A little this, a little that until we get started again
We’re all over the map today as we finally get ready to get this series back on the rails.
(And, and once I get central time down pat, we might get back t the usual posting time; or I’ll do late games, hospitality suites and who knows when it’ll get done each day. Just like to keep you guessing.
You know me and numbers and stats, right?
Big whoop most of the time, a factor but not “the” factor in any basketball discussion, or any discussion of any sport, really.
Well, there is one that stands out after two games that has a lot do with where we are.
In the first two games, the Heat have attempted 54 three-pointers and 50 free throws.
That’s not going to get it done.
Maybe it’s got to do with Miami settling a little bit, and I think you need to give some credit to the way Dallas has defended but unless the Heat get going to the basket more – especially Wade and James – who know this thing turns out
And, of course, there were all kinds of explanations and discussion about it at practice Saturday.
Shawn Marion on LeBron:
“One, a lot of his fouls come in transition and I’m able to get back and stop him from doing that and in the halfcourt, I’m able to get in front of him and contest his shot without fouling. That’s just been good solid defence, me moving my feet and staying down and be aware of where everything is on the floor.”
LeBron on Marion:
“I don't feel like it's one guy in this league that can stop me one-on-one. There's always a defence that's looking at me when I have the ball. He's the guy that's guarding me, but there's no one-on-one guy that can guard me.”
And it’s on.
I’m kind of stymied here.
Not sure who he was writing for or which broadcast outlet he was reporting for but figure the guy at practice yesterday wearing a t-shirt that said: “I Am A Nowitzness” might be supplying some slanted stories.
Funny thing is, you don’t get an awful lot of openly biased people with credentials at the Finals, usually. The all-star game is when you get the, um, fringe media and their pursuit of odd stories and, um, unique angles. Like the guy who brought a kazoo or something one year to an all-star game and wanted all the players to play it for him.
The Final is a far more serious endeavour than that and that’s why the Nowitzness kind of stood out.
Yes, we’ll be here tonight for an IGBT; no idea what kind of seat I’ll have – we tend to be up in the hockey press box or the upper deck of the stadium – but we’ll do the best we can.
And remember, it’s a relatively early start, 8 p.m. East, thanks to the largesse of the league’s TV “partners.”
Guy shows up at a big event like figuring on a bunch of small talk with a lot of old friends and everyone all of a sudden turns serious.
Trying being a guy covering a team with a coaching vacancy if you want to get a conversation. It’s easy. Crazy easy.
Coaches. Execs. Officials. Writers. Broadcasters.
Everyone wants to know what’s up, who might get Jay’s gig and when.
And all I’ve got now is that the only name I’ve heard legitimately mentioned by anyone in the organization is that of Lawrence Frank – and that may not mean a thing since it’s so early in the process – but the immediate reaction from a lot of guys:
“Good coach, but Is he really that much better?”
Well, got some Tex-Mex off the agenda last night; a group of seniors hits Mia’s for brisket tacos, chips and salsa and a Tecate or two. What’s next folks? Figure something good on a Monday.
This is why I kind of like Shawn Marion.
As mentioned in today’s piece – it’s here for you folks who haven’t had a chance yet – he is one of the most confident players I think I’ve ever met.
And he doesn’t really give a crap.
Lots of questions yesterday about what position he plays, since he spent some time in the frontcourt late in Game 2 alongside Dirk Nowitzki because Brendan Haywood was banged up and Tyson Chandler needed a rest. People wanted to know whether he was the five or the four or what?
Shawn gives ‘em the old “it doesn’t matter, I’m just out there playing” and when one guy persists, Marion looks at him and says:
“Hey, the guy I was checking was LeBron, he handles the ball a lot, guess I was a point guard.”
Anyway, the thing about Shawn is that there really is no pretension to him, he speaks his mind but not in any way maliciously and he just wants to do what he does: Play.
A dude from Canada can make some friends simply by the country of his birth.
Riding up the elevator with a bunch of guys obviously from a team, it finally dawns on you they’re a Costa Rican soccer team.
Turns out it’s the national team, in town to play, I think it was, Cuba in the Gold Cup and when the guy asks me in a bit fractured English where home is and he’s told Toronto, he breaks into a huge smile:
“Ah, Canada,” he says with a big thumbs-up.
And all I can think of his he’s happy remembering all those soccer games he played in Toronto where it was like a home game.
This is why Vin Scully might be the greatest broadcaster of all time.
Caught a bit of the ESPN 30 in 30 documentary on Fernando Valenzuela; they go into great detail about a gutsy Game 3 World Series game he worked, without his greatest stuff but he still managed to win.
And Scully says:
“This was not the best Fernando game. It was his finest.”