Thursday, June 22, 2006

Some Final Thoughts On The Mavs & The Refs Before I Go And Party At The Heat Championship Parade …

As a (somewhat) mature adult, I’ve come to learn that there’s just no sense in arguing with a person with an 8 year-old’s disposition. I’ve also come to learn that you just can’t argue with fanatics or conspiracy theorists. When a fanatical person insists that their Sunday School teacher is Jesus Christ, sometimes, there is just no changing that person’s mind. Likewise, when someone says the government is hiding crashed UFO’s or that the government murdered JFK, it’s usually very hard to show them they are wrong. But, for the sake of reason, let me just throw in my thoughts on this whole “the Mavs wuz robbed” theory…

First let me say that a lot of Mavs fans have conducted themselves with class after the loss. These are intelligent people who root passionately for their team. These are people that offer this mind boggling concept as to how their team lost: “No excuses. We just got beat.” These fans have something many others can learn: integrity and dignity.

So after this, I will not argue it anymore. I believe the facts for the Heat’s championship title are true and reasonable. So, after this, it’s over and done with and it’s time to celebrate our NBA Champs!

Game 3: Dallas had a 13 point lead with 6:30 left in regulation. This was a team up 2-0 in the Finals and they were up by 13 points. I was at Game 3. At one point, the place was so quiet you could hear the Mavs players cheering every time one of their teammates scored. So what happened? For one thing, there was that terrible pass by Jason Terry with 1:16 left that was intercepted by Udonis Haslem. Dwyane Wade got hot and dropped 42 on them. Shaq made two very big free throws during the comeback phase of the game. And, of course, Dirk Nowitzki (a 90% free throw shooter) missed the tying free throw at the end. They just couldn’t close the deal. They had the Heat on the ropes and they allowed a 13 point lead to evaporate. They had no answer for Wade. Lost in his big offensive night, was his block of the last-second in-bounds pass by the Mavs to try and tie the game and force overtime.

Game 4: The Mavs were simply beaten. It was their worst performance in the entire series. Again, they allowed Wade to have his way and allowed him to get to 30+ points which, statistically, meant a win for the Heat in these playoffs.

Game 5: This one went into overtime. Again, thanks to Dwyane Wade hitting the key shot at the end of regulation and Jason Terry not hitting the key shot to win it. Can’t blame the refs for one guy being clutch and another not being clutch. Josh Howard missed two very big free throws in OT (not to mention the mental meltdown with the whole time-out fiasco). For the third game in a row, the Mavs did not double team Wade. The Mavs also turned to the Hack-A-Shaq strategy too early, putting them in the penalty. We’ve seen it all season long. As soon as the opposing team gets in the penalty, Wade constantly attacks the rim (he’s as crafty as he is athletic). This is why he went to the line so much. And, once again, Dirk Nowitzki failed to take his team on his shoulders like stars are supposed to do. Wade did. The last foul on Wade with 1 second left in OT is the most disputed claim of all. But three guys were all over him as he attacked the rim. If the refs did not make that call, it would be the Heat fans hooting and hollering about a non-call. The refs lose either way. But they gave the star the benefit of the doubt, as they had been doing for Nowitzki throughout the entire playoffs (just ask Spurs fans). And, unlike a certain David Hasselhoff loving German, Wade hit both of this free throws.

Game 6: The Mavs blew not one but two double-digit leads at home while facing elimination. At one point, they led Miami by 14. That late 2nd quarter rally by the Heat, led by Wade and Alonzo Mourning, gave the Heat a one point lead at the half and changed the momentum of the game. Miami played quality defense in Game 6, forcing the Mavs to shoot only 37% on their home court. They closed out Dallas’ strength – their perimeter speed. They out rebounded Dallas, grabbing 42 defensive rebounds to Dallas’ 34. Miami made 23 of 57 jump shot attempts. Dallas, only 17 of 64. And, again, once Dallas was in the penalty, the Heat attacked the rim while Nowitzki and his teammates settled for jump shots and fade aways. Defense won the game for Heat, in what turned out to be their best performance on the road in these playoffs. Josh Howard, who had been one of the Mavs’ most reliable all-around players after Dirk throughout the season, had an off night as did Jason Terry.

The bottom line is that this series came down to two budding super stars. One stepped up, the other didn’t. Dwyane Wade elevated his game to the point where he is now drawing real comparisons to Michael Jordan (the guy who always got the calls from the refs). He did it by waking up after Game 2. Once Wade decided he was going to take over this series, he did. Nowitzki never got into a comfortable rhythm. While Dallas had no answer for D-Wade, Miami threw Udonis Haslem, James Posey and even Shaq at Dirk and contained him.

The other major point here is that Dallas had a 2-0 lead. Only two other teams ever came back to win a Finals after going down 0-2. Then, Dallas went and lost 4 games in a row. Four games in a row! It’s just simply ludicrous to throw all of that on the referees. Somewhere along the lines, Dallas has to take responsibility for that. Instead, a lot of these sore losers are taking their cue from the team’s owner, Mark Cuban, who – lets be frank here – acted like a child when things didn’t go his way. Rather than give credit to the winners and appreciate that they were out played by a burgeoning star in Wade, they pout, whine and point fingers.

It’s just not fair to the greatness of Wade or the determination of the Heat. As a Dolphins fan, I rooted for The Seahawks in the Super Bowl. I hate the Steelers. But when the Steelers won, in very similar “controversial” circumstances, I did not whine, complain or concoct conspiracy theories. I tipped my hat to the Steelers. They won. They were the better team. And not only that, they got to the Super Bowl by overcoming seemingly bad calls when they defeated the heavily favored (and supposed NFL darlings) Indianapolis Colts. The Steelers earned the right to be called World Champs. Just as the Patriots did in 2001, even after the so-called “tuck rule” play against the Raiders.

Champions earn their championships.

Again, Dallas was up 2 games to none. They blew a 13 point lead in Game 3. They lost four straight games, including one that went into overtime. And they had no answer for the best player on the floor – the Finals MVP Dwyane Wade.

You never win or lose a championship because of the referees. You lose a championship when your offense scores only 37% from the floor. You lose a championship when a star beats you.



Right on Dude. People need to just shut up already. The Mavs were beaten by a super star player. Period. They lost 4 games in a row. You can't lay losing 4 games in a row on the refs.

Screw em... in the end, we're the champs. They are not.

We were better. They were not.

D-Wade rules. Dirk has a ways to go.

Done and done!

Well said, Dude. Well said!
I am neither a Heat fan nor a Mavs fan ... just a basketbal fan. And the amount of whining and crying over the officiating is obsurd. Beyond obsurd. The Heat came back from an 0-2 hole -- something that has only been done twice in the history of the NBA. But all the crying has drowned that amazing feat out as well as Dwayne Wade's fabulous abilities. It was pure fun watching him in these Finals.

As a Heat fan, you and your readers shouldn't be bothered by the petulant crying of a bunch of sore losers. Enjoy the moment and enjoy your team. Just as you wrote in a previous column: you are the champs and no one can take that away from you. Not even billionarre cry-babys and their cry-baby clones.

-William (Atlanta, GA)
William from Atlanta said it all. Thanks man!

And to the haters and whiners out there: Today's Parade of Champions for the World Champion Miami Heat was awesome!!!! Sorry you couldn't make it :)
WOW...I don't think the situation can be explained any better than how The Dude has explained it. Of course, being Miami fans, bias is likely to creep in somewhere, but it's also quite clear than many people under-rated the Miami team. Miami with D-wade looking for his 1st championship, along with Alonzo and the other veterans, Shaq wanting to deliver on his promise, and Riley being a more experienced coach (with age comes wisdom), the Heat just had more heat than the Mavs to get rid of the obstacles. However, many people keep talking of the overtime Game 5 where they say although that was a foul, the refs shouldn't call it in that kind of a clutch situation where apparently they are suppose to "let the players do their thing." Also, they argue that they didn't have Stackhouse in game 5 and that while his foul was flagrant, it wasn't worthy of suspension...Nevertheless, that's not in the hands of the Miami Heat but the League.

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