Friday, June 16, 2006

Heat-Mavs Game 4

After digging themselves into an 0-2 hole, all seemed lost for the Heat’s hopes of an NBA title. But after Dwyane Wade’s heroic 42 point performance in Game 3 and after tonight’s all around team effort with the likes of James Posey and Shandon Anderson stepping up and contributing, this series is far from over.

In fact, we have only just begun.

The NBA Finals is suddenly a best of 3 series with the next game – the most pivotal game of this series so far – right here in Miami.

And after the Heat held the talented Mavs to an NBA Finals record 7 points in the 4th quarter to close out and seal Game 4, all I have to say is -- it’s about friggin time.

It’s about time the entire Heat team showed up and played some ball. It’s about time the Heat defense showed up and did what they do. And it’s about time a role player other than Udonis stepped up while he and Shaq fought off foul trouble.

For the first time in these NBA Finals, the Miami Heat had a solid, all around game. This is what we expected to see from them after they eliminated the Pistons (God, it always feels good to say that) in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. A team that plays with energy. A team that out hustles and out rebounds the opposition. A team that hits its shots. A team that shuts down the opposing team’s star.

A team effort.

That’s what it’s going to take to defeat the vastly talented Dallas Mavericks and that’s what we saw in Game 4 Thursday night.

Dwyane Wade once again led all scorers with 36 points while O’Neal turned in a very solid 17 points including 5-10 from the free throw line.

But no one came up as big as James Posey. His 15 points and 10 rebounds gave this team and, more importantly, the bench, a much needed spark. All I’ve read from Heat blogs the last couple of days is how much Posey needs to be in the starting lineup. Thursday night, he proved us all right. Posey played within his range, hitting the boards, playing tough physical defense and hitting timely shots, including two crucial three pointers. Posey’s play led to an all around solid performance from Miami’s bench. A bench that had been much maligned in this series. Alonzo Mourning came up big while subbing for Shaq. His three blocks and his energy were critical. Anderson also contributed with tough defense.

With Game 5 at the AAA on Sunday, the Heat find themselves in a great position to take control of the series. If they can keep up the momentum and win on Sunday, they go back to Dallas with two shots at winning the fourth game. It’s still a tough hill to climb and you can expect Dallas to make the necessary adjustments and to make this thing what Dirk Nowitzki said would be a “dog fight.”

But you have to love the way the Heat is playing right now. You have to love the way the entire team feeds off Wade’s brilliance. You have to love the way Shaq is throwing his body around, diving for loose balls and making his free throws. Just a week ago, this thing looked like it was all over. Like the Heat were just overwhelmed and outmatched.

Suddenly, things seem different. Hope is still alive and breathing.

We’ve only just begun.

* * * *

Random Thoughts:

-- I’m getting a little tired of certain fans (mainly Dallas and Detroit fans) saying that Dwyane Wade is a whiner because he “complains” about his injuries. First of all, I have never seen the guy complain or whine about his injuries. Believe me, if he did, I’d be the first to call him out on it. Just as I’ve called him out before when he sometimes whines to the officials during games. The guy plays with reckless abandon. He’s relatively small. And guys bang him all the time. Besides that, he’s the focal point of the media. When he or guys like Nowitzky, LeBron, Kobe or any other super star gets injured during a crucial series, the media is going to report it into the ground. Again, this is nothing more than a few fans getting a little frustrated with Wade dominating their team, making their team look positively silly and then trying to vent that frustration by dissing the guy and calling him a whiner. When Jason Terry killed us in Game 1, I showed nothing but respect for the guy. I was frustrated, but I showed the proper respect for a talented player. I would do the same for Dirk or any other player (except maybe Rasheed Wallace) if they were just better than my team. I would expect supposed knowledgeable fans to do the same with Wade. I guess I expect too much.

-- It’s been said before many, many times. So permit me to say it again – Jerry Stackhouse is an absolute jack-ass.

-- I love the way the Heat has been playing Nowitzki. They’re being physical and trying to bother him as much as possible. Dirk, like Shaq, will break out one of these nights. But so far, containing him the way we have seems to be working. Keep it up, boys.

-- It’s been said before many, many times. So permit me to say it again – Dick Bevetta is an absolute jack-ass.

-- This is the Antoine Walker that we’ve all been waiting for. Hallelujah, Amen!! 14 points, most of them from high percentage spots (ie, attacking the basket), and only – now this gets me really gitty – only 6 three point shot attempts. And, more importantly, the three point shot attempts came when the game was either NOT on the line or the Heat were up by a very substantial margin. On top of that, Toine played some heavy D. Did I mention that the majority of his 14 points came from him actually attacking the basket? He made two 3’s. This is extremely significant and can’t be stressed enough. THIS is the Toine that needs to show up for the remainder of the series. Am I asking for too much? Yea, knowing Toine, I’m sure I am.

-- Eric Dampier: 27 minutes. 0 points. 0 free throw attempts. 1 shot attempt. That’s more like it!

-- Despite the big win over Dallas, they still managed 15 points off Heat turnovers. Most of those came at the end of the 3rd when the Heat just looked absolutely sloppy. Enough of the dumb turnovers already, guys! 15 points is way too many points to be handing out to the Dallas Mavericks.

I’ll have a preview for Game 5 Sunday. I look forward to your always insightful and sometimes laugh out loud funny comments.

This thing is far from over and the Mavs will come back strong. But keep the faith, fellow Heat fans.

It’s a brand new day.


Excellent Analysis! Go Heat!
Good lord was that fun to watch. The Heat smell blood. And it smells oh so good.
Good stuff as usual, Dude.

I'm so pumped right now, my head is about to explode.

I've got a random thought of my own: Dirk Nowitzki is a flopper! Damn that guy flops! And not a good one either. Sure, the idiot Dick Bevetta falls for it every now and then, but Dirk flops and his flops are very Vlade Divac bad. I mean the guy flops at the 3 point line! What is that? And then Dallas fans have the sack to call Wade a whiner?

I think a flopper is a bigger pussy than a guy who is always injured.

As a Celtics fan, I'm here to warn you about 'Toine. Don't be fooled. The wiggle is fleeting.
LOL ... Very true, FF... we treat every solid 'Toine game like it's his last.

Fleeting indeed.

Thanks for dropping by!
I'm not bothered by the whole Wade is a whiner thing. It's typical of ignorant fans to say things like that when they're frustrated and flaberghasted by the greatness of an opposing player.

When Jordan beat Utah in the 97 Finals with the flu, some acused him of faking it for "dramatic affect."

Wade is seemingly getting the same non-respect treatment here. If Jordan wasn't immune to that B.S. Wade will never be either.

And I agree with rojowill here. These fans must be blind to the fact that their star player flops like a $5 whore while our star player gets beat up every other posession.

Whatever. Let them say whatever thet want.

Game 5 is big big big. We need to show up with the same energy and not get complacent. There's still A LOT of room for improvement. Shaq is yet to have a "Shaq-like" game. I think he has one in game 5.

What do you mean by SOMETIMES laugh out loud funny? I'm a little insulted.





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