NBA Finals

June 5, 2006 at 11:06 am (Sports rants)

June: some hot days, some a lot hotter.  There are plenty of things to look forward to: Ladies in short-shorts, skirts, tank tops, and of course… the NBA Finals.


And I think this one will be a better series than the past few years.  Why? Because there will be no “Big Fundamental” and no “Right way.”


I can’t say this is the changing of the guard, but it’s safe to say that this Finals will be different from the last, where it will be more along the lines of “which team gets hot the longest.”  Sure, both teams have a pretty good defense (after all, they did reach the finals, and they are certainly not Phoenix) but both teams, respectively, have taken down the best defenses (Spurs, Pistons) to get to the finals, by providing more scoring more.


I strongly believe this series, more than any other, comes down to coaching strategies and match-ups.  Miami’s model comes with a potent offense that relies on the inside-outside game play of Shaq to get streaky players like Antoine Walker, Jason Williams, and James Posey into the game, While Dwayne Wade does his best 1991 Jordan impersonation.  The Heat will try to play up on Dirk Nowitzki, and will try to maintain a chokehold on the game by relegating a more half-court set offense.


On the contrary, the Mavericks pose some different options.  Nowitzki will surely get his, as Haslem, even being underrated as a defender, will surely be outmatched offensively.  And what does Haslem bring to the table?  He has a midrange jumper, but it has not been on since the beginning of the Pistons series.  And don’t think Dirk doesn’t mind playing outside on Haslem, and being able to shuffle back to double-up on Shaq.  But the main game-changing players come from the Scottie Pippen school of ballin’.  Josh Howard and Marquis Daniels will be able to stop ‘Toine Walker from getting too far, and will be able to run the length of the court, cartwheel back to the scorers table, stop for a cup of fresh-brewed coffee, and get back on D before ‘Toine gets back to his favorite spot on the floor, anything beyond 23 feet from his hoop.  These two players, along with Stackhouse and VanHorn coming off the bench, will certainly create match up problems.  The question is; how will Riley adjust?


With the mavericks running with Jason “Jet” Terry/Devin Harris at PG, any 2-player combination of those 4 aforementioned players above, Nowitzki, and (insert Center who will basically be renamed in this series to “Mr. 6 fouls”) running down the court, The Mavericks would be able to play Phoenix’s run-n-gun offense.  Will Riley choose to Bench Shaq more often, so that Alonzo Mourning could run down court, clog up the middle, and alter shots?


Here are some thoughts:

For the Heat:


When Dallas turns run-n-gun by having Nowitzki as the “largest” player on the team, sub-out Shaq, and have Zo work his magic.  In my opinion, Zo creates far more defensive tension than Shaq, because Zo seems to find a block or have more shot-altering ability.


When Dampier is on the court, have Shaq go straight at Dampier.  I didn’t think it was possible, but Dampier is slower, and stiffer than Shaq is right now.  Get him out of the way, and work on Diop when he comes in. Diop will be beaten worse than a rag doll tossed into a Doberman’s kennel.


Let Wade loose.  He always seems to know what to do.


For the Mavericks:


Constantly change defenders on Dwayne Wade.  Have Marquis Daniels and Josh Howard pester him the minute he crosses half court.  Get into his head that he will have a tough time taking it inside.  Conversely, have Stack pick him up in the post.  Stackhouse is stronger than wade, and still has enough mobility to stay in front of him.


Switch offenses.  Run the Suns offense for a few minutes, and then slow it down to a post-up game with Nowitzki.  Bring Nowitzki outside, draw Haslem outside, and have Daniels/Terry/Harris/Howard come off a screen to cut into the lane, going at Shaq.


Pray to god that Shaq gets called for his swinging elbows in the paint.


Now I very highly doubt that any of Avery Johnson or Pat Riley’s folks will wind up reading this post, say, “hey, that’s a good idea, we should do that” and I also doubt the possibility that I thought of this first, but hey, it’s now officially out there.  On my page.

 And maybe, just maybe, I might get invited up to Adande’s lounge.  But lets pray to god I don’t get invited to Wilbon’s hot tub with Barbaro and Marrioti.


1 Comment

  1. R BO said,

    I agree, although I do not see Walker being a differnce maker in this series at all. Although he can be a great offensive threat (behind Wade and Shaq), it wount matter, as the refs will ensure that Shaq gets his ring.

    Lets think about this: Does David Stern want to give the trophy to Mark Cuban? Heck no. Therefore, he will ensure that the refs pull a Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals. Dont know what I’m talking about? LOOK IT UP LOOK IT UP.

    I would choose the hot tub over the lounge any day of the week. So long as Wilbon keeps his shirt on and Tyra brings the Bud.

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