NBA Finals Thread

  • In the absence of college hoops, I will on occasion turn to the NBA playoffs to get a little bit of a basketball fix. We already began talking about some NBA topics when musing on the future of Mario Chalmers, but I thought I’d create a thread just for some NBA talk.

    I don’t profess to be nearly as knowledgeable about the NBA as I am about KU hoops, but here are a few observations following 2 games of Finals action:

    1. As has been discussed, Chalmers is in a contract year. And obviously everyone probably noticed his poor performance in game 1. However, I didn’t realize the larger scope of his struggles. Here’s a link to an artilce, as well as an excerpt from said article:

    • “Chalmers hasn’t had a double-figure scoring night since May 8, which would be a full month by the time Game 2 tips Sunday. Thursday’s game was his second five-turnover game in his last six, during which his assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.1-to-1. He’s averaging less than one made 3 per game in the postseason, and his 6.8 postseason scoring average and 5.8 field-goal attempts per game would be the lowest of his six playoff appearances.”

    In game 2 he played better, but that wasn’t going to be difficult. Overall it was another poor performance. 4 pts, 4 ast, 3 rbs, 1 TO. Throw in the flagrant foul for elbowing Parker on a drive, and it all adds up to being hard to watch him right now. Definitely the wrong time to be playing some of the worst basketball of his professional career, heading into free agency.

    1. Speaking of Chalmers’ flagrant foul, the Spurs going 0-4 from the stripe following that foul was pivotal. You could say it cost them the game, given that they lost by 2, but we don’t know how the rest of the game would have played out. But here’s the situation: with 6:43 left Parker heads to the line, clearly shaken from the elbow, and misses both throws. Spurs keep the ball due to the flagrant, Duncan is fouled on the possession, and misses both of his free throws as well. At the time the Spurs were up by 2. If they hit say 3 out of 4 (as was their average on the other 16 free throws that game), they go up 5. Instead, they get nothing, LeBron comes down and nails a 3 to give the Heat the lead, and the momentum had clearly gone over to the Miami side.

    2. Dewyane Wade pulled his best Marcus Smart flopper imitation during game 2. In the second quarter, he snapped his head back as if Lee Harvey hit him with a long range rifle shot when Ginobli took a swipe and miss at the ball. This drew Ginobli’s 3rd foul and he sat the rest of the half I believe. Later in the game he went sprawling on the court as Tiago Splitter caught it on the blocks, spun, and made a lay-up. There was no call. Now ABC didn’t show a replay, but either he tried flopping again and the refs didn’t bite, or the refs found out he got one over on them in the first half and let that one go on purpose. In either case, not a good look for Wade. Some may call it smart, or justify it with “whatever you can get away with”, but to me it’s just poor sportsmanship. There’s a difference between selling a call and flopping.

    3. Overall, I thought the officiating was pretty poor. I will say that I think it has got to be an incredibly tough job to try an officiate such physical contests as the NBA finals have become. Despite this, I thought there was little consistency and several blown calls. The technical on Duncan was absurd. The technical on LeBron was more justified because you could see him dropping some F-bombs, but this was out of frustration at what looked like another blown call by the officials. Also, I know it’s probably in line with the rules, but Van Gundy pointed out how ridiculous it is for a jump shooter to jump sideways (a totally unnatural motion for a jump shooter) into contact to draw a foul.

    4. It used to be Shaq was considered the most difficult player to officiate. Now that title belongs to LeBron. He does get hacked with no whistle probably more than any other player. He also gets away with using his incredible strength to discard players more than any other player. It probably comes close to evening out, but it has to be frustrating for him & opponents alike.

    5. Greg Popovich regularly gets credit for being one of the best coaches in the game, but I find myself more & more impressed by the coaching job Spolestra does. I know a lot of lesser educated fans tend to think a monkey could win with the talent he has at his disposal, but he really does make the adjustments to get the most out of his team.

    That’s about it for now. Game 3 Tuesday. I’m still saying Spurs in 7, but I would have felt a lot more confident about that pick had they gone up 2-0.

  • @icthawkfan316

    Nice summary of the game. I agree that the four missed free throws probably doomed the Spurs. If they make all four they are up by six points and perhaps the game turns out differently…maybe the elbow by Chalmers was done on purpose since the Heat went on a 13-9 run after that, really a a 13-6 run since the last 3 points by the Spurs was a meaningless three pointer at the final buzzer.

    While Mario’s offensive game was still below average, his defense was pretty decent and earned him 31 minutes of playing time compared to 11 for Norris Cole. His assist-to-turnover ratio was decent 4:1 and was +5 while on the court.

    The refereeing was frustrating; way too many blown calls and “make up” calls for a Championship series.

  • While I will always have a tremendous amount of love for Mario, that was a very cheap shot to Tony P. I’ve been a long time fan of the Spurs, going back to when David Robinson stepped aside for Timmy. Being in Austin, the Spurs were the team to follow. Plus we have their farm team here in Austin (The Toros). I never liked the Mavs due to Cuban. Granted, the Spurs missed 4 straight free throws and didn’t capitalize when they were up by 11 and missed several shots down the stretch. The officiating was not consistent at all. Hope all 3 don’t get any more games. Spurs will need to get one back in Miami.

    I know there has been conversation before about “the Bird Man.” I am just so put off by him.

    ##Go Spurs Go!

    P.S. to @drgnslayr and @crimsonorblue22 - I’ve been enjoying my tomatoes out of our garden and green beans every night. I’ve taken tomatoes to the local old folks home and heard many stories from them about when they used to garden. Was a real good feeling doing something for them. Brought lots of smiles to their faces. 🙂

  • The recent LBJ bashers got schooled in Quarter #3. When a player of his stature heats up and goes deadly, O My!

  • In general I don’t care about the NBA unless a Jayhawk makes OT to the finals. So I hope Mario fares well. On a side note I sat next to the Admiral on a plane once. A. The man’s biceps were the size of my thighs. B. I asked for his autograph. He wrote Matt 6:33 and then D Robinson.
    We don’t hear enough about the good guys in the pros.

  • LeBron really lit it up. He is one of those guys that can’t be stopped, your only hope is he goes cold. Not the case last night… Wow!


    I’m pulling for the Spurs… I’m a huge fan of Coach Pop! Also, Duncan, Parker and the entire team. I do think Mario’s shot was intentional because those things end up motivating the team and there is no team as dangerous as the Heat once they get motivated.

    Glad your produce is flowing! I got most of my stuff in the ground a little late because this year I’m growing off seedling plants. But I’ve had several tomatoes and I pulled them off the plants immediately so the plants could just focus on developing more structure still.

    I’ve been eating awesome salads for a good month now. All my greens are still doing nicely because of the cool weather and rain.

    Rabbits got my beans, and I’m trying to see if I can still get a few off of new seedlings. I pee’d on an 80 yr oak that is nearby my garden in hopes to keep the bunnies away. That has always worked for me in the past with all kinds of critters. They smell the protein in urine and realize it came from a predator.

  • This has been a great series to watch so far as a basketball fan. Watching how the Spurs move the ball is just incredible. Watching how the Heat defend that ball movement is also pretty incredible. The Spurs move the ball faster than any team I’ve seen, but the Heat are pretty consistent with being able to close out on them.

    My curiosity is whether or not the Heat can keep up that defensive intensity for the rest of the series. It was pretty clear that the entire Heat team (not just LeBron) was sapped by the heat in Game 1. Since they aren’t very deep and their key guys (James, Wade, Bosh) have to play 35+ minutes in a very demanding defensive system, it will be interesting to see how they handle that now that they have crossed the 100 game mark for the season (last night was game 101) for the fourth consecutive year. By my count they went 103 games in 2011, 105 in 2012 and 105 again last year. That’s a lot of mileage on a team that isn’t really all that young any more.

    The fun part of this series is seeing two very talented, well coached teams go back and forth. I think the series is a toss up, but it very well may have turned on the Spurs coming up empty on the flagrant foul play, squandering an opportunity to get a 5 or 6 point swing in a very close game.

  • I’ve repeated this story before, so if you’ve heard it forgive me. But there was an incredible bench of coaches at KU in the mid 80’s. With Larry Brown one season was Calipari. No explanation needed. The next season Popovich was a one year unpaid assistant under Larry. Pop went to Pomona Pitzer the next year which explains why KU played them in our championship season. I was at that game and even Pop couldn’t prevent a 60-70 point blowout! Now add in there Bill Self as an assistant in 85-86, and my goodness, there may not have been a finer coaching staff ever assembled! Or you could say Larry Brown is the greatest developer of coaching talent ever. Either way, KU comes out looking pretty good!

  • @icthawkfan316 Great post!

    I just need to share this with my fellow KU fans. I moved from Topeka to San Antonio when I was a bout 11 years old. Once at school, when I was out on the playground playing ball with some kids, we got into an argument about something or another. A kid said to me, “you’re from Kansas, what do you know about basketball???”

    I have hated San Antonio Spurs fans ever since.

  • @MoonwalkMafia That’s funny- Just think if you still knew that person-you could tell that story to his kids.

  • One other thing in watching the Finals last night - you can’t tell me Josh Selby and Tyshawn aren’t better than Norris Cole and Patty Mills. Just like when we were discussing the situation with Chalmers, the NBA is all about landing in the right situation at the right time.

  • @icthawkfan316 you are exactly right, I pray they get in that “right place”, and Mario can stay in it.

  • @RockChalkinTexas thanks for the update!!! Would love to see your garden and slayers too. Mines, just simple. We’re getting a lot of rain in s. Central ks-for a change, weeds are growing!! Funny about slayer peeing, I had my son do that when he was home, deer were in mine.

  • @MoonwalkMafia lol - that doesn’t even make sense. That’s like someone telling a Texan - “You’re from Texas, what do you know about bullsh*t ?”

  • @drgnslayr I tried peeing on the potted plants, but that didn’t work out so well.

    Stupid mall security…

  • @nuleafjhawk I bet you were drooling over that!!! Good one. Makes me laugh!

  • @nuleafjhawk

    You may be the funniest poster on here!

  • DWade fined $5k for the flop. Big deal. Chump change to this guy. Way to go all soccer on them tough guy. The only thing that’s a bigger joke is his explanation:

    “He took a swipe and he hit me,” Wade said Monday, before the fine was announced. “It was a late call by the ref, but he called it.”

    “I saw Manu coming out of the corner of my eye to try to steal it so my only thing was to make sure that he didn’t steal it,” Wade said. “He swiped and he wound up hitting me and the ref called a foul. We move on.”

    But really, for as little as I watch NBA, it seems like he’s developing a rep as one of (if not the ) dirtiest player in the league. Flopping aside, how many players does he have to “accidentally injure”? Paul George with the knee to the head in the Eastern Conference Finals. Kicking Ramon Sessions in the junk. Dislocating Rondo’s elbow. And those are just the instances I remembered off the top of my head. Type “Dwyane Wade dirty” into a youtube or google search. It’s unreal how classless & despicable this guy is.

    Another reason to root against the Heat.

  • @icthawkfan316 Maybe DWade has consciously tried to establish an intimidating reputation, who knows…

  • During that last few minutes, even despite the 4 FT misses, I also saw Miami make 3 straight trips and miss 2 jumpshots and 1 paint att. That game was up for grabs. Credit Miami for having the guts to go with a set-play as Bosh hit a cutting Ray Allen, who did a 1touch pass to BirdMan. Then in the end, Bosh made the correct decision to take Duncan off the dribble, drew 3 defenders, and dumped it down to DWade alone under the rim.

    Miami shown they can defend Spurs. Spurs also have to defend Miami.

    While I like Kwahi Leonard, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and I suppose Ginobili…I like LBJ, DWade, Bosh, Chalmers, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, and Norris Cole more.

  • Here’s what I dont buy: the criticism about “big3”. If anyone wants to criticize the deal crafted by Pat Riley for LBJ, Bosh, and Wade…then let’s also criticize the Celtics for their “Big3” of KGarnett, PPierce, Ray Allen. It was even marketed and publicized as “Big3”. They also won the 08Championship. In '07, Ray Allen had a public dispute with Kobe Bryant, and Kobe said to a reporter: “dont even mention me in the same breath as that dude (Allen)”. Ray Allen had the last laugh.

    Ray Allen is another reason I like the Heat. I have zero problem with the way LeBron James carries himself and has conducted himself the last 3yrs with the Heat, I feel he’s matured quite a bit. Now, LBJ is a consumate pro, and well-articulate and all-business on the mic. Can anyone blame him for wanting to play with his buddy DWade, and for an organization headed by legendary Pat Riley? Pat Riley has been one of the classiest guys in the NBA for decades. John Calipari wishes he was Pat Riley. While I thought the “Decision” smoke&mirrors thing was a bad PR move (fire that PR firm!), that’s old news. Whatever team you throw out there still has to go get the W’s, and get themselves into the Finals, right?

    Got NO issue with the Spurs, just like the Heat more. Didnt even mention Chalmers yet…

  • Someone mentioned the Heat arent exactly a “young” team and have played over 100 games the last few seasons. You can say the exact same thing about the Spurs, too.

  • Chris “BirdMan” Andersen isnt the distraction that Denis Rodman was. His game is one of hard scraps/garbage type play, does the dirty work. He adds a more physical presence than Bosh, while Bosh adds more athleticism and finesse. So he is a complimentary piece for the Heat. And he is a pro. He plays his role to a ‘T’. Notice how he is usually in the right place at the right time.

    Regarding his appearance, what do we want to say in 2014? It isnt 1984. The appearance is simply a reflection of a segment of society. When you see the full-coverage tattoos and now the duckdynasty-beard, just think “pop culture”. (It’s funny, we used to call such beards a ‘zz-top beard’, now I call it a duck dynasty beard). Who am I to tell Chris Andersen anything about that? His deal. Let’s not forget Scot Pollard, who experimented alot with appearance, but his game was always about being in the right place at the right time in the NBA.

    I’d never heard of Chris Andersen prior to his arrival on the Heat, but I see exactly why he’s on their roster, when I see his game.

  • Google image Chris Bosh, and there are “categories” of BoshVelociraptor and Bosh-Ostrich. Ridiculously funny stuff!! Frankly, I liked him better with the dreds when he was with the Raptors and the Olympics. He was rather menacing with that look.

  • @REHawk I like your phrase: “the recent LBJ bashers…”. Really, what’s there for anyone to bash? If I want to bash any NBA player right now, I might want to bash Lance Stephenson…Not only were his antics a pitiful display for a professional player (same as Rodman was, eventhough my alltime fave pro team was MJ’s Bulls), but Lance Stephenson also disrespected Larry Bird directly. “Born Ready?” I bet Larry Bird is deciding right about now what exactly Lance Stephenson is ‘ready’ for…

  • @ralster All Jayhawk fans should breathe a giant sigh of relief that Stephenson’s teen promoters steered him away from Lawrence. Really surprising that he did not end up with Calipari. The guy really does have more talent than I had considered, but his actions are reprehensible. Leaves Larry Bird with a real dilemma on his hands, trying to decide on keeping him or brokering a trade. Born Ready is bound to paint the Pacers as Ugly Franchise NBA.

  • @ralster Clearly you’re a Heat guy. That’s cool. I don’t watch or care enough about the NBA to begrudge you that. But here’s a few things:

    First, regarding Wade - if he was pulling that crap for Okie St. or Iowa St., I think we would all have him as public enemy number 1. I don’t buy that he’s trying to craft an intimidating reputation. I like to think I judge him with very little bias: I loved his game at Marquette, thought he was one of the classier players in the league in his early years, etc. But I have a growing disgust for his cheap shots and flopping. I’m not the only one either:

    And that’s from a year ago, so it doesn’t even take into account the more recent stuff (again, the knee to the head of Paul George). You may want to bash Stephenson, and his antics were foolish and silly, but were they dirty? Isn’t a dirty player worse than a clown?

    Second, surely you’re not oblivious to the LBJ bashers? They had a field day after his cramps got the better of him in game 1. I believe that is what @REHawk was referring to when he said “recent” LBJ bashers. Within a day I saw videos put together of what is now called “LeBroning”. Google it.

    And for numerous reasons, LBJ will never be beloved or revered the way MJ was. Heck, maybe even not as much as Kobe was. Most of it is unfair. But again, following the cramps there were numerous things all over social media (twitter, facebook, instagram) criticizing LeBron. How Jordan gutted it out through the flu to carry his team to a playoff victory or how Kobe took foul shots with a torn achilles before walking off under his own power, yet LeBron had to be helped off the court by teammates in a playoff game they eventually lost.

    Of course that’s garbage, as cramps are more or less impossible to just “fight through”.

    Lastly, as for the criticism of the big 3, we hashed that out all on the Chalmers Decision thread. We’ll have to agree to disagree. I still think it’s different, and several NBA HOFers (who said nothing when the Celtics Big 3 came together), publicly came out against the LBJ-DWade-Bosh union.

    (side note: I’m pretty sure Kobe had the last laugh, winning the '10 championship over Allen’s Celtics and pretty much putting an end to the Boston Big 3’s relevancy).

  • @ralster

    I’m stupid. I forgot that the 2011-2012 season was a lockout season with only 66 regular season games, so my math is wrong anyway.

    The game count from 2010-11 until now is as follows

    Heat - 103, 89, 105, 105 (so far) Spurs - 88, 80, 103, 102 (so far)

    It reminds me a bit of what the Bad Boy Pistons talk about in their 30 for 30 on the Worldwide Leader. Starting in 1986-87 they played 97, 105, 99, 102 and 97 games. They went to the ECF twice and the Finals three times, winning two titles. But that team aged and was eventually felled by Jordan’s Bulls. In year 6 they lost in the first round of the playoffs. The same thing happened to the new bad boys in the 2000s. From 2002-03 until 2007-08 they played 99, 105, 107, 100, 98, and 99 games. The won one title, went to the Finals one other time and lost in the ECF 4 times. At the end of the run, they also lost in the first round of the playoffs.

    That’s what’s coming for the Heat at some point, whether that is this year or next year, or the year after. They have had a strong four year run. Years 5 and 6 are where it gets dicey because unless they can retool through free agency or the draft to get some bench help, they will wear down.

  • @REHawk just maybe… W/a coach and mentor like Coach Self, we have a different young man??? Rose colored glasses!!!

  • @ralster

    I like Andersen and he is the prototype journeyman player that does what the is asked to do without taking the spot light from the super stars. I never cared for Rodman and I care even less now; I think he is a real a-$-$-hole…and no, the “$” do not stand for dollars.

    But also keep in mind that he has the longest suspension in the history of the NBA for drug use, which I undersatnd it was pretty hard core; although he seems to be fully rehabilitated and doing a fair amount of charity work.

    • Three games in, three bad games for Mario. What’s disconcerting is that you heard the announcers talking about how it has become a concern with management. And for all the talk about how clutch he is, the Heat haven’t had him in at the end of games. They’re increasingly going to a no-PG line-up. I really hope he responds with a big game later in the series.

    • Speaking of the announcers, damn you Golden State for firing Mark Jackson. Listening to him is brutal. How many times do I have to hear him say “Hand down…MAN DOWN!” in that gravelly, Christian Bale Batman voice?

    • The Spurs first half offense was a thing of beauty. I think Self should have that half on tape just to show his teams about ball movement and crisp passing.

    • I can’t help but think when watching the Spurs that Pop, Duncan, Parker, & Ginobili will all retire together. Not sure who is going first, but I can’t see that veteran group warming up to a different coach. Similarly, I can’t see Pop wanting to take on a rebuild project once some of the core start leaving.

    Game 4 Thursday. While I do think this series is somewhat like a chess match with all the adjustments being made, I think Thursday LeBron wills them to a victory and evens the series.

  • Both Chalmers and Norris Cole have played poorly this series. Miami has figured out over the last few years that in order to be most effective, they need to surround James and Wade with 3 point shooters. A couple years ago, one of those guys was Shane Battier, but as his shooting has fallen off he has fallen out of the rotation more and more. Udonis Haslem can barely get on the floor because he cannot stretch the defense. Because James and Wade can both handle the ball so well, Miami really doesn’t have to play a PG, so if Chalmers and Cole continue to shoot poorly, their minutes will continue to dwindle. I have a feeling one of them gets hot at least once this series, though.

    The first 18 minutes of that game was some of the prettiest offense you will ever see. Gorgeous cuts, brilliant passing, great communication, exceptional ball movement, everything you would ever want to see on the offensive end from the Spurs. The Heat defense stiffened a bit in the middle of the game, from probably the 4 minute mark in the second quarter until the end of the third quarter, but when the Spurs offense is right, the way they move the ball is so demanding for a defense that you can’t keep up.

    I’m guessing the Heat will show a new defensive wrinkle in Game 4. It has been shown through this series that they can’t keep their ball pressure up for a full game, and when they haven’t been able to dial that pressure up to its highest level, the Spurs have been able to find open men for easy shots. I think the Heat may have to be a little more conservative defensively, not looking to trap ball handlers out towards half court because the Spurs have shown they can hit the open man and create those great 4 on 3 opportunities when that rotation is even a quarter step slow.

    San Antonio changed the angle on their side pick and roll and that seemed to really throw Miami for a loop, as they couldn’t attack that ball handler as well without giving up an easy path to roll to the basket. Miami also needs to find a way to get a bigger guy defending the roll man, because no guard is going to stop Duncan or Diaw when they are rolling to the rim. Unfortunately, the Heat’s preferred James-Parker matchup keeps LeBron from taking the roller. The Heat may try Wade on Parker if they can’t get Chalmers or Cole going.

  • @icthawkfan316

    Mario’s offense has completely taken a vacation. His defense has improved some and this is why he still got to play 22 minutes and his +/- is better than any of the other players so he must be doing something right.

    On Sports Center they were saying that the Heath needs to try a different lineup since the current one is just not working. Worst possible time for Chalmers to have a slump; hopefully he can get his confidence back and salvage the series and hopefully be in a good position to negotiate his contract. He and Pierce have been the most visible KU players in the NBA and I would hate to not have him, particularly when Pierce is getting close to retirement.

  • @icthawkfan316 Agree totally about the concern over Mario, we’ll see what happens. Mario saved the Heat 2 years straight with a big game in each Finals…I hope for him he does it again.

    It was simply breathtaking to see the Spurs offense the first half. I’ve NEVER seen an offense work that good. Agree 100% it should be “required” film shown to all basketball teams. And the Spurs did that on the road!

    The flip side to the Spurs performance, is they let’s see them pull magic out of a bottle again, if that’s what it took to beat the Heat. The Heat shot 58%, and still lost. If the Spurs can play like that to win 4 games, man, they deserve the trophy & I’d tip my hat to them.

    (Regarding being a Heat fan…I like many NBA teams, but have liked DWade since he + Shaq won it all. And I like LeBron. Love Chalmers. 2 yrs ago, I was for Celtics or OKC or Heat. Last year I was definitely for the Heat. This year, again pulling for the Heat. I didnt mind the surging Pacers this season, but Lance Stephenson ruined that series. I thought his open handed slap to Norris Cole’s face was pretty dirty. And to me personally, that stupid psychiatric display from Lance is simply more distasteful than any dirty or physical play–didnt like it when Rodman did it with the Bulls, didnt like it when Ron Artest did such things… Maybe I should remind anyone that I 100% support Self’s more physical style of play, so I’m OK with the physicality, in general. DWade isnt the only one who pushes the physicality envelope. I liked Thomas Robinson. I liked the Morris Twins. I liked Russell Robinson (who was called ‘despicable’ by some opposing fans). And I support EJ, thinking he could have retaliated against Mitch McGary (who proved SOFT) in some other manner. I liked Withey’s physicality to the point I think he broke Jordan Enriquez’s nose. There are MANY anti-ku fans that consider Self’s teams as ‘dirty’ as Izzo’s or Duke’s. There’s whole youtube videos out there from KState people decrying how dirty KU plays. Well, who cares what they think when they sit there and chant the crap they chant, so I’m all for however Self wants his team to handle them. Comeuppance put in context of today’s game is a nice phrase. Its all relative–what’s allowed and what’s considered dirty in the NBA has changed since MJs heyday. And if many talking heads are mentioning the “physical play” in the NBA playoffs, why would I care that declining, aging DWade thinks he has to resort to physical play? I dont think he is capable of nightly 25+ppg performances, I’d think that would be enough for those that dont like DWade, to see that he is fading. But I guess my point about “declining” DWade proves why the Heat getting LBJ was a good, necessary thing: DWade simply is no longer able to carry a team. Period. And if my all-time life hero MJ cannot see that fact, even with his own knee problems, then that’s his shortsightedness. Of course the green elephant in the room is the fact, as you said, that nobody came out against the ‘other Big3’ of the Celtics. That lack of criticism for the Celtics Big3 of course is still awaiting a rational explanation, considering the Big3 of the Heat drew criticism. I truly think its just “fashionable” to bash LBJ and the Heat. So, it touches the counter-grain, closet rebel in me…and makes me more of a Heat fan, win or lose: so I actually bought some Heat swingman shorts to play ball about 5% of the time in…(95% of the time I play in KU shorts). But always in MJ shoes…

    The funniest thing is when the NBA announcers were bashing those “twitter critics” or “twitterazzi”, as VanGundy put it. They know the game, they know how baseless that critique was. But its OK, people can hate on whoever they like to hate on. That’s human nature.)

    Again, got no problem with the Spurs organization, Popovich (highly respected), or any of their players.

  • But, it seems we digress on this thread…I’ll only watch NBA Conf. finals and Finals. My main basketball interest is college ball (KU). RCJH

  • @ralster it looks as if most posters think like you do. Most of us only know about Jhawks in the NBA! Go Mario!

  • @ralster No worries about digressing on this thread. It’s why I started it, to talk about the NBA. I’m like you, in that I only pay attention (sportscenter, reading articles, etc.) all season and only watch games during the playoffs. I’ve never had a team I was loyal to. The Bulls when they had Jordan. The Celtics because of Pierce. Not even the Lakers even though I’m a big Kobe fan.

    I don’t mind physical play either. But just like I think there’s a line between selling a call & flopping, there’s a line between physical play and being a dirty player. I think Wade has crossed that line (on both counts). I think the Morris Twins occasionally crossed that line and were not just physical, but dirty. Never thought the same about TRob or RussRob.

    Regarding the Celtics not drawing criticism for their Big3 while the Heat do, I think it’s a lot of factors. I think you’re partially right, for whatever reason people like bashing LeBron. We could speculate on those reasons; I’m not really sure why. I think some of it is that a lot of the current generation watching the NBA grew up with Jordan as their childhood idol, and they will constantly try to diminish the greatness of LBJ so that he doesn’t approach Jordan status. Just a guess on my part.

    I think there are other reason why the Heat Big3 draws criticism. Part of it is that they were assembled via free agency. Remember Boston had to trade a lot of draft picks & complementary pieces to acquire Allen & Garnett. The Heat did not. Boston didn’t have this massive window in which they were able to dominate the league, due to a weaker supporting cast and because not a one of the Celtics Big3 were in the primes of their career when they came together. Also, the fact that it was planned so far out makes it seem as if the players were being a tad disloyal to their former teams (and fans).

    And I think there is a natural tendency for there to be an overriding hatred against “superteams”. The Yankees in baseball, with their 20-something world series wins, are a prime example of this. The Patriots in football recently. Nobody likes a bully, and the Heat are the bully of the NBA. Or to put it another way, it feels like there isn’t a competitive balance in the league.

    And I read an article yesterday about the Heat looking to make it the Big4 and will try to add Carmelo to their current group. What do you think about that? To pluck yet another all-star from another Eastern conference team…man I hope not. I like watching competitive series when I do sit down to watch the NBA playoffs. I can’t foresee anyone challenging them for another 3 years if that happens.

  • @icthawkfan316

    The Big3 era has introduced some complex questions. Fans always say that players should be more concerned about winning than money or fame. Each of the Big 3 had to take less than a maximum deal in order to put the team together. Separately, any of them could command a max or near max deal.

    Bosh, James and Wade are the 8th, 9th and 10th highest paid players in the league. If they were to try and add Carmelo to the mix, it would require that all four players to take pay cuts. Right now, without doing anything the salaries of the Big 3 (without accounting for a reduction) plus the salaries of Udonis Haslem, Norris Cole and Birdman puts them at the salary cap - the FULL cap. Just to fill out their roster requires them to go close to the luxury tax line, and that assumes that all of the other players are minimum salary guys. Any player with more than 2 years experience costs over $900k per year, and they would need 6 such players. And that’s without Carmelo.

    The only way to pull it off would be to have each of the Big 4 take a $3-$5m salary cut, putting them all in the $15-$16m range (rather than the $19-$21m range they currently enjoy), and even then, they would be hard pressed to sign any complimentary pieces without further salary reductions from the Big 4. To put it more simply, each of those players would have to consciously give up 20-25% in salary to all play together. Making that decision would show that it was about winning rather than the money, but no one ever thought that the best players would be willing to play for under market value to play together.

    Ultimately, there are several teams that can offer Carmelo a max deal, which would be worth about $22m over five years. He can take that or he can take less money and go somewhere that has a stronger team. If Carmelo wants to play for a contender, he will have to take less money to do so, which means winning will trump money (or more money, anyway).

    All of this brings up a more interesting topic. Lebron, Carmelo and Bosh have all been friends since they were in high school. They attended several of the elite Shoe Co. (shout out to @Jaybate 1.0) basketball camps together growing up. This is happening more and more, as kids that attend these camps from the time they are in 8th or 9th grade become pretty good friends with guys from around the country and even talk about playing together someday. For some of those guys, it’s in college. For others, they hold the cards when it comes to free agency in the NBA.

    It’s no longer the agents, or even the Shoe Co. or even the teams that hold the cards. Let’s say for instance that Durant and Westbrook see what’s happening in Miami and get together with Serge Ibaka and decide to talk to Westbrook’s old college teammate Kevin Love about joining them in OKC after the 2015 season. After a few years of losing in Minnesota, how long do you think Love would ponder before taking that offer?


    That article covers everything in my above post much more eloquently.

  • The Spurs are NBA champions. Some post-season/series musings:

    • The Mario Chalmers stock watch: really hurt himself going into free agency. Played himself out of the starting line-up for game 5. Didn’t see the court until the second half. Ironically this led to him playing his best basketball of the series, but I don’t know that it was enough.

    • It might not be enough to keep him in Miami, and if so possibly not as the starter. As was mentioned at halftime, and by others prior to games 4 & 5, the Heat are in desperate need of retooling. The supporting cast around LeBron was pathetic in this series (guess that championship DNA wasn’t enough). LBJ is enough to get the Heat through a weak and diluted Eastern Conference, but if they have future championship aspirations the other pieces need to be better. If I’m Wade and Bosh, there’s no way I opt out of those contracts. Who’d want them (for more money than they’re making now)? If I’m Pat Riley I’m praying one or both of them opt out, but it probably won’t happen. So that leaves two starting positions available for upgrade, plus the bench. I bet the Heat front office take a long hard look at upgrading at the point via free agency.

    • The Spurs have questions of their own. Popovich has said he wants to continue coaching, but Duncan hasn’t yet committed to another season. They’re likely to go out together. My guess is Duncan comes back and the team makes a run at successfully defending their title and going back-to-back for the first time. Boris Diaw and Patty Mills are free agents to be. Not a lot of other big contracts coming off the books (Matt Bonner is the only one of note, having earned $3.945 mil this past season). I’m no cap expert, but it’s worth wondering if they’ll have enough cap space to keep the two of them, who will likely command raises on the open market. Or they could take a hometown discount?

    • Favorite image of the series: Manu Ginobili shrugging off Ray Allen and finishing strong with a dunk, followed by a joyous Tim Duncan smiling ear to ear and slapping him on the head on the way back down the court.

    So…now there’s REALLY no basketball until Late Night. I guess the NBA draft will be something to check out.

  • @icthawkfan316 Good synopsis. Man, the Spurs absolutely deserved this Championship. Pretty much 3 straight 20pt blowouts. Actually, seeing Carmelo join the Heat would be pure fun because everybody on the planet would be up in arms about it, figuratively speaking. The talking heads would have a heyday.

    But in all seriousness, Im really thinking DWade isnt even 70% of his prior prowess. It was painfully evident. So the Big3 are really Big2.5. And depending on your feelings on Bosh, he might be another “half”. So adding Carmelo might actually make the Heat a true Big3 (requiring 4 “stars” to do it). Or, DWade is done, only he can tell the world.

    Final Heat comment: LBJ is legit. But the Heat need a serious re-tool…and Riley is the man to do it.

    Congrats to the Spurs on a well-earned, stunning-fashion Championship!

  • @ralster Yeah I think maybe Bosh & Wade are halves. Definitely not the Big3 anymore. I think with Wade it’s that he’s aged really poorly. So I’m not exactly giving him a pass, but I didn’t expect him to step up too much. Bosh on the other hand…I kept waiting for it and it never happened. He would make a play or two and you’d think he was getting ready to carry the load for awhile, then he’d disappear for the rest of the game.

    I put some of this on Spoelstra. I praised the guy after game 2 (I thought having the offense run through James in the post won that game for them), but after that game it’s almost like he abandoned all in-series adjustments and was just throwing stuff against the wall hoping something would stick. James Jones, Tony Douglas, Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier, Michael Beasley…no real rhyme or reason other than “hey, I haven’t tried this guy in awhile. Go out there and let’s see how that works.” In fairness he had a pretty poor bench, but I was looking for him to do something different with the offense to maybe get Bosh going or Rashard Lewis going. Never really happened.

    It’s not all on Spoelstra though. Bosh has to make himself be more assertive. It was as if the Spurs defense was so good it just discouraged him from even trying.

    I agree, LeBron is legit. If I was him, I’d seriously consider opting out and looking elsewhere. Like I said, I can’t see Wade or Bosh opting out, so he’s stuck with those two in Miami. Put him back in Cleveland…are they not at least close to being as good as the Heat? Especially with them potentially adding Embiid. Starting line-up of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, LBJ, Bennett, & Embiid. Entice a couple other free agents there to bolster their bench and all of a sudden they are contenders and the Heat are the East’s version of the '14 Lakers.

    I’d also be interested in seeing him head out West. Just from a competitive standpoint. The East is garbage compared to the West. If he were to win a title or two coming through the western conference, it’d be more impressive.

  • I’m so happy for the entire Spurs organization. Kawhi was the well deserved MVP. All of the players have carried themselves with such poise, grace and just doing what was asked of them and more. Timmy is the first player to win a championship in 3 decades. San Antonio fans were all class. They stuck with their team during the painful start and supported them throughout the whole season.

    Coaches Self and Howard were there. Link to Howard’s Instragram.

    ##Way to go Spurs!

  • SA showed exactly my point about developing a chip.

    The Heat could have had every great ever to play the game on their team… it wouldn’t have mattered. They were going to be spanked.

    Last night’s game was the point to the exclamation. The Heat could have been up by 50 at half and they still would have lost. In fact… the bigger the comeback, the more it proved SA’s point… that they are the better team.

    I wish Kansas could have one tiny spark of the fire SA had. All the talent in the world can be offset by a single spark. Self should spend one recruit spot every year to bring in a player that simply can not stand to lose and has the spirit to fight back harder every time he is knocked down. That player (regardless of recruit status) would be the true MVP every year.

    Or… CS should take a play out of the Coach Pop book… find ways to inspire your players by building a chip!

    Congrats to the Spurs, and Coach Pop for proving the NBA is still more about will than might!

  • @drgnslayr Ditka used to say if he had a choice of a guy with talent or a guy with attitude, he’s always take the attitude-maybe “always” is the reason why he bombed in NO?

  • @globaljaybird

    Now you’ve done it! You’ve opened a can of motivational worms!

    “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”

    “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”

    “Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you’re willing to pay the price.”

    “Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.”

    All are from the great coach of football (and life), Vince Lombardi.

  • @drgnslayr I believe he also once said, “Fear is the greatest motivator.” That was sure as hell Bill Freeman’s MO. Been there.

  • @drgnslayr I actually boxed feather & lightweight when I was in my teens to twenties. Then as I graduated to welterweight discovered the chin aspect would not allow me to get back up from KO’s going forward. That’s when I decided to stop getting hit !!

  • @icthawkfan316

    Again, nice summary. I understand Ray Allen is till trying to scrub Manu’s footprints from all over him 🙂

    One good thing that came out of this series is that there are still teams in the NBA that play sound basketball. Watching tape of this games should be required viewing for any team with high aspirations. Leonard and Lillard benefited the most and came off the playoffs as superstars.

    Beasley did not even suit up for the previous game and ended producing Miami’s scoring at the end of the game, albeit in garbage time. He has incredible talent (as we KU fans know) but he is til very undisciplined and was caught out of position in defense almost every time. For a while, the Kansas boys, Chalmers and Beasley, provide the entire offense for Miami…again, in garbage time.

    As poorly as Chalmers played throughout the series, he still had the best +/- of the team and seems that Miami played better, or should I say less poorly, when he was on the court. Interesting.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    “Watching tape of this games should be required viewing for any team with high aspirations.”

    If I was Bill Self I would show the finals to his players. SA (as a team) showed the best passing of any team in NBA history. Sure… there were players like Bird and Magic who could pass well and average a boatload of assists… but SA did it as a team, and their post players really knew how to move the ball and create scoring opportunities.

    I was amazed how many times SA would get the ball in right under the basket and then toss it out for a trey shot. I often snipped at that, but they continually proved me wrong by trading 2 for 3.

    And now, today, all the talk about the Heat needing to make personnel changes because they need more talent. Ha… they had plenty of talent, but they just couldn’t put it together like SA did.

    SA was on a mission, and players like Duncan have been with Pop for more than a decade. They are able to effectively tweak their games to take advantage of opportunities. Miami doesn’t have that kind of chemistry or capability. But give them credit for being pretty good as they are… just not as good as SA.

    Let’s see Spoelstra stay at Miami for 17+ years, and the same with players like Chalmers. They would end up being pretty darn good!

    It was fun to see Beasley. He’s such an offensive beast… Beastley.

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