Thursday, June 2, 2011
Behind The Scoreboard
There will be a bit of déjà vu in the NBA championship series this season. About five years ago the stage was set in the same way. The Miami Heat would face the Dallas Mavericks in the showdown seven.
Dallas faced down a very brash and tough, talented opponent in the Oklahoma City Thunder. Dallas had a clockbuster (121-112) win in game one and the Thunder returned the favor in game two with a clockbuster (106-100) of their own, but the home court advantage favored the Mavericks too well. The death knell sounded for the Thunder in game four on Monday when the Mavs wiped away a 15-point deficit, forced the fifth frame and won in overtime.
The young Thunder did all they could and they made some spectacular plays and probably have a great future. But this was a greater test than they were prepared for. The Thunder had the league’s best scorer (Kevin Durant) in both the regular season and the playoffs, but it was clear by the look on Durant’s face that he hadn’t planned to go out in five games. There just was not an effective remedy for “Dirty Dirk” (Nowitzki) with the deadly dagger. His timely game-changing shots were almost phenomenal and had that Jordanesque quality.
I am not really sure the Heat was planning to close Chicago out away from their home front. Or maybe they did it for Dwayne Wade’s sake. Wade is from Chicago and was playing game five in front of family. I personally thought the Heat would have preferred to win the Eastern trophy in Miami.
Anyway, like the Western finals, they had to win one of their games in overtime. And on Thursday night in game five, the Heat’s triumvirate overcame a Bulls’ 13-point lead to shock the packed crowd in the United Center, proving once again that it is hard to stop a juggernaut.
There had been questions about Wade’s performance during the entire series. He had received some special attention on his left shoulder, however, in the fourth quarter, the suspect shoulder did not appear to be a hindrance. The three “bigs” always seem to find whatever they need.
After the game, a reporter asked the Bulls’ center, Yoakim Noah, what he thought of the “big three,” to which he replied “They are Hollywood, but they are good.”
Now, about a week before the final act begins, queries are surfacing as to who from the Heat will be assigned to stop Nowitzki? I can remember long ago when an opposing coach in the NFL was asked the same question about Jim Brown in his heyday. That coach stated he was going to have all the linebackers key on Brown and instruct the cornerbacks to play tight, plus a couple of players would have axe handles inside their pants legs.
Uniforms are admittedly ugly and baggy but I don’t believe they are long enough to conceal axe handles.
This series is going to be one for the books.
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