Thursday, June 9, 2011
Behind The Scoreboard
NBA and French Open
It is not very often that we mix apples and oranges in this column but once in a great while, it does happen. In this case it is entirely necessary.
There might not have been reason to celebrate in Dallas on Sunday evening late which had been anticipated and expected, however, there was much cause to rejoice in China Saturday night because Li Na had defeated Francesca Shiavone (Italy) in two sets, 6-4 and 7-6, for the French Open title at Stade Roland Garros in Paris. This marked the first time that any tennis player from China, or Asia, actually, had won a Grand Slam singles title. Schiavone had been ranked number five world wide and Na was number six. Speculation was that Na would be elevated to number four on Monday.
The very excited crowd packing the Mavericks’ home court on Sunday didn’t quiet down until the very last seconds. They had seen their favorite sons pull the big ones out of the pond on last ditch efforts before. There was not any immediate concern when the NBA Finals opened in Miami and the Heat took the opener 92-84 (the largest margin of victory thus far in this series). It should be remembered that both of these teams lost the opening game in their respective conference’s title series.
The Heat’s “big three,” with a little help from their bench friends, took the game over down the stretch when the Dallas defense faltered. But in game two the Heat perhaps became a little complacent and relaxed a little too much with a double-digit lead. No matter what the adding factors were, the Mavericks unleashed the “big tractor” on the opposition and he did what he does best. It wasn’t long before he pressed the comeback and erased a 15-point Heat advantage, leading the Mavs to a 22-5 scoring run in the last seven minutes – a happenstance which was hard to explain by Miami. They didn’t beat themselves up over the two-point loss (95-93), but their disappointment was obvious. It is always hard to lose at home.
And that it is probably just what the Dallas Mavericks were thinking on Sunday night when they hosted the first of three. They had to battle back twice through double-digit Heat leads. It evolved into a battle of guard (Dwayne Wade) versus forward (Dirk Nowitzki) The former ended up with 29 points and 11 rebounds and the latter finished with 34 points and 11 rebounds. Dirk was unbelievable in his timely dunks and fall away baskets. Conversely, Wade was incredible in his grabbing rebounds and weaving through the giant defenders in the lane. It was a hard-fought, two-point (88-86) Heat victory.
We have said it before and it is worth repeating; this is going to be one of the best series ever. Fasten your seat belts, folks, and grip your armchairs; this one is far from over. It just might defy some conventions.
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