Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Game 3 Preview: A Little Walton Mojo & Post-It Notes

Time for some Walton Mojo to rub off on the Heat starting tonight.

Tonight is the first night of the rest of the Heat season. Down 0-2 in these NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks, the series now turns to Miami, where the AAA will host three games in a row. That’s three chances to at least win two games and make this a series.

History has not been kind to teams buried in an 0-2 hole in the Finals before. The last team to win the Finals after going down 0-2 was the 1977 Portland Trailblazers, who beat the Philadelphia 76ers 4 games to 2. Portland was led by the Big Red V8 loving, hemp smoking, tie-dyed wearing center, Bill Walton, who averaged 18.2 points per game in that series.
So, as we attempt to become only the third team in NBA history to win a Finals after going down 0-2, I have written a few post-it notes for some of the key guys on the Heat. I've asked Rachel Nichols to place them in that huge Pottery Barn bowl they have sitting in the middle of the locker room. (I'm also meeting her after the game for a drink ... but that's besides the point.)

To Shaq: Do whatever it takes to get the ball. Five shots in one game is unacceptable and you and I both know this. In fact, the entire NBA watching world knows this. My mom knows this. As it so happens, your teammates do not know this. This is your team, Big Fella. Yell at guys on the sidelines, yell at Riles. Do whatever it takes to get the ball. Demand it, threaten people’s livelihoods for it. And for the love of Shazam … please, please, please hit your free throws. I don’t mean you need to go 9-9 (although that would be nice), but make it a goal to hit at least one of each of your two shots every time you’re at the stripe. And one more thing, don’t be afraid to kick Antoine Walker in the groin multiple times if he refuses to pass you the ball. And don't wait to do it, either. Do it right there on the gigantic Heat logo in the center of the court. Do it every time you ask for the ball and he shoots a tippy-toe three instead. All of Miami will back you up on this one. I guarantee it (I’m not even going to get into it about Eric Dampier. You know what’s up with that. That’s just embarrassing, Diesel. Embarrassing. So, c’mon Daddy. Get rollin).

To Dwyane Wade: You’ve done a pretty nice job so far. You’re getting your points and you’re always a threat. Still, you’ve yet to break the 30 point barrier in this series and, as you know, the Heat just don’t lose when you hit 30 plus. I know the Mavs are throwing a lot at you. But, c’mon, you’re D-Wade. You’re spectacular. You’re a one of a kind talent that knows no bounds. It’s time for the D-Wade we saw against New Jersey and Detroit to step up. No one on Dallas can guard you. I totally believe this. Go for it, D-Wade. And one more thing – don’t get frustrated. Even the great MJ knew that nothing was going to be handed to him. He earned his 6 rings. Don’t whine, don’t complain. Just play ball. You’re better than that. I ... I love you.

To Antoine: Ok, Antoine. We’ve been over this before. You are not the star of this team. You say you’re not a role player? What the hell does that mean? Oh, I know what it means. It means exactly what I’ve written about you on this blog since you first stepped into the uniform of my beloved Miami Heat. You want to take 20 shots a night? Do it somewhere else. This is not your team. This is Shaq’s team. This is Dwayne’s team. I’m going to make your job real simple, ok. Here it goes: When Shaq asks for the ball, give it to him. When you’re even remotely tempted to take a three pointer because you think it’s going to get the crowd behind you or because you think it will deflate the Dallas defense – don’t do it. Resist the temptation. Want to chuck up threes? Do it when the team is on a 12-0 run. Or, better yet, when the team is up by double digits with 1:35 left on the clock. Otherwise, do what you were brought here to do. Play your role. You are a role player, Antoine. Look at your jersey. It says Heat. Not Celtics. Swallow your damn pride and come to grips with that fact before we run you out of town with torches and pitchforks like the Frankenstein monster that you are!

To GP: Dude, it’s been a nice run. But the fact is your clock struck midnight about a week ago. Your carriage has turned into a pumpkin. You’re old and it shows. So when you’re out on the floor, do what you can and stay within your limits. Play D, draw charges, talk some trash. But do not, for the love of all that is good and decent in this god-forsaken world, do NOT take any shots unless you are right beneath the rim. Having trouble with this concept? See my note to Antoine.

To Udonis: You truly are the Crushernaut. And if there was an MVP for the losing team, I’d hand it to you quicker than you can say Yogi Bear. You injured your shoulder because you play all out every night. You are the heart and soul of this team. You represent the desperation, the passion, the sheer desire of all us Heat fans and we love you for it. Keep taking your shots, U. Dallas is going to give that to you – so, stay aggressive. The shots will fall. Especially here at home. And if you play hurt tonight, you will have secured your name in the All Time Greatest Heat Players pantheon. Keep on hustlin, Crusher. We salute you!

To Zo: As always, you wear your heart on your sleeve – or huge biceps. You’ve shown a lot of heart and have played very well for us in this series. You are our Jerome Bettis. My only request, Zo, is if you can please remember that you are not allowed to stay in the paint for more than 3 seconds at a time. Also, remember that you are a big guy. There is no need for you to push off other players to get to loose balls. The refs are on top of that kind of thing.

To Coach Riley: Dallas has done an excellent job containing both of your stars. Shaq touched the ball a godawful 5 times on Sunday. Wade has yet to crack the 30 point barrier. But let’s forget about the whole “Miami’s role players need to step up.” It’s clear that they won’t and can’t be counted on. Antoine Walker is Antoine Walker. He insists on being the star and shooting the ball 20 times a game. Gary Payton is old. And while he’s supposedly an upgrade on defense for Jason Williams, that’s not saying much since Jason Terry – as much as Dan Le Batard keeps denying the facts – is killing us.

It’s up to you to work your supposed magic and find a way to get Shaq and Wade involved in 98% of the offense the rest of the way. That's right. You heard me. 98% of the time. We're down 0-2 here. There's not much left that we can do but hand the ball over to our two best players ALL THE TIME. Make adjustments, set screens, whatever. Find a way. The Mavs clearly have found their third scorer in Terry and we’re going to have to live with that. We have no third scorer. And that’s fine. Antoine needs to get back to doing what he did against Detroit, mainly getting the rebounds and shooting threes only when the time calls for it. The rest of the guys just need to play hard-nosed basketball. Defense, rebounds, fouling people. But this game must belong to Shaq and Wade. Hey, I know what I'm talking about. I've read your book.

You can’t allow Avery Johnson to continue to out-coach you, Pat. Stop with the Socratatical quotes and get back to the X’s and O’s of the game. You have the most dominant force in the NBA and the most talented up and coming star in the NBA outside of Lebron James. No way we should be getting our asses handed to us like this with those two guys on our team. No way.

Anyway ... I'll be going to tonight's game and will have a report tomorrow. And this reminds me. Heat fans, please do not show up late. Do not leave early. Get off your cell phones. This is not about seeing Janet Jackson or P-Diddy (or whatever the hell his name is nowadays) or Gloria Estefan or Jamie Foxx. This about your home town team playing in the NBA Finals. Did you see how loud the Dallas fans have been the last two games? That needs to be us tonight. Get loud. Cheer. Shout. Let's hear you Heat fans! LET'S HEAR YOU!!!!!!


More Game 3 Previews From M'Boys at SporTech Matter & KaLiBLeeK

Sun Sentinel, SoFla Leader in the Obvious

Le Batard Echoes It

MJD Has A Theory on Shaq

Mavs Fans Expect The Heat to Bring It Tonight

Pistons fans just can't seem to LET IT GO. It's sad, really.


Awesome preview dude. Your note on Need4Sheed is right. Site is like a sandbox for all kindergarten Piston fans. Get over it already, here is a tissue.

One would think that tonights game will be the best game played all series by the Heat. I hate the words must win but the fact of the matter is going down 0-3 is close to impossible to get out of.

Lookin forward to checking out the Heat playoff intro tonight in HD.

I hate it too, JD. But you're right as right. Tonight is without a doubt a must-win. If there's any hope of us digging out of this hole and having a fighter's chance to win this thing -- it's tonight.

Let's Go Heat!
Being that tonight is the first ever Finals game at home in Heat history, I think the crowd will be electric. And I think the Diesel, Wade and the rest of the crew will feed off of it.

We just need to protect home court. Win all our home games and go back to Dallas and let the chips fall where they may.

Go Heat!!!
In regards to the crowd thing...seriously! WTF is with the crowd sometimes. I'm going to have to relocate to South Beach so I can be one of the 15 diehard Heat fans out there that are ontime, pay attention, and stay for the entire game. Oh, and show enthusiasm. That too.
Well said Kalibleek. I think the 15 real Heat fans all meet here on this blog. We'd love to have you down here among us.

As for tonight's game. I just can't see Shaq having 2 bad games in a row in the Finals. I agree 100% that this thing needs to run through Shaq and D-Wade. I'm perfectly fine with Udonis as our 3rd scorer. He's always good for 17 + at home. With The Diesel and Wade both going for 20+, 30+ respectively, we'll be fine.
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