NBA Finals: Game 6 Chat

Darius Soriano —  June 12, 2011

The NBA championship could be decided tonight.

No, the Lakers aren’t involved. There are no crucial moments to fret over; no stomach churning lead up to this contest. Instead, it’s two teams – the Mavs and the Heat – that will take center stage while we all watch.

I know many have a desired outcome to this series. Many would prefer the Mavs walk away victorious and claim that elusive Larry O’Brien trophy. After all, this could be the last chance for long time greats like Dirk and Kidd (two of my favorite non Lakers) to reach the mountain top and denying them this triumph would be some sort of cruelty. Meanwhile a team of young, in their prime stars like those on the Heat will have plenty of other chances to win this thing.

The other angle, obviously, is the dislike that many have for the Heat. Folks didn’t like “the decision”, the celebration that came after, or the swagger that it spawned – including all the media missteps along the way.

Personally, those things never bothered me much as games are decided on the court and the team would have to prove that they were worthy when the ball was jumped at center court, regardless of what I (or anyone else) thought of them. Winning isn’t easy and they would learn that and either reach the pinnacle or fall short like many others do. So far they’ve done well for themselves in getting to this point, but they’ve again found what we’ve already known and said. Winning is, indeed, hard.

In any event, game 6 is here and I’ll be watching. For the great basketball, the extremely talented players, and the chance to see the joy of one team and the despair of the other. We’re at the point where a team can taste that championship and those moments are the ones that I enjoy the most, even if they don’t involve the team that I call my own.

I’ll also be watching because this could be the last basketball we see for some time. The league owners are set to lock out the players next month and we could be in for a long, bitter negotiation that puts some, most, or all of next season in jeopardy. All of this saddens and upsets me to no end, as I’m sure it does to many of you (especially if you’re checking in on a basketball blog on a late Sunday afternoon).

But tonight, I’ll be watching to see if one team can claim the trophy while the other fights for their basketball lives. This game means something to me, even without the Lakers participating. I hope it’s a good one. Though, from what we’ve seen so far these playoffs, my hopes probably aren’t needed.

Darius Soriano

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49 responses to NBA Finals: Game 6 Chat

  1. I’m @ Sacto airport waiting to fly back to LA. I have an excuse reading this now. LOL!

  2. Late sunday afternoon? It’s 1.18 am, and I’m waiting for the game to start.
    Hope I dont fall asleep…
    Big up or the site!

  3. I will be enjoying this game, even without the Lakers in it, for the above reasons. Well, Darius, even if there is a lockout, FB&G will still be in action all-year-round, correct?

    Go Mavericks! (I can’t believe that I am saying that)

  4. Man, I want the Heat to lose.

    I guess Dallas can win, that would be okay. But mostly I’m rooting against the Heat.

    However, if Wade has more than 20 free throws tonight, even if it’s because Jason Terry stabs him repeatedly with a fork every trip down the court, I’m going to have to assume the NBA is…not fixed, but sometimes nudged in revenue-positive directions by the league and/or officials.

    I would say Wade or LeBron, but it’s increasingly clear LeBron is sort of a chump. A magnificently gifted one, but still a chump.

  5. Both can’t lose, unfortunately. The quicker it ends the better.

  6. It’s going to get ugly with a lot of fouls in favor of Miami if it isn’t close enough.

    I’m rooting for Dirk as I see a lot of Pau in him and I seriously don’t like how Wade and LeBron are handling things…

    Also, us losing to the Mavs would be much easier to take if the Mavs win it all.

  7. Beat the heat! Beat the heat!

  8. @Hale,

    I agree. I dislike both teams.

  9. I want Dallas to win just so Mark Jackson will go away.

  10. Well, this nicely caps our Phil Jackson era of either winning every season or losing to the eventual champs (’03 Spurs, ’04 Pistons, ’08 Celtics, ’11 Mavericks) – the two losses to Phoenix notwithstanding because those were the only times we didn’t field a competent team.

  11. Yeah, I guess this kicks off the summer pretty good. At least we lost to the 2011 champs, I am happy for Dirk and Jason also, why not be.

  12. Dirk asked LeBron if he could break a dollar. LeBron only gave him 75 cents. When asked why he only gave 75 cents, Lebron responds, “I don’t have the 4th quarter”

    Wacka wacka

  13. Great job by the Mavs. Happy to see Dirk and Kidd get one. Even happier to see the Heat lose.

  14. I can’t give you the fourth quarter!

  15. Hopefully this result signals the end of ESPN’s Heat Index.

  16. Hey Aaron, where are you now?

  17. Wow, so darn glad to see LeBron lose, it’s not even funny.

    Dirk can supplant Kobe as the tough, crunch time player blah blah blah but somehow I don’t mind that as much as LeBron being called better than Jordan and stuff.

  18. JB, as someone (was it Bugs Bunny?) once said, “there’s a fine line between champ and chump.”

  19. LeBron is clutch.

  20. congrats to the mavs and of course the heat winning would have been disastrous. but i also feel that the mavs got ridiculously hot the whole postseason from 3 which statistically cant be duplicated again.I feel that right now should the mavs and lakers meet up again same teams the lakers can be confident they can win as long as they play decent defense

  21. Daniel, unfortunately the Lakers have no one that can check the speedy Mav guards, Kidd and J.J. Barea.

  22. Dirk earned his ring and he was the real closer tonight. He has had to wait on long time for his ring, longer than other superstars. Congrats Dirk, J-Kidd and Co.

  23. tsuwn,i agree but i still say if pau plays at least his normal self the lakers woudnt give up so easily plus bynum was already dominating so it certainly would get competitive no sweep thats for sure. plus chandler looks so good defending the crappy miami centers ppl forget bynum was schooling him

  24. 21

    When you say LeCrab is clutch, it means that he can move forward 1st to 2nd gear. I think it has been proven he was moving backward so he is the reverse, from LeCrab to Le Choke for two years in a row.

    Congratulations Marvelous Mavericks for their 1st Championship. Mark Cuban was in his best behavior in these playoffs and called the right shots tonight by giving the honor to Mavs. founder, Don Carter and when pressed to say something, he gave the microphone to his coach, Rick Carlisle as the person to be credited for this Championship. Finally, he showed some class now being the Champs Owner. Without his persistence in constantly improving the team, they would not relinquish that title of being the “bridesmaid” in any celebrations.

  25. Now I want Nike to re-make the “what should I do?” commercial. This could be really good…

  26. +1 on where’s aaron

  27. Aaron for once we want to hear from you!

    I guess he has “good” company. Didn’t Van Gundy speculate the Heat would win 72+ games this year?

    Ah, hahaha !!

    On a related note, I do wish Dan Gilbert would put a cork in it. Geez, talk about sour grapes.

  28. I know logically, that the NBA’s headed for lockout. I truly hope however, that the powers that be in the league and ownership, can somehow accept that the game is in a good place right now, with public opinion, with viewership and with new revenue platforms emerging. There’s a way forward, without breaking the players’ union.

  29. It was very interesting to watch Dallas proceed through the playoffs against some of the the best youth and talent in the NBA with a team of over the hill veterans: Shawn “the matrix,” Peja, Tyson, Jason, Jason, Brian, and Dirk. Almost all of them had been cannon fodder for the Lakers for years–even a decade or more for some.

    Yet they had the one ingredient not quite as well developed on any of the teams they faced–a magical spirit we can only call “team chemistry.”

    Many have wanted the Lakers to be more like the teams the Mavs defeated–replacing Luke, Derek, and possibly others with younger talent.

    Maybe the focus should be on achieving a comparable cohesive spirit on next year’s Laker squad rather than placing all of our hopes in younger talent.

    With better chemistry, i believe tha the Lakers could have won it all this year.

    Maybe we need to be asking Coach Brown how many chemistry classes he had in school?

  30. Really wished one of the Mavs or Cuban would have made a crack tonight about wanting to borrow that stage and fireworks equipment the Heat set up in that arena for that phony little “Yes We Did” rally last July. It would have been classic, classless and oh so memorable all at the same time.

    Of course knowing Miami, maybe they’ll still hold another rally anyway so LeBron can practice counting/brag about how many losing trips he’ll make to the Finals:

    “Not two, not three… not seven. And when I say that, I really believe it. I’m not just up here blowing smoke in from of these fans. I’m about business, unless by ‘business’ you mean showing up for my job when it matters most, like the Finals or the fourth quarter.”

  31. I just realized that for the first time in my 45 years, I rooted for a team other than the Lakers. But that was because I hate the Heat. That said, one second after the Mavs won, I hated them as much as I did before.

  32. Zero pity for LeBron. Not only did he invent his own “King” monker, but he pushed it, flaunted it, and claimed it long before anyone printed it; And he’s never won anything. Everything he’s done during his professional career shows zero respect or humility for the sport. Far as millions are concerned, him never winning is the ultimate justice. Congratulations, Dallas.

  33. this is what i called KARMA… hahaha for the so called big three of LOSERS. wade lebron and bosh unite the beat KOBE. but SORRY LOSER YOU GUYS JUST CAN’T GET THE JOB DONE…PERIOD!!!!!!!!! congrats TO THE MAVERICKS. lets see next season with a complete new LAKERS.

  34. I can’t believe Lebron was -24 for the game. I mean I he didn’t play as well as he could have but I didn’t think that it would merit a -24. He did score at a pretty decent rate save for the 6 turnovers/

    Which leads me to,

    would you guys know what Kobe’s +/- stats were, when he scored 81 points?
    Old yahoo games boxscore do not have the +/- stats yet 😀

  35. I think that Wade’s and James’ offensive games are so similar that against good teams, unless they get a lot of transition baskets, it’s extremely hard for both of them to do well in the same game. And Dallas got back well on defense, and for the most part didn’t turn the ball over much, so Miami wasn’t able to get the easy baskets.

  36. You must give Dallas credit. Most 3-point shooting teams don’t measure up at the end and go down in flames shooting threes, but they didn’t. Their time had finally come. They played great, consistent defense and put a blanket around Wade, James and Bosh. The question is, can they do it again? They are older, slower, and less athletic than the Lakers, if that means anything, but trying to maintain for two years in a row is tough.
    The Lakers are still in it, and will be contenders for a few more years. Let the fun begin, the Lakers finally have a western conference team to fear, and they will be better for it.

  37. 29, I’d say Mike Brown is pretty good at chemistry, because his Cleveland teams were some of the best chemistry teams in the league when he was their coach.

    I’d say this Dallas win is a clear victory for those who support 1.) team chemistry and teamwork leading to victories, 2.) A management system willing and able to use statistical measures to inform decisions.

    The first point is obvious in that no one can make the case that Dallas is more talented than Miami. Jason Terry is nowhere near as good as Chris Bosh, and Terry was easily the Mavs second best player to Chris Bosh being the Heat’s third best player. Beyond that, would you rather have:

    a.) Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Joel Anthony, Eddie House, Mario Chalmers, Juwan Howard, and Mike Bibby, or

    b.) Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion, Peja Stojakovic, Deshawn Stevenson, JJ Barea, Ian Mahinmi, Brendan Haywood, and Brian Cardinal.

    While Dallas is probably a little better in this regard, you can’t make the case that they’re overwhelmingly more talented than the Heat bench.

    Truly, the Heat blow the Mavs out of the water in terms of pure talent, but the Mavs blow the Heat out of the water in terms of fit and chemistry.

    Which belies the second point, since the Mavs obviously made adjustments according to what they saw on film and what they believed was statistically advantageous. Why else would a team so radically alter its rotation, starting JJ Barea instead of Deshawn Stevenson, bolting Peja to the bench and bringing in of all guys, Brian Cardinal? I’d say making these moves without statistical backing would have a murky predicted outcome at best, but something in the numbers must have suggested that Peja was killing the Mavs in this series, and they needed someone like Cardinal to thug-up the game (and boy did he thug it up).

    Yes, Dallas shot lights out in almost the entire playoffs from three. But you need to get lucky to win a title. The Lakers got lucky by having guys shoot tremendous three point percentages in the playoffs that never did ever again in 09 and ’10 (Ariza, Odom, Brown), and getting some ridiculously clutch play out of Derek Fisher. But if you told me at the beginning of the year that a Dallas team without Caron Butler and playing zero minutes to Roddy Beaubois would: 1.) sweep the Lakers, 2.) beat OKC twice in OKC and close them out in 5, 3.) beat the Heat in 6 excruciatingly close games to win the Finals, I would’ve called you a complete idiot and a crazy man. And this would’ve come from me, who picked Dallas pre-season as the number 1 contender to dethrone the Lakers in the West.

    This Dallas team definitely played above their potential all post-season long, but it was their chemistry and their willingness to make changes based on statistical measures that allowed them play at a greater level than the sum of their parts.

  38. Phil Jackson established chemistry by setting up a rotation where everyone knew when and how long they would be playing. Then he expected the players to adjust. Chemistry was being comfortable with your teammates and your role.

    Rick Carlisle looked at the situation each team presented and assembled the best personnel to counter that team. With the stats geek on the sidelines, I think Dallas’ approach will be more successful going forward. Of course you have to have a deep team of different individuals – and they can’t all be youngsters demanding more time.

    That’s the rub for Miami. That’s why I think Mike Brown is a good hire for the Lakers.

    Congrats to Dallas. You all deserved it!

  39. I too was rooting for Dallas, the team that unceremoniously swept our Lakers. I call this strange and peculiar allegiance between LA/Dallas, the “Fellowship of the Ring.” Now that Dallas got their first ring (only 16 more to catch the Lakers), the fellowship is over. Let’s take down Dallas next season (notice I didn’t say “year” since the season may not happen until 2012).

    Lebron’s statement about “your life sucks compared to mine” just shows how out of touch he is with reality. Just when I started to feel a scintilla of sympathy for Lebron, he had to make that stupid statement. He needs to get rid of all the sycophants in his life, get a Charles Oakley-esque mentor who will straighten him up. I really feel that since Michael Jordan, Nike has built up and marketed the one superstar. I truly believe after last night’s HEAT loss, we may have “witnessed” the death of the star-centric NBA. It’s hopefully back to team ball, something I hope our beloved Lakers embrace in the coming years.

  40. As embarrassing as it is to admit this, I have never been so happy to see a team lose. 🙂

    Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for Dallas. Yes, I actually am. I am also happy that the ones who knocked out my team ended up winning it all… if we’re going to be swept by anyone, it had better be the new champions! But I’m happy for them anyway, particularly for Dirk. He’s worked so hard, for so long, and he finally made it. Plus, the fact that he got to win against the team he lost to in 2006, in the arena where LeBron and his cronies held that nauseating pre-win celebration, appeals to my sense of symmetry.

    *lifts glass* To the Mavs. To the hard working, comparatively humble, and well deserving champions.

  41. Since 1999, the Lakers have either won the championship or lost to the eventual champion (be it in the final or in the West) 10 out of 13 times.

    The only years it didn’t happen was in 2005 (missed playoffs), 2006 and 2007 (losses to Phoenix in the first round).

    While they only have five titles in that span, that’s still pretty impressive.

  42. Did anyone else see Lil Wayne courtside wearing a Laker’s fitted? Is there a backstory to that?

  43. Time to celebrate Mavs. for a well deserved NBA crown.

    Let’s go back to the Lakers. We have a new beginning with the capped/blue jeans owner and a affable star-struck Coach. Will this be enough to produce change in the Laker land? It appears that MB is diametrically opposite than the Zen coach, he is likable, always smiling but I’m just worried that he adores too much on star players like Lebron or Kobe. It can be good but also diminishes respect if you always redound to being submissive. Gotta present a new aura of change i.e. being creative like Rick Calisle or even the losing coach Eric Spolestra. Before making any kind of predictions and optimism, show us first what’s cooking and what you’re capable of doing? This is not middle-of-the-road team that you can wing it because you’re close to the owner and accepted by Hollywood, it’s a testy town for talented people. First and foremost, who are the players you will choose in the draft; Second, how will u solve the speed and PG dilemma? Thirdly, how will you motivate your players on a strike due to lockout to hone their skills and continue workouts without supervision; Fourthly, are you good enough to replace the void left by 11 ring Coach? You say, “that’s difficult to fulfill.” Well, as good as it gets that you’re trying harder to appease the management as well as the fans but earning a Championship is the only barometer of success in a testy cosmopolitan city like Los Angeles. This is not San Antonio nor Cleveland where you are hailed a hero for being Coach of the Year or earned 60+ wins. It’s Championship or else you’re toast and busted.

  44. At the end of the day the Mavs were the best TEAM throughout the playoffs. I think that almost no one took them seriously until the LA series says a lot. Lakers lost because the whole TEAM did not show up…weak D, and selfish ball. Honestly Pau was soft most of the season, with some highlights here and there. However, in the Dallas series it became evident because whatever was being done to cover it during the regular season was no longer there. Dallas played with intensity, great D, and players who were hungry. When all those false rumors came out during and after the Dallas series all I could do was shake my head…just face it…the better team won…no hollywood drama needed. Like the better team beat the Heat last night.

    I think the Lakers will come back much hungrier next season..and just wont assume that they will automatically win it all…

  45. Edwin,
    Before you define MB as adoring star players too much you might review the situation. Your reference is certainly Cleveland and they are not only a single part of Mike’s background, but they are a really special case.

    The owner in Cleveland was someone who tried to give Lebron everything he wished for, even before he asked for it. If you are a coach in that situation you better pay attention or you will be gone in 60 sec. Second, Mike had to design a Lebron centric offense because Lebron was ineffective playing off the ball – see the 2011 Finals for an example of this – and his surrounding cast was average role players.

    With the above group of players Mike Brown orchestrated the leagues’ best defense.

    With the addition of the best European head coach- Ettore Messina – as an assistant (Kobe and Pau will really like/respect this) and the talent on the Lakers, I expect we will see a fairly cohesive team after a settling in period next season.

  46. 45

    I agree with your assessment Craig, Dan Gilbert was dreaming instant success for Lebron & Mike Brown to deliver Cleveland to promise land. When Lebron left the Cavaliers, it was replaced by sour grapes accompanied by cursing, unrealistic promises and blamed the Coach as well for the debacle. I guess that’s the coatails in chasing glory without hardwork and player development. As the Mavs. have realized over the years, Championship cannot be bought, it has to be earned.

    Having said that it is best to lay down the warning signs for the new sheriff in town and his deputies. They got the red carpet now the warning signs in a grid lock territory. Coming to Los Angeles is sometimes perceived by Easterners as instant success as we are looked at as a place of laid back people full of Hollyweirdos. In a way, it is true but life here could also be testy because of the high cost of living in a good life and the home of the world population. We can identify ourselves with Jerry West, Chick Hearn, Pat Riley and Phil Jackson made a good name and success here but they paid the price of hard work and results. They contributed to the tradition of excellence of what the purple and gold brand is known for. Therefore, to the Mike Brown’s, Ettore Mesinna’s, Chuck Person, et al it is not an easy job ahead. Putting it in Hollywood perspective, is Mike Brown going for Oscars on his first movie or just a blockbuster money making production or a B-rated classification enough to survive or none of the above?

    What I’m really sayingCraig, “forewarned is forearmed” (meaning better forewarned than sorry later): that Laker fans are difficult to please; that Kobe may be more complicated than Lebron; that being embraced by Jimbo is not a passport for success from easy going eclectic fans and the cynical media.

  47. Mavs are not even the best team in the league! Bottom-line once they knocked off the malfunctioning Lakers it was smooth-sailing for them.

    Basically, Miami was severely out-coached and they seemed to never develop any offensive cohesion. Letting LeBron launch 30-footers when his should have been on the block with the 6’3″ Stevenson or JKidd guarding him.

    Dallas played alot of zone to mask their flaws. This fact sickens me but welcome to the new NBA. What’s next the goofy trapezoid key?

  48. Big team effort and hard work gave the Mavs the title.