Friday, June 09, 2006
Heat-Mavs Game 1
Trying to analyze this loss with six points, without losing my cool … so here goes.
1. Jason Terry: I’ve been warning us of this guy for a week. 13-19, 32 points in Game 1. This is not Tayshaun Prince having a few good games at home. This is a guy who is not going to go away. This is the guy the Mavs went with when they let Steve Nash go West. Riley and his Minions need to find a way to contain Terry. Now.
2. Free Throws: The Heat shot an NBA Finals record-low 36% from the free throw line. As a team, they made an abysmal 7 of 19 shots from the charity stripe. And by “as a team,” I mean Shaq and Wade. Shaq went 1-9 from the stripe. No surprise there. What was surprising: Wade only made 6 for 10 and – here’s the real kicker – the rest of the Heat did not attempt one single free throw all night. Now I don’t know who is to blame here, the refs or the Heat’s lack of aggressiveness. But I do know this -- if the roles were reversed, and the Mavs only had Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry shooting free throws, Mark Cuban would be throwing one of his billion dollar penis hissy fits towards the refs on Blog Maverick. Here’s to you, Joe Crawford! You short, bald headed bastard!
3. Not A Terribly Good Sign: The Mavericks clearly did not play their best game and yet won by 10. That does not bode well for our boys. Nowitzki only went 4-14! If you had told me Dirk Nowitzki was going to go 4-14 prior to Game 1, I would’ve bet my house on the game in Vegas. And I would’ve been blogging this from the library because I’d be out of a home. The Bavarian Hurricane only made 4 shots and we still lost? Whoa boy. Jerry Stackhouse gave the Mavs a huge spark off the bench with 13 points, as did Eric Dampier. The same Eric Dampier that Shaq has repeatedly insulted in the past. The same Eric Dampier that Shaq said could dominate the WNBA. The same Eric Dampier that is now up 1-0 over Shaq in the NBA Finals.
4. Feed The Big Dog: Right now, my prediction of the Diesel dominating this series and winning his fourth Finals MVP is looking rather stupid. There is simply no excuse for Shaq only taking 11 shots for an entire game. Eleven shots! That’s unacceptable! If Shaq is going to score 17 points a night, we might as well just call it quits right now and hand Cuban and his penis the O’Brian trophy tonight. The Heat got caught up in Dallas’ game – they fell right into the Little General’s trap. They got caught up with too many fast breaks and way too many unnecessary three point shots rather than going to what got them here – feeding Shaq and going with their inside-out game. I’m going to say this again: neither Dampier nor Sagana Diop nor Kieth Van Horn nor even Nowitzky can guard Shaq. Not one of them. So feed the Big Dog. Feed him often. Feed, feed, feed. 11 shots? Unbelievable.
5. Antoine F%$# Walker: Yes, I’ve been hounding Walker all year. And this game was the epitome of why. The 17 points on the box score looks respectable. But it’s the little things, the Toine-Things, if you will, that makes me rip my hair from my scalp and yell at the top of my lungs, “NO, ANTOINE!!!! NO!!!!” 8 three point attempts, 6 of them completely ill-advised and badly missed. 6 turnovers. And I don’t mean guys poking the ball from his hands, or him losing his grip of the ball. When Antoine commits a turnover, it’s really an art form. Stupidly overly aggressive passes, balls bouncing off his foot, traveling, and let us not forget his patented Young Frankenstein style lay up attempts. The guy is useless. Can we just agree on this finally? His numbers for the playoffs have been good but, frankly, they’re a bit inflated. Let’s face it. Toine is the A-Rod of the NBA. His threes go in all nice and pretty when they matter the least and when the team needs him most, he turns into a chicken on acid, legs flailing, arms akimbo, head down, and the basketball ricocheting violently off the backboard and ending up in Jason Terry’s lap. Arrrghhh! And I swear to God, if either Boog Shiambi or that fat ass Le Betard start their Antoine Apologist Rants on 790 today, I am going to go on a five state killing spree.
6. D-Wade Needs To Close: Wade started the game off hot and then seemed to disappear after the Mavs took the lead at the end of the half and then went to the zone D. Why does D-Wade struggle so much with zone defenses? Is it the long arms? The closed lanes? It’s a mystery to me. I can’t help but feel completely baffled when a street ball strategy can shut down the NBA’s most explosive player. Look, when Wade hits 30 plus points, the Heat are 13-1 in the playoffs. He scored 28 in Game 1. At crunch time, Wade needs to just take over. He’s perfectly capable and no one on this Dallas team can stop him. In the Eastern Conference Finals, Wade beautifully closed out games and gave Detroit no hopes of come backs or game winning attempts at the buzzer. Wade failed to be Wade in the closing minutes of this game. No coffee for Dwyane. Coffee’s for closers only. He has two days to think about this.
Conclusion: The most frustrating part of this game is that the Heat had it in the bag. They were on cruise control for most of the first half and then let the game slip away. And as I mentioned above, the Mavs won without getting a good game out of their star -- Nowitzky. That is not good. For all the talk about hunger and wanting to cement their names in history and wanting to be the next MJ, the Heat now have two full days to fix their problems after dropping Game 1. Two full days to walk around with the frustration that they had this game and let it slip out of their hands.
How to fix it? Five Simple Solutions:
1. Feed Shaq the ball until he throws up. No more of this 11 shots only crap.
2. Wade needs to take over. He needs to shoot for 30+ every night.
3. Antoine Walker needs to stop being Antoine Walker.
4. Udonis Haslem needs to stay out of foul trouble. It didn’t help that they drew up Joe Look At Me, I’m A Star Crawford as the Game 1 ref. U will bounce back.
5. Get in Terry’s face and brace for a Dirk coming out party.
The Heat need to take Game 2 on Sunday or it’s back to Miami to try to win 3 in a row in the NBA’s stupidest series format (2-3-2. Stupid).
I think the Heat can take Game 2.
Labels: Miami Heat
Here is some positive spin:
-- With all the talk of Jason Terry being lights out, no one is saying how solid a job Udonis "The Crushernaut" did bothering Nowitzki.
-- No way Toine is going to be taking more shots than Shaq from now on.
--Wade missed his last 5 jump shots last night. No way that's happening again. AND, from what I saw, not one Maverick was able to keep Wade from going strong to the hole.
--If the Mavs are going to count on Terry being their hero every night, they're in for a long series.
--The Heat will find themselves at the free throw line a hell of a lot more.
It's only one game. Don't be so hard on Toine and don't count us out just yet. You yourself picked us to win it in 7 ...