A team and a group of individuals. And a proper outcome
Try to find me anyone outside of South Florida today who doesn’t feel at least a little bit good for Dirk Nowitzki.
For all that guy’s been through, the Finals collapse in ’06, the one-and-done playoff years, the questions about his toughness and suitability as a go-to guy, the vindication that comes with winning a championship has to be extra special.
Dirk’s one of those brilliant players who seems to fly under the radar, eclipsed by his team’s failings, in the past eclipsed by the antics of the team owner and to see him run back up the tunnel overcome with emotion even before he could accept the trophy was to see a guy who had realized a life-long dream.
And it was good to see.
It’s good to see a guy who stuck with his team (and he could have bolted but decided to stay and be part of something special, rather than seek greener pastures (Hello, LeBron and Chris) be rewarded on such a grand scale.
We heard Rick Carlisle talk numerous times over the last few weeks about how the Mavs aren’t flashy, they don’t have great athletes, they don’t play in the air and they aren’t particularly fast.
But what they are is good, and confident, and old.
It’s been said here on more than one occasion that nothing beats experience and that’s what set Dallas apart. When things got tough, they had years of experience – some good, mostly bad – to draw on to get them through it. They just knew how to play and how to stay true to themselves.
It’s fun to watch a “team” play; it was fun to watch them win and, you know, maybe talent doesn’t always carry the day.
Another good byproduct of the Dallas win?
Moves the HOTH one step closer to solving the coaching issue.
There was no way they were going to get a chance to interview Dwane Casey until the series was over but I figure it’s got to happen this week now.
As Bryan said, his goal was to have someone in place before the draft – June 23 – and while I know he doesn’t want to really rush into anything, if he did some interviews mid-week and some late-week and some on the week, they could very well have someone in place a day or two before they have to make their pick.
Might be a whirlwind few days but may as well get it done when they can.
Now what for me?
I wish I knew.
There’s a coach to hire and a draft to get through but, in all honesty, there’s a wee bit of a void.
No games, no IGBT, no nothing really. Kind of an odd feeling, to tell you the truth.
But I guess when I show up at Mother Star later today, we’ll get it all figured out.
Trust me, though, we’ll be here at least each weekday morning with our usual brand of fun and jocularity, even if we have to do nothing but TV shows and “they still didn’t hire a coach” stuff.
It’s going to make the late-season run all the sweeter for the TOD.
So what of the Heat?
Seriously, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a group of players – and in particular those three stars – looks some discombobulated, worn out and simply beaten down as James, Wade and Bosh were at the end of that game.
I know they didn’t say it very often during the season, but the few signs of overt cockiness and the “us against the world, everyone hates us” mentality kind of made me feel like they figured a championship was their destiny and birthright.
And then they screwed it up with a series of increasingly selfish and desperate play that showed them what they were: A trio of talented players who never really meshed.
Sure, there were moments when they looked unbeatable in the regular season, when all cylinders were firing and life was grand.
But when it got really tough, they couldn’t handle it.
And James was, of course, the focal point.
This was really the first time when people were coming after him, all those years in Cleveland he was the undisputed man who was lifting up a lesser team to significant heights but it was easier that way. In Miami, he was cast a villain for the first time in his life and he didn’t handle it all well.
It’s probably not fair to fixate on him, he was part of a team and the Heat were, as it turns out, a bad one.
They had no point guard to speak of, their bigs were suspect (Joel Anthony’s a backup on many other teams) and I think they were coached poorly, with no imagination on offence and a cliché-spouting head coach who resorted to the ‘they hate us, let’s show them’ school of motivation rather than finding some unique way to exploit the talents available to him.
Do they need to make change?
As we’ve been saying all along, it’s impossible to predict exactly how they’ll be able to change with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement looming but they need to do something.
Maybe not hugely significant – those three guys are still pretty darn good – but change has to be afoot.
Now, I know a lot of you will wonder if they should – and hope they do – trade Bosh for a centre and/or a point guard and I guess if they’re going to move one, he’s the logical one.
But I think maybe a coaching change is in order, I think a couple of pieces are needed but this isn’t the last we’ve heard of the Heat.
Mighty Rockies tonight. Keep your fingers crossed.
Two more notes on the final before we put it to bed.
How sneaky of Mark Cuban to drag out some old dude in a cowboy hat to accept the trophy so that Cuban didn’t have to take it from David Stern. That would have been something to see, each of them holding their noses while taking part in the ceremony.
And I have been an admirer of Rick Carlisle’s coaching abilities for quite some time, stretching back to his Detroit days, and while Dirk was a worthy MVP and it couldn’t happen anyway, the guy who maybe turned the series was Carlisle.
Putting Barea in the starting lineup, massaging a bigs rotation that included Ian Mahinmi and Brian Cardinal and getting his team through Portland, the Lakers, Oklahoma City and Miami was as good a coaching job as I can remember in years and years and years.