, crushed the dreams of they idyllic Thunder by devolving them into pure chaos, and then toppled the mighty Heat for the title. This Mavericks team will be remembered for their comebacks, which are a product of its resolve, which is a reflection of its coach. 

More on Carlisle tomorrow, but just know that this title will shift the way we look at Carlisle going forward. He's no longer underrated. He's simply rated. 

He's a winning coach, in every sense now.

Posted on: June 13, 2011 3:17 am
Edited on: June 13, 2011 3:37 am
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Posted on: June 13, 2011 2:23 am
Edited on: June 13, 2011 1:53 pm
 

Photos: Mavs party with trophy on South Beach

The Dallas Mavericks celebrated on South Beach folllowing their win in the 2011 NBA Finals. Posted by Ben Golliver.

To the victors go the spoils.

The Dallas Mavericks won the 2011 NBA Finals on Sunday night, their first NBA title in franchise history, and they wasted no time celebrating the accomplishment.

Just hours after the final buzzer sounded on their 105-95 Game 6 victory over the Miami Heat, the Mavericks took their trophy to South Beach.

That's right: The Mavericks, led by owner Mark Cuban, Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki, guards Jason Terry and Jason Kidd, among others, celebrated the title with the Larry O'Brien trophy at South Beach nightclub LIV.

In case you were curious, Nightcure.com reports that LIV is a futuristic nightclub located inside Miami Beach's Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach.
With truly breathtaking decor, top class DJs, a state-of-the-art sound system, first class VIP service and some of the sexiest on-stage dancers you'll find in all of Florida, LIV nightclub simply cannot be beaten. It's amazing and will definitely impress even the pickiest of party-goers! LIV nightclub covers two floors and has three bars, a gigantic dance floor, gorgeous decor and a mesmerizing lighting system, which further enhances the upbeat party atmosphere. 
Here are a few photos of Dallas' South Beach celebration.

Credits...
cuban-liv



jet-trophy



dirk-liv



mavs-liv
Posted on: June 13, 2011 1:31 am
Edited on: June 13, 2011 8:01 am
 

Winning NBA Finals validates Mavs' Cuban





Posted by Matt Moore

MIAMI -- He's the owner you want. You may despise his attitude, his bombastic attraction to the spotlight, his incessant assaults on officials, and how he blatantly and painfully reaches out with metrics and trades and promotion in every way he can. But it will not change what you have to admit, what you had to admit before these Finals and what you cannot escape after the Dallas Mavericks secured their first NBA championship.

Mark Cuban is the owner you want.

For 11 years Mark Cuban has invested in the Mavericks. Not only money (has he ever spent money), but time, energy, brainpower, manpower and emotion. He poured his lifeblood into the Mavericks. He fought with other owners, he fought with Phil Jackson, he fought with the league over every officiating tendency. And year after year he was denied the promised land, year after year he was met with only failure. How many other owners would continue to pump that much money, that much emotion into an investment that had caused so much disappointment and grief? 

Cuban would. Cuban did. And now, he's got the ring to show for it.

As Cuban sat at the podium Sunday night, a you-know-what-eating grin on his face, he didn't offer a cocky "We knew this would happen." There weren't any pot shots at the league. There was only gratitude. Cuban, for all his faults, wanted this badly. And after finally reaching the summit, instead of gloating about how smart he is, instead he talked about what he had learned.

"I learned chemistry matters," Cuban said. "That it's a team game. That you have to have players that believe in each other and trust each other and trust your coach. And that's a process. It doesn't happen overnight."

It didn't for the Mavericks. Over the past 10 years they've seen the kind of heartbreak that can fracture franchises. The Big Brother Spurs always lording over them. When they finally pushed past, they slammed head-first into the Heat who -- in 2006 -- celebrated capturing the same trophy Cuban clutched as his own Sunday night. The next season, they lost in one of the most devastating playoff upsets in NBA history, a loss to the Warriors that destroyed the hopes of one of the truly great teams of the 2000s. They dealt with injuries, second-guessing of trades, their methods, the metrics they used. And on Sunday, all of it was wiped away in a champagne rain of celebration. Cuban was in the locker room, boisterous as ever, and oh, yeah, even gave the media what they came for, a magnificent I-don't-care-I-just-won-the-title curse on national television. 

Shawn Marion was asked in the locker room if Cuban could talk now. Marion, high on the moment, said: "Oh my God, if you think I have swag? He's got ultimate swag!"

That ultimate swag is defined by Cuban's intelligent decision-making. He runs his mouth because he backs it up with his pocket book and in his approach. Maybe more than anything, these Finals showed that it's not only about putting together a championship team, it's about a championship organization. From the head coach -- who was respected, won but ultimately was fired everywhere he went -- to the advanced metrics approach Cuban relentlessly pursued, to the massive amount of in-game entertainment Cuban puts together. The Mavericks are a class-act organization, even if Cuban doesn't always portray that. And as of this moment, it no longer matters.

They're a championship organization.

Cuban spoke effusively about Dirk Nowitzki's work ethic and about what the Big German has meant to his franchise.

"I never questioned Dirk. Never even a little bit," Cuban said. "Dirk helps set the culture of a team. And culture is critically important for a winning organziation. It's critically important for a successful team."

He credited Carlisle, and even said that metrics played a part in the decision to hire Carlisle (though his interview clearly was more important). He credited the people in his organization, from Donnie Nelson to Keith Grant and on down. Cuban didn't act like he did all the work, though to think Cuban isn't heavily involved day-to-day, that he didn't help build this team, is naive. He put in the money and time, the blood, sweat and tears.

And now he finally has his trophy to show for it.

Fans are so often stymied by ownership. They'll know their guy won't spend, or he'll spend irrationally, or he'll always overreact to situations, or that he's completely disloyal. What they want is a guy who will spend to win, who will work to improve no matter what, who will stay involved and fight for his team. They want an owner who does all the things the guy at that podium did on Sunday night, grinning to all the world and asking the press when he walked in, reeking of champagne and sweat, "Did anybody inform you guys we're the world champions?"

They want an owner like Mark Cuban.

Hail to the King, baby.
Posted on: June 13, 2011 1:27 am
Edited on: June 13, 2011 3:41 am
 

Not this year for the Heat, but they're not done

Posted by Royce Young



MIAMI -- It didn't finish the way it was supposed to for the Heat. "The Decision," the preseason celebration, the dancing, the talking, the predictions, the declarations, the arrogance -- it all looks downright stupid now.

The Dallas Mavericks just celebrated an NBA championship right in front of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. On their home floor, too.

The Mavs were the better team. They understood everything about winning. They understood the little things you have to do. Every player on the roster was available to contribute and, as an example, Ian Freaking Mahinmi played some seriously important minutes and made some big-time plays for them in Game 6.

That's what it takes to taste "The Moment." That's what it takes to be a champion. I think it's in the "How To Win A Championship Manual." Unlikely players come up huge in unlikely moments. The Heat were missing those moments, those players. It was supposed to be LeBron, Wade and Bosh. That was the master plan. But the Mavs showed that it's all about individual talent coming together to win as a group. As a team. Dallas made the plays, got the rebounds, got the stops and did enough to finish it off. They were just better.

NBA Finals: Game 6
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And as a result, they're the 2010-11 NBA champions.

But it ends there.

"We understand our goal is to win a championship," Wade said after the game. "We wasn't able to accomplish that Year One. But this ain't the end of the Miami Heat. We'll use this as motivation and come back and try to do this again."

That Year One was an experiment didn't finish quite right. But think back to the whole season the Heat just experienced. All those moments where people said, "See? They've got no chance!" The 9-8 start, the five-game losing streak, the struggles in crunch time. The supposed "bump," the talk of Pat Riley replacing Spoelstra, CryGate, all the ridiculous media stories covering every single move they made. They had a lot going on this first season.

Many felt that, in the preseason, in December and even in April, this Heat team wasn't built for a championship. LeBron and Wade weren't totally ready to play together. Chemistry was lacking. The roster didn't have enough depth. Figuring out how to win games was going to come with a little more time. Look back at the predictions in October. The Heat were not an odds-on favorite for the title or even to reach the Finals, despite of the power and talent assembled on the roster.

Lockout talk aside -- because who really wants to think about that right now -- this Heat team will have a next season. This wasn't a one and done deal. Really, if anyone had a window that was near shut, if anyone was having a now or never moment, it was the Mavs.

The future for the Heat is still as bright as any franchise in the league. Their outlook remains bright. Three great players, a terrific young coach, a smart guy in the front office, a solid owner and a lot of room to improve. Nothing says this team can't rip off a three-peat starting next season. Nothing says they will win it all, either. But the point is that the future is a blank canvas for the Heat.

The roster isn't perfect. There's work to be done. Erik Spoelstra said he could win with these guys, and he was almost right. But like every other team in the league, the Heat want to be better next season. Bosh, as he typically does, put it extremely well after the game.

"There's no hiding. In the NBA, you play a series, best of seven games, usually the better team is going to win. So we've got work to do," he said. "We have to go back to the drawing board. It hurts to come this far and come up short. It's disappointing, but hopefully we can use this as motivation going forward.

"Looking back on it, this was our first year. Absolutely we would like to have won it this year. But just being optimistic, looking forward, yeah, I mean, there's a bright spot, but we have to work and we have to develop the mindset to go get it.

Of course they missed a big opportunity. This season ends in disappointment instead of celebration. It's damn hard to get to the NBA Finals and they were there and didn't finish the job despite having two games to win at home. That's a killer. That opportunity doesn't come along very often.

But LeBron is 26. Wade is 29. Bosh is 27. They're all signed through 2014. Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony, too. A solid core is there. A core that was two wins away from an NBA title. To think this team is far off and won't ever get there is insane. That's one hell of a talented group in South Beach.

This championship run ended. It didn't finish as they had hoped, especially after that ludicrous welcome party almost a year ago. This wasn't the first in a run of not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six championships that LeBron promised.

But it's not over for this group. Not by a long shot. Get all your jokes and ha-has in now, because eventually, there's a good chance the Heat may have the last laugh.
Posted on: June 13, 2011 12:52 am
Edited on: June 13, 2011 5:05 am
 

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban swears on live TV

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban swears on live television following his team's 2011 NBA Finals win. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Disclaimer: The video in this post contains explicit language.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been silent for weeks. He ended that silence with a bang. And a bleep.

During a live postgame interview following the Mavericks' 105-95 Game 6 win over the Miami Heat -- a win that clinched the 2011 NBA title -- Cuban profanely praised his team's fans.

"As much as our fans are maligned, this and that," Cuban said. "Our fans just punked the sh*t out of the Miami fans. You know, literally, that's the only way you can say it."

Cuban's comment was in reference to a vocal gathering of Mavericks fans that attended Game 6 in Miami's American Airlines Arena.

Now, we all wait to see whether the FCC will fine Cuban or the television network more harshly or less harshly than the NBA has fined him for complaining about the league's officiating over the years.

Here's video of Mark Cuban's S-bomb on live television.



Posted on: June 13, 2011 12:44 am
Edited on: June 13, 2011 10:11 am
 

LeBron James tweets: God says it's not my time

Miami Heat forward LeBron James tweets that God said it's not his time to win an NBA title after losing the 2011 NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Shortly after the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals, Heat forward LeBron James took to Twitter to explain what happened.

"The Greater Man upstairs knows when it's my time," James tweeted. "Right now isn't the time."

james-god-tweet

James finished with 21 points, four rebounds, six assists and six turnovers in 40 minutes in Game 6, as the Mavericks closed out the Heat, 4-2.

James, 26, is now 0-for-2 in NBA Finals trips. He also lost in the 2007 NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. His Finals averages: 17.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists. For the postseason, James averaged 23.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists.

This loss will largely be pinned on his shoulders. The Heat entered the Finals as heavy favorites, with three of the best four players in the series in James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Nevertheless, Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki and a solid supporting cast that included Jason Terry, Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd pulled off the upset in stunning fashion, closing out the series in American Airlines Arena, Miami's homecourt.

Posted on: June 13, 2011 12:33 am
Edited on: June 13, 2011 1:24 am
 

Mo Williams: 'Dallas healed my heart'

Posted by Royce Young

MIAMI -- After LeBron James left the Cavaliers behind, which included leaving behind a group of teammates he was very close to, Mo Williams actually said he considered retiring.

He was so heartbroken by LeBron leaving that he actually questioned why he was even playing basketball. That's pretty real stuff right there.

So, with the Mavericks beating LeBron's team in The Finals -- and with LeBron underwhelming everyone throughout -- Williams said it's all better for him now. Broken heart: fixed.

Williams' tweet basically sums up a lot of the way the city of Cleveland feels. It's become this semi-ridiculous sentiment throughout Cleveland that somehow they vicariously won a championship through LeBron's loss. I can't get behind that, but the feeling is real and Williams speaks for them.

It's definitely not closure on the whole thing because LeBron still plays for the Heat and the Cavs are still terrible. But it's at least something. Maybe they can move on a little now. If Williams can, why not everyone else?

Oh who am I kidding. Cleveland's probably halfway burnt down by now. Live it up, I guess.
 
 
 
 
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