Of duds and Dwight and Daly
Wonder if we’re in for one of those nights where everyone expects drama and gets duds.
|One of the "big" stars of tonight's, Game 6 double bill.|
I sure hope not but there is this sinking feeling that the Game 6 doubleheader may not live up to its billing.
But it doesn’t matter to intrepid Bloggy Thingy people, we’ll here just before 7 p.m. to check things out.
Not really much to say about last night, actually. Except this:
The better team won.
Deeper, more varied on offence, tougher and stronger, I don’t think there’s a person around who’d think the Nuggets weren’t full value for disposing the Mavs.
Of course, some of us are ticked there were only three technical fouls in the game, but that’s a digression.
You sort of knew right off the bat that the Mavs were sunk when Rick Carlisle panicked and made a change in his starting lineup, putting in Jason Terry and taking out Antoine Wright.
Why do it? It (a) weakened the already weak Dallas bench; (b) it took touches and shots away from Dirk Nowitzki with the first team; and (c) it’s not like the Mavs were being totally out-classed, they were three seconds and one blown call from being in a 2-2 series.
There have been several instances of odd coaching moves in these playoffs (memo to self: Keep as future blog item) and this was just another of them.
All right, Dwight.
Time to put up or shut up.
After publicly ridiculing his coach after the Orlando Magic spat up Game 5 against the Celtics, the big fella had better produce tonight, no?
He’s painted himself into a pretty dark place by saying his coach needs let dominating players dominate; you know Stan Van Gundy – in a move of employment self-preservation as much as anything else – is going to give him every chance to back up his words with actions.
Maybe. Only maybe.
He’s had difficulty dealing with Kendrick Perkins for most of the series (the exception being when Perkins finds himself in early foul trouble) and I don’t think anyone would say he’s been “dominant” in any game so far in this series.
Now, after doing the yapping, he better do the playing.
And, to the surprise of no one, it’s all lovey-dovey down there. Check out Brian today.
Okay, with the end of the Nuggets-Mavs series, can we please put to rest this back-and-forth between Kenyon Martin and Mark Cuban? It was a wee bit titillating for one day, marginally interesting the second but it really got to high school levels of name-calling and immaturity as it went along.
Thankfully, it’s over.
They buried Chuck Daly yesterday in what I understand was an emotional ceremony-celebration in Florida.
I didn’t have that much contact with Daly over the years, a few conversations here and there when he coached and served as a consultant to a couple of franchise but you could tell he’d like little more than sitting around telling stories. The one enduring image I’ll have is of him as the coach of the Dream Team in 1992. Starting in Portland with the qualification tournament right through the Barcelona Olympics, he was a gem, always gracious in the face of international media that bounced between fawning and silly and the way he managed that – and the various personalities and egos on that team – was a pleasure to see.
I heard Charles Barkley talking at halftime last night about the community of basketball and anyone who saw the litany of players, coaches and executives at the ceremony should know exactly what he’s talking about.
The NBA, in many ways, is like a big travelling circus, everyone knows everyone else, there’s a feeling of family in a lot of instances and they tend to close ranks in times of trouble and tragedy.
As writers who cover the league regularly and have for quite a while, we’re privileged in many regards to even been on the periphery of it. We don’t play, we don’t coach, we don’t sit in meetings where decisions are made but there are times when some of us feel like we’re a small part of it. That’s not to say we aren’t objective and critical when it’s called for, it’s not to say were aren’t loathed by some and loved by few who are truly The Game.
But because I, and so many others, are around it so much, we’re privileged enough to know people like Chuck Daly, to have chatted with him on the record and off, to have heard some stories and laughed at them.
It’s a terrible loss for his family and the game. And some of us feel it a little bit.
By now you’ve all seen the all-NBA teams, I presume, voted on like all the other awards by a panel of writers and broadcasters who cover the league on a regular basis.
First team: Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Howard.
Second team: Chris Paul, Brandon Roy, Paul Pierce, Tim Duncan, Yao Ming.
Third team: Tony Parker, Chauncey Billups, Carmelo Anthony, Pau Gasol, Shaquille O’Neal.
Really hard to argue with any of them, isn’t it?
The biggest surprise would be that Nowitzki beat out the other power forwards for the first team spot with the injuries that hurt Garnett and slowed Duncan had to be the over-riding factors (and remember, votes had to be in the day after the regular season ended so Dirk’s playoff performances had no impact whatsoever).
There were a couple of e-mails here yesterday about the fact Bosh didn’t make any of the teams and, frankly, I’m a bit stunned anyone thought he had a legitimate chance.
Yes, he had a very good regular season (if you find a way to wipe December and part of February from the memory banks) but even a 20-10 year pales when you look at the overall record of his team and those long stretches of rather pedestrian play.
Besides, which of those three would you replace him with?
As you see from this league release, Bosh did get 56 votes (right behind Garnett in the group of forwards left off the three teams) and I think he finished right where he belongs this year.
Bosh and Vince Carter remain the only Raptors in history to make an all-NBA team; Bosh was on the second team in 2006-07 and Carter was named to the second team in 2000-01 and the third team in 1999-2000.