The decision — to pick Miami — wasn't so smart
- Steve Brandon
- Portland Tribune - Sports
Thoughts on the victory for good over evil, aka the 2011 NBA finals:
• I thought Miami would beat Dallas in five games, maybe even four.
The outcome surprised, and pleased, me no end, although I would have been thrilled for Portland product Erik Spoelstra of the Heat, a good guy and coach.
• I also never thought I'd see an NBA team win the championship with such a steady diet of zone defense.
Turns out that Dallas' use of the zone was "The Decision" of the NBA year.
• Sure, LeBron James can work on his mental toughness during the offseason. But if he works hard enough on his jumper, and hits those shots more consistently, a lot of the mental aspect will take care of itself.
James looked fine, mentally, while hitting his first four shots in Game 6 on Sunday.
• No reason why James can't improve his post-up game, too.
If I'm James, I've got a call in to Hakeem Olajuwon.
• Obviously, the Heat should have attacked the basket more in Sunday's Game 6, especially with Dallas' Tyson Chandler and Dirk Nowitzki in some precarious foul position.
• I can't believe the NBA commissioner announced the finals MVP as Dirk "No-wits-key," instead of the correct pronunciation, "No-vits-key."
I've come to expect more from "Dawid" Stern.
• Nowitzki's career playoff stats: 124 games, 25.9 points, 10.4 rebounds, 46.3 percent from the field, 38.4 percent from 3-point range and 89.2 percent from the free-throw line. Nice.
• I wonder if kids all over the world are trying to perfect the Nowtizki off-balance, one-leg-up fadeaway jump shot.
• Was that LeBron James in the closing games of the finals, or LeLil' Penny?
• Was James experiencing side effects from the South Beach Diet?
• Where does James rank on the list of greats never to win an NBA title?
Based on body of work as well as talent, I'd say James still rates behind Elgin Baylor, Karl Malone, John Stockton and Charles Barkley.
I'd put James - maybe, and somewhat reluctantly - slightly ahead of Walt Bellamy, Patrick Ewing, Dominique Wilkins, George Gervin and Reggie Miller.
• Will Bruce Willis play Jason Kidd in the movie, "The Dallas Mavericks Story?"
Now we just need an actor to cast as Nowitzki. Maybe Owen Wilson in elevator Nikes.
• The old "Three J's": Jason Kidd, Jamal Mashburn, Jim Jackson.
The new Three J's: Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, J.J. Barea.
Wait, that's four J's.
Barea - change your name to Jason.
• If I'm Trail Blazers guard Andre Miller, in the wake of the 38-year-old Kidd helping to lead the Mavs to the title, I'm wondering what all the fuss over my age (35) is about.
Now, if only Miller could hit a few more 3-pointers ...
• Ian Mahinmi?
Shades of Wally Who - that's former Blazer Wally Walker, for those of you under age 40 or so.
Mahinmi hit two baskets for Dallas on Sunday, including a key jumper at the end of the third quarter.
Now maybe he will be more famous for something other than being dunked on by fellow Frenchman and Blazer forward Nicolas Batum in April.
• Looks like Spoelstra really didn't have an easy job.
• Some measure of critique needs to go to Miami management/ownership for not giving James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh one more solid piece to the Big Three's supporting cast.
• I wonder how Miami would have done with a Chandler or facsimile at center.
• I also have to wonder how much less than 100-percent healthy Wade was in the final games. No excuses, though - Miami still had enough to win the championship, if the Heat had played better. After all, Miami had the homecourt advantage in the series.
• James averaged 43.9 minutes per playoff game. That's a few too many, even for a King.
The Miami defense looked a little worn out, especially in the final minutes of every game after the finals opener. James and the Heat weren't as good at pressing the ball or closing out on 3-point shooters down the stretch as they were early in games.
• Seems as though James and Wade, and James and Bosh, and Wade and Bosh all could develop better two-man games.
• Dallas' triumph is being hailed as a victory for team ball, but I don't think it's going to change the look of the NBA that much. Most teams are still going to try to build their teams - and ticket-sales campaigns - around a star or two.
• As Blazers broadcaster Bill Schonely would say to the Heat, you've got to make your free throws.
• Comparing the Mavericks ... and Blazers:
Star power forward - Dirk Nowitzki ... LaMarcus Aldridge
Aging point guard - Jason Kidd ... Andre Miller
Defensive-oriented big man - Tyson Chandler ... Marcus Camby
Slashing, tough-minded small forward - Shawn Marion ... Gerald Wallace
Other starting guard - Jose Barea/DeShawn Stevenson ... Wesley Matthews
Quick penetrating point guard - Barea ... Patty Miles
Scoring sixth man - Jason Terry ... Brandon Roy? Nicolas Batum?? Rudy Fernandez???
Reserve big man - Brendan Haywood ... Chris Johnson
Bench shooter - Peja Stojakovich ... Rudy Fernandez
Other depth - Brian Cardinal/Ian Mahinmi ... Luke Babbitt, Chris Johnson
Key injured potential contributor - Caron Butler, Greg Oden
• So, what do the Blazers need to catch up?
- Better outside shooting
- A healthy Oden or a younger starting center
- A more productive backup point guard
- Roy, or someone, capable of scoring significantly and consistenly off the bench and from the outside.